Kawasaki Ninja H2 / H2R Pricing Revealed

Even though the Kawasaki Ninja H2R debuted in October at the INTERMOT show, and the Kawasaki Ninja H2 debuted a few weeks ago at the EICMA show, Kawasaki was a bit slow to release the pricing and availability details of its two supercharged machines. Releasing now details for the US market, we can quote pricing for the H2 and H2R throughout the world. In the United States, the Ninja H2 and Ninja H2R will cost $25,000 and $50,000 respectively. Interested parties will have to special order the bikes, before December 19th, from their local Kawasaki dealership, and buyers should note that the H2R comes with certain restrictions.

Up-Close with the Kawasaki Ninja H2

With the track-only Kawasaki Ninja H2R putting out 300hp from its supercharged 998cc displacement, the 200hp Kawasaki Nina H2 street bike seems positively demure, by comparison. Of course, any 200hp machine is more than a handful, and we doubt many H2 owners will keep their machines street legal for very long — it’s been explained to A&R that it doesn’t take much work to uncork the H2…we’re just not sure if that’s a good or bad thing though. Ostentatious might be the best way to describe the new H2. Bringing back forced induction to the sport bike scene is a pretty bold move from Kawasaki, and something we will likely see more of from the Japanese manufacturers.

Indianapolis GP Named Best Grand Prix by MotoGP

At the conclusion of each GP season, an awards ceremony is held to celebrate the year’s champions, crowning the top riders in each category, the top manufacturers, and even the top venue for the season. This year, the honors of the latter went to familiar locale, as the Red Bull Indianapolis GP round was named the “Best Grand Prix” of the 2014 season, making it the first North American round to receive such an honor. Selection criteria for the award included consideration of the venue, promotion, and overall facility operations. For the 2014 race, Indianapolis Motor Speedway once again repaved its infield section, making alterations to several turns in order to facilitate passing and adding to the track’s overall consistency.

Up-Close with the 2015 Ducati Multistrada 1200

If there’s a motorcycle that launched at EICMA that I wish we had given more coverage to, it would be the 2015 Ducati Multistrada 1200. The new adventure-sport machine from Ducati is all-new for the next model year, though it would be hard to tell it from the photos. Even our modest collection of “up-close” photos here don’t do justice to the venerable Multistrada. The face of the Multistrada 1200 has been reworked, with the “beak” softened a bit from its falcon-like profile. The intake inlets are larger in appearance, and the headlight housing is noticeably different with its six LED projectors for the Ducati Corner Lights system (on the “S” model). This perhaps makes for an interesting “face” on the motorcycle, and like its predecessor, you will either love it or hate it.

Marco Melandri Returns to MotoGP, with Aprilia

After finishing fifth in the 2014 World Superbike Championship with Aprilia, Marco Melandri will continue with the Italian manufacturer, but switch to the MotoGP paddock for next season. Melandri will join Alvaro Bautista in the Aprilia Racing garage, where they will compete on an updated version of the ART machine, which was originally built to compete under the CRT bike rules. The team, now operated by Gresini Racing, will come up to speed during the 2015 season, and in 2016 they will race with a brand new race bike, which will use the compulsory “open” spec-electronics from Magneti Marelli. For Melandri, the move to MotoGP is a bit of gamble, with Aprilia’s program uncertain.

Up-Close with the Honda RC213V-S Prototype

I can’t decide whether to be elated or disappointed over the Honda RC213V-S prototype, which was debuted this week at the EICMA show in Milan, Italy. On the one hand, the RC213V-S lived up to the hype…literally a MotoGP race bike with lights, mirrors, turn signals, and a license plate. On the other hand, for all the waiting and consternation from Honda, what they brought to Milan was a fairly derivative and obvious design. Rumors of a true MotoGP-derived sport bike from Honda have been circling for several years now (closer to a decade, if you’re a reader of MCN), and the project borrows the ethos found in the Ducati Desmosedici RR project, another exclusive GP-bike-for-the-street motorcycle.

The Ducati Streetfighter 848 Is Spared the Axe for 2015

The Ducati Streetfighter lives for another year, as Ducat is showing off the Ducati Streetfighter 848 as a 2015 model year machine at the EICMA show in Milan. There had been doubts about the Streetfighter 848 continuing to be a part of the Ducati lineup going forth, especially as the Italian company has moved away from the 849cc v-twin platform, favoring the 821cc engine variations for the Hypermotard the Monster lines, and the 899cc Superquadro for the Panigale. The Streetfighter was never a big hit in the world market, becoming more of a cult classic machine amongst riders. Combined sales with the Hypermotard account for roughly 20% of Ducati’s annual sales, with the Hypermotard doing the majority of the heavy-lifting in that regard.

Moto Guzzi MGX-21 Prototype

Cruisers really aren’t our cup of tea here at Asphalt & Rubber, which might explain the lack of coverage for America’s gift to the two-wheeled world on our website. That being said, it’s hard to pass on the lurid Moto Guzzi MGX-21 prototype that is on display at this year’s EICMA show. A reworked Moto Guzzi California 1400, the MGX-21 is clad in carbon fiber, matte black paint, and red highlights. The carbon fiber disc wheels are a nice touch too (that’s a 21″ wheel up front, by the way), as are the sweeping lines from the front cowl and fenders. We’re finding ourselves a bit smitten with this Moto Guzzi, as true to the brand, it strays from the cruiser norm. We think you’ll like it too, check out the photos after the jump.

Up-Close with the Honda “True Adventure” Prototype

One of the more anticipated motorcycles at the 2014 EICMA show, off-roaders were expecting to see the new Honda Africa Twin in Milan this week. Instead, Honda trotted out what they’re calling the “True Adventure” prototype. Despite not being a production model, the True Adventure prototype looks ready for prime time, and we got a series of “up-close” photos of the machine. Most obvious is the bike’s parallel twin engine, which is rumored to be 1,000cc in displacement. That sizing/weight class seems to jive with the dual front brake discs, which also sports an ABS tone ring. We can expect Honda to have traction control operating off the front and rear wheel speeds as well, and other electronic packages as well.

Money: Motorcycle Racing’s Biggest Problem

What is the biggest problem in motorcycle racing today? Is it the predominant role electronics are playing, ruining the racing? Is it the ever more restrictive rules imposed, killing bike development and the spirit of Grand Prix racing? Is it the lack of competitive machinery, making it impossible for anyone but a factory rider to win a race? Or is it the dominance of the two top manufacturers, driving costs up and discouraging wider manufacturer participation? You can point to all of those and more as being an issue, but they pale in comparison to the real problem the sport of motorcycle racing faces at the moment: Money. Specifically, the lack of it, and the inability of almost everyone involved in the sport to find ways of raising any. All of the ills of both MotoGP and World Superbikes can be traced back to this single failure.

MV Agusta F3 Put on Hold for Now

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

MV Agusta F3 Put on Hold for Now 2011 MV Agusta F3 spy shot 1 635x485

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.

Repent Sinners At the Altar of the MV Agusta

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

Repent Sinners At the Altar of the MV Agusta MV Agusta Repent Sinners 560x375

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.

MV Agusta Brutale 1090RR from EICMA

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

MV Agusta Brutale 1090RR from EICMA 2010 MV Agusta Brutale 1090RR black 11 560x374

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.

VIDEO: Larceny and the MV Agusta F4

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

VIDEO: Larceny and the MV Agusta F4 2010 mv agusta f4 3 560x373

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.

New MV Agusta F4 to Be Released Tomorrow

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

New MV Agusta F4 to Be Released Tomorrow mv f4 2010 teaser 560x289

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.

2010 MV Agusta Brutale Breaks Cover

09/28/2009 @ 4:57 pm, by Jensen BeelerComments Off

2010 MV Agusta Brutale Breaks Cover GIX3967 560x373

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.

Harley Davidson Makes First Influences on How MV Agusta is Run

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

Harley Davidson Makes First Influences on How MV Agusta is Run mv agusta 312 560x343

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.

Warren Buffett Invests $300MM in Harley-Davidson

02/04/2009 @ 12:43 pm, by Jensen BeelerComments Off

Warren Buffett Invests $300MM in Harley Davidson Jensen Beeler Warren Buffett 635x426

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.

NEW: 2009 MV Augusta Brutale 1078RR

11/23/2008 @ 11:00 am, by Jensen BeelerComments Off

NEW: 2009 MV Augusta Brutale 1078RR mv agusta f4 brutale 1098 08 2 560x371

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.

NEW: 2009 MV Augusta F4 RR 312

11/23/2008 @ 9:00 am, by Jensen BeelerComments Off

NEW: 2009 MV Augusta F4 RR 312 mv agusta f4 rr 312 10 560x373

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.