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December 2008

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piaggio-eib-loan

The Piaggio Group, which owns Piaggio, Vespa, Gilera, Aprilia, Derbi and Moto Guzzi, has just been given the green light on a seven year, €150 million loan from the European Investment Bank (). The money is ear-marked to be used for R&D, with a focus on hybrid and electric vehicles. Read more about the loan after the jump.

 













Spanish magazine Solo Moto has gotten word that Harley-Davidson has put together a plan to revive the Cagiva brand. Cagiva, like many Italian marks, has struggled the past years because of poor financing and business management. In its deal to acquire MV Agusta, Harley-Davidson also acquired Cagiva with that hopes that the American company could provide a remedy to these problems, and has recently laid out its plan on how it is going to achieve those goals. Read more about their road map for Cagiva after the jump.







john-hopkins

Rumors are shooting across the web that Kawasaki is retiring from MotoGP for the 2009 season. Allegedly, Kawasaki has notified Dorna Sports that it will be pulling out of the series, with a public announcement to come Monday next week. More on the announcement after the jump.

 













miller

FGSport, organizer of the World Superbike Series, announced today that the Miller Motorsports Park circuit, located in Salt Lake City, Utah, has been given the “2008 Organizer of the Year Award”.

This commendation is award to the WSBK venue that shows the the highest level of professionalism, and is able to provide the highest level of standards from an organizational, promotional and sporting point of view. This is obviously a prestigous award to win, if you own a WSBK quality track, but it is especially impressive as this is only Miller Motorsports Park first year partnering with FGSport.







Paolo Flammini, FGSport CEO, declared: “I express my warmest and most sincere congratulations to the circuit management and all its staff and wish them the very best for the season ahead.”

The 2009 round of the Superbike World Championship at the Miller Motorsports Park circuit will take place on May 31st.

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2009-vaxon-roadster

10 years ago French builder Voxan added the Roadster to their growing line-up. After positive traction in France, and slippery black ice traction just about everywhere else, a new Roadster is joining the line-up.

Voxan is hoping to level out their rocky past with this brand new take on their popular Roadster model. Slotted to be released in the 1st quarter of 2009, the Roadster will continue to make use of Voxan’s unique 72°, 996cc, 100hp, v-twin motor. The Roadster features 4 valves per cylinder head, and the model shown above is rumored to be close to what the final project will look like, meaning a new more aggressive look for Voxan.













harley_davidson_nightster

Harley-Davidson is getting creative with selling motorcycles, and we here at Asphalt & Rubber like it. HD must really want to capitalize on those sales, as it’s just announced a unique incentive to purchase a new Sportster, or alternatively to trade in your recently purchased model. 

All new 2008 and 2008 Sportsters, bought between December 26, 2008 and March 31, 2009, will be sold with a guarantee that Harley-Davidson will offer the full MSRP of the bike when traded in for a larger bike, within on year of the original purchase. The offer does not apply to the new XR1200, and the bike bought after the trade-in must be a Dyna, Softail, VRSC, or Touring model. 







Economically, this is an interesting deal. Harley-Davidsons, unlike most other marquees, generally appreciate in value over-time. This is mostly a function of long-waiting lists, and difficulty of purchasing abroad. Regardless, its a bonus point for buying the Milwaukee brand. The Sportster line, being at the bottom of the Harley totem pole, is the most susceptible to having this trend end with the economic crisis. This promotion, effectively squashes that possibility for the time being. Anyways, for the average consumer, revile in the fact that an otherwise depreciating object will hold its value for the next year minus the rate of inflation, and in the event of deflation in the value of the dollar, will actually be a decent investment. Booyaca!

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xmas-ktm-1190-rc8-1

We here at Asphalt & Rubber want to wish you a Merry Christmas, a Happy Chanukah, a Wonderful Winter Solstice, and a Kick-ass Kwanza. May your holiday presents be full of Ti exhaust systems, racing slicks, and fresh kneesliders.







2009-bmw-g650gs

Earilier this year BMW replaced the F650GS, its single-cylinder go anywhere bike, with de-tuned version of the F800GS. This also meant a shift from the single-cylinder motor, to the 800’s parallel twin. Police and military buyers have apparently groaned loud enough to BMW that they are bringing back the old F650GS, but under the g650GS model name.

The reasoning behind this is that police and military buyers still have plenty of old F650GS’s in their fleet, as well as plenty of spares for them. Instead of having to build support chains for a new model like the new F650GS or another brand, they would much rather keep on trucking with their tried and true single-cylinder workhorse. BMW apparently was happy to oblige.







The G650GS will be identical to the old F650GS, which means 50hp, 40lb/ft motor, laced with a 19″ front wheel, and five-speed gearbox. Price is rumored to be about 15% less than the 2007 model, which is an added bonus. The G650GS will also be available in the American markets.







roehr1250sc4

UPDATE: By now you have surely heard of the Roehr 1250sc. The American made superbike that has a supercharged Harley-Davidson VROD motor at its heart, which makes 180hp. This 432lbs (dry) MV Agusta look-a-like will be sure to turn heads down at the local bike night, especially when you’ve paid out the nearly $50,000 price tag (before taxes and licensing). The regulation friendly bike will meet all CARB and EPA  requirements, and will be DOT certified for sale in all 50 states. The 1250sc will be available for delivery starting March 2009.

Enough of that, here’s how the press release should read:







If you like bikes that take their styling queues from the early 2000’s, make the same amount of power as bikes in their class without forced induction, and still costs 67% more than a Ducati 1098R, then this is the bike for you. In which case, the option to purchase the bike through eBay will be especially appealing (I couldn’t make this up if I wanted to). The Roehr 1250sc is representative of everything that is truly American, at least all of the negative stereotypes that people often label upon the American auto industry.

While as much as we’d like to see a great American made motorcycle, it looks like Roehr hasn’t learned from the lessons of Ford, GM, and Chrysler. Bigger does not mean better, and there is a replacement for displacement: It’s called ingenuity.







vectrix-superbike

There’s been a lot of talk in the auto industry lately about electric cars, and moving to fully electric platforms. Quietly, motorcycle companies have seen the writing on the wall, and have been exploring electric two-wheel applications for new models. KTM has promised to bring an electric bike by this time in 2010, and Quantya has an electric dirt bike, the Strada already available for purchase.

Not to be left out on this one, Honda has announced that it has partnered with Yuasa to bring an electric bike line-up to their model range by the year 2010.







“Honda is currently developing a battery-powered electric motorcycle which emits no CO2 during operation. The company is aiming to introduce this electric motorcycle to the market about in two years from now,” says Takeo Fukui, Chairman and CEO of Honda Motor Co. “History shows that motorcycles remain strong in a difficult market environment and have always supported Honda in difficult times,” he adds.

Yuasa, maker of most motorcycle batteries (check yours), will be responsible for the development of the high-performance lithium-ion batteries necessary for the electric motorcycles. The two companies will jointly set up a research and development center, and a battery manufacturing facility near Kyoto in Japan. This joint venture is being funded to the tune of $18.5 million, with Honda holding a 49% stake in the company, and the rest being held by Yuasa.







tucson-bt550-superleggera-1

The French company Tucson set out with a simple goal. Build a sportbike under 100kg (220lbs), by using the inspiring Aprilia 550cc v-twin motor, found in the SXV and RXV motorcycles. See how they did it, with pictures, after the jump.