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.

Zero Expands Lineup With Zero DS Dual Sport

08/03/2009 @ 7:50 pm, by John Adamo7 COMMENTS

Zero Expands Lineup With Zero DS Dual Sport zero ds electric motorcycle 560x437

Zero Motorcycles recently introduced a 4th model to their electric motorcycle line up. The Zero DS is a dual-sport bike built on the Zero S supermoto platform. The front suspension of the DS gains 2″ of travel over the S for a total of 10”, while rear travel remains unchanged at 9”. A 50/50 street/dirt tire is fitted to the 17″ front rim and a 90/10 street/dirt tire is fitted to the 16″ rear. This is an unusual tire combination for a production dual sport but the semi-aggressive front is a welcomed change from the tires found on most dual-sports, which are more suited to street than dirt use.

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.

MotoCzysz Pulls the Old Switcheroo on Race Day?

06/13/2009 @ 2:24 am, by Jensen Beeler13 COMMENTS

MotoCzysz Pulls the Old Switcheroo on Race Day? motoczysz e1pc 11th battery ttxgp race

We should begin this article with a preface. The following information is comprised of facts, and in some cases, where noted ,substantiated rumor. However, the inferences drawn, when looking at all these instances as being correlated events, are purely our own here at A&R, and should therefore be taken as fanciful speculation on our parts, but none-the-less something to mull-over while riding this weekend..

Looking at the facts leading up to the TTXGP, and the occurences at the Isle of Man, is it possible that Michael Czysz orchestrated a game plan at the Isle of Man that included sandbagging the E1pc’s true performance capability on race day? Our analysis after the jump.

TTXGP Practice Starts At the Isle of Man – Fastest Around the Mountain is…

06/09/2009 @ 4:30 pm, by John Adamo3 COMMENTS

TTXGP Practice Starts At the Isle of Man   Fastest Around the Mountain is... firsteverttxgppracticeonthettcou 49 560x420

UPDATED: Pictures and results after the jump.

Team Agni and rider Robert “Bullet” Barber turned the fastest lap beating out favorites MotoCzysz, Mission Motors and Brammo. Barber propelled Agni’s modified Suzuki GSXr 600 to an average speed of 84.8MPH, with a speed of 102.6 recorded at the Sulby Trap. Agni Motors builds electric motors for many applications including electric vehicles, so it is not too much of a surprise they did well.

Mission One TTXGP Racer Breaks Cover at Isle of Man TT

06/08/2009 @ 12:34 am, by Jensen BeelerComments Off

Mission One TTXGP Racer Breaks Cover at Isle of Man TT mission one ttxgp race 560x354

A little late with its unveiling, Mission Motors has finally shown off its Mission One TTXGP race bike to the public at large. Noticeable right off the bat is the lack of fit-and-finish the the Mission One displays when compared to the Brammo or MotoCzysz motorcycles. But as the A&R track bike can attest to, how a bike looks, is poor, and usually incorrect indication of how it goes around the race track.

MotoCzysz E1pc Breaks Cover

06/04/2009 @ 6:52 pm, by John Adamo2 COMMENTS

MotoCzysz E1pc Breaks Cover motoczysz final ttxgp 4 560x420

As we said on Twitter Monday, we had photos of the MotoCzysz in its final TTXGP race form, and here they are out in the wild now for all to see.

Looking at the photos, we can see that MotoCzysz chose to keep 6 of the 10 battery packs visible in the final design, 3 on each side. We can also see the chain connecting the 3 motors below the number 5 on the silver and red fairing. A slightly confusing touch is the C1 logo placed in the fairing. C1 is the name given to their MotoGP project which was recently abandoned to pursue the TTXGP electric motorcycle race at Isle Of Man.

Of all the TTXGP bikes that have broken cover over the last week the MotoCzysz may have been the most anticipated besides the Brammo TTR. We have to say the E1pc looks as good as it sounds with all three electric motors drawing max current.

Also from the pictures we can see the iPhone powered dash unit, which we assume is bringing speed, acceleration, pitch, and lateral-g information to rider via the phone’s bevy of built-in gadgetry. Take that in contrast to the almost rudimentry on/kill switch that looks so easy a Geico spokesperson could use it. Green for go, Red for stop.

Another note is the top-down view on the triple clamps. Gone are the pre-load and compression knobs most motorcyclists are familiar with, instead we see a hollow tube that goes down to the proprietary MotoCzysz fork/suspension assembly, another carry-over from the deceased MotoGP hopeful.

MotoCzysz still has not revealed much about the internals of this D1gi1al Superbike, a term they filed a trademark for at the USPTO. However, we do know this bike is designed to be flexible in power and tuning so it will be available to the consumer at multiple price points.

Source: MotoCzysz

Mission One – Final Testing and Crated to IOM

06/04/2009 @ 3:00 pm, by John Adamo1 COMMENT

Mission One   Final Testing and Crated to IOM mission one swing arm 560x316

The day of reckoning for the TTXGP entrants is almost upon us. In just a short matter of months we’ve seen a handful of dedicated teams take on the challenge of building a fully electrically powered superbike motorcycle fit for FIM sanctioned racing.

Not at an easy feat to say the least.

Now granted, there’s still the matter of 30+ mile course to be covered, and of course all the chaos and excitement of race day, but all of the entrants should be proud of the hard work, and sleepless nights we’re sure they have encountered on their way to the Isle of Man TT.

VIDEO: Brammo TTR Road Testing

06/04/2009 @ 3:23 am, by Jensen Beeler2 COMMENTS

VIDEO: Brammo TTR Road Testing brammo oregon road test

With bullet cams in hand, the Brammo crew headed out to the forrested roads of Oregon to conduct some road tests on the Brammo TTR race bike in preparation for the upcoming TTXGP. Video after the jump.

Brammo Enertia TTR Electric Motorcycle – Sponsored by Best Buy

06/02/2009 @ 5:00 pm, by Jensen Beeler6 COMMENTS

Brammo Enertia TTR Electric Motorcycle   Sponsored by Best Buy brammo enertia ttr 1 560x373

Today is a double Brammo day. Earlier this morning we teased you with a picture of the Brammo TTR in race trim. You may have noticed two things. 1) The bike is green…kind of like the Hungry Hunter, and 2) Best Buy is sponsoring it. We don’t mess with giant men that have brussels sprouts growing on them, so this article will solely focus on the latter of the two observations. More pictures after the jump.

Mission One Road Test with Fairings

05/30/2009 @ 9:00 am, by Jensen BeelerComments Off

Mission One Road Test with Fairings mission one east bay test 2

Mission Motors has been out testing their Mission One race bike in the Easy Bay (looks like out by Bear Creek Canyon) with a little help from the California Highway Patrol, and has posted up a video of the electric racer on their site for all to enjoy.