For the past 17 runnings of the Dakar Rally, one name has stood above all the others in the motorcycle class: KTM.
Now with another victory in the most grueling motorcycle race on earth, the Austrian brand can add race win #18 to the tally, thanks to factory rider Toby Price.
Crossing the finish line Lima, Peru today, Price was clear of his nearest rival (last year’s winner, Matthias Walkner) by a comfortable margin of 9 minutes 13 seconds.
With three KTM bikes in the Top 3, and the Top 5 consisting of only KTM and Husqvarna brand machines, the Austrian conglomerate can rest easy in 2019 after securing another year of its legacy, but don’t mistake this year’s edition of the race as a blowout.
It is curious that the past couple of weeks have been rife with internet chatter about Ducati working on a 450cc motocross bike. It is a strange rumor, and if true it would be big news for Ducati.
Of course, for the very same reason that it would be big news, this rumor is also hard to believe, if for no other reason than Ducati getting into the MX scene would be a huge jump for the Italian brand.
What is more curious though is the timing of the story, as it comes only two weeks after we published some thoughts about how Ducati can expand its lineup, through the acquisition of a brand like TM Racing.
When we first saw the Moto Guzzi V85 TT, details on the retro ADV bike were scarce – we knew only what we could see. But, slowly the Italian company has shed light on its creation, bit by bit.
Today, we learn what is perhaps the most important aspect of this 2019 model year machine: its price.
Aggressively positioned in the market, the Moto Guzzi V85 TT will start at $11,990 MSRP with its grey paint, while the Moto Guzzi V85 TT Adventure (which comes with bags and red/yellow/white paint job) will retail for $12,990 at the dealership.
With both bikes available in the United States starting in May 2019, adventure riders will have a new middleweight to choose from when they consider adding a new bike to their stable…and the offering from Moto Guzzi is very strong.
Yesterday, we brought you photos of the Honda CRF450L Rally concept – a machine that Big Red was quietly debuting at the EICMA show in Milan.
And now today, thanks to our friends at American Honda, we have not only a bunch of new high-resolution photos for you to drool over, as well as a few details on this machine.
Before we get to it though, we want to make an above-the-fold plea to anyone who might be reading in Honda factory back in Japan…
Please Honda, please pretty please, make this motorcycle a production model. Don’t change a thing. Just build it. Thank you.
When the Honda CRF450 Rally debuted for rally raid competitors in 2012, there was a cry for a production model of this Dakar-ready dirt bike. It took a while, but Big Red finally answer…sort of.
The Honda CRF250L Rally wasn’t exactly the bike that we expect to see in 2015, and it took over a year (and many, many teasings) for the concept to become a reality for the 2017 model year.
The 250cc platform was an interesting choice for Honda to make for its race-replica dirt bike, especially with the underwhelming debut of the CRF250L model, and thus the want for a 450cc version continued.
Now with the potent CRF450L on the market, it looks like that idea is starting to take shape…though, you would hardly know it from the Japanese brand’s actions at EICMA.
We are big fans of what boutique Italian brand Fantic Motorcycles is doing with its 450cc lineup. To our eye, the Fantic Callabero 500 is modern vintage done right. It almost makes us wish we lived in Europe, so we could go ride the big thumper in anger.
New for this year’s EICMA show is another 450cc bike from the brand, the Fantic Caballero Rally 500. It isn’t an earth-shattering design, and it obviously borrows very heavily from the Fantic Caballero 500 scrambler, but we still enjoy it.
We are not sure how big the market is for a 125cc adventure-tourer, especially in the European Union. Close to zero, perhaps? Yet, we are very excited about the Honda CB125X concept (along with its fraternal twin, the Honda CB124M concept).
Maybe the Honda CB125R platform is the wrong starting point for this project, but we like where the Honda Motor Europe R&D team finished with this build.
The CB125X is a clean and attractive motorcycle, and we would romp through every river crossing we could find on this small-displacement thumper.
As we predicted, the 2019 BMW F850GS Adventure made its debut at the EICMA show in Milan, giving the German brand another adventure bike in its arsenal on the segment. Obviously based upon the BMW F850GS that we saw debut last year, the F850GS Adventure takes the middleweight’s off-road capability to a higher level.
At the core of the machine is the same 853cc parallel-twin engine that is in the F850GS model, which means a 94hp (75 kW) peak power figure, along with 68 lbs•ft (92 Nm) of torque. It also means a 538 lbs (244 kg) wet weight at the curb, which is absurdly heavy, if we do say so.
Of course, some of that bloat comes from the 6.07-gallon (23 liters) fuel tank that has been added to the mix, which BMW Motorrad says is good for 340 miles (550 km) of riding, which is no joke. So, there are trade-offs to be made there.
Feature-wise, there is also a larger touring windscreen, which is taller and wider. BMW has also included adjustable shifter and brake levers, for better ergonomic adjustment.
Another established manufacturer is signaling its electrification, this time with the OEM being Husqvarna Motorcycles. The Swedish brand is tied in ownership to KTM, which has its own EV program, so perhaps the news isn’t that shocking, but nevertheless, here we are.
As such, you can expect the first electric Husqvarna dirt bike to come during the 2020 model year, as the Husqvarna EE 5 was put on display at this year’s EICMA show.
The motorcycle is a bold step forward, though not a big one, as the 2020 Husqvarna EE 5 is designed with young riders in mind.
We have long been wondering when the KTM 690 Enduro R would get an update, especially after seeing the Husqvarna 701 Enduro get the revised big thumper from the KTM 690 Duke street bike.
That wait is over for the 2019 model year, as the KTM 690 Enduro R gets a bevy of revisions.
A new motor, a new chassis, better suspension, and a slew of electronics, the 2019 KTM 690 Enduro R is better in practically every single way, which should ensure that this popular dual-sport continues to be at the top of the big-bore heap.