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.

Yamaha VMAX Carbon – Celebrating 30 Years of VMAX

It is hard to believe that the venerable Yamaha VMAX has been around for 30 years (it is even harder to believe that the VMAX has only seen one design revision in that timeframe as well), and so Yamaha is bringing out a special edition model to celebrate this special motorcycle. The 2015 Yamaha VMAX Carbon is exactly as the name implies: a VMAX drag bike laden with lightweight carbon fiber. In total, the VMAX Carbon’s tank cover, front and rear fenders, and side covers are all made from carbon fiber. Yamaha has teamed up with Akrapovic as well, and as such the Slovenian company’s slip-on mufflers complete the exhaust system and the changes to this beastly drag bike.

Photos: BMW S1000RR WSBK Hits the Wind Tunnel

11/16/2010 @ 11:07 am, by Jensen Beeler4 COMMENTS

As the BMW World Superbike team prepares for the 2011 season, Leon Haslam and Troy Corser took a break from their training regiment to spend some time in BMW’s wind tunnel facility in Bavaria. Looking to hone the maximum performance out of the S1000RR, both riders worked on their optimal streamlined body positions in speeds up to 150 mph. The BMW WSBK team also looked at the S1000RR’s fairing, examining how to optimize the bike’s Cx or coefficient of drag (we assume any modifications that were made were WSBK legal of course).

The team will get to test its results later this month in Jerez, and in the meantime Haslam and Corser will be shipped off to a BMW fitness training bootcamp with fellow BMW riders James Toseland and Ayrton Badovini from the BMW Italia squad, along with members of the BMW Enduro team. We don’t like the sound of this training camp, but BMW has given us 12 high-quality shots of the S1000RR in the wind tunnel, which we enjoyed.

Official Pictures of the Vyrus 987 C3 4V

01/28/2010 @ 2:20 pm, by Jensen Beeler10 COMMENTS

Vyrus has finally gotten their 987 C3 4V off the beach, and into the studio for some standard mug shots. With proper lighting we can now see all the details lurking on the body of the Vyrus 987 C3 4V, and the bike looks stunning. Take a look after the jump for all the hub-center steering, 184hp, carbon goodness. Want to know how it all goes together, check this time-lapse build video out too.

The Difference Between Men & Boys is the Price of Their Toys: Polini Pocket Drag Bike from EICMA

12/02/2009 @ 6:29 pm, by Jensen Beeler3 COMMENTS

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Every octane-loving American should own one of these, a Polini pocket bike stretched out for drag duty. We spotted this beauty as we were meandering through the halls of EICMA, and knew we had to have one. With a single-sided swingarm, and no suspension to speak of, this 94cc pocket-rocket is about as close to flying at street level as one can get. More pictures after the jump.

Up-Close with the CR&S Duu Cruiser at EICMA

11/19/2009 @ 2:10 pm, by Jensen Beeler1 COMMENT

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After leaking out ahead of EICMA, we were excited to go check out the CR&S booth to see their new Duu cruiser. With an S&S v-twin motor, the bike is a mixture of American street muscle, and Italian styling, which makes for an interesting effect. While we like the concept overall, there are certainly elements of the bike we crinkled our nose at, despite the obvious master craftsmanship. More on the Duu, and a plethora of photos after the jump.

Spy Shots: 2010 MV Agusta Brutale

08/27/2009 @ 4:03 pm, by Jensen Beeler1 COMMENT

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More spy shots for you this week as Motociclismo snapped shots of what appears to be the 2010 MV Agusta Brutale lapping around the Almeria Circuit in Spain.

It looks like both the 989RR and 1078RR were doing their testing duties on the track, and the photos reveal a new trellis frame design, possibly a new motor configuration, along with come other cosmetic changes to the current models.

Ducati Enduro Spotted Road Testing in Italy

07/08/2009 @ 8:22 pm, by Jensen Beeler9 COMMENTS

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Ducati certainly has been taking its time in releasing details on its alleged BMW GS killer enduro bike. So until we get official reports, we’ll have to suffice with spy shots from Italy that seem to keep pouring in. This time around a pair of bikes was spotted in Costa of Rovigo, in between Padova (near Venice) and Bologna, by Andrea Böhm.

While far-away, this photo does reveal more about the bike than we have previously seen. For starters the front is more exposed, with less tape hiding the lines of the front fairings and fender. The effect is an almost sinister view from the side, with the headlights just coming above the bulge that is supposedly a part of the ram-air tubing

Pictures: Street 2010 BMW S1000RR Sighted at Jerez

05/05/2009 @ 1:04 pm, by Jensen BeelerComments Off

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The street going version of the the BMW S 1000RR made a surprise visit during the Jerez MotoGP this past weekend, and luckily someone took some pictures of it. The new superbike was being used as the race safety bike for the GP races. These photos come about a week before the official unveiling of the BMW S1000RR at Monza’s World Superbike round, May 8th -10th, where we hope to finally see the bike in its full street form, although these photos are pretty close to showing us that. Continue reading for the photos, and more details.

Pictures & Details Underneath the Hood of the Aprilia RSV4 WSBK

03/19/2009 @ 12:20 am, by Jensen Beeler1 COMMENT

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Ever wonder what a World Superbike contender looks like with its clothes off? Well here you go: Max Biaggi’s Aprilia RSV4 a la mode. In the details we can see the amazing number of data acquisition points that Aprilia, and likely other manufacturers, are using. Other points of interest are the CNC markings on the casings, and the styling to the carbon fiber tail. We can’t wait for this bike to come out at the end of the year!

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Start Your Christmas Gift Wish List

12/13/2008 @ 10:00 am, by Jensen Beeler1 COMMENT

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With the pressure to buy a KTM RC8 up’d by KTM’s new deadline, it got us thinking what else we’ll need to ask Santa to get us for Christmas, a brand new 2009 Yamaha R1 wouldn’t be half bad, especially after watching this new video the tuning-fork brand released. Continue reading to watch the video, and see great wallpaper fodder of the R1