Newspeak: The Advent of the “Adventure-Sport”

In the past decade the ADV segment has been a confusing amalgamation of differing interests, and over that time-period, two distinct groups have boiled to the surface. First there are the “Long Way Round” hopefuls, who invariably own a BMW R1200GS/A, and seem to be on some sort of perpetual preparation for an African safari. More recently, a second group has appeared: those riders who look to these big ADV bikes as more versatile Sport-Touring machines. All these riders, and their bikes, have been wedged into a single “Adventure” category, and it has created a bit of confusion for the segment. So, I want to introduce the concept of the “Adventure-Sport” and how it differentiates from the previous “Adventure-Touring” category.

MotoGP: Ducati’s Desmosedici GP15 Officially Delayed

As had been widely expected, Ducati will not have the GP15 ready for the first test at Sepang, in early February. In an interview with the MotoGP.com website, due to be shown on 19th January, Ducati Corse boss confirmed that work was still underway on the all-new bike; and that instead, Ducati will be bringing an uprated version of last year’s bike, dubbed the GP14.3, to test aspects of the new design not requiring the new engine. The delays have been trailed by both Dall’Igna and Paolo Ciabatti, speaking to the media at the Valencia test and at the Superprestigio dirt track event in December. The GP15 is a completely new bike, designed from the ground up, with a completely redesigned engine.

1972 Honda CB500, 3D Printed to Life Size

We’ve talked a bit before about the virtues of 3D printing, and how this increasingly affordable technology could change the consumer landscape as far as how we buy basic parts in the motorcycle industry. For as practical as how 3D printing, or rapid prototyping, can be, it can also be beautiful and used for art. This story is sort of a merger of those two ideas. Jonathan Brand has hoped to buy a 1972 Honda CB500 motorcycle, but the birth of his son changed that plan. Where there is a will though, there is a way, and Brand came up with the next best thing — he built a life-size model of a CB500 with his 3D printer.

Mercedes CEO: No Further Acquisition of MV Agusta

Italians are rejoicing over the news that Mercedes-Benz CEO Dieter Zetsche has made it clear that the German car manufacturer is not interested in acquiring more of MV Agusta’s private stock. Loyal readers will remember that Mercedes-AMG purchased 25% of MV Agusta last October, for a rumored €30 million — echoing the move Audi made in Ducati. Talking at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit though, Zetsche said “however, to avoid what happened with Ducati we point out that we have no intention to take over the business or produce motorcycles. MV Agusta can do it better than us.”

Triumph Has Its Best Sales Year Since Its Rebirth

Good news for Triumph Motorcycles fans, as the British motorcycle marque is reporting a banner year for 2014 — with 54,432 units sold worldwide. That figure is up 4% over 2013’s sales figure of 52,089 units, which was the first time that Triumph broke the 50,000 unit mark since the company’s rebirth in 1984. Helping Triumph reach this new high-water mark was the company’s home market, where Triumph accounted for one-in-five motorcycles sold in the UK (over 500cc). Overall, Triumph saw 8% growth in the UK, as modest growth considering the British market was up roughly 10% last year. The news is not all good, however. Triumph previously reported that financial figures for the first-half of 2014 were down, with revenue down £364 million from £369 million, and net income at a loss of £8 million.

Husqvarna 401 Concepts Will Be 2017 Production Models

One of the more intriguing things to come out of the 2014 EICMA motorcycle show in Milan were Husqvarna’s two “401” concepts, the Vitpilen and Svartpilen. The café-styled bikes are based off the KTM 390 Duke platform, though you wouldn’t know it from looking at them. Husqvarna said at EICMA that if there was sufficient interest, the Vitpilen and Svartpilen could go into production. With an overwhelming critical response from the press and fans, it should come no surprise then that our friends at Bike.se are reporting that Husqvarna intends to make the small-displacement machines a part of its 2017 model lineup.

Ducati Desmosedici Cucciolo Concept by Alex Garoli

Imagine if you will that the first Ducati, the Ducati Cucciolo, and the most modern Ducati, the Ducati Desmosedici, had a child — what would it look like? That far-fetched question nagged Mexican designer Alex Garoli, so he decided to build a concept of the machine. At the core of the Ducati Desmosedici Cucciolo is the V4 powerplant of Italy’s MotoGP race bike, and around it Garoli has imagined a modern steel trellis frame that mimics the bicycle frame look of the post-WWII motorized bicycles that pulled Italy out of deep recession. Of course the most interesting thing about Garoli’s concept is the fact that it’s a ~12:1 scale model. The work is pretty exquisite, even if you don’t agree with the concept’s ethos.

Is Suzuki Reviving the Katana and Gamma Names?

Signs of life are starting to trickle out of Hamamatsu, as Suzuki finally seems to be working on new models for our riding pleasure. First, it was the news that the turbocharged Suzuki Recursion concept is likely to go into production, and now it’s that the Japanese OEM is reviving iconic names from its past: Katana and Gamma. Suzuki has re-registered the Katana name & logo with both the European and American trademark offices, while the Gamma logo has been re-registered in the EU. What this means precisely in terms of future models is up for debate. As for the name Katana, the evidence might already be in front of us with the Recursion concept. The Suzuki Katana line started life as a performance-oriented machine, and slowly saw its name watered down into the sport-touring segment.

MV Agusta Gets €15 Million Loan for New Business Plan

Good turns for MV Agusta, as the Italian motorcycle manufacturer has secured a €15 million loan from SACE and Banca Popolare di Milano (BPM). The loan, which was issued by BPM and guaranteed by SACE, will go towards MV Agusta’s foreign growth plans, namely the company’s strengthening of its US business, and its push into Brazil and Southeast Asia. The more business-speak version of that statement is that MV Agusta will use the €15 million to implement the company’s 2014-2018 business plan, which has the company expanding its product range and penetrating into “high-potential” markets.

Turbocharged Suzuki Recursion Going into Production?

News from Japan seems to suggest that Suzuki is making a production version of its Recursion concept. For those that don’t remember, the Suzuki Recursion Concept was based around a turbocharged 588cc two-cylinder engine. The idea was to achieve liter-bike power from a middleweight-sized machine, thus offering enthusiasts high-power but nimble machines to ride. The news that Suzuki is putting the Recursion into production isn’t too far-fetching, though the original source does seem to be the not-always-accurate Japanese publication Young Machine. We will let you measure out how much faith to give that report, but make no mistake that a new era in motorcycle motor design is upon us.

WSBK: Race 2 at Imola Strictly an Italian Affair

09/27/2009 @ 6:13 pm, by Jensen BeelerComments Off

Michel-Fabrizio-Superpole-WSBK-Imola

Race 2 promised to have more close racing, as many riders in Race 1 proved they could race near the top (not to mention, many riders in WSBK have contracts up for renewal). With Imola being the home track for the Ducati loyal, a lot of fans we’re waiting to see the red bikes up front.

Many Xerox Ducati fans were also keen to see if Haga could retake the lead in the World Superbike Championship standings with a strong showing at Imola. They would not be disappointed, a full race report after the jump.

WSBK: Race 1 at Imola Takes the World Superbike Championship Up Another Level

09/27/2009 @ 5:23 pm, by Jensen Beeler4 COMMENTS

Imola-WSBK-Race-1-Haga

Racing went off without a hitch this Sunday, as the Imola circuit seemed devoid of earlier traction problems that almost sidelined the racing earlier this week. With Imola sitting literally in Ducati’s backyard, all eyes were on the Xerox Ducati squad, and Noriyuki Haga.

Haga, who trails Ben Spies for the first time this season coming into Imola, was especially keen on grabbing back some points from the American. Lastly, a new addition to the WSBK paddock took the form of Marco Simoncelli, who was filling in on the factory Aprilia team for the injured Shinya Nakano. A full race report with spoilers after the jump.

WSBK: Superpole Overcomes Slippery Imola Track

09/26/2009 @ 9:53 pm, by Jensen BeelerComments Off

Michel-Fabrizio-Superpole-WSBK-Imola

With track conditions at the Imola causing a near mutiny during the practice sessions, there was a panic in the WSBK paddock as to whether racing would occur at the Bologna circuit this weekend. After track officials cleaned the Imola tarmac, it became too slippery to ride upon. Whether due to the mixture of oil and water on the track, or the absence of the usual layers of rubber forming on the race line, the conditions caused riders to refuse to take to the track over safety concerns.

Commenting about the conditions, Ben Spies stated the course was slipperier than full wet conditions. Max Biaggi was also heard saying that the course was too slippery for racing, and that Sunday’s races could not take place on the course under these circumstances. Despite this, WSBK Superpole action still occurred, read on for more.

Breaking: Stoner Out Next 3 MotoGP Races

08/10/2009 @ 11:47 am, by Jensen Beeler1 COMMENT

Casey-Stoner-fatigue-Brno

Ducati has just announced that Casey Stoner will miss the GP this weekend at Brno, as well as the next two races. The decision was made by Stoner and his medical staff back in Australia, who have been trying to track down the reason for the rider’s chronic fatigue.

Stoner will return to MotoGP racing in October, at the Portuguese GP. Until then, Mika Kallio will replace Stoner on the Ducati Marlboro factory bike, and WSBK rider Michel Fabrizio will take Kallio’s spot on the Pramac Ducati satellite team.

Video: Fabrizio/Spies Crash from Brno

07/27/2009 @ 5:40 pm, by Jensen BeelerComments Off

We called it the crash that could cost the Championship. Time will tell whether we were right about that one, but you can make the call for yourselves as to whether you think its possible to surf a sliding R1. We gave Ben a C-.

This isn’t the first time Fabrizio has collided with a competitor while passing. Last year he took out Max Biaggi…twice (Misano then later Portimao). Fabrizio, in his garage before race 2, displayed a little note to the cameras apologizing for the incident, it read, “I’m realy sorry. I love you Ben”, clearly feeling bad about the incident.

Spies wasn’t feeling the love though, writing on his site that “it was not the best move in the world, but that’s how racing goes sometimes. Michel was trying to apologize to me after the crash and I didn’t want to hear it. I was trying to tell him to use his head. Obviously I was not happy at the time.”

Source: YouTube via TwoWheelsBlog

WSBK: Something to Prove in Race 2 at Brno

07/26/2009 @ 8:07 pm, by Jensen BeelerComments Off

Biagii-Race-2-Brno-WSBKjpg

Continuing on our Eastern European tour, Race 2 had a number of riders with something to prove on two wheels. With teams on a more level playing field after the recent test at the Brno venue, Race 2 proved to be an opportunity for the diamonds in the rough to shine, and for old rivals to get some payback.

WSBK: Race 1 at Brno – The Crash That Could Cost the Championship

07/26/2009 @ 7:32 pm, by Jensen BeelerComments Off

Spies-Biaggi-Brno-Race-1-WSBK

Brno has a variety of meanings to different people. To the Old Czech, the words means muddy, to the Slavs it means to fortify, to men aged 16-55 it means rail thin supermodels, but to motorcycle race fanatics, the city should take on the meaning of unpredictable racing action. You’ll have to continue after the jump to see why Race 1 proves this theory.

Hopkins Questionable for Racing at Brno

07/17/2009 @ 1:30 am, by Jensen Beeler1 COMMENT

John-Hopkins-Stiggy-Honda-WSBK

Despite being 6th fastest in today’s World Superbike testing at Imola, Italy, John Hopkins may not be at Brno in two weeks, when WSBK takes up racing again. After yesterday’s off, Hopkins was in pain through out the night, and after this mornings testing session, the American had some X-rays taken of his leg.

After looking at the results of his X-ray, doctors here in the US determined that Hopkin’s bones were not developing calcium deposits properly, and diagnosed him with osteoporosis. This finding leaves some doubt as to whether Hopper will be on his Honda at Brno, since a crash there would likely have dire consequences on his body in its current state.

Fabrizio Fastest at Day 1 of Imola WSBK Test

07/16/2009 @ 2:50 am, by Jensen BeelerComments Off

imola-1

Michael Fabrizio was the fastest man of the day while testing at Imola today for World Superbike. He was followed closely by Ben Spies, who was just a tenth of second behind the Italian rider.

Notably absent from the testing day was the injured Noriyuki Haga, who isn’t expected to be back to WSBK until the race at Brno, which is in two weeks.

However, noticably present near the top of the leaderboard was Ruben Xaus, with the BMW squad clearly making some progress with their $13,800 motorcycle.

WSBK: Race 2 at Donington Park Ends with a Nearly Fractured Vertebrae

06/28/2009 @ 6:31 pm, by Jensen Beeler2 COMMENTS

Ben-Spies-WSBK-Race-2-Donington-Park

If the close racing of Race 1 wasn’t enough drama for the fans at Donington Park, Race 2 provided it in full. Another breakaway start, and a couple key crashes, lead to a shake up in the finishing results, and one rider was rushed off to the hospital for a suspected fractured vertabrae that might change the course of the season. Continue reading for spoilers.