Ride Review: 2015 Yamaha YZF-R1 & R1M

The original R1 design focus was primarily for the street, however that has all changed for 2015, with Yamaha’s Engineer’s instructed to design a bike mainly for the track.
Thus, the 4.5km Brabham circuit provided a world-class test track for the 100 journos who descended from all over the globe to experience the 2015 Yamaha YZF-R1 and R1M for the first time. The diverse range of 18 corners, including one of the fastest turns in Australia, approached at nearly 300kmh, was perfect to test all the attributes of a new motorcycle. Our test group had some quick guys including Josh Brookes, Steve Martin, and Cam Donald, so there was no hanging about.

2015 Suzuki GSX-R1000 ABS Comes to America for $14,399

A late announcement to the Suzuki motorcycle lineup, the 2015 Suzuki GSX-R1000 comes with the banner headline of adding anti-locking brake system (ABS) and a bold new “Suzuki Racing Blue” graphics package (BNG) to the venerable superbike. The added safety of ABS is at least a welcomed change to the now seven-year-old model version of the Suzuki GSX-R1000. Meanwhile, the graphics package is designed to make a link between the GSX-R1000 and Suzuki’s MotoGP race bike, the Suzuki GSX-RR — even though the street bike pre-dates its racing counterpart all the way back to when Suzuki was last entered in the premier class.

Would You Buy This $280,000 Motorcycle?

We have seen a lot of limited-run motorcycles here at Asphalt & Rubber — some have been intriguing, and some have been…well, not. With exclusivity of course comes a price tag of sizable proportions, but it is rare that we see a motorcycle break into six-figures, let alone pass the quarter-million dollar mark. But here we are with the Yacouba Feline. We have featured the work of Yacouba Galle before, as the French designer has done a bit of work in the industry, including a bolt-on design kit for the MV Agusta Brutale, which he calls the Bestiale (a name that might make Anglophones cringe a little). Unlike the Bestiale though, the Feline is a full-on motorcycle, not just a kit…and if you like what you see, it is going to cost you a mint.

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.

Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance: 1954 A.J.S. E-95 “Porcupine”

08/19/2009 @ 3:20 pm, by Jensen BeelerComments Off

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One of only four E-95’s created, the A.J.S. E-95 is a modified version of the A.J.S. E-90 horizontal twin motor, and was called the porcupine because of the spiky cooling fins protruding from the cylinder heads.

Originally designed to be supercharged, those plans had to be scrapped when the FIM banned supercharging in 1946. Despite its reputation for not living up to its hype, a finished Porcupine is valued somewhere north of a $250,000. Pictures and more after the jump.

Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance: 1947 Sunbeam S-7

08/19/2009 @ 1:19 pm, by Jensen Beeler1 COMMENT

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If you ever wondered what a Honda Goldwing would look like in the 1940’s, here is probably the best example: The 1947 Sunbeam S-7. With its over-sized tires, overhead camshaft motor mounted in rubber, and shaft-driven rear-wheel, the Sunbeam was very sophisticated, but proved to be perhaps too ahead of its time.

The bike is powered by a 500cc in-line twin motor; and like the Model-T, you could get it in any color you wished, as long as it was black.

Considered a touring motorcycle, the S-7 was quiet, smooth, and had modest performance. However, the S-7 was one of those motorcycles that contribute to Britain’s fame of producing unreliable vehicles. Pictures after the jump.

Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance: 1947 Vincent-HRD Series B Rapide Special “Gunga Din”

08/18/2009 @ 3:18 pm, by Jensen Beeler1 COMMENT

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This 1947 Vincent-HRD Series B Rapide Special, with its 998cc motor, has a special story. Named “Gunga Din”, the bike started out like any other standard Series B Rapide, but was quickly recruited by the factory to showcase new parts, and serve as a publicity test ride bike. The bike also served as the beginning point for bike like the Vincent-HRD Black Shadow and Black Lightning race bikes.

Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance: 1930 Scott Flying Squirrel

08/18/2009 @ 7:00 am, by Jensen BeelerComments Off

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The 1930 Scott Flying Squirrel is one of the most innovative motorcycles to be produced by Alfred Scott. Built in Yorkshire, England, the Flying Squirrel cost twice as much as comparable four-stroke sport motorcycles, partly because of the innovative solutions it housed. For instance, Scott employed a unique thermosyphon convection cooling system to lower the temperature on his 596cc two-stroke motor, and would paint the bottom of the motor either green or red for racing or road use, respectively. Pictures and more after the jump.

Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance: 1926 Brough Superior SS100 Alpine Grand Sport

08/18/2009 @ 1:18 am, by Jensen BeelerComments Off

Here we have a 1926 Brough Superior SS100 Alpine Grand Sport, complete with saddle bags. Built from 1925 to 1940, the SS100 was one of the most famous motorcycles to come out of George Brough’s Brough Superior.

Powered by a 980cc v-twin motor from JA Prestwich, each bike came with a signed guarantee that the bike had been timed, and reached over 100 mph over a quarter-mile. Pictures after the jump.

Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance: 1957 Manx Norton Featherbed 40M

08/18/2009 @ 12:46 am, by Jensen Beeler1 COMMENT

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One of the most successful TT racers of the 1950’s and 1960’s, the Manx Norton dominated the 50cc and 350cc classes. This 350cc Model 40M features a “Featherbed” frame, and was raced in the 1957 Isle of Man TT by Norton Team rider, Bob Keeler. Keeler owned and raced this motorcycle as a privateer racer with factory support from Norton. The bike is now owned by Allan Grimm of Piedmont, California. Pictures after the jump.

Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance: The Stig Cruising the Motorcycle Section

08/17/2009 @ 3:00 pm, by Jensen Beeler3 COMMENTS

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Some say he never blinks, and that he roams around the woods at night foraging for wolves…

Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance: Confederate P120 Fighter Combat Official Launch

08/17/2009 @ 3:39 am, by Jensen Beeler1 COMMENT

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Asphalt & Rubber spent the weekend in Monterey, drinking flutes of champagne with the rich and marginally famous. Despite rubbing elbows with our eledged betters, we did get to see the first ever showing of motorcycles on the greens at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.

As such, there were plenty of motorcycles around the course, and Confederate Motors picked the locale for the public unveiling of their new P120 Fighter Combat. Our invitation to the event must have been lost in the mail, but we still managed to get some photos of the new bike in the flesh.

Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance: 1979 MV Agusta Magni Superlight up for Auction

08/15/2009 @ 8:20 pm, by Jensen BeelerComments Off

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We find ourselves down the California Coast this weekend, hobnobbing with the suits down at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. Amongst the bevy of tasty four-wheeled vehicles that seem to abound here (who knew?), we found a few motorcycles that we thought would fancy you, our dear reader. First up, is this 1979 MV Agusta Magni Superlight that is up for auction at the MidAmerica Auctions here at the Concours.

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