Motus: It’s on!

mst01_gallery_feature_02

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.

Best of the year

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 MST-01 debuts

Motus MST-01
2012(?) Motus MST-01

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.

Mor info and pictures are available at The Kneeslider, and Motorcyclist Magazine.

2012 Honda Gold Wing breaks cover

2012 Honda Gold Wing
2012 Honda Gold Wing

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.

Continue reading “2012 Honda Gold Wing breaks cover”

Erik Buell Racing 1190RS

The secret is finally out! Here is the high-res image of the new 1190RS from Erik Buell.

Erik Buell Racing 1190RS
Erik Buell Racing 1190RS

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.

Another Helmet Myth Debunked

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 hires an ex-Harley exec

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.

Continue reading “ATK hires an ex-Harley exec”

The “Other American Motorcycle Company” is doing well

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.

Pierre Terblanche moves to Norton

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.

1991 Norton Commander F1 John Player Special

One of the most beautiful bikes ever made.

Speaking of Honda…

…A&R reports that:

Honda Motor Co. is all set to unload a choice piece of property in Kern County this year (Southern California residents should find this statement funny), as the company has put up for sale the Honda Proving Center of California (HPCC). Consisting of a total of 4,255 acres (give or take a few), the proving ground facility consists of a 7.5 mile oval, a 4.5 mile track of winding city roadway, skid pad, MX/SX track, support facilities, offices, warehouses, and plenty of desert terrain just to name a few of the highlights.

So, if you’ve got the money, and are looking for your own private race track, here’s your chance.

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?