The Next, Next Big Thing in Motorcycles: Haptic Feedback

We are at an interesting point in time for motorcycles, namely because the technological landscape for the transportation sector is shifting radically. Long-time readers of Asphalt & Rubber will note some of the issues at play here, namely autonomous vehicles, rider aids, and vehicle interconnectivity. Over the next few weeks I want to revisit those items in more depth and detail, with a series that focuses on emerging technologies that are either already permeating into our two-wheeled lifestyle, or will be hitting the motorcycle industry over the next decade or so. But before I tackle the more obvious items on this list, I want to invest some words on a lesser-known technological innovation, which has the potential to be the next, “next big thing” in the motorcycle industry.

You Already Want This Honda Grom Race Bike from HRC

Understanding one’s lust for a Honda Grom is a lot like explaining good pornography: it is difficult to describe, but you know it when you see it. That idea encapsulates everything you need to know about Honda’s monkey bike. We can’t tell you why you want one, we just know that you do. Honda’s sales on the Grom back that notion up, as well. Beyond being just an adorable grocery-getter, we are seeing a plethora of Groms at the race track – and not just as pit bikes. Grom racing is becoming a thing, with more than a few minimoto series making spec-classes for Honda Grom racers, or including them in their 150cc programs. To that end, Honda’s racing department, HRC, has the Grom that you want – nay – need. Behold, the Honda Grom race bike from HRC.

Honda CBR250RR Headlight Spotted in Patents

We are literally marking time until Big Red debuts the Honda CBR250RR, the sportier sibling to the Honda CBR250R, which should rev to the moon and make more power with its two-cylinder engine. We have seen the prototype of the Honda CBR250RR already at trade shows, and the new CBR250RR is definitely on the edgier side of things, which is surprising coming the ever-conservative minds at Honda. How much of the edgy design will remain in the production version has yet to be seen, but we do have our first glimpse of some of the machine. The headlight shape has been filed with European patent offices, which is sort of a weird thing to be reporting on, but it does show insight into where Honda is headed.

Could BMW Be Working on an XDiavel Killer?

Here’s some more BMW Motorrad speculation for your two-wheeled consumption, as Germany’s Motorrad Magazine says that BMW is looking to take on the Ducati XDiavel, with a power cruiser model of its own. This of course isn’t the first time that BMW has included a cruiser-styled motorcycle in its lineup, with the BMW R1200C being a unique, though slightly odd, offering to the cruiser demographic. Like Ducati, BMW seems to be learning from its mistakes in going after the cruiser crowd, and instead of offering a motorcycle that is BMW’s take on the cruiser concept, they are building a cruiser that has cues back to the BMW lineup. A subtle but potent distinction. Time will tell on how this rumor plays out, though there are number of interesting things to consider with a BMW power cruiser.

Yamaha Tracer 700 Sport-Tourer Debuts for Europe

There are two big things to note with the debut of the Yamaha Tracer 700 in Europe today. One, Yamaha firmly believes in the future of the sport-touring segment; and two, the Japanese brand is getting excellent mileage out of its three-cylinder and two-cylinder machines that comprise its new FZ/MT line of motorcycles. As such, the Yamaha Tracer 700 offers to be a fun and affordable machine for those riders who find themselves many miles down the road after a “spirited” ride. With bike sales in Europe finally on an upward trend, Yamaha hopes that the release of the Tracer 700 is well-timed, and of course the brand has more models in the works that are based on the same 689cc parallel-twin power plant.

Is BMW Working on 300cc GS Model?

When the BMW G310R arrived, the German brand indicated that the small-displacement street bike would be the first of many model based on the 313cc platform. Now it seems that the first iteration is ready to drop, with news that BMW Motorrad is working on a G310R-based adventure-touer model. According to Motorcycle Sport and Leisure, BMW Motorrad UK’s Director Phil Horton has confirmed that a BMW G310GS model will debut, perhaps in time for the 2017 model year, saying “new models aside, the line-up isn’t as comprehensive as it needs to be. But there are plenty more bikes to come, including, hopefully in 2017, a G310R GS-style derivative.” The idea of small-displacement ADV machine does mimic what we have been seeing from other brands.

EPA Withdraws Racing Emissions Proposal

If you have a modified track-only motorcycle, then we have some news to share that you will enjoy, as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has withdrawn proposed language that would have specifically given it the ability to regulate the emissions of production vehicles that were being used at track days or similar events. The proposed rule caused quite a storm in automotive enthusiast circles, as it would have affected racing and recreational uses of products that have been sold under “race use only” provisions for years. Of course, the larger issue at stake here was the continued selling of race parts to street enthusiasts. Still, since it is hard to find a motorcycle on the road these days that hasn’t seen its emissions equipment modified, it doesn’t surprise us to see the backlash coming from the motorcycling community.

Honda Halts Operations at Its Kumamoto Factory After Earthquakes Strike Japan

If you have been following mainstream news, you will know that the Pacific Rim has been active with earthquake activity these past few days. In addition to the devastating movements in Ecuador, Japan has been rocked by a series of earthquakes as well, two of which have centered on the Kumamoto prefecture of the country. If that names sounds familiar to motorcycle enthusiasts, it is because Kumamoto is Honda’s mothership for motorcycle production. As such, Honda is halting the operations of its Kumamoto factory, thru the rest of this week (ending April 22, 2016). Honda says that its subsequent production plans will be determined according to facility restorations and component supply.

Lorenzo To Ducati: Why It Happened & What Happens Next

In case you missed it, Jorge Lorenzo has signed with Ducati Corse for the 2017 and 2018 MotoGP World Championship seasons. It is not so much that team bosses never appear in pre-event press conferences, but rather that such appearances are vanishingly rare, and often momentous. If Jarvis is not there to discuss Lorenzo’s move to Ducati, then something has gone very awry indeed. We have been here before, of course. When Valentino Rossi finally announced he would be moving to Ducati in 2010, a similar procedure was adopted. So taking account of the lessons from that move, and of Rossi’s return to Yamaha, let us gaze into our crystal ball and see what we can expect for the upcoming days.

It’s Official, Jorge Lorenzo Will Race with Ducati Corse

As expected, the announcement dropped today that Jorge Lorenzo will be leaving the Movistar Yamaha team at the end of this season, for a new racing opportunity with Ducati Corse. Details are light at this time, mostly because of Lorenzo’s ongoing contract with Yamaha Racing for the rest of the MotoGP season, but we do know that the Spaniard has inked a two-year with the Italian outfit. Lorenzo’s move to Ducati will mean a cascade of changes in the MotoGP paddock, with the next phase of the silly season process likely to focus on who will replace him as Valentino Rossi’s teammate. Good money is on Maverick Viñales, but as we pointed out in the latest Paddock Pass Podcast episode, Suzuki has redoubled its efforts to retain the young Spanish rider.

2015 Aprilia Tuono V4 1100 RR – Refining Perfection

11/04/2014 @ 7:14 am, by Jensen Beeler5 COMMENTS

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We already showed you the first photo of the new Aprilia Tuono V4 1100, which as the name implies gets a modest displacement increase for the 2015 model year. Tacking on an extra 5hp, for a total of 175hp at the crank, the 2015 Aprilia Tuono V4 1100 also gets the second-generation APRC electronics package, as well as other chassis refinements.

Coming in two trim levels, the Aprilia Tuono V4 1100 RR is now the base model, and shown here. The top fairing has been changed for both models, and now replicates the three headlight design found on the RSV4 RR. These changes also allowed 3 lbs to be trimmed from the Tuono, which should please the performance-minded.

2014 Aprilia Tuono V4 R APRC ABS Coming to the USA

09/27/2013 @ 6:30 pm, by Jensen Beeler10 COMMENTS

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While David is in Aragon, I am down in Laguna Seca for the World Superbike races (apparently AMA Pro Racing is here too, though you wouldn’t know it from their TV contract), and Aprilia USA just debuted and confirmed that the alphabet soup that is the 2014 Aprilia Tuono V4 R APRC ABS will be landing on US soil starting in October 2013.

The naked version of the venerable Aprilia RSV4 R APRC ABS superbike, the Tuono V4 R is our hands-down favorite liter-class streetfighter, with its burly, yet smooth, power delivery, and industry-leading electronics package.

Keeping the machine inline with its competitors, Aprilia is now adding ABS for the 2014 model year , and thus has raised the bar a little higher with its next iteration of the Tuono V4 R. Helping seal the deal is the $14,499 price tag, which is $500 less than last year’s MSRP.

Aprilia Tuono V4 R Photos and Video

04/13/2011 @ 9:27 am, by Jensen Beeler15 COMMENTS

The Piaggio Group launched the 2011 Aprilia Tuono V4 R to the press this past weekend in Valencia, letting the maximum power street-naked out of its shell for the first time. We’ve already hypothesized that electronics are the new horsepower, but Aprilia is seemingly hedging its bets, supplying the Tuono V4 R with not only its WSBK derived APRC electronics package, but also 167hp on tap.

What’s not to like about a bike distilled from the potent Aprilia RSV4, right? Well it does have a face only a mother could love, but we’ve got plenty of paper bags to fix that problem if one shows up in our garage. The mother load of pictures is after the jump (how does the yellow paint grab you?), along with a fairly painful to watch promo video (really guys, we need to stop with the 30 second “dive! dive! dive!” warning horn).

2011 Aprilia Tuono V4 R: Proof That Some Bikes Should Leave Their Clothes On [UPDATED]

11/01/2010 @ 9:28 am, by Jensen Beeler19 COMMENTS

UPDATE: Larger photos and more details have been added.

Well here’s your first look at the 2011 Aprilia Tuono V4 R. While we don’t have official information, the Tuono V4 line seemingly comes equipped with the Aprilia Performance Rider Control package. Sharing its frame with the RSV4 superbike, the Aprilia Tuono V4 R receives a de-tuned motor with performance figures coming in at 162hp and 81 lbs•ft of torque. Like the Aprilia RSV4 Factory APRC SE, the Tuono V4 R will be fitted with APRC system, which will bring traction control, anti-lock brakes, wheelie control, launch control, quick-shifter, and rider-selectable driving modes to the naked V4.

Braking power comes from radial Brembo monobloc calipers mated to 320mm discs up front. Suspension is done by Sachs, with 43mm titanium nitride (TiN) forks and a four-way adjustable (compression, rebound, pre-load, and ride height) rear shock with piggyback reservoir. The 2011 Tuono V4 R comes with new wheels that are 5 lbs lighter than the ones that come on the Aprilia RSV4 R. We apologize for the small photos after the jump, but perhaps that’s better so as to help you avert your eyes from this abortion of a motorcycle.

Rumor: 2011 Aprilia RSV4 to get Traction Control?

06/28/2010 @ 1:18 pm, by Jensen Beeler5 COMMENTS

UPDATE: The 2011 Aprilia RSV4 will get traction control according to sources close to the company.

Well this didn’t take long. No sooner did the 2011 Aprilia Tuono V4 show up sporting signs of an anti-lock braking system and rumors of a traction control system, do we know hear rumblings from Italian site OmniMoto about the 2011 Aprilia RSV4 getting similar treatment. Whether its an informed postulation or idle speculation, Aprilia seems certain to offer ABS and traction control on the Aprilia RSV4, as it logically aims to compete with the offerings from Ducati and BMW.

2011 Aprilia Tuono V4 Spotted – Spy Video/Photos

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

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 Aprilia Tuono V4 Factory Imagined

09/09/2009 @ 11:00 am, by Jensen Beeler1 COMMENT

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MotoRevue has sent their man Jérôme Vannesson into the bat cave to whip up another photoshop of what they expect a motorcycle to look like, and this time getting the treatment is the 2011 Aprilia Tuono V4 Factory, in all its re-imagined glory.

Aprilia Tuono V4 Caught Lapping at Misano

07/27/2009 @ 5:18 pm, by Jensen Beeler1 COMMENT

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We felt bad last week after we teased you with small, low-res photos of the new Aprilia Tuono V4, so we’re making it up to you this week. Italian magazine Motoclismo spotted the new Tuono lapping around Misano on what appears to be a track day event. If you have a halfway decent imagination, these pictures shouldn’t shock you. The new Tuono has many of the RSV4’s lines, and has little to no updates from our previous shots.

Aprilia Tuono V4 & RSV4-R Lapping at Mugello

07/23/2009 @ 1:15 am, by Jensen BeelerComments Off on Aprilia Tuono V4 & RSV4-R Lapping at Mugello

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UPDATE 2: We now have clear photos of the 2011 Aprilia Tuono V4 lapping around Mugello, along with video footage of the bike. Check it out here.

UPDATE: Sorry folks, it looks like we’re one of the many sites that are being requested to remove the photos of the Tuono V4 at Mugello by the photographer. The camera phone photo remains though.

We’ve got more spy shots for you today, which should cover just about every bike Aprilia is rumored to have in development. One lucky photographer was at Mugello and caught both the upcoming Aprilia Tuono V4 & RSV4-R taking laps around the Italian course. We also found what looks like a camera phone picture of the Tuono V4 out in the wild.

While the RSV4 has gotten most of the limelight, the Tuono V4 has been content, as always, to be in the superbike’s shadow. Drawing from similar inspirations, there aren’t too many surprises on what the bike looks like. Imagine the RSV4 without its clothes on, with a new headlight, and you’ve about got it.