It’s that time of the year again, where Christmas comes early to the motorcycle industry, and we get to see all the new motorcycles that will be coming for the next model year, and beyond.
For the 2019 model year, we expect to see new models debuting at the INTERMOT, AIMExpo, and EICMA trade shows, which are in Cologne, Las Vegas, and Milan.
With things kicking off in Germany next week, we thought we would put together a guide for all the new motorcycles that we expect to see in the coming weeks. There are a bevy of new models that we know will be released at these three trade shows, and there are more than a few rumors of new bikes as well, which may surprise us.
Without wasting anymore time, let’s get down to it. We have broken down the new models and rumors by each manufacturer. Enjoy!
Today is the day. Today is the day that the European Union begins taxing the importation of motorcycles from the United States into Europe.
A retaliation to the Trump administration’s tariffs on aluminum and steel, the EU will now impose a 25% tariff increase on all motorcycles, 500cc and up, coming from the United States.
This means that the new tariff provisions will affect both Harley-Davidson and Indian, but will not affect Zero Motorcycles, as electric motorcycles are not included in the trade war provisions.
“I ride a Zero” or “my bike is Zero” always seemed like rather negative byproducts of the Zero Motorcycles’ brand to me. Generally speaking, a company should avoid associating their product as being zero or nothing.
Of course, the name is a cue to Zero Motorcycles emission-free motorcycles, using “Zero” as a call to action for those with a green agenda.
This always bothered me too though, since the market for environmentally conscious motorcyclists is incredibly small (at least when it comes to the ones that vote with their wallets), and the production of electricity in the United States isn’t exactly carbon-neutral, but I digress.
Secretly, I have always hoped that Zero would change its name. It would be a single step in a process that would require many, but it would be the bold first step.
The rules for such a drastic change are pretty hard and fast though – with the biggest caveat being that you don’t change a brand unless it is going to affect your bottom line.
This usually means that a company uses a rebranding to define a crack in time – a point where they either compartmentalize the mistakes of the past into the “old brand” while the “new brand” promises a new hope. You also see new logos when a company pivots in a new direction.
Unfortunately for Zero, neither of these examples seem to be the case, and that’s the rub. For Zero, I think you can make a pretty strong argument that the American electric motorcycle marque has its fair share of radioactivity.
Most of Zero’s baggage comes from its early days though, when the product was dreadful, the management team looked like a game of musical chairs, and the business decisions (especially on how to build a dealer network and support staff) were dodgy at best.
Crappy bikes, upset owners, and dealers with burned bridges… Yes, changing the Zero name could do wonders for the Californian company’s bottom line. So, let’s consider today’s news the Diet Coke version of that strategy, as Zero Motorcycles is sporting a new logo.
We will have a full account of the 10th Annual Quail Motorcycle Gathering posted soon, but I wanted to highlight one of the more notable events at the California motorcycle show – the debut of the Curtiss Zeus, an electric cruiser with tech from Zero Motorcycles and styling from the now defunct Confederate brand.
The first all-new machine from the Curtiss brand (we are not counting the Curtiss Warhawk, which looks remarkably like something from Confederate’s previous offerings), the Curtiss Zeus features two electric motors from Zero, which share a common shaft, and help produce a claimed 290 lbs•ft of torque and 170hp.
That bonkers feature is matched to an equally divergent style, which builds upon the design ethos that Confederate established previously. For instance, note the front-end setup, which is a carryover from the Fighter line of bikes from Confederate.
Zero Motorcycles is reporting a very serious defect with its 2012 model year bikes, specifically affecting the Zero S, Zero DS, and Zero DSP (Police) models.
The recall concerns Zero’s battery architecture for the 2012 model year, which may cause cells to fail, and thus create a runaway “thermal event” (read: catches on fire) within the battery pack.
In total, this recall affects 218 motorcycle units – the entire volume of Zero S, Zero DS, and Zero DPS motorcycles that were sold for the 2012 model year.
Confederate Motorcycles is to become the Curtiss Motorcycle Company. We reported on this story back in August already, so loyal Asphalt & Rubber readers should know that the news comes with the twist that the new company will focus on motorcycles that have electric drivetrains, provided by Zero Motorcycles.
Not much beyond those details was available at the time, and admittedly we don’t have a plethora of new information about this boutique American brand at this point in time as well, but we’ll share with you what we do know.
First of all, Curtiss Motorcycle will ultimately have a bike for a wide range of pocketbooks, not just the uber-rich that were serviced by Confederate. Curtiss’ first bike will be called the Hercules, and it is scheduled to drop on May 5, 2018.
A fairly small recall in terms of affected units (36), Zero Motorcycles is recalling a number of 2018 motorcycles because their Vehicle Emission Control Information (VECI) label displays the incorrect model year.
Because of this data input error, the units fail to comply with 49 CFR Part 567, “Certification.” As such, this recall affects certain Zero S ZF13.0, Zero S ZF7.2, Zero SR ZF14.4, Zero DS ZF13.0, Zero DSR ZF14.4, Zero FX ZF7.2, and Zero FXS ZF7.2.
We are in the final days of Confederate Motors, as the Alabama-based company just debuted its last motorcycle: the FA-13 Combat Bomber. Once the uniquely styled cruiser is sold out though, a new company will be formed: Curtiss Motorcycles.
The name Curtiss is a nod to aviator Glenn Curtiss, who before he battled with the Wright Brothers for control of the sky, was an avid motorcycle builder and motorcycle racer.
Like its namesake, Curtiss Motorcycles will be looking to the future, and thus its first model will be an all-electric motorcycle.
Zero Motorcycles is recalling a bevy of its motorcycle models because of a turn signal that may stop working, without alerting the rider, which happens to violate Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) #108, “Lamps, Reflective Devices, and Associated Equipment.”
Thankfully, the recall only affects a grand total of 10 motorcycles: the 2017 Zero S ZF6.5, Zero S ZF13.0, Zero DSP ZF13.0, and Zero SR ZF13.0 lineup.