Ride in Peace, Author Robert Pirsig

I first heard of Robert Pirsig’s Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance shortly after I bought my first motorcycle, a Honda CBR600F2. I was stuck in the middle of Dunsmuir, California with a bad rectifier/regulator (a common trouble-spot on that model bike), and a passerby recommended the title. I think they referred the book out of naiveté its content, but obviously the novel, despite its title, would do little to help my immediate problem with my Honda, though it was a good read about some general philosophic ideas, which I could chew-on after I got my CBR bumped-started and back on the road again. Undoubtedly, you have likely heard of Pirsig’s Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance as well.

Carbon Fiber BMW HP4 Race Debuts in China

As we predicted, the BMW HP4 Race carbon fiber superbike debuted today in China, at the Auto Shanghai 2017 expo. This is the production version of the prototype that BMW Motorrad teased at last year’s EIMCA show in Milan. Details were scarce in Italy, but now BMW is ready to tell us all about its halo bike. The numbers? Only 750 units of the BMW HP4 Race will be produced. Each one will make 212hp, and weigh 377 lbs when fully fueled and ready to ride – which is lighter than BMW’s WorldSBK-spec S1000RR racing machine. Of course the main feature of the BMW HP4 Race is that it drips in carbon fiber. The bodywork, main frame, and wheels are made of this composite material, with the tail section being a self-supporting carbon fiber unit.

Mmm…Check This Suzuki GSX1100SD Katana Race Bike

I am young enough that most of what I can remember of the 1980s is skewed by the forming mind of a child, thankfully. New Coke, ponytails to the side, Cabbage Patch Kids…Alf – it is all a bad dream as far as I am concerned. The 1980s were a pretty good decade for motorcycles though. Two-strokes still reigned supreme in grand prix racing, and some of America’s best two-wheeled heroes were riding them. The only rider-aids that were available were things like handlebars and footpegs. Even then, racing a motorcycle was a pursuit full of perils. Mirroring this notion on the production side of things, the superbike was just starting to be born in earnest, with consumers able to buy fire-breathing monsters that tested the limits of chassis and tire design. A healthy dose of male bravado was involved in riding a motorcycle like a Katana.

Mega Gallery: 24 Heures Motos at Le Mans

Not only does the FIM EWC showcase several manufacturers, with strong race-winning potential each of the championship’s multiple iconic events, but it the series is the last great venue for a proper battle between the different tire brands. Add to that the fact that the Endurance World Championship is comprised not only of endurance specialists, but also with some of the top names from motorcycle racing, both in factory and satellite teams, and it’s easy to find a reason to cheer for a particular entry. The best part though might be the photography that comes from motorcycle racing, which often spans from daylight and into the darkness of night. This year’s 24 Heures Motos at Le Mans event was no different, and we have a bevy of photos to share with you from France.

At the AMA Supermoto Season-Opener in Bakersfield

It all started with the Superbikers. As a young man growing up in the late 70s, there were only three network TV stations for me to watch, and unlike today, motorsports programs were few and far between. Other than the Indy 500 and the occasional airing of stock car racing, motorsports just weren’t on the air very often. During one serendipitous Saturday, I happened upon ABC’s Wide World of Sports. And on that particular day, they were airing the Superbikers. Looking back, the influence that program had on the rest of my motorcycling life is immeasurable. An unusual combination of road racing, dirt track, and motocross, the Superbikers showcased racers I had only read about in the motorcycle magazines.

The WorldSBK Season So Far: Yamaha & Honda

While it has hardly been surprising to see Ducati and Kawasaki maintain their position as the dominant forces at play in WorldSBK, the battle for best-of-the-rest has been an interesting subplot for 2017. Over the course of the opening three rounds of the campaign, the form of Honda and Yamaha has been marked by their stark contrast in fortunes. Last year, Honda had been a podium and front-row regular as the season moved into the European swing, and Yamaha looked to be clutching at straws and looking for any positives they could find on their return to the series. This year has seen their roles have reversed, with Yamaha consistently the best-of-the-rest and in position to fight for a rostrum finish. Honda on the other hand have had a disastrous start to the campaign with an all-new Fireblade.

Investors Leveraging MotoGP for Sizable Payout

According to several reports in the financial sector, the investors behind Dorna Sports S.L. are readying themselves for another sizable payout from the media rights holder for the MotoGP and WorldSBK Championships. Using a bit of financial finesse, the move would see Bridgepoint Capital and the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) – the two major investors in Dorna Sports – taking roughly €889 million off the books of the Spanish media company, according to Reuters. As such, today’s news would make this the third time that Bridgepoint and the CPPIB have raided the piggy bank for motorcycling’s premier racing series, having done similar deals in 2011 (€420 million) and 2014 (€715 million).

Norton Gets £3 Million to Increase V4 Production

If you have had your eye on a Norton V4 superbike recently, you might not have to wait as long for it to arrive, as the British marque has secured £3 million from the Santander Corporate & Commercial bank. The debt investment will allow Norton to triple its production rate on the V4 SS and V4 RR models, and also allow for the company to hire 40 new employees for the job. Additionally, according to Norton this will allow the company to increase its production volume to 1,500 motorcycles per year. “Having developed and pre-sold a huge number of bikes, we needed the funding to be readily available to pay for tooling, stock and people to allow production to move from 40 bikes per month to in excess of 130 bikes with effect from summer 2017,” said Stuart Garner, CEO of Norton Motorcycles.

Is The 2018 BMW HP4 Race About to Debut in China?

After this year’s April Fools hijinks, we have a whole new respect for the cunning that resides at BMW Motorrad, and the Germans seem to be honing that trait even further today. Announcing its plans for the upcoming Auto Shanghai 2017 later this month, BMW lists a number of four-wheeled news items for the Chinese auto show, and then casually slips-in at the end of the press release that we should expect a big unveil from BMW Motorrad. The statement reads that “the highlight of the BMW Motorrad stand is the world premiere of one of the most exclusive models ever offered by BMW Motorrad,” which is terse, though given what we know about the Bavarian brand, it should be easy to guess what they are hinting at.

Vyrus 986 M2 Street Bike Now Priced at €38,000

It is apparently more difficult to sell a kidney than I had previously thought (type o- / non-smoker / non-drinker…if you happen to be in the market), which isn’t good news when you are trying to get together some scratch for a Vyrus 986 M2 – the hottest supersport we have ever seen. Making matters worse is that Vyrus got in touch with A&R, updating us with their latest pricing structure for their Honda-powered hub-center steering masterpiece, which now comes with a price tag of €37,940 for the street bike, and €27,930 for the street bike kit. That is quite the change from the originally quoted €25,000 street bike model and €16,000 kit, and there is good reason for that, say the folks at Vyrus.

2014 Yamaha FZ-09 – Three Cylinders of Naked

06/11/2013 @ 6:00 pm, by Jensen Beeler48 COMMENTS

2014-Yamaha-FZ9-01

With its European counterpart, the 2014 Yamaha MT-09 dropping earlier today, America too will be getting a 847cc three-cylinder naked bike for the 2014 model year, the 2014 Yamaha FZ-09. Replacing the Yamaha FZ8 in the Japanese company’s line-up, the FZ-09 is the first motorcycle from the tuning fork brand to sport the Yamaha’s new line of three-cylinder engines.

The Yamaha FZ-09 comes about as the MIC is reporting its second-consecutive year of growth in the 751+cc sport bike segment, as well as increase in commuter riding over short-distance sport riding.

With those trends in mind, Yamaha has punched out the displacement on its middleweight naked bike, and focused on giving riders a comfortable, yet stout, motorcycle. Priced at $7,990 MSRP, we think Yamaha hit the nail pretty much on the head with this one.

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2013 Yamaha FZ8 Getting Minor Update for Next Year

09/13/2012 @ 3:40 pm, by Jensen Beeler9 COMMENTS

Yamaha is keeping tight-lipped on exactly what changes will be coming to the 2013 Yamaha FZ8, but the 800cc sport-naked is said to be getting a minor update for the 2013 model year. Introduced to the American market in 2011, the Yamaha FZ8 has had a short two-year model life, and apparently Yamaha thinks the bike needs some refreshing.

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Yamaha FZ8R Cometh?

02/15/2011 @ 1:15 pm, by Jensen Beeler5 COMMENTS

While getting a tour of Yamaha’s French factory (you know, the one they’re keeping open), the folks at MotoBlog.fr spotted something they’d never seen before: an upgraded FZ8 naked bike labeled as the Yamaha FZ8R. After some negotiating with the tuning fork brand, the French publication was allowed to take a photo of the bike’s body panel, as a sort of proof of life in their story.

Expected to be announced soon, the francophones spotted on the FZ8R an upgraded exhaust by Lazer, Öhlins suspension stickers (and perhaps an Öhlins shock), but what looked to be stock forks and stock brakes.

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2011 Yamaha FZ8 Coming to the USA

09/02/2010 @ 9:06 pm, by Jensen Beeler6 COMMENTS

Yamaha has heeded to your words, you glorious American bastards, and announced today that it will bring the 2011 Yamaha FZ8 to the United States of America. Replacing the Yamaha FZ6, the FZ8 features a shorter-stroked FZ1 motor that should provide more “umpf” than its 600cc predecessor.

According to Yamaha, the FZ8 will fill-in the gap between the FZ1 and FZ6R in the 2011 model line-up, and while making only 7hp over the FZ6R (107 hp total), the 779cc motor with its longer stroke makes a healthy 60 lbs•ft of torque, compared to the FZ6R’s 46 lbs•ft.

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Yamaha FZ8/Fazer 8 Coming to Canada – USA Next?

06/11/2010 @ 7:57 am, by Jensen Beeler10 COMMENTS

Yamaha Canada has just announced that the 2011 Yamaha FZ8 and 2011 Yamaha Fazer 8 street bikes will be available in the Canadian market. Perhaps as a disappointment for some, both models of the new street-naked will come without the option for ABS.

Presumably the Canadian market has now cleared out its back-stock of Yamaha FZ6’s, which the 8-series has been replacing in European markets, and can now begin to offer the new middleweight.

With Canada getting the 8’s in its line-up, all eyes are now on the Yamaha USA to see if/when they’ll bring the bike to the US market. When they do, we can probably look forward to some great commercials, like these gems from the European campaign (that’s sarcasm for those keeping score). Check them out after the jump…did we mention they’re really bad?

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2010 Yamaha FZ8 – Officially Official

03/12/2010 @ 2:31 am, by Jensen Beeler3 COMMENTS

After teasing us time and time and time again, Yamaha Europe has taken the wraps off its 2010 Yamaha FZ8 (and it’s cousin the 2010 Yamaha Fazer8). As was expected, the FZ8  is a 779cc naked street bike that borrows its heritage from the FZ1, and replaces the FZ6 in the European line-up.

While the FZ8 looks well and good, Yamaha has proven that a copy of a copy never carries over well. The FZ8 motor is in essence a smaller bored FZ1 motor, which is itself a de-tuned R1 powerplant. As such the Yamaha FZ8 puts out a solid 104hp, which may disappoint many riders. Torque lovers rejoice though, the 2010 Yamaha FZ8 makes an impressive 62lbs•ft of wheel turning power from its 779cc’s.

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2010 Yamaha Fazer8 Revealed

02/25/2010 @ 11:27 am, by Jensen Beeler5 COMMENTS

UPDATE: The 2010 Yamaha Fazer8 ABS has officially been released.

Here’s another bike we’re not likely to see in the United States, the 2010 Yamaha Fazer8. Yamaha has been teasing us with the Fazer8 and its more naked variant, the FZ8 for several months now, and now the tuning fork brand has finally shown the Fazer8 in all its glory.

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Italian Sales Figures Show Insight into FZ8

02/03/2010 @ 11:36 am, by Jensen Beeler8 COMMENTS

The announcement of the 2010 Yamaha FZ8 left many Americans confused as to why the Japanese company would release a 800cc version of it FZ1 naked streetbike. While Yamaha hasn’t confirmed the FZ8 will be coming to the US in 2010 (all the information to-date has come from Yamaha EU), abroad the battle in the 800cc middleweight slot has become increasingly contentious, and more importantly Yamaha’s presence there surprisingly non-existent.

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2010 Yamaha FZ8 Officially Revealed

01/27/2010 @ 1:56 am, by Jensen Beeler2 COMMENTS

After photos of the new Yamaha FZ8 were leaked out on the internet, Yamaha seems to think it’s best to release an official picture of the entire FZ8 in it’s full colorful form. As seen from the earlier black and white photos, the Yamaha FZ8 is based heavily off of the FZ1, which may suggest where its performance features will lie when the final release to the public is made this spring.

Rumors has it that the FZ8 will feature the same stroke as the FZ1, which should provide for impressive torque figures, while power is expected to be closer to the FZ6. No word yet if the FZ8 is making it stateside.

Source: Yamaha

2010 Yamaha FZ8 Caught Naked in Photos

01/25/2010 @ 12:20 pm, by Jensen BeelerComments Off on 2010 Yamaha FZ8 Caught Naked in Photos

UPDATE: The 2010 Yamaha FZ8 has now been officially released.

In addition to getting leaked photos of what the 2010 Yamaha FZ8R or Fazzer 8 will look like, Motociclismo.it has also gotten shots of what they believe to be the FZ8 in its final form, i.e. in the nude. The fairing-less motorcycle will be built of the same chassis as the 2010 Yamaha FZ8R, but will sport a different headlight to accentuate the exposed frame and motor more adequately. Photos after the jump.

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