Earlier this year we spotted something interesting in the Pikes Peak entry list, as Ducati was listed running a bike in the exhibition class, with Pikes Peak expert Carlin Dunne at its helm.
That Ducati would team up once again with Dunne is not a surprise. The former outright record holder for motorcycles at Pikes Peak, Dunne has brought Ducati victory on every outing of his to the Colorado mountain.
What was interesting in the entry list though was the choice of running in the exhibition class, which would only be done if Dunne & Ducati were electing not to use the Multistrada 1260 platform once again.
Our suspicion was that Ducati intended to use a stripped down version of the Panigale V4 R superbike, or perhaps even a Streetfighter V4 prototype. It would seem that our first guess was correct.
KTM CEO Stefan Pierer has already publicly tipped that the Austrian brand is hard at work on a new middleweight engine, one that will exist alongside the current 790 platform.
From those comments, the notion is that KTM is working on a 500cc platform for a range of models, which is likely to debut in a few years’ time. We also expect to see a KTM 790 SMT supermoto-styled bike debut later this year at EICMA, which should round out the 790 platform.
But, could another engine platform be in the works? That’s what our Bothan spies are telling us.
Though we were disappointed to see that the Triumph Daytona 765 wouldn’t come to us as a 2019 model, rumors about the motorcycle’s arrival have begun to swell.
Alleged spy photos of the bike popped up on the web last week, and out Bothan Spies have been reporting details of what to expect from this middleweight sport bike, which seems set for a 2020 model year debut…perhaps as early as later this year.
We still have over a month before Zero Motorcycles is going to take the wraps off its latest motorcycle, but the teaser is out, and our Bothan spy insiders have been hard at work uncovering more information about the machine.
As such, we have a bevy of details that have leaked out from the Californian electric motorcycle company, and so far, we like what we hear.
This because if our sources are correct, the Zero SR/F is set to be quite the looker, and it will have the technical specifications to back it up.
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.
On Wednesday, we told you about Yamaha’s struggling sales in the US market
for its large displacement machines, with several bikes from several categories showing lackluster results over the last 12 months. We told this story first, because it frames a series of future stories about Yamaha Motor USA, and today is a continuation of that narrative.
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.