BMW Motorrad has released its yearly figures for 2018, and the report is mostly positive. Sales worldwide were up a very modest 0.9% for the year (165,566 in total unit sales), and this does mean that 2018 was the German company’s eighth year in row of growth.
The news was good for BMW Motorrad USA as well, with the American subsidiary showing a 2.2% bump in sales (13,842 units) compared to 2017, thanks primarily to the company’s introduction of the K1600 Grand America.
The start of the year is traditionally a chance to look ahead, and make predictions for what is to come.
But as an old Danish proverb, sometimes ascribed to the brilliant Danish physicist Niels Bohr, says, it is difficult to make predictions, especially about the future.
To demonstrate just how hard, we will kick off the year taking a look back at predictions I made last year, and what I got wrong.
I started last year with an article in which I made three predictions for the 2018 season:
This is it, the final countdown. The new year is already starting its first hours in other parts of the world, and we won’t have long to wait until 2019 is upon us here in the United States of America.
So, allow us to squeak in just one more “2018 in review” type of story, as I wanted to share with our readers the most important motorcycles that we saw this year – and also got to ride.
The list is an interesting one, as not only is it comprised of a number of machines that lead their segments, but also we picked motorcycles whose debuts carried gravitas for the industry.
As such, these are the motorcycles that defined 2018 model year, and now we only have a matter of hours to begin seeing the bikes that will shape 2019 for motorcyclists.
The final episode of the Brap Talk podcast is out for 2018, and before the shenanigans of 2019 get on the airwaves, we wanted to take a look back at the last 365 days of this year.
As such, we discuss the BIG stories of 2018, along with our thoughts and predictions for the upcoming year. Do you have any moto-predictions for 2019? Let us know.
Kawasaki is recalling certain bikes from its 2018 model year Z900 series of motorcycle.
The recall affects 1,173 units from the Z900 , Z900 ABS, and Z900RS models, and concerns a rear brake hose and rear wheel rotation sensor wire, which may have been incorrectly routed, allowing them to contact the rear tire.
If the brake hose contacts the rear tire, the hose may be damaged, which could reduce the braking performance of the motorcycle. Similarly, if the wheel rotation wire gets damaged, the ABS may not function properly.
Either condition can increase the risk of a crash, and thus a recall has been filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
We teased the news a little bit in our A&R Pro coverage of the EICMA show, but the one missing element in Ducati’s Milan presentation was its sales figures from the 2018 model year.
There is good reason for their absence though, as Ducati’s successive record years of sales are about to be no longer.
With Audi releasing its quarterly report, we can now see why, as the Italian motorcycle brand sees its deliveries to customers down 3% for the third quarter of this year – down 6.3% so far for 2018.
While the motorcycle market in the United States continues to struggle in 2018 (despite gains in consumer spending), things across the pond are doing substantially better.
This news comes from the European Association of Motorcycle Manufacturers (ACEM), which is reporting an 8.2% increase in motorcycle registrations in Europe during the first nine months of 2018. This trend was additionally buoyed by the third-quarter registration results from 2018, which are up 10.4% over Q3 2017 figures.
Things are not well at Yamaha Motor USA, and over the coming days you are going to read a number of reports from us about Yamaha and its US operations.
Before we dive into the multitude of issues that the Tuning Fork brand faces here in the United States though, we wanted to first talk about Yamaha’s crashing sales, because that best frames the company’s entire situation, and is the basis for the other stories that concern the brand.
Now halfway through 2018, Yamaha sales big bike sales (500cc and up) are down a staggering 19% for the last 12 consecutive months, compared to the same previous 12 months before that.
To put that figure into perspective, the big bike market in the USA is down roughly 8% over the same time period, though that figure is due mostly to Harley-Davidson, which accounts for half of the American bike bike market.
Owners of a 2018 Honda CRF250R motorcycle should take note that American Honda is recalling these dirt bikes for a safety issue concerning the motorcycle’s clutch.
Specifically, the recall is for the CRF250R’s clutch basket and judder spring. Under certain conditions, the clutch basket can break and possibly lock up the engine in the process, which can lead to a crash and injury.
When we first saw the Kawasaki Z900RS Cafe, we had no word that the retro-modern machine was coming to the USA, though it seemed far-fetched that the repurposed Z900 wouldn’t see the shores of North America.
Sure enough, Kawasaki USA just sent us word that the Kawasaki Z900RS Cafe will be coming to the United States in limited numbers, as a 2018 machine.
Sharing the same 948cc inline-four engine as the Kawasaki Z900, the Cafe model takes the venerable streetfighter and adds a retro look to it. The Kawasaki Z900RS Cafe is part of a two-pronged retro approach, with the Kawasaki Z900RS already seeing a strong response from enthusiasts.
At the Grand Prix of the Americas, Aprilia USA debuted a special new superbike for the 2018 model year, the Aprilia RSV4 RF LE.
Limited to only 125 units for North America (100 for the USA, 25 for Canada), the big feature of the 2018 Aprilia RSV4 RF LE is the bike’s fairing winglets, which draw from Aprilia Racing’s aerodynamic progress in the MotoGP Championship.
Getting a chance to see the new Aprilia RSV4 RF LE in the flesh while in Texas, we grabbed some up-close photos of this limited edition RSV4, for your viewing pleasure, along with some other details.