I’ve communicated with the people at Erik Buell Racing to see if they could give up any more information about the 1190RS street bike, their schecule for producing it and making it available, etc. Their response is essentially as follows:
Currently there is no information available from us on the 1190RS, other than that it is in development. What surprises us is how many people are already publishing specifications, business plans and limitations, and more. Even though the information they have is incorrect. Not sure what to do about that other than to let time take its course and as the facts are released then people will know them. There is much information that simply cannot be released yet.
In other words…nothing.
As far as the speculation goes about EBR’s “specifications, business plans and limitations, and more”, well, all you can really say is that this sort of thing inevitable happens when you’re unwilling–or unable–to provide any solid information. Under the press of deadlines, reporters will often publish something that they hear from someone who they trust, who has been reliable in the past with inside info…and it’s still wrong.
About all you can do is ignore it, and release information as you’re able.
Yesterday I got an official press release from EBR that specifically mentioned the 1190RS again, saying once more that it is “under development”. Other than that, it looks like we’ll have to wait until February for hard and fast–and reliable–news about Buell’s plans.
There is this, however:
Click for the hi-res version. I’m hoping that won’t be the production exhaust.
Italians seem to be pretty happy that MV Agusta is back in Italian hands, “where it belongs” according to Italian motorsport enthusiasts. Sadly, though, while Harley-Davidson gave MV a reprieve from an untimely death, it remains to be seen whether that temporary reprieve turns into a permanent salvation. Hiring Massimo Bordi, who did fantastic work making Ducati successful, as MV’s new CEO is a good first step, but some of MV’s old problems are still there. Before the Harley purchase, MV produced fantastically expensive bikes in very small numbers. Reliability problems were an issue, and troublesome one, as MV Agusta dealers were few and far between. The slightest mechanical problem might keep an MV off the road for weeks or months while some arcane part was produced and shipped from Italy.
But that may be changing. In an interview with the Italian web site Il Solo 24 Ore (Italian), MV’s new owner–or is that re-owner–Claudio Castiglioni, opens up about the bike he hopes will save the company.
Pictured at left is the brand new MV Agusta F3. According to Castiglione, the F3 is powered by a 675cc triple, just like the Triumph Daytona 675. This bike will come in a base model, as well as an upgraded “sport” model.
Where things get really interesting is that Castiglioni quotes a base model price of €9,000 ($11,520 at today’s exchange rate), and a price of around €10,500 ($13.440) for the sport edition. The actual price in US terms probably won’t reflect straight exchange rate calculations, however, so, we might see a price of around $10,000 here in the US. They’re also planning an as yet unnamed Brutale-like model of this bike, which will probably go for somewhere in the vicinity of $9,000, pleasing the fans of naked bikes.
At that price point, the F3 seriously undercuts the $12,995 sticker price for the base model of the Ducati 848, and even puts it in direct competition with the Triumph Daytona’s MSRP of $10,000. With pricing at that level, Castiglioni hopes that MV can sell 10,000 of these bikes next year.
Having said that, it’s still an open question whether MV even has the capacity to produce 10,000 supersports in the next year. If they can–and they can sell them–then MV stands a good chance of not returning to it’s pre-2009 state of slowly running into the ground.
When Harley-Davidson announced that MV would be sold back to Castiglioni, they didn’t mention the price of the sale. As a publicly traded company, however, you can’t actually keep that a secret.
Via the Wall Street Journal, according to the company’s 8-K filing, the sale price was 3 Euros. But get this:
In the filing Harley said it “contributed 20 million Euros to MV as operating capital” that was put in escrow and is available to the buyer over a 12-month period. The buyer is Claudio Castiglioni, who, with his brother Gianfranco, ran MV Agusta for years before selling it to Harley two years ago for about $109 million.
So, H-D paid $109 million for MV, they then had to pay $162.6 million in write-downs to cover MV’s bad debts, and then they had to pay Castiglioni another $20 million to take it back.
I’m sorry, but that’s just hilarious!
But, of course, I’m not a Harley shareholder. They probably aren’t as amused to learn this.
I suspect that unemployment in Italy’s technology sector is about to rise very slightly.
Via Asphalt & Rubber, it seems that some excitable webmaster has jumped the gun, and put the downloadable service manuals for the Aprilia Dorsoduro 1200 and Dorsoduro 1200 ABS online in the maintenance section of Aprilia’s web site. Since Aprilia hasn’t even announced this bike, other than via rumor, and its release probably wasn’t even scheduled until the EICMA show in Milan in November, this is certainly going to take the wind out of the sails of Aprilia’s PR department.
As far as the bike itself, we can’t tell much about its power output, but we now know it sports an 1197cc v-twin engine, and weighs 492lbs wet.
Oh, and, since I suspect that Aprilia will probably yank this off the Internet in due course, here’s my personal copy of the 2011 Aprilia Dorsoduro 1200 & 1200ABS User Manual, in English and Dutch. Enjoy.
Oh, and I think we can confirm that there will, in fact, be a Dorsoduro 1200 for 2011.
UPDATE (8/12/10): Sadly, it won’t be a Dorsoduro that we see on this side of the pond. Aprilia says: “We are extremely pleased with the sales of the Dorsoduro 750 and do not plan on importing the 1200 at this time.”
So, none for the US market at all for 2011.
The Spanish Motorcycling web site SoloMoto is touting an exclusive (in Spanish), which is that Honda will replace the venerable ST1300 with a touring version of the new V-4-engined VFR1200F. They state that their information is that a presentation of the new model will be held at the international motorcycle shows in Cologne or Milan (October or November respectively).
They report that the new model will be available with or without bags, as well as with or without the new DCT transmission option. Compared to the new VFR, this touring model will have higher handlebars and more relaxed seating position, suitable for touring. Based on the drawings they show, the preload adjustment for the rear suspension will be moved to the right side of the bike, and the front braking system my be different from the current VFR, due to having inverted forks. They also speculate that the rider’s seat height will be adjustable, and that the windshield will have electrical height adjustment. The new bike also seems to keep the dual-layered fairing of the current VFR.
So, for all you ST1300 lovers, Honda may be providing you with something to love even better.
Let’s just hope that while they’re piling on all these touring amenities, they give us a fuel tank larger than the VFR’s 4 gallons.
It seems like only yesterday that Carlo Castiglioni sold the iconic MV Agusta brand to Harley Davidson. Now, two years later, he’s bought it back–for less than he sold it to Harley-Davidson.
Along with Giovanni Castiglioni, the company will be headed by Mr. Massimo Bordi, a well known Italian manager. A 62-year-old engineer, Bordi took Ducati to success during the years when that company was owned by the Castiglionis and continued to manage it successfully under the ownership of Texas Pacific Group. Since 2003 Massimo Bordi has been the CEO of Same Deutz Fahr, contributing largely to the success of the company. Massimo Bordi commented that “MV Agusta has full capacity to once again become a major player in the high luxury brand motor bikes, this brand is one of the most recognized worldwide. We will implement a number of reorganization and managerial actions in the near future.
So, essentially, Castiglioni pawned off MV on Harley, so they could dump money into it for a few years, then bought it back as a stronger company for less than he sold it. Why H-D bought it in the first place is still an unanswered question.
Oh, and how hard did Castiglioni screw H-D? Pretty hard.
We don’t know much about it, but as of today, at least we know that the new 2011 adventure bike from Triumph will sport a three-cylinder engine. A look of utter shock and surprise fails to cross my face at this news, since Triumph’s premier engine is the 675 or 1050 triple.
That’s about all we know, though.
Triumph fails to release any hard details about the engine, aside from vague descriptions of it having a long stroke. Rumors put displacement at around 800cc, to line it up with the popular F800GS.
More details will have to wait, as Triumph seems keen on teasing everyone about this one.
The next release of information–such as it is–will be about September first.
The big feature story from the AP today–which I won’t quote from due to their insane copyright policy–is that Harley Davidson is sending executives out to scout potential production locations in other states. If company can’t come to some sort of agreement with its work force in Milwaukee, H-D will be shutting down production there, and transfer it to assembly plants elsewhere.
Only the Corporate HQ and the Harley-Davidson Museum would remain in Milwaukee.
In many ways, this parallels the problem that US automakers have had, and which led to GM’s bankruptcy. In the case of GM, the union benefit agreements the company made with the UAW, as far back as the 1970s, simply became too difficult to maintain, financially. As the cost of those benefits increased, GM reached the point where they couldn’t sell a car for the the price that would cover GM’s cost to make it. GM had net negative cash flow every month, and it burned the company to the ground
Oh, and by the way, despite the happy talk we’ve been hearing, GM, even after bankruptcy, still has a negative cash flow. ALthough, if you’re an American taxpayer, you’re covering that bill.
The MoCo is trying to avoid becoming GM. So the question for the Milwaukee workforce is whether or not they agree that a somewhat less highly compensated job is better than no job at all.
The Road Glide has always been my favorite Harley-Davidson. I really don’t like the bat-wing fairing on the other big tourers, mainly because I hate the idea of an extra 50 pounds riding on the forks. But the Roag Glide, with its fixed fairing is the best-handling of the big Harleys I’ve ridden–with the exception of the Road King–and I absolutely hated the Electra Glide Ultra.
For 2011, Harley has introduced a new Ultra version of the Road Glide, with all the touring amenities of the Electra- Glide Ultra. Dain Gingerelli at Motorcycle.Com got his hands on one and was able to take it for a spin. You can read his review at your leisure, but the thing I found interesting was that he highlighted the fact that for 2011, the MoCo is now offering a Power Pak package, the centerpiece of which is not the venerable TC96 powerplant H-D has produced for years, but a new 103ci motor, with increased torque and–to the extent that it matters on a big touring cruiser–horsepower. And the Power Pak does seem like a pretty good value for the money, considering that you get more than just the engine:
Now for the even better news: the optional Power Pak costs $1,995, a bargain when you consider that the cost for upgrading a standard 96-cubic-inch engine is about that for parts and labor alone. Think of the ABS and security system as a bonus. Ditto for the engine ID emblem.
And the 103ci mill is a big improvement, with 102 ft-lbs of torque at 3,500 RPM. That’s just shy of a 10% increase over the TC96′s output.
However, you should probably be aware of this, before you buy:
Which begs the question: why doesn’t Harley-Davidson equip all of the Big Twin line with this bigger and better engine? Good question, and when asked, one Harley spokesman merely smiled.
The TC96 is not a bad engine, at all. But a 1574cc engine for a big cruiser when the Big Four are running 1800cc – 2000cc mills–with signifigantly more power–in their competing bikes makes the TC96 a comparatively underpowered engine for such large bikes. Even Victory has switched their entire model line over to a 106ci mill for their 2011 models. And by comparison, the 2011 Victorys’ engine will put out–depending on the factory options you want–up to 113 ft-lbs of torque, or nearly 10% more than the Harley’s 103ci mill does.
The TC96–despite being unveiled in 2007–is just a bit long in the tooth, in the sense that it produces torque and horsepower that reflect the standards of an engine generation ago. It’s better than the 93ci mill it replaced, but it still isn’t on a par with the big Japanese cruiser motors, or the motor that will grace this year’s Victory motorcycles.
I think that smile on the H-D representative’s face indicates that H-D is gearing up for another change to the engine line-up in the next model year or two. With Victory doing so this year, I suspect that makes a change at Harley inevitable in the near future.
So, your question has to be, “Do I want the bigger engine now?, Or can I wait a season or two until it’s standard equipment, and most likely cheaper?”
Here’s a picture of an Erik Buell Racing 1190RR. As we all know, the 1190 is a pure race bike, designed solely for the track, and destined to never, ever be ridden on the street.
That’s why this image is so odd. How does Buell ever expect to win races on a sport bike that’s dragging around the extra weight of turn signals and radiator fans. That’s just insane. Why, the next thing you know, they’ll be sticking rear-view mirrors on it, in defiance of all logic!
What possible reason could there be for putting turn signals and radiator fans on a race bike? We may never know the solution to this impenetrable mystery.
UPDATE: Hey! Those aren’t just turn signals. That looks like a license plate holder. But that simply can’t be, as the 1190 can’t be registered as a street bike. Clearly this is part of some new scheme for displaying the name or logo of a racing sponsor. Or something.
Man! This just gets wierder and more inexplicable, doesn’t it?
Harley-Davidson unveiled their new model year bikes today, expanding the product line to 32 motorcycles. OK, so its really more like 32 versions of the same 4 motorcycles. Whatever.
Still missing from the Harley lineup for 2011: a beginner bike of any kind, and more specifically, one that can be used in the company’s proprietary Rider’s Edge program for training beginning riders. H-D indicates such a bike will be available within three years. I doubt that’s very comforting to dealers who need the bikes for the program now, however. And I’m not sure that Harley is going to like the image of riders on Honda Rebels taking their proprietary training.
Anyway, the full press release can be found here.
The three new models are shown below.
Of the three new bikes, only one is relatively new, the XR1200X–which has been out for almost a year–one is an “Ultra” trim model of the the existing Road Glide, and one is a lowered Sportster 883.
The Super Low is the bike Harley-Davidson now says is suited for beginning riders. Personally, I think anything over 650cc is a bit too much for a beginning rider. If you positively have to start riding a V-Twin, I’d recommend the V-Star Classic or the Suzuki S50, both of which are substantially lighter, and substantially less expensive–$1500 in the case of the V-Star–than the Super Low.
If you really want a good beginner bike, skip cruisers and sport bikes altogether, and get a Kawasaki Versys. It’s 100 pounds lighter, it sits the rider up high enough that you can see over traffic–and traffic can see you–far more maneuverable and confidence inspiring, and still costs $500 less than the Harley.
In my opinion, you need some miles under your belt before buying a Harley–or a Kawasaki Vulcan 900, or a Honda VTX 1300, for that matter. Later on, if you want a big cruiser, then save your pennies for a Road Glide. As far as I’m concerned, the Road Glide is the nee plus ultra of big V-Twin cruisers.
Victory Motorcycles–the other American motorcycle company–has announced their 2011 model line, and the big news is that they’ve dropped the smaller V-Twin, and now provide every bike in their line-up with the big 106ci V-Twin, as well as a new 6-speed transmission.
Riders also have a choice of bikes sporting Stage 1 or Stage 2 factory tunes as well. Stage 1 engines put out 92HP and 109 ft-lbs of torque, while the Stage 2 tune provides 97HP and 113ft-lbs of torque. In general, the bigger, touring models will have the Stage 1 engine, while the smaller (relatively) bikes will have the Stage 2 cams, making their street cruisers pretty…uh…rockety.
All of the bikes will also sport the upgraded cockpit instrumentation found on last year’s Cross Roads, and the service interval has been increased to 5,000 miles.
Check out Victory’s web site for the details.
BMW always touts their 200,ooo-mile reliability (final drive issues notwithstanding). But sometimes, even the most reliable bike has a problem. And if you’re in a small town in the middle of nowhere–especially on a bike where dealers who can service it are few and far between–getting stranded can be a problem.
But, BMW has just released an iPhone app to help out. And it apparently it’s just chock full of cool stuff:
Compatibility with any registered BMW Motorrad model in the United States (models from 1981 onward).
Expedited handling of BMW Motorrad USA Roadside Assistance requests.
Automatic sharing of GPS location and motorcycle details (color, model, etc.) between the BMW Motorrad USA Roadside Assistance call center and the Motorcycle rider.
Direct telephone access to BMW contact information, including authorized BMW Motorrad Dealers, BMW Motorrad Customer Relations, and of course BMW Motorrad USA Roadside Assistance
You can add up to four different motorcycles to the app–each with it’s own picture–storing the colors, VIN, etc, in the app. So, if you need help, you can just go to your iPhone, and get roadside assistance whenever you need it.
As long as you can get a signal, of course.
Now, they just need to get cracking on an app for Android.
Harley-Davidson announced its 2nd quarter earnings today, showing continuing improvement in key areas, blah, blah, blah. Forget the financial stuff. What leaps out at you is this statement:
Harley-Davidson is the U.S. market share leader of on-road motorcycles among young adults.
Now that’s very interesting, indeed, considering that the average rider age of Harleys has been increasing steadily. Without attracting younger riders, H-D is in for a long, slow decline as their current riders die off. But the phrase “market share leader of on-road motorcycles among young adults” can mean a lot of things. What is it really telling us?
The Kneeslider’s Paul Crowe did some calling around and learned:
[T]he relevant statistics are from R.L. Polk and were covered on the earnings call yesterday.
· . . . in the U.S., no one is reaching new customers better than Harley-Davidson.
· Based on recently provided Polk data, we have been the heavyweight motorcycle category market leader in new motorcycle sales to young adult men and women ages 18 to 34 since at least 2006.
· We have also been the heavyweight market leader since at least 2006 in new motorcycle sales to women riders, Hispanic riders and African American riders ages 35 and older. Of course, we are also the market leader among Caucasian men ages 35 and older.
· And when it comes to new motorcycle sales to young adults in ALL sizes of on-road motorcycles, Harley-Davidson has been the U.S. market share leader since 2008.
While talking to Bob Klein, I also found that a lot of this is directly attributable to sales of the Iron 883 and the Forty Eight.
That’s very, very positive for the Motor Company.
I recently mentioned the new Ducati that’s going to be unveiled later this year. There was one lame spy shot, and a concept drawing of the Ducati Project 0803 motorcycle. Well, today, we got another spy shot, this time courtesy of Italian motorcycling site Moto Sprint.
This is much better, despite the camouflage paint splotches and masses of black electrical tape. Nice looking exhaust. Interesting side-mounted radiators. Single-sided swingarm.
The American press has been calling this a new model of the Monster, but I think that’s just notional. Over in Italy, they’re just referring to it as a maxi-cruiser.
Maybe it’ll be called the “D-Max”.