Jensen Beeler


While motorcycles sales in the United States continue to slip, sales in Europe continue to grow. I use that line almost every time I write about this subject – largely because it’s the truth.

The fact is that there is a fundamental difference about what is going on in the European markets versus what is going on here in the United States, and it shows in the sale data.

Reporting on the first half of the year so far, the European Association of Motorcycle Manufacturers (ACEM) says that the European motorcycle market is up 9.1%, compared to the first-half of 2018.

Take a good look at it – this is the Suzuka 8-Hours race winning endurance bike that Jonathan Rea and Leon Haslam took to victory this year.

As with any endurance-spec race bike, this Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10RR is a very special animal, and one can pore over the photos here looking at all the interesting modifications that go into a Suzuka-winning machine.

For us, our eyes always go towards the quick-change wheels and brakes, but there are interesting items on every corner of the motorcycle.

For those that haven’t been keeping track on Asphalt & Rubber, the Brap Talk podcast, and on social media, we are spending more than a little bit of time at the track this year, racing with the Oregon Motorcycle Road Racing Association (OMRRA) to chronicle what it means to become an amateur racer.

I have already outlined my reasons for wanting to go racing, but I wanted to spend the next two article mentioning what I am racing with, both in terms of machinery and gear. First up is an introduction to our racing platform, which for this season is a Kramer HRK Evo2 S.

We have already talked about Kramer’s ready-to-race single-cylinder motorcycles, and in fact our race bike for this series is the same bike featured in that article’s story.

Previously a demo bike for Kramer in the Pacific Northwest, this “S” model machine found its home in my garage, and as you can see from the photo above, it has been on quite the journey since.

Episode 112 of the Paddock Pass Podcast is out, and in it we see Neil Morrison and David Emmett come together on the microphones, as we discuss the happenings at the Czech GP at Brno.

In this episode, we talk quite a bit Marc Marquez, as the Spaniard continues his dominance in the MotoGP Championship standings. Of course, this begs the question whether Marquez’s success is hurting MotoGP.

It’s currently the long WorldSBK summer break, which means that the superbike paddock has more than enough time to wheel and deal…and then of course gossip.

There are a number of rumors coming for 2020, but none of them are nearly as good as the talk about Alvaro Bautista jumping ship from Ducati, to the factory-backed Honda squad.

That news comes along with the rumor that Honda will have a new superbike for the 2020 model year, which is something we have seen speculated about for some time.

What can one say about the Suzuki SV650 motorcycle? The bike is in its 20th year of production, and though the model has changed a little by little over time, the same basic formula has stayed the same.

Here, we have a special idea from Oberdan Bezzi, who takes the venerable SV650 and turns it into large-format off-roader.

Dubbed the Suzuki SV650 Rally, the concept looks quite convincing, and it plays into the strategy that Suzuki seems to be building off of.

I had to dive back into the A&R archive to find out that Triumph and Bajaj first announced their intent to partner on middleweight motorcycles almost exactly two years ago.

Details were light at the time of the announcement, and few specifics have surfaced since…until today…sort of. This is because news out of India tells us that Triumph and Bajaj are aiming to have a formal agreement signed in Q3 of this year.

Since it debuted in 2013, we have seen more than a few radical builds the included the Honda Grom. There is something about the unassuming street bike that begs for more, and there have been no shortage of willing people to realize those dreams.

We just recently talked about a sidecar kit for the Grom, which in our eyes would make it the perfect pit bike and grocery-getter. We hear that the Honda CBR300R is a direct bolt-in way for ludicrous power, and then we have today’s story…the ultimate electric Grom.

The result of what happens when you drop an Alta Redshift MX powertrain into the pint-sized Grom chassis, what you are witnessing is a 50hp electric tire-shredder that doubles as a motorcycle.

Starting this month, BMW Motorrad will have a new name leading the direction of its motorcycle lineup, as Christof Lischka will take over as head of BMW Motorrad Development from Karl Viktor Schaller, who is retiring after fives years in the role.

As such, this means that Lischka will be responsible for finding the white spaces in BMW Motorrad’s product lineup – looking for opportunities in new segments and sectors, while also analyzing and refining the offerings that BMW already has on the showroom floors.

While the rest of the industry walks on pins and needles, the Piaggio Group is celebrating a strong first-half to the 2019 sales year, with overall unit sales up 9.2%.

That number isn’t just all Vespa scooters though (however, the Italian brand does sell quite a few of those), as Piaggio reports that its motorcycle sales saw a 14% bump in gross revenue.

The Italian conglomerate pegs the new Moto Guzzi V85 TT for the sales boom over last year, which is quite a feat since 2018 was a strong year for the Piaggio Group as well.