2017 Norton V4 RR
British heavyweight Norton Motorcycles aimed to bring Isle of Man TT performance to the public, and it seems as though it has managed to do just that with the V4 RR. Superbike performance and dead-sexy curves are the hallmarks of this ride, and while that’s nothing new for Norton, there are plenty of details that set this ride apart from its usual fare. Carbon and Kevlar make an appearance with a 200-plus horsepower, V4 engine thrown into the mix for good measure, so yeah, this ain’t your run-of-the-mill race-tribute piece — it has bona fide competitive DNA in its design — but neither is it a racebike made street legal, but something in between.
Continue reading for my review of the Norton V4 RR.
Ducati is giving the world one last taste of the L-twins by unveiling the 1299 Panigale R Final Edition.
They say that when you end the show, you must do it with a bang. Ducati here seems to just know how to conclude their greatest show of all time, the Panigale. Amidst the beautiful setup of Pebble Beach, California, the Italian brand unveiled their final adieu to the L-twins with the 1299 Panigale R Final Edition.
Aptly named, this last one gets all the bells and whistles some of which made headlines with the 1299 Panigale, the Panigale R and the 1299 Superleggera. Apart from being a pretty Tri-colour paint job, it gets an upgraded engine and other mechanicals that takes the superbike to new levels of lust. At $40,000 it will also be the second most powerful twin-cylinder engine to run on American streets (after the Superleggera of course).
Ducati’s new V-4 Superbike gets snapped testing.
When it comes to sports bikes with full fairings, there are not many chaps in the world who make them better than these Italians. The Panigale, for instance, is the most coveted superbike for the way it looks, handles and rides. It is one of those Italian Exotics that can sweep you off your feet every time you get yourself near it. And if you do ride one, you know what a fearless machine it is, always wanting to break your spine due to the insanity, unless you tame it.
But now, that superbike is seeing its last leg with Ducati teasing the ’final’ Panigale to come out of the Borgo gates. It will be the last L-twin superbike made by Ducati since it is ever so difficult for Ducati to adhere to the rules package in most of the World Superbike Championships the Panigale is currently in competition, its v-twin superbikes will soon lose out to the four-cylinder counterparts. Luckily, the Italian company is also churning out a new V-4 superbike as we speak. And the first images are out here as seen on Maxxmoto.
Ducati’s ’final’ Panigale is coming on July 7. And we have a peek at the specs here.
Last week, the Italian manufacturer teased its final edition of the famous 1299 Panigale to the world. Titled as ’ When the end tells the whole story’, the video is filled with fast-paced takes on the bike’s red/white Corse livery, headlight and tail units and the titanium racing exhaust. the video is surely a nod to the last big-displacement v-twin superbike from Ducati. Why do I say this? The words “Panigale Final Edition” in the video title makes it very evident.
Now, we also get teased with mouthwatering specs of this ’last’ 1299 Panigale R which is going to debut at the Laguna Seca Moto GP weekend in California on July 7, 2017. A dealer in the UK has released the specifications and with it making just 5 bhp and 3 Nm lesser than the brand’s super fighter, the Superleggera, and costing less than half of it, the Panigale is going to blow your mind.
2017 Ducati 1299 Superleggera
Ducati raises the bar for semi-production race bikes with its limited-edition 1299 Superleggera. A space-age, carbon-fiber frame, swingarm and wheels carry Ducati’s most powerful twin-cylinder mill to date with 215 horsepower on tap to push a mere 368 pounds. Yeah, that’s right. The good news is that Ducati installed everything it could as far as electronic features go to help riders control all that power and keep the thing dirty-side down. I’m talking a veritable alphabet soup of gadgetry here, so let’s dig in and start deciphering it.
Continue reading for my review of the Ducati 1299 Superleggera.
2017 BMW HP4 Race
Public demand for race-ready road bikes has never been higher, and the folks down at the Bayerische Motoren Werke are trying to take that momentum to the bank with its HP4 Race. Like many of its track-day competitors have recently done, BMW set about the business of mini-mass producing a bike that carries as much of its factory-team race gear as they are comfortable sharing with the world. However, the factory isn’t risking much in this bid for a slice of the hardcore race-fan market with a limited-edition run of 750 hand-built units, so in addition to the obvious attraction of the technology and power we can add rarity to the curb appeal. Here we have a 215 horsepower engine pushing the world’s first all carbon-fiber frame with a veritable alphabet soup of features that are surely indispensable for racers looking for an edge.
Continue reading for my review of the BMW HP4 Race.
2014 - 2017 Honda CBR600RR
Honda’s latest generation of 600 cc, CBR supersports toes the family line with its race-winning blend of power and maneuverability all packed onto a MotoGP-inspired chassis. Much like the original CBR600RR that hit the streets back in ’03 and was built as a racebike replica, the current model features a strong engine along with a front suspension featuring Honda’s 41mm Big Piston Fork for superb handling and snappy action, plus MotoGP-inspired bodywork in a race-tested aerodynamic supersport design.
Continue reading for more my review of the Honda CBR600RR.
The YZF-R1 family brings MotoGP styling and performance normally only experienced by the privileged few to the streets for consumption by the “everyman.” Blessed with DNA from the purpose-built YZR-M1 (Mission One) racebike, the R1 range comes with varying levels of race-tastic features, though all three siblings could be considered as racy as one could possibly need outside a closed-circuit course. An on-board gyro enables a number of digital rider aids, such as the bank-sensitive traction control, slide control, ABS and more. Yamaha used its four-cylinder, Crossplane Concept engine to power the R1 family, the same mill as the FZ-10/MT-10, just in a more track-oriented package. Sales in recent years have begun to shift away from the supersports as buyers began to favor naked/streetfighter bikes, and this M1-based trifecta represents a significant push into a waning market. Are they trying to reinvigorate the class, or just trying to grab what is left of that slice of the market? Time will tell, meanwhile let’s check out what Yamaha did to bait the table.
Continue reading for my review of the Yamaha YZF-R1, YZF-R1S, and YZF- R1M.
Meccanica Verghera Agusta quickly made its mark on the motorcycle-racing world back in 1945 when it started producing motorcycles in post-war Italy. Legend has it that the brothers Agusta shifted from manufacturing airplanes to motorcycle both to save the jobs of the factory workers and to fund their own penchant for racing.
Over the years, MV Agusta has remained a rather small company with an over-sized footprint on the track, who in 2010 added the 1090 RR to the already decade-old Brutale family. Although the 1090 is available sans the “RR” through Canadian dealers, the factory restricted U.S. imports to the more race-tastic and powerful “RR” model for 2017. MV Agusta isn’t a brand that gets a lot of recognition in the U.S. because reasons, so join me while I illustrate why it should.
Continue reading for my review of the MV Agusta Brutale 1090 RR.
BMW has always had a presence in the motorcycle racing world, in fact the word “Beemer” was coined specifically for BMW’s race bikes of old, and the factory continues its blitz into the 21st century.
The S 1000 RR is already part of that history, and it is marketed as a race bike, though truth to tell, the official factory race bike gets some features you won’t see on the street, but that isn’t unusual. Salient point is; this bike is very close to the official race bike, which makes sense considering that it started life as a race bike in ’09 that spilled over into production for the general public the following year.
The “Double R” has proven popular with the masses, and was BMW’s best-selling model for the 2015 model year — a year that also saw a major overhaul on the previous generation to bring the bike up to date, and if you will pardon the pun, up to speed. Join me while I check out what’s new on this gen, and why it has garnered so much attention worldwide.
Continue reading for my review of the BMW S 1000 RR.
I’ve seen ever-increasing numbers of Hayabusas around town (hard to miss ’em), and while I can plainly see the aesthetic appeal, I never really gave one a proper look-see. All that changed last night while I was at the pool hall and had a chance encounter with a proud ’Busa owner who was only too happy to go on (and on) about his ride. (This guy could have a real future in sales, know what I’m sayin’?)
Prompted by his enthusiasm, I took a real good look at the GSX 1300R “Hayabusa” from Suzuki and I was not disappointed. Once I delved into the details I could see that the ’Busa isn’t just another pretty face; there is a real monster hidden beneath its elegant façade. I’m not sure how it stayed off my radar for this long, so join me while I rectify the situation.
(Continue reading for my review of the Suzuki Hayabusa.
Honda puts plenty of “super” in its next-generation, 25th anniversary (of the CBR900RR) edition superbike line with the newly redesigned CBR1000RR SP and SP2 bikes. While the Fireblade name has long been associated with race-capable machines, that connection to the track has never been clearer than with this pair. Less weight, more power and even more electronic wizardry than ever before, Honda’s flagship literbikes bring the pain for a lot less cheddar than some of their, shall we say, ambitious rides. (CoughRC213V-Scoughcough.) This pair were among my faves from the INTERMOT show, so let’s dig in and see if the bikes live up to the hype and have what it takes to keep the Red Riders relevant and competitive for that all-important street/circuit market.
Continue reading for my review of the Honda CBR1000RR So and CBR1000RR SP2.
The GSX-R1000 has been around for a minute, since it replaced the GSX-R1100 back in ’01 in fact, and 2016 sees the release of a total of three Gixxer 1000s with the GSX-R1000, the ABS version and the Commemorative model up for grabs. I’ve had an appreciation for Gixxers ever since I scared myself on one back in ’94, and the fact that Suzuki has managed to keep the family relevant for so long makes me appreciate it even more.
Buyer enthusiasm for race bikes is starting to wane a bit in favor of some of the more naked, streetwise machines, but Suzuki doesn’t let that dissuade them as they push right ahead with their flagship production racebike. Join me while I take a look at what Suzuki has going on with this latest effort to keep things going with the venerable Gixxer line.
Continue reading for my review of the Suzuki GSX-R1000.
Interest in race-replica models is beginning to wane in favor of the more public road-oriented naked bikes and streetfighters, but you’d never know it looking at the work Honda put into the RC213V-S.
The “S” is based on Honda’s RC213V factory racebike currently competing in the MotoGP circuit, and it is important to mention here that this is the bike that carried Honda to the Riders’, Constructors’ and Team Championships in both ’13 and ’14.
While this isn’t quite a straight-up racebike with turn signals, it’s a fairly faithful reproduction and is as close as you will find among the production bikes on the road today. Let’s face it — to unleash a 100-percent genuine racebike on the public would be irresponsible at best, and criminal at worst, so the factory had to nerf it just a little bit. These bikes are hand built by specially trained mechanics using model-specific tools at a rate of one unit per day, part of the reason for the limited-edition run. Join me while I see how close to that line the Red Riders dance with this awe-inspiring machine.
Continue reading for my review of the Honda RC213V-S.
Back in the early 2000s, Triumph’s four-cylinder, middleweight sportbikes were taking a beating by the 600 cc bikes from the Big Four in Japan. The solution? Drop a cylinder, boost the cubes and start a nearly complete, ground-up rebuild based off the old Daytona 600 chassis.
The result? A decidedly nimble and powerful supersport packed away in a deceptively small package. After a number of changes, and the addition of the Daytona 675 R in 2011 that went on to win the Daytona 200 in ’14, the Daytona family moves into the ’15 and ’16 model years with many of the features that made the range a success, and a few new ones too.
Join me while I dissect this British Rose and try to discover why its fanbase is so rabid, far beyond the usual national/brand loyalty we see all the time.
Continue reading for my review of the Triumph Daytona 675 and Daytona 675 R.
When I hear the name “Triumph,” my mind immediately goes to the old classic styles, or the new bikes made to look like the old classic style, and always within cruiser/standard bracket.
Given the long history of cruiser and Western-style performance bikes, it’s easy to forget that Trumpet has been making performance streetfighters in more of an Italian or Japanese style in the form of its Speed Triple family. The name is a reference to the old Speed Twin, and the Triple family tree has grown through a few branches to bring us to the almost all-new-for-2016 Speed Triple S and Speed Triple R.
As more and more Western riders — Americans specifically — become more aware and covetous of performance road machines from someone other than the Big Four in Japan, I expect this family will make a suitable candidate if your short list includes some of the streetfighters from Beemer, MV Agusta, KTM, Ducati and the like. Join me while I check out the new stuff Trumpet has in store for us this year.
Continue reading for my review of the Triumph Speed Triple S and Speed Triple R.
When it comes to sportbikes, and there are plenty to choose from, it’s one thing to build a racey-looking bike, but something else entirely to mass produce a bike that truly would be as comfortable on the track as it is on the street.
The Kawasaki Ninja has a long and illustrious racing history, and the ZX-10R carried Kawi to podium finishes over the years, and championship status in both the ’15 Rider’s Championship and the Manufacturer’s Championship, so it’s natural that Kawi would tap it to carry its race technology to the streets.
Enter the new-for-2016 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R and ZX-10R KRT Edition. Kawi blessed this bike with all the race-proven, superbike technology that propelled the Kawasaki Racing Team to its position as the dominant racing superpower within the aforementioned brackets. Usually I get to study bikes that do little more than pay lip service to the hardcore race enthusiasts, but this time, I’m faced with the Real McCoy, and I can’t wait to delve in and see what Kawi put together for us this year.
Continue reading for my review of the Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R ABS and ZX-10R ABS KRT Edition.
Ever wish you could own a Yamaha Factory Racing M1? Your wish pretty much just came true.
YZF-R1M race motorcycle is a special version of the all new R1, and comes with even higher factory specification - enabling every racer and track rider to discover their true potential.
Continue reading for more information on the 2015 Yamaha YZF-R1M.