Photos: Valentino Rossi’s Special Misano Helmet, 2014

The San Marino GP is truly Valentino Rossi’s home MotoGP round, and tradition sees him sporting yet another special helmet for the event. This year Aldo Drudi has focused his design on the people close to Rossi’s life, with the helmet also sporting the phrase “Misano ci dà una mano”, meaning “Misano gives you a hand”. A colorful piece, Rossi’s AGV Pista helmet is adorned with the handprints of the mechanics of the Movistar Yamaha MotoGP team. There are also the paw prints of his beloved dogs Cesare and Cecilia, as well as his cat Rossano. You will also notice two sets of lips, from the two women currently in Rossi’s life, his mother Stefania and his girlfriend Linda. The last mark is a thumbprint from Aldo Drudi himself, a long time friend and designer for The Doctor.

2015 Yamaha FJ-09 Spotted in CARB Filings

We were already tipped off to the Yamaha FJ-09 in Yamaha’s trademark filings with the US government, the bike’s design has also recently been outed in European trademark filings, and now the supposed three-cylinder sport-tourer has been confirmed for 2015 by the California Air Resources Board. Featuring the same displacement as the Yamaha FZ-09, it is a safe bet that Yamaha’s triple goes unchanged for the FJ-09, with the differences between the two bikes likely being mostly aesthetic. The CARB filing also lists two model numbers, which the astute will notice as being two color options for the FJ-09; and not two separate models coming from Yamaha, as other reports have indicated. This is normal from Yamaha North America.

Aprilia Will Return to MotoGP in 2015 with Gresini Racing

It is to be a weekend of announcements, most of them already widely expected. The most widely trailed move has now been confirmed officially: from 2015, Aprilia is to return to MotoGP with the Gresini Racing team. Aprilia and Gresini have reached agreement for the next four seasons, with Gresini running the Italian factory’s team through 2018. The partnership benefits both sides: by entering via Gresini, Aprilia will save €3.4 million in their first year in the class, an important saving which will allow them to spend more resources on development. The partnership was important to Gresini, as having lost their sponsorship from Go&Fun, the future of the team’s places in MotoGP was under severe threat. Aprilia’s funding will now keep them in the premier class.

Q&A: Mike Leitner – Pedrosa’s Crew Chief Talks Strategy

Leitner talks about how Pedrosa was the first rider to realize that pushing hard from the earliest laps could be a profitable strategy, and how other riders have now followed his lead. He talks about the potential and the dangers of the Bridgestone tires, and how crucial the starts have become in MotoGP. What Leitner does not talk about is the possibility that Pedrosa could decide to look for a new crew chief for 2015 and beyond. It was a question I would have liked to have asked, but I was told that the topic was officially off limits, including tangential questions (such as how Leitner felt the crew chief change had worked out for Valentino Rossi). Despite not being able to ask directly about that question, the interview with Leitner provided a fascinating insight into MotoGP racing.

Mercedes-AMG to Take a Minority Interest in MV Agusta?

News of Mercedes-AMG eyeing an acquisition of MV Agusta have been circulating for some time now, likely as the deal has continued to evolve between the two parties. Now, Italy’s reliable Motociclismo is reporting that AMG has agreed to purchase a minority position, likely around 20% of the company, the announcement of which will be made at the EICMA show in Milan, Italy. The deal shouldn’t see too much involvement from Mercedes-AMG in the affairs of MV Agusta, however the stock purchase will certainly put some much need capital in the Italian motorcycle company’s coffers.

2015 Honda VFR800X Crossrunner – More Than an Update

For the 2015 model year, the Honda VFR800X Crossrunner is getting a massive update from Big Red. As such, the 800cc V4 engine on the Crossrunner sees more horsepower (104.6 peak) and more mid-range torque added, new design aesthetics, longer suspension (+25mm) , and new wheels and brakes also get updates for 2015. Other highlights for the 2015 Honda VFR800X Crossrunner include Honda’s Selectable Torque Control system (HTSC), ABS brakes, full LED lighting, self-cancelling indicators, and heated grips, which Honda hopes will help ADV buyers consider the Japanese brand. With these changes, the 2015 Honda Crossrunner pushes further into the adventure side of the touring equation, making the Crossrunner an attractive sport/ADV model from Honda.

Matchless Model X Reloaded – Blending Old with New

Two years ago we spoke of the rebirth of the Matchless motorcycle brand, and today we see the first fruits of that company’s labor. Debuting three renderings that depict a future model, we get to see our first glimpse of the Matchless Model X Reloaded – a motorcycle that blends both the modern technology of today with the iconic lines of the British marque’s past. Borrowing its name from the Matchless Model X, the Model X Reloaded keeps some of the 1920′s motorcycle’s aesthetic, helping connect the brand of the past to the company of the future. Other details are thin, though we do know that the Matchless Model X Reloaded will have an S&S X-Wedge v-twin motor with 1,916cc of displacement.

Honda Is Recalling 126,000 Goldwings

American Honda has filed a recall with NHTSA, which sees the recall of 126,000 Honda Goldwing motorcycles. The recall comes about because the rear brake of the Honda Goldwing may drag after the brakes have been released. With 533+ bikes already experiencing the problem, Honda’s recall affects GL1800 bikes built between 2001 and 2010, and also affects GL1800A bikes built between 2001 and 2005. Since dragging the rear brake could cause a crash, and because the added heat generation could cause a fire (four instances have already occurred), Honda has recalled the Goldwing, though has not determined a remedy at this time for the situation.

TrakTape – Track Riders, You’ll Want to See This

Straight from the department of “now why didn’t I think of that” we bring you the miracle of TrakTape. Pre-cut model-specific adhesive covers for your headlight, tail light, and signals, TrakTape makes getting your bike onto the track a snap, and looks aces in the process. For now, TrakTape seems to only have a few Ducati models in its arsenal, though it seems logical to see other makes and model hitting their store in the future. At $20/sheet, you might balk at the price, though consider that a roll of good gaffer tape runs close to $30 — so, the four pack at $70 might make more sense for the budget racers. The only thing we’d like to see from TrakTape would be sheets for just headlights, just tail lights, just signals, etc. I can remember taping my bike’s headlight and tail light all the time, but usually removed the signals.

Yamaha MT-09 Triple Cross Over Concept by Oberdan Bezzi

We’re really digging the FZ-07/FZ-09 based concepts from Oberdan Bezzi, if you haven’t noticed. It is probably because the FZ-09 is such an affordable, yet potent package, from Yamaha that it begs to be built-up and modded upon. We’ve already seen street tracker and world crosser concepts from Bezzi, and this “Triple Cross Over” design builds upon the same themes as before. We already know that Yamaha has gotten the hint, and is expected to show a TDM-style version of the FZ-09/MT-09 at this year’s trade shows, but here is another design to whet our appetites and pique our imaginations. The Triple Cross Over fills the gap left by the upcoming TDM model, and is more of a scrambler than an ADV bike.

2016 Midual Type 1 Prototype – Motorcycle Opulence

08/27/2014 @ 11:35 am, by Jensen Beeler51 COMMENTS

2016 Midual Type 1 Prototype   Motorcycle Opulence 2016 Midual Type 1 prototype 05 635x428

Leave it to the French. The Midual Type 1 is perhaps one of the most intriguing motorcycle designs that we have seen this year, though much of the roadster seems to lust for attention, rather than serve a realistic purpose.

Debuting at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, an opulent venue in its own right, the 2016 Midual Type 1 prototype appeals to the uber-rich crowd, not only in its touches and aesthetics, but also with its €140,000 price tag ($185,000).

While that price tag gets you a certain exclusivity, the most striking feature of Midual’s machine is of course its 1,036cc longitudinally mounted boxer-twin engine, which sits proudly in the machine’s bespoke frame.

Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance: 1978 Ducati 900 NCR Mike Hailwood Race Bike

08/23/2011 @ 7:43 pm, by Jensen Beeler14 COMMENTS

Pebble Beach Concours dElegance: 1978 Ducati 900 NCR Mike Hailwood Race Bike 1978 Ducati 900 NCR Mike Hailwood Pebble Beach 2 635x425

The story of Mike Hailwood’s 1978 comeback season cannot be told without mentioning the 1978 Ducati 900 NCR that he rode to victory both at the Isle of Man TT and Mallory Park. Taking an 11 year break from motorcycle racing, the 38-year-old Hailwood made a triumphant return to two-wheeled racing on-board an NCR prepped Ducati 900 SS.

Making 87hp, Hailwood’s NCR was underpowered compared to the favored Honda of Phil Read, but that didn’t stop “Mike the Bike” from racing one of the most legendary races in history of the sport. Bringing out the same bike that Hailwood road on the TT course (a quick thank you to Steve Wynn and Ron Winder for the clarifications in the comments), this 1978 Ducati 900 NCR shown at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance is comprised of the Hailwood’s race bike with a rebuilt motor from that season.

A true contender for the superlative “Greatest of All Time”, this ’78 NCR is truly special machine for racing enthusiasts as it comes from one of Hailwood’s all-time best races. Accordingly, the judges at Pebble Beach awarded it Third in Class at this year’s Concours d’Elegance.

Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance: 1956 Ariel Square 4 with Garrard Sidecar

08/25/2009 @ 8:37 pm, by Jensen Beeler1 COMMENT

Pebble Beach Concours dElegance: 1956 Ariel Square 4 with Garrard Sidecar 1956 Ariel Square 4 with Garrard Side Car 1 560x374

This 1956 Ariel Square 4 features a matching Garrard sidecar (stocked with Champagne!). If you take a quick glance at this Ariel, you might notice something doesn’t quite look right. This is because tt the heart of the Ariel is a 997cc square-four engine, or “Squariel”, which was designed in 1936 by the unemployed engine designer Edward Turner.

Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance: 1932 BSA W32-6 with Matching Sidecar

08/25/2009 @ 11:00 am, by Jensen BeelerComments Off

Pebble Beach Concours dElegance: 1932 BSA W32 6 with Matching Sidecar 1932 BSA W32 6 Sidecar 2 560x374

The BSA w32-6 was built mainly for use with a side car, and has a 499cc side-valve motor. BSA’s were so popular in Britain during the 1930′s that one in four motorcycles was built by “Beeza”. This 1932 BSA W32-6 Sidecar was sold as a complete unit, during the height of sidecar popularity in the UK.

Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance: 1913 Premier 3 1/2hp 3 Speed

08/25/2009 @ 9:21 am, by Jensen BeelerComments Off

Pebble Beach Concours dElegance: 1913 Premier 3 1/2hp 3 Speed 1913 Premier 3.5hp 3 Speed 3 560x374

This 1913 Premier 3 1/2hp 3 speed motorcycle was the oldest example of British two-wheeled freedom at the 2009 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.

Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance: 1922 Triumph Model R “Ricardo”

08/25/2009 @ 2:30 am, by Jensen Beeler1 COMMENT

Pebble Beach Concours dElegance: 1922 Triumph Model R Ricardo 1922 Triumph Model R Ricardo Pebble Beach 6 560x374

In 1922, Triumph needed an update to its motors in order to be competitve in the developing sportbike market. As such, it hired gas flow special Harry Ricardo to improve the performance of the Triumph machinery, and this 1922 Triumph Model R “Ricardo” was one such lucky recipient.

Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance: 1953 Matchless G45

08/25/2009 @ 1:52 am, by Jensen BeelerComments Off

Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance: 1953 Matchless G45 1953 Matchless G45 Pebble Beach 6 560x374

Based on the streetbike version, this 1953 Matchless G45 was an “over-the-counter” race bike that was made available to select British racers. It has a 500cc parallel twin motor from a G9, and in the right hands, was quite successful at winning national races.

Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance: 1949 Velocette Mk. VIII

08/20/2009 @ 5:00 pm, by Jensen BeelerComments Off

Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance: 1949 Velocette Mk. VIII 1949 Velocette Mk VIII Pebble Beach 1 560x374

The preferred ride in 350cc racing after World War II, the 1949 Velocette Mk. VIII wasn’t the fastest bike on the grid, making only “average” power, but made up this deficincy by utilizing its superior steering and suspension.

Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance: 1938 Triumph Speed Twin

08/20/2009 @ 12:00 pm, by Jensen BeelerComments Off
Giving birth to the engine’s design, this 1938 Triumph Speed Twin showcases Edward Turners vertical twin motor. With a 498cc, twin overhead valve construction, the Speed Twin made a solid 27hp and was the first truly successful British twin.
Early models were only available in ‘Amaranth red’, and were hand painted with gold pinstripes. The hard-tail and initial girder forks meant that the only real suspension for the rider was the sprung seat. Passengers would have to survive with only a doubly thick pad over the rear fender.

Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance: 1938 Triumph Speed Twin 1938 Triumph Speed Twin Pebble Beach 9 560x374
Giving birth to the engine’s design, this 1938 Triumph Speed Twin showcases Edward Turner’s vertical twin motor. With a 498cc, twin overhead valve construction, the Speed Twin made a solid 27hp and was the first truly successful British twin to come to market.

Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance: 1929 Sunbeam Model-90 Road Racer

08/20/2009 @ 10:30 am, by Jensen Beeler3 COMMENTS

Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance: 1929 Sunbeam Model 90 Road Racer 1929 Sunbeam Model 90 Road Racer 6 560x374

This 1929 Sunbeam Model-90 Road Racer, like many of the motorcycles at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, has an interesting story of its discovery and restoration.