By the end of this year, Aprilia will finally bring its new two-cylinder platform to reality, putting the Aprilia RS660 (pictured above) on dealership floors.
This full-faired sport bike will be joined in early 2021 by the Aprilia Tuono 660, and from there we can expect at least one more model from this parallel-twin platform.
But what about something on the smaller end of the scale? There is an obvious hole in Aprilia’s lineup when it comes to the 300cc/400cc segment. That might be set to change, however.
It has been a long sad road for Norton Motorcycles lately, and we apologize for not covering the complete debacle that has unfolded from this historic British marque.
That being said, it is hard to condense what has happened to Norton in the past few months, as well as the accusations that have been levied at the company’s CEO Stuart Garner; but cutting to the point, the company has gone bankrupt, which has lead to allegations of the mishandling of funds and even of fraud.
Now after a week of rumors regarding a pending sale, on Friday we got confirmation that Norton Motorcycles has been sold to TVS Motors, the third-largest two-wheeled manufacturer in India, with a price tag of $20 million.
I had to dive back into the A&R archive to find out that Triumph and Bajaj first announced their intent to partner on middleweight motorcycles almost exactly two years ago.
Details were light at the time of the announcement, and few specifics have surfaced since…until today…sort of. This is because news out of India tells us that Triumph and Bajaj are aiming to have a formal agreement signed in Q3 of this year.
When it comes to rumors about Harley-Davidson, everything is up for grabs. The Bar & Shield brand has done a complete about-face on its business paradigm, which means that no idea is too crazy for those in Milwaukee.
So, when we hear talk about a 250cc model from Harley-Davidson (supposedly an XR250 street tracker bike), we have to give it some credit, whereas before we might have dismissed it out hand for being crazy talk.
We know that Harley-Davidson is looking at electric models; we know that Harley-Davidson is looking at mainstream segments outside of the cruiser spectrum; and we know that Harley-Davidson will be looking at markets abroad for future growth.
What does this all mean? A 250cc model is almost the worst kept secret in Milwaukee.
It feels like the longest rumored machine in KTM’s future lineup. We are of course talking about the KTM 390 Adventure.
The missing link in the Austrian brand’s adventure-touring model range, which we have talked, rumored, and speculated about for well…quite a long time.
About a year ago though, Bajaj SVP and KTM India boss Amit Nandi tipped that we would see the KTM 390 Adventure in 2019. Well, that time is now, and rumors are once again heating up about this small-displacement ADV.
I would hate to work in KTM’s press department back in Austria, mostly because KTM CEO Stefan Pierer seems to be quite difficult to corral – he always seems to be spilling company secrets.
This reality is great for us, however, as there is never a shortage of juicy gossip to report from the “Ready to Race” brand, and this week has been no exception.
We already reported on Pierer’s vocalization about his desires to own the Ducati brand, which certainly caused a stir in the motorcycle industry these past few days.
Now we have more news from Pierer’s interview with Germany’s Speedweek magazine, with the CEO dishing details on the company’s plans in the middleweight categories.
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.
Is Ducati thinking about making a 300cc sport bike? Is it going to do so in India? With Hero MotoCorp? That is the talk of the motorcycle industry today, though this isn’t the first time that this idea has been floated in the two-wheeled rumor mill.
The reason this rumor keeps coming around is that Ducati seems to be one of the last motorcycle brands really to adopt the small-displacement motorcycle strategy.
Motorcycle manufacturers are continuously investing in motorcycle models that would sell well with entry-level riders or in developing nations. This has lead to a boom in motorcycles that that are under 400cc – most of which are produced in Asia, though also sold in the western markets.
Despite Ducati’s continued commitment to staying out of the 300cc displacement category (it does have the 400cc Scrambler Sixty2 though), rumors continue to speculate on this future for the Italian brand, this time with Hero MotoCorp in the picture.
It has been a motorcycle that we have long waited for, but it seems that the KTM 390 Adventure is finally set to debut. Based on the KTM 390 Duke platform, which currently shares itself with the KTM RC390, the new ADV bike targets the small-displacement adventure-touring segment.
This means that at the core of the KTM 390 Adventure model should be a 373cc single-cylinder engine, making roughly 43hp. Multiple spy photos of the bike have been spotted over the years, which show a long-travel machine that should be fairly capable off-road.
“With the 390 Adventure we would be making our long awaited entry into the niche premium dual-sport segment which is a very apt segment for Indian roads,” said Bajaj SVP and KTM India boss Amit Nandi, in a statement reported by several Indian publications.
Regular Asphalt & Rubber readers should recognize the name TVS as the brand behind BMW’s small-displacement lineup of motorcycles, with the Indian firm also releasing its 300cc-class sport bike, the TVS Apache RR 310.
Here is another reasons to take notice of the TVS Motor Company though, as it just debuted a hybrid gas-electric cruiser concept, which not only is interesting from a technical perspective, but it looks pretty good too.
For the Western world, the TVS Zeppelin isn’t going to blow the doors off the market, at least not with the quoted specs, but TVS does have some clever ideas for the model.