The discussion about when Ducati would build its first electric motorcycle has been going on for quite some time, but the conversation reached a new height about a year and a half ago, when Volkswagen debuted its Roadmap E initiative.
The concept here is simple, all of the brands in the VW family would have a full line of electric vehicles by the year 2030. This set off speculation about how this order would affect the Bologna-based motorcycle maker.
Then a month later, Ducati’s Edouard Lotthé (Managing Director of Ducati Western Europe) was quoted saying that an electric model, as well as a scooter, are both in the works for the Italian brand.
Lotthé tipped that we wouldn’t see either before the 2021 model year, but time has certainly ticked by since then. Now in the 2019 model year, Ducati CEO Claudio Domenicali has added more fuel to the EV fire.
Quoted at a student event at the University of Bologna, Domenicali stated that “the future is electric” and that Ducati was not far from starting production on an electric motorcycle model.
Later this year, the Harley-Davidson Livewire electric cruiser will finally be available, and today the Bar & Shield brand dropped some details on what we can expect from the revolutionary machine (as well as two more fleshed-out electric concepts).
First up, the obvious. The 2020 Harley-Davidson Livewire will be priced at $29,799 – which is a princely sum for an electric motorcycle, but not an unreasonable figure for a motorcycle from Harley-Davidson.
In addition to having the all new “Revelation” electric drive train, the folks at Milwaukee have packed the Livewire with a number of cutting edge features.
This includes an LTE-equipped media center, as well as traction control and ABS that are assisted by an inertial measurement unit (IMU).
As we predicted in our EICMA round-up on the Noale brand, it looks like we won’t have to wait long to see the production version of the Aprilia RS 660 sport bike, as photos on Facebook show that the Italians have been caught testing the machine at the track.
With two bikes spotted, one in street trim and one in race trim, the Aprilia RS 660 looks surprisingly production-ready, which tips a debut at next year’s EICMA show, and the bike being a 2020 model year machine.
Another established manufacturer is signaling its electrification, this time with the OEM being Husqvarna Motorcycles. The Swedish brand is tied in ownership to KTM, which has its own EV program, so perhaps the news isn’t that shocking, but nevertheless, here we are.
As such, you can expect the first electric Husqvarna dirt bike to come during the 2020 model year, as the Husqvarna EE 5 was put on display at this year’s EICMA show.
The motorcycle is a bold step forward, though not a big one, as the 2020 Husqvarna EE 5 is designed with young riders in mind.
After seeing the gorgeous MV Agusta Brutale 1000 Serie Oro, we thought we were done with the Varesini brand, but MV Agusta continues to surprise us at EICMA, showing off a new concept model it calls the Superveloce 800.
Giving a glimpse of a model yet to come in the second-half of 2019, the MV Agusta Superveloce 800 takes the F3 800 supersport, and builds a truly unique motorcycle from it that pays homage to the Italian brand’s racing history.
MV Agusta starts the Superveloce 800 concept by taking an F3 800 chassis and engine, and then wraps it in a set of carbon fiber bodywork that takes its cues from the 1970s.
We have been waiting a very long time for the Yamaha Ténéré 700, with the machine first debuting as a concept in 2016. A no-show at the 2017 EICMA show, the Yamaha T7 concept instead went on a worldwide promotional tour.
So, surely we thought that the 2018 EICMA show would announce the Yamaha Ténéré 700 as ready to go…yes and no. The Yamaha Ténéré 700 is finally coming as a production motorcycle…but not quite yet.
Expected as a Fall 2019 model in Europe, off-roaders eager for a middleweight adventure-touring bike will have to wait another year. If you happen to live on this side of the pond however, we have even worse news for you.
The Yamaha Ténéré 700 will be a 2021 model year machine in the USA, debuting in the second-half of 2020, making this perhaps the most disappointing new model release at the Milan trade show.
Another week, another rumor about a new Honda CBR1000RR. You can almost set your clock to the rumors that surround Big Red’s future superbike offering, and there are several factors for this.
First, the Honda CBR1000RR is a woefully old machine, even in its “all-new” guise, the current model can trace its lineage back to the 2008 model year. Second, the Honda CBR1000RR is obviously underpowered when you make spec sheet comparisons, by a palpable 20hp/10% margin.
The Honda makes up for this by being one of the lightest superbikes on the market, and it is easily the best handling of the bunch. But even still, in our tests, we found it to be a second a lap slower than the rest of the superbike class…and the stopwatch decides all in this segment.
Despite all this, the real reason that we keep seeing rumors about a new CBR1000RR likely stems from one simple reason: Honda is working on a new machine. Will that new bike debut for 2019? 2020? 2021? Well, that’s the debate, and even a broken clock is correct twice a day, so…
Here we are, another week, and another rumor about a new Honda CBR1000RR.
It had been widely rumored, and long expected, but KTM has finally confirmed that Dani Pedrosa will be a test rider for the Austrian factory for the next two seasons. Pedrosa will take on the role alongside current test rider Mika Kallio.
Rumors that Pedrosa would take on a testing role with KTM have been circulating for some time, ever since it became clear that Pedrosa would not be part of the Repsol Honda team.
The Spaniard had been linked to the Petronas Yamaha seat as well, but in the end, he felt that some of the joy had gone out of racing, and he didn’t feel he had the intensity to keep racing beyond the end of this year.
While we were busy running around Cologne, Germany for the INTERMOT show, Honda Motor Europe was busy in France, for the Paris Motor Show. Debuting there another “Neo Café” concept model, the Japanese brand seems set to release a middleweight version of this popular trope.
Based off the Honda CB650F, the latest Honda Neo Café concept promises a 650cc inline-four engine package in a retro-modern style, similar to what Big Red has done with the Honda CB300R and Honda CB1000R. As such, we are very likely looking at an early version of the Honda CB650R.
One of the highlights from the INTERMOT trade show in Germany was the new Suzuki Katana. Set to be an early 2020 model, the Suzuki Katana takes the GSX-S1000F platform, and brings a unique retro-modern look to its chassis.
This means that the heart of this sport bike comes from the 2005 Suzuki GSX-R1000, which has been re-tuned for street duty.
Though Suzuki is light on details, this should mean a 147hp sport bike, with basic electronic aids. This should also mean an attractive sport bike for under $12,000 here in the USA, if our math is correct.