Some Thoughts on MV Agusta & A Story About Two Letters

MV Agusta USA recently invited a slew of journalists down to Fontana, California in order to talk about the company’s new business plan, and to ride its current lineup of motorcycles on the infield course. This article is “Part 1″ of that experience, as I wanted to separate my thoughts on MV Agusta, MV Agusta USA, and the general motorcycling climate into one story, and then have my “not-a-review” of the machines for another article. Got it? Ok, let’s go. It is probably easiest to start with where MV Agusta is as a company. MV Agusta has a started a new three-year business plan, which sees the company pushing into a full-range of motorcycles, pushing outside of its Italian boundaries, and pushing out of the “luxury” brand segment.

Photos: Ducati Desmosedici GP15

The Ducati Desmosedici GP15 is a machine that has been long in the making. It represents Gigi Dall’Igna’s next step forward for the wayward Ducati Corse MotoGP team, and it is the dubious honor of holding the hopes of Ducati fans around the world, who see the machine as the silver bullet that will return Ducati to the forefront of racing prowess — no pressure. The most obvious change that can be seen on the GP15 is the re-routing of the exhaust, with the undertail pipes collecting on the right-hand side of the machine, rather than coming in from both sides and meeting in the middle. Can you spot any other changes in the high-resolution photos after the jump? Let us know in the comments.

Politics & Corruption: Why There Isn’t a Race in Indonesia

If anyone needed any further proof that Indonesia is important to the Japanese motorcycle manufacturers, the fact the Repsol Honda team chose Bali as the location to launch their 2015 MotoGP project should remove any doubt. But if Indonesia is so important to the manufacturers, and to MotoGP, why is there not a race there? Over the course of the MotoGP test at Sepang, I had a few conversations with people on the subject. On the record, the story was always the same: we need a suitable track, and as soon as one exists we will be happy to go there. Off the record, however, they were much less optimistic.

A Requiem for Kenji Ekuan & The Kando of GK Design

Industrial design is not a commonly known, much less well understood, profession. To some it suggests arranging equipment inside factories, to others it means some kind of product engineering. In reality it is the search for, and expression of, human satisfaction in inanimate objects that are mass produced. That’s quite a mouthful, and to the average person it may sound like jiberish written for some pretentious coffee table book, but it is the truth. At least, it is one version of the truth as seen by the GK Design Group of Tokyo, Japan. If you ride motorcycles, then you are intimately familiar with the work of this large and internationally respected studio. Since only its second production bike, the indigenously designed YA-1, every Yamaha motorcycle since 1958 has been crafted by GK.

Are You The MV Agusta F4 RC?

What look to be official photos of the MV Agusta F4 RC have leaked out onto the internet, along with a slide from MV Agusta’s media presentation on the machine. The photos give us our first glimpse into Varese’s homologation special, complete with a special two-can exhaust by Termignoni. The leaked slide confirms some of the numbers being thrown around about the F4 RC, namely that it will have 212hp, 81.86 lbs•ft of torque, weigh 175kg dry, and cost €36,900 (we already know that the MV Agusta F4 RC will cost $46,000 in the USA). Information from a leaked slide last year has already told us that MV Agusta has radically overhauled the F4 RC’s engine, designing a new cylinder heard, new crankshaft, new camshaft, as well as adding bigger fuel injectors, lighter pistons, and titanium connecting rods.

Kenji Ekuan, Designer of the Yamaha VMAX Has Died

Mainstream news is mourning the death of Kenji Ekuan today, as the 85-year-old Japanese industrial designer is one of the most influential artists in Japan’s modern era, and is most well-known for his designing of the iconic Kikkoman soy sauce bottle. Ekuan’s lesser-known works though include a number of motorcycle designs for Yamaha, including the now 30-year-old Yamaha VMAX motorcycle, which makes his passing even more meaningful to motorcyclists around the world. Kenji Ekuan founded GK Industrial Design after WWII, and his company helped shape the way Japan rebuilt itself after the world war.

Ride Review: KTM 1290 Super Adventure

Despite its huge dimensions, not to mention a 30 liter fuel tank, the 2015 KTM 1290 Super Adventure never looks big or bulky. In fact, it is only when you mount the hard luggage that you can tell this bike can really cover long distances. Apart from a dorky little exposed wire from the heated grips near the throttle, the fit and finish is very high-end, especially the integrated curved lighting in the tank — it is quite a sight. At first glance the Super Adventure doesn’t have the massive personality and stance of its German rival, the BMW R1200GS Adventure, but that is in part due to the white color scheme and the absence of the typical beak as a front mudguard. KTM is going about things differently, and that is something that appeals to many riders…including us.

Yamaha VMAX Carbon – Celebrating 30 Years of VMAX

It is hard to believe that the venerable Yamaha VMAX has been around for 30 years (it is even harder to believe that the VMAX has only seen one design revision in that timeframe as well), and so Yamaha is bringing out a special edition model to celebrate this special motorcycle. The 2015 Yamaha VMAX Carbon is exactly as the name implies: a VMAX drag bike laden with lightweight carbon fiber. In total, the VMAX Carbon’s tank cover, front and rear fenders, and side covers are all made from carbon fiber. Yamaha has teamed up with Akrapovic as well, and as such the Slovenian company’s slip-on mufflers complete the exhaust system and the changes to this beastly drag bike.

LEAKED: Here is the 2016 Indian Chief Dark Horse

Cruisers aren’t really our forté, here at Asphalt & Rubber, but breaking stories is…so, without all the typical fanfare, we bring you the first full photos of the upcoming 2016 Indian Chief Dark Horse. The Stead is murdered out and visually appealing, with black engine covers, black fenders, black forks…hell, even the tires are black. Under the hood is Indian’s Thunder Stroke 111 engine, which is an air-cooled 1,811cc v-twin good for 73hp and 100 lbs•ft.More technical features include ABS as standard, a keyless ignition system, cast wheels, and a solo seat. Our Bothan Spies suggest an MSRP of $17,000, and more accessories (all black, natch) than you can fit into the belly of a Tauntaun. Expect to see the Indian Chief Dark Horse launch officially on February 13th elsewhere.

Washington State Weighs Pro Lane-Splitting Law

The Washington State Legislature has a pro lane-splitting bill on its 2015-2016 docket, HB 1515. The law is moderately written, adopting a 10 mph speed differential between the motorcycle and traffic, with a 35 mph speed cap, as acceptable during lane-splitting activities. Loyal Asphalt & Rubber readers will recognize these provisions as being more restrictive than the California Highway Patrol’s now defunct guidelines. Lane-splitting is a near-and-dear topic to us here at A&R, as we believe a national effort to legalize the practice should be mission #1 for the American Motorcyclist Association.

Rizoma 77|011 Metropolitan Bike

01/07/2013 @ 3:03 pm, by Jensen Beeler8 COMMENTS

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It is the off-season here in the US, which means for those of you that don’t get to enjoy the perpetual sunshine of California, your bike is neatly packed away for the winter, and withdrawl from motorcycling is already starting to show its full force. Everyone deals with this process differently, and for the racers and track day enthusiasts amongst us, the off-season marks a chance for some much needed maintenance and modification.

We reckon that while a $3,000 full-titanium exhaust system might add a couple more horsepower to the top-end, it is usually the racer that could use the most improvement before next season. While the holidays have been conducive to some “mass centralization” on our bodies, it is never too early to start the physical prep for the riding season.

An obvious translation from our two-wheeled sport, we see many motorcycle racers taking in their fitness training on bicycles. In addition to having the correct number of turning bits, cycling improves cardiovascular fitness, it is low-impact, and it can still be performed with many of the injuries associated with motorcycle racing.

To that vein, motorcycle parts manufacturer Rizoma has released a swanky pushbike for the discerning motorcyclist. True to the brand’s chic, but understated, aesthetic, the Rizoma 77|011 Metropolitan Bike is a bicycle built to take on the city with some serious style. But with that serious style, comes a serious price tag: €3,700. Ouch.

2010 Yamaha Fazer8 ABS – Also Officially Official & With Anti-Lock Brakes

03/12/2010 @ 2:47 am, by Jensen Beeler1 COMMENT

Along with the 2010 Yamaha FZ8, Yamaha Europe has finally officially released the 2010 Yamaha Fazer8 ABS. The 800cc cousin to the FZ8, the Fazer8 gets the obvious anti-lock brake treatment as the name implies. Drawing on styling cues from the larger FZ1, the FazerOcho distinguishes itself by what lies beneath its exposed motor. As was rumored, the Fazer8 borrows from the FZ1’s 998cc motor’s stroke length, making up the smaller displacement with a smaller bore diameter (68mm down from 77mm). Check out the full technical specifications and photos after the jump.

Double Take: 2010 Honda CBR600RR Leyla Scheme

09/08/2009 @ 9:00 pm, by Jensen Beeler1 COMMENT

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When Honda showed off its new “Leyla” paint scheme for the new middle weight CBR600RR, the name had us a little confused, but the sometimes clever folks at MCN have spotted what many in the industry (including us) missed. That black & white camo-eque paint job is in fact a woman…moaning in delight…we think her name is Leyla. Take a second look, and you’ll see it.

Just New Clothes for the 2010 Honda CBR600RR

09/04/2009 @ 6:50 pm, by Jensen BeelerComments Off

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In addition to the 2010 CBR1000RR, Honda has also announced the 2010 CBR600RR. Like the fireblade, the 600cc middleweight gets a revamping to its color choices.

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Limited Edition Nicky Hayden Ducati 848

07/04/2009 @ 10:00 am, by Jensen Beeler4 COMMENTS

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Ducati has released a limited edition Nicky Hayden 848 superbike this weekend at the US GP at Laguna Seca. Hayden follows in the footsteps of Fogarty, Bostrom, and Bayliss with honory limited edition bikes, and was on hand to sign the tank of the first production bike.

The limited edition bike has 134hp, 71 lb•ft of torque, and tips the scales at 370lbs. You can pick one up at your local Ducati dealership for only $14,495, and like the other 2010 848 superbikes, the bike will have the new LED lighting for the instrumentation, lighter aluminum tensioner pulley, and lighter crankshaft.

Unfortunately for our abroad readers, the Hayden edition will only be available in the United States. No word yet on the Stoner 1198 replica.

Megelli: 125cc Hotness You Won’t See Stateside

07/03/2009 @ 2:12 am, by Jensen Beeler2 COMMENTS

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In Europe, 125cc bikes and scooters are possibly more prevalent than the 600cc+ bikes we’ve grown accustomed to seeing in the United States.

Due in part to the cost of insurance and fuel, as well as cultural difference, we’ll have to look over the latest creations from British firm Megelli, and know this is a line of motorcycles we’ll unfortunately never get to feast our eyes upon in person.

Honda EVO 6 Supernaked Concept is a Go

06/13/2009 @ 11:19 pm, by Jensen Beeler4 COMMENTS

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According to the Spanish news site Solomoto, Honda is about to launch a bike based off their EVO 6 concept. The EVO 6 debuted at the Tokyo Motor Show in 2007 as Hondas stab at making a hypermotard built off the Goldwing 1800cc motor.

Benelli to Go Under?

06/04/2009 @ 12:33 am, by Jensen Beeler5 COMMENTS

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While Ducati is recording all-time high sales figures, times are significantly tighter at Benelli, that other Italian motorcycle manufacturer. With many of its workers on part-time status (and with the Government paying part of their paycheck), production at the Benelli factory has been scaled back to around 1,000 motorcycles for 2009, down from the 20,000 the company had anticipated to make when it set it goals back in 2007.

This year, Chinese owner, Qiang Jiang, is taking a closer look at the Italian acquistion, with the possibility of folding the company not ruled out. This just a few months after Qiang Jiang pumped $26 million into the Italian brand.

Special BMW R1200GS Celebrates over 500,000 GS Bikes Produced

05/15/2009 @ 12:19 pm, by Jensen Beeler2 COMMENTS

 

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BMW has sold over 500,000 GS motorcycles since the models introduction in 1980. In order to celebrate this milestone, the Bavarian motorcycle company is releasing a limited run of 500 special edition R1200GS models. The anniversary bike will feature a front fender extension, black oil-cooler spoiler, tinted windshield, two-tone seat that’s 20mm higher than standard, black rims, and aluminum cylinder head protectors. The Special Edition bike will also feature the first ever white paint scheme on a GS. In Europe the bike will cost  €350 more than the standard GS.

No word on US pricing yet, but we do know it will come without the tinted windshield.

Source: BMW

193hp BMW S1000RR Street Bike Unveiled at Monza

05/11/2009 @ 1:02 am, by Jensen Beeler1 COMMENT

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Before the World Superbike race at Monza this weekend, BMW officially revealed the S1000RR street bike that they have been teasing us with over the past 6 months. The bike isn’t the prettiest, but it has it where it counts. Tipping the scales at 183kg dry (403lbs), and 204kg wet (449.7lbs), the S1000RR makes a claimed 193hp at 13,000 RPMs, and 82.5 lb•ft of torque at 9,750RPMs. The S1000RR will also feature a four-stage ABS and race-derived traction control system. All this, and a price tag that BMW promises will be competitive against the Japanese manufacturers.

The S1000RR’s other features include a slipper clutch, six-speed gearbox, fully adjustable 46mm USD forks, fully adjustable rear monoshock, ride height adjustment at the rear, Brembo brakes (with radial-mount callipers at the front), and an aluminium chassis that uses the engine as a load-bearing member. The swingarm features an eccentric pivot, enabling different adjustments to raise and lower the height of the S1000RR in order to change the bike’s steering geometry. What’s not to like?…Besides the headlight. Tons of photos and a video after the jump.