sport bike


I wasn’t going to double-dip on stories for the Aprilia RS 660 concept this week, but well…these photos were too good not to share ASAP. If you haven’t read our report that the Aprilia RS 660 will be showing up for the 2020 model year, well then…started getting excited party-people.

Ahead of our ride time on the new Aprilia RSV4 1100 Factory, the folks from Noale invited us to their “Aprilia All Stars” event at the Mugello circuit last week, which is where we spotted the RS 660 on display.

The bike hasn’t changed from its debut in Milan late last year, which is fine by us, as it looks like it could roll right onto the showroom floor already…and apparently from yesterday’s news, that is the point.

Still, spending some time up-close with the Aprilia RS 660 concept provides us with some interesting insights to this machine.

It has been just about two months since we first got wind that Zero Motorcycles was bringing a new model to market.

Dubbed the Zero SR/F, we could make a joke about how adding an “F” to the name stands for “Finally” as Zero made a protracted teaser campaign for the new motorcycle, but you could make a similar remark on the progress the bike makes for Zero’s fleet.

As our Bothan spies predicted, cornering ABS is standard on the bike at its two trim levels, and power comes in at a reasonable 110hp and a bone-crushing 140 lbs•ft of torque, thanks to the new Z-Force 75-10 motor. With a 12.6 kWh (nominal) battery pack, the Zero SR/F is rated for 109 miles of mixed riding use (161 miles city, 82 miles highway at 70 mph).

The real beauty of the Zero SR/F though, and we are not talking the new body styling, is the bike’s fast recharge time. With modular charging units that come in 3kW, 6kW, 9kW, and 12kW capabilities, the onboard Level 2 charger can top off the bike in 90 minutes (95% in an hour) in the 12kW configuration.

I don’t rate the Ducati Monster 821 as a particularly strong motorcycle for the track, but after seeing the latest creation from XTR Pepo, I might rethink that opinion.

The Spanish builder calls this creation “PANTAH” which is an homage to the Ducati Pantah whose form it attempts to replicate.
Of course though, the styling has that obvious look that Pepo has honed over the years, especially with his Ducati builds, and the effect looks like something that would be perfectly comfortable at a weekday bike night, as it would a weekend track day.

At the beginning of this month, Zero Motorcycles put the industry on notice, announcing its new Zero SR/F electric street bike.

Details were light at the time, with the California motorcycle brand saying only that the new model was based on a new platform from Zero.

It didn’t take long for our Bothan spies to leak us details on the Zero SR/F though, and what we were told was very impressive. Nearly 20 kWh of battery pack, a 120hp motor, and high-tech goodies like cornering ABS, a TFT dash, and quality components.

From some more biased sources, we have heard that the Zero SR/F makes some strong strides in the design department as well, and today we get some confirmation of that news, as Zero Motorcycles has released a new teaser image.

We have got Ducati streetfighters on the brain, ever since we saw the entry list for the 2019 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, which has record-setter Carlin Dunne entered mysteriously into the exhibition class with an unnamed Ducati motorcycle.

We are speculating that such a machine will be a stripped down Ducati Panigale V4 R, or an early Ducati Streetfigther V4 prototype, which should make for an exciting debut at the “Race to the Clouds” event.

While we expect the Streetfighter V4 to debut later this year, likely at the EICMA show in November, we do have an example of such a machine to drool over, thanks to the folks at Officine GP Design.

Building their “V4 Penta” motorcycle, the Italian outfit has created what many have been waiting for: a stripped down version of the Ducati Panigale V4 superbike.

We still have over a month before Zero Motorcycles is going to take the wraps off its latest motorcycle, but the teaser is out, and our Bothan spy insiders have been hard at work uncovering more information about the machine.

As such, we have a bevy of details that have leaked out from the Californian electric motorcycle company, and so far, we like what we hear.

This because if our sources are correct, the Zero SR/F is set to be quite the looker, and it will have the technical specifications to back it up.

For the 2019 model year, we say goodbye to the Honda CBR650F, a fine enough machine in its own right, but one that didn’t exactly set the world on fire, and instead we say hello to the Honda CBR650R, which gets a more aggressive styling and a bevy of features, to help it earn that “R” designation at the end of its name.

Easy to sport is that the new bodywork, which draws a direct line to the Honda CBR1000RR superbike, the Honda CBR650R comes also with a sportier riding position, and the electronics and feature package to match.

Another model that we expected to see debut at the 2018 EICMA show, the Kawasaki Z400 is a logical evolution of the small-displacement lineup that Team Green is creating.

Built in conjunction with the Kawasaki Ninja 400 sport bike, the Z400 is the naked option for the street for new riders, short riders, and riders that want to do more with less.

This means that the 2019 Kawasaki Z400 has a 399cc parallel-twin engine, that produces 45hp (33.4 kW), which is a 6hp increase over the 300cc model that it replaces.

It started life as the Benelli 2ue, debuting at the 2009 EICMA show as a follow-up model to the gorgeous (but horribly flawed) Benelli TnT 1130 series. The next year, the concept stayed the same, though the name changed to the Benelli Due – the “two” referring to the parallel-twin engine of this middleweight, distinguishing it from its three-cylinder sibling.

Since then, Benelli’s 750cc-class naked sport bike has popped up here and there, teasing us relentlessly. Last year at EICMA, the machine showed up again as a concept, slightly changed from its previous incarnation, though largely the same.

Now, we are being told that the 2019 Benelli 752S is ready for primetime (we have heard that before, mind you), and seemingly still, the Italian designed motorcycle continues to intrigues us.

One of the few surprises at the INTERMOT trade show in Germany, was Team Green’s release of two 125cc motorcycle models: the Kawasaki Ninja 125 and the Kawasaki Z125. The bikes are basic in their concept, and will be headed only to the European market.

Kawasaki hopes that the Ninja 125 and Z125 will be the ideal option for those with A1 or A2 licenses in Europe’s tiered motorcycle licensing program, though the Japanese company didn’t discount some interest from older riders who are looking for something smaller in their garage.

That is a fair goal from Kawasaki, because despite the budget-focus of these 125cc machines, the quality of the bikes is quite high, and we were most impressed with the fit and finish found on the 2019 Kawasaki Ninja 125.