Honda & Hitachi Join Forces on Electric Vehicle Motors

News out Japan sees Honda and Hitachi starting a joint venture that will focus on providing motors for electric vehicles. The two companies signed today what they call a “memorandum of understanding, which is the Japanese business version of getting a promise ring to start a future company together. The still unnamed joint venture will be located in Hitachinaka City in the Ibaraki Prefecture, and be initially capitalized with ¥5 billion (~$44 million). Honda Motor Co. and Hitachi Automotive Systems hope to finalize this deal by March 2017, and the new company will have subsidiaries in China and the United States – both of which will have sales and production capabilities.

US Lawmaker Introduces Bill to Close the EPA by 2018

A bill has been presented to the United States House of Representatives that would seek the closure of the Environment Protection Agency (EPA) by 2018. Proposed by Rep. Matt Gaetz (R – Florida), HB 861 will likely be a mixed bag for motorcycle enthusiasts, as it will deregulate environmental restrictions set at the federal level, leaving states to draft or adopt their own provisions, which will likely have a fracturing effect on the regulatory market for motorcycles. But, it will also mean the abolition of EPA regulations that many motorcyclists oppose, like the blending of ethanol in our fuel, and restrictions on noise, emissions, and vehicle modifications.

KTM Invests in Heads-Up Display Company NUVIZ

Heads-up display (HUD) company NUVIZ just took a strategic investment from Pierer Industrie AG, the company behind KTM, Husqvarna, WP Suspension, and others. Today’s news is quite a catch for the San Diego based technology startup, and it bodes well for NUVIZ to bring its heads-up display technology to market. As such, NUVIZ hopes to have a heads-up display unit and connected rider system available in the first half of 2017. NUVIZ has raised roughly $9 million to date, via equity and debt, and our sources tell us that KTM’s purchase into the company has contributed to the lions’s share of that amount – upwards of $5 million, along with a seat on NUVIZ’s board of directors.

Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team Debuts

In an airplane hangar in Austria, Honda’s World Superbike team unveiled its wings…that is to say, the Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team debuted in the energy drink’s Hangar-7 facility in Salzburg today. As the name implies, Red Bull will be the title sponsor for Nicky Hayden’s and Stefan Bradl’s World Superbike title bid this year, on the updated 2017 Honda CBR1000RR SP2. This is the first time that Red Bull has been a title sponsor in the WorldSBK paddock, though the energy drink company’s livery can be seen on variety of bodywork throughout motorsport. “It’s a new year with a new bike, new title partner and new teammate, so there are definitely many changes ahead and a lot of things to look forward to,” said former MotoGP Champion Nicky Hayden.

PJ Jacobsen Gives His First Impressions of MV Agusta

PJ Jacobsen will once again be the sole American representation in World Supersport this year. The New Yorker had his first taste of his MV Agusta F3 in the dry while at the Jerez test, and came away suitably impressed by the bike that has won eight races in the hands of Jules Cluzel in recent years. The 23-year-old tested the bike in Jerez last year in what was seen as a shootout for the ride, but on a damp track he didn’t get a real feel for the bike. “Today was my first day on the bike this year,” said Jacobsen. “I did half a day on the MV last November in Jerez, but it was half wet, half dry so today was good to get out there. It was fully dry so I learned a lot and I’m quite happy with it. The bike is totally different to what I’ve ridden in the past, but the team works really well and they’ve impressed me.”

Check Out the 2017 Honda RC213V

The MotoGP launch season is still upon us, and now that we have seen the teams and bikes from Ducati, Suzuki, and Yamaha – it is time for Honda to take the wraps off the team its campaigning for its title defense. Debuting the 2017 Honda RC213V at a press event in Indonesia, not much has changed outwardly for the 240+ horsepower GP bike, though there a subtle differences to be seen, if you look closely and compare it to last year’s bike. The Repsol Honda fairings cover the biggest change that we know of, as reports from the test tracks confirm that Honda is experimenting with a “big-bang like” firing order on its V4 engine, a change from the “screamer” configuration of last season, which was handful for Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa to manage.

2016 Was A Very Good Year for Husqvarna

Last year proved to be a tough year for many brands, especially those with operations in the United States, but that wasn’t the case for Husqvarna. The rebooted Swedish brand is seeing good life while under its Austrian ownership. Making 2016 a very good year for Husqvarna, the brand is reporting a sales increase of a whopping 43% over 2015’s sales numbers. That is no small feat for Husqvarna, as 2015 was already a record year for the dirt-focuses brand, where it saw a 32% increase. Of course in many ways, up is the only direction Husqvarna can go, after its purchase by Pierer Industrie AG. Still, Husqvarna’s figure of 30,700 sold motorcycles in 2016 is a marked improvement from the near 10,000 units it was producing while part of BMW Motorrad.

2017 Suzuki GSX-RR Debuts in Malaysia

Debuting this weekend in Malaysia, the ECSTAR Suzuki MotoGP team has unveiled its team and livery for the 2017 season, which will see Andrea Iannone and Alex Rins riding the update Suzuki GSX-RR race bike. Suzuki has already shown that it has a bike capable of hunting for podiums; and on its best days, it can be a race-winner as well. For the 2017 season though, the Japanese brand hopes to build upon its success in 2016. As such, the ECSTAR Suzuki team has high hopes with the arrival Andrea Iannone, hoping that “Maniac Joe” can add some more wins to Suzuki’s tally. Looking long-term too, the addition of Alex Rins could be strong investment by Team Manager Davide Brivio, with Rins being one of Moto2’s top talents.

OEMs Are Trying to Block “Right to Repair” Laws

Asphalt & Rubber readers should be familiar with how attempts have been made to use the Digital Millennium Right Act (DMCA) as means of limiting how you can work on your vehicles, including your motorcycle. These attempts first started in 2015, and were pushed heavily by John Deere and the automobile lobby. Thankfully, last year the the Librarian of Congress allowed exemptions for vehicles to be applied to the DMCA, which will be in effect for the next two years. Now, the Motorcycle Industry Council (MIC) – a group that represents the interests of motorcycle manufacturers in the United States – is putting pressure on state legislatures and encouraging them to block “Right to Repair” bills that would codify the exemptions made to the DMCA.

EBR Motorcycles Shutting Down, Yet Again

EBR Motorcycles is closing its doors…again. Yes, you heard that right. America’s superbike brand will be winding down its production operations, starting next week, and is looking for a strategic investor to takeover the brand. Liquid Asset Partners (LAP) attributes its decision to shutdown EBR Motorcycles to the company’s difficulty to secure new dealerships, and thus increase sales. As a result, LAP says that its production volume for 2016 and 2017 was below expectations. The company then finishes its explanation for closing EBR Motorcycles with the following line: “the combination of slow sales and industry announcements of other major OEM brands closing or cutting production only magnified the challenges faced by EBR.”

Desmosedicis Mysteriously Found

11/21/2008 @ 8:21 pm, by Jensen BeelerComments Off on Desmosedicis Mysteriously Found

Everyone knows that the Ducati Desmosedici is the closest us mortal men will get to riding a true GP bike, and everyone knows they were produced in limited numbers. Because of this even the social elite had a hard time getting their hands on them since they ran out so quickly. So how does such a limited edition bike all of a sudden find a way to be un-sold-out all of a sudden?

According to Michael Lock, CEO of Ducati North America:

“We are fortunate to offer a few units to those interested individuals who were closed out of the initial ordering process…as the global run of 1500 bikes comes to an end we are notifying interested parties that we have secured inventory to deliver in the coming months, but only if they act quickly.”

I have a couple theories on this:

1) Bologna has switched to the base-8 counting system, and undercounted how many bikes they produced.
2) A box of Desmo’s fell-off the boat on their way to America, and until now were thought lost at sea.
3) The economy
4) El Niño
5) Ducati of North America saw that they under-priced the Desmosedici, and thus sold it at a price far-below what the market was willing to bare, and as any good micro-economics professor would suggest is bumping up supply to meet the demand curve for peak efficiency. 

Regardless of what answer you choose, the news is this…if you missed your chance to buy a Desmosedici in the United Stats, Canada, or Mexico, here is your second chance.

Source: visordown

The correct answer is #4. El Niño (Spanish for: The Nino) is in fact the cause of mysterious bike productions, the current economy, and French-Canadians.

RSV4 to Have Variable Throttle Bodies

11/20/2008 @ 12:03 pm, by Jensen Beeler2 COMMENTS

Dellorto is known in the automotive B2B world for its products in cars and trucks. Well now they are starting to offer their products for motorcycles, and Aprilia will be one of the first companies to integrate their technology in a product. What does this mean for the consumer? Well for starters, the RSV4 will be the first bike from Italy to have variable length throttle bodies. Read more after the jump.

 

Buell Makes 125,000th Motorcycle

11/14/2008 @ 4:13 pm, by Jensen BeelerComments Off on Buell Makes 125,000th Motorcycle

Buell has completed their 125,000th motorcycle, a 2009 white 1125R bound for Australia. Not bad for some good old boys.

Source: The Kneeslider

That really is a big air intake.

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Quantya Dealers Have Landed in The US

11/14/2008 @ 12:54 am, by Jensen BeelerComments Off on Quantya Dealers Have Landed in The US

Electric motorcycle manufacturers, Quantya, in partnership with Shredelectric, have set up their first dealership in the US. The Swiss company has been selling its electric dirt bikes in Europe with what they describe as some fair success. Pictures and more after the jump.

 

BMW S1000RR Teaser Video

11/13/2008 @ 12:00 am, by Jensen BeelerComments Off on BMW S1000RR Teaser Video

Like the title says, BMW has released a teaser video showcasing the S1000RR race and street bikes. The video is reminescent of the old BMW Films that were commissioned to highlight the four-wheeled Bavarian variety. No Hollywood stars here, but similar production quality. The video is being released on BMW’s new web-tv site. A&R looks forward to future versions…hopefully staring Clive Owen…and Madonna…maybe not in the order.

Source: BMW

Achtung!

EICMA: 2009 KTM 990 Adventure R

11/07/2008 @ 6:30 pm, by Jensen Beeler3 COMMENTS

KTM has latched onto the idea that if you make a bike, a great way to make the same bike…but more money on it, is to make an R version with some extra trick parts. It’s called market segmentation, and this author likes it. Likes it a lot. That being said, here is the 2009 KTM 990 Adventure R. It has more power, less weight, and is focused on being the bike for off-road adventure. More on those changes after the jump.

College Motorcycle Building Competition Brings Innovation into the Classroom

10/28/2008 @ 11:58 pm, by Jensen BeelerComments Off on College Motorcycle Building Competition Brings Innovation into the Classroom

MotoStudent competition is a competition created by the Moto Engineering Foundation in Spain. While the scope is Spanish and European for now, it has promise to expand to encompass schools from across the globe. The goal of the competition is to have student design and build motorcycles in a fashion similar the Formula SAR competitions in American colleges, which are sponsored by marque companies who use the events to recruit top talent engineers and future employees.

Source: Motostudent via The Kneeslider

Have AutoCAD, will design motorcycles for food.

Speeding Biker in YouTube Video Jailed

10/21/2008 @ 3:31 pm, by Jensen Beeler1 COMMENT

28-year-old Sandor Ferenci, like many motorcyclists, posted clips of himself riding his bike around on Oxfordshire roads. The problem is, the clips showed him, in various angles, traveling at excess speeds, smoking the tires, popping wheelies and otherwise being “a proper hooligan”. 

The real downside for Sandor is the fact The Bobbies didn’t appreciate those acts too much, and showed up on Mr. Ferenci’s doorstep to inquire further about those acts. After it was all said and done, Sandor will be doing 12 weeks behind British bars for his crime.

In addition to the jail sentence, Mr. Ferenci, who pleaded guilty to two counts of dangerous driving, was also barred from driving for two years and told he would have to take an extended driving test before he is allowed on the road again.

Video after the jump.

 

Insurance Companies Close Track Day Loophole

10/20/2008 @ 10:42 pm, by Jensen BeelerComments Off on Insurance Companies Close Track Day Loophole

Not that insurance companies give motorcyclists a lot of love when it comes to coverage claims, but things are about to get a bit tougher when looking for a little compensation for that weekend wreak. The New York Times is reporting how insurance companies are redefining what a track event is, and lumping any sort of incident on race courses as being an automatic claim denial.

While the changes are really affecting track day goers who prefer four wheels, it gives a glimpse into where the industry is headed as far as risk management. There is a silver lining though. The crackdown has opened up a market for track oriented underwriters. These policies are still costing a premium for car owners, but should they become available for motorcyclists, it should cost a reasonable enough price to gain traction in the marketplace. 

Maybe those AIG guys aren’t so bad afterall.

Source: New York Times via Autoblog

Can I Borrow Your Desmosedici?

10/20/2008 @ 9:23 pm, by Jensen Beeler1 COMMENT

Ducati Desmosedici RR

The Ducati Desmosedici RR is closest that us mere mortals will get to riding a GP bike on the street, that is of course if we have the $70,000+ sized wallet to afford the two-wheeled italian rocket ship to hell and back. The classic red and white livery, accented with carbon panels and aftermarket hotness could easily be displayed in a gallery, or say one’s garage. However, a few owners have seen it fit to ride their prized possession on the street and track, this is after-all where the Desmosedici was born to live. 

However, for some Desmosedici’s…this also where some go to die, as was the case for this unlucky bike (and probably unlucky owner when he gets home and tells his wife what he did).

Yeah, that’ll buff out.

From Ducati Monster Forum via Ninja6Zone

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