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In a terse press release this morning, Bombardier Recreational Products (BRP) announced that it has acquired select assets of Alta Motors’ parent company Faster-Faster, Inc.

Those assets include “certain intellectual property, patents and some limited physical assets from the former all-electric motorcycle design and manufacturing company,” to put it in BRP’s words.

BRP plans to use these assets as part of its ongoing research into electric and hybrid drives for recreational vehicles, and hopes that the technology will help jumpstart its own efforts for electric transportation products.

The Canadian company is very quick to point out, however, that BRP has no interest in restarting operations of Alta Motors and assumes no liabilities.

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.

2018 is coming to a close now, so we of course are looking back at what happened over the past year in the motorcycle industry.

There was no shortage of weighty stories in 2018, so we picked just our Top 5 big themes from the year to share with you.

They range from business items, racing news, and new motorcycles (or the lack thereof). Without too much fanfare, let’s get into it, and see Asphalt & Rubber‘s most important stories from 2018.

Bad news from San Francisco today, as we learn that Alta Motors has ceased business operations, effective immediately, sending the company’s staff home as the electric motorcycle manufacturer looks for future funding.

Talking to an anonymous source, Asphalt & Rubber has been told that Alta Motors is in the midst of a strategic wind down, as it looks for an outside acquisition or investment.

Episode 85 of the Two Enthusiasts Podcast is out, and in it we talk a lot about a bevy of topics, in this free-wheeling (but not three-wheeling)  show that is mostly about motorcycles…most of the time.

Before the show gets too far, we talk about a new bike in the Asphalt & Rubber garage, a 2018 KTM 1290 Adventure S. You can expect to hear a later show detailing more this bike, as we put some miles on it.

First up topic-wise, we discuss the idea of air conditioning for riders, namely air-conditioning in motorcycle helmets. Talking about the preference motorcyclists have for their head protection (or lack there of), we get into a heady conversation about brand loyalty and the head winds that new helmet brands openly face.

Naturally, we have a little Ducati conversation, first talking about the spy photos of the new Hypermotard, and then talking about the news of Ducati teaming up with Hero MotoCorp in India.

Next up is two technical conversations, one about Alta’s first recall, and the other about Yamaha getting caught fudging the numbers on its emissions testing parameters.

The show’s big discussion though is about Harley-Davidson squaring off with President Trump over tariffs. In that conversation, we look at the Sophie’s Choice being made between the President and the Bar & Shield brand.

You can listen to the show via the embedded SoundCloud player, after the jump, or you can find the show on iTunes (please leave a review) or this RSS feed. Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter as well. 

We hope you will join the conversation, and leave us some audio comments at our new email address: twoenthusiasts@gmail.com.

It was just six months ago that we broke the news about Harley-Davidson investing in electric motorcycle maker Alta Motors, and now in that short timeframe that story has seemingly made a 180° turn.

Our sources tell us that Harley-Davidson has all but removed itself from its joint motorcycle project with Alta, and backed out of its involvement in the San Francisco startup.

For Alta, this means losing the backing of a strategic investor, as well as the resources that Harley-Davidson wields in the motorcycle industry when it comes to purchasing power and vehicle development.

For the Bar & Shield brand, this raises interesting questions about Harley-Davidson’s electric roadmap, which the company revealed just one month ago – not so subtly with a concept sketch that clearly showed the use of an Alta Motors battery pack.

A motorcycle company’s first recall is a milestone event, an unwelcome milestone, but an inevitable one nonetheless. That is where startup Alta Motors finds itself today, with its first recall hitting the NHTSA newswires.

Affecting certain 2019 Alta Redshift EXR and 2018-2019 Alta Redshift MXR motorcycles, this recall concerns Alta’s throttle system, which under specific circumstances can fail, and cause an apparent “stall” of the motor.

The issue is software related, however, and the fix is an update to the firmware to the affected motorcycles. The firmware update takes about 15 minutes to perform.

The biggest announcement from Harley-Davidson today wasn’t its adventure-touring motorcycle (though it looks interesting), and it wasn’t its new Streetfighter or Custom models either (one of these I like, the other not so much).

The big news wasn’t the Livewire getting closer to production, though that is close to the mark, and where this story is ultimately headed.

All of these announcement would have been worthy of their own day in the press cycle, but the real news from the Bar & Shield brand is a look at Harley-Davidson’s upcoming electric lineup, which is coming across as very robust, and shows a decisive plan for the future.

It was four months ago that Alta Motors updated its Redshift lineup with the more potent Redshift MXR electric motocross bike, and from that moment we have been waiting for the other shoe to drop.

This week it has, as Alta Motors is showing off the Redshift EXR, a road-legal dual-sport for enduro fans, which just became the first electric motorcycle to qualify for the Erzberg Rodeo hard enduro event in Austria.

The formula for the 2019 Alta Motors Redshift EXR is fairly simple, as it takes the current Redshift EX enduro model, and adds the drivetrain upgrades that debuted with Redshift MXR model.

This means more power (50hp), more torque (42 lbs•ft), less weight (273 lbs), and of course the “overclocking” mode for when a trail truly needs to be shredded. The recharge time has also been improved too, down to 1.5hrs on a 240-volt circuit – win, win, win.

Episode 79 of the Two Enthusiasts Podcast is out, and in it we get a little dirty. Fresh from Eric Bostrom’s flat track school, Quentin tells us a story about sliding the rear wheel, which contrast Jensen’s dirt-bike crashing ways very nicely.

We then take a look at the new Honda CRF450L, which brings a street-legal 450cc dirt bike from a Japanese brand finally back to the US market. This also leads us into a conversation about the Erzberg Rodeo, which Alta Motors will contest in.

Racing is the topic of the day, with more talk about the Dakar Rally maybe moving back to Africa; the MotoGP Championship silly season showing just how silly it can get; and the start of the Isle of Man TT.

It’s a fun episode, with lots of side-stories. It might even make you hungry…hungry for more.

You can listen to the show via the embedded SoundCloud player, after the jump, or you can find the show on iTunes (please leave a review) or this RSS feed. Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter as well. 

We hope you will join the conversation, and leave us some audio comments at our new email address: twoenthusiasts@gmail.com.