Jensen Beeler


If you want to design motorcycles for a living, the ArtCenter College of Design in Pasadena, California is the premier place to begin your studies, and attending the school could very well lead to a position as a designer at a two-wheeled or four-wheeled manufacturer. There is no better proof of that than today’s story.

Partnering with the Ducati Scrambler brand, the ArtCenter had students working on designs that explored the future of the Scrambler lineup, and the winner of the competition was rewarded with a training internship at the Ducati Design Center in Bologna, Italy.

In total, 10 projects were submitted for review, and it was Peter Harkins who took home the winning prize. While many students explored electric concepts for the Scrambler brand, Harkins thought of a more classic approach for Ducati’s heritage-based sub-brand.

You have to hand it to Team Green, because out of the four Japanese motorcycle brands, it seems only Kawasaki is truly willing to innovate and take risks in the motorcycle industry.

Abandoning the rat race of MotoGP, Kawasaki has won six out of ten WorldSBK Championships in the past decade. They have released a lineup of supercharged sport bikes, with the Kawasaki Ninja H2 R making over 300hp.

Kawasaki has dominated the small-displacement category with its Ninja 250, Ninja 300, and now Ninja 400 offerings, and the company is about to shock the system again, with the 250cc four-cylinder Ninja ZX-25R.

So, it shouldn’t surprise us that Kawasaki is also the first Japanese OEM to show-off a full-sized electric motorcycle project (that’s assuming you believe Honda’s party line that it had no hand in the Mugen electric superbike at the Isle of Man TT).

We got our first glimpse of Kawasaki’s electric sport bike at EICMA last year, with the machine wrapped in Ninja 650 bodywork.

Another victim from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, the 2020 Bonneville Motorcycle Speed Trials (BMST) have been canceled.

The news comes as a joint decision by the FIM, AMA, and local organizer Deliciate Promotions LTT, with the races intended to be held on the iconic salt flats on August 29th through September 3rd.

While no elaboration was given in the FIM’s terse communication on the event’s cancelation, one can only surmise that the logistics of the international event were impossible because of the global lockdown in place because of the coronavirus.

Even if you missed our live chat on YouTube with Sylvain Guintoli last week, you still might have caught on that we are really enjoying the videos that the former WorldSBK champion has been making lately.

With a wide-ranging resumé on two wheels, including being the current factory test rider for the Suzuki MotoGP team, Sylvain is perhaps over-qualified to be the newest social media influencer for the motorcycle industry, but that is also what makes his explanations on YouTube so great.

Speaking with first-hand knowledge (and in various languages), as well as delivering his experiences in a clear format, Sylvain has been boiling down high-level topics on motorcycle riding. 

Got big plans for the coming weekend? Of course you don’t, you’re probably stuck inside like the rest of us. But, we can help with that and ease your motorcycle cravings at the same time.

On Saturday, May 9th at 10am PDT / 7pm CEST, Asphalt & Rubber will be sitting down with esteemed motorcycle designer, Miguel Galluzzi.

Currently the head of design at the Piaggio Group (Aprilia, Moto Guzzi, Piaggio, and Vespa), Miguel has been responsible for a wide range of motorcycles and scooters.

His resumé includes a number of iconic designs and important motorcycles for the industry, from his time at Piaggio, and also during his tenure at Cagiva/Ducati.

Always with a keen eye on the industry, and what is happening in the world at large, Miguel always provides great insights. You have probably passed him a motorcycle show or race, and not realized it, while he soaks up the latest trends coming to the industry.

For our live chat, I will of course have some questions of my own for Miguel, but we want to make the show interactive, so we will be taking questions from the audience as well.

This means you can submit questions ahead of time, here in the comments section or via social media. Or, you can join us on the live stream, and ask questions from the live chat on YouTube.

There are several ways to watch the live stream. The easiest is that the video above will go live on Saturday, but we will also be reminding you on social media as well.

Of course, you can also go straight to YouTube via this link here. We hope to see you on the chat!

Link: YouTube

Big moves continue at the Bar & Shield brand, as Jochen Zeitz has been named as the permanent replacement to Matt Levatich, dropping the “interim” part of his title as President and CEO of Harley-Davidson, effective immediately.

The move isn’t too much of a surprise for Harley-Davidson, as Zeitz was always a front-runner for the positions, after he took the temporary assignments over two months ago.

Coming closely after the news that Harley-Davidson would drop the “More Roads” business plan for a new corporate strategy, dubbed “The Rewire”, the American motorcycle maker is returning to a position that more closely follows where it was before Levatich took the helm.

The big Brembo brake pad recall continues onward, this time with Aprilia reporting to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) that the recall affects its V4 lineup.

Accordingly, the recall affects both trim levels of the Tuono V4 and RSV4 sport bikes, for the 2017 to 2020 model years (only the 2017-2018 model years for the RSV4 RF though).

This recall affects 3,287 V4 units sold by Aprilia in the United States, which constitutes all the RSV4 RR, RSV4 RF, Tuono V4, and Tuono V4 Factory sold in the United States during those time periods.

Episode 143 of the Paddock Pass Podcast is out, and this one takes us on another trip down memory lane, as we look at the 2015 MotoGP Championship.

Of note, this is our second part, to this two-part series on the 2015 season, and it focuses on the latter half of the championship schedule. You can catch Part 1 of the series, here.

As such, this show sees David Emmett, Steve English, and Neil Morrison on the microphones talking about this epic season.

Another week, and another Honda CBR600RR-R rumor. Well…to be fair, this is only our second rumor concerning the Japanese supersport machine, but if things continue forward, we can expect a lot more coming from the rumor mill on this one. 

This week’s edition sees us still talking Honda working on a CBR600RR-R model, and that it will be ready in time for the 2021 model year (one assumes that the coronavirus has not disrupted this timetable).

But, things have been taken one step further, with an unveiling date being discussed in the far corners of the internet. Namely, the Honda CBR600RR-R is set for an October debut.

One of the more lust-worthy motorcycles seen at the 2019 EICMA show may have just gotten closer to coming to reality, as design patents for the Honda CB4X have been spotted. 

The patents come from the European Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO), and while many are pointing to their filing as a sure sign that the Honda CB4X is headed for production, we reiterate our usual caution about reading too much from a patent application.

That being said, if there was a candidate for motorcycle concepts coming to real life, the Honda CB4X (which is based off the Honda CBR650R), is high on our list.

It didn’t last long. Exactly two months after the firing of Matt Levatich as Harley-Davidson’s CEO, the Bar & Shield brand has announced that it is stepping away from the company’s “More Roads Lead to Harley-Davidson” business strategy, for a new plan that is being called “The Rewire”.

As you would expect, the new plan is framed partially by the response to the COVID-19 pandemic that is gripping the world, but Harley-Davidson sees things further down the path as well, saying that the “The Rewire” will be a five-year strategy for the motorcycle maker.

This move comes after a considerable internal battle for control of the Harley-Davidson board of directors, which saw a proxy fight breaking out with Impala Asset Management – one of Harley-Davidson’s largest shareholders.

The fight ended in a truce, with Impala and Harley-Davidson agreeing to add another board seat, of their mutual choosing. Presumably, a part of that peace offering is the new Rewire plan that we now see.