How Kawasaki Plans to Defend Its WSBK Title in 2017

It took Kawasaki until last year to finally win a World Superbike manufacturer’s title. Having retained the crown in 2016, the Japanese factory will have to dig deep in 2017 in order to keep it. Winter testing is a time to take stock of what worked well on your bike in the past, and what now needs now to improve. Kawasaki won over half of the races in the last three years, but despite these successes the team is working hard to find improvements. The final four rounds of the season saw Chaz Davies and Ducati dominate proceedings, making them the early favorite for title success in 2017. New regulations will see split throttle bodies now outlawed, and there are also changes to the battery regulations. While Jonathan Rea has been running his bike in this specification for most of 2016 his teammate, Tom Sykes, has not.

Motorcyclist Magazine Moving to Six-Issue per Year Format, As Editor-in-Chief Marc Cook Leaves the Publication

Changes are afoot at Motorcyclist magazine, as the monthly publication is set to move to a six-issue per year format starting in Spring 2017. That transition will come from the direction of a new leader too, as Editor-in-Chief Marc Cook will be leaving Motorcyclist as well. Cook outlined his departure, and announced the new format for Motorcyclist, citing the many contributions his team of writers have made over the course of his tenure at the magazine. As the opening paragraph to Cook’s goodbye letter coyly suggests, the media landscape in the motorcycle industry is shifting, pushing Motorcyclist magazine in a new direction.

BMW G310R Street Tracker by Wedge Motorcycles

A few months ago, this pocket-sized street tracker caught my attention on Facebook. It was based off the BMW G310R street bike platform, that much I could tell, but I couldn’t find anymore information on the machine. A few more weeks of this lonesome photo sitting in my ‘to do” box, and it finally moved on to the place where all good stories go to die. So, imagine my surprise when our friends at BMW Motorrad Japan sent me the following photos, which depict a new custom bike they commissioned from Takashi Nihira, at Tokyo’s Wedge Motorcycles. It is the same bike I saw months earlier, but now we know who to thank for its creation, as well as a little bit more about its build. Its is quite impressive, for an unassuming “little” street tracker, don’t you think?

From Russia with Love, MV Agusta Finds New Money

Last week, I was ready to start polishing the obituary for MV Agusta – the Italian company seemingly in an impossibly terminal state. Now it seems MV Agusta’s fortunes are changing, with the Italian motorcycle maker signing an agreement with the Black Ocean investment group to recapitalize MV Agusta. Details of the pending transaction haven’t been released, but we can assume that the increase in capital will help ease MV Agusta’s relationship with suppliers, get workers back on the assembly line, and continue the development of new models. The €20 million question though is whether Black Ocean’s investment will mean the departure of AMG, the German auto brand acting now like an albatross around MV Agusta’s neck.

Ducati MHLeggera Concept by Speed Junkies

The Ducati 1299 Superleggera might be the most technically astounding machine ever to come from the Italian brand, but all those exotic materials and fancy electronics are lost on some riders – motorcyclists who prefer more simpler times. So the good folk at Speed Junkies have heard this call, and mashed-up the 1299 Superleggera with Ducati’s perhaps most coveted nod to the past, the Mike Hailwood inspired Ducati MH900e. Both the Superleggera and MH900e are beauties in their own right, though there is something interesting to the design that Speed Junkies proposes with the two bikes together. We thought you would find the concept interesting, and there is a second “race” version waiting for you after the jump as well. We are of the belief that either would look good in our garage.

Introducing A&R Pro Premium Memberships

We are launching something very special today, which is geared towards our most diehard readers. We call it A&R Pro. It is a premium membership that offers more features to the Asphalt & Rubber website, and more of the A&R content that you have grown to love. For the A&R readers who can’t get enough of the site – often coming here multiple times per day to get the latest stories – we wanted to offer you more of the content and community that you thrive on; and in the same breath, give you a way to help support Asphalt & Rubber. That’s where A&R Pro comes in. Asphalt & Rubber has always strived to be an independent voice in the motorcycle industry. By signing up for A&R Pro, you help us to continue that goal, and in fact make us more independent.

Ariel Ace R – More Sexy for the Sexiest VFR1200F

For some, it is a challenge to get excited about a motorcycle like the Honda VFR1200F. The porker of a street bike as strayed far away from its sport bike roots, and yet confusingly isn’t a terribly effective tourer either. The market response reflects this confusion, but I digress. It is however easy to get excited about the Ariel Ace, a motorcycle that features a repackaged VFR1200F motor wedged into a bespoke aluminum trellis frame, with the usual top-shelf drippings offered, along with a very unique streetfighter design. Taking things to the next level now is the beautifully done Ariel Ace R, which comes with carbon fiber fairings, carbon fiber wheels, and a tuned V4 engine that produces 201hp and 105 lbs•ft of peak torque. Only 10 Ariel Ace R will be made.

New Honda Rebel 500 & Rebel 300 Models Debut

It would be hard to count the number of motorcyclists who got their start in the two-wheeled world on a Honda Rebel motorcycle, with the line going back through decades of time. The number is certainly a large one. Now, a new generation of rider can begin their two-wheeled journey on a new generation of Rebel, with Honda debuting the all-new 2017 Honda Rebel 300 (above) and 2017 Honda Rebel 500 (after the jump) ahead of the IMS Long Beach show. The Honda Rebel 500 and Honda Rebel 300 use the same power plants found on the CBR500R (471cc parallel-twin) and CBR300R (286cc single-cylidner), respectively, repackaging those engines into a cruiser platform that is friendly to new and shorter riders, with a 27″ seat height.

Electric Done Right, Enjoy the Aero E-Racer Street Tracker

It has been a while since we have seen an electric motorcycle that caught out fancy – you know, one that looked like it was made by someone who actually understands motorcycles, and isn’t just gunning for a spot at Art Center. There is this notion in the electric world that just because powertrains are evolving, that we need to throw the baby out with the bath water as wellwhen it comes to design. But, when I think about the electric motorcycle builds that have caught my attention the most, it is the ones that understand this concept at their core – good examples being bikes like the Mission R, Alta Motors Redshift SM, or Vespa Elettrica. Add another name to that list now, as the E-Racer from Aero Motorcycles is a truly beautiful two-wheeled machine, and it runs on electrons, not hydrocarbons.

Here It Is, The Norton V4 RR Superbike

It has been a long time coming for the Norton V4 RR, but the British firm has finally debuted its 1,200cc, 72° V4-powered, 200hp superbike. The actual machine looks pretty close to its concept sketches, which in turn are based closely to Norton’s TT race bike. Norton has made a pretty stout machine, with the V4 RR coming with a robust electronics package that was developed in-house, which includes traction control, wheelie control, launch control, and cruise control, augmented by a six-axis IMU; a 7″ high-definition display that includes a rear-facing camera; and a up-and-down quickshifter and datalogger. Key chassis components include the twin-tube “shotgun” frame, and a single-sided swingarm with a fully adjustable pivot point (the steering head angle is also adjustable).

Buell Closeouts: Get’em While They’re Hot!

10/17/2009 @ 6:54 pm, by Jensen Beeler9 COMMENTS

Buell-1125CR-deal-for-sale

If you have time this weekend, you might want to take a stop by your local Buell dealer for a screaming deal. We just got this photo sent to us via A&R Streetlevel, and after calling a few shops in the SF/Bay Area we’ve heard some great prices and negotiating salesman on the other end of the phone. We’ve even heard of deals as low at $3,995 for an 1125CR. At that price, it doesn’t matter if Harley-Davidson honors Buell’s warranties, you can by enough parts bikes to your heart’s content.

An Easy Decision: Harley-Davidson Circles the Wagons Around Milwaukee

10/16/2009 @ 9:01 am, by Jensen Beeler7 COMMENTS

What do you do when the financial arm of your company goes from making $100 million a year to losing $100 million a year? Why you kill off two other brands in your company of course. That is the move the Keith Wandell and the Harley-Davidson board of directors made yesterday with their announcement of shutting down Buell, and selling off MV Agusta. Realizing that the Harley-Davidson brand accounts for the majority of Harley-Davidson Inc.’s income, Harley-Davidson executives saw there being little choice but to sacrifice its other two holdings to save their namesake.

Buell Motorcycles To Go Out of Business

10/15/2009 @ 2:24 pm, by Jensen Beeler22 COMMENTS

After releasing grim third-quarter financials today, Harley-Davidson has also announced that it is discontinuing Buell Motorcycles. In a somber video (posted after the jump), Erik Buell confirms the news, and praises the Buell team for taking on the industry giants with “this little American sportbike company.” Buell will continue to sell its motorcycle stock, and Harley-Davidson will continue to honor any warranties and part needs for Buell motorcycles.

Buell Idles East Troy Plant for November & December

09/11/2009 @ 9:09 am, by Jensen Beeler1 COMMENT

Buell-Blast-crushed-cube2

Buell Motorcycle will be idling its East Troy plant during the months of November and December. During that time, employees will receive 8 days of paid vacation (and be essentially unemployed the rest of the time), but will retain their full medical benefits. The move by Buell isn’t all that uncommon for manufacturers who are experiencing a slow down in production, but surely sucks that “Happy Holidays” cheer out of the non-unionized shop.

Buell Recalls the 2009 XB12SS – 3rd XB12 Recall in Less Than A Year

09/06/2009 @ 9:36 am, by Jensen Beeler1 COMMENT

2009-Buell-Lightning-XB12Ss-Recall

The Buell XB12 series seems to have a few more gremlins than usual, as this is the 3rd time, in less than one year’s time, that the motorcycle has been recalled by Buell and the NHTSA. This is also the 2nd time that the XB12 has been recalled for a front-brake line routing problem, which could cause the line to rub against the front wheel, causing a hole to form, and a complete loss of front-braking power.

Buell Junks the Blast – Turns It into a Crushed Cube

07/27/2009 @ 2:08 pm, by Jensen Beeler2 COMMENTS

Noticeably missing from the 2010 Buell line-up, is the Buell Blast. The quirky, modest, and reasonably priced entry-level motorcycle that not only powers the bikes from Mac Motorcycles, but also sheds insight on what would happen if Tonka made a two-wheeler. While the bike provided a nice stepping stone for anyone that wanted to enter the world of motorcycling, it never fit into Buell’s image as an “American Sportbike” company. So Erik Buell crushed it.

2010 Buell 1125 Adds Battery Tender Plug – Finally Acknowledges Bikes Will Sit on Showroom Floor

07/27/2009 @ 12:37 pm, by Jensen Beeler19 COMMENTS

2010-Buell-1125CR

The big news for Monday is that Buell has updated its model line-up for 2010. While we could probably make this an at length post, detailing everything new and great about the true American Sportbike brand, in reality it boils down to just marginal increases in the products look, feel, and general performance.

However, there are a couple points of interest we would like to point out. The 1125CR now has the color white (which does look rather good), and an integrated battery tender plug.

We’re not quite sure if this is because the bikes sit at the dealership for so long waiting to be sold, or if they get relegated to the back of the garage while their owners ride something else. Either way, Buell clearly seems to expect their bikes to sit around and do nothing for a while.

Buell 1125RR Race Bike – Bringing More Mockery to AMA Superbike Racing

07/16/2009 @ 7:43 pm, by Jensen Beeler3 COMMENTS

Buel-1125RR-AMA-American-Superbike

Buell Racing is trying to go legit, and make a bid at the American Superbike class in the AMA. After already making a joke out of the Daytona Superbike class, Buell is going to offer a turn-key bike for AMA licensed racers who are looking to take on real superbikes like Honda CBR1000RR and Yamaha R1.

If you’re an AMA licensed privateer, looking to compete in the American Superbike class, with about $40,000 burning a hole in your pocket, Buell is hoping you’ll take up the cause and waive the American flag for them.

Buell 1125R Breaks Motorcycle Land Speed Record…On Ice

05/08/2009 @ 12:52 am, by Jensen Beeler3 COMMENTS

buell-ice-sweden-lake-148-mph

Take one British stunt rider (Craig Jones), one American sport bike (Buell 1125R), and one frozen Swedish lake bed (Lake Dellen), and what do you have? A 148 mph PR stunt that would be a record if there was a category for such a thing.

Buell Recalls Over 3,000 XB12R’s

04/04/2009 @ 3:31 pm, by Jensen BeelerComments Off on Buell Recalls Over 3,000 XB12R’s

2004-buell-fireboltxb12ra

Buell Distribution Company is recalling 3,316 2008 1125R, and 2009 XB12R/ZX12SEG motorcycles. The affected bikes have a front brake line which may be contacting the front tire because of a faulty routing method. If this is the case, the condition could be causing a hole to develop in the front brake line, thus allowing brake fluid to leak. If not seen to, this condition might cause a failure of front brake, leading to a possible crash, injury, and/or death of the rider.

Affected bikes should be taken to their local dealers where the brake line will be re-routed. If damage has occurred to the line, it will be replaced free of charge. The recall is expected to begin on or before April 20, 2009. Owners may contact Buell Distribution Company at 1-414-343-8400.

Source: NHTSA

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