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One last internet rumor for the week, before we let you go on your way into the weekend, as there is much talk about Suzuki’s plans to bring a “Big” DR model to market.

We use the word “Big” in quotes, as it gives a nod to a previous model from Suzuki’s past, and gives us a hint that the Japanese manufacturer could be working on a large adventure bike, worthy of giving the Honda Africa Twin a run for its money – a bike we should add that is getting its own fair share of rumors this week as well.

The news first came from Spain, and spread through the internet like wildfire. Maybe it is because we are hungry for truly new models from Suzuki. Maybe it is because we are intrigued by a name from motorcycle lore. Or, maybe it is because the idea of a cost-effective but capable ADV from Suzuki is exactly what we have been wanting from the Japanese brand.

Like most of the MotoGP team debuts that we see ahead of the Qatar preseason test, what is offered as a first look at the 2019 racing platform is really more like the 2018 bike with next year’s livery.

That doesn’t make the sight any less fantastic though, as detailed photos of these apex predators is always a treat.

Next up on our list from the MotoGP paddock is the ECSTAR Suzuki squad (check out Ducati and Honda too), which includes Alex Rins and Joan Mir.

Not much changes for the livery in the 2019 season, though we do see Suzuki has updated the fairings a touch. The tail section has a more dramatic drop as it comes to a point, and the vents on the front fairing have slightly different shapes than what was shown to us in 2018.

2018 is coming to a close now, so we of course are looking back at what happened over the past year in the motorcycle industry.

There was no shortage of weighty stories in 2018, so we picked just our Top 5 big themes from the year to share with you.

They range from business items, racing news, and new motorcycles (or the lack thereof). Without too much fanfare, let’s get into it, and see Asphalt & Rubber‘s most important stories from 2018.

Episode 2 of the Brap Talk podcast is out, and in this show our big topic of conversation centers around the dealership experience.

As such, we rely heavily on Shahin’s decade-long career of working in motorcycle dealerships, and discuss what can be done better – by both the dealers, and the customers. We also wander into speculation about our future with robot overlords.

Before we get to that in-depth conversation in the podcast though, we cover a few newsie items.

There has been much conjecture regarding the Suzuki Hayabusa in recent days, especially after the company’s Japanese website listed the Busa’s production as terminated.

This created a fervor on European publications, and because of the internet, it grew from there. We tried to talk some reason into the situation the other day, and now Suzuki Motor of America has made a press release on the matter.

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?

Next up on our analysis of the EICMA show in Milan are the Japanese brands: Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki, and Yamaha.

You can usually count on the Big Four to bring out some popular new bike launches and intriguing concepts to EICMA, and this year...well...the Japanese brands phoned it in, for the most part.

Before we get into Jensen's complete feeling of disappointment, I first have to apologize because I failed you as a publisher. Much of the disappointment that comes from the INTERMOT and EICMA shows comes from the implications of the Euro5 emissions standards. As a publication, we should have prepared you  better for this reality, and we didn't.

There is very little incentive right now for a motorcycle OEM to release a new model. Euro5 comes online for new models in 2020, and for existing models in 2021, which means that many of the motorcycle brands are holding onto their new bike launches for those model years.

As such, the 2019 model year is very much a "development year" for the industry. This doesn't change the fact that the Japanese brands had a weak showing in Milan, especially compared to the Europeans, but at least it explains why...for the most part.

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The INTERMOT show is done and dusted, and we have had some time to chew on the models that we saw in Cologne, Germany...or didn't see, as the case might be. The second largest trade show in the motorcycle industry, one can wonder though whether the INTERMOT show is the second most important.

Having two major shows on European soil, with INTERMOT coming every other year, creates a Sophie's Choice for motorcycle manufacturers. EICMA might draw the crowds and the press, but it is also a maelstrom of new models, and it is easy for a bike's launch and debut to be lost in the chaos.

To that vein, INTERMOT provides an opportunity for manufacturers to see the forest for the trees. It is less pressure, with most manufacturers choosing to debut more minor releases at the German show, but this makes it ripe for some surprises as well. For 2018, things were no different.

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One of the highlights from the INTERMOT trade show in Germany was the new Suzuki Katana. Set to be an early 2020 model, the Suzuki Katana takes the GSX-S1000F platform, and brings a unique retro-modern look to its chassis.

This means that the heart of this sport bike comes from the 2005 Suzuki GSX-R1000, which has been re-tuned for street duty.

Though Suzuki is light on details, this should mean a 147hp sport bike, with basic electronic aids. This should also mean an attractive sport bike for under $12,000 here in the USA, if our math is correct.

It may only be the third model year for this generation of the GSX-R1000, but Suzuki is bringing some smart updates to its “King of Superbikes” for the 2019 season.

The changes a primarily a response to the rule changes in the WorldSBK Championship, with the 2019 Suzuki GSX-R1000 getting some subtle refinements.

The most notable change is that the new adjustable swingarm pivot, which will help setup changes for racers and track day enthusiasts alike. Visually, riders will notice that the exhaust muffler on the 2019 bikes has been colored black, to help it blend into the rear tire and not stand out like a flying toaster oven..