XXX: The 2015 Yamaha YZF-R1 World Endurance Race Bike is Pure Sex…with a Headlight

The long-winded “Yamaha France GMT 94 Michelin Racing” team is ready for FIM Endurance World Championship action this year, especially with the all-new 2015 Yamaha YZF-R1 motorcycle. The new R1 offers state-of-the-art electronics, as well as near-200hp from its crossplane four-cylinder engine, and the French team is looking to capitalize on those improvements in the EWC for 2015. Yamaha France took the 2014 title in a convincing fashion, so it will be interesting to see what riders David Checa, Kenny Foray, and Mathieu Gines can accomplish with their new toy. We’ve got a bevy of high-resolution photos for you, after the jump.

Not-A-Review: 2015 MV Agusta Motorcycles

As promised, here is the second part of our trip down to Fontana, California to meet with MV Agusta USA, go over the company’s new business plan for not only America, but also worldwide, and to ride the current crop of their 2015 machinery. I should preface right out of the gate that this is not a review in regards as to what you’ve come to expect from Asphalt & Rubber. I am not-so-cleverly calling this a “not-a-review” assessment of MV Agusta’s 2015 models. I say this because we had a very limited amount of time on each bike, as there was roughly 10 machines to divide our attention amongst. Think of this article as not far from someone test riding a bunch of motorcycles at a dealership, with similar duration and limits put in place…except that this someone rides motorcycles for a living.

Analyzing The Ducati Desmosedici GP15

Anyone watching the presentation of Ducati’s 2015 MotoGP bike will have learned two Italian phrases: “Emozionante” and “tanto lavoro”. Both were extremely apt. Getting from where Ducati was to where it is now with the Desmosedici GP15 had needed “tanto lavoro”, a lot of hard work, and they still have “tanto lavoro” ahead of them. The results were “emozionante”, a fantastic word nearer to exciting than emotional. But both exciting and emotional were apt phrases. The sense of eagerness was palpable among Ducati staff at Bologna on Monday. For good reason, the GP15 presented in a long, loud, and rather meandering show is radically different from what came before.

Some Thoughts on MV Agusta & A Story About Two Letters

MV Agusta USA recently invited a slew of journalists down to Fontana, California in order to talk about the company’s new business plan, and to ride its current lineup of motorcycles on the infield course. This article is “Part 1″ of that experience, as I wanted to separate my thoughts on MV Agusta, MV Agusta USA, and the general motorcycling climate into one story, and then have my “not-a-review” of the machines for another article. Got it? Ok, let’s go. It is probably easiest to start with where MV Agusta is as a company. MV Agusta has a started a new three-year business plan, which sees the company pushing into a full-range of motorcycles, pushing outside of its Italian boundaries, and pushing out of the “luxury” brand segment.

Photos: Ducati Desmosedici GP15

The Ducati Desmosedici GP15 is a machine that has been long in the making. It represents Gigi Dall’Igna’s next step forward for the wayward Ducati Corse MotoGP team, and it is the dubious honor of holding the hopes of Ducati fans around the world, who see the machine as the silver bullet that will return Ducati to the forefront of racing prowess — no pressure. The most obvious change that can be seen on the GP15 is the re-routing of the exhaust, with the undertail pipes collecting on the right-hand side of the machine, rather than coming in from both sides and meeting in the middle. Can you spot any other changes in the high-resolution photos after the jump? Let us know in the comments.

Politics & Corruption: Why There Isn’t a Race in Indonesia

If anyone needed any further proof that Indonesia is important to the Japanese motorcycle manufacturers, the fact the Repsol Honda team chose Bali as the location to launch their 2015 MotoGP project should remove any doubt. But if Indonesia is so important to the manufacturers, and to MotoGP, why is there not a race there? Over the course of the MotoGP test at Sepang, I had a few conversations with people on the subject. On the record, the story was always the same: we need a suitable track, and as soon as one exists we will be happy to go there. Off the record, however, they were much less optimistic.

A Requiem for Kenji Ekuan & The Kando of GK Design

Industrial design is not a commonly known, much less well understood, profession. To some it suggests arranging equipment inside factories, to others it means some kind of product engineering. In reality it is the search for, and expression of, human satisfaction in inanimate objects that are mass produced. That’s quite a mouthful, and to the average person it may sound like jiberish written for some pretentious coffee table book, but it is the truth. At least, it is one version of the truth as seen by the GK Design Group of Tokyo, Japan. If you ride motorcycles, then you are intimately familiar with the work of this large and internationally respected studio. Since only its second production bike, the indigenously designed YA-1, every Yamaha motorcycle since 1958 has been crafted by GK.

Are You The MV Agusta F4 RC?

What look to be official photos of the MV Agusta F4 RC have leaked out onto the internet, along with a slide from MV Agusta’s media presentation on the machine. The photos give us our first glimpse into Varese’s homologation special, complete with a special two-can exhaust by Termignoni. The leaked slide confirms some of the numbers being thrown around about the F4 RC, namely that it will have 212hp, 81.86 lbs•ft of torque, weigh 175kg dry, and cost €36,900 (we already know that the MV Agusta F4 RC will cost $46,000 in the USA). Information from a leaked slide last year has already told us that MV Agusta has radically overhauled the F4 RC’s engine, designing a new cylinder heard, new crankshaft, new camshaft, as well as adding bigger fuel injectors, lighter pistons, and titanium connecting rods.

Kenji Ekuan, Designer of the Yamaha VMAX Has Died

Mainstream news is mourning the death of Kenji Ekuan today, as the 85-year-old Japanese industrial designer is one of the most influential artists in Japan’s modern era, and is most well-known for his designing of the iconic Kikkoman soy sauce bottle. Ekuan’s lesser-known works though include a number of motorcycle designs for Yamaha, including the now 30-year-old Yamaha VMAX motorcycle, which makes his passing even more meaningful to motorcyclists around the world. Kenji Ekuan founded GK Industrial Design after WWII, and his company helped shape the way Japan rebuilt itself after the world war.

Ride Review: KTM 1290 Super Adventure

Despite its huge dimensions, not to mention a 30 liter fuel tank, the 2015 KTM 1290 Super Adventure never looks big or bulky. In fact, it is only when you mount the hard luggage that you can tell this bike can really cover long distances. Apart from a dorky little exposed wire from the heated grips near the throttle, the fit and finish is very high-end, especially the integrated curved lighting in the tank — it is quite a sight. At first glance the Super Adventure doesn’t have the massive personality and stance of its German rival, the BMW R1200GS Adventure, but that is in part due to the white color scheme and the absence of the typical beak as a front mudguard. KTM is going about things differently, and that is something that appeals to many riders…including us.

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.

Repent Sinners At the Altar of the MV Agusta

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

MV-Agusta-Repent-Sinners

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

2010-MV-Agusta-Brutale-1090RR-black-11

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

2010-mv-agusta-f4-3

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

mv-f4-2010-teaser

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

GIX3967

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

mv-agusta-312

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

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

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

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.