Dakar Rally


The airbag revolution continues in the motorcycle industry, as Alpinestars has just released its Tech-Air Off-Road airbag system to professional rally-raid racers.

Used by Alpinestars-supported riders since 2018, the new consumer-facing version is being offered to all professional racers now, just ahead of the Dakar Rally mandating airbags for all of its entrants.

That the Honda CB650R and its ilk make for excellent custom motorcycles should be an established fact by this point in time. Honda Motor Europe has prove this point extensively with its bevy of customs over the years.

So, it does not surprise us to see that the Japanese brand’s operations on the Iberian peninsula are using the CB as the basis for a custom bike build competition. What does surprise us though are some of the entries, as they are truly unique.

Take for instance this example, dubbed the Honda CB650R Rally. It’s done by Honda Wingmotor in Lisbon, Portugal, and as the name implies, it is a rally raid interpretation of the venerable street bike.

Episode 29 of the Brap Talk podcast is now out for your two-wheeled audio pleasure, and as always, it is packed with some interesting motorcycle discussions.

This show has a bit of racing commentary, as we discuss the 2020 Dakar Rally, which was still taking place at the time of recording, as well as the ongoing saga with Andrea Iannone’s doping problems.

We also give some discussion to the pricing for the Honda CBR1000RR-R Fireblade SP, which we now know will cost $28,500 in the United States.

Episode 28 of the Brap Talk podcast is now out for your two-wheeled audio pleasure, and as always, it is packed with some interesting motorcycle discussions…and some strong opinions.

Our show starts with news from the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), where we saw the new Alpinestars Tech-Air 5 airbag vest, and the electric superbike from Damon Motorcycles.

The latter provides quite a bit of fodder for a frank conversation about this motorcycle debut, and the lofty promises the Canadian company is making about its product.

In case you haven’t been following every day of the Dakar Rally – held this year for the first time in Saudi Arabia – you might want to keep your eyes on this iconic off-road racing tonight/tomorrow.

This is because American rider Ricky Brabec is on the verge of winning The Dakar, as he holds nearly a 14-minute lead over his next-closest competitor, Pablo Quintanilla.

A win from Brabec would be a huge disruption to the order of things, for several reasons.

While the Streetfighter V4 S was center stage at the Ducati stand at EICMA, our eye drifted over towards the Scrambler setup, where the Italian brand was showcasing two concept bikes for the Milan show.

At the Ducati launch event in Rimini, the Ducati Scrambler Desert X concept was the big tease, with the Italians saying very little about the bike.

Really, all that was revealed (beyond a couple sketches) was that the motorcycle would use the brand’s 1,079cc air-cooled engine, and instead Ducati encouraged fans to see the bike at the EICMA booth, if they wanted more than a rendering. So, we obliged.

For us, the Ducati Scrambler Desert X concept was the star of the Ducati EICMA experience, perhaps because we knew so far in advance that the Streetfighter V4 was coming, and had a pretty good idea about what this 205hp street-shredding machine would look like.

As we expected, the Dakar Rally will head to the Middle East for its 2020 edition. The move is a radical departure from the South American continent, which has hosted the iconic race for the last 11 years.

Perhaps over-staying its welcome, the Dakar organizers could only convince Peru to host the 2019 race, and for next year, a new host was picked, with Saudi Arabia’s bid winning out.

As such, the Dakar Rally will be in the Middle East for the next five years, with the 2020 race being exclusively in the country of Saudi Arabia. And now this week, we get our first glimpse of the route for next year.

Episode 7 of the Brap Talk podcast is out for your two-wheeled audio pleasure, and it is a marathon show. This is for good reason, as Shahin and I will be traveling the coming week, and thus will be a little late in getting Episode 8 out to you.

Don’t worry though, we have some good things lined up ahead, and this show is packed with some good motorcycle conversation.

In it, we get our hands on Ducati’s new models for 2019, and discuss what we like and don’t like about the Bologna brand’s offerings for this year.

Then, we head into some current news, starting with Harley-Davidson’s paid-for study about why motorcycles are so awesome.

For the past 17 runnings of the Dakar Rally, one name has stood above all the others in the motorcycle class: KTM.

Now with another victory in the most grueling motorcycle race on earth, the Austrian brand can add race win #18 to the tally, thanks to factory rider Toby Price.

Crossing the finish line Lima, Peru today, Price was clear of his nearest rival (last year’s winner, Matthias Walkner) by a comfortable margin of 9 minutes 13 seconds.

With three KTM bikes in the Top 3, and the Top 5 consisting of only KTM and Husqvarna brand machines, the Austrian conglomerate can rest easy in 2019 after securing another year of its legacy, but don’t mistake this year’s edition of the race as a blowout.