At the AMA Supermoto Season-Opener in Bakersfield

It all started with the Superbikers. As a young man growing up in the late 70s, there were only three network TV stations for me to watch, and unlike today, motorsports programs were few and far between. Other than the Indy 500 and the occasional airing of stock car racing, motorsports just weren’t on the air very often. During one serendipitous Saturday, I happened upon ABC’s Wide World of Sports. And on that particular day, they were airing the Superbikers. Looking back, the influence that program had on the rest of my motorcycling life is immeasurable. An unusual combination of road racing, dirt track, and motocross, the Superbikers showcased racers I had only read about in the motorcycle magazines.

The WorldSBK Season So Far: Yamaha & Honda

While it has hardly been surprising to see Ducati and Kawasaki maintain their position as the dominant forces at play in WorldSBK, the battle for best-of-the-rest has been an interesting subplot for 2017. Over the course of the opening three rounds of the campaign, the form of Honda and Yamaha has been marked by their stark contrast in fortunes. Last year, Honda had been a podium and front-row regular as the season moved into the European swing, and Yamaha looked to be clutching at straws and looking for any positives they could find on their return to the series. This year has seen their roles have reversed, with Yamaha consistently the best-of-the-rest and in position to fight for a rostrum finish. Honda on the other hand have had a disastrous start to the campaign with an all-new Fireblade.

Investors Leveraging MotoGP for Sizable Payout

According to several reports in the financial sector, the investors behind Dorna Sports S.L. are readying themselves for another sizable payout from the media rights holder for the MotoGP and WorldSBK Championships. Using a bit of financial finesse, the move would see Bridgepoint Capital and the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) – the two major investors in Dorna Sports – taking roughly €889 million off the books of the Spanish media company, according to Reuters. As such, today’s news would make this the third time that Bridgepoint and the CPPIB have raided the piggy bank for motorcycling’s premier racing series, having done similar deals in 2011 (€420 million) and 2014 (€715 million).

Norton Gets £3 Million to Increase V4 Production

If you have had your eye on a Norton V4 superbike recently, you might not have to wait as long for it to arrive, as the British marque has secured £3 million from the Santander Corporate & Commercial bank. The debt investment will allow Norton to triple its production rate on the V4 SS and V4 RR models, and also allow for the company to hire 40 new employees for the job. Additionally, according to Norton this will allow the company to increase its production volume to 1,500 motorcycles per year. “Having developed and pre-sold a huge number of bikes, we needed the funding to be readily available to pay for tooling, stock and people to allow production to move from 40 bikes per month to in excess of 130 bikes with effect from summer 2017,” said Stuart Garner, CEO of Norton Motorcycles.

Is The 2018 BMW HP4 Race About to Debut in China?

After this year’s April Fools hijinks, we have a whole new respect for the cunning that resides at BMW Motorrad, and the Germans seem to be honing that trait even further today. Announcing its plans for the upcoming Auto Shanghai 2017 later this month, BMW lists a number of four-wheeled news items for the Chinese auto show, and then casually slips-in at the end of the press release that we should expect a big unveil from BMW Motorrad. The statement reads that “the highlight of the BMW Motorrad stand is the world premiere of one of the most exclusive models ever offered by BMW Motorrad,” which is terse, though given what we know about the Bavarian brand, it should be easy to guess what they are hinting at.

Vyrus 986 M2 Street Bike Now Priced at €38,000

It is apparently more difficult to sell a kidney than I had previously thought (type o- / non-smoker / non-drinker…if you happen to be in the market), which isn’t good news when you are trying to get together some scratch for a Vyrus 986 M2 – the hottest supersport we have ever seen. Making matters worse is that Vyrus got in touch with A&R, updating us with their latest pricing structure for their Honda-powered hub-center steering masterpiece, which now comes with a price tag of €37,940 for the street bike, and €27,930 for the street bike kit. That is quite the change from the originally quoted €25,000 street bike model and €16,000 kit, and there is good reason for that, say the folks at Vyrus.

You Didn’t Know You Missed It, But the Honda NM4 Is Back

You probably didn’t even realize that the Honda NM4 was missing from Honda America’s model list for 2017, but the polarizing motorcycle is back for the 2018 model year. The first 2018 motorcycle to be announced so far this year from Honda, it probably helps that the Honda NM4 is featured in the Ghost in the Shell movie, which stars Scarlett Johansson. Laugh if you want, but the NM4 is a surprisingly pleasant to ride, even if you aren’t dressed like the Caped Crusader. As such, the Honda NM4 represents a tradition of motorcycles from Big Red that have pushed that boundaries of not only what we visually accept a motorcycle to look like, but it also blurs the distinctions we make between different motorcycle segments.

US Senate Establishes Motorcycle Caucus

The motorcycle industry has found more allies on Capital Hill this week, with the creation of the first “motorcycle caucus” in the United States Senate. Established so motorcycle manufacturers and motorcyclists would have a greater voice in the upper chamber of the American legislature, the Senate Motorcycle Caucus is the work of Senators Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) and Gary Peters (D-Michigan). Motorcyclists typically aren’t single-issue voter – not for issues pertaining to motorcycles, at least – but with several important political issues currently affecting the motorcycle industry, the formation of the Senate Motorcycle Caucus comes at an advantageous time.

Husqvarna Two-Strokes Get Fuel-Injection Too

We shouldn’t be surprised to hear that Husqvarna will be following suit with its Austrian sibling, and adding fuel-injection to several of its two-strokes enduro motorcycle for the 2018 model year. After a long history of rumors and development, KTM finally debuted fuel injection for a production two-stroke model just a few weeks ago, using the technology on two of its upcoming enduro models, the KTM 250 EXC TPI and KTM 300 EXC TPI. Husqvarna will use the same technology for its own motorcycles in the same segments, announcing today the the all-new 2018 Husqvarna TE 250i and 2018 Husqvarna TE 300i enduro models with transfer port injection.

Opinion: The Danger of Expanding the MotoGP Calendar

It is looking increasingly like the Chang International Circuit in Buriram, Thailand will be added to the MotoGP calendar for the 2018 season. I understand from sources that there was a significant hurdle to be overcome: circuit title sponsor Chang is a major beer brand in Thailand, and a rival to the Official MotoGP Beer Singha, also a major beer brand in Thailand and further abroad. The race can only happen if a compromise has been found to accommodate this conflict. This is good news for Thailand, and good news for fans in Asia. The World Superbike round at the circuit is always packed, and MotoGP should be even more popular. It is hard to overstate just how massive MotoGP is in that part of the world.

Ulrich’s Pro-Am Motorcycle “Triple Crown” Event Is a Go

03/04/2014 @ 4:42 am, by Jensen Beeler20 COMMENTS

Triple-Crowns

In January, Roadracing World Editor-in-Chief John Ulrich penned an editorial where he outlined his desire to create a three-event road racing series that would take place between the six-week time period of AMA Pro Road Racing’s first and second rounds.

This “triple crown” event would be help bolster the current five — hopefully to be announced six — events on the AMA Pro Road Racing calendar, which in-turn would help AMA Pro Racing teams and riders meet their obligations with their sponsors.

Ulrich also hoped in his article that some sort of tape-delayed TV package could be put together for the three events as well, another item desperately needed by AMA stakeholders, yet seemingly elusive for DMG officials to put together.

Several sources have now confirmed to Asphalt & Rubber that the triple crown series is a go, with Sonoma Raceway, Auto Club Speedway at Fontana, and Miller Motorsports Park to host the three rounds on its schedule.

Ulrich’s event will piggyback off the amateur racing schedules at those race tracks, making the triple crown event a proper Pro-Am outing of motorcycling’s best professional and amateur racers.

Continue Reading

Moto Guzzi Sportbike Concept by Luca Bar Design

03/28/2012 @ 1:46 pm, by Jensen Beeler34 COMMENTS

We are big fans of Luca Bar’s imagination and what comes from the stylus of Luca Bar Designs, and today just reinforces that point further. Drafting a Moto Guzzi sportbike concept, Luca has created a very eye-catching design that takes the longitudinal v-twin motor and places it into a modern sportbike chassis.

With the frame design and tail section borrowed from the Aprilia RSV4, the front-end incorporates a Hossack suspension system, instead of the customary fork tubes. The single-sided swingarm is a nice touch, and of course everyone loves carbon fiber bodywork.

Continue Reading

2012 BMW S1000RR – Tweaks Come to the Liter Bike King

10/21/2011 @ 3:07 am, by Jensen Beeler11 COMMENTS

BMW did an amazing thing two years ago. Not really known for its performance street motorcycles, BMW took the competitive superbike market head-on, bringing out a motorcycle that not only had class-leading performance figures, but was also priced extremely competitively against its Japanese competitors. That lethal combination of price, quality, and performance made the BMW S1000RR the sport bike to have over the past two years, and it shows in the S1000RR’s sales figures, which eclipsed every other liter bike.

Not wanting to rest too heavily on its laurels, BMW has updated the S1000RR for the 2012 model year, and while the bike may look the same, the German company hopes it has done plenty to its halo bike to make would-be buyers give the S1000RR a good looking over next season, despite going into its third year of production. While the same 193hp engine resides at the heart of the S1000RR, and the curb weight remains a paltry 449 lbs (90% fuel), the 2012 BMW S1000RR gets a bevy of suspension, chassis, and electronics for the new model year.

Continue Reading

Brammo TTR-based Sportbike Coming

07/09/2010 @ 5:06 pm, by Jensen Beeler8 COMMENTS

Asphalt & Rubber took a lot of flak last month when we speculated about Brammo working on an electric sportbike. Armed with more than a hunch at the time, we have been told from multiple sources that Brammo is set to debut a TTR-based electric sportbike. For added measure, we’ve also been told that Brammo intends to race the bike, which we’d expect will have various configurations, at the e-Power Championship round at Laguna Seca later this month.

Continue Reading

Brammo Eyeing an Electric Sportbike?

06/03/2010 @ 6:01 am, by Jensen Beeler11 COMMENTS

What on Earth could possess electric motorcycle manufacturer Brammo to buy a BMW S1000RR, and then sell it on eBay after only putting 700 miles on the bike? Was Brammo CEO Craig Bramscher not pleased with what’s being hailed as the Sportbike of 2010? No, that’s not the case, Bramscher apparently heralded the bike as the best motorcycle ever made (besides the Brammo Enertia of course).

With a lime green (naturally) BMW S1000RR sitting outside of Brammo HQ not too long ago, and now an eBay classified ad selling said bike, we’re left to wonder what could be in the works. Could a Brammo electric sportbike be peculating in the minds of the Ashland, Oregon volt-heads? Only time will tell.

Fischer MRX 650 L: Shorty’s American Sportbike

03/19/2010 @ 2:11 pm, by Jensen Beeler2 COMMENTS

Fischer has just released a shorter version of its MRX sportbike, designated the Fischer MRX 650 L. The “L” in the name represents the lower seat height the 650 L comes with in order to accommodate shorter riders, while otherwise the “L” is visually identical to its taller sibling the MRX 650. The Fischer MRX 650 has an adjustable seat height of 29.5in-31.5in, which makes the 650 L about 2 to 3 inches shorter in comparison. The lower seat height is possible be a new suspension design, photos and more after the jump.

Continue Reading

KTM North America Adds Streetbike Division – New Streetbike Expected for 2010

09/29/2009 @ 9:00 am, by Jensen Beeler16 COMMENTS

KTM-sport-bike-division

KTM North America has created a new division focused on the on-road market. The new division is clearly a step by KTM to continue its push into the road bike scene. Heading the new division is Brad Hagi, former Director of Distributor Sales Worldwide at Ducati in Italy. With this new announcement, comes the rumor of a new motorcycle in the works for 2010. More after the jump.

Continue Reading

90hp Supercharged/NOS Cagiva Mito to Rival the Desmosedici RR

06/30/2009 @ 9:05 am, by Jensen Beeler4 COMMENTS

big_scorpionperformance03

In its stock form, the Cagiva Mito is not the most outlandish motorcycle every created. It boasts only a tiny 125cc motor, that makes barely 15hp. But when Simone Barbagallo got his on an unsuspecting Mito, the result was something quite the opposite of ordinary.

Barbagallo has increased the little elephants peak power to 90hp by adding a supercharger and NOS system to the donor bike. Not willing to call it quits, he then proceeded to bore out the motor 200cc’s. With almost no stock part left to be replaced, the result is what Simone calls, the Scorpion Performance, and he’d be willing to part with it for $55,000.

Continue Reading

First Fischer MRX American Sportbike Delivered

05/17/2009 @ 8:49 am, by Jensen Beeler1 COMMENT

fischer-mrx

The first Fischer MRX has been delivered to a customer, and has garnered some positive reviews. “The engineering is great, the seat is very comfortable, the exhaust sounds really good, and the MRX turns heads wherever I go,” says John from Minneapolis, MRX owner #1.

Continue Reading

193hp BMW S1000RR Street Bike Unveiled at Monza

05/11/2009 @ 1:02 am, by Jensen Beeler1 COMMENT

bmw-s1000rr-street-bike-monza-green-1

Before the World Superbike race at Monza this weekend, BMW officially revealed the S1000RR street bike that they have been teasing us with over the past 6 months. The bike isn’t the prettiest, but it has it where it counts. Tipping the scales at 183kg dry (403lbs), and 204kg wet (449.7lbs), the S1000RR makes a claimed 193hp at 13,000 RPMs, and 82.5 lb•ft of torque at 9,750RPMs. The S1000RR will also feature a four-stage ABS and race-derived traction control system. All this, and a price tag that BMW promises will be competitive against the Japanese manufacturers.

The S1000RR’s other features include a slipper clutch, six-speed gearbox, fully adjustable 46mm USD forks, fully adjustable rear monoshock, ride height adjustment at the rear, Brembo brakes (with radial-mount callipers at the front), and an aluminium chassis that uses the engine as a load-bearing member. The swingarm features an eccentric pivot, enabling different adjustments to raise and lower the height of the S1000RR in order to change the bike’s steering geometry. What’s not to like?…Besides the headlight. Tons of photos and a video after the jump.

Continue Reading