We first broke the news about the Aprilia RS 660 a few months ago, tipping that the 600cc class parallel-twin would debut soon, but even we didn’t know what we were in for until the Noale brand took the covers off this amazing machine at EICMA today.
True to rumor, the bike is basically powered by half of an Tuono 1100 / RSV4 1100 engine, with the forward bank of cylinders making the engine platform. Building from there, Aprilia has begun to play with an active aerodynamic system as well, taking the current trend in the two-wheeled space to the next level.
Called Aprilia Active Aerodynamics (A3), the name pretty much tells the story. As such, the Aprilia RS 660 concept explores using aerodynamic forces in new ways, which sees the machine capable of changing its front aerodynamic profile, as well as how much downforce it creates.
Even as the official opening of EICMA rapidly approaches, our Bothan Spies are hard at work looking for clues to next year’s motorcycle debuts. As such, they bring news from Milan, where BMW Motorrad is set to unveil a bevy of new motorcycles.
Most of these new bikes we know of, with the BMW R1250GS Adventure and BMW S1000RR already leaking, and the BMW R1250R and BMW R1250RS obviously tipped by CARB filings for the new ShiftCam boxer-twin engine.
With BMW Motorrad telling us that we will see nine new motorcycles this new bike season, all that is left is simple math on what remains, now that the BMW R1250GS and BMW R1250RT debuted ahead of the INTERMOT show.
So far, our total is six…but we’re about to make it seven, as our Bothan’s report that the BMW F850GS Adventure will debut tomorrow morning in Milan.
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.
We have already published about the sizable sales trouble that Yamaha is encountering in the United States, seeing its last 12 months of sales drop 19% compared to the 12 months prior.
We have also talked about Yamaha’s plans to move its headquarters from California to Georgia, taking the brand away from the epicenter of the motorcycle industry, and off to cheaper waters for operations.
Today, we continue our news about Yamaha Motor USA, talking about the company’s role in American road racing, as Yamaha is set to shake up its involvement in the MotoAmerica Championship.
As such, Asphalt & Rubber has learned that Yamaha plans to move its corporate headquarters out of Cypress, California – the epicenter of the motorcycle industry – and relocate to the other side of the country, setting up shop just outside of Atlanta, Georgia. The primary driver for this move? Costs.
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.
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.
If you read publications from our colleagues in Europe, then you will know that Honda must surely have plans for a new CBR600RR for the 2019 model year. The proof that they offer is that the recent CARB filings by American Honda show a CBR with a significant weight drop for next year.
First spotted by our friends at Nieuwsmotor, the CARB filings quote a 10kg (22 lbs) weight difference between the listed Honda “CBR600RA” and Honda “CBR600RR” motorcycles, which makes it seem like a lighter and more focused supersport is on the way.
It is an interesting dream – and a funny one for European journalists to spot, since the CBR600 series is all but dead in Europe. But what is the reality of this discovery?
In a few months, Triumph is going to show us its new big boy Scrambler model, another motorcycle that will join Triumph’s heritage motorcycle lineup.
We know quite a bit about this new model, firstly that it will be called the Triumph Scrambler 1200. As you might expect, the Triumph Scrambler 1200 is set to take on the Ducati Scrambler Desert Sled in this segment, a bike which should be getting an 1,100cc variant later this year as well.
Said to be a capable full-sized dual-sport, we expect the Scrambler 1200 to be fitted with the high-torque version of Triumph’s 1,200cc parallel-twin engine, which makes 80hp and 77 lbs•ft of torque.
Two model variations are also expected. One will be road-going, and have cast wheels and street-focused rubber. The other will have spoked wheels and knobby tires.
We didn’t hear too much about “Project 1309” from World Ducati Week 2018, which is surprising considering what the past has shown us about Ducati’s secret reveals, but the Bologna brand was once again giving a teaser to fans in Misano.
In the past, World Ducati Week has been the place where Ducati showed us the first Scrambler model, and last year the event debuted the return of the Ducati SuperSport. This year, it is another new bike. A new Diavel, to be precise.
Set to compliment the current XDiavel model, the new Diavel features the same 1,262cc DVT engine with variable valve timing, but puts it into the more sport Diavel riding platform.
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.