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If you had asked me before the 2019 EICMA show what bike I was most-certain to see debuting for production from BMW Motorrad, the answer surely would have been the BMW R18 cruiser. 

The German brand has been teasing this new machine for an inordinate amount of time (since well before the last EICMA show), bringing a bevy of concept bikes to realization in the process to help ease us into the idea of a big air-cooled, pushrod, boxer engine design with an eye on the cruiser scene.

Surely at Milan, we would see the R18 make its debut, and surely were we disappointed when BMW showed us yet another concept for the motorcycle. It is as if no one learned from Yamaha's mistake with the Ténéré 700.

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We always knew that the Aprilia Tuono 660 was coming, ever since last year when the Noale brand took the covers off its RS 660 concept, and started teasing us with the idea of a high-horsepower middleweight twin motorcycle.

From there, it was quick to understand that Aprilia would need to make its "half an RSV4" into a platform, with other models soon to come. The most obvious next step then was a naked "Tuono" model.

That brings us to today, where not only do we see the Aprilia Tuono 660 concept looking basically ready for production at EICMA, but the Italian brand is also coyly showing us its plans for its next middleweight model, the Aprilia Tuareg 660.

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The new Honda CBR1000RR-R is finally out in the wild, and while Honda was able to keep this machine under wraps for the bulk of its development, there was a lot about the new Fireblade that we knew going into EICMA.

We knew that it would have winglets. We knew that it would make 215hp and weigh around 440 lbs at the curb...and from that we knew it would have the best power-to-weight ratio in class.

We also had a rough idea on what the bike would look like, thanks to an automotive photographer that was at the Suzuka circuit.

We even knew what the new name for this superbike would be. But yet, the 2020 Honda CBR1000RR-R Fireblade was very much a suprise when it was unveiled at EICMA on Monday night.

Certain to be the talk of the EICMA show throughout the week, here are some quick thoughts and bullet points, now that we have had time to process this new superbike.

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Perhaps the most talked about motorcycle from the Tokyo Motor Show, at least when it comes to fans and journalists, the Kawasaki Ninja ZX-25R was also the least talked about machine, in terms of manufacturers releasing details.

Kawasaki pulled the wraps off a four-cylinder 250cc sport bike, and then said...nothing.

In fact, the only official thing that Kawasaki has said about the motorcycle since its unveiling is to put out a press release reminding us that the Japanese brand has said nothing of substance about the new model.

No price has been mentioned. No marks on the calendar, or hints on which markets will get it first (or get it at all).

The release of the Kawasaki Ninja ZX-25R is a great example of why brands need to have an engaged hand on their public relations, because all hell can break loose when you let go of the wheel.

While Kawasaki is still dropping the ball on this, let us  try and bring some order to this chaos, both with what we know as fact, and what we can reasonably discern from those facts.

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It is finally here! Our favorite time of the year! I am of course talking about the new bike season, where the majority of the new motorcycles for the coming model year are debuted at events around the world.

For this round, the model year is going to be a year filled with new bikes, primarily because of the changes required for the Euro5 homologation. As such, we expect to see virtually every manufacturer coming out with something new, especially at the EICMA show in Italy and the Tokyo Motor Show in Japan.

What is interesting about this year's edition though is how many bikes we will see before these to stalwart events. This is because the brands are finally catching on that their products get lost in the sea of unveilings that occur in Milan and Tokyo.

Accordingly, we see Ducati setting up its own special event in Rimini for October 23rd. Similarly, other brands have teased late-October and early-November unveiling dates for select models, though we expect more will follow Ducati's lead in the coming years.

With a number of intriguing models teased and rumored ahead of these events, it will be interesting to see what actually comes true. To get our A&R Pro readers ready for the onslaught, I have put together one big fat awesome guide to the new motorcycle releases for 2020.

This list is as comprehensive as I can make it, and quite frankly a lot more detailed than what I've seen elsewhere on the internet, probably because it involves A&R pestering our Bothan spies for info all year.

I will update this story as more rumors surface ahead of the trade shows and unveiling events.

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You probably saw the headline yesterday, the one where the stock market took a nosedive and there was talk of doom and gloom for our economic future.

For those that don't know, the news behind the news is the fact that the bond market saw an inverted yield curve between the 2-year and 10-year treasury bonds. This is a fancy way of saying that investors expect to make more money in the short-term than the long-term, and this opinion reflects where our economy is headed.

For the last 50 years, an inverted yield curve has signaled the start of an economic recession, and while that is a scary thing to think about (we would all rather have a booming economy), the boom/bust cycle is common in economics and can often be mild.

Of course, what is different here is that the last recession that the United States experienced was the worst recession of all time, and in many ways we are still feeling its effects, whether those are physical or merely psychological.

While I will let the financial publications debate what kind of recession we are headed into, if they even agree that a recession is looming in front of us, this news does spark some interesting conversation for the motorcycle industry. Let me explain.

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Eight hours, three teams, one (eventual) winner. This year’s Suzuka 8-Hours had it all, but it also showed again that the differences between Kawasaki, Yamaha, and Honda are such that each has to approach the race in different ways.

Yamaha opted for balance, Honda for an advantage in the pits, and Kawasaki on the pace of Jonathan Rea and consistency of Leon Haslam.

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Why is the Suzuka 8-Hours dominated by Bridgestone tires? During last year’s edition, Michael Laverty and Sylvain Guintoli sat down with Asphalt & Rubber to explain why Bridgestone is the preferred tire of choice at Suzuka.

Even the most talkative factory riders get tight lipped when the topic of tires is raised. After taking nine tenths of a second off the unofficial lap record, Jonathan Rea was asked to compare the feeling with Bridgestone tires compared to the Pirelli rubber used in WorldSBK.

The triple world champion side-stepped that landmine with customary ease by saying “they're both very high performance tires.”

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Tick, tock, tick, tock. As those second hands keep moving when you’re in the pits at the Suzuka 8-Hours the time being lost can be huge.

In many cases, it’s been the difference between winning and losing the great Japanese race. It might last eight hours, but the race is defined by how much, or most importantly how little, time your bike spends in the pits.

Getting the bike in and out quickly is just as important as being quick through the twists and turns of the track. You can’t win the race in the pits, but we have seen time and again that the 8-Hours can be lost in the pits.

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I would start with some grandiose phrase - "this weekend we witnessed history in the making" - but the reality is that there have been several attempts already to achieve what the MotoE World Cup sets to undertake.

Electric motorcycle racing has been in the nexus for almost a decade now, and if we are frank, the progress has been tough.

TTXGP, FIM ePower, TT Zero - there are achievements to each of these efforts, but none have been able to create a product that is on par with their petrol-powered counterparts.

So while we have been here before, with a new series dedicated to racing electric motorcycles, there is a chance that we have seen history in the making, because the MotoE World Cup shows signs of life...and it shows how a new racing series can be launched in the 21st century.

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The 2019 Isle of Man TT once again saw the record lap drop for the electric class, with the new TT Zero record mark set at 121.909 mph by Michael Rutter, on the Mugen Shinden Hachi machine.

The Japanese squad has become a tour de force at the Isle of Man TT, taking now six-straight victories on the Mountain Course. Each year, we have seen the winning TT Zero lap time drop in number, and 2019 was no different...though barely.

Shaving less than a second off his time from 2018, Rutter crossed the line in 18'34.172" - a figure likely attributable to the dismal weather conditions for this year's TT gathering, which meant very little practice time for all the competitors.

Despite that lack of progress, a quick look at the Mugen Shinden Hachi shows that the Japanese outfit has not been resting on its laurels, despite the lacking arrival of a serious competitor in the TT Zero class.

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