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.

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

IOMTT: Monster Energy Supersport TT Race 1 Results

06/06/2017 @ 12:06 pm, by Jensen BeelerComments Off on IOMTT: Monster Energy Supersport TT Race 1 Results

Monday’s racing action at the 2017 Isle of Man TT saw the supersport machines taking to the Mountain Course, for the four laps of the Monster Energy Supersport TT Race 1. Despite the change in the machinery, the narrative remained focused on two men: Ian Hutchinson and Michael Dunlop.

With Hutchinson already taking the honors in the opening Superbike TT, the question remained whether Dunlop would respond on the 600cc machines – a class where he typically goes quite well around the TT course.

The was a resounding yes, with Michael Dunlop taking Race 1 of the Supersport TT in a convincing fashion, making this his 14th Isle of Man TT race victory.

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IOMTT: RST Superbike TT Race Results

06/05/2017 @ 12:24 pm, by Jensen BeelerComments Off on IOMTT: RST Superbike TT Race Results

Racing for the 2017 Isle of Man TT finally got underway on Sunday, with the RST Superbike TT (often called the “Junior TT” by regulars, in contrast to the final Senior TT of the fortnight) getting underway.

The race framed an important narrative for this year’s TT, pitting Ian Hutchinson and Michael Dunlop against each other.

With Hutchinson on the race-proven BMW S1000RR, the question marks go to Dunlop, as he campaigns this year’s big-bike races on the new Suzuki GSX-R1000R superbike. So far in the practice sessions, both riders have shown considerable pace.

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IOMTT: Handley’s Corner, Gorse Lea, & The Grandstand with Tony Goldsmith

06/03/2017 @ 10:14 pm, by Tony GoldsmithComments Off on IOMTT: Handley’s Corner, Gorse Lea, & The Grandstand with Tony Goldsmith

A Shooter’s Guide to the Isle of Man TT

06/02/2017 @ 1:31 pm, by Steve EnglishComments Off on A Shooter’s Guide to the Isle of Man TT

Asphalt & Rubber readers have been enjoying Tony Goldsmith's work for years, but how does the Manxman approach his home race?

The Isle of Man TT is a race unlike any other, and for A&R's Tony Goldsmith, it provides a unique challenge. Having grown up on the island, Tony has only missed a couple of TTs in his life, and for those he has a good excuse, “I was doing my exams in school so I had to miss a TT when I was a kid.”

Other than that, his experience offers him a massive benefit during a fortnight of practice and racing, where his native land becomes the centre of the motorcycling world.

With a 37.73-mile circuit, one lap of the TT circuit is more than half the distance of a MotoGP race, and that places a real challenge on the photographer.

“I don't really prepare for TT, by saying what days I will shoot at different sections,” says Goldsmith. “Maybe a lot of that is because I spend most of the year talking to my friend Stephen McClements about places that I've not been to before, and where he's been that's good."

"I do try and not go to the same places every year, because I want my library of photos to be as complete as possible for the whole TT."

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