Not-A-Review: 2015 MV Agusta Motorcycles

As promised, here is the second part of our trip down to Fontana, California to meet with MV Agusta USA, go over the company’s new business plan for not only America, but also worldwide, and to ride the current crop of their 2015 machinery. I should preface right out of the gate that this is not a review in regards as to what you’ve come to expect from Asphalt & Rubber. I am not-so-cleverly calling this a “not-a-review” assessment of MV Agusta’s 2015 models. I say this because we had a very limited amount of time on each bike, as there was roughly 10 machines to divide our attention amongst. Think of this article as not far from someone test riding a bunch of motorcycles at a dealership, with similar duration and limits put in place…except that this someone rides motorcycles for a living.

Analyzing The Ducati Desmosedici GP15

Anyone watching the presentation of Ducati’s 2015 MotoGP bike will have learned two Italian phrases: “Emozionante” and “tanto lavoro”. Both were extremely apt. Getting from where Ducati was to where it is now with the Desmosedici GP15 had needed “tanto lavoro”, a lot of hard work, and they still have “tanto lavoro” ahead of them. The results were “emozionante”, a fantastic word nearer to exciting than emotional. But both exciting and emotional were apt phrases. The sense of eagerness was palpable among Ducati staff at Bologna on Monday. For good reason, the GP15 presented in a long, loud, and rather meandering show is radically different from what came before.

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.

Buell Swingarm Exhaust: Still Owned by Harley-Davidson

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

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

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 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

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-a-buel-1125r-alternative-6

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

2010-Buell-XB12X-recall

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.