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In what has to be the shortest commute for an international press launch, our hometown of Portland, Oregon is playing host to the first riding of the Harley-Davidson Livewire.

This is our first press launch with the Bar & Shield brand, and it is a big one at that. The Livewire is a mammoth shift for the motorcycle industry, as Harley-Davidson becomes the first major manufacturer to debut a full-sized electric motorcycle for the street.

The Livewire is a big deal for the American brand as well, as Harley-Davidson is pivoting its business model towards new horizons, new markets, new riders, and most importantly for today’s purpose: new drivetrains.

The Harley-Davidson Livewire is a halo product from Milwaukee, but it shows how far the marque is willing to go in order to ensure its future. The question before us now though, is the bike any good?

Greetings from a very warm Birmingham, Alabama where we are about to swing a leg over the new BMW S1000RRagain.

After a disappointing and inadequate international launch in Portugal, where the rain got in the way of our two-wheeled fun, BMW Motorrad USA has invited us out to the famous Barber Motorsports Park to ride their new superbike for a second time.

That is just fine by us, because yours truly has been keen to swing a leg over the 2020 BMW S1000RR, and see how it compares to the offerings from the other top brands, not to mention I have always wanted to ride this popular American track.

Summer might be upon us, but the new bike launches are still in full swing. This time around, we have a two-fer, as Honda has invited us out to try its new CBR650R and CB650R street bikes.

Built around the same 650cc four-cylinder engine, the two models offer a fully faired and naked version of the same basic idea, but what is really important about the two machines is the last letter in their names.

That new “R” means that Honda has added some more pep to the lineup, with more power, more torque, more aggressive bodywork, more aggressive riding position, well…just about more of everything.

To test these changes, and to see if the unassuming sport bikes blow our hair back, we are riding out in the Palm Desert of California.

Unfortunately, yours truly had a previous engagement in Sweden (more on that soon) and couldn’t attend this launch, so we sent racer Shelina Moreda out to sunny SoCal to tell us all about the bikes, since she’s cut from that same “call it how you see it” cloth that we so greatly enjoy here as Asphalt & Rubber.

Greetings from Lisbon, Portugal as we come to our final destination on this three-week European press launch adventure. For this installment, we switch countries of origin, and get ready to hop on the Husqvarna Svartpilen 701 street bike.

A sort of street-tracker meets roadster type of bike, the Svartpilen 701 is a unique build from Husqvarna, and it pairs well with the company’s “white arrow” – the Vitpilen 701.

The plan is for us to get to know the Husqvarna Svartpilen 701 on the roads outside of Lisbon, riding along the coast for some twisties, touring along the highway, and doing some city miles in the urban jungle of Lisboa.

The route should give us a good idea of what to expect from the Swedish brand’s newest street bike, and to see if it is as fun as Husqvarna would like us to believe.

Greetings from the Mugello, as we continue our three-week European adventure, this time gearing up to ride the Aprilia RSV4 1100 Factory superbike.

The culmination of 10 years of RSV4 motorcycles, this 2019 edition sees the engine displacement bumped to 1,078cc, winglets added to the front fairings, an Akrapovic exhaust, and a host of other changes made to the venerable superbike.

As you can expect then, this machine should be a rocket ship around this iconic Italian race track – rumor on the street is that rear-wheel horsepower is just over 200hp!

For the bullet points on what’s new here, the 2019 Aprilia RSV4 1100 Factory weighs 11 lbs lighter than its predecessor, and makes 16hp more power, and 5 lbs•ft more torque as well.

Greetings from the Mediterranean Sea, as we are on the island of Sardinia right now, gearing up to ride the new Moto Guzzi V85 TT adventure-touring motorcycle. 

A bike that has been in the wings for a little while now, we have been itching to ride the V85 TT ever since its unique look and color scheme graced our pages.

A part of the push for new middleweight ADV motorcycles, the V85 TT does a bit more of a heritage play for the segment, which is keeping in line with the Moto Guzzi brand as a whole.

Greetings from a very wet Portugal, where we are about to swing a leg over the new BMW S1000RR, at the Estoril track.

One of the most anticipated motorcycles for the 2019 model year, the new S1000RR sees BMW Motorrad going back to the drawing board and developing a whole new superbike for the track.

On paper, the 2019 BMW S1000RR looks to be a potent weapon, and we are hoping that the weather gods will allow dry conditions at Estoril so we can thrash this machine properly.

With a bevy of press launches going on right now, we have implemented our Scandinavian connections and enlisted Swedish journalist Jonathan Balsvik (formerly of Bike.se) to help with the testing duties today.

Hello from cold and rainy Southern California, where we will be swinging a leg over the Honda Super Cub in order to find out if you really do meet the nicest people on a Honda.

This iconic motorcycle changed the American motorcycle industry in the 1960s , offering a break from the 1%’er image that dominated the two-wheeled landscape at the time.

Though the model has evolved over the years, Honda has been churning out the Super Cub continuously since 1958, with production spiking in the late-1990s and hitting the 100 million unit mark in 2017.

This makes the Honda Super Cub the best all-time selling motorcycle in the world…and now it is coming back to the United States.

Hello from from the Canary Islands, where we have the curious reality of being in both Europe and Africa at the exact same time (the islands are politically part of Spain, and thus the European Union, but sit on the African continental shelf).

A winter retreat for Europeans, the archipelago provides a temperate climate for the elderly, and year-round riding for motorcyclists. As such, we are here to shred some tires, and we will be doing that the press launch for the new Ducati Hypermotard 950.

Ducati has for us a two-part program: a street ride and a half-day of riding on the track, which should help us to evaluate both the base model Hypermotard 950, as well as the up-spec Hypermotard 950 SP.

A motorcycle that is near and dear to this author’s heart, as the two previous models ended up in my garage as personal bikes, bought with my hard-earned blogging dollars, we will be especially keen to see if Ducati has retained the unique character of this plus-sized supermoto, while also refining some of its gremlins.

Hello from sunny SoCal, where we are about to go ride the new KTM 790 Duke, which is finally coming to the United States as an early 2019 model.

The first of KTM’s parallel-twin middleweights, the new Duke packs a lot of features into an affordable body, with promises of being a potent streetfighter.

To test that theory, the Austrian brand has brought us near its base of operations in the United States, and today we will tackle the roads along the Oceanside coast, and then head up to the famous Palomar mountain for some twisty fun.

The KTM 790 Duke has been on our short-list of bikes we have wanted to swing a leg over, ever since we saw the concept for the machine debut two years ago at EICMA.

Hello from Santa Catalina Island, where we are about to go ride the new Honda Monkey mini-moto. A play on Honda’s past, the Monkey is built off the modern Honda Grom platform, but uses styling that is more at home in the 1970s.

A retro-modern approach to the mini-bike craze, the Honda Monkey is trying to rekindle some of those “you meet the nicest people on a Honda” feelings, which launched the Japanese brand into the public mainstream almost 50 years ago.

As such, we will be spending the day on this popular Californian destination to see how the Honda Monkey handles not only from a technical perspective on the road, but also we want to see what “je ne sais quoi” of two-wheeled fun the Monkey brings to the table.

With cars largely verboten on Catalina, bikes like Honda’s old Trail 70 and Trail 110 are popular choices here (as are golf carts, but that is an entirely different story), which makes the island a smart pick for this press launch.

Per our new review format, I will be giving you a live assessment of the Honda Monkey right here in this article (down in the comments section), and I will try to answer any questions you might have about this unique motorcycle.

So, here is your chance to learn what it’s like to ride the Honda Monkey, before even my own proper review is posted. As always, if I don’t know an answer, I will try to get a response from the Honda personnel. So, pepper away.

You can follow our thoughts on the bike live via FacebookTwitter, and Instagram, and you can see what our colleagues are posting on social media by looking for the hashtags #HondaMonkey, #POWERofNICE #RideRed.