Jensen Beeler


As if waiting for the debut of a new superbike from Honda wasn’t a marathon event in itself, the arrival of the Honda CBR1000RR-R Fireblade SP onto US soil took its time in its own right, thanks in part to the coronavirus outbreak.

But, the new Fireblade is finally here in the United States, and Asphalt & Rubber is among the first to ride this new superbike.

Our ride test takes us to smokey California, at the Thunderhill Raceway Park in Willows, CA. With fires smoldering not too far away, we consider ourselves lucky to ride this popular Californian track, and the new Fireblade should feel right at home on this undulating circuit.

The Husqvarna Norden 901 was one of the highlights of the 2019 EICMA show, with the Swedish brand showing its 890cc interpretation of the KTM 790 Adventure.

The bike displayed at the trade show was only a concept though, which left at least some doubt as to what the final production-ready machine would look like – not that Husqvarna strays too far from concept to conception, mind you.

Now spotted in a Pierer Mobility investor presentation (where all the best KTM/Husqvarna stories come from), we have caught a pixelated glimpse of the 2021 Husqvarna Norden 901.

The rumors of the Bonnier Motorcycle Group (BMG) being for sale have been ongoing for a while now, but now they have finally come good, as Octane has been named as the buyer of BMG.

For those not familiar with Octane, it is a part of Fintech, and it operates as a portal for financing loans to powersports buyers. Why does a lending house want to buy C​ycle World, Motorcyclist, Dirt Rider, Motorcycle Cruiser, UTV Driver, ATV Rider,​ and ​Cycle Volta?

Octane CEO Jason Guss perhaps says it best in the company’s joint press release with Bonnier Corp.:

“We are acquiring these titles because we want to support brands that get people excited about powersports. Our goal for this acquisition is to ensure that unbiased product reviews, rigorous and objective testing, and informed storytelling​ will continue to be available to powersports enthusiasts.”

“When combined with Octane’s financing platform and dealership partners, consumers will soon be able to go directly from researching their dream vehicle to owning it, in a fast, seamless process.”

This year might be a throw away for many people (for the record, it lost me at murder hornets); but for Suzuki Motor, 2020 marks the 100th anniversary of its incorporation – having been formed as the Suzuki Loom Manufacturing Co. in 1920 by Michio Suzuki.

To celebrate this century-long milestone and achievement, Suzuki Motor is doing what it does best: bold new graphics. As such, the three GSX-R models are getting a special 100th Anniversary livery, which draws heavily from the brand’s MotoGP program.

These special colors for the GSX-R600 ($11,599), GSX-R750 ($12,699), and GSX-R1000R ($17,999) will be available in only limited numbers  and will be sold as 2021 model year machines.

The Aprilia Tuono V4 X is a limited edition, track only, version of the Noale’s hyper-naked bike…and of course it comes with MotoGP-inspired wings. It makes 218hp at the crank, weighs 366 lbs bone dry, costs €34,900, and only 10 bikes were going to be made.

Now, Aprilia tells us that production for the Aprilia Tuono V4 X is going to increase three-fold. That means 30 bikes will be produced, which would seem like good news if you were not one of the lucky 10 who first got a chance to own this unique motorcycle.

We still have some bad news, however. All 20 of those additional units are already spoken for.

MotoAmerica came to the Pacific Northwest this year, bringing professional motorcycle racing to the Ridge Motorsports Park. The backyard of Asphalt & Rubber, I made the short drive to the forested race track in order to see how the pros do it.

Both of the PNW’s local amateur racing clubs had just competed two weeks before at The Ridge, holding a joint-round on the recently revised course, which meant an obvious reference point on what to expect from the track’s new layout (a chicane having just been added to the track’s front straight this year).

Unsurprisingly, the chicane was the talk for much of the paddock, and rightfully so. As we found out weeks before the MotoAmerica round, the position of the chicane on the front straight is an issue for motorcycle racers.

The arrival date of the Bimota Tesi H2 is getting closer, so it doesn’t surprise us that today a Bothan spy dropped off these photos in our inbox, showing the supercharged sport bike in its final production form.

Not too much has changed since we first saw the Bimota Tesi H2 at the EICMA show in 2019, as the basic lines from the Italian boutique have remained throughout the machine.

The bike is still built around the Kawasaki Ninja H2 power plant, with the addition of an iconic and unique hub-center steering design chassis, which itself is clad with carbon fiber bodywork.