I had to check our coverage of the Moto Guzzi V85 TT, to see how many words we managed to use when talking about this new adventure-tourer – 398 words, if you wanted to know – which is pretty astonishing considering the complete lack of actual information coming from Piaggio on this new motorcycle.
Little more was revealed at INTERMOT as well, beyond what we could see physically on the machine. We know that the V85 TT will make 80hp from its 850cc v-twin engine. We know that it will have ABS, cruise control, LED lights, and a TFT dash (which looks great, by the way). Beyond that…well…it’s a very bright motorcycle.
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.
The belle of the INTERMOT ball, the Indian FTR1200 made its debut in Germany this week to much fanfare. We should all make note that the American brand has released its first non-cruiser motorcycle…and it did so on foreign soil. This is not an accident.
The FTR1200 marks an important moment in the Indian Motorcycle Company’s history, as it is the first of several machines to come from this historic marque that will take it into the future.
As I have said before, we should all pay attention, because Indian doesn’t want to be the next Harley-Davidson…it wants to be the next Honda, and that means worldwide domination.
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.
Much was said about the 2019 Honda CRF450L before it even debuted in the United States, and the resounding collective opinion of the moto-journalists in attendance at its press launch was that the 450cc dual-sport is potent off-road, and well-mannered on the street.
Making roughly 45hp at the crank, the CRF450L isn’t the most powerful bike in the category, put the torque curve on the Honda is tabletop flat and without holes. This makes the machine easy to hookup on the dirt, and refined for street riding…all the way to 85mph or more.
One of five new 450cc dirt bikes from Honda, the CRF450L is a true dual-sport – letting bikes like the CRF450RX and CRF450X fill the enduro niches for racing and pure trail riding. Thus having a weapon for every use, Honda smartly focused the CRF450L to be a dual-sport that can actually handle on street riding, instead of just compromising an exist dirt-focused machine.
If I said that there was an 81hp track bike that weighed less than 280 lbs ready to race, would that be something you’d be interested in? If so, say hello to the Krämer HKR EVO2, a purpose-built track bike from Germany.
Built around KTM’s 690cc single-cylinder engine, which is found in KTM 690 Duke and Husqvarna’s 701 series of bikes, the Krämer HKR EVO2 features a bespoke steel-trellis chassis, custom bodywork, and a host of top-shelf components.
The real tasty part about the Krämer HKR EVO2 though is the attention to detail and the purposefulness of its design – take for instance the 12-liter XPE plastic fuel tank that doubles as a subframe, which has integrated crash sliders, and a sighting hole for easy adjustment of the rear shock damping.
Up-close, the build quality is excellent and the bike feels incredibly light. Oddly enough, the riding position is even comfortable for riders over six-feet in height, and as such we are itching to get some ride-time in the coming weeks.
At the Grand Prix of the Americas, Aprilia USA debuted a special new superbike for the 2018 model year, the Aprilia RSV4 RF LE.
Limited to only 125 units for North America (100 for the USA, 25 for Canada), the big feature of the 2018 Aprilia RSV4 RF LE is the bike’s fairing winglets, which draw from Aprilia Racing’s aerodynamic progress in the MotoGP Championship.
Getting a chance to see the new Aprilia RSV4 RF LE in the flesh while in Texas, we grabbed some up-close photos of this limited edition RSV4, for your viewing pleasure, along with some other details.
By my nature, I am a critical person. This isn’t exactly a desirable personality trait, but it serves me well in my chosen profession. Accordingly, I rarely ever use words like “perfect” or “flawless” when describing something. It’s just not in my nature.
From my lens, there is always room for improvement. But, when it comes to seeing the Suter MMX 500 up-close and in person, I had to rethink my usual choice of words. I will sidestep superlatives and simply say that the Suter MMX 500 is a true rider’s motorcycle.
On the Suter MMX 500, there are no electronic rider aids, no ride-by-wire throttles, no kickstands, mirrors, or lights. There is nothing on this machine that doesn’t serve a purpose, and the only acceptable purpose is to go as fast as possible.
As far as venues go, there might not be a better place on Earth to launch a new motorcycle than Pebble Beach, California – that is, if you are into the whole breath-taking view sort of thing.
The party of course was for Ducati’s last v-twin superbike, the aptly named Ducati 1299 Panigale R Final Edition, which is part Superleggera, part road bike, and part spaghetti dinner.
Clad in a the an Italian tricolore livery, the Ducati 1299 Panigale R Final Edition puts out a potent 209hp, and features some of the best pieces of Ducati’s v-twin superbike lineage – part of a long goodbye to the desmodromic v-twin platform.
Not a limited edition bike, but instead a numbered edition machine, Ducati plans on making the Panigale R Final Edition models for as long as there is consumer demand for the superbike (and while there are enough numbers to count them by).
For American Ducatisti, owning one will mean a $40,000 commitment, which isn’t such a lofty price tag, if you considered its half the cost of the carbon-fiber-everything Ducati 1299 Superleggera.
Getting in a little early at Laguna Seca for the World Superbike round, Asphalt & Rubber was treated to an exclusive look at the new MV Agusta Brutale 800 America, the special edition street bike from Varese, Italy that debuted last week.
The darkly lit pictures that MV Agusta showed us last week, and even the ones that we have here, don’t do this limited-edition bike justice, as the colors pop and match perfectly in the sunlight.
I was actually surprised at how different the bike looked in person, as the machine really comes together when you see it first-hand, and not on a computer screen.
The 2017 Yamaha YZF-R6 is more than just “bold new plastics” as one A&R commenter said, with traction control, ABS, new suspension, and R1-esque bodywork being added to the supersport machine – among other changes.
Yamaha isn’t shy that the R6 gets its look from its older sibling, the YZF-R1, with both bikes sharing a number of visual elements: MotoGP-inspired air intake, koi fish headlights on the fairing, vented tail section, and sinister LED marker lights – just to name a few.
The effect though is perhaps the most dramatic change to the venerable supersport, as it takes the 12-year-old design for the YZF-R6 and gives it a modern look and feel.