Shipped up and on its way to the Isle of Man, we can finally now see more than test shots of the Mugen Shinden Ni and get its basic racing specifications. The electric superbike that John McGuinness will ride in the 2013 TT Zero race at the Isle of Man TT, the Mugen Shinden Ni represents that evolution of the Japanese firm’s design, having now a TT race under its belt. Like its main competitor MotoCzysz, Team Mugen is eyeing a 110 mph lap around the Mountain Course, which would be a pretty remarkable one-year advancement for either team. With Mr. McPint at the helm, and seemingly brimming with on-board energy, Mugen is a serious contender.
Ducatisti: do you want the good news or the bad news first? The bad news is that the market for motorcycles 500cc and up is down 17% worldwide for the first quarter of this year, which means the “good” news is that Ducati is only down 5% for Q1 2013. Not exactly the start out of the gate that Audi was hoping for its newly acquired two-wheeled brand, but what are you going to do? Western Europe is a mess, with Spain and Italy continuing to go down like a…well, you know. While we don’t enjoy the misery of motorcycle brands, the fact that Ducati Motor Holding is now under the Audi AG umbrella means that we get far more detailed quarterly and yearly reports from the two-wheeled marque, and we’ve got the digits after the jump.
Mission Motors tweeted out something interesting just a moment ago, a link to a new website for Mission Motorcycles. Teasing there a photo of the Mission R, it would seem that the electric superbike that does competitive AMA Supersport lap times at Laguna Seca, is finally set to come to production. It seems we won’t know everything about the new Mission Motorcycles project until June 3rd, though we can speculate pretty accurately on what the A&R Bothan spy network has been telling us. Expect to see the Mission R electric superbike in street legal trim, honed even further than when we rode the machine back in August last year.
Stefan Pierer’s acquisition of Husqvarna continues to baffle me. You will note I say Pierer, and not KTM, bought Husqvarna, since the Austrian CEO used Pierer Industrie AG in the transaction as a means to help side-step European antitrust issues. After all, we can’t have Europe’s largest dirt bike manufacturer, nay largest total motorcycle manufacturer, gobbling up even more brands in the two-wheeled world. But, I digress. Developing three road bikes (Husqvarna Nuda 900, Husqvarna Strada 650, & Husqvarna Terra 650), with three more concepts waiting in the wings (Husqvarna Moab, Husqvarna Baja, & Husqvarna E-G0), it is with even more confusion that we learn that Pierer & Co. intend to kill the Husqvarna Nuda project and its other street siblings.
In case you missed the story last week, Kevin Schwantz is preparing to race in this year’s Suzuka 8-Hour endurance race. For the race, Schwantz will be riding on a team formed by Yukio Kagayama, who in addition to having raced in the MotoGP, World Superbike, and British Superbike Championships, is also a previous Suzuka 8-Hour winner with the Suzuki Endurance Race Team (also joining the three-rider team Noriyuki “Nitro” Haga). Releasing a Q&A about his team’s Suzuka 8-Hour entry, Kagayama-san walks us through how the team came together, what equipment the riders will use, and his outlook on the team’s competitiveness.
A single-cylinder hooligan-maker, the KTM 690 Duke is 330 lbs (curbside without fuel) and 67hp of two-wheeled fun, and we hope that the Austrians bring the KTM 690 Duke R our way as well. While we are on the topic of things missing from KTM’s American line-up, a decent supersport is painfully obvious, yet we can’t see the folks at KTM following the paths of other brands. That’s where our friend Luca Bar comes to mind with his latest concept: the KTM RC4. Using the KTM 690 Duke platform and its LC4 engine, Bar has designed a super-single full-fairing sport bike that takes the Austrian company’s “Ready to Race” DNA and applies it to an idea that is not all that disimilar to the Ducati Supermono.
When I sat down with Claudio Domenicali at the Ducati 1199 Panigale R launch, the now-CEO of Ducati Motor Holding was still just the General Manager of the Italian motorcycle company. Four weeks after our interview though, Gabriele del Torchio would leave Ducati for Alitalia; and Domenicali, a 21-year veteran of both the racing and production departments of Ducati, would take his place at the top of Italy’s most prestigious motorcycle brand. After reading our interview from Austin, Texas after the jump, I think you will agree too.
That Yamaha is working on a seamless gearbox is no secret, with Yamaha’s test riders currently racking up the kilometers around tracks in Japan. Recently, however, Spanish magazine SoloMoto published an article suggesting that Yamaha has already been using its new seamless gearbox since the beginning of the season. My own enquiries to check whether Yamaha was using a seamless gearbox or not always received the same answer: no, Yamaha is not using the seamless gearbox. To test this denial, I went out to the side of the track on Friday morning at Jerez to record the bikes as they went by.
After a very public father/son break-up between Paul Teutul Sr. and Paul Teutul Jr., a steroid-ring scandal involving Paul Sr., and finally a bankruptcy proceeding, it appears that Orange County Choppers is the impossible to kill multi-headed hydra of doom that we all knew it was, as the custom chopper shop is once again headed to the small screen and recruiting some talent, on and off the show. Looking for “someone who will work alongside Paul Senior, running the shop and helping build some of the best custom motorcycles in the world,” OCC says it will be back on television with a new show later this month. Please for the love of god, will someone give this man the attention he craves so dearly??! Or, just shoot us in the face.
We love us some concept bikes here at Asphalt & Rubber, and we have featured more than a few pieces of stunning design and imagination on our pages. Though, we can’t remember the last time one of these works of art were brought to us by a legitimate racing team, but that is what we have here with the Team Alstare Superbike Concept. A nod to the former Suzuki team’s return to the World Superbike Championship as the Ducati factory squad with Carlos Checa and Ayrton Badovini, Alstare has enlisted the help of designer Serge Rusak of Rusak Kreaktive Designworks to ink the shape of its futuristic Superbike concept, while Tryptik Studios handled the 3D modeling prowess.