2017 Honda CRF450 Supermoto, for France Only

America might have invented supermoto racing, but the sport’s largest support base easily comes now from that other side of the Atlantic – more specifically, from France. So, it shouldn’t surprise us to learn that Honda’s French importer Superboost makes a special supermoto version of the Honda CRF450 for the French market. For the 2017 model year, the Honda CRF450 Supermoto follows that changes made to Big Red’s 450cc dirt bike, which notably includes the return of fork springs (goodbye air forks), an electric starter, and down-draft fuel injection. Basically a kit that is added at the importer level, the 2017 Honda CRF450 Supermoto lineup has three models, building off the CRF450R (€11,299), CRF450RX (€10,999), and CRF450X dirt bike (€10,999), with each getting their own taste of the supermoto treatment.

Three Rider Opinions on MotoGP vs. WorldSBK

As the sun set on the third day of the Jerez Test, Jonathan Rea hogged the limelight with the second fastest time of the day. With MotoGP bikes sharing the track with World Superbike runners, the story of the day was that Rea spent most of the day leading the “faster” GP boys. The question in the aftermath however was how does this reflect on both championships? Rea was a tenth of a second off the fastest time of the day, set by Hector Barbera. The speed and performance of the Kawasaki rider was hugely impressive, but is this a sign that the production bikes can hold their own, or is it a fortuitous confluence of circumstances?

How Kawasaki Plans to Defend Its WSBK Title in 2017

It took Kawasaki until last year to finally win a World Superbike manufacturer’s title. Having retained the crown in 2016, the Japanese factory will have to dig deep in 2017 in order to keep it. Winter testing is a time to take stock of what worked well on your bike in the past, and what now needs now to improve. Kawasaki won over half of the races in the last three years, but despite these successes the team is working hard to find improvements. The final four rounds of the season saw Chaz Davies and Ducati dominate proceedings, making them the early favorite for title success in 2017. New regulations will see split throttle bodies now outlawed, and there are also changes to the battery regulations. While Jonathan Rea has been running his bike in this specification for most of 2016 his teammate, Tom Sykes, has not.

Motorcyclist Magazine Moving to Six-Issue per Year Format, As Editor-in-Chief Marc Cook Leaves the Publication

Changes are afoot at Motorcyclist magazine, as the monthly publication is set to move to a six-issue per year format starting in Spring 2017. That transition will come from the direction of a new leader too, as Editor-in-Chief Marc Cook will be leaving Motorcyclist as well. Cook outlined his departure, and announced the new format for Motorcyclist, citing the many contributions his team of writers have made over the course of his tenure at the magazine. As the opening paragraph to Cook’s goodbye letter coyly suggests, the media landscape in the motorcycle industry is shifting, pushing Motorcyclist magazine in a new direction.

BMW G310R Street Tracker by Wedge Motorcycles

A few months ago, this pocket-sized street tracker caught my attention on Facebook. It was based off the BMW G310R street bike platform, that much I could tell, but I couldn’t find anymore information on the machine. A few more weeks of this lonesome photo sitting in my ‘to do” box, and it finally moved on to the place where all good stories go to die. So, imagine my surprise when our friends at BMW Motorrad Japan sent me the following photos, which depict a new custom bike they commissioned from Takashi Nihira, at Tokyo’s Wedge Motorcycles. It is the same bike I saw months earlier, but now we know who to thank for its creation, as well as a little bit more about its build. Its is quite impressive, for an unassuming “little” street tracker, don’t you think?

From Russia with Love, MV Agusta Finds New Money

Last week, I was ready to start polishing the obituary for MV Agusta – the Italian company seemingly in an impossibly terminal state. Now it seems MV Agusta’s fortunes are changing, with the Italian motorcycle maker signing an agreement with the Black Ocean investment group to recapitalize MV Agusta. Details of the pending transaction haven’t been released, but we can assume that the increase in capital will help ease MV Agusta’s relationship with suppliers, get workers back on the assembly line, and continue the development of new models. The €20 million question though is whether Black Ocean’s investment will mean the departure of AMG, the German auto brand acting now like an albatross around MV Agusta’s neck.

Ducati MHLeggera Concept by Speed Junkies

The Ducati 1299 Superleggera might be the most technically astounding machine ever to come from the Italian brand, but all those exotic materials and fancy electronics are lost on some riders – motorcyclists who prefer more simpler times. So the good folk at Speed Junkies have heard this call, and mashed-up the 1299 Superleggera with Ducati’s perhaps most coveted nod to the past, the Mike Hailwood inspired Ducati MH900e. Both the Superleggera and MH900e are beauties in their own right, though there is something interesting to the design that Speed Junkies proposes with the two bikes together. We thought you would find the concept interesting, and there is a second “race” version waiting for you after the jump as well. We are of the belief that either would look good in our garage.

Introducing A&R Pro Premium Memberships

We are launching something very special today, which is geared towards our most diehard readers. We call it A&R Pro. It is a premium membership that offers more features to the Asphalt & Rubber website, and more of the A&R content that you have grown to love. For the A&R readers who can’t get enough of the site – often coming here multiple times per day to get the latest stories – we wanted to offer you more of the content and community that you thrive on; and in the same breath, give you a way to help support Asphalt & Rubber. That’s where A&R Pro comes in. Asphalt & Rubber has always strived to be an independent voice in the motorcycle industry. By signing up for A&R Pro, you help us to continue that goal, and in fact make us more independent.

Ariel Ace R – More Sexy for the Sexiest VFR1200F

For some, it is a challenge to get excited about a motorcycle like the Honda VFR1200F. The porker of a street bike as strayed far away from its sport bike roots, and yet confusingly isn’t a terribly effective tourer either. The market response reflects this confusion, but I digress. It is however easy to get excited about the Ariel Ace, a motorcycle that features a repackaged VFR1200F motor wedged into a bespoke aluminum trellis frame, with the usual top-shelf drippings offered, along with a very unique streetfighter design. Taking things to the next level now is the beautifully done Ariel Ace R, which comes with carbon fiber fairings, carbon fiber wheels, and a tuned V4 engine that produces 201hp and 105 lbs•ft of peak torque. Only 10 Ariel Ace R will be made.

New Honda Rebel 500 & Rebel 300 Models Debut

It would be hard to count the number of motorcyclists who got their start in the two-wheeled world on a Honda Rebel motorcycle, with the line going back through decades of time. The number is certainly a large one. Now, a new generation of rider can begin their two-wheeled journey on a new generation of Rebel, with Honda debuting the all-new 2017 Honda Rebel 300 (above) and 2017 Honda Rebel 500 (after the jump) ahead of the IMS Long Beach show. The Honda Rebel 500 and Honda Rebel 300 use the same power plants found on the CBR500R (471cc parallel-twin) and CBR300R (286cc single-cylidner), respectively, repackaging those engines into a cruiser platform that is friendly to new and shorter riders, with a 27″ seat height.

WSBK: Qatar Race 2 Results

03/15/2009 @ 3:24 pm, by Jensen BeelerComments Off on WSBK: Qatar Race 2 Results

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More action from Qatar on Saturday (Sunday for us in the US), as World Superbike completes Race 2 at Losail. The second race at Qatar for the year shows that we are in for quite the season, with riders old and new making waves. Continue reading for the races spoilers and results. 

 

WSBK: Qatar Race 1 Results

03/14/2009 @ 4:10 pm, by Jensen BeelerComments Off on WSBK: Qatar Race 1 Results

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It was a three machines with three different types of motors battling it out for the top three spots in World Superbike’s first round of racing this year at Qatar. Continue reading to see the spoilers and race results.

 

Ben Spies Wins Second Superpole in Qatar

03/13/2009 @ 4:34 pm, by Jensen BeelerComments Off on Ben Spies Wins Second Superpole in Qatar

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Our very own Ben Spies has done it again and won the Superpole for the second time this year at the second round of World Superbike in Qatar, braking the lap record at the Losail circuit. Spies took his Yamaha YZF-R1 to a best time of 1.57.280 ahead of Guandalini Ducati rider Jakub Smrz,the Czech earning his first front-row start of the season. Aprilia’s Max Biaggi also put the RSV4 on the front row for a second successive race.

 

World Superbike Phillip Island Race 2 Results

03/03/2009 @ 4:58 am, by Jensen BeelerComments Off on World Superbike Phillip Island Race 2 Results

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There’s a lot of talk this year about how WSBK will be more entertaining than MotoGP, and while we here at A&R do love us some MotoGP, one thing that WSBK will always have that’s better is TWO races on Sunday. Just like Race 1, Race 2 was action packed, and saw some familiar names taking shots at each other on the tarmac. Click ahead for spoilers and a full breakdown of Race 2 at Phillip Island.

 

World Superbike Phillip Island Race 1 Results

03/03/2009 @ 4:32 am, by Jensen BeelerComments Off on World Superbike Phillip Island Race 1 Results

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The first stop of the World Superbike tour occurred this past Sunday, and the results are in. This season marks the return of Aprilia to WSBK racing, and welcomed newcomer BMW to the paddock as well. With seven manufacturers on the grid, racing was expected to be heated, close, and exciting, and Phillip Island delivered. Click ahead for spoilers and a full breakdown of Race 1 at Phillip Island.

 

Results From Phillip Island for World Superbike and World Supersport

02/18/2009 @ 2:13 am, by Jensen BeelerComments Off on Results From Phillip Island for World Superbike and World Supersport

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With the Aprilia riders having an extra day of tests at Phillip Island, it should be no surprise that they sit on the top of the leader board for testing lap times. This extra day has cause some ire from other team managers who state that Aprilia’s actions are pushing up the costs of testing for everyone else. We think that’s a cheap excuse for the fact that Shinya Nakano leads Regis Laconi, who is back with Ducati, and that Aprilia’s Max Biaggi is in a not-so-distant third. Biaggi finished the day on a bit of a low note, having a relatively low-speed fall towards the end of the day. We’ll have to wait for the other teams to start their testing on Saturday before we can see how the grid is stacking up.

 

BMW S1000RR in Race Paint

02/17/2009 @ 4:18 pm, by Jensen Beeler2 COMMENTS

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BMW Motorrad has made a timely release of some studio shots of the S1000RR WSBK race bike as they take to Phillip Island for their last round of testing. Upon further inpsection, it does seem as if the S1000RR is a direct decendent of the Yamaha R6, right down to the off-center windscreen. One of these days, BMW will hire a painter who isn’t constricted to colors and designs from the 1970’s. Until then, we’ll have to let the test times from PI speak for themselves.

Relax people, its only Tuesday.

John Hopkins to World Superbike?

02/03/2009 @ 7:51 pm, by Jensen BeelerComments Off on John Hopkins to World Superbike?

Hopper and Melandri still seem to be in MotoGP pergatory, which only gives people more time to speculate on what might become of the two riders. The prevailing rumor right now is that Hopper could end up with a World Superbike ride with Stiggy Honda Motorsports, along-side rider Leon Haslam. This move would mean that Hopkins would replace Roberto Rolfo, who has had problems with a dislocated shoulder.

This appears to be news to Rolfo who recently posted to his site about his recovery and plans for the season without any apparent concern about being replaced by the American.

Hello boys!
In these days I am receiving a lot of mail regard to my injury, I want in the first place say you “thanks” for your support! During the tests of Portimao I completed only a few laps, the lesion was still too much fresh; I knew that it would not have been immediately easy, but it has been however important for me to enter in track, to better know the bike and the new team! I’m happy because the upgrades them is very high!
The days before the next tests in Australia are enough for being able to recover the form with a lot of motivation and training! I am not losing not even a minute of time, therapy, race, bicycle, swim, always with much music: thanks special also to Diabo for the songs of the “El Canto del Loco”! I will take advantage of every day at best, in order to arrive to the top in Australia for the next tests!
By by… and always… Gasss!
Roby44

With the pace that the news has been going about these two, it is really only a matter of time before the Hopkins/Melandri Moto2 rumors start surging; but until then, WSBK might seem like a nice fit for Hopper.

BMW S1000RR SBK Race Bike Photo Shoot Teases

02/03/2009 @ 10:26 am, by Jensen BeelerComments Off on BMW S1000RR SBK Race Bike Photo Shoot Teases

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How do you drive motorcycle journalists crazy? Run a feature photo shoot with WSBK race bike, a helicopter, and a hot blonde model. Its not that we don’t like these things, it’s just that we like answers more. BMW seems to have an endless supply of photos that keep us perpetually guessing what the production S1000RR will look like. Sure the carbon fairings and tasty race bits are nice and pleasing, but we want to see some OEM ABS plastic, horrible CAFE compliant exhaust pipes, and maybe a blinker here and there. Lately, it seems like only the race bike seems to be getting love from Mr. Nikon and Mr. Canon…and it keeps us up at night.

Times from the World Superbike Portimao Test

01/25/2009 @ 2:41 pm, by Jensen BeelerComments Off on Times from the World Superbike Portimao Test

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The weather has been grim around the Portimao race track in  for the past few days. The last day of World Superbike Championship official testing at Portimao was once again affected by adverse weather conditions, and thus the absolute best times of the entire test were largely set on the second day, leaving Shane Byrne as the new track best pace setter on his private Sterilgarda Ducati. American Ben Spies posted the second fastest lap time over all, showing that he has what it takes not only to race in World Superbike, but perhaps MotoGP as well.