We are knee-deep in new bike season right now, and it seems no motorcycle is safe from the internet’s two-wheeled rumor mill. This week, we see a number of rumors concerning the Honda CBR1000RR, and what the 2019 model year will bring for Big Red’s superbike offering.
Credible rumors suggest that the Honda CBR1000RR will see another update for next year, with promises of 212hp as Honda follows the rest of the pack with two variations of its venerable superbike.
Less credible rumors involve the CBR1000RR getting a name change for the US market, as the word “Fireblade” has been registered with the US Patents and Trademarks Office by the Japanese brand.
Suzuki has registered the “Katana” name here in the USA, and if that sounds like familiar news to our regular readers…well, it should.
This is the second time that Suzuki has registered the venerable Katana name with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, and there is good reason for that.
But, before we get into what Suzuki is and is not doing with the Katana name, we should first understand what this motorcycle means to long-time motorcyclists, especially in different markets.
This is because the Katana name evokes different ideas to different motorcyclists, because Suzuki has used it in different ways throughout the years, and in different countries.
Registering the name “Revelation” with the USPTO, Harley-Davidson has set aside the trademark for two uses: 1) batteries for vehicles, and 2) drivetrains for electric motorcycles and vehicles.
Other publications are running this story as the “Revelation” name being the moniker for Harley-Davidson’s production version of the Livewire electric motorcycle concept, but the actual trademark makes a very clear alternative to that narrative.
The worst-kept secret in Bologna right now is the fact that Ducati will be switching to a V4 format with its 2018 model year superbike – this being the last year (at least at the top of the model lineup) that Ducati will use a v-twin engine design for its race-focused motorcycles.
We expect the Panigale-killer to be a horsepower beast (220+ hp), and the production motorcycle might even sport some of the aerodynamic enhancements that we have seen Ducati use on the race track in the MotoGP Championship (hopefully just not the company’s “hammerhead” fairing design).
Now, we have name for this next-generation superbike machine, as Ducati has filed trademarks with the United States, European, and Japanese trademark offices (click here for the US filing).
American Honda currently carries the Honda NC700X in its adventure-touring lineup, while our friends across the pond have the Honda NC750X – a slightly updated machine.
This has always been a slight oddity between American Honda and Honda Motor Europe, though it probably doesn’t change the price of bread for most motorcyclists. It is strange, though, that even our brothers to the North have the NC750X in their arsenal.
Appeasing our OCD tendencies of congruency and order, it would seem that the Honda NC750X is finally going to come to the USA, with Honda filing for a trademark for the motorcycle with the USPTO.
That machine appears ready to move from concept to reality, as Honda has trademarked the name in both Europe and the USA, and we expect to see the lightweight adventure bike drop, sooner rather than later.
The question of course then turns to how closely the production machine will be to the concept machine, which features a 588cc intercooled and turbocharged two-cylinder engine. Very closely, we hope.
When the 2015 Yamaha YZF-R1 first broke cover last year, it was with two model designations: the YZF-R1M and YZF-R1S. Obviously, only one of those machines has come to market, which is peculiar since Yamaha went to some trouble to register both names with the USPTO.
What happened to the YZF-R1S is up for conjecture, though it does seem the model, whatever it may be, is destined to arrive in the US market, as the model name has been spotted in documents filed by Yamaha with the California Air Resources Board (CARB).
Drive M7, the Malaysian energy drink firm, has issued a response to the claims by Aspar that Drive had pulled out of sponsoring team at the last minute.
Last Wednesday, the day before the 2015 MotoGP season was due to kick off, Aspar boss Juan Martinez claimed that Drive M7 had only just told him about their decision to pull out of sponsoring the team the day before. Drive M7 disputes that version of events.
When approached by top British motorcycle racing publication Bikesport News for a response to those claims, the Malaysian energy drink company issued a statement explaining that they understood that the 2014 sponsorship agreement – worth €1.8 million – would not be extended due to ongoing claims of trademark infringement.
Let the rumors fly as to what Kawasaki has up its sleeve, because Team Green has registered “Ninja R2” with the US Patent and Trademark office, as well as similar offices internationally.
The trademark application is fairly broad in what the name can be used for, but knowing Kawasaki’s product line, a new motorcycle can be expected from the “Ninja” name.
What that motorcycle could be, is up for debate. Some draw a line between the “Ninja R2” name and the recently revived “Ninja H2” model, and thus see another supercharged machine to come from Kawasaki. Others hear the whispers of a small-displacement sport bike, perhaps one with a stratospheric rev-limit (our pick).
Trademark applications with the USPTO show that Polaris has registered “Victory Charger” as a mark to be used with “electric motorcycles and structural parts therefor.”
The application is a strong hint that we could see an electric cruiser from the Victory brand, which is owned by Polaris, in the coming future.
The news is especially timely, as Polaris just acquired Brammo’s electric motorcycle business, and plans on building electric motorcycles at the company’s facilities in Spirit Lake, IA.