For years, Benelli has lain dormant, at least in the US market. That changes with the Chinese owned, but Italian-run, firm releasing the first of many street bikes for American consumption. It kicks things off with the 2018 Benelli TnT 135 ($2,499).
US importer, SSR Motorsports, hosted a quick day ride that began atop Southern California’s Ortega Highway, and concluded in Newport Beach.
Renowned for its twists and turns, Ortega Highway is an amusing, but also very high-traveled ribbon of blacktop that links the bustling inland and beach communities.
This stretch of roadway is known for accidents as well – would the tiny TnT be able to keep up with “always in a hurry” SoCal drivers?
After yesterday’s news of BMW Motorrad’s modest 1.3% sales drop for 2017, today we have another brand reporting its year sales: Ducati Motor Holding.
Like BMW, Ducati’s sales figures from last year didn’t move the needle much, with the Italian brand showing only 0.7% gain over the previous sales cycle. In total, Ducati delivered 55,871 bikes to customers worldwide, compared to the 55,451 units it sold in 2016.
This marks Ducati’s eighth year of positive sales growth, but over the past two years we have seen that growth crawling almost to a halt, as the Bologna Brand has run out of new markets to develop, and new segments to pursue.
The 51st running of the Macau Grand Prix got underway today under auspicious conditions, the race organizers finding a narrow window in the rain to let the motorcycles out on the road course.
That would prove to be a fateful move however, as the race would last only six of its twelve laps, with tragedy striking and red flags flying.
A crash in Fisherman’s Bend caused the race’s early conclusion, and in its aftermath we have learned that British rider Daniel Hegarty lost his life in the unfortunate incident.
The motorcycle industry is still deep in the throes of trying to prevent the United States Trade Representative (USTR) from taxing small-displacement motorcycles from Europe with a 100% tariff.
The proposed tariff would double the cost of any two-wheeled vehicle manufactured in Europe, with displacements between 51cc and 500cc , but the real kicker is that the proposed tariff isn’t really about motorcycles…it’s about beef.
For roughly 30 years now, the United States (one of the largest producers of beef) has been trying to gain access to the European market, but the EU bans beef that has been grown with hormones, because of health concerns (the ban also has the nice side-effect of protecting European beef growers).
To put pressure on the European Union, the beef industry (through lobbying the USTR) has proposed a number of retaliatory tariffs on European imports in the USA, motorcycles being one of them. Welcome to International Trade 101.
However, a major breakthrough happened last week, one that could affect this bovine standoff, and it has to with Chinese chicken.
Did you just feel that? That movement was a tectonic shift in the motorcycle landscape, as India just surpassed China as the world’s largest market for two-wheel vehicles.
Just how big is the Indian motorcycle market? Last year, over 17.7 million motorcycles were sold in India. That is over 48,000 motorcycles sold…each day. Compared to China, that is a margin of roughly one million motorcycles per year (16.8 million units sold last year).
India has seen a sharp rise in the sales of two-wheelers within its borders over the seven years, growing over 32% during that timeframe. Transportation in general has been growing in India, but that growth has been fueled by the country’s two-wheeler market.
BMW Motorrad is one of the few brands still growing in this motorcycle economy, even in the United States, which is facing another year of doubtful sales increases. That’s no easy task.
Not so easy is also improving upon the BMW S1000RR superbike – a machine that tops the lists of many motorcycle publications, near and far. When you ride the BMW S1000RR, it is easy to see why the Bavarian Bullet is so popular.
The BMW S1000RR is beating the Japanese brands at their own game, offering a 1,000cc inline-four superbike with near-200hp peak horsepower figures, anemic measurements on the scale, and a full-suite of electronics…all with aggressive pricing.
How do you improve on this design? Well, a carbon fiber chassis is certainly one way to start; a WorldSBK-spec 212hp engine certainly helps; and factory-set electronics don’t hurt nothin’ either. In other words, you make the BMW HP4 Race.
There are so many reasons why we should heap praise on BMW Motorrad for building the 2017 BMW HP4 Race, but instead we are just going to let this video from the German brand do the talking.
Does anyone know what the 3asy pricing on the HP4 Race is looking like? What if I use my kidney as a down payment? No, seriously…asking for friend.
The BMW HP4 Race has finally dropped, the Bavarian brand’s extreme superbike offering that drips in carbon fiber pieces. A track-only liter-bike for true enthusiasts, the BMW HP4 Race sees a potent 212hp engine packed into featherweight 377 lbs wet body.
Of course to hit those weight goals, BMW Motorrad employed extensive use of composite materials to shed weight from the already robust BMW S1000RR superbike. As such, the frame, bodywork, and wheels are made from carbon fiber, including the self-supporting tail section.
BMW doesn’t reveal too much on how it has boosted the power from the 199hp found on the S1000RR’s inline-four power plant, though the result is an increased redline to 14,500 rpm (up from 14,200 rpm).
Keeping inline with its ~$85,000 price tag though (BMW Motorrad hasn’t released pricing figures yet, unfortunately), the BMW HP4 Race comes with top-of-the-line brakes and suspension pieces. It also has a robust electronics package that features the usual suspects of three-letter acronyms.
There is plenty to drool over on the BMW HP4 Race, so we have 64 high-resolution photos of the machine, waiting for you after the jump. Enjoy!
As we predicted, the BMW HP4 Race carbon fiber superbike debuted today in China, at the Auto Shanghai 2017 expo. This is the production version of the prototype that BMW Motorrad teased at last year’s EIMCA show in Milan.
Details were scarce in Italy, but now BMW is ready to tell us all about its halo bike. The numbers? Only 750 units of the BMW HP4 Race will be produced. Each one will make 212hp, and weigh 377 lbs when fully fueled and ready to ride – which is lighter than BMW’s WorldSBK-spec S1000RR racing machine.
Of course the main feature of the BMW HP4 Race is that it drips in carbon fiber. The bodywork, main frame, and wheels are made of this composite material, with the tail section being a self-supporting carbon fiber unit.
BMW Motorrad has interestingly chosen an aluminum swingarm for the HP4 Race though, a departure from the show bike, likely for rigidity/handling reasons.
After this year’s April Fools hijinks, we have a whole new respect for the cunning that resides at BMW Motorrad, and the Germans seem to be honing that trait even further today.
Announcing its plans for the upcoming Auto Shanghai 2017 later this month, BMW lists a number of four-wheeled news items for the Chinese auto show, and then casually slips-in at the end of the press release that we should expect a big unveil from BMW Motorrad.
The statement reads that “the highlight of the BMW Motorrad stand is the world premiere of one of the most exclusive models ever offered by BMW Motorrad,” which is terse, though given what we know about the Bavarian brand, it should be easy to guess what they are hinting at.