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.

Recall: Kawasaki Vulcan

10/27/2010 @ 10:32 am, by Jensen Beeler2 COMMENTS

Recall: Kawasaki Vulcan 2010 Kawasak Voyager 635x476

Kawasaki is recalling some 2009 & 2010 Kawasaki Vulcan cruisers because of a faulty ECU issue. Apparently when riding the motorcycle, if a rider pulled-in the clutch and coasted down the road, some Vulcan’s were stalling the motor because of an improper setting in the bike’s software. Since a stalled motorcycle at speed could cause an accident, Kawasaki is issuing a recall for these affected Vulcan’s, which will see dealers replace the bike’s ECU with one that has the correct software settings.

Ducati Mega-Monster Spy Shots

06/29/2010 @ 6:16 am, by Jensen Beeler22 COMMENTS

Ducati Mega Monster Spy Shots Ducati Mega Monster spy shots 1 560x373

MotoBlog.it has snagged some spy shots of the rumored Ducati power cruiser, or Mega-Monster as it’s now being called in the press (the Ducati Vyper nomenclature has seemingly been dropped). Aimed to take on Yamaha V-Max and it’s crew, the Mega-Monster is a big step for Ducati in tackling new market segments.

Taking a page from the Multistrada 1200 campaign, which saw a plethora of “leaked” images, we don’t really know if you can call these photos true “spy shots”. As with that release, these photos are clearly being staged by Ducati PR people, and then being leaked to motorcycle magazines.

With each rider clearly wearing Ducati apparel, the dots are being connected for us as we can see that the Bologna brand has indeed been working on a cruiser-styled bike, despite saying the project was canned last year. Photos and more after the jump.

Up-Close with the CR&S Duu Cruiser at EICMA

11/19/2009 @ 2:10 pm, by Jensen Beeler1 COMMENT

Up Close with the CR&S Duu Cruiser at EICMA CRS Duu Cruiser EICMA 3 560x375

After leaking out ahead of EICMA, we were excited to go check out the CR&S booth to see their new Duu cruiser. With an S&S v-twin motor, the bike is a mixture of American street muscle, and Italian styling, which makes for an interesting effect. While we like the concept overall, there are certainly elements of the bike we crinkled our nose at, despite the obvious master craftsmanship. More on the Duu, and a plethora of photos after the jump.

CR&S Duu Cruiser Breaks Cover Ahead of EICMA

11/02/2009 @ 9:24 pm, by Jensen Beeler1 COMMENT

CR&S Duu Cruiser Breaks Cover Ahead of EICMA CRS Duu Cruiser photo 2 560x373

Breaking cover ahead of Milan, CR&S has finally taken the curtain off their Duu street cruiser. The bike, which features an S&S 1,916cc v-twin motor, is expected to hit European soil in 2011 with a price tag around €20,000. Photos and more after the jump.

CR&S DUU Concept Picks Up Where Ducati Left Off

08/31/2009 @ 7:53 pm, by Jensen Beeler1 COMMENT

CR&S DUU Concept Picks Up Where Ducati Left Off CRS DUU concept 20 560x407

While the internet as a whole was resistant to the idea of an Italian bred street chopper, Italian firm Cafe Racers & Superbikes has picked up where Ducati may have left off.

After spending the last two years sprinkling Italian styling in the cruiser segment, the CR&S DUU (we think the name needs some work still) is finally taking a more clear shape, and will use a traditional chopper-esque American born 2.0L v-twin motor, surrounded by modern styling that takes its inspiration from the sportbike scense.

OCC Builds Electric Chopper for Siemens

08/19/2009 @ 9:00 am, by Jensen BeelerComments Off

OCC Builds Electric Chopper for Siemens orange county choppers electric motorcycle siemens 560x400

Orange County Choppers is at it again with another sponsored show bike. Getting the Teutul treatment this time is Siemens, who commissioned OCC to build an electric chopper, appropriately named the “Siemens Smart Chopper”. Let’s just sidestep the whole issue of why electric cruisers are a horrible idea, and get straight to the part where we tell you about the bike.

Underneath the streamlined bodywork, there is a 27hp Advanced DC motor, which should be good for a 60 mile range and 100mph top speeds. Charging time will be about 5hrs, or 7 mechanical bull rides, or about 1 college football game while wearing an inflatable helmet.

Cruiser Market Hit the Hardest by Recession

08/11/2009 @ 7:49 pm, by Jensen Beeler1 COMMENT

Cruiser Market Hit the Hardest by Recession dark road 560x420

According to the latest polls conducted by PowerSports Business, the cruiser segment of motorcycle sales have been hit the hardest during the current economic meltdown, seeing nearly a 31% drop over last year’s numbers. Following close behind are dual-sport sales, which were reported to be down 29%. Touring bikes have fared better than the rest of the industry, showing only an 9% drop in sales figures.

No numbers were released for the sportbike segment, but these numbers do seem to be better a better outcome than what was being reported by the metric manufacturers earlier this month. Without more data, it’s hard to say who/where the most pain is being felt in the industry, but there clearly are brands and segments that seem to be more insularly to the fluctuations in our economic condition.

Source: PowerSports Business

Ducati Abandons Vyper Cruiser Concept

07/27/2009 @ 3:16 pm, by Jensen Beeler10 COMMENTS

Ducati Abandons Vyper Cruiser Concept ducati vyper concept luca bar black 635x476

For many, this will come with a sigh of relief. Ducati VP of Marketing, Diego Sgorbati, has confirmed that Ducati has no intentions of making a cruiser motorcycle…for the time being. Long rumored to appear at the upcoming EICMA expo, the Ducati Vyper concept has stirred a few imaginations, as well as a few stomachs. Reported in various forms, we still like to visualize it with the renders that Luca from Bar-Design provided us with last year.

BlueShift Motorcycles to Make Electric Cruiser

06/24/2009 @ 3:37 am, by Jensen Beeler12 COMMENTS

BlueShift Motorcycles to Make Electric Cruiser bluepress 560x412

Michigan based BlueShift Motorcycles is entering into the electric motorcycle business, but instead of the track bred entries we saw for the TTXGP, BlueShift is focusing on the cruiser end of the market. BlueShift describes the bike as a heavyweight and street fighter. At over 600lbs, we’ll agree with the heavyweight part of that statement.

Ducati Vyper Spy Shots

06/23/2009 @ 1:44 am, by Jensen Beeler10 COMMENTS

Ducati Vyper Spy Shots Ducati Vyper cruiser concept clay 560x394

The folks at MCN have either been playing with Play-doh again, or have managed to sneak a camera into Ducati HQ. Irregardless, the result is this image of what can only be the rumored Ducati Vyper cruiser.