I would hate to work in KTM’s press department back in Austria, mostly because KTM CEO Stefan Pierer seems to be quite difficult to corral – he always seems to be spilling company secrets.
This reality is great for us, however, as there is never a shortage of juicy gossip to report from the “Ready to Race” brand, and this week has been no exception.
We already reported on Pierer’s vocalization about his desires to own the Ducati brand, which certainly caused a stir in the motorcycle industry these past few days.
Now we have more news from Pierer’s interview with Germany’s Speedweek magazine, with the CEO dishing details on the company’s plans in the middleweight categories.
Do you want further proof that the supersport segment isn’t dead? I mean, besides the fact that both Suzuki and Kawasaki have plans to released new 600cc sport bikes later this year, for 2019?
Our Bothan spies have been hard at work in Noale, and they bring us word of a project brewing at Aprilia: a two-cylinder supersport model, that should debut for the 2020 model year.
The concept for this new model is pretty simple: take the class-leading Aprilia RSV4 superbike (which is also set for an update in 2019), lop off the rear cylinders, thus making it a parallel-twin engine. Boom goes the dynamite.
By my nature, I am a critical person. This isn’t exactly a desirable personality trait, but it serves me well in my chosen profession. Accordingly, I rarely ever use words like “perfect” or “flawless” when describing something. It’s just not in my nature.
From my lens, there is always room for improvement. But, when it comes to seeing the Suter MMX 500 up-close and in person, I had to rethink my usual choice of words. I will sidestep superlatives and simply say that the Suter MMX 500 is a true rider’s motorcycle.
On the Suter MMX 500, there are no electronic rider aids, no ride-by-wire throttles, no kickstands, mirrors, or lights. There is nothing on this machine that doesn’t serve a purpose, and the only acceptable purpose is to go as fast as possible.
It’s with great sadness today that we report the passing of John Surtees, a legend in both two-wheeled and four-wheeled motorsport.
Surtees is best known for winning three 350cc Championship titles (1958, 1959, and 1960), four 500cc Grand Prix Championship titles (1956, 1958, 1959, and 1960), as well as the 1964 Formula One World Championship title.
This makes Surtees the only man to win a World Championship in both two-wheeled and four-wheeled racing categories. He was also the first person to will the Senior TT race at the Isle of Man TT, three times in a row.
The following is our second taste of the exclusive content that A&R Pro members can expect to read on a weekly basis at Asphalt & Rubber. This article focuses on a current and critical event that happened in the industry, which is something A&R Pro content will focus on. If you want to have access to this kind of long-form content after this week’s free trial period, we recommend you sign-up here.
New bike season is just about over, now that INTERMOT, EICMA, AIMExpo, and IMS Long Beach trade shows are behind us.
We could still see some new models and concepts debut later this year in Japan, and there is always the possibility of something interesting showing up at the IMS New York show, but those are less popular venues for new bike releases.
In that case then, we can start making some conjecture about the bikes that debuted this year, many of them for the 2017 model year. Let’s start with the best of the best — I am of course talking about the new Honda Rebel models. No? Not the bike you were expecting?
Sure, these unassuming 300cc and 500cc street bikes don’t have the same sex appeal as some of the more wild machines we saw in Germany and Italy, but make no mistake, the revamped Honda Rebel is the most important new bike we have seen debut this year. Let me explain.
It would be hard to count the number of motorcyclists who got their start in the two-wheeled world on a Honda Rebel motorcycle, with the line going back through decades of time. The number is certainly a large one.
Now, a new generation of rider can begin their two-wheeled journey on a new generation of Rebel, with Honda debuting the all-new 2017 Honda Rebel 300 (above) and 2017 Honda Rebel 500 (after the jump) ahead of the IMS Long Beach show.
The Honda Rebel 500 and Honda Rebel 300 use the same power plants found on the CBR500R (471cc parallel-twin) and CBR300R (286cc single-cylidner), respectively, repackaging those engines into a cruiser platform that is friendly to new and shorter riders, with a 27″ seat height.
Available starting in April 2017, tentative pricing for the Honda Rebel 300 is set at $4,399, while the Honda Rebel 500 is priced tentatively at $5,999, both sans ABS, though ABS models will be available as well.
Comments on certain stories are predictable, and as such, we always expect some enduro rider to show up on an ADV story, and lament the weight of the bike in question, calling it too heavy to really go off-road.
That argument is bullshit, of course. Though, it is easier to handle a lightweight machine in the dirt than a heavy one, but you would be surprised at how capable any motorcycle is with a pair of knobby tires on it.
Just in case you are not convinced, we have got a little something for you. Behold the Benelli TRK 502. It’s got the profile of a condor, but the little 500cc adventure-tourer looks like it should do the job you are asking of it.
Benelli is not a brand we usually talk about with great reverence, as the Italian company has steadily lost its luster since its acquisition by China’s Qianjiang Group.
Benelli’s motorcycles were never known for being terribly reliable, and unfortunately the artful designs that they exuded have slowly eroded away over time.
The big announcement for Benelli at the 2015 EICMA show is the new Benelli Leoncino, the “lion cub” model that’s rooted in Benelli’s post-WWII history.
This modern take on the classic Benelli Leoncino is an attractive scrambler model, which makes 47hp from its 500cc parallel-twin engine.
This also means that the Benelli Leoncino a well-suited A2 license machine in Europe, and its wire-spoked wheels are 19″ in the front and 17″ in the rear, and should make the Leoncino surprisingly adapt at light off-road use.
Here is your first look at the 2016 Honda CB500F, which like its other Honda brethren, will get a bit of makeover for next year. American Honda is teasing the new model now, but says it won’t release more information until the EICMA show in Milan, on November 17th.
We don’t think Honda will stray too far from the current Honda CB500F, with most of the modifications being cosmetic refinements that enhance the street-standard’s appeal to riders.
For 2016, we know that Honda will bring its big “adventure-tourer” the US market, known to Europeans as the Honda Crosstourer, and introduced to Americans as the Honda VFR1200X. For the 2016 model year, the Crosstourer gets some minor updates, as does its 700cc sibling the Honda NC700X.
So if you’re keeping score, that leaves one more machine to get a modest update for 2016…yup, Honda CB500X, we are talking about you!
A Goldilocks-busting lineup of street-focused ADV machines, the 2016 Honda CB500X rounds out Honda’s lineup with a lightweight and nimble machine that is also good for the A2 licensing countries.
Not quite “bold new graphics” territory, but the Honda CBR500R will get mostly cosmetic changes for the 2016 model year, as the machine made its world debut at the AIMExpo in Orlando, Florida today, as expected.
The most noticeable change comes to the fairings, which get a more aggressive design that Honda says improves airflow over the rider. LEDs will replace the incandescent bulbs on the headlights and taillights, which is an interesting upgrade to make, though a welcomed one.
Other changes include a new exhaust can design, an adjustable front brake lever, improved feel through the gearbox, and a larger fuel tank. We saved the best new feature for last though: a wave ignition key, for smoother function. Welcome to Flavor Country, people.