Has Harley-Davidson just tipped its hand regarding its upcoming electric motorcycle? It would seem so, according to the latest trademark application to the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Registering the name “Revelation” with the USPTO, Harley-Davidson has set aside the trademark for two uses: 1) batteries for vehicles, and 2) drivetrains for electric motorcycles and vehicles. Other publications are running this story as the “Revelation” name being the moniker for Harley-Davidson’s production version of the Livewire electric motorcycle concept, but the actual trademark makes a very clear alternative to that narrative.
In one week’s time, Ducati will unveil its new V4 engine, which will power the next-generation of the Italian company’s superbikes and other high-powered motorcycles. Set to debut the Thursday before the San Marino GP round for MotoGP, Ducati has begun teasing us some information, the first of which is the new motor’s name, the Desmosedici Stradale. True to Ducati naming conventions, the name of the engine literally means what it is, a road-going version of the Desmosedici engine that powers Bologna’s MotoGP project. Between the choice of that name, and the fact that the motor will debut at a MotoGP round, it is clear that Ducati is playing to the engine’s roots that stem from the Desmosedici GP bike, which also uses a 90° V4 power plant with desmodromic valves.
What you are looking at above is Harley-Davidson’s ninth iteration of its “Big Twin” engines. It’s called the Milwaukee-Eight, named after Harley-Davidson’s home town and the fact that the engine head design employs a very modern eight valves in total (four per cylinder head). Time will tell if the Milwaukee-Eight becomes as iconic as Harley-Davidson’s other designs, like the Flathead, Knucklehead, Panhead, etc. But, we do know that the Milwaukee-Eight marks a more modern approach to engine design from the Bar & Shield brand. To this end, Harley-Davidson says that the new power plant offers a quicker throttle response, more passing power, purer sound (whatever that means), and a smoother ride (read: less vibrations).
Fresh from the office of the USPTO, we have confirmation that Honda has just received the patent for the first ever three-stroke motorcycle engine.
As you would expect, the unconventional engine design incorporates the power-to-displacement efficiencies of a two-stroke smoker, with fuel-to-power efficiencies of a four-stroke motor.
For many in the space, the three-stroke engine has been the Holy Grail of engine designs, with many OEMs rumored to have been working on a three-stroke engine.
Still, it is surprising to see the engineers at Honda claim the prize, as the Japanese brand up until recently has been heavily committed to its four-stroke technology.
Obviously, the engine technology can obviously be applied to any internal combustion application, however what makes this news especially A&R worthy is that Honda’s patent specifically states the engine’s purpose in two-wheeled vehicles, watercraft, lawnmowers, and generators.
Debuting a three-cylinder concept at the INTERMOT show in Cologne, Yamaha is teasing the hypothesis of a tuning-fork brand triple with a crossplane crankshaft. A technology that was developed in MotoGP for Yamaha YZR-M1, and then handed down to the Yamaha YZF-R1 in 2009, the unique qualities of the crossplane inline-four cylinder motor has been a key component to Yamaha’s potent, yet ridable machines. Taking that same idea, and then applying it to a three-cylinder engine, Yamaha hopes to create a new motor that will appeal to street riders.
Zero Motorcycles continues to upgrade its model line-up, with the 2013 Zero Motorcycles bikes getting a motor and battery upgrade. Offering bikes now in 8.5 & 11.4 kWh packages, Zero claims city mileage ranges to be 103 & 137 miles, respectively. The motors on the Zero S, Zero DS, and Zero MX have been bumped up to 54hp spec, the Zero XU retains its 27/28hp configuration, and the new Zero FX gets a 44hp lump.
The big addition to the family is the 2013 Zero FX (pictured above), which follows the lines of the Zero DS dual-sport, but uses the same chassis as found on the MX. The Zero FX appears to be the more off-road capable version of the Zero DS. While the DS will have 8.5 & 11.4 kWh options for its battery packs, the Zero FX will come with only 2.8 & 5.7 kWh unit options — the same as the Zero XU and Zero MX. Pricing on the Zero FX starts at $9,495.
The added battery and power boosts should help keep Zero Motorcycles in check with Brammo, which is set to finally bring its Brammo Empulse R street bike to market later this year. With 2013 rumored to have a “Brammo Killer” in the line-up, we’re not quite sure if the Zero S design lives up to the hype, even with its upgraded power train, but considering the sales figures between the two companies, we might be wrong on that assessment. Photos after the jump.
If you are anything like us, yesterday’s announcement of the revamped 2013 Ducati Multistrada 1200 line left more questions than answers. Semi-active suspension on a Ducati? A Second-generation Testastretta 11° motor? Give us the deets Bologna! Surely both these changes are going to make it beyond just the MTS 1200 in the Ducati model line-up, yet Borgo Panigale is mums the word on what these changes are exactly, beyond their actual existence.
We do have some clues however, since Ducati released photos of the 2013 Ducati Multistrada 1200 S Pikes Peak & 2013 Ducati Multistrada 1200 S Granturismo motorcycles. A close look at the forward-facing cylinder head shows a feed for a second spark plug (2013 model on the left, 2012 model on the right), while the absence of the usual obnoxiously gold-colored forks raises some eyebrows as to whom Ducati is using to source its new “Skyhook” semi-active suspension.
This may not be strictly motorcycle-related, though we are pretty sure most motorcyclists can relate to the time and effort it takes to take apart a four-cylinder motor and put it back together again. As if refurbishing a motor bought off eBay, and swapping it out for a junked one that is still in the car wasn’t hard enough, our protagonist decided to document the whole process with thousands of photos. Originally only intending to use the snaps to ensure all the pieces went back together in the right spots, a short animated movie clip was born from his efforts.
Ducati is to test the latest version of their Desmosedici GP12 engine next week at Mugello. Ducati team manager Vitto Guareschi said that Franco Battaini is to start testing the bike, complete with the new engine, next week, in preparation for handing the machine over to Nicky Hayden and Valentino Rossi for a final test on the Monday after the Italian Grand Prix at Mugello. If that test is successful, then both factory Ducati riders will have the new engine available as part of their allocation from Laguna Seca, the race directly after Mugello.
Ducati has been hogging the news the past few weeks, thanks in large part to the debut of the most important motorcycle the Italian motorcycle manufacturer has ever released. Tthe Ducati 1199 Panigale sets the record straight that Bologna has not strayed from its sport bike and racing heritage. And with Ducati hosting the Panigale’s international press launch in Abu Dhabi at the Yas Marina Circuit, the initial reports from the assembled press is that all the concerns about Ducati, its frameless chassis design, and its future can be laid to rest. But the best part? We’ve got over 160 images of the Ducati 1199 Panigale waiting for you after the jump.
I was flipping through some photos from the 2011 EICMA show, and found these shots of the Ducati 1199 Panigale’s Superquadro engine. Unfortunately at the show, Ducati had its 1199cc v-twin motor behind a Lexan case, which created a bit of a glare, reflections, and of course had smudges from the touchy-feely Italian crowd. But still, the photos give a good idea of what’s going on in Ducati’s most-advanced production engine to date, and are better than just looking at the CAD renders. If you look at the shots very closely, you can almost see where the 195hp and 98 lbs•ft of torque is lurking inside.