2011 Hondas Unveiled…Sort Of

Honda is planning to unveils a new adventure bike at EICMA next week.  This new bike is based on the new V-4 platform that is currently embodied only in the VFR1200F.  Honda has been saying that this new platform will be the basis for a number of different motorcycles, and this new adventure bike will be the second.  There’s only a sketch of it, no photos or anything else.

2011 Honda V4 adventure bike sketch
2011 Honda V4 adventure bike sketch

You can tell it’s an adventure bike, because it has a beak.  Despite being an “Adventure” bike, Honda has indicated this will be an on-road bike.  Other than that, we’ll have to wait for EICMA next week in Italy to learn more. So, I guess this doesn’t actually count as an unveiling yet, especially as the new bike probably will vary a fair bit from this sketch.  In particular, the rear looks like they just slapped a CBR100RR  rear end on it. Surely, for an adventure bike, those pegs will be thicker and wider.  As always, I love me a single-sided swingarm.

What we do have firm details on, is the new CBR250R, an entry-level street bike that incorporates what appears to be a new design direction for Honda, following the controversial looks of the VFR1200F.

2011 Honda CBR250R
2011 Honda CBR250R

Note the multi-layered fairing and the frog-shaped headlight–design features shared not only by the VFR, but the adventure bike sketch above. I guess this is a look that will define the new generation of Hondas. In this case, the design is wrapped around a 250cc four-stroke thumper that puts out about 26HP through a 6-speed transmission. I really like the looks of this bike a lot, and it should be a great beginner bike, especially as this little guy also comes with optional ABS brakes.

A&R has a couple of more pics with the different color schemes.

Honda provided the tech specs below.

2011 Honda CBR250R / CBR250R ABS Technical Specifications:

Engine:
Engine Type:
249.4cc liquid-cooled single-cylinder four-stroke
Bore and Stroke:
76mm x 55mm
Compression ratio:
10.7:1
Valve Train:
DOHC; four valves per cylinder
Induction:
PGM-FI, 38mm throttle body
Ignition:
Computer-controlled digital transistorized with electronic advance
Transmission:
Six-speed

Suspension:
Front:
37mm fork
Rear:
Pro-Link single shock with five positions of spring preload adjustability

Brakes:
Front:
Single 296mm disc
Rear:
Single 220mm disc
Optional ABS

Tires:
Front:
110/70-17 radial
Rear:
140/70-17 radial

Dimensions:
Wheelbase:
53.9 inches
Rake (Caster Angle):
25.0°
Trail:
95mm (3.74 inches)
Seat Height:
30.9 inches
Fuel Capacity:
3.4 gallons
Colors:
Metallic Black, Red/Silver
Curb Weight*:
359 pounds / 368 pounds (ABS)

*Includes all standard equipment, required fluids and full tank of fuel—ready to ride.

2011 KTM Adventure 990 Dakar

2011 KTM Adventure 990 Dakar
2011 KTM Adventure 990 Dakar

KTM will be unveiling a new version of the 990 at EICMA next week.  Although, since an official image got leaked today to Bikes in the Fast Lane, I guess it won’t be so much unveiled as confirmed.

This new version is known as the “Dakar”. See? it even says it on the tail, along with a catchy graphic of a fellow wearing a burnoose as protection from the burning desert sands.

It is also mind-numbingly–almost gloriously–ugly.  The bodywork is a steel blue that is made hideously unflattering by the orange highlights of the frame, crash bars, and rear-views.  from the front, it looks like some sort of monstrous, child-eating robot.  I’m sure uglier bikes have been spotted for the 2011 model year, but not by reliable obeservers.

We also know nothing about the bike that can’t be seen in the photo.  No specs, performance numbers, or anything else.

Just this threatening lump of blue and orange.

Usually, I am a lover of all types of motorcycles, and I usually like the angular nature of KTM’s design motif, but this thing just frightens me.  I can’t imagine having it in my garage.  I’d be afraid that late one night, I’d hear it repeating over and over, “I am Nomad.  Sterilize.”

2011 INTERMOT Roundup

INTERMOT Logo

Today was a big unveiling day at the INTERMOT motorcycle show in Köln (Cologne), Germany.  Keeping track of it has made this a bit of a hectic day, as there were a number of interesting new models, as well as major updates to existing ones, shown to the public for the first time.  I’ve put up detailed posts for the various announcements, which are linked below.

BMW finally unveiled the long-awaited 6-cylinder touring bikes announced a couple of months ago. The K1600GT will replace the K1300GT, while the K1600GTL will replace the K1200LT.

Kawasaki introduced two new models, as well as a top-to-bottom revision of the venerable ZX-10R. The new models include a budget sport-tourer based on the Z1000, called the Ninja 1000, and a new Dark Custom touring cruiserm known as the Vaquero.

Austria’s KTM showed off two new models that won’t be seen on the streets here in the US: the Duke 125 for beginning riders in Europe, and a track-only version of the RC8.

Suzuki rolled out the updated models of the GSX-R series, with updated engines, as well as significant weight loss.

Ducati displayed the new 1198 SP, which replaces the 1198 S, and listed some nice upgrades that will show up on 2011’s base model of the 1198, too.

Triumph announced the new model of the Thunderbird, called the storm, with a beefier engine than the base model.

And this is only the beginning.  It seems a lot of manufacturers are still holding cards up their sleeves that they are waiting to drop on the table at EICMA next month in Italy.

2011 Triumph Thunderbird Storm

Triumph unveiled a new addition to its cruiser line at the INTERMOT show in Cologne, Germany today, with the introduction of the 2011 Triumph Thunderbird Storm.

2011 Triumph Thunderbird Storm
2011 Triumph Thunderbird Storm

Once again, Triumph follows the “Dark Custom” styling movement with the Storm’s blacked out engine case and radiator cover.  The dual headlights are another stylistic difference from the base Thunderbird.  the chassis and components are essentially the same, however. The big difference is that the standard 1600cc Thunderbird’s parallel-twin has been bored out to 1700cc for the Storm, resulting in an engine output of 100HP, and 115 ft-lbs of torque. Previously, this engine was available as an $899 option on the standard Thunderbird, but now it’s in a model of its own.

2011 Ducati 1198 SP

Ducati’s big news at the German INTERMOT show was the 1198 SP, which replaces last year’s 1198 S.

2011 Ducati 1198 SP
2011 Ducati 1198 SP

The updated 1198 now comes with a standard slipper clutch and quick shifter, as well as an Öhlins TTX rear shock. Upgrades to the base 1198 model have not been slighted either, as it now comes standard with the Ducati Traction Control (DTC), Ducati Data Analyzer (DDA), and the Ducati Quick Shift (DQS). Interestingly, despite the addition of the $1,400 Öhlins TTX, the price of the SP model is only $200 more than the S model it replaces. The base model 1198’s price is also unchanged.

In both cases, the upgrades are terrific additions to an already terrific sportbike.

2011 Suzuki GSX-R600 and GSX-R750

Suzuki might have sat the last model year out in the US, but they unveiled new Gixxers at the German INTERMOT Bike Show to announce their triumphant return with slimmed-down models of what is probably the most popular sportbike in the world.

2011 Suzuki GSX-R600
2011 Suzuki GSX-R600

Visually, there’s no difference, other than paint schemes, between the 600cc and 750cc model Gixxers.  Indeed, they look similar to previous model years, too. Underneath the plastic, of course, it’s a bit of a different story. Suzuki has given the GSX-R series a new chassis, different ergos, and updated motors. A Showa Big-Piston Fork (BPF) replaces the conventional cartridge fork of previous years, while the wheels come with new hubs, axles, and bearings–which are incompatible with previous models, by the way. The brakes are now full-bull Brembo monoblocs. But the big difference shows up on the scales, with the new GSX-Rs shedding 18 pounds.

The bikes come equipped with the Suzuki Drive Mode Selector (S-DMS) system, which Suzuki says…

…allows the rider to use a button mounted on the left handlebar switch module to select one of two engine control maps, regulating the fuel injection, secondary throttle valve and ignition systems. The two maps are designated A and B, with Map A delivering full power and acceleration and Map B producing more moderate acceleration. The S-DMS system allows the rider to select a map to suit various riding conditions and personal preference on the road, for example choosing one map for highway cruising and the other map for tight country roads. Switching from one map to the other is instantaneous.

Sadly, a full spec sheet on the new Gixxers isn’t available yet, so we don’t know exactly what engine power increase goes along with the lower weight.

I have to say, the looks of the new Gixxers are an improvement on what was not an unattractive motorcycle to begin with.

2011 KTM Models

KTM’s releases at the INTERMOT show in Germany come in two flavors, neither of which will be seen tooling around American streets any time soon.

2011 KTM Duke 125

2011 KTM Duke 125
2011 KTM Duke 125

Designed with entry-level riders in mind, especially with Europe’s rigorous graduated-license scheme, the long-awaited–and long-seen–Duke 125 got its official unveiling today. The Baby Duke has a four-stroke, liquid-cooled, 4-valve, DOHC, single-cylinder engine. It weighs in at a featherweight 282 pounds wet, with an output of 15Hp and 8.9 ft-lbs of torque–both at fairly high RPMs. Alas, this model is meant for European riders only, so it won’t show up on this side of the pond.

2011 KTM 1190 RC8R Track

2011 KTM 1190 RC8 Track
2011 KTM 1190 RC8 Track

Not street-legal anywhere, any way, this track-only version of the RC8 boast nothing in the way of street-legal devices.  It comes ready to race at the your local track day.  You’ll just need a trailer to get it there.  And, considering the money you’ll save by not having to convert a street bike for track use, you’ll probably be able to afford the trailer.  Or, rather, you would, if only the track-only version of the bike didn’t cost more than the street version.

2011 Kawasaki Models

Kawasaki’s 2011 line-up became a little clearer today, with the release of some new models at the INTERMOT show in Köln (Cologne), Germany.

2011 Kawasaki ZX-10R

2011 Kawasaki ZX-10R
2011 Kawasaki ZX-10R

First up is the new ZX-10R, which Kawasaki claims is a new bike from the ground up.  Topping the list of features on this bike is the introduction of Sport-Kawasaki Traction Control (S-KTRC), Kawasaki’s answer to the BMW S1000RR’s DTC, which has been ported over from the Concours14. In addition, Kawasaki adds an ABS option for the ZX-10R.  We don’t know much about the power output, but we do know that the the compression ratio has been raised to 13:1, the airbox capacity has been increased,injectors enlarged to 43mm, etc., so, while it may not do it in stock trim, a little tinkering with the exhaust and ECU mapping could result in around 200HP at the crank. Kawi has also put it on a serious diet, with a wet weight of 436.6 pounds, which is 22 pounds less than the 2010 model.

Engine: Four-stroke, liquid-cooled, DOHC, four valves per cylinder, inline-four
Displacement: 998cc
Bore x stroke: 76.0 x 55.0mm
Compression ratio: 13.0:1
Fuel system: DFI with four 47mm Keihin throttle bodies with oval sub-throttles, two injectors per cylinder
Ignition: TCBI with digital advance and Sport-Kawasaki Traction Control (S-KTRC)
Transmission: Six-speed
Final drive: Chain
Rake / trail: 25.0 degrees / 4.33 in.
Front tire: 120/70 ZR17
Rear tire: 190/55 ZR17
Wheelbase: 56.1 in.
Front suspension: 43mm inverted Big Piston Fork (BPF) with DLC coating, adjustable rebound and compression damping, spring preload adjustability / 4.7 in.
Rear suspension: Horizontal Back-link with gas-charged shock and top-out spring, stepless, dual-range (low-/high-speed) compression damping, stepless rebound damping, fully adjustable spring preload / 4.9 in.
Front brakes: Dual semi-floating 310mm petal discs with dual four-piston radial-mount calipers
Rear brakes: Single 220mm petal disc with aluminum single-piston caliper
Overall length: 81.7 in.
Overall width: 28.2 in.
Overall height: 43.9 in.
Seat height: 32.0 in.
Curb weight: 436.6 lbs.
Fuel capacity: 4.5 gal.
Color choices: Lime Green / Ebony, Ebony / Flat Ebony
MSRP: $13,799 / ABS $14,799
Warranty: 12 Months

2011 Kawasaki Ninja 1000

2011 Kawasaki Ninja 1000
2011 Kawasaki Ninja 1000

For the less pure-sport-minded, and more sport-touring inclined, Kawasaki has essentially slapped a fairing on the new Z1000, and kitted it out for taking the long road, with optional hard bags and trunk, as well as heated grips. The result is the new Ninja 1000, which presumably has the same 122 horsepower and 72 lb-ft torque at the rear wheel as the Z1000. The relatively tall windscreen is also manually adjustable at three different positions for even better wind protection.  No MSRP has been announced, but this seems like quite a nice potential sport-tourer for those on a budget.

Engine: Four-stroke, liquid-cooled, DOHC, 16 valve Inline Four
Displacement: 1043cc
Bore x stroke: 77 x 56mm
Compression ratio: 11.8:1
Fuel system: DFI with four 38mm Keihin throttle bodies, oval sub-throttles
Ignition: TCBI with digital advance
Transmission: X-ring chain
Final drive: Chain
Rake / trail: 24.5 degrees / 4 in.
Front tire: 120/70 ZR17
Rear tire: 190/50 ZR17
Wheelbase: 56.9 inches
Front suspension: 41mm inverted fork, adjustable for compression, rebound and preload, 4.7 inches travel
Rear suspension: Horizontal monoshock, adjustable for rebound and preload, 5.4 inches travel
Front brakes: Dual 300mm petal-type rotors with radial-mount four-piston calipers
Rear brakes: Single 250mm petal-type rotor with single-piston caliper
Seat height: 32.3 inches
Curb weight: 502.7 pounds
Fuel capacity: 5 gallons
Color choices: Ebony, Candy Fire Red / Ebony
MSRP: $TBD
Warranty: 12 Months

2011 Kawasaki Vulcan 1700 Vaquero

2011 Kawasaki Vulcan 1700 Vaquero
2011 Kawasaki Vulcan 1700 Vaquero

The popularity of the Harley-Davidson Street Glide has led Victory, and now Kawasaki, to come up with a close analog.  In Kawasaki’s case, it’s the new Vaquero, although the fixed, frame-mounted fairing makes it a closer analog to the Road Glide.  In any case, the new Vaquero sports lots of blacked-out metal, following–once again–Harley-Davidson in catering to the “Dark Custom” craze so popular in today’s cruiser community. Kawasaki’s updated 1700cc (104ci) SOHC V-Twin is said to put out 108 ft-lbs of torque, a number signifigantly superior to the H-D twin, and on a par with the torque produced by the new 109ci Victory powerplant. In addition to large, easy-to-read gauges (which Kawasaki says are inspired by American muscle cars) on the dash of the fairing, there’s also a multi-function LCD display for mileage, clock, temp, etc., which is manipulated by a handlebar switch.  Of course, no cross-country cruiser would be complete without an audio system, so Kawasaki has made certain that the Vaquero’s AM/FM/WX system is also compatible with an iPod, an XM tuner, or a CB radio.

Engine: Four-stroke, liquid-cooled, SOHC, four valve per cylinder, 52° V-twin
Displacement: 1700cc / 103.7 cu. in.
Bore x stroke: 102 x 104mm
Compression ratio: 9.5:1
Maximum torque: 108 lb-ft @ 2750 rpm
Cooling: Liquid, plus cooling fins
Induction: Digital fuel injection, dual 42mm throttle bodies
Ignition: TCBI with Digital Advance
Transmission: Six-speed with overdrive and positive neutral finder
Final drive: Belt
Frame: Steel, double-cradle with box-section single-tube backbone
Rake / trail: 30 degrees / 7.0 in.
Front suspension / wheel travel: 43mm hydraulic fork / 5.5 in.
Rear suspension / wheel travel: Swingarm with twin air-assisted shocks, with 4-way rebound damping / 3.1 in.
Front tire: 130/90×16
Rear tire: 170/70×16
Front brakes: Dual 300mm discs, dual twin-piston calipers
Rear brakes: 300mm disc, twin-piston caliper
Overall length: 98.8 in.
Overall width: 38.2 in.
Overall height: 50.8 in.
Ground clearance: 5.7 in.
Seat height: 28.7 in.
Wheelbase: 65.6 in.
Curb weight: 835.7 lbs.
Fuel capacity: 5.3 gal.
Colors: Ebony, Candy Fire Red
MSRP standard / two-tone: $TBD
Warranty: 24 Months

2011 Triumph Speed Triple

2011 Triumph Speed Triple
2011 Triumph Speed Triple

Via Hell For Leather, the details of the new 2011 Triumph Speed Triple have leaked the night before its official unveiling.

The look of the Speed Triple is all new, most notably with the headlights changing from the traditional round headlamps to an excitingly chunky and angular shape. In addition, an entirely new aluminum frame holds it all together. the riding position has also been shifted slightly forward. There’s also the new 43mm USD forks, which are now fully adjustable.  Triumph claims the improvements to the frame and ergonomics improve the bike’s handling.

Many of the improvements, however, are under the hood, not out in plain sight. Among them is a weight loss of 5 lbs, bringing the weight weight down to 417lbs.  At the same time, the engine’s output has been increased from 128HP to 134HP at 9,400RPM, while torque has been boosted from 76 ft-lbs to 82 ft-lbs at 7,750RPM.

Finally, for the first time, ABS brakes are available on the Speed Triple as an option–although if you choose them, that kind of throws out the 5 lb weight reduction.

No word yet on pricing, but given Triumph’s commitment to value, something close to the current year’s price range of $8,899-$9,599 seems likely.

California outlaws loud pipes

I guess now we’ll see if loud pipes really do save lives.

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed Senate Bill 435 yesterday that will authorize state law enforcement to ticket motorcyclists who have swapped out their stock pipes for an aftermarket exhaust. The new law will make it a crime to operate a motorcycle manufactured after January 1, 2013, that does not meet federal noise-emission standards. Motorcycles will be required to display a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) label certifying that the exhaust system is clean burning and does not exceed 80 decibels. First-time offenders will face fines up to $100 while subsequent infractions can run up to $250.

Now that it’s become law in California, you can expect this to be implemented in other states as well.

Luckiest. Pope. Ever.

It was a big day for His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI, as Ducati Holdings CEO Gabriele Del Torchio popped by the Pope’s residence at Castel Gandolfo to drop off two brand new Multistrada 1200s. Both bikes are nicely custom painted with the gold and white papal color scheme.

Pope Benedict XVI and his new Ducati Multistradas
Pope Benedict XVI and his new Ducati Multistradas

Il Papa himself won’t be riding the bikes, however, as they are slated for use by the Papal Gendarmerie.  I just hope that they can manage to keep their speed down low enough not to leave the papal motorcade shrinking on the horizon behind them.

Harley stays in Wisconsin

I guess the tough talk about scouting for new production locations worked.

Unions at Harley-Davidson Wisconsin factories have agreed to seven-year labor agreements that will keep the company’s production operations in The Motor Company’s home state. The new labor contracts, which call for a reduced workforce, will take effect in in April 2012.

The unions’ workforce will be trimmed by 325 full-time jobs, with those positions now being filled only on an as-needed basis.

In the stead of lost full-time union positions, H-D will source a part-time workforce as needed. In its press release announcing the new labor agreement Harley-Davidson described the new part-time status: “The production system includes the addition of a “casual” workforce component – unionized employees who work as required, depending on seasonal needs and to provide coverage for vacations and other absences.”

I’m sure the workers aren’t particularly happy about the new contract, but I suspect they’d have been less happy if Harley had decided to move production to some other state–probably one with right-to-work laws.