Honda Motorcycle’s COO, Tatsuhiro Oyama is forecasting that there will be worldwide industry drop in bike sales as the credit fiasco finally rears its ugly head in motorcycling. Like the car industry, the motorcycle industry helps move product by offering financing options and extending credit to the purchasers of their bikes. Typically these credit liabilities are flipped to third-party creditors, who handle the debt from there (all unbeknownst to us the consumer), but with the state of economy and the meltdown of the credit industry, many of these creditors are either no long amongst the living, or not taking on any more debt.
Oyama was credited as saying, “There’s been a bit of a lag, but credit is being squeezed. I think if we have flat sales next (business) year we’d be lucky,” adding that forecasts for this year might need adjusting too.
This news leaves companies like GMAC, and in this case Honda, in a lurch. Unable to swiftly exchange the credit liability, they have to be more cautious on who they extend money too. This means more credit refusals, and higher interest rates, which in turn means more people who can’t afford a motorcycle purchase.
At the end of the day, it is Honda and the other manufacturers (except perhaps Ducati) who are left holding the bag with excess product sitting on the showroom floor come December.
There is some good news. Oyama went on to say that the motorcycle business as a whole was holding up better than the car side. So no government bail outs…yet.
It was rumored before, but Asphalt and Rubber has just received confirmation from Harley-Davidson, that a limited production run of 750 XR1200’s (to pay homage to the XR750 which started it all) in the United States for the 2009 model year. Like we reported earlier, pre-orders will be allowed between December 1st until the 15th, good luck finding one on the 16th. You can find your closest dealer by going to h-d.com/XR1200.
Ben Spies upgraded his racing career by moving out of the AMA and into World Superbike. Accordingly, has choosen the number 19 to be his new racing number. Read more for a somewhat crazy explaination why.
According to a dealer announcement, the Harley Davidson XR1200 will be released in the U.S. at the IMS show in Long Beach, California this December 5th. If you’re not quite up to speed on Harley’s performance oriented bikes, the XR1200 is based off of the 1200cc air-cooled Sportster engine, and has styling and design that harken back to Harley-Davidson’s dirt-tracking days with the XR750. Read more after the jump.
Mazda took top honors at the LA Design Challenge this week with its KAAN car/bike/trike concept. According to the press release:
The MAZDA KAAN is an electric race car designed to compete in the E1 races, the pinnacle of international motorsports in terms of technology and popularity. In 2025, California freeways have been resurfaced with a sub-level electro-conductive polymer that powers the electric cars of the modern world. MAZDA’s patented electronic tire system uses this technology to power the KAAN to reach 250 mph with no harmful emissions!
The vehicles are piloted by individual drivers but teams are made up of thirty cars, all on the track together. Using strategies similar to those in cycling peletons, the tighter the group sticks together, the more aerodynamic and powerful it becomes.
Inspiration for the KAAN comes from electric fields and textures seen in nature, particularly those in a lightning bolt. The car is uniquely designed around its powerful electric wheels while the cockpit acts as a capsule to safely house the driver, allowing for tighter peloton formations and a team victory.
The theme of the competition was to depict what motorsports would be like in 2025. Chuck Pelly, director of Design Los Angeles, said that the choice was made because Mazda’s entry was “the most innovative and artistic design,” and that the KAAN “ultimately brought unique styling back to motorsports.” I don’t know if I would classify this as a car really, technically in California vehicles with 3 wheels fall into the motorcycle designation.
Technology aside, the design is striking and who wouldn’t want to go 250mph in a peleton of 30 car/bike/whatevers?
Four days ago we broke for you the price on the Aprilia RSV4, and today we bring you price leaks on not only one bike, but three of them: the 2009 KTM Super Duke 990 R, the 2009 KTM Adventure 990 R, and the 2009 KTM RC8 1190 R. Click after the jump to see the release dates and prices for these three bikes.
Riding at the Pinnacle of the Naked bike craze is the MV Augusta Brutale. In typical MV fashion, very modest changes have occured for the 2009 line-up. Most obviously is the extra 169cc’s, which bump the Brutale’s displacement equal to that of the F4 (no surprise since they share so many common parts). Read more after the jump.
What do you get when you cross and MV Augusta F4 CC (the 1078cc MV F4 variant) with an MV Augusta F4 R 312 (the MV F4 312kph capable variant)? Well, and MV Augusta F4 with 1078cc’s capable of doing over 312kph. Rated at 190hp, the 1078 is the “racing rules” be damned street bike with Italian flare. The F4 1000 (the current F4 R 312) will function as MV’s race homologated Superbike, meeting all the requirements and specification set down for WSBK competition. Details on the changes, and more pictures after the jump.
Everyone knows that the Ducati Desmosedici is the closest us mortal men will get to riding a true GP bike, and everyone knows they were produced in limited numbers. Because of this even the social elite had a hard time getting their hands on them since they ran out so quickly. So how does such a limited edition bike all of a sudden find a way to be un-sold-out all of a sudden?
According to Michael Lock, CEO of Ducati North America:
“We are fortunate to offer a few units to those interested individuals who were closed out of the initial ordering process…as the global run of 1500 bikes comes to an end we are notifying interested parties that we have secured inventory to deliver in the coming months, but only if they act quickly.”
I have a couple theories on this:
1) Bologna has switched to the base-8 counting system, and undercounted how many bikes they produced.
2) A box of Desmo’s fell-off the boat on their way to America, and until now were thought lost at sea.
3) The economy
4) El Niño
5) Ducati of North America saw that they under-priced the Desmosedici, and thus sold it at a price far-below what the market was willing to bare, and as any good micro-economics professor would suggest is bumping up supply to meet the demand curve for peak efficiency.
Regardless of what answer you choose, the news is this…if you missed your chance to buy a Desmosedici in the United Stats, Canada, or Mexico, here is your second chance.
The correct answer is #4. El Niño (Spanish for: The Nino) is in fact the cause of mysterious bike productions, the current economy, and French-Canadians.
The Derbi Senda DRD 50 EVO SM, the pit bike of your dreams that you’ll never own…that is at least as long as while you live in the United States. That’s right, this beauty is available only in Europe right now. Sucker!!!
This mini-supermoto comes complete with a radially mounted front brake caliper, wave brake discs, a rear shock with a piggy-back reservoir, and 50cc’s of pure 2-stroke fun. There’s 211lbs of hooligan fun in this bad boy, and this limited version comes in a sinister black paint scheme (don’t worry, a slower yellow version is available to).
Maybe if this economy gets worse, the US will join the EU and we can all buy these.
Some lucky journalists were invited by Ducati to ride the new 2009 Ducati 1198S, the 1198cc monster recently endowed with its big brother’s traction control system. On the outside the new 1198S looks like its predacessor, but it’s what’s on the inside that counts: 100 more cubic centemeters, a new lighter crankshaft, and Ducati Traction Control (DTC). DTC is a true race traction control system that works first by retarding the ignition, and second by cutting the fuel injection during major wheel spin. Read more for the full report.