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.

Rumor: It’s Multistrada 1200, Not Stradaperta

10/18/2009 @ 9:00 am, by Jensen Beeler11 COMMENTS

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UPDATE 2: Get the latest news on the 2010 Ducati Multistrada 1200 here.

UPDATE: Ducati has officially announced the Multistrada 1200 name, no word on model variations.

The usually accurate folks at SoloMoto have broken an interesting plot twist to the ever unfolding drama of the soon to be released Stradaperta, and that is the bike is to be called instead the Multistrada 1200. Taking the nomenclature of the machine it replaces, Ducati is allegedly hoping to build of the reputation and brand that the Multistrada motorcycle has made in the industry. With this break, also comes news that four variations of the motorcycle will be offered. More on that after the jump.

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Spy Shots: Ducati Stradaperta Gets Dirty

10/14/2009 @ 3:04 pm, by Jensen Beeler1 COMMENT

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The 2010 Ducati Stradaperta adventure bike continues is world spy shot tour. Taking to the dirt for the first time, the Stradaperta looks to be testing its off-road capability. Luckily, the folks at MCN had an undercover agent around to snag some shots of the BMW GS killer taking some jumps, and getting some air. More photos after the jump.

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2010 Ducati Stradaperta Unmasked

10/10/2009 @ 9:08 am, by Jensen Beeler8 COMMENTS

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Finally it has happened, photos of the Ducati Stradaperta have been leaked, and they show the bike’s true form. With the bevy of camofloged photos that we’ve seen already, there aren’t too many surprises here, but we do get to see a clear view of the “beak” of the new adventure-tourer, as well as the front fairings. Photos after the jump.

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Ducati Stradaperta Up-Close and Personal

10/04/2009 @ 9:30 am, by Jensen Beeler4 COMMENTS

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These have to be some of the best shots to day that we have seen of the soon-to-be released Ducati Stradaperta (or is it Strada Aperta?). With official comment on the motorcycle scarce from Bologna, we must still make our own conjectures. Clearly from these photos though, we can see in detail what the head light assembly, and dash will look like. Photos after the jump.

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Ducati Strada Aperta – Now with Luggage Bags

09/03/2009 @ 10:59 am, by Jensen Beeler1 COMMENT

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Dear Ducati,

Just release this bike already. We’re tired of seeing it all wrapped up in duct tape, and on people’s camera phones.

Sincerely,
Everybody.

Photo: MotoBlog

Ducati Strada Aperta Renamed to ‘Cayenne’?

08/21/2009 @ 10:13 am, by Jensen BeelerComments Off on Ducati Strada Aperta Renamed to ‘Cayenne’?

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Visordown is reporting today that Ducati has named their road-going, enduro-ish, BMW GS killer, the Ducati Cayenne…yes, as in the spicy hot pepper. One thing is for sure about the name: we’re finding it a little hard to swallow.

First off, it just doesn’t sound very “Ducati”. With bikes named “Superbike”, “Sport Classic”, and “Streetfigher” we’ve become accustomed to Ducati naming its motorcycles with very obvious and descriptive names. Even, the Multistrada, which the new bike is to replace, had a fairly intuitive name for its purpose (we’re ignoring the Monster on purpose here).

Our other eyebrow is raised because we just can’t see why the Bologna brand would name a vehicle after a German SUV. The last thing we need in this world is to be sitting in our favorite yuppie coffee shop and overhear someone talking about their brand new Cayenne, leaving us to wonder if they’re talking about their overpriced kid-hauler, or their over-priced dirt bike.

Our doubt about this report is a shame, because Visordown goes on to report some tech specs on the bike we haven’t heard before.

UPDATE: According to MCN sources inside Ducati have denied that the Strada Aperta will be renamed Cayenne

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Strada Aperta: But Wait, There’s More!

07/31/2009 @ 3:20 pm, by Jensen Beeler1 COMMENT

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As we inch closer to EICMA, and the rumored unveiling of the BMW GS killer from Ducati, the rumors and spy shots of the Strada Aperta continue to roll in. This latest batch features once again, our favorite gaffer taped bike out on the town, doing its thing. This time, a few more details about the front fendor can be seen despite the masking. Check it out after the jump.

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Picture: Ducati Strada Aperta Head-On

07/29/2009 @ 9:18 am, by Jensen BeelerComments Off on Picture: Ducati Strada Aperta Head-On

More Spy Shots of the Ducati Strada Aperta

07/20/2009 @ 10:30 am, by Jensen Beeler8 COMMENTS

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As we get closer to the unveiling of Ducait’s Multistrada replacement in Novemeber, the spy shots of the “GS killer” are becoming more apparent. After trolling the interwebernet, we’ve found two more shots that reveal some more detail about what the Strada Aperta (no word if that’s the official name, but it does seem to keep coming up) will look like from the side and front.

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Ducati Enduro Spotted Road Testing in Italy

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

Nuova Ducati Multistrada tagliata

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

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