The Next, Next Big Thing in Motorcycles: Haptic Feedback

We are at an interesting point in time for motorcycles, namely because the technological landscape for the transportation sector is shifting radically. Long-time readers of Asphalt & Rubber will note some of the issues at play here, namely autonomous vehicles, rider aids, and vehicle interconnectivity. Over the next few weeks I want to revisit those items in more depth and detail, with a series that focuses on emerging technologies that are either already permeating into our two-wheeled lifestyle, or will be hitting the motorcycle industry over the next decade or so. But before I tackle the more obvious items on this list, I want to invest some words on a lesser-known technological innovation, which has the potential to be the next, “next big thing” in the motorcycle industry.

You Already Want This Honda Grom Race Bike from HRC

Understanding one’s lust for a Honda Grom is a lot like explaining good pornography: it is difficult to describe, but you know it when you see it. That idea encapsulates everything you need to know about Honda’s monkey bike. We can’t tell you why you want one, we just know that you do. Honda’s sales on the Grom back that notion up, as well. Beyond being just an adorable grocery-getter, we are seeing a plethora of Groms at the race track – and not just as pit bikes. Grom racing is becoming a thing, with more than a few minimoto series making spec-classes for Honda Grom racers, or including them in their 150cc programs. To that end, Honda’s racing department, HRC, has the Grom that you want – nay – need. Behold, the Honda Grom race bike from HRC.

Honda CBR250RR Headlight Spotted in Patents

We are literally marking time until Big Red debuts the Honda CBR250RR, the sportier sibling to the Honda CBR250R, which should rev to the moon and make more power with its two-cylinder engine. We have seen the prototype of the Honda CBR250RR already at trade shows, and the new CBR250RR is definitely on the edgier side of things, which is surprising coming the ever-conservative minds at Honda. How much of the edgy design will remain in the production version has yet to be seen, but we do have our first glimpse of some of the machine. The headlight shape has been filed with European patent offices, which is sort of a weird thing to be reporting on, but it does show insight into where Honda is headed.

Could BMW Be Working on an XDiavel Killer?

Here’s some more BMW Motorrad speculation for your two-wheeled consumption, as Germany’s Motorrad Magazine says that BMW is looking to take on the Ducati XDiavel, with a power cruiser model of its own. This of course isn’t the first time that BMW has included a cruiser-styled motorcycle in its lineup, with the BMW R1200C being a unique, though slightly odd, offering to the cruiser demographic. Like Ducati, BMW seems to be learning from its mistakes in going after the cruiser crowd, and instead of offering a motorcycle that is BMW’s take on the cruiser concept, they are building a cruiser that has cues back to the BMW lineup. A subtle but potent distinction. Time will tell on how this rumor plays out, though there are number of interesting things to consider with a BMW power cruiser.

Yamaha Tracer 700 Sport-Tourer Debuts for Europe

There are two big things to note with the debut of the Yamaha Tracer 700 in Europe today. One, Yamaha firmly believes in the future of the sport-touring segment; and two, the Japanese brand is getting excellent mileage out of its three-cylinder and two-cylinder machines that comprise its new FZ/MT line of motorcycles. As such, the Yamaha Tracer 700 offers to be a fun and affordable machine for those riders who find themselves many miles down the road after a “spirited” ride. With bike sales in Europe finally on an upward trend, Yamaha hopes that the release of the Tracer 700 is well-timed, and of course the brand has more models in the works that are based on the same 689cc parallel-twin power plant.

Is BMW Working on 300cc GS Model?

When the BMW G310R arrived, the German brand indicated that the small-displacement street bike would be the first of many model based on the 313cc platform. Now it seems that the first iteration is ready to drop, with news that BMW Motorrad is working on a G310R-based adventure-touer model. According to Motorcycle Sport and Leisure, BMW Motorrad UK’s Director Phil Horton has confirmed that a BMW G310GS model will debut, perhaps in time for the 2017 model year, saying “new models aside, the line-up isn’t as comprehensive as it needs to be. But there are plenty more bikes to come, including, hopefully in 2017, a G310R GS-style derivative.” The idea of small-displacement ADV machine does mimic what we have been seeing from other brands.

EPA Withdraws Racing Emissions Proposal

If you have a modified track-only motorcycle, then we have some news to share that you will enjoy, as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has withdrawn proposed language that would have specifically given it the ability to regulate the emissions of production vehicles that were being used at track days or similar events. The proposed rule caused quite a storm in automotive enthusiast circles, as it would have affected racing and recreational uses of products that have been sold under “race use only” provisions for years. Of course, the larger issue at stake here was the continued selling of race parts to street enthusiasts. Still, since it is hard to find a motorcycle on the road these days that hasn’t seen its emissions equipment modified, it doesn’t surprise us to see the backlash coming from the motorcycling community.

Honda Halts Operations at Its Kumamoto Factory After Earthquakes Strike Japan

If you have been following mainstream news, you will know that the Pacific Rim has been active with earthquake activity these past few days. In addition to the devastating movements in Ecuador, Japan has been rocked by a series of earthquakes as well, two of which have centered on the Kumamoto prefecture of the country. If that names sounds familiar to motorcycle enthusiasts, it is because Kumamoto is Honda’s mothership for motorcycle production. As such, Honda is halting the operations of its Kumamoto factory, thru the rest of this week (ending April 22, 2016). Honda says that its subsequent production plans will be determined according to facility restorations and component supply.

Lorenzo To Ducati: Why It Happened & What Happens Next

In case you missed it, Jorge Lorenzo has signed with Ducati Corse for the 2017 and 2018 MotoGP World Championship seasons. It is not so much that team bosses never appear in pre-event press conferences, but rather that such appearances are vanishingly rare, and often momentous. If Jarvis is not there to discuss Lorenzo’s move to Ducati, then something has gone very awry indeed. We have been here before, of course. When Valentino Rossi finally announced he would be moving to Ducati in 2010, a similar procedure was adopted. So taking account of the lessons from that move, and of Rossi’s return to Yamaha, let us gaze into our crystal ball and see what we can expect for the upcoming days.

It’s Official, Jorge Lorenzo Will Race with Ducati Corse

As expected, the announcement dropped today that Jorge Lorenzo will be leaving the Movistar Yamaha team at the end of this season, for a new racing opportunity with Ducati Corse. Details are light at this time, mostly because of Lorenzo’s ongoing contract with Yamaha Racing for the rest of the MotoGP season, but we do know that the Spaniard has inked a two-year with the Italian outfit. Lorenzo’s move to Ducati will mean a cascade of changes in the MotoGP paddock, with the next phase of the silly season process likely to focus on who will replace him as Valentino Rossi’s teammate. Good money is on Maverick Viñales, but as we pointed out in the latest Paddock Pass Podcast episode, Suzuki has redoubled its efforts to retain the young Spanish rider.

French Lazareth’s Supercharged FZ1

06/27/2009 @ 9:43 am, by Jensen Beeler3 COMMENTS

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In Annecy-le-Vieux, France, near the Swiss border resides builder Ludovic Lazareth. This French mechanical artisan has built a number of one off motorcycles, trikes, and cars, and his latest take on the Yamaha FZ1 just recently caught our eye.

The bike design, as you can see for yourself, is all hand done, angular, aggressive, and edgy. But, we especially like the Mini Cooper S supercharger that has been fitted to the FZ1 motor. No word on how much power its putting down, suffice it to say though, it’s enough. The FZR Compressor can be yours, like many of Lazareth’s creations, for only €40,000 ($56,000).

Source: Lazareth via BikeEXIF

R1 Wheelie Caught on Google Street View

06/24/2009 @ 9:04 am, by Jensen Beeler8 COMMENTS

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Leave it to the French to wheelie past the infamous Google Street View car as it drove around the city streets of Marseille. This R1 rider certainly seized the moment when he saw the Google clad car with cameras on top, old school race livery and all. See for yourself here.

Source: Moto.Caradisiac

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French Tuner Dub Performance and the Proto Slug

06/01/2009 @ 5:14 pm, by Jensen BeelerComments Off on French Tuner Dub Performance and the Proto Slug

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Dub Performance, a French tuner located just outside of the alps, have added their je ne sais quois to a Harley-Davidson V-Rod. With a 2200cc motor putting out 180hp, the Proto Slug (you have to enjoy the French sense of humor here) boasts a very radical departure from its cruiser lines. Pictures after the jump.

MotoGP: Weather Changes Leaves Riders Out to Dry in Le Mans

05/17/2009 @ 1:41 pm, by Jensen Beeler3 COMMENTS

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As we mentioned yesterday, Le Mans is known for its rapidly changing weather patterns, and a mixture of both rain and sunshine is not uncommon for the French track. The weather gods being unappeased, they decided to bring both the rain and the sun for MotoGP fans in France today. From the very beginning of the French GP things were interesting: with the GP run on a dry track, but riders leaving the grid on rain tires. With teams having to make the call on whether to stay out on rains, or sacrifice time and pit in, there were some interesting results from the choices being made. Continue reading for the spoilers.

The Kawasaki French Connection

01/23/2009 @ 2:19 am, by Jensen BeelerComments Off on The Kawasaki French Connection

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We sat around all of Thursday waiting for news from Japan about a possible French supplier for a privateer Kawasaki team, and we got zip, zero, nada, nothing in our inbox confirm all the speculation. However, we have seen further evidence that news should come today about such a partnership. Early indications point to a team that is Kawasaki only in name, with parts and support coming from France, and with riders from the US and Italy.

That’s right Marco and Hopper seem to be the riders, but of course at this point we’re not counting our chickens until they’ve hatched…for all we know a pair of Muppets like Burt and Earnie could be riding Kawasakis as a cost cutting measure. We’ll bring you more news when we get it.

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French Voxan’s New 2009 Roadster

12/29/2008 @ 1:24 am, by Jensen BeelerComments Off on French Voxan’s New 2009 Roadster

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10 years ago French builder Voxan added the Roadster to their growing line-up. After positive traction in France, and slippery black ice traction just about everywhere else, a new Roadster is joining the line-up.

Voxan is hoping to level out their rocky past with this brand new take on their popular Roadster model. Slotted to be released in the 1st quarter of 2009, the Roadster will continue to make use of Voxan’s unique 72°, 996cc, 100hp, v-twin motor. The Roadster features 4 valves per cylinder head, and the model shown above is rumored to be close to what the final project will look like, meaning a new more aggressive look for Voxan.

French Made Tucson BT550 Superleggera Weighs Just 97kg

12/21/2008 @ 2:00 pm, by Jensen Beeler2 COMMENTS

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The French company Tucson set out with a simple goal. Build a sportbike under 100kg (220lbs), by using the inspiring Aprilia 550cc v-twin motor, found in the SXV and RXV motorcycles. See how they did it, with pictures, after the jump.

French Motorcycle Cop Training Video

12/09/2008 @ 2:27 pm, by Jensen BeelerComments Off on French Motorcycle Cop Training Video

This video really speaks for itself. The blooper reel starts around the 0:44 time mark. The big take-away here is if you’re running from the French Police, get onto a dirt road as soon as possible…baguettes optional.

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