Valentino Rossi’s Special Yamaha XJR1300 Flat Tracker

It is good to be Valentino Rossi. Not only do you have nine world championships to your name, legions of yellow-crazy fans, but you also get pretty nice gifts from your friends. Take “Mya” for example – a special Yamaha XJR1300 custom flat tracker that the folks at VR|46 built for their fearless leader. Now, when you think about bikes that should be the basis for a custom project, the Yamaha XJR1300 doesn’t exactly come to mind. It probably doesn’t help that this decades-old model is only Euro3 compliant, and set to sunset at the end of this year. The XJ1300 certainly doesn’t strike us as the appropriate starting point for a flat track bike either, especially with its 530 lbs weight figure. That all being said, the VR|46 crew have done a pretty good job of spiffing up the old girl.

That Suzuki Katana 3.0 Concept Though…

One of the less-publicized motorcycles on display at this year’s EICMA show was this Suzuki Katana concept, which has since been making the rounds on social media. Rightfully so, we would say, as the “Katana 3.0” is a very intriguing idea into how Suzuki can revitalize one of its most iconic names. A creation by the folks at Motociclismo, with the help of designer Rodolfo Frascoli and Engines Engineering, the Katana 3.0 concept isn’t the “official” concept that many had hoped for from Suzuki. However, the fact that Suzuki hosted the concept inside its EICMA display is a sign that the Japanese manufacturer is certainly listening to the feeback the bike generates.

The KTM 790 Duke’s Killer Feature? Its Price Tag

The KTM 790 Duke launches a new platform for the Austrian brand, based around an 800cc parallel-twin engine. As such, we already know that we can expect the twin-cylinder platform to spawn an adventure version of the bike, with the KTM 790 Adventure R prototype debuting at EICMA as well. We can also expect other “790” models in the coming years, both from KTM and likely from Husqvarna as well. That is a good thing, because the KTM 790 Duke is a potent bike, rich with features. The real kicker though – if early indications about the pricing can be believed – is the KTM 790 Duke’s price tag, as KTM has been quoted as pricing the 790 Duke at below €10,000. This would put US pricing around the $11,000 mark, if not cheaper.

The Three Big Trends That We Saw at EICMA

The 2017 EICMA show has come and gone, and with it our glimpse at the new motorcycles that will arrive for the next model year, and beyond. EICMA week has always been my Super Bowl, as it culminates the year’s work, and also sets the tone for the upcoming riding season. Beyond just my limited world though, EICMA sets the trends and the expectations of the motorcycle industry. There is no trade show in our two-wheeled microcosm that has a larger influence than EICMA. So, while all the new models that we just saw are the week’s big headlines, it is really the trends and movements that will dictate the future of the motorcycle industry. For this round of the EICMA show, three major trends presented themselves in Milan, along with a few more notable occurrences.

ARCH Motorcycle’s Next Bike Won’t Be a Cruiser

ARCH Motorcycle is in Italy right now, and they just took the wraps off three bikes, one of which isn’t so much a cruiser, as it is a naked roadster model. Built using carbon fiber MonoCell chassis technology, a building technique usually reserved for ultra high-end sport cars and Formula 1 racing chassis, the ARCH Method143 features a potent 143ci (2,343) v-twin engine. Though, instead of the performance cruiser layout the company is better known for, the ARCH Method143 will have mid-body rearsets for the feet, and clip-on handlebars for the hands, making for a very sporty riding position. Backing up that notion is the use of Öhlins suspension, which includes a proprietary Öhlins FGRT series front fork with carbon fiber airfoil covers.

No One Seemed to Notice that the MV Agusta Dragster 800 RR Is New for the 2018 Model Year

We had to search high and low for information about the 2018 MV Agusta Dragster 800 RR – it doesn’t help that MV Agusta’s press site is offline right now – but it seems just about every news publication missed the fact that this attractive roadster got some serious changes for the 2018 model year. These unnoticed changes certainly are partially due to the fact that MV Agusta went without a press introduction at this year’s EICMA show, but it is also due to the company’s never-ending line of “bold new graphics” changes, one-off customs, and special livery designs, which only muddy the waters for when actual changes occur.

Kawasaki Ninja Z900RS Cafe Brings Modern to Retro

Kawasaki made an impression at this year’s Tokyo Motor Show, debuting the new Z900RS standard. The premise was simple there: take the potent Kawasaki Z900 street bike, and dress it in retro clothing. The effect was something that looked incredibly like the Kawasaki Zephyr of old, but with modern brakes, suspension, traction control, and even a slipper-assist clutch. Now we see that Team Green plans on already expanding the line, debuting today the 2018 Kawasaki Ninja Z900RS Cafe. Basically the Z900RS with a bikini fairing, this modern café racer should be a perfect fit for those riders that want an older looking motorcycle that doesn’t run like an older looking motorcycle. Mostly a visual exercise, the basic stats of the Z900RS Cafe don’t stray too far from the donor bike from whence it came.

Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R SE Debuts with Track Goodies

For the 2018 model year, Kawasaki continues to develop its superbike package. As such, the 2018 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R SE brings some special new features, to earn those extra letters after its name. The big addition is the new Showa electronic suspension, which is the only semi-active suspension system on motorcycles that includes built-in stroke sensors. These stroke sensors are able to measure the movement of the fork and shock internals, allowing Showa’s suspension to measure and change its damping settings on the fly, as you ride. The Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R SE also gets the forged aluminum wheels found on Kawasaki’s homologation-spec superbike, the Ninja ZX-10RR, which should help the Ninja ZX-10R SE feel more nimble on the race track, despite its 459 lbs wet weight.

So Many Photos of the New KTM 790 Duke to Drool Over

We are rapidly coming to the conclusion that the new KTM 790 Duke is the bike of this year’s EICMA show. Making a potent 105hp from its 799cc parallel-twin engine, packed into a 418 lbs (wet)steel trellis body, the 2018 KTM 790 Duke brings a host of features to the middleweight sport bike category. In typical KTM fashion, the 790 Duke left no angle behind in its high school honors geometry course, and the LED headlight builds upon the common design features that KTM has been putting together on its street-going machines. Not quite the vision that was the KTM 790 Duke prototype, the production model still evokes the same emotions, and is handsome in its own right – allaying our fears when seeing spy shots of the machine.

Mega Gallery: Husqvarna Vitpilen 701

We have had to wait two years to see it come into production, but the Husqvarna Vitpilen 701 will finally be available to motorcyclists in March 2018. As an added bonus, the street-going machine stays true to its concept design, which wowed the crowd at last year’s EICMA show. This year in Milan, the Husqvarna Vitpilen 701 is all the talk of EICMA, and while “Best in Show” at EICMA almost exclusively goes to an Italian marque, the real winners are surely coming from Austria, as both the Husqvarna Vitpilen 701 and KTM 790 Duke look like winners. A duality from Mattighofen, KTM and Husqvarna approach motorcycles from two opposite spectrums. KTM lives in the extreme, with an edgy focus on its “Ready to Race” mentality. Conversely, Husqvarna is subtle and sophisticated…maybe even understated.

IOMTT: Supersport TT Race 2 Canceled Because of Rain

06/08/2017 @ 11:25 am, by Jensen BeelerComments Off on IOMTT: Supersport TT Race 2 Canceled Because of Rain

The story for the 2017 Isle of Man TT might be the weather, as another day of competition has scraped because of heavy rain.

So after consulting with the Meteorological Office, Clerk of the Course Gary Thompson made the decision that no racing or qualifiers will take place today, due to continued bad weather.

With us now towards the end of the TT fortnight, this means some tough decisions for the TT organizers in order to keep as much racing and qualifying sessions on the docket as possible.

Something had to give though, so the Monster Energy Supersport TT Race 2 has been canceled.

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Josh Brookes – The Mentality of a TT Racer

06/08/2017 @ 1:05 am, by Steve EnglishComments Off on Josh Brookes – The Mentality of a TT Racer

One of the most common questions about the TT is “how does it feel?” Asphalt & Rubber sat down with Josh Brookes at the 2017 Isle of Man TT to find an answer to that question.

Josh Brookes is as experienced as any short-circuit rider currently plying their trade. As a former Australian and British Superbike champion, World Supersport race winner, Suzuka 8-Hour podium finisher, and WorldSBK race winner, his CV is impressive, but it counted for very little when he made his debut at the Isle of Man TT in 2013.

That year, the Australian left the island with a lap record for the fastest newcomer, and his reputation enhanced as the most exciting up and coming rider at the TT.

He also left with an itch that has continued to require scratching. His return in 2014 saw him ride a Yamaha and claim a Top 10 finish at the Senior TT, but since then circumstances have forced him to the sidelines.

“I love the TT,” beamed Brookes. “I can now remember clearer just now much of a disappointment it was when I wasn’t able to come back in 2015. Having a year off as well, it meant that I fell back into my old ways of just focusing on short-circuit."

"Last year being in WorldSBK meant that all my focus was on that, and it took away some of the disappointment of missing the TT. I did come over last year during the TT, and we went trial riding across the island to watch the races."

"When we were watching all the other riders on track, it really started to sink in that I’d rather be riding than watching. Just riding the event isn't enough for me; I need something more.”

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Guy Martin Talks About His IOMTT Superbike Crash

06/07/2017 @ 4:06 pm, by Jensen BeelerComments Off on Guy Martin Talks About His IOMTT Superbike Crash

Guy Martin is lucky to still be with us, after a frightful off during the Superbike TT on Sunday. Finding “a box full of neutrals” as he sped through Doran’s Bend, just ahead of the Glen Helen timing point.

The result of that technical failure was captured by on-board footage, which saw Martin crashing and thankfully coming away from the incident relatively unscathed physically.

The crash has clearly shaken Guy Martin though, as he sat out the following day’s Supersport TT Race 1 as well as today’s Superstock TT race.

What is between the ears is the most important part of a racer, and after a technical failure lead to John McGuinness crashing at the North West 200, along with this incident with Martin’s gearbox, one can sure begin to wonder about Martin’s confidence in the Honda CBR1000RR SP2 race bike.

You can watch his video interview with Craig Doyle, after the jump, and see for yourself how shaken Guy is over the incident. Coming back to road racing, after a year’s hiatus, one has to wonder if Martin will take to the course again this TT fortnight. Time will tell…something Martin himself notes in the video.

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IOMTT: Bennetts Lightweight TT Results

06/07/2017 @ 1:52 pm, by Jensen BeelerComments Off on IOMTT: Bennetts Lightweight TT Results

Wednesday’s second race for the day saw the small bikes of the Bennetts Lightweight TT take to the Mountain Course for the 2017 Isle of Man TT.

The four-lap race saw Michael Rutter finish on the top step of the podium, giving Italian marque Paton its first manufacturer win ever at the Isle of Man TT. In the process of that victory (Rutter’s fifth total), Rutter set a new Lightweight TT record, posting a 118.645 mph lap.

Rutter lead the entire race, from the starter’s flag to the checkered flag, with Martin Jessopp finishing second, and Peter Hickman finishing third.

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Alan Bonner Has Died from Injuries at the IOMTT

06/07/2017 @ 12:46 pm, by Jensen BeelerComments Off on Alan Bonner Has Died from Injuries at the IOMTT

With another fatality today at the 2017 Isle of Man TT, we regret to report that Alan Bonner, from County Meath in Ireland, died during today’s qualifying session for the Senior TT, in an incident at the 33rd Milestone.

The 33-year-old made his Isle of Man TT debut in 2014, and quickly found pace on the Mountain Course. As such the next year, he had his highest finish ever, with an impressive 15th place in the 2015 Senior TT.

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Jochem van den Hoek Has Died from Injuries at the IOMTT

06/07/2017 @ 12:22 pm, by Jensen BeelerComments Off on Jochem van den Hoek Has Died from Injuries at the IOMTT

Again with a heavy heart, we are sad to report another fatality at the 2017 Isle of Man TT, as The Netherland’s Jochem van den Hoek died today, during the Superstock TT race.

According to the ACU, Jochem had an accident at the 11th Milestone, during the first lap of the race, where the 28-year-old was then treated at the scene.

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IOMTT: RL360 Quantum Superstock TT Results

06/07/2017 @ 11:31 am, by Jensen BeelerComments Off on IOMTT: RL360 Quantum Superstock TT Results

Wednesday saw a full schedule of racing slated, with the 2017 Isle of Man TT looking to catch up on a week that had been plagued with adverse weather. First up, was the RL360 Quantum Superstock TT, where competitors race 1,000cc machines in near-stock form.

Just because there was racing, doesn’t mean that the weather was perfect though, with riders advised that there were cross winds  at Crosby Hill, along with damp patches at Ginger Hall, the Ramsey Hairpin, and Hillberry.

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Davey Lambert Has Died from Injuries at the IOMTT

06/06/2017 @ 6:39 pm, by Jensen BeelerComments Off on Davey Lambert Has Died from Injuries at the IOMTT

We are sad to report that the 2017 Isle of Man TT has claimed its first fatality, as Davey Lambert of Gateshead, England passed away this evening, after sustaining injuries during the Superbike TT race on June 4th.

Lambert crashed near Greeba Castle, during the third lap of the Superbike TT, and was treated at the scene before being flown by helicopter to Noble’s Hospital on the Isle of Man. He was later transferred to Aintree Hospital in Liverpool, where he then passed away.

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IOMTT: Ramsey Hairpin Sidecar Crash Caught on Video

06/06/2017 @ 2:31 pm, by Jensen BeelerComments Off on IOMTT: Ramsey Hairpin Sidecar Crash Caught on Video

The Isle of Man TT is one of the most iconic motorcycle races on the planet, and part of the allure that comes with the TT is the great spectacle and danger that comes from road racing on tiny city streets.

It is a high price to pay for entertainment – one that competitors do not take lightly. On average, the TT claims the lives of two riders each year, and the casualty list sometimes isn’t contained just to racers, as it is very easy for spectators to be collected in an incident on the track.

Such was the case yesterday, during the Sure Sidecar TT Race 1, when the #47 machine, with Deborah Barron and Alun Thomas on board, veered left after running the turn wide at the Ramsey Hairpin on the race’s third lap.

Fortunately, the Ramsey Hairpin is the slowest point on the TT course, and spectators were able to get out of the way in time, as the sidecar plowed through the spectator section.

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IOMTT: Supersport TT & Sidecar TT with Tony Goldsmith

06/06/2017 @ 12:48 pm, by Tony GoldsmithComments Off on IOMTT: Supersport TT & Sidecar TT with Tony Goldsmith