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.

You Didn’t Know You Missed It, But the Honda NM4 Is Back

You probably didn’t even realize that the Honda NM4 was missing from Honda America’s model list for 2017, but the polarizing motorcycle is back for the 2018 model year. The first 2018 motorcycle to be announced so far this year from Honda, it probably helps that the Honda NM4 is featured in the Ghost in the Shell movie, which stars Scarlett Johansson. Laugh if you want, but the NM4 is a surprisingly pleasant to ride, even if you aren’t dressed like the Caped Crusader. As such, the Honda NM4 represents a tradition of motorcycles from Big Red that have pushed that boundaries of not only what we visually accept a motorcycle to look like, but it also blurs the distinctions we make between different motorcycle segments.

US Senate Establishes Motorcycle Caucus

The motorcycle industry has found more allies on Capital Hill this week, with the creation of the first “motorcycle caucus” in the United States Senate. Established so motorcycle manufacturers and motorcyclists would have a greater voice in the upper chamber of the American legislature, the Senate Motorcycle Caucus is the work of Senators Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) and Gary Peters (D-Michigan). Motorcyclists typically aren’t single-issue voter – not for issues pertaining to motorcycles, at least – but with several important political issues currently affecting the motorcycle industry, the formation of the Senate Motorcycle Caucus comes at an advantageous time.

Husqvarna Two-Strokes Get Fuel-Injection Too

We shouldn’t be surprised to hear that Husqvarna will be following suit with its Austrian sibling, and adding fuel-injection to several of its two-strokes enduro motorcycle for the 2018 model year. After a long history of rumors and development, KTM finally debuted fuel injection for a production two-stroke model just a few weeks ago, using the technology on two of its upcoming enduro models, the KTM 250 EXC TPI and KTM 300 EXC TPI. Husqvarna will use the same technology for its own motorcycles in the same segments, announcing today the the all-new 2018 Husqvarna TE 250i and 2018 Husqvarna TE 300i enduro models with transfer port injection.

Opinion: The Danger of Expanding the MotoGP Calendar

It is looking increasingly like the Chang International Circuit in Buriram, Thailand will be added to the MotoGP calendar for the 2018 season. I understand from sources that there was a significant hurdle to be overcome: circuit title sponsor Chang is a major beer brand in Thailand, and a rival to the Official MotoGP Beer Singha, also a major beer brand in Thailand and further abroad. The race can only happen if a compromise has been found to accommodate this conflict. This is good news for Thailand, and good news for fans in Asia. The World Superbike round at the circuit is always packed, and MotoGP should be even more popular. It is hard to overstate just how massive MotoGP is in that part of the world.

OMG: Leaked Hi-Res Photos of the Kawasaki Ninja H2R

09/29/2014 @ 8:37 pm, by Jensen Beeler40 COMMENTS

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In five hours the Kawasaki Ninja H2 will officially debut at INTERMOT…of course, the internet waits for no motorbike. In addition to the first leaked photo we brought you, we now have a bevy of high-resolution images of the Kawasaki Ninja H2R, the racing sibling to the H2.

Several sites now are tipping the Kawasaki Ninja H2R as making 300 horsepower from its 998cc inline-four engine, a number that is achieved by the H2 & H2R’s centrifugal supercharger. That figure is much larger than some publications were reporting from their “sources” inside Kawasaki — or were just fabricating wholesale to get pageviews.

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Ducati Diavel Pricing – $16,995 Base & $19,995 Carbon

10/25/2010 @ 1:46 am, by Jensen Beeler8 COMMENTS

It’s Monday morning, so that means our friends at Ducati News Today have let loose more details about the upcoming 2011 Ducati Diavel performance cruiser. Showing us what looks like a CAD render of Termignoni’s exhaust system for the Diavel, DNT also tells us that the Ducati Diavel will start with an MSRP base price of $16,995, while the up-market carbon version will hit the wallet with an MSRP of $19,995. Rumored to make around 165hp, the Diavel is based off the same Testastretta 11º motor as the Ducati Multistrada 1200, and weighs 456lbs according to Ducati.

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2011 Triumph Daytona 675R Leaks Ahead of EICMA

10/21/2010 @ 10:21 am, by Jensen Beeler11 COMMENTS

UPDATE: The 2011 Triumph Daytona 675R will not receive any engine modifications over the base model.

More Triumph goodness has seeped onto the internet this morning, and it’s the 2011 Triumph Daytona 675R sport bike that we get to feast our eyes upon as photos of the sporty triple have been leaked ahead of EICMA. Öhlins forks and shock, radially-mounted Brembo monoblock calipers, a carbon fiber fender, and supposedly an upgraded spec sheet? Yes please.

Triumph’s three-cylinder sport bike has always set itself apart in an market segment dominated by inline-fours and v-twins, and with the 675R being a bit of a looker, we think that trend will continue. No word on pricing or hard performance stats, we might have to wait until EICMA for those. Check the photos after the jump.

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2011 Triumph Tiger 800 Breaks Cover – Photos Galore

10/21/2010 @ 1:55 am, by Jensen Beeler10 COMMENTS

UPDATE: Triumph has debuted the Tiger 800 & Tiger 800 XC at EICMA.

After a single photo of the 2011 Triumph Tiger 800 XC made its way onto the interwebs last week, we finally have the full set of pictures from that photo shoot, along with action shots of the Tiger Triumph 800, and studio shots of both bikes.

The two Tiger 800’s are essentially the same beasts underneath their slightly different exteriors, but the most obvious differences gleaned from these photos is the Triumph Tiger 800’s shorter length forks compared to the Tiger 800 XC’s, which obviously have to accomodate a larger-sized wheel (21″ compared to the road-going 800’s 19″ wheel).

Additionally the Tiger 800 XC gains pieces that add to its off-road prowess, such as hand guards and longer mud guard. Optional accessories seem to include fog lights, skid guards, crash bars, and an Arrow exhaust system. We’ll have to wait longer for official specifications, but check-out the gallery of 37 photos after the jump.

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Provisional 2011 MotoGP Calendar Leaked

09/13/2010 @ 11:35 am, by Jensen Beeler5 COMMENTS

While the official Provisional 2011 MotoGP Calendar isn’t expected to go public until later this week, we’ve gotten an inside look at the relatively unchanged MotoGP schedule for next season. Our right and honorable friends at MotoMatters were on the ball this morning when travel agents for MotoGP trips got the provisional calendar in their hands, with some already publishing it to the web (travel agents typically get the calendar before the paddock does, since their industry depends on knowing the schedule as early as possible).

There aren’t too many surprises in the 2011 calendar, but the most noteworthy change is the Qatar GP being moved up three weeks to March 20th, to better compete with the start of World Superbike Championship series. The Portuguese GP at Estoril also moves toward the front of the calendar, which seems to happen every other year now. Lastly, Motegi is on the docket, barring any unforeseen volcanic eruptions. We have yet to see when the TwitGP is scheduled for in 20011. Check the full provisional 2011 MotoGP Calendar after the jump.

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LEAKED: Sketch Explains Ducati Mega Monster

07/16/2010 @ 8:37 am, by Jensen Beeler24 COMMENTS

This sketch really explains itself. Porportedly coming from an unnamed Ducati dealer, we see that the yet-to-be unveild Mega Monster will feature the 1198cc Testastretta 11° v-twin motor. Also mentioned in the sketch is a ride-by-wire throttle and traction control system. If this is truly Ducati Project 0803, can we please move on to Project 0804…this one makes baby Jesus cry.

Source: Ducati.ms via Ducati News Today

Ducati Mega-Monster Spy Shots

06/29/2010 @ 6:16 am, by Jensen Beeler22 COMMENTS

MotoBlog.it has snagged some spy shots of the rumored Ducati power cruiser, or Mega-Monster as it’s now being called in the press (the Ducati Vyper nomenclature has seemingly been dropped). Aimed to take on Yamaha V-Max and it’s crew, the Mega-Monster is a big step for Ducati in tackling new market segments.

Taking a page from the Multistrada 1200 campaign, which saw a plethora of “leaked” images, we don’t really know if you can call these photos true “spy shots”. As with that release, these photos are clearly being staged by Ducati PR people, and then being leaked to motorcycle magazines.

With each rider clearly wearing Ducati apparel, the dots are being connected for us as we can see that the Bologna brand has indeed been working on a cruiser-styled bike, despite saying the project was canned last year. Photos and more after the jump.

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April Fools: Buell/Bombardier Team Up to Launch Bomber Motorcycles – 1190cc Motorcyle in the Works [UPDATED]

04/01/2010 @ 11:30 am, by Jensen Beeler32 COMMENTS

UPDATE 3: April Fools.

UPDATE 2: Avril Foujour of BRP has made a statement to Asphalt & Rubber confirming the press leak.

UPDATE: It looks Bomber Motorcycles has twitter and Facebook accounts both suggesting news to be released on Friday. Logo addded to the story.

A day ahead of its scheduled release, it would appear that someone inside Bombardier Recreational Products (BRP) has leaked an announcement that Erik Buell Racing and BRP will form a new motorcycle company called Bomber Motorcycles. The press release, which was posted on the Buell enthusiasts forum Bad Weather Bikers has now been taken down, perhaps by request of Erik Buell Racing or Bombardier. But it appears to have come from someone at Bombarider, and was thankfully forwarded to us by a quick spotting member. This would seem to confirm earlier chatter we heard last week in the Buell camps about a Bombardier connection that we dismissed as fallout from the Alan Cathcart article in DealerNews.

The surprise announcement couldn’t come on a worse day, although it looks like it was actually scheduled to occur tomorrow to avoid April Fools confusion. Never-the-less the press release outlines the creation of a joint-venture between the two companies, with a 1190cc sportbike slated for arrival late in 2010. Dubbed the Stratofortress, the bike features what sounds like a new Rotax powerplant that has 1190cc’s on board, and uses a 60 v-twin configuration. According to the release, the Bomber Stratofortress certainly sounds the part, making 160hp and weighing an alleged 365lbs dry. More after the jump.

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KTM Freeride Concepts Leak Ahead of Unveiling

03/24/2010 @ 11:23 am, by Jensen Beeler3 COMMENTS

UPDATE: In the wake of the embargo break, KTM has released official photos and a press release about the KTM FREERIDE concept motorcycles. They’ve been added to the bottom of the post.

German magazine Motorrad has leaked photos of the KTM Freeride near-production prototypes a few days ahead of the March 26th launch of the motorcycle at the Tokyo Motorcycle Show. The Freeride concepts are the first glimpse into a major manufacturer’s attempt at entering the electric motorcycle realm, and likely are a close representation to what we’ll see the Austrian company release to the public. More after the jump with photos.

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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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