Sorry

Blogging has been on hiatus lately, due to the press of my schedule.  I’m setting up a new business, among other things, and so recreational blogging has had to take a back seat.  I’m sure I will be back to blogging again very soon, but things are a little tight for the next few days.

ATK Police E-Bike

ATK, the Utah-based dirt-bike manufacturer has been in the news a fair bit recently, with the deal to assemble and badge Hyosung motorcycles at their Utah manufacturing facility, and sell them in select Harley-Davidson dealerships. The idea is to create entry-level motorcycles for new riders that the Harley dealers can, in the fullness of time, convert to HD customers.  We’ve written about it a fair amount here, and the most recent national coverage of that deal is at Motorcycle USA.

Unveiled today is an all new plan, previously closely held by the company, the create an electric motorcycle for police use.

After building gas bikes for 25 years, Salt Lake City based ATK USA plans to enter the electric motorcycle market with the ATK-Le (Law Enforcement). ATK has built an electric supermoto and dualsport based on their successful ATK 450, which they plan to sell to police and authority customer agencies, or departments. ATK had previously supplied a rolling chassis to build the Electric Moto prototype I covered last December. I loved it for its traditional 12-inch travel Ohlins suspension, Talon/Excel wheels, and premium spec combined with a race proven aluminum chassis. No deal was struck with Electric Moto so ATK is now building the bike on its own. However, they don’t believe electric motorcycles are ready for mass consumption by civilians, at least not yet. They think the simplicity and quiet nature of electric drive makes it perfect for urban patrol duty.

ATK already has a top-flight fleet sales team, and it will be interesting to watch how this pans out, in terms of getting police agencies interested in a zero-emissions alternative to gas off-roaders.

The company is going public with the news now, because as ATK CEO Frank White tells me:

We have been working on this stealth project for some time now and are now going public with it because we need to shake out some more vendors and suppliers who are involved on the battery powered side of the biz.

This is more interesting news from ATK, as, over the past 14 months or so, they’ve been aggressively looking to expand their dirt-bike business into new markets.

EICMA Roundup

I’ve been so busy the last two days, I’ve fallen behind in even trying to keep up with all the news coming out of the EICMA motorcycle show in Milan, Italy. And what a lot of news there’s been!

Honda has a new all-round, but not quite adventure, tourer concept, based on the VFR1200F, called the Crosstourer. Big Red also has a new Mid Concept bike as well. Finally, the naked standard CB1000R is coming to the US.\

Aprilia has a new 125cc sportbike aimed at beginning riders, but styled to look like the RSV4.

BMW has a new scooter that looks like the Terminator did the styling.

Moto Guzzi has beefed up the Stelvio & Norge GT 8V with new styling and an updated powerplant.

Aprilia showed off the new Dorsoduro 1200.

Happily, there are professionals who are keeping up with it. Motorcycle USA has a roundup of the show here, and HellForleather has been keeping up as well, so you can just go there and start scrolling down for lots of news and image galleries.

2011 Ducati Diavel

One day ahead of tomorrow’s EICMA SHow opening in Milan, Ducati has unveiled the new Diavel–formerly known as the Project 0803 motorcycle.  I’ve written about it a bit over the past few months as spy shots and finally an official photo was leaked, but now we can officially see the Diavel in all its glory.

We can also officially see the specs now, too.  Ducati has closely held them, but now that we can see them, they look pretty good.

There are some notable points to be mentioned.  First, while the Diavel uses the same 11° Testastretta engine that the Multistrada 1200S uses, power output has been upped to 162HP, while torque has been raised to 94 ft-lbs, compared to the Multi’s 87.5 ft-lbs. At the same time, while no lightweight, the Diavel is only 35 lbs heavier than the Multistrada, weighing in at 463lbs dry.

All things considered, the Diavel should be a screaming street machine. It might not have the same raw, straight-line power of the Yamaha Star V-Max, but I’d be willing to bet the Diavel will eat its lunch in the twisties, with its advertised 41° lean angle. And, who knows, maybe on a straight-line, the comparison isn’t that far off, either. After all, despite the V-Max’s 197HP and 123 ft-lbs of torque, it also weighs 685 lbs. It’d need all that extra horsepower just to keep up with the Diavel.

I’d suspect that with two riders of equivalent capability, the one on the V-Max would be watching the Diavel’s tail lights.  Until they disappeared ahead of him, anyway. I do know that’s a comparison I’d like to see.

Like the Multi, the Diavel also boasts the the three-mode output/suspension settings, allowing the rider to choose the restrained 100HP output of the Urban mode, the full power, but less aggressive throttle response and softer suspension of the Touring mode, and the full-on power and stiff suspension of the Sport mode.

And I can tell you, from personal experience, that the three settings really do transform the feel and operation of the bike.  And when you hit sport mode…watch out!

The drawback to the Diavel, from a US sales point of view, is that Americans seem to hate naked standards. This might be a bike that sells like hotcakes in Europe, though.

There’s also one more question about the Diavel that needs to be answered. What’ll it cost?