CMG is reporting that the pricing for the 2013 Triumph Trophy has been announced for the Canadian market at CDN$19,999.
That’s worse news than I thought, considering the Canadian dollar is about on par with the US dollar now. Still, we’re only getting the full-on SE version in North America, so that’s still more than a grand less than a comparably equipped R1200RT. But it’s still a pricey bike.
As the new model year gets closer, we’re being treated to the first look at some interesting new bikes for the 2013 model year.
One of these is the off-road biased version of the Triumph Explorer, dubbed the XC. It’s available only in the OD Green, military-looking color shown here—Triumph calls it "Khaki Green"—but it will come stock with the fog lamps, crash bars, hang guards and bash plate. Triumph also has a whole mess of accessories and add-ons, available, of course, at a hefty fee.
The wheels are spoked, cast aluminum, with a tubeless design for easier in-the-middle-of-nowhere repairs. The back wheel is still a standard 17", but the front wheel is a more off-road capable 19" design. and, of course, it’s powered by the big-boy 1215cc triple that, so far, everyone is raving about. At 135 HP, it certainly offers a noticeable plus over the 110HP of the venerable 1200cc boxer in the current R1200GS, but we don’t actually know what the new GS power plant will be for the 2013 model. We’ll learn that next month, at the unveiling at INTERMOT. Maybe the difference then won’t be as noticeable. We’ll see.
Anyway, pricing hasn’t been announced, but it’ll probably come in at least $1,000 to $1,500 under the GS.
BMW has announced that the newest RXXXXGS will be unveiled at the INTERMOT show on 2 October. The reason for all the X’s in the bike’s name is…we don’t know what the engine will be. 1200? 1250? 1300? Air-cooled (Probably not)? Rumors have been of a 1250cc water-cooled boxer.
But whatever it is, when we first see it, we will also know what the future of the R1200RT, and the rest of the R-models will be. The GS is the iconic bike in the BMW line-up and the Boxer engine is the heart of BMW’s motorcycle. So, in about a month, BMW will not only be unveiling a new GS model, but also the future of BMW’s motorcycles.
It may be that we will see the end of nearly a century of air-cooled boxers.
If You were around in the 1970s, this bike might look familiar to you. It’s the return of the classic Universal Japanese Motorcycle (UJM), in the shape of the Honda CB1100, a bike previously only available in Japan. It looks like nothing other than a slightly modernized version of the venerable 750 Four, right down to the chrome fenders, and it brings back lots of childhood memories. Now a new generation will get to admire the UJM outside of Japan, as the French and italian motor press has revealed that the Bike will be available in Europe next year, where its already been sited in testing. If Europe gets it, can the US be far behind? Stay tuned.
And speaking of motorcycles from my childhood, Norton is back with the Commando, now in a modern 961cc version, and the lads in Donnington have announced that the Commando 961 will, in fact, be coming to the US. Norton has announced that the three Commando variants have all completed both EPA and CARB durability testing, the first step in getting 50-state approval to import the modern resurrection of this iconic motorcycle.
According to EPA certification documents, Kawasaki is preparing to drop a whole new set of Ninja models into the US market, as well as the big 1000cc version of the Versys. Nothing has been announced by Kawasaki, but the US government isn’t subject to company secrecy rules, so this cat is out of the bag.
Kawasaki now has approval to sell the new Ninja 300R, the Ninja 400R that has been available only in Canada until now (the 2012 model of which is shown at left), a brand new version of the ZX-6R that is powered by a 636cc powerplant, and the new Versys 1000 that is currently a European-only model.
Now, the fact that that the EPA has approved all of these models doesn’t necessarily mean they’re going to be sold here. I’m not sure at all what purpose the the Ninja 400R would serve, for example, as it’s essentially the current Ninja 650R with smaller cylinders, meaning it has the same weight and size of the 650 with substantially less power, but not a substantially lower price. The Ninja 300R, however, pumps out 7HP more than the 250R.
The Versys 1000, on the other hand, should be a no-brainer for the US market, as the Versys platform is arguably one of the best all-rounders out there, and the increase to 116.4HP on the 100cc version should make it just about perfect for…well…just about any kind of street or highway riding you might do.
Finally, the ZX-6R is interesting in that the 636cc engine now makes it—officially, at least—ineligible for the AMA’s Daytrona SportBike racing class, which limits 4-cylinder bikes to 600cc displacement. The extra 36ccs displacement also add horsepower, brining the new model up to a claimed 129.4 HP.
There is a bit of a down note to all this, sadly, as both the Ninja 400R and Versys 1000 are NOT cleared for California emissions approval, so they cannot be sold there. I suspect Big Green will move quickly for CARB certification, however, if the big Versys sells well in the other 49 states, which it should, as it is, by all accounts, a great motorcycle.
Motorcycle.Com has announced their picks for the Best Motorcycles of 2012. I note that the Honda NC700X I wrote about previously won a spot on the list as the Best Value in a motorcycle. The Other thing I notice is that BMW pulls away with some of the top honors this year. Best Touring Bike, Best Sportbike, best Sport-Tourer, and an Honorable Mention for Best Scooter. Their motorcycle of the year, however, is the quickest-accelerating production vehicle ever produced: The Kawasaki ZX-14.
Motus Motorcycles, a new company, making motorcycles with a proprietary 1650cc V-4 engine, says that at least 8 dealerships will receive the two Motus models in the summer or fall of this year.
The MST model is the sport-touring version shown above. It will boast 165 HP, Öhlins front suspension, and Givi hard bags. The MST-R is the sportier, 185hp roadster version, sans bags, full Öhlins suspension, and other performance goodies. List price for the MST starts at $30,975, and $36,975 for the MST-R.
A bit pricey, but you get what you pay for, I guess.
Cycle World once again picks the 10 best bikes for the year. They’re unveiling the results day by day. It was no surprise that yesterday’s pick for top standard was the new, improved Kawasaki Z1000, which, by all accounts, is a fantastic motorcycle. The brand new Triumph Tiger 800XC, was a bit of a surprise as the best Dual-Sport, though. I think that may change when the new wears off the Trumpet.
Similarly, today has a surprise, too. The shocker is not that the Ducati Multistrada wins the best open streetbike award. It may be one of the best all-round motorcycles ever produced by anyone. Personally, it’s the best motorcycle I’ve ever ridden. The unexpected win for today is that the Ducati Diavel–a bike that has only been available in the US for several weeks–has been selected as the best cruiser of the year.
While I’ve seen it, I haven’t gotten to ride it yet, but I don’t think it’s a “cruiser”. It’s definitely something, but, aside from seating position and fat rear tire, it’s not what comes to mind when I think of a cruiser.
But congrats to Ducati. These two bikes account for a hefty share of the 61% sales increase Ducati has achieved in the US over the last quarter.
Motus Motorcycles, an Alabama-based startup, has been working on a completely new, American-made, sport touring motorcycle. We’ve seen glimpses of the engine, as well as artist concepts of the bike, but now, Motus has finally debuted the complete bike, in the flesh.
The MST-01 is built around a completely new engine, designed by racing powerplant builder Pratt & Miller. Named the KMV4, the direct-fuel-injected engine has a claimed output of 160HP and 122 lb-ft of torque at redline. That power comes, however, without a significant weight penalty, with the engine weighing 130 lbs, and the 6-speed transmission adding about another 70 lbs. This results in a claimed wet weight of just 530 lbs.
Brakes are by Brembo, and suspension is by Öhlins, so pretty much all of the bike is built with top-flight components. This componentry comes at a cost, however, so the price will probably be siognificantly higher than the main Japanese competitors, the FJR1300 and Concours14.
Honda has announced the new 2012 Gold Wing, which I guess is the premier, non-Harley touring bike.
There was some talk that Honda would be coming up with a big redesign of their flagship bike, but…not this year. The changes are essentially these:
- Less curvy, more angular styling
- Increased wind protection, which I didn’t actually think was possible.
- New saddlebags with 7 liters more space
- Redesigned dashboard
- tweaks to the suspension.
Other than that, it’s pretty much unchanged.
The base model pricing comes in at $23,199, which is 1 shiny dollar cheaper than the Wing’s new competition, the BMW K1600GTL.
Honda, of course, has an entirely different take on the amazing amazingness that is the 2012 Gold Wing, and if you want to read that, Honda’s press release is below the fold.
The secret is finally out! Here is the high-res image of the new 1190RS from Erik Buell.
As you can see, it’s a race bike, albeit one that has mirrors and turn signals grafted on to make it street legal. The body is all lightweight carbon fiber, and a small number–just enough for racing homologation–will be hand-produced. No word on the cost yet, but you can bet the price will be in the jumbo jet altitude. More reasonably priced street models are planned for later, although that will take investors and production facilities.
I do have to say, though…that exhaust isn’t doin’ it for me.
Ah, science! It’s so good at telling us that things we “know” are true…aren’t. In this case, it’s the idea that the extra weight of a helmet on one’s head increases the chance of a spine injury, as the extra weight snaps your whiplashing vertebrae like toothpicks. The people who don’t like to wear helmets have all sorts of stupid pseudo-scientific reasons for why not wearing a helmet is “safer”.
A Johns Hopkins study of crash data from more than 40,000 motorcycle accidents showed that wearing a helmet was associated with a 22% reduction in cervical injuries. There was also–as if it wasn’t blindingly obvious–a 65% reduction in traumatic brain injuries at a 37% decrease in death.
Look, I, personally, don’t care if you wear a helmet or not. I certainly wouldn’t force you to wear one. But if you don’t wear one, and end up with a crack on the head that turns you into a broccoli floret, I don’t see why I have to pick up the tab for it, either.
ATK motorcycles has, as I’ve mentioned previously, been working on getting small-displacement V-Twins sold through some selected Harley-Davidson dealerships. In what seems to be keeping with direction, the company announced that they’ve brought Jon Syverson, a former Harley-Davidson Sales Manager, on board as Executive Vice President.
ATK’s stated goal is to offer entry-level bikes to customers at Harley-Davidson dealers in order to help catch a younger generation of riders, and have them convert to the bigger Harleys in the fullness of time.
The full press release is below the fold.
Polaris has released their 4th quarter numbers, and It looks like it’s champagne time at their headquarters. Unlike Harley-Davidson, which reported yet another loss in the 4th quarter, Polaris has moved firmly into the black.
Net income for the fourth quarter 2010 was a record $54.5 million, an increase of 24 percent over the same period in 2009. Record sales of $618.4 million for the fourth quarter 2010 increased 31 percent over 2009 fourth quarter sales of $471.8 million.
For the full year ended December 31, 2010, Polaris reported record net income of $147.1 million, or a record $4.28 per diluted share, compared to $101.0 million, or $3.05 per diluted share for the year ended December 31, 2009. This represents a 40 percent increase on a per diluted share basis and a 46 percent increase in net income.
Polaris, of course, makes much more than motorcycles, but Victory certainly did its part in 2010, moving 81,624 motorcycles compared to 52,811 in 2009. That’s a 55% increase in sales, and was the largest sales increase of any of Polaris’ product lines.
Congratulations to Victory, and Polaris, who are showing real strength when most other manufacturers are still scrambling to cut losses.
Ducati’s Pierre Terblanche, designer of the beautiful Ducati Supermoto, is moving to Norton Motorcycles in the UK to design bikes. Since Norton currently produces only the 961 Commando, I think we can assume that the reborn British maker has some other models in the works. If I was guessing, I would say the Norton rotary-powered NRV588 is the prime candidate for Terblanche’s design magic.
If so, he could do a lot worse than to come up with an update of the classic John Player Special version of the Norton Commander F1.
One of the most beautiful bikes ever made.