Over the weekend, you may have seen reports from Europe about the demise of the Suzuki Hayabusa, as the venerable hyperbike has been rumor to go the way of the dinosaur, especially now that its Euro4 waiver is set to expire at the end of the year.
This has led to quite a bit of chatter about the machine’s future, with many of the headlines that we have seen focusing on the end of the iconic motorcycle’s run, and that production on the bike has ceased. But, what’s the real story?
Another week, another rumor about a new Honda CBR1000RR. You can almost set your clock to the rumors that surround Big Red’s future superbike offering, and there are several factors for this.
First, the Honda CBR1000RR is a woefully old machine, even in its “all-new” guise, the current model can trace its lineage back to the 2008 model year. Second, the Honda CBR1000RR is obviously underpowered when you make spec sheet comparisons, by a palpable 20hp/10% margin.
The Honda makes up for this by being one of the lightest superbikes on the market, and it is easily the best handling of the bunch. But even still, in our tests, we found it to be a second a lap slower than the rest of the superbike class…and the stopwatch decides all in this segment.
Despite all this, the real reason that we keep seeing rumors about a new CBR1000RR likely stems from one simple reason: Honda is working on a new machine. Will that new bike debut for 2019? 2020? 2021? Well, that’s the debate, and even a broken clock is correct twice a day, so…
Here we are, another week, and another rumor about a new Honda CBR1000RR.
Now, I have a feeling that in a few months’ time I’m going to be saying this phrase again about a different bike, as there are some rumors floating in the Bothan Spy network that an 1,079cc version of the Desert Sled is set to debut for the 2019 model year.
This supposed Ducati Scrambler Desert Sled 1100 (try saying name that three times fast) will add to the Scrambler 1100 lineup from Ducati, adding some off-road prowess to a family of bikes that is really just a reworked Ducati Monster 1100.
This is the 10th year of the Aprilia RSV4 superbike, and despite that duration, the V4 superbike remains one of the top machines that you can stick in your garage.
Part of this is due to the fact that the RSV4 is an incredibly well-engineered high-tech motorcycle. After all, it was the first superbike to use an inertial measurement unit (IMU) in conjunction with traction control, and one of the first superbikes to have a ride-by-wire throttle.
The other part of Aprilia’s dominance comes down to the fact that the Italian brand has consistently updated the RSV4 every couple of years, helping keep it at the sharp end of the superbike stick. Now if you believe the rumors, the 2019 model year will be no different.
When you talk to veterans of motorcycle racing about which American could be the next champion at the international level of the sport, one name is almost always included in that very short list: Cameron Beaubier.
This is not only because of Beaubier’s status as a two-time MotoAmerica Superbike champion, but also his experience abroad.
A promising young rider, Beaubier impressed during the 2007 Red Bull Rookies Cup season, which found him some riders on the international stage before returning to the USA.
Now a proven talent on domestic soil, along with his experience abroad, Beaubier is an easy pick to make when looking for Americans to promote to a paddock like the WorldSBK Championship.
And now that is exactly the case, with the Cameron Beaubier tipped for ride in World Superbike next season.
I have to admit, this rumor is more than a week old, as Japanese magazine Young Machinebreathed new life into the Honda V4 superbike rumor mill about a month ago.
And of course, the reality is that this rumor is much, much older than this tiny fraction of time.
If you know your motorcycle news history, talk of a Honda V4 replacement for the CBR1000RR line has existed for almost two decades now…but hey, a broken clock is correct twice a day, right?
So what is new from the Land of the Rising sun that we haven’t heard before? The big eye-catching component to this story is that Honda has/had a two-stage upgrade path for the CBR1000RR, of which we are about to see the second phase.
Has BMW Motorrad called it quits for its heritage lineup of motorcycles? That is the rumor at least, and there is some good evidence to support the notion.
This is because buried on the 60th turn of BMW’s 260-page annual report for 2017 is the headline: “R nineT family now complete” – a nod that the German brand’s lineup of air-cooled retro-styled motorcycles has reached its zenith and logical conclusion.
Within the motorcycle industry, Asphalt & Rubber has earned itself a reputation for breaking stories from our so-called “Bothan spies”, as insiders often tip us off to intriguing stories and happenings in the two-wheeled realm.
Just a few weeks ago, we got one of those interesting tips, one that said that Dainese was being put up for sale. So, we called the bossman himself, Dainese CEO Cristiano Silei (an announcement too that A&R was able to break because of our Bothan spies), to see what the story was all about, and indeed if the rumors were true.
The call resulted in a terse answer, and perhaps an expected response, but Silei also provided an interesting explanation of Dainese’s current investment position, and what results the company has seen since its purchase three years ago (another story that our Bothans were first to get the word on).
I had to go back through the Asphalt & Rubber pages to see when we first heard about Suzuki’s turbocharged motorcycle musings. For the record it was, just over four years ago when the Suzuki Recursion concept was teased at the Tokyo Motor Show.
Since then, we have seen a slow trickling of information about Suzuki’s turbocharged project, especially in the time since we got out first glimpse of the twin-cylinder 588cc concept engine.
When will the folks at Hamamatsu release this turbo bike? What form will it take? Is it the start of more forced-induction models from the Japanese brand? Or, will it be a one-off model? Does it wheelie?
These are all good questions, and if you believe the latest rumors, we have some answers for you.
The Brits over at MCN have an interesting story right now, whereby Honda is considering making a middleweight version of its Africa Twin adventure-tourer.
Really, that thought isn’t so shocking, and if this year’s EICMA show was any indication of things, it’s that the middleweight ADV segment is of particular interest to motorcycle manufacturers right now.
Call it the rumor the refuses to quit. I say this because there has been some form of “Honda V4 Superbike Coming Soon” speculation in the mix for about as long as I can remember.
Mind you, this is something that has been in the ether well before Asphalt & Rubber took form, and news of a Honda V4 superbike seems to pop-up just about every year, usually fuel by some “inside source” at Honda being quoted by a European magazine.
So, it seemed that the debut of the Honda RC213V-S would finally satiate this desire for a proper V4 liter-bike, but the disappoint of the “new” Honda CBR1000RR re-ignited the interest in there being a worthy successor of the Honda RC45.
Since then, there have been rumors and promises of a more affordable version of the Honda RC213V-S offered on the alter of moto-journalism, usually by the same offending sources. If only we could will this story to be true.
Cropping up yet again, this bout of the V4 rumor finds its beginnings in Japan now, with the popular Japanese publication Young Machine, tipping the idea.