Motorcycle Sales in Europe Show Strong Growth

Motorcycle sales in the United States might be tanking, but things are looking fairly positive across the pond in Europe, as the ACEM reports a 4.7% increase in motorcycle sales for Q1 2018, for a total of 203,853 units sold in the first three months of this year. The increase in sales is due to key markets like France (+9.1%), Germany (+1.9%), and the UK (+7.4%) showing good growth, compared to Q1 2017. However, not all the European countries are showing increases in motorcycle sales, with the Czech Republic (-17.3%), Poland (-28.7%), and Austria (-18.9%) pulling the sales growth figure down considerably. Not all segments are growing too. While the big bikes are seeing sales increases, European sales for mopeds are down considerably for Q1 2018 (40.2%), to the tune of a 24,996 unit sales decline over last year.

This Week’s Honda V4 Superbike Rumor

I have to admit, this rumor is more than a week old, as Japanese magazine Young Machine breathed new life into the Honda V4 superbike rumor mill about a month ago. And of course, the reality is that this rumor is much, much older than this tiny fraction of time. If you know your motorcycle news history, talk of a Honda V4 replacement for the CBR1000RR line has existed for almost two decades now…but hey, a broken clock is correct twice a day, right? So what is new from the Land of the Rising sun that we haven’t heard before? The big eye-catching component to this story is that Honda has/had a two-stage upgrade path for the CBR1000RR, of which we are about to see the second phase.

Official: Alta Motors Racing at the 2018 Erzberg Rodeo

We broke the story yesterday, but today the news is officially official: Alta Motors will race in the 2018 Ezerberg Rodeo, which is part of the Red Bull Hard Enduro series. The most grueling and difficult single-day event in motorcycle racing, the Erzberg Rodeo sees 1,500 entires whittled down into what is usually a single-digit summation of race-finishers – and not every year sees a racer cross the finish line – that’s how tough this race is. Racing for Alta Motors will be Ty Tremaine and Lyndon Poskitt, two riders with a lot of off-road experience. For those who don’t recognize those names, Tremaine is currently racing with Alta in the 2018 AMA EnduroCross series, meanwhile Poskitt has previously competed in a number of enduro events, including the Ezberg Rodeo, and most notably just soloed the 2018 Dakar Rally to completion. 

Come Drool Over SERT’s All New Endurance Race Bike

The winningest team in the FIM Endurance World Championship, the Suzuki Endurance Racing Team is the standard by which other endurance teams are measured…and that is a measuring stick that has seen a lot of use in recent seasons. This is because the FIM EWC is a hot bed for competition right now, with a bevy of factory-backed teams capable of winning on any race weekend. This has made it tough for SERT, and its riders Vincent Philippe, Etienne Masson, and Gregg Black, who currently sit sixth in the 2018 FIM Endurance World Championship standings. For this season, SERT hopes that a new racing platform will make the difference, as the French team has finally jumped onboard with the current-generation Suzuki GSX-R1000.

Johann Zarco Signs Two-Year Deal with KTM

One of the biggest dominoes of the 2018 MotoGP Silly Season has just fallen into place. Today, KTM announced that they have signed Johann Zarco to a two-year contract for the 2019 and 2020 seasons. That Zarco would leave the Monster Yamaha Tech3 squad had been widely anticipated, the only question being which factory team he would end up in. The Frenchman was an extremely hot property, after displaying blistering speed on the satellite Yamaha M1 in 2017. Zarco had offers from Suzuki, Repsol Honda, and KTM, though only Honda and KTM were in the frame for the Frenchman. Zarco and his management were still unhappy with the way Suzuki had treated the Frenchman, after the Japanese factory failed to honor a pre-contract Zarco had signed ahead of the 2017 season, choosing Alex Rins instead.

The Ducati Panigale V4 Gets Its First Two Recalls

New model teething issues are always a reality, and it seems that the Ducati Panigale V4 is no exception to the rule. Finding not one, but two issues with the Panigale V4’s fueling system, Italy’s newest superbike is being recalled in the United States. Both recalls seem to affect the full-lot of Panigale V4 models that have made it to US soil thus far this year, which means 692 units (base, S, and Special trim levels) are being recalled for two issues related to the bike’s fuel system. As such, the first recall centers around the breathing system valve plug on the Panigale V4, which might have a fuel leak if the O-ring was damaged during production. Accordingly, the second recall involves the fuel tank cap, which can spray gas when opened, because again of breathing issues within the fuel system.

Are BMW’s Heritage Models Finally Done?

Has BMW Motorrad called it quits for its heritage lineup of motorcycles? That is the rumor at least, and there is some good evidence to support the notion. This is because buried on the 60th turn of BMW’s 260-page annual report for 2017 is the headline: “R nineT family now complete” – a nod that the German brand’s lineup of air-cooled retro-styled motorcycles has reached its zenith and logical conclusion. That makes sense, since there isn’t really a category left of the R nineT family to explore. It has a roadster, a standard, a scrambler, an adventure bike, and a café racer model all in the lineup. No hipster stone has been left unturned. The post-authentic styling trend is over. It’s dead. BMW called it, right? Well…Not so fast.

Up-Close with the 2018 Aprilia RSV4 RF LE

At the Grand Prix of the Americas, Aprilia USA debuted a special new superbike for the 2018 model year, the Aprilia RSV4 RF LE. Limited to only 125 units for North America (100 for the USA, 25 for Canada), the big feature of the 2018 Aprilia RSV4 RF LE is the bike’s fairing winglets, which draw from Aprilia Racing’s aerodynamic progress in the MotoGP Championship. Getting a chance to see the new Aprilia RSV4 RF LE in the flesh while in Texas, we grabbed some up-close photos of this limited edition RSV4, for your viewing pleasure, along with some other details. Aprilia’s wings are an interesting development, and a brave new world for production superbike design. For its part too, it seems that Aprilia isn’t quite sure what to make of the development as well, offering us two narratives for the winglets.

BMW Shows Off 3D Printed BMW S1000RR Frame

Ultimately, I think we are going to come back to this story several times over the next few weeks, as there is so much going on here, from such a simple thing, that one story just won’t do it all justice. To start things off though, let’s look at the basics…as the BMW Group recently hosted what it called the BMW Group Digital Day 2018, which was basically a showcase for all the cool technologies that the Bavarians are using to create a digital frontier that will reshape the human condition. Most of the technology concerns BMW’s automotive business, but there was one little tidbit that could be of interest for motorcycle fans: the 3D printed frame for a BMW S1000RR superbike. Built using additive manufacturing technology, a chassis is created a computer file and metal dust.

Harley-Davidson Sales Free Fall in Q1 2018

After a dismal 2017, there was some hope at the start of 2018 that the US motorcycle industry would begin an upward climb. The industry seemed enthused and optimistic, though no one could pinpoint why they felt that way during our talks with executives and insiders. Now, it seems that positive energy was simply that…nothing tangible, as the first results from Q1 2018 are beginning to trickle out of OEM headquarters. First up, Harley-Davidson. Releasing its Q1 2018 report, Harley-Davidson is reporting a global decrease in sales to the tune of a 7.2% drop compared to its 2017 figures, which breaks down into a 12% drop for the US market, with the international market flat at 0.2% in positive growth.

McGuinness To Miss the 2018 Isle of Man TT?

04/27/2018 @ 12:56 pm, by Jensen BeelerADD COMMENTS

A lot of action has occurred for this year’s Isle of Man TT, and yet not a single bike has circulated the Mountain Course in anger yet.

We saw the unfortunate news that Bruce Anstey would sit out this year of racing, as he starts a new battle with cancer. We also saw John McGuinness jump ship from Honda to Norton, and then join forces with rival Michael Dunlop in the supersport class.

Adding to the news, Team Mugen announced an unheard of three-rider lineup for the TT Zero race, though today we learn that those plans have had to change, with now Lee Johnston and Michael Rutter headlining a two-man team for Mugen.

The cause for this change? John McGuinness re-fracturing his healing leg (14 months after initially breaking it), and thus unable to compete on the electric superbike.

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Unfortunate news for road racing fans, as we get word that Bruce Anstey will miss this year’s Isle of Man TT (and likely the rest of the 2018 road racing season), because of multiple tumors found on his lungs, as well as a tumor on his spine.

The news came on social media, with Anstey’s partner, Ann Ramsey, posting to Facebook the news of the cancer’s return, and what it meant for Bruce’s racing season. She said that Anstey also had “a blood clot on the lung just to kick him while his [sic] down.”

Anstey was slated to ride with the Mugen Team, on the Shinden Nana electric superbike, as well as with the Padgetts Honda team in the superbike and supersport classes.

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Mugen’s Secret Weapon for the Isle of Man TT

03/29/2018 @ 10:39 am, by Jensen BeelerADD COMMENTS

The Bothan Spy Network is strong this week, as we have learned some more about Mugen’s latest TT Zero entry, the Mugen Shinden Nana.

Unveiled to the public at the Tokyo Motorcycle Show, three riders – McGuinness, Johnston, and Anstey – will compete at the Isle of Man TT onboard the Mugen Shinden Nana.

Mugen was tight-lipped on its spec-sheet for the Mugen Shinden Nana though, with the specs for the Nana mimicking those seen on last year’s bike, the Mugen Shinden Roku. That isn’t exactly the case, however.

Yes, Mugen will run its special aerodynamic fairing for the 2018 Isle of Man TT, which is a piece that has been under development for over a year now. But, the Japanese brand has other tricks up its sleeve as well.

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IOMTT: Michael Dunlop Riding with Tyco BMW

03/28/2018 @ 2:06 pm, by Jensen BeelerADD COMMENTS

What happens when an immoveable object joins forces with an unstoppable force? The result might look like the latest news from the Isle of Man TT, where this year’s race will see Michael Dunlop onboard with Tyco BMW.

Of course, Michael Dunlop is a top favorite to win at this year’s TT, and the Tyco squad is certainly no stranger to making the BMW S1000RR go lightning fast around the Mountain Course.

To make matters worse for the competition, the BMW S1000RR is already a machine that Dunlop has shown good results with, in past TT fortnights, and as such we expect big things from the collaboration.

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Mugen Shinden Nana Debuts with Curious Aeros

03/26/2018 @ 4:30 pm, by Jensen BeelerADD COMMENTS

Take a good long look at it, because here is the electric motorcycle that is going to win this year’s TT Zero race at the Isle of Man TT.

That might seem like a presumptuous thing to say, but with Mugen fielding a three-rider lineup, and no real competition coming out of the woodwork, it would be hard to imagine a different result.

The question of course is which riders will be onboard the Mugen Shinden Nana when it takes the #1 position? John McGuinness? Bruce Anstey? Or, Lee Johnston?

Your guess is as good as ours, as all three road-racers are more than capable of putting down a race-winning lap on the Mugen.

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The sound of two-stroke race bikes will once again thunder through the streets on the Isle of Man, as Ian Lougher is set to race the Suter MMX 500 at this year’s Isle of Man TT.

The 576cc V4 two-stroke Suter has already made its debut during the TT, last racing during the 2016 edition of this iconic road race, though with lackluster results (121+ mph best lap) due to mechanical issues.

Hoping to right that wrong, Lougher will once again climb aboard the Suter MMX500, and no matter what the result sheets say, we are sure the fans along the Manx hedgerows will enjoy his effort.

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Two Enthusiasts Podcast #73 – Prince Albert

03/26/2018 @ 8:50 am, by Jensen BeelerADD COMMENTS

Episode 73 of the Two Enthusiasts Podcast is out, and it was worth the wait, as it’s a good one.

An omnibus of topics, we start out with some racing items from the MotoGP and Isle of Man TT paddocks, with a focus on newly crowned “MotoGP Legend” Randy Mamola, and a surprise announcement from John McGuinness.

We the turn our attention to Harley-Davidson’s bizarre brake fluid recall, and speculate what the Bar & Shield brand is up to. The iconic American brand was also present in Portland’s One Moto Show, which we discuss as well.

The conversation then shifts to the continually changes in the motorcycle media landscape, which has seen no shortage of movements in recent months.

The show concludes with a deep-dive into the issue of umbrella girls in racing, as the Formula One series has banned the practice from the 2018 season onward. We’re sure the conversation will stir some debate amongst the two-wheeled community.

You can listen to the show via the embedded SoundCloud player, after the jump, or you can find the show on iTunes (please leave a review) or this RSS feed. Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter as well. 

We hope you will join the conversation, and leave us some audio comments at our new email address: twoenthusiasts@gmail.com.

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It was a bit of shock when we learned that John McGuinness would not be riding for the Honda Pro Racing outfit at this year’s Isle of Man TT, instead getting a gig riding with Norton for the Superbike and Senior TT races.

Now, we get news that the 23-time Isle of Man TT race-winner has another trick up his sleeve, this time involving his Supersport TT plans.

We still can’t believe we are saying this, but John McGuinness will mount his 600cc campaign hopes with Michael Dunlop’s team, riding an MD Racing Honda CBR600RR in this year’s Supersport TT races.

We had to check today’s date to be certain, as McGuinness and Dunlop are fierce rivals, and both are chasing the outright record of TT race wins (26), set by Joey Dunlop. Seeing them race under the same colors will certainly be a sight for this year’s Isle of Man TT.

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We are still about three weeks away from the official unveiling of the Mugen Shinden Nana, the seventh iteration of the Isle of Man TT winning electric superbike, but news is starting to trickle in about this racing effort.

In case you didn’t know, Mugen is looking to make the 2018 Isle of Man TT its fifth-straight victory at the iconic road race, and the chances are very good of that result happening.

This is because with scant competition coming from the other race teams, Mugen is set to race itself again this year, but for 2018 it will be with not one, not two, but three riders on the grid for this year’s TT Zero race, as the company confirmed via Twitter.

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Check the weather, because hell might have frozen over. Confirming rumors from late last year, John McGuinness has switched from Honda to Norton for his 2018 Isle of Man TT campaign.

The move is a bit of a surprise, as McGuinness has made his career as a diehard Honda rider, which has lead to 23 TT race wins at the Isle of Man.

But, things started to get interesting last year, when in December McGuinness wasn’t named as one of Honda’s road racing riders. To further fuel the fire, McPint was seen on social media checking out the Norton SG7.

Now officially official, John McGuinness will campaign on the Norton in the Superbike TT and Senior TT races at the 2018 Isle of Man TT. Boom goes the dynamite.

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