XXX: The 2015 Yamaha YZF-R1 World Endurance Race Bike is Pure Sex…with a Headlight

The long-winded “Yamaha France GMT 94 Michelin Racing” team is ready for FIM Endurance World Championship action this year, especially with the all-new 2015 Yamaha YZF-R1 motorcycle. The new R1 offers state-of-the-art electronics, as well as near-200hp from its crossplane four-cylinder engine, and the French team is looking to capitalize on those improvements in the EWC for 2015. Yamaha France took the 2014 title in a convincing fashion, so it will be interesting to see what riders David Checa, Kenny Foray, and Mathieu Gines can accomplish with their new toy. We’ve got a bevy of high-resolution photos for you, after the jump.

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.

2012 Yamaha YZF-R1 – Traction Control Cometh

09/14/2011 @ 10:20 am, by Jensen Beeler20 COMMENTS

The 2012 Yamaha YZF-R1 has broken cover, and the biggest feature the lightly tweaked liter-class bike boasts is a new seven-level traction control system (for our brothers in arms across the pond, a six-level traction system is being used…consider that punishment for your European ways). Other material changes include a revised engine map for smoother power delivery in the lower and middle rpms, while the footrests, triple clamps, headlight marker lamps, front cowl, and exhaust guards & end caps have also been revamped for 2012. More after the jump.

Three New Colors for the Aprilia Dorsoduro 750

01/20/2011 @ 6:03 am, by Jensen Beeler1 COMMENT

For 2011 Aprilia is gracing the Dorsoduro 750 with three new colors: white, black, and what’s passing as green these days. For now the colors seem to be only coming to the European market, but we wouldn’t be surprised if a couple of them ended up bound for the shores of North America (especially the white and black models, yum). The new colors for the Dorso 750 will join Aprilia’s larger displacement model, the newly debuted 2011 Aprilia Dorsoduro 1200 (which will also come in white and black color schemes). No news yet on the a 1,200cc version of the Aprilia Shiver, the Dorsoduro’s sister bike.

Aprilia Dorsoduro 750 Factory Euro Pricing – €9,990

03/11/2010 @ 8:59 am, by Jensen BeelerComments Off

The fine folks of Noale have finally added the 2010 Aprilia Dorsoduro Factory to their official line-up and removed any doubts that the good Factory name means less today than it used to in the good ol’days. Tacking on a €900 premium for the “upgraded” Dorsoduro Factory model, riders will see an increase in carbon fiber, but only a limited change to the performance of the street tard. Despite this, the 2010 Aprilia Dorsoduro 750 Factory makes a strong rival for the Ducati Hypermotard 796. See why after the jump, along with a bevy of photos and a video.

2010 Suzuki Bandit 1250 Coming to America?

09/12/2009 @ 10:21 am, by Jensen BeelerComments Off

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Looks like our tip about Suzuki is coming to fruition sooner than we expected (although, we’re still holding our breath on the GSX1000R part of that tip). Suzuki has launched a new European Bandit at the Bol D’or 24 hour endurance race, in Magny-Cours, France, and it looks like they have given the Bandit a bit of a make-over. Pictures and more after the jump.

The Honda CB1000R You Won’t See in America

09/07/2009 @ 10:09 am, by Jensen Beeler4 COMMENTS

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Take a good look at the Honda CB1000R, because you won’t see it here stateside. That’s right, its de-tuned CBR1000RR motor, single-side swingarm, and streetfighter looks will be staying on the other side of the pond, and we think we’re the lesser for it.

Honda might be the lesser for it as well. With no fairing-less sportbike in its arsenal, we have to wonder what the folks in Japan were thinking on not making the CB available in the US. The only conclusion we can come to is that they just don’t like being competitve in the largest motorcycle market in the world worried that the CB would cannibalize on VFR sales.

But, seeing as how we all know the Interceptor as we know it won’t exist in 2010 (and is slated to fill a different hole in Honda’s line-up), we still have a hard time wrapping our heads around this strategy. Apparently at Honda, sportbikes must still have fairings in order to his US soil. We guess us American riders will have to somehow manage with the Tuono, Streetfighter, Z1000, FZ1, & B-King’s available to us…or move to Europe.

BMW Releases S1000RR European Pricing

06/26/2009 @ 5:45 pm, by Jensen Beeler4 COMMENTS

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BMW Motorrad released today that the base MSRP of the S1000RR will cost €15,800, expect the US pricing to be below that (we’re guessing $14,500-ish).

In typical BMW fashion the real fun features will cost more. The BMW Race ABS system will cost €950, while the Race ABS with Dynamic Traction Control (DTC) will cost a combined €1,250. BMW is also offering an electric shifter for €370, and an alarm system for €220.