Indianapolis GP Named Best Grand Prix by MotoGP

At the conclusion of each GP season, an awards ceremony is held to celebrate the year’s champions, crowning the top riders in each category, the top manufacturers, and even the top venue for the season. This year, the honors of the latter went to familiar locale, as the Red Bull Indianapolis GP round was named the “Best Grand Prix” of the 2014 season, making it the first North American round to receive such an honor. Selection criteria for the award included consideration of the venue, promotion, and overall facility operations. For the 2014 race, Indianapolis Motor Speedway once again repaved its infield section, making alterations to several turns in order to facilitate passing and adding to the track’s overall consistency.

Up-Close with the 2015 Ducati Multistrada 1200

If there’s a motorcycle that launched at EICMA that I wish we had given more coverage to, it would be the 2015 Ducati Multistrada 1200. The new adventure-sport machine from Ducati is all-new for the next model year, though it would be hard to tell it from the photos. Even our modest collection of “up-close” photos here don’t do justice to the venerable Multistrada. The face of the Multistrada 1200 has been reworked, with the “beak” softened a bit from its falcon-like profile. The intake inlets are larger in appearance, and the headlight housing is noticeably different with its six LED projectors for the Ducati Corner Lights system (on the “S” model). This perhaps makes for an interesting “face” on the motorcycle, and like its predecessor, you will either love it or hate it.

Marco Melandri Returns to MotoGP, with Aprilia

After finishing fifth in the 2014 World Superbike Championship with Aprilia, Marco Melandri will continue with the Italian manufacturer, but switch to the MotoGP paddock for next season. Melandri will join Alvaro Bautista in the Aprilia Racing garage, where they will compete on an updated version of the ART machine, which was originally built to compete under the CRT bike rules. The team, now operated by Gresini Racing, will come up to speed during the 2015 season, and in 2016 they will race with a brand new race bike, which will use the compulsory “open” spec-electronics from Magneti Marelli. For Melandri, the move to MotoGP is a bit of gamble, with Aprilia’s program uncertain.

Up-Close with the Honda RC213V-S Prototype

I can’t decide whether to be elated or disappointed over the Honda RC213V-S prototype, which was debuted this week at the EICMA show in Milan, Italy. On the one hand, the RC213V-S lived up to the hype…literally a MotoGP race bike with lights, mirrors, turn signals, and a license plate. On the other hand, for all the waiting and consternation from Honda, what they brought to Milan was a fairly derivative and obvious design. Rumors of a true MotoGP-derived sport bike from Honda have been circling for several years now (closer to a decade, if you’re a reader of MCN), and the project borrows the ethos found in the Ducati Desmosedici RR project, another exclusive GP-bike-for-the-street motorcycle.

The Ducati Streetfighter 848 Is Spared the Axe for 2015

The Ducati Streetfighter lives for another year, as Ducat is showing off the Ducati Streetfighter 848 as a 2015 model year machine at the EICMA show in Milan. There had been doubts about the Streetfighter 848 continuing to be a part of the Ducati lineup going forth, especially as the Italian company has moved away from the 849cc v-twin platform, favoring the 821cc engine variations for the Hypermotard the Monster lines, and the 899cc Superquadro for the Panigale. The Streetfighter was never a big hit in the world market, becoming more of a cult classic machine amongst riders. Combined sales with the Hypermotard account for roughly 20% of Ducati’s annual sales, with the Hypermotard doing the majority of the heavy-lifting in that regard.

Moto Guzzi MGX-21 Prototype

Cruisers really aren’t our cup of tea here at Asphalt & Rubber, which might explain the lack of coverage for America’s gift to the two-wheeled world on our website. That being said, it’s hard to pass on the lurid Moto Guzzi MGX-21 prototype that is on display at this year’s EICMA show. A reworked Moto Guzzi California 1400, the MGX-21 is clad in carbon fiber, matte black paint, and red highlights. The carbon fiber disc wheels are a nice touch too (that’s a 21″ wheel up front, by the way), as are the sweeping lines from the front cowl and fenders. We’re finding ourselves a bit smitten with this Moto Guzzi, as true to the brand, it strays from the cruiser norm. We think you’ll like it too, check out the photos after the jump.

Up-Close with the Honda “True Adventure” Prototype

One of the more anticipated motorcycles at the 2014 EICMA show, off-roaders were expecting to see the new Honda Africa Twin in Milan this week. Instead, Honda trotted out what they’re calling the “True Adventure” prototype. Despite not being a production model, the True Adventure prototype looks ready for prime time, and we got a series of “up-close” photos of the machine. Most obvious is the bike’s parallel twin engine, which is rumored to be 1,000cc in displacement. That sizing/weight class seems to jive with the dual front brake discs, which also sports an ABS tone ring. We can expect Honda to have traction control operating off the front and rear wheel speeds as well, and other electronic packages as well.

Money: Motorcycle Racing’s Biggest Problem

What is the biggest problem in motorcycle racing today? Is it the predominant role electronics are playing, ruining the racing? Is it the ever more restrictive rules imposed, killing bike development and the spirit of Grand Prix racing? Is it the lack of competitive machinery, making it impossible for anyone but a factory rider to win a race? Or is it the dominance of the two top manufacturers, driving costs up and discouraging wider manufacturer participation? You can point to all of those and more as being an issue, but they pale in comparison to the real problem the sport of motorcycle racing faces at the moment: Money. Specifically, the lack of it, and the inability of almost everyone involved in the sport to find ways of raising any. All of the ills of both MotoGP and World Superbikes can be traced back to this single failure.

Investcorp Buys 80% of Dainese for €130 Million

A story we have been chasing for some time now, Lino Dainese has finally found a buyer for his namesake company, Dainese. The purchaser is the aptly named private equity firm Investcorp, which is headquartered in Bahrain, and has additional offices in New York, London, Riyadh, and Abu Dhabi. Buying 80% of the company’s stock for a reported €130 million, Investcorp’s valuation of Dainese would therefore be set at €162.5 million. The other 20% of the company is retained by Lino Dainese, himself. Dainese’s future goals rest heavily on its airbag technology, as Dainese plans on bringing D-Air to markets outside of motorsport and sport in general. The company also has an aggressive plan to grow outside of Italy, making a bigger push into North America and developing markets.

Husqvarna 401 Svartpilen Concept

The second of Husqvarna’s street concepts, the Husqvarna 401 Svartpilen is a scrambler styled machine that uses the same 373cc single-cylinder engine as the Vitpilen concept. Swedish for “Black Arrow”, the Svartpilen continues the idea that less is more, and applies the concept to a more off-road motif. Not all the dissimilar to the Moab and Baja concepts the Husqvarna showed before its acquisition by KTM, clearly the Swedish brand is keen to tap into its lost history of Steve McQueen and the scrambler motif. Perhaps Ducati’s foray into this space is added motivation, but the Husqvarna 401 Svartpilen concept is a bike unique to itself. That might be because the concept machine is based off the KTM 390 Duke, which is an unlikely though budget-friendly donor machine.

Buell Swingarm Exhaust: Still Owned by Harley-Davidson

11/24/2010 @ 6:32 pm, by Jensen Beeler20 COMMENTS

Buell Swingarm Exhaust: Still Owned by Harley Davidson Buell exhaust swingarm patent 635x535

Math can be tough sometimes, especially when it comes to counting, so we can understand the confusion surrounding the news that Erik Buell has recently been awarded a patent for a design that incorporates a motorcycle exhaust system inside the swingarm of the bike (now that’s some engineering). However we have the unpleasant responsibility of saying that this patent is not in fact owned by Erik Buell and Erik Buell Racing, as the filing date and patent assignee information were clearly over-looked by early reports on Buell’s patent.

While the patent was published on October 28, 2010, its was filed by Buell last year (April 24, 2010), well before Harley-Davidson closed the company, and while Erik Buell still worked as a Harley-Davidson employee. As such, the patent is assigned to the Buell Motorcycle Company, whose intellectual property is still owned by Harley-Davidson.

The Buell 1125CR That Never Was…

11/09/2010 @ 7:54 pm, by Jensen Beeler15 COMMENTS

The Buell 1125CR That Never Was... Edda Design Buell 1125CR concept 2 635x386

When we talk about Buell motorcycles that fail to see the light of day, people are almost universally referring to the Buell Barracuda, the 1190cc successor to the 1125R series. Dubbed “The Buell We Wouldn’t Have to Make Excuses For”, the Barracuda lives on in many ways in the EBR 1190RR superbike, which we’ll see next year take its street-going form as the EBR 1190RS.

While the limited-production EBR 1190RS certainly is exciting to think about, and the Buellisti are already counting down the days until Erik Buell re-enters the street bike market, what has us chomping at the bit is the fact that in 2009 Spanish design firm Edda Design was commissioned by Buell to revamp the 1125CR street bike; and with the result they came up with, we wouldn’t mind seeing life breathed back into that project, just like the Barracuda.

Watch MythBusters Confirm or Bust The BMW Tablecloth Trick Tomorrow Night

10/26/2010 @ 10:50 pm, by Jensen Beeler10 COMMENTS

One of our guilty pleasures here at Asphalt & Rubber is the Discovery Channel’s television show MythBusters, which is coincidentally also shot in A&R‘s stomping grounds of the San Francisco Bay Area. We’re a fairly nerdy bunch here, what with our interwebs, social networks, and weblogs, so the show’s exploration of science through absurdity and heavy handed explosions fits right in with our day-to-day ideals (one Kari Byron certainly doesn’t hurt things either).

On the other side of the coin, we love us some motorcycles here at A&R (this much should be apparent by now). So when we heard that the MythBusters crew would be tackling some of Newton’s finer points on the Laws of Motion by recreating one of motorcyclings great moments this year: The BMW S1000RR Table Cloth Trick, we were pumped. Throw in an EBR-worked Buell 1125R into the mix with a Hyneman on-board, and let the learning begin. Tune in tomorrow night (Wednesday 9PM PDT/EDT) to see if this myth gets busted or confirmed. The original video from BMW is after the jump. Thanks for the tip Doctor Jelly!

Ok Buell, We’ll Bite…

07/30/2010 @ 7:13 am, by Jensen Beeler22 COMMENTS

The question is a bit rhetorical in nature since it’s the company who is asking it, but why would Erik Buell Racing be putting turn signals and radiator fans on an EBR 1190RR race bike? Well if you were a company that was rapidly approaching the rumored end of a non-compete agreement, wouldn’t you like to get ready to stick it to the man? We’re still not sure about the whole rock band thing though. Maybe if Erik played Freebird more often we could get into it.

Source: Erik Buell Racing (twitter)

Spoof: The Last Honest Harley-Davidson Ad

05/26/2010 @ 6:01 am, by Jensen Beeler25 COMMENTS

This is getting a chuckle around the A&R office this morning. It looks like some Buell owners are finding some extra time on their hands now that the American street bike company is out of business. That’s ok by us, because these boys have a good sense of humor, and some balls to grab some footage from a Harley-Davidson dealer.

Taking a couple good shots at Harley-Davidson, we’re left only with the question as to whether the Extra Soft Tail Deluxe Hyperglide American Bald Eagle Historical Limited VXFR1200 Patriot Skull Edition comes in Nightster Black.

Source: Bikers in the Fast Lane

Erik Buell Racing Prices Announced

05/09/2010 @ 9:01 am, by Jensen Beeler11 COMMENTS

Erik Buell Racing Prices Announced Erik Buell Racing bike pricing 560x168

Erik Buell Racing has released pricing details on its EBR 1125R DSB, EBR 1125RR, and EBR 1190RR race motorcycles. In addition to these models, Erik Buell Racing also has a few track bikes that are available for sale. Prices after the jump.

April Fools: Buell/Bombardier Team Up to Launch Bomber Motorcycles – 1190cc Motorcyle in the Works [UPDATED]

04/01/2010 @ 11:30 am, by Jensen Beeler32 COMMENTS

April Fools: Buell/Bombardier Team Up to Launch Bomber Motorcycles   1190cc Motorcyle in the Works [UPDATED] bomber motorcycles large 635x156

UPDATE 3: April Fools.

UPDATE 2: Avril Foujour of BRP has made a statement to Asphalt & Rubber confirming the press leak.

UPDATE: It looks Bomber Motorcycles has twitter and Facebook accounts both suggesting news to be released on Friday. Logo addded to the story.

A day ahead of its scheduled release, it would appear that someone inside Bombardier Recreational Products (BRP) has leaked an announcement that Erik Buell Racing and BRP will form a new motorcycle company called Bomber Motorcycles. The press release, which was posted on the Buell enthusiasts forum Bad Weather Bikers has now been taken down, perhaps by request of Erik Buell Racing or Bombardier. But it appears to have come from someone at Bombarider, and was thankfully forwarded to us by a quick spotting member. This would seem to confirm earlier chatter we heard last week in the Buell camps about a Bombardier connection that we dismissed as fallout from the Alan Cathcart article in DealerNews.

The surprise announcement couldn’t come on a worse day, although it looks like it was actually scheduled to occur tomorrow to avoid April Fools confusion. Never-the-less the press release outlines the creation of a joint-venture between the two companies, with a 1190cc sportbike slated for arrival late in 2010. Dubbed the Stratofortress, the bike features what sounds like a new Rotax powerplant that has 1190cc’s on board, and uses a 60 v-twin configuration. According to the release, the Bomber Stratofortress certainly sounds the part, making 160hp and weighing an alleged 365lbs dry. More after the jump.

Magpul Ronin Gets Closer to Production

03/22/2010 @ 12:51 pm, by Jensen Beeler8 COMMENTS

You may remember that we drooled over Magpul’s take on the Buell 1125R. While we often give Buell motorcycles a hard time, we admittedly fell head-over heels for this concept. Hinting at the time it debuted that there could be a limited production run or a kit for current Buell owners, Magpul has taken the feedback and attention from the Ronin, and refined the motorcycle further. Photos and more after the jump.

Magpul Ronin: An Alternate Reality of Buell

01/22/2010 @ 1:59 pm, by Jensen Beeler10 COMMENTS

Magpul Ronin: An Alternate Reality of Buell magpul ronin a buel 1125r alternative 6 635x414

With the Magpul Ronin, we’re not sure what gun/rifle magazine innovator Magpul is doing making a motorcycle, but we like the outcome of that awkward yet happy merger.

Buell owners don’t have much to look forward to right now, but imagine a world where Buell Motorcycles was still in business, and the American sportbike industry is overrun by gun manufacturers making motorcycles. Now add in some wayward samurai warriors, and the end result could be what you see above.

It’s life Jim, but not as we know it…photos and more after the jump.

Recall: 2010 Buell XB12X/T

12/07/2009 @ 11:40 am, by Jensen Beeler3 COMMENTS

Recall: 2010 Buell XB12X/T 2010 Buell XB12X recall 560x371

If you’re one of the few people who managed to get their hands on 2010 model year Buell XB12X or XB12XT, you may also be 1 of the 23 owners affected by Buell’s recall for the bikes’ incorrectly manufactured right-hand side footpeg.