Another year, and another April Fools Day is done and dusted. I am fairly certain that for journalists, April 1st is better than Christmas, as it marks the one day where media outlets make the news they wish they could report on daily. And as usual, the imaginations of the motorcycle media pool didn’t fail to disappoint.
My colleague David Emmett had a timely story on how MotoGP will be a house divided, because of the current drama around the use of aerodynamic rider aids.
For my own part, I looked to the increasingly important space of airbag-equipped motorcycle gear and wondered what the next evolution in that space, with thanks to the fine folks at REV’IT for being good sports about our vision of perforated airbag systems.
How about from the rest of the industry though? In case you missed them, the highlights of April Fools Day are after the jump.
The first production superbike with winglets has finally dropped, ushering in what is likely to be a new era for sport bike design. As we teased earlier this week, the new machine is called the 2018 Aprilia RSV4 RF LE, and only 125 units will be made (and only for the North American market).
As such, 100 lucky owners in the United States, along with 25 Canadians, will have a chance to own the new Aprilia RSV4 RF LE, that is of course if they can afford the $24,499 USD price tag ($25,495 CDN).
For that $1,000 premium over the highly acclaimed Aprilia RSV4 RF (note the $500 price bump because of the strengthening euro against the dollar), limited edition buyers get the benefit of the new carbon fiber winglets, a special livery, and a numbered production plate on the triple clamp.
The Aprilia RSV4 RF is one of the best liter-bikes on the market right now, and for 100 lucky people in the USA (25 in Canada), the V4-powered superbike is about to get a bit better.
This is because Aprilia will be bring a limited edition version of the RSV4 RF to North America. Why is this a big deal though? Because the Aprilia RSV4 RF LE will be the first production superbike with winglets.
Just two weeks ago, it seemed that Canada Moto Guide was set to close its doors, but the Canadian motorcycle news site will live on, after finding a new owner.
Announcing the news this weekend, Canada Moto Guide has been purchased by autoTRADER.ca, which is one of Canada’s largest automotive websites.
“I’m very happy, and I know that Rob would also be happy and proud to know that CMG is now in the care of autoTRADER,” said Courtney Hay, the former owner of Canada Moto Guide and wife to the late Rob Harris, who founded of the site. “Canada Moto Guide has a great future ahead of it.”
Canada’s premier motorcycle news website is set to close, as Canada Moto Guide‘s publisher Courtney Hay announced the news this week. Hay took over CMG a little over a year ago, after her husband Rob Harris (the Founder of Canada Moto Guide) passed away in a motorcycle accident.
Since then, the struggle of keeping CMG operational and profitable, especially during one of the most difficult times in the motorcycle industry, has been too much for Hay and her family, as she now looks to shut down Canada Moto Guide, unless a new publisher can be found.
This news is unfortunate to hear, as it means that the Canadian motorcycle market seems set to lose one of its most important voices, not to mention the larger implications Hay’s announcement reveals about the online media landscape for the motorcycle industry.
Triumph Motorcycles is celebrating what it is calling its best sales year ever in North America, boasting a 21% gain on sales in 2016 over the previous year, and for the first time ever, clearing over 13,000 units sold.
“There is no greater testament to the tireless work and outstanding Brand representation of our dealer partners than seeing this kind of success on the sales floor,” said Matt Sheahan, COO of Triumph Motorcycles America.
“We want to thank our dealers for their efforts and our new customers for joining the Triumph Family. We are looking forward to riding with you in 2017!”
It didn’t take long for the news to become officially official, but MV Agusta USA and MV Agusta Canada have come under new ownership, as the Italian brand attempts to relaunch itself in the North American market.
Heading the new efforts is Urban Moto Group, headed by Joseph Elasmar, who imports MV Agusta, Benelli, EBR, Royal Enfield, and other brands into Australia.
According to the their agreement, both MV Agusta and Urban Moto will co-develop the North America territories, with the aim of capitalizing on the region’s large market for big displacement motorcycles.
Big news from KTM, as the “Ready to Race” brand has appointed John Hinz as the new President of KTM North America, effective January 1st, 2017. This means that the buck will stop with Hinz, when it comes to KTM, Husqvarna, and WP Suspension brands in the United States and Canada.
Hinz will take over from current President Jon-Erik Burleson, who will stay on through January 31st, in order to ensure a smooth transition. After that point in time, Burleson will shift to a brand ambassador role for Husqvarna.
It is again with a heavy heart that we have to report the passing not only of a colleague, but also a friend, as Rob Harris passed away yesterday, while riding dirt bikes in Ontario, Canada.
A Brit who found his way into Canada, “Editor ‘arris” was very much the engine that drove the Canadian motorcycle news website Canada Moto Guide, serving as its Founder, Publisher, and Editor-in-Chief.
His departure will mean the creation of a huge hole in the Canada’s motorcycling landscape. The intersection of old-school journalism values, with new-school media savvy, Rob was one of the good ones.
If you are an American who was hoping to see motorcycle racing on basic cable, we have bad news for you all three major series – MotoGP, World Superbike, and MotoAmerica – will air exclusively on the premium TV network beIN Sports this year.
The deal with beIN Sports mimics similar deals we have seen Dorna cut elsewhere abroad, where the media rights holder of both MotoGP and World Superbike favors deals with premium television companies over basic broadcast stations.
These deals usually mean more money for Dorna, though come with the downside of fewer viewers for the sport of motorcycle racing.
Ducati North America is reporting a record year for sales, selling 12,132 motorcycles in 2015 – this number includes all Ducati sales in the USA (9,674 units, +10%), Canada (1,458 units, +12%), and Mexico (1,003 units, +85%).
The news is perhaps not surprising, since Ducati sales grew globally by 22% last year, for a total of 54,800 motorcycle sold in 2015.
Ducati North America’s numbers continue a six-year trend of solid sales growth, with last year’s sales being fueled primarily by the Ducati Scrambler.