Up-Close with the Kawasaki Ninja H2

With the track-only Kawasaki Ninja H2R putting out 300hp from its supercharged 998cc displacement, the 200hp Kawasaki Nina H2 street bike seems positively demure, by comparison. Of course, any 200hp machine is more than a handful, and we doubt many H2 owners will keep their machines street legal for very long — it’s been explained to A&R that it doesn’t take much work to uncork the H2…we’re just not sure if that’s a good or bad thing though. Ostentatious might be the best way to describe the new H2. Bringing back forced induction to the sport bike scene is a pretty bold move from Kawasaki, and something we will likely see more of from the Japanese manufacturers.

Indianapolis GP Named Best Grand Prix by MotoGP

At the conclusion of each GP season, an awards ceremony is held to celebrate the year’s champions, crowning the top riders in each category, the top manufacturers, and even the top venue for the season. This year, the honors of the latter went to familiar locale, as the Red Bull Indianapolis GP round was named the “Best Grand Prix” of the 2014 season, making it the first North American round to receive such an honor. Selection criteria for the award included consideration of the venue, promotion, and overall facility operations. For the 2014 race, Indianapolis Motor Speedway once again repaved its infield section, making alterations to several turns in order to facilitate passing and adding to the track’s overall consistency.

Up-Close with the 2015 Ducati Multistrada 1200

If there’s a motorcycle that launched at EICMA that I wish we had given more coverage to, it would be the 2015 Ducati Multistrada 1200. The new adventure-sport machine from Ducati is all-new for the next model year, though it would be hard to tell it from the photos. Even our modest collection of “up-close” photos here don’t do justice to the venerable Multistrada. The face of the Multistrada 1200 has been reworked, with the “beak” softened a bit from its falcon-like profile. The intake inlets are larger in appearance, and the headlight housing is noticeably different with its six LED projectors for the Ducati Corner Lights system (on the “S” model). This perhaps makes for an interesting “face” on the motorcycle, and like its predecessor, you will either love it or hate it.

Marco Melandri Returns to MotoGP, with Aprilia

After finishing fifth in the 2014 World Superbike Championship with Aprilia, Marco Melandri will continue with the Italian manufacturer, but switch to the MotoGP paddock for next season. Melandri will join Alvaro Bautista in the Aprilia Racing garage, where they will compete on an updated version of the ART machine, which was originally built to compete under the CRT bike rules. The team, now operated by Gresini Racing, will come up to speed during the 2015 season, and in 2016 they will race with a brand new race bike, which will use the compulsory “open” spec-electronics from Magneti Marelli. For Melandri, the move to MotoGP is a bit of gamble, with Aprilia’s program uncertain.

Up-Close with the Honda RC213V-S Prototype

I can’t decide whether to be elated or disappointed over the Honda RC213V-S prototype, which was debuted this week at the EICMA show in Milan, Italy. On the one hand, the RC213V-S lived up to the hype…literally a MotoGP race bike with lights, mirrors, turn signals, and a license plate. On the other hand, for all the waiting and consternation from Honda, what they brought to Milan was a fairly derivative and obvious design. Rumors of a true MotoGP-derived sport bike from Honda have been circling for several years now (closer to a decade, if you’re a reader of MCN), and the project borrows the ethos found in the Ducati Desmosedici RR project, another exclusive GP-bike-for-the-street motorcycle.

The Ducati Streetfighter 848 Is Spared the Axe for 2015

The Ducati Streetfighter lives for another year, as Ducat is showing off the Ducati Streetfighter 848 as a 2015 model year machine at the EICMA show in Milan. There had been doubts about the Streetfighter 848 continuing to be a part of the Ducati lineup going forth, especially as the Italian company has moved away from the 849cc v-twin platform, favoring the 821cc engine variations for the Hypermotard the Monster lines, and the 899cc Superquadro for the Panigale. The Streetfighter was never a big hit in the world market, becoming more of a cult classic machine amongst riders. Combined sales with the Hypermotard account for roughly 20% of Ducati’s annual sales, with the Hypermotard doing the majority of the heavy-lifting in that regard.

Moto Guzzi MGX-21 Prototype

Cruisers really aren’t our cup of tea here at Asphalt & Rubber, which might explain the lack of coverage for America’s gift to the two-wheeled world on our website. That being said, it’s hard to pass on the lurid Moto Guzzi MGX-21 prototype that is on display at this year’s EICMA show. A reworked Moto Guzzi California 1400, the MGX-21 is clad in carbon fiber, matte black paint, and red highlights. The carbon fiber disc wheels are a nice touch too (that’s a 21″ wheel up front, by the way), as are the sweeping lines from the front cowl and fenders. We’re finding ourselves a bit smitten with this Moto Guzzi, as true to the brand, it strays from the cruiser norm. We think you’ll like it too, check out the photos after the jump.

Up-Close with the Honda “True Adventure” Prototype

One of the more anticipated motorcycles at the 2014 EICMA show, off-roaders were expecting to see the new Honda Africa Twin in Milan this week. Instead, Honda trotted out what they’re calling the “True Adventure” prototype. Despite not being a production model, the True Adventure prototype looks ready for prime time, and we got a series of “up-close” photos of the machine. Most obvious is the bike’s parallel twin engine, which is rumored to be 1,000cc in displacement. That sizing/weight class seems to jive with the dual front brake discs, which also sports an ABS tone ring. We can expect Honda to have traction control operating off the front and rear wheel speeds as well, and other electronic packages as well.

Money: Motorcycle Racing’s Biggest Problem

What is the biggest problem in motorcycle racing today? Is it the predominant role electronics are playing, ruining the racing? Is it the ever more restrictive rules imposed, killing bike development and the spirit of Grand Prix racing? Is it the lack of competitive machinery, making it impossible for anyone but a factory rider to win a race? Or is it the dominance of the two top manufacturers, driving costs up and discouraging wider manufacturer participation? You can point to all of those and more as being an issue, but they pale in comparison to the real problem the sport of motorcycle racing faces at the moment: Money. Specifically, the lack of it, and the inability of almost everyone involved in the sport to find ways of raising any. All of the ills of both MotoGP and World Superbikes can be traced back to this single failure.

Investcorp Buys 80% of Dainese for €130 Million

A story we have been chasing for some time now, Lino Dainese has finally found a buyer for his namesake company, Dainese. The purchaser is the aptly named private equity firm Investcorp, which is headquartered in Bahrain, and has additional offices in New York, London, Riyadh, and Abu Dhabi. Buying 80% of the company’s stock for a reported €130 million, Investcorp’s valuation of Dainese would therefore be set at €162.5 million. The other 20% of the company is retained by Lino Dainese, himself. Dainese’s future goals rest heavily on its airbag technology, as Dainese plans on bringing D-Air to markets outside of motorsport and sport in general. The company also has an aggressive plan to grow outside of Italy, making a bigger push into North America and developing markets.

Ducati Diavel: Closer…closer…

10/07/2010 @ 9:27 am, by Jensen Beeler25 COMMENTS

Ducati Diavel: Closer...closer... 2011 Ducati Diavel inked

The folks over at MotoBlog.it have gotten their hands on a new 2011 Ducati Diavel photo, and were kind enough to ink in a red frame and racing stripe on the bike, to give us a better idea of what the production Italian performance cruiser could look like. With the final lines showing more fit and finish, the Diavel has really transformed before our eyes these past months. The swept back headlight design reminds us of something old and something new, but we’re still not in love with this bike yet (but we’re getting there). How about you?

Source: MotoBlog.it

How the Ducati Diavel Will Look Tipped Over

09/03/2010 @ 1:36 pm, by Jensen Beeler7 COMMENTS

How the Ducati Diavel Will Look Tipped Over ducati diavel crash spy shot 1

The latest leak from Bologna shows how the upcoming Ducati power cruiser will look tipped over on its side, after an owner gets hit by car, or fails to get the kick stand down in time. Snarkiness aside, reports from the Italian news site Romagna NOI say the Diavel test rider was struck by a car while testing the bike.

The rider seems to be ok, and the bike looks to have held up quite well all things considered. One thing we can glean from the photo is the two-tone paint on the headlight cowling, which might help break up what were expecting to be a very ugly line.

A Better Look at the Ducati Mega Monster

07/21/2010 @ 1:47 pm, by Jensen Beeler37 COMMENTS

A Better Look at the Ducati Mega Monster Ducati Mega Monster power cruiser side shot 560x329

Italian news site MotoSprint has stumbled upon perhaps the best photo yet of the new Ducati power cruiser, which has been dubbed the “Mega Monster”. From the side we can get a better glimpse on the bike’s overall lines and stature, which at leasts makes us more comfortable with how the bike’s final aesthetic will come to be. Love it or hate it? Let us know in the comments.

Source: MotoSprint via Ducati News Today

Ducati Mega Monster Spotted Again – Some Things Can’t be Unseen

07/15/2010 @ 8:26 am, by Jensen Beeler12 COMMENTS

Ducati Mega Monster Spotted Again   Some Things Cant be Unseen Ducati Mega Monster spy shot Motociclismo

Spotted just outside Ducati’s Bologna factory by an amateur photographer, we now get a proper glimpse of Ducati’s “Mega Monster” performance cruiser. Based around a 1200cc v-twin motor, Ducati is hoping to tap into the American dominated cruiser market, and steal a few customers away from Harley-Davidson.

While, we’re not calling the Mega Monster a “butter face”…well…actually we are, hopefully the Rhinoplasty Fairy will come visit the bike before its debut at EICMA later this year. Ducati, for the love of God, please re-think this motorcycle. Check Motociclismo.it for more photos.

Source: Motociclismo.it

Brammo TTR-based Sportbike Coming

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

Brammo TTR based Sportbike Coming Brammo TTR sportbike spy shot 560x373

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.

2011 Aprilia Tuono V4 Spotted – Spy Video/Photos

06/25/2010 @ 9:31 am, by Jensen Beeler5 COMMENTS

2011 Aprilia Tuono V4 Spotted   Spy Video/Photos Aprilia Tuono V4 spyshot

The lucky bastards at Motociclismo.it have spotted the Aprilia Tuono V4 testing at a track day at Mugello, and were fortunate enough to have their photo and video cameras at the ready. At an event that feels more like a setup press leak, than a true spy capture, we still get some of our clearest views of the 2011 Aprilia Tuono V4 yet.

The street-naked draws heavily from the RSV4, and has the usual differences where we’d expect to find them on these two bikes. Perhaps the most exciting is what appears to be an ABS and/or traction control system pick up on the front and rear wheels, which might be a hint of things to come in the Aprilia sport line. Check after the jump for a video of the Aprilia Tuono V4 going around the track, and more photos.

2011 BMW K1600LT Spotted in the Wild

06/16/2010 @ 6:09 pm, by Jensen Beeler6 COMMENTS

2011 BMW K1600LT Spotted in the Wild 2011 BMW K1600LT spy shot

Get excited Cordura lovers, because Tourenfahrer has spotted the 2011 BMW K1600LT out testing in Southern California. Based off the BMW Concept 6 that we brought to you live from EICMA last year, the BMW K1600LT features a six-cylinder motor that, like the Horex VR6 concept, is just marginally wider than your standard in-line four motor.

The result should be a silky smooth K-bike that any tourer can enjoy. Noticable on the bike is an adjustable windscreen and ample on-board storage, both of which are basically standard components now with sport-tourers. Expect to see the 2011 BMW K1600LT debut at EICMA later this year, if not earlier.

Spy Shot: 2010 MotoCzysz E1pc at the Isle of Man

06/05/2010 @ 10:36 am, by Jensen Beeler19 COMMENTS

Spy Shot: 2010 MotoCzysz E1pc at the Isle of Man 2010 Motoczysz E1pc spy shot isle of man

UPDATE: We just got an email from Michael Czysz about the new E1pc, and the team’s progress so far at the Isle of Man. Read it after the jump.

Our Bothan Spies were hard at work this weekend, and have brought us this photo of the 2010 MotoCzysz E1pc that will be racing the TT Zero at the Isle of Man TT. From the pictures, the 2010 E1pc is sporting a significantly smaller tail (no hidden batteries here!), and a bevy of battery packs.

From what we can gather, there’s 12.5 kWh of battery power visible, assuming Czysz & Co. are using the same packs from the eDD. The front-end is the same MotoCzysz-patented design, while the rear of the motorcycle looks to have a longer swing-arm and conventional shock placement.

The motor is attached to the “suitcase”, low on the bike (as seen in the eDD renders) facing the clutch side of the motorcycle. It’s then linked via chain to a concentric shaft off the swing-arm (similar to the MotoCzysz C1), with the final chain linkage on the standard right-hand side of the E1pc. More info and photos as we get them. Big thanks to our anonymous tipster!

Zero/Agni Running Isle of Man Bike at Infineon

05/13/2010 @ 6:05 am, by Jensen Beeler6 COMMENTS

Zero/Agni Running Isle of Man Bike at Infineon ZeroAgni TTX01 TTXGP Infineon Shawn Higbee 560x420

As we get ready for TTXGP’s first race in the United States this weekend (and apparently the AMA is racing with them too, who knew?), more details are emerging about what we can expect from Sunday’s race. Our operatives caught Team ZeroAgni and K² out at Thunderhill last week, and saw a modified Zero S (K²’s entry), and a GSX-R piloted by Shawn Higbee taking laps around the track. With the GSX-R clearly not TTXGP legal, we were left to speculate what AMA privateer Higbee would be riding at Infineon, and now we know: it’s the inaugural TTXGP winning bike from Agni Motors (you can see the bike re-painted above, with it’s noticeable “tank-plank” protruding).

Nicky Hayden Leaks Ducati GP10 Photo

12/23/2009 @ 8:40 am, by Jensen Beeler10 COMMENTS

Nicky Hayden Leaks Ducati GP10 Photo Ducati GP10 Nicky Hayden leak1

In a slightly bizzare manner, Nicky Hayden is responsible for the latest bit of news and photo leak from the MotoGP paddock. Making a stop in Bologna to celebrate the holidays with the Ducati Corse crew, in route to India to help open a Ducati store, Hayden got a chance to see the new Ducati GP10 race bike up-close. Armed with a cell phone, and a little indiscretion, the American rider snapped a photo of the new bike, posted the photo to his personal website, and there you have it.