XXX: The 2015 Yamaha YZF-R1 World Endurance Race Bike is Pure Sex…with a Headlight

The long-winded “Yamaha France GMT 94 Michelin Racing” team is ready for FIM Endurance World Championship action this year, especially with the all-new 2015 Yamaha YZF-R1 motorcycle. The new R1 offers state-of-the-art electronics, as well as near-200hp from its crossplane four-cylinder engine, and the French team is looking to capitalize on those improvements in the EWC for 2015. Yamaha France took the 2014 title in a convincing fashion, so it will be interesting to see what riders David Checa, Kenny Foray, and Mathieu Gines can accomplish with their new toy. We’ve got a bevy of high-resolution photos for you, after the jump.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Ducati Strada Aperta – Now with Luggage Bags

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

Ducati-Strada-Aperta-again

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

Ducati-Cayenne-Strada-Aperta

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

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.

Picture: Ducati Strada Aperta Head-On

07/29/2009 @ 9:18 am, by Jensen BeelerComments Off

More Spy Shots of the Ducati Strada Aperta

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

Ducati-Strada-Aperta-spy-shots-1

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.

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