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.

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.

Husqvarna Nuda 900R Revealed

07/01/2011 @ 6:46 am, by Jensen Beeler9 COMMENTS

UPDATE: Find 23 Official Photos of the 2012 Husqvarna Nuda 900R here.

These are the first images of the Husqvarna Nuda 900R motorcycle (taken by our good friends at OmniMoto), the Swedish brand’s first foray into the street bike scene. Making over 100hp and weighing less than 385 lbs, the new Husqvarna will hit dealer floors by the end of the 2011 (hopefully by then they’ll have the spec-sheet ironed out a bit more). What technical specifications we do is this: 320mm Brembo disc brakes, fully adjustable 48mm Sachs forks, and a fully adjustable Öhlins rear shock. Check out the photos and video from the unveil after the jump.

NCR Leggera 1200 Special Becomes The Lightest Hypermotard Ever Made – And It’s Street Legal

09/09/2010 @ 2:39 pm, by Jensen Beeler4 COMMENTS

With the NCR Leggera 1200 Special, Ducati tuner NCR is setting two firsts with its titanium clad Hypermotard. Known for making gorgeous work out of already gorgeous motorcycles (NCR Corse Millona One Shot anyone?), none of LCR’s prior creations are destined for a life of street use, and come absent of any lights, mirrors, etc. However, the NCR Leggera 1200 Special is the first NCR that comes out of the crate street legal, and oh…it’s also the lightest Hypermotard in existence, dropping 125 lbs off the stock Ducati Hypermotard…it’s not bad looking either.

Krisfox’s Ducati Hypermotard 1098S

01/06/2010 @ 1:24 pm, by Jensen Beeler12 COMMENTS

In the hands of one Frenchman, what began life as a mild-mannered Ducati 1098S Superbike, has turned into a water-cooled Hypermotard that would do the engineers in Bologna proud. Known to us only as “Krisfox”, this builder was looking for more than the standard streetbike experience. Wishing to see the more powerful water-cooled 1098 motor in a motard format, he set out to make one of his own, dubbed the Hypermotard 1098S. Pictures and more after the jump.

Ducati Hypermotad 796 in Dealerships This Weekend

12/18/2009 @ 2:33 pm, by Jensen Beeler3 COMMENTS

Ducati-Hypermotard-796-Christmas

Ducati North America has announced that the Hypermotard 796 will be in dealerships before the New Year, and some dealerships will have the new motard as early as this weekend (that’s tomorrow, or today if you work in the A&R office!).

If you’re having a hard time finding the right gift for that special motorcyclist in your life, this might be the chance to get them what they really want this year. Nothing says Merry Christmas like a $9,995 lightweight red Ducati Hypermotard 796 with a bow on it. Press release after the jump.

Ducati Releases Delivery Dates for 2010 Models

11/29/2009 @ 10:07 pm, by Jensen Beeler2 COMMENTS

2010-Ducati-Hypermotard-796-head-on

Ducati North America has announced the delivery dates of its 2010 model line-up to the US dealerships, with the bulk of the new Ducati’s arriving in February, while the Multistrada 1200 comes to us in April & May. Click past the jump for a full price and arrival schedule.

2010 Ducati Hypermotard EVO SP – Drops Jaws When Fitted with Ducati Accessories Kit

11/11/2009 @ 4:48 am, by Jensen Beeler5 COMMENTS

2010-Ducati-Hypermotard-1100-EVO-SP-accessories

After unveiling the 2010 Ducati Hypermotard 1100 EVO SP, we were impressed with the new performance specs, but the look of the bike really hadn’t changed that much. Enticing us to empty our wallets further, Ducati put together an EVO SP will an assortment of their official Ducati accessories kit, and the result is stunning. Click past the jump to see the pictures of it straight from the floors of EICMA.

Ducati to Update 2010 Hypermotard 1100 – More Power, Stiffer Chassis

10/27/2009 @ 1:07 pm, by Jensen Beeler1 COMMENT

Ducatimanillar arriba

It seems Ducati is not going to waste any time in revamping the Hypermotard 1100, after the recent launch of the 2010 Ducati Hypermotard 796 (pictured above) caused some surprise with the public on its subtle design differences, and similar power characteristics.

Due to be unveiled at the upcoming EICMA show in Milan, Italy, the 2010 Ducati Hypermotard 1100 will get a power boost, as well as a revised chassis, handlebars, and other design bits that will bring the original HM in-line with the 796’s look and power.

Official: Ducati Hypermotard 796 in October

09/23/2009 @ 11:43 am, by Jensen Beeler4 COMMENTS

Ducati-Hypermotard-796-1

Sometimes rumors don’t take long to come to fruition. Take the case of the 2010 Ducati Hypermotard. Just last week we reported that Ducati had a 696 DS motor based babytard in the works, and today Ducati has officially announced that motorcycle. As we expected the new bike is named the Hypermotard 796, and it shares almost all of the same core design elements as its larger counter-part, including the bar-end mirrors (as we expected).

The biggest news with this release is that the Hypermotard 796 will live up to its name, boasting a 808cc displacement (88mm x 66mm bore & stroke respectively). Many had said the Hypermotard 796 would still feature the 696cc displacement dispite its nomenclature. Ducati instead stroked out the 696 motor, resulting in a comparable 81hp to the Monster 696, while boosting torque to 55.7lb•ft. More details after the jump.

2010 Ducati Hypermotard 796 in October?

09/16/2009 @ 6:14 pm, by Jensen Beeler4 COMMENTS

2010-Ducati-Hypermotard-796

French site Moto-Station is reporting, and multiple other sites are confirming, that Ducati is about to debut a Hypermotard 796. Just as the current Hypermotard 1100 borrows on the basic design of the Monster 1100, the 796 will center around the same 696cc, air-cooled, two-valve, motor found in the Monster 696.

Europe Starts Hypermoto Racing Series

02/15/2009 @ 1:56 am, by Jensen BeelerComments Off

ducati-hypermotard-web

Bikes like the Ducati Hypermotard, KTM SuperDuke, and Aprilia Dorsoduro have been gaining in popularity not only in the United States, but also abroad. It is only a logical progression then that there would be some desire to start a formal racing series for these big-bore “hypermotards”, and Europe’s UEM European Supermoto Championship has that answer with a new “Hypermoto” racing class. The Hypermoto class will be open to motorcycles of 600cc and larger, with 1 or 2 cylinders, and can be either 2-strokes or 4-strokes. Races will take place on the same tracks as the Supermoto Championship (S1), minus the dirt sections. All riders will use Dunlop tires (eight tires per weekend), and have to be over the age of 16.

Source: Supermoto CentralMotoblog.it