It seems now that KTM is getting closer to production, as the folks at CarTrade are reporting that two test models of the KTM 390 Adventure (codenamed KT22) have been sent to India for R&D, presumably as a prelude to Bajaj beginning production on the budget-friednly machines.
Word out of India is that the Hero HX250R, the quarter-liter sport bike that Erik Buell Racing helped design, will not be arriving later this year, as was originally intended. Rumors instead suggest that the HX250R will debut in 2016.
The delay is said to be directly linked to Erik Buell Racing going into receivership earlier this year, and it’s a fair bet that the delay is due to something in the design of the HX250R.
However, we would also bet good money that Hero realized there was no point in releasing a North American bound model without a North American distributor with which to sell it.
Continued reports suggest that BMW is getting closer and closer to releasing a small-displacement motorcycle single-cylinder motorcycle (codenamed the K03), which is being co-developed with Indian brand TVS.
The machine is expected to be in the 250cc to 300cc range, be engineered by BMW Motorrad in Germany, but built by TVS in India.
Pictures of the test mule have been on the internet (see above), but the final design is said to be similar to the TVS Draken concept that we saw this time last year.
Indian motorcycle brands getting involved with Western companies for R&D isn’t anything new, in fact the entire Erik Buell Racing story seems to center around that very issue.
So, it shouldn’t shock anyone to hear that the iconic Royal Enfield motorcycle brand has acquired famed British performance house Harris Performance.
“Royal Enfield is working on its new generation of products and platforms; to have the Harris Performance team dedicatedly working with us will clearly enhance our engineering and product design capabilities,” said Siddhartha Lal, CEO Royal Enfield.
If you like your small displacement machines sans fairings, then this might be the bike for you, as the first clear photos of the Yamaha MT-25 are hitting the internet, courtesy of Indonesian blog TMCblog.
As we can see from the photos, the MT-25 shares many of the same parts with the R25 — most notably the chassis, suspension, exhaust, seat, and engine. Added is a new headlight, fairing chin, and air intake tubes.
Can you ever have too much motorcycle racing? You can if the amount of racing over one weekend actually exceeds the number of hours in each day.
That was pretty much the case last weekend, when we MotoGP at the Termas de Rio Hondo circuit in Argentina, World Superbikes – including World Supersport, FIM Superstock 1000, the European Superstock 600 Championship, and the European Junior Cup – at Assen, British Superbikes at Brands Hatch (the very short, very fast Indy circuit, not the longer GP layout), the second round of the inaugural MotoAmerica series at Road Atlanta, and the 24 hour race at Le Mans in France.
Looking beyond motorcycle road racing, there was also the fourth round of the MXGP motocross world championship at Trentino in Italy, and a Formula One race at Bahrain.
Although the constraints of long seasons mean that there will always be clashes, this was a little ridiculous. Racing series are not completely free to set their calendars as they wish – they are tied down by a host of factors such as track availability, the weather, other events organized at the circuits, local government permission and many, many others – this weekend was one of the more spectacular scheduling SNAFUs. Let us hope this can be avoided next year.
For the upcoming weekend, the calendar is much more limited. The FIM Repsol CEV championship – what we used to know as the Spanish championship – has its first race at Portimao in Portugal.
The field is as varied as ever, with riders from all over Europe and Asia, as well as an Australian and an American in Moto3, an even more varied field in Moto2 – including exotica such as the Vyrus, ridden by British youngster Bradley Ray – and Barcelona-based American rider Kenny Noyes defending his title in the Superbike class.
Their Italian counterpart, the CIV championship, also kicks off this weekend with their first races at Misano. Both series will be streamed live, CEV on their Youtube channel, and the CIV via a specialist Italian motorsports channel called Sportube.
Presumably to be call the Yamaha MT-25, the naked bike would continue Yamaha’s trend of making naked version of its fully faired sport bikes, similar to the recently released Yamaha MT-125 that is available for the European market.
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.
In front of a crowd consisting of Indonesian media, regional sales teams, Honda dealers, and just a single journalist from the European media (and a very smart one at that), Repsol Honda unveiled their 2015 livery, and Marc Márquez and Dani Pedrosa met fans and engaged in a couple of photo-ops.
A few days later, in Malaysia, Yamaha presented their 2015 racing program in front of a mass meeting of their Southeast Asian network, dealers, and business partners flown in from Indonesia and neighboring countries.
The Movistar Yamaha team had already been launched in Madrid – the Movistar TV millions ensured the location of that launch – but Yamaha took the time to introduce the three teams racing Yamahas in MotoGP, as well as present their activities in Asia.
Frankly, the presence of the Movistar Yamaha, Tech 3 and Forward Yamaha teams were more of a crowd pleaser than actually imparting any new information.
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.
2014 is another banner year for KTM, as the Austrian brand set another all-time sales record, selling 158,760 to customers last year. That figure solidifies KTM’s position as the largest European brand, beating out BMW yet again, though Team Orange got a lot of help from its Indian operations with minority partner Bajaj.
This sales figure includes sales from Husqvarna, so a little cheating is going on, but Husky’s contribution to KTM’s 28.2% sales growth is marginal at best. With that boost in sales, KTM is also reporting a 20.7% increase in revenue (€864.6 million), taking home €75 million (EBIT).