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.

LEAKED: Here is the 2016 Indian Chief Dark Horse

Cruisers aren’t really our forté, here at Asphalt & Rubber, but breaking stories is…so, without all the typical fanfare, we bring you the first full photos of the upcoming 2016 Indian Chief Dark Horse. The Stead is murdered out and visually appealing, with black engine covers, black fenders, black forks…hell, even the tires are black. Under the hood is Indian’s Thunder Stroke 111 engine, which is an air-cooled 1,811cc v-twin good for 73hp and 100 lbs•ft.More technical features include ABS as standard, a keyless ignition system, cast wheels, and a solo seat. Our Bothan Spies suggest an MSRP of $17,000, and more accessories (all black, natch) than you can fit into the belly of a Tauntaun. Expect to see the Indian Chief Dark Horse launch officially on February 13th elsewhere.

Washington State Weighs Pro Lane-Splitting Law

The Washington State Legislature has a pro lane-splitting bill on its 2015-2016 docket, HB 1515. The law is moderately written, adopting a 10 mph speed differential between the motorcycle and traffic, with a 35 mph speed cap, as acceptable during lane-splitting activities. Loyal Asphalt & Rubber readers will recognize these provisions as being more restrictive than the California Highway Patrol’s now defunct guidelines. Lane-splitting is a near-and-dear topic to us here at A&R, as we believe a national effort to legalize the practice should be mission #1 for the American Motorcyclist Association.

2010 Ducati Multistrada 1200 Unveiled at EICMA

11/09/2009 @ 4:40 pm, by Jensen Beeler7 COMMENTS

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Ducati held their press meeting today, just before tomorrow’s opening of the EICMA motorcycle show. The biggest announcement of course was the new 2010 Ducati Multistrada 1200, which will come in three variants, the: 1200 (base), 1200S, and 1200S Touring. All three variants will feature Ducati’s first ABS setup, and the “S” models will have Ducati’s new electronic suspension (DES). More after the jump.

2010 Ducati Multistrada 1200 Photos Leaked

11/08/2009 @ 12:23 am, by Jensen Beeler17 COMMENTS

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UPDATE: Click here for Ducati’s official unveiling of the Multistrada 1200 at EICMA.

EICMA must be leaking like a sieve, as this is the third leak we’ve gotten ahead of next week’s show (check for a view of the 2010 Aprilia Shiver 750 & 2010 Aprilia Dorsoduro Factory). This time, we’ve gotten pictures of highly anticipated (or is it hyped?) 2010 Ducati Multistrada 1200.

These photos appear to be the first official shots of the new Multistrada 1200, and they show off not only the “S” version with its Öhlins suspension, but also give a good look at the bike with its OEM saddle bags (could this be the “T” touring model that was rumored?). Click after the jump to see what the fuss is all about.

2010 Ducati Multistrada 1200 Officially Teased

10/30/2009 @ 1:27 pm, by Jensen Beeler2 COMMENTS

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Ducati has officially acknowledged the existence of the upcoming Multistrada 1200, making a dedicated mini site for the adventure tourer. There’s not a lot there now in regards to information (there’s only a countdown timer to EICMA and a teaser video), but it does at least confirm the rumor of the bike’s name not being Stradaperta (we still like that name better). We’ll be in Milan in 10 days, bringing you as much information about the most hyped Ducati to date. Video and pictures after the jump

Rumor: It’s Multistrada 1200, Not Stradaperta

10/18/2009 @ 9:00 am, by Jensen Beeler11 COMMENTS

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UPDATE 2: Get the latest news on the 2010 Ducati Multistrada 1200 here.

UPDATE: Ducati has officially announced the Multistrada 1200 name, no word on model variations.

The usually accurate folks at SoloMoto have broken an interesting plot twist to the ever unfolding drama of the soon to be released Stradaperta, and that is the bike is to be called instead the Multistrada 1200. Taking the nomenclature of the machine it replaces, Ducati is allegedly hoping to build of the reputation and brand that the Multistrada motorcycle has made in the industry. With this break, also comes news that four variations of the motorcycle will be offered. More on that after the jump.

Spy Shots: Ducati Stradaperta Gets Dirty

10/14/2009 @ 3:04 pm, by Jensen Beeler1 COMMENT

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The 2010 Ducati Stradaperta adventure bike continues is world spy shot tour. Taking to the dirt for the first time, the Stradaperta looks to be testing its off-road capability. Luckily, the folks at MCN had an undercover agent around to snag some shots of the BMW GS killer taking some jumps, and getting some air. More photos after the jump.

2010 Ducati Stradaperta Unmasked

10/10/2009 @ 9:08 am, by Jensen Beeler8 COMMENTS

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Finally it has happened, photos of the Ducati Stradaperta have been leaked, and they show the bike’s true form. With the bevy of camofloged photos that we’ve seen already, there aren’t too many surprises here, but we do get to see a clear view of the “beak” of the new adventure-tourer, as well as the front fairings. Photos after the jump.

Ducati Strada Aperta – Now with Luggage Bags

09/03/2009 @ 10:59 am, by Jensen Beeler1 COMMENT

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Dear Ducati,

Just release this bike already. We’re tired of seeing it all wrapped up in duct tape, and on people’s camera phones.

Sincerely,
Everybody.

Photo: MotoBlog

Ducati Strada Aperta Renamed to ‘Cayenne’?

08/21/2009 @ 10:13 am, by Jensen BeelerComments Off

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Visordown is reporting today that Ducati has named their road-going, enduro-ish, BMW GS killer, the Ducati Cayenne…yes, as in the spicy hot pepper. One thing is for sure about the name: we’re finding it a little hard to swallow.

First off, it just doesn’t sound very “Ducati”. With bikes named “Superbike”, “Sport Classic”, and “Streetfigher” we’ve become accustomed to Ducati naming its motorcycles with very obvious and descriptive names. Even, the Multistrada, which the new bike is to replace, had a fairly intuitive name for its purpose (we’re ignoring the Monster on purpose here).

Our other eyebrow is raised because we just can’t see why the Bologna brand would name a vehicle after a German SUV. The last thing we need in this world is to be sitting in our favorite yuppie coffee shop and overhear someone talking about their brand new Cayenne, leaving us to wonder if they’re talking about their overpriced kid-hauler, or their over-priced dirt bike.

Our doubt about this report is a shame, because Visordown goes on to report some tech specs on the bike we haven’t heard before.

UPDATE: According to MCN sources inside Ducati have denied that the Strada Aperta will be renamed Cayenne

Strada Aperta: But Wait, There’s More!

07/31/2009 @ 3:20 pm, by Jensen Beeler1 COMMENT

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As we inch closer to EICMA, and the rumored unveiling of the BMW GS killer from Ducati, the rumors and spy shots of the Strada Aperta continue to roll in. This latest batch features once again, our favorite gaffer taped bike out on the town, doing its thing. This time, a few more details about the front fendor can be seen despite the masking. Check it out after the jump.

Picture: Ducati Strada Aperta Head-On

07/29/2009 @ 9:18 am, by Jensen BeelerComments Off