Mmm…Check This Suzuki GSX1100SD Katana Race Bike

I am young enough that most of what I can remember of the 1980s is skewed by the forming mind of a child, thankfully. New Coke, ponytails to the side, Cabbage Patch Kids…Alf – it is all a bad dream as far as I am concerned. The 1980s were a pretty good decade for motorcycles though. Two-strokes still reigned supreme in grand prix racing, and some of America’s best two-wheeled heroes were riding them. The only rider-aids that were available were things like handlebars and footpegs. Even then, racing a motorcycle was a pursuit full of perils. Mirroring this notion on the production side of things, the superbike was just starting to be born in earnest, with consumers able to buy fire-breathing monsters that tested the limits of chassis and tire design. A healthy dose of male bravado was involved in riding a motorcycle like a Katana.

Mega Gallery: 24 Heures Motos at Le Mans

Not only does the FIM EWC showcase several manufacturers, with strong race-winning potential each of the championship’s multiple iconic events, but it the series is the last great venue for a proper battle between the different tire brands. Add to that the fact that the Endurance World Championship is comprised not only of endurance specialists, but also with some of the top names from motorcycle racing, both in factory and satellite teams, and it’s easy to find a reason to cheer for a particular entry. The best part though might be the photography that comes from motorcycle racing, which often spans from daylight and into the darkness of night. This year’s 24 Heures Motos at Le Mans event was no different, and we have a bevy of photos to share with you from France.

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.

MV Agusta F3 Put on Hold for Now

02/23/2010 @ 5:38 pm, by Jensen Beeler3 COMMENTS

MCN is reporting that the long-rumored MV Agusta three-cylinder, dubbed the MV Agusta F3 by the media (but not likely to be called this by MV), has been put on hold while MV Agusta looks for a new home outside of Harley-Davidson family. MCN goes on to report that the F3’s rumored displacement has been bumped up from 675cc to nearly 800cc.

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Repent Sinners At the Altar of the MV Agusta

12/13/2009 @ 2:00 pm, by Jensen Beeler1 COMMENT

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After spending time in Italy, it’s clear that there is some sort of connection between the country’s culture and motorcycling, which in Milan manifested itself as a physical calling. Italians seem incapable of simply just looking at a motorcycle, with many of our shots ruined by a hand grabbing of a tail section, or someone swinging a leg over a bike. Clearly, motorcycling is more than just a passive relationship here in Italy.

In just a few short hours, it’s already become clear that many of you are viewing the “Girls of EICMA” post earlier today, so we thought we’d conclude our coverage of EICMA with an opportunity this Sunday to repent. Bless me father, for I’ve bought a Honda. Be sure to check out the Carbon/Italian F4, and others after the jump.

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MV Agusta Brutale 1090RR from EICMA

12/06/2009 @ 10:30 am, by Jensen Beeler2 COMMENTS

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As we wind down our EICMA coverage, we present to you the 2010 MV Agusta Brutale 1090RR. Like the 990R, the 1090RR bares a strong resemblance to its predecessors, despite MV’s claim that the bike is over 80% brand new. While maybe bland in the creativity box, the classic Brutale line is a timeless hit. As such, the MV Agusta Brutale 1090RR was quite the crowd pleaser…maybe that’s why MV never changes it.

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VIDEO: Larceny and the MV Agusta F4

12/01/2009 @ 2:04 pm, by Jensen Beeler5 COMMENTS

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Obviously when you’re debuting a new motorcycle, you have to come up with some sort of video to promote the bike’s launch, but what do you include in the video? Close-ups of the bike? Yes. Tall and leggy blonde vixens? Of course. Multiple shots of the bike on a desolate track doing its thing? Naturally. A little B&E action? Yea…wait, what?!?

We don’t understand this video from MV Agusta, but it does seem to have a bit more plot than some of other online movies we’ve been seeing lately. Click past the jump for a heist adventure MV-style.

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New MV Agusta F4 to Be Released Tomorrow

10/07/2009 @ 10:16 pm, by Jensen Beeler4 COMMENTS

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MV Agusta is set to debut its latest revision of the F4 tomorrow, and have teased us with a glimpse of the bike’s front section. Like the 2010 MV Agusta Brutale, the overall design seems to be in-line with the F4’s of yore, which is underwhelming to say the least. Yes, the F4 is one of the most iconic modern sportbikes, and the standard by which all motorcycle designs are measured, but we are disappointed that MV is once again running back to the well for its product inspirations.

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2010 MV Agusta Brutale Breaks Cover

09/28/2009 @ 4:57 pm, by Jensen BeelerComments Off on 2010 MV Agusta Brutale Breaks Cover

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You’ll remember a month ago we brought you spy shots of what appeared to be the new MV Agusta Brutale testing around the Almeria Circuit in Spain. In that outing we spotted what appeared to be both the revised versions of 990R and 1090RR, and now we’re happy to report that the 2010 MV Agusta Brutale has officially broken cover.

You wouldn’t know it by looking at it, but the Brutale has had over 85% of it components redesigned and replaced. Clearly MV Agusta has kept the basic shape of the Brutale true to its original form, but if you look closer you can see where the details have changed. Video, pictures, technical specifications, and more after the jump.

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Harley Davidson Makes First Influences on How MV Agusta is Run

05/14/2009 @ 10:40 am, by Jensen Beeler1 COMMENT

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Things have been quiet on the Italian front after Harley-Davidson acquired premium sportbike manufacturer MV Agusta last year, with the American company apparently leaving the brand alone for a while after its purchase. The company we love to hate from Milwaukee has finally started to make some changes in the old Italian brand, drawing a clear line between what product lines will focus on a premium road bike experience for the rider, and what products will be developed for track day weaponry for the weekend warrior.

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Warren Buffett Invests $300MM in Harley-Davidson

02/04/2009 @ 12:43 pm, by Jensen BeelerComments Off on Warren Buffett Invests $300MM in Harley-Davidson

Harley-Davidson has announced that Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway group will invest $300 million in the motorcycle maker through a purchasee of senior unsecured notes that will mature in 2014. These funds match a similar investment by Davis Selected Advisers, L.P., which is already the largest shareholder of the company’s stock. Harley-Davidson will use the money to bolster its lending services, hopefully making it easier for the troubled motorcycle maker to lend cash to consumers. In exchange, Berkshire Hathaway will reportedly receive a lucrative 15% annual interest rate on the cash infusion.

The markets have responded to the news rather favorably, with Harley shares hitting $13.56 in trading yesterday afternoon – a 14% increase from where they started yesterday. Just about a week ago, Harley-Davidson announced a plan to shed 10% of its workforce. This move marks the first time that Buffett has ever invested in the company.

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NEW: 2009 MV Augusta Brutale 1078RR

11/23/2008 @ 11:00 am, by Jensen BeelerComments Off on NEW: 2009 MV Augusta Brutale 1078RR

Riding at the Pinnacle of the Naked bike craze is the MV Augusta Brutale. In typical MV fashion, very modest changes have occured for the 2009 line-up. Most obviously is the extra 169cc’s, which bump the Brutale’s displacement equal to that of the F4 (no surprise since they share so many common parts). Read more after the jump.

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NEW: 2009 MV Augusta F4 RR 312

11/23/2008 @ 9:00 am, by Jensen BeelerComments Off on NEW: 2009 MV Augusta F4 RR 312

What do you get when you cross and MV Augusta F4 CC (the 1078cc MV F4 variant) with an MV Augusta F4 R 312 (the MV F4 312kph capable variant)? Well, and MV Augusta F4 with 1078cc’s capable of doing over 312kph. Rated at 190hp, the 1078 is the “racing rules” be damned street bike with Italian flare. The F4 1000 (the current F4 R 312) will function as MV’s race homologated Superbike, meeting all the requirements and specification set down for WSBK competition. Details on the changes, and more pictures after the jump.

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