Jensen Beeler


Wherefore art thou, Honda Africa Twin? For years now we have been lamenting Honda’s inclusion of a true middleweight ADV offering in its lineup, to go up against bikes like the BMW F850GS, and newcomers like the Aprilia Tuareg 660 and Yamaha Ténéré 700. Today, that wish has been answered.

On paper, the Honda Transalp fits the bill, though I reserve some judgment until I see US pricing and availability.

My only serious gripe with the spec sheet is the bare-bones suspension pieces, but a cut-throat price tag could help me swallow that pill (along with some nice drop-in cartridges in the aftermarket).

Instead, most of my thoughts on the Transalp actually concern the Africa Twin.

After much expectation and waiting, the Honda Transalp returns to Big Red’s lineup. Officially dubbed the 2023 Honda XL750 Transalp, the bike shares its 755cc parallel-twin engine with the new Honda CB750 Hornet.

This means power comes in at 90hp (67.5 kW), with torque at 56 lbs•ft (75 Nm). That should be plenty to appease those shopping in the middleweight ADV segment, and the 458 lbs (208 kg) wet weight means that the Honda Transalp competes nicely against even the latest crop of machines in this category.

In addition to leaking us a plethora of photos and details about the Bimota BX450 enduro model (the first dirt bike from the Italian brand), our Bothan spies tell us to expect another debut at EICMA from this iconic motorcycle brand.

As such, we are getting indications that the third pillar to Bimota’s on-road lineup will be more of an adventure-sport machine, and use the supercharged inline-four engine found on the Bimota Tesi H2.

With semi-active suspension, a variable ride height, and probably more horsepower than you can shake a stick at, the Bimota Tera has the ingredients to be the King Kong of the ADV space.

Another EICMA show is on the horizon in Italy, so that means no sleep for the wicked and our Bothan spies, as they scour the corners of Milan for information about next year’s bikes – ahead of their official release.

Already it seems that Bimota is going to be the talk of the show, as the boutique Italian brand is making a foray into the off-road world, first with a limited-series Kawasaki-powered enduro.

Dubbed the Bimota BX450, this enduro model is an intriguing offering. The power plant comes from the 2023 Kawasaki KX450X “cross-country” dirt bike, and we can see that much of the chassis comes from the green machine as well.

That makes sense considering Kawasaki’s sizable investment in Bimota, and the obvious ability to tune an already stout package. Bimota takes the trail bike and adds a proper headlight, tail light, and larger fuel tank to the offering.

Looking beyond the surface, we understand that Bimota has also added a robust electronics package to the green machine, offering an adjustable traction control setup and selectable throttle maps.

A fatter 140/80 profile 18″ rear tire is another change, and it is mated to 80/100 profile 21″ front tire – both featuring Metzeler 6 Days Extreme rubber.

For more details, we will have to wait for Bimota’s official unveiling at the 2022 EICMA Show, but if our report of a possible ADV model is true, then it is an exciting day to see the Bimota brand getting its feet dirty.

Source: Bothan Spies – More photos and analysis available below to our A&R Pro readers.

Big news today regarding Pierer Mobility (the parent company to KTM, Husqvarna, and GasGas) and MV Agusta, as the Austrian company is set to take a 25.1% ownership stake in the Italian manufacturer.

The news comes just a couple weeks after it was announced that KTM North America would takeover distribution of MV Agusta’s motorcycles in the United States, and quells rumors that have been circling about KTM’s interest in the Varese brand.

Through a terse press release, the two companies have released few details on their strategic alliance, but it does seem that the ownership stake in MV Agusta comes with a lifeline of capital to keep Italian factory churning out exotic sport bikes.

The press release also explains that Pierer Mobility will takeover the supply chain and purchasing for MV Agusta, and that KTM et al will handle distribution for MV Agusta in certain unnamed markets – like what has already been announced in the USA.

Source: MV Agusta

The BMW M1000RR was the first motorcycle from BMW M Motorsports, and while the machine was a carbon-fiber upgrade to the BMW S1000RR superbike, it failed to excite the segment, due in part to its hefty price tag and close resemblance to its more “normal” sibling. That changes for 2023.

While the 2023 BMW S1000RR gets a number of needed upgrades to bring the liter-bike onto par with the rest of the segment, BMW Motorrad has stretched things further with the M1000RR, giving this super “superbike” some uniqueness of its own.

For the 2023 model year, BMW is adding to its M Motorcycle lineup, adding an M1000R streetfighter to its now updated M1000RR superbike. And on that same vein, BMW Motorrad is bringing some real substance for its “motorsports” models.

Whereas the current generation BMW S1000R is a bit…let’s say bland…when compared to a segment filled 200+ horsepower streetfighter road bikes, the new 2023 BMW M1000R is a no-compromises offering from the German brand.

With 205hp on tap, the BMW M1000R debuts with the big horsepower numbers that consumers are looking for, along with a litany of premium pieces that fill this high-end space.

The Ducati Multistrada V4 family got a little bigger today, with the Italian brand offering the Ducati Multistrada V4 Rally for the 2023 model year.

The bike is aimed at the niche carved out by bikes like the BMW R1250GS Adventure, where long-distance travel (over questionable terrain) is the name of the game. 

To aid in that goal, Ducati has added several key features that set the Multistrada V4 Rally apart from the rest of the Bologna brand’s lineup.

The BMW S1000RR is getting some meaningful updates for the 2023 model year, most of which seem to be targeted towards requests made by the company’s WorldSBK and critical feedback from journalists and customers regarding the previous iteration.

That’s welcomed news, because despite our excitement when the current generation S1000RR debuted, we found that BMW had essentially ruined the bike with its US specification – adding a giant hole to the middle of the throttle map.

While quite the looker, the BMW S1000RR didn’t do anything particularly better than its competition, and in certain aspects of the bike (e.g. the front brake performance), the machine was notably off the mark.

It is hard to tell if BMW Motorrad has completely fixed all these issues now for 2023, but the company has made an extensive list of improvements to the bike’s chassis, bodywork, and electronics.

The Ducati Monster lineup will grow by another model for the 2023 model year, as the Italian brand has announced the new Ducati Monster SP for next year.

Available in January 2023, the Ducati Monster SP boasts Öhlins suspension, Brembo Stylema calipers, and a homologated Termignoni exhaust amongst other key features.

With a price tag of $15,595 MSRP for the USA, the Monster SP commands a $2,900 price difference over the lesser-spec’d Monster+.

That extra coin gets you the above-mentioned goodies, along with a “MotoGP inspired” livery, lithium-ion battery, and a steering damper. All told, the Monster SP is just under 5 lbs lighter than its cheaper sibling.

The business structure of Ducati Motor Holding is a lot like one of those nesting Russian dolls – the Italian motorcycle brand is owned by Lamborghini, which is owned by Audi, which is owned by Volkswagen…whose stock is largely owned by Porsche, which is also owned by VW.

Are you still with me? Good, because it will can also be a little confusing without this knowledge to see the Lamborghini name on a motorcycle. This isn’t the first time that the two Bologna companies have made a fraternal partnership, however.

The Ducati Diavel 1260 Lamborghini was a polarizing project, but a strong-seller for Ducati, with the bike selling out almost instantly once it debuted.

Lamborghini and Ducati are now looking to rekindle that magic, and have tapped the Ducati Streetfighter V4 S for the job. As such, say hello to the Ducati Streetfighter V4 Lamborghini.