Honda VFR1200F Pricing Announced…Partially

Honda USA has announced the pricing for the manual-transmission version of the VFR1200F as $15,999.  Still no pricing for the dual-clutch model, but we can expect it to be significantly higher, I suppose.

I guess I still don’t get it.  Who is this bike for? Certainly not touring people, who will hate its “fuel-suckery +_small tank = limited range/no standard luggage” equation.  Not sport-bikers, who’ll hate dragging around it’s lardy bulk.  Honda had the chance to bring out a really game-changing sport-tourer or hyperbike.  People who’ve rode it say it’s nice, but not spectacular.

Even the old VFR fans I’ve talked to seem disappointed by the specs for the 1200.

And, for 16 grand–probably 17 grand for the duel clutch version…well, that’s almost in BMW territory.

Somehow, I don’t see K13GT riders making a switch to the VFR any time soon.

The Commando is Back

The Norton Commando is one of the iconic bikes of motorcycling.  Back when I was a kid, and the average rider was tooling around on a 500cc BSA, the Norton Commando was the bike to have if you wanted a big, hellishly fast–in 1970 terms–motorcycle.  Sadly, when Nortun went TU several years ago, the Commando disappeared…until now.

2010 Norton Commandos
2010 Norton Commandos

Stuart Garner’s revived Norton Motocycles is now offering the 961cc Commando for the 2010 model year.

The 961 Commando will come in three models: the SE, Cafe racer, and Sport models shown here.

The differences are mainly stylistic, as all three models come with a 961cc parallel-twin, dry sump, pushrod engine, much like the venerable original, which is rated at 80HP at 6,500RPM, and 59 lb-ft of torque at 5,200 RPM.

They all sport Öhlins suspension with full adjustment. Stopping power is provided by twin Brembo 320mm semi-floating hi-carbon stainless steel discs & Brembo 4 piston radial calipers up front, and a single Brembo 220mm disc, with Brembo 2 piston “Gold Line” calipers out back.  A 5-speed gearbox sends the power to the rear wheel via a 525 O-ring chain drive.

The three models have minor weight differences, but the ball park is 415lbs dry, although oil, hydraulic fluid, and enough gas to fill the 4.5 gallon tank will add another 50 pounds or so.

No 2010 Suzukis in the US

Hell for Leather is reporting that Suzuki will not be importing any of their 2010 model motorcycles to the USA.  Due to the slowness of US motorcycle sales, Suzuki has seen their sales decline to 434k motorcycles for the first three quarters of this year, compared to 772k last year.

So, until the current inventory has been absorbed by buyers, no new bikes will hitting the US from Suzuki.

KTM Slashes Prices

For the 2010 model year, KTM announced a while ago that they would undertake a “strategic price realignment” to make their bikes more competitive in the US marketplace.  That’s probably a wise move, considering that KTMs, while nice bikes, have always been very pricey.  But the announcement didn’t give us much of an idea of what “strategic price realignment” meant to the Austrians.  Now we know.

2010 KTM RC8
2010 KTM RC8

First up is theKTM RC8, the base-model superbike with the 1190cc V-Twin engine.  The price for this bike has been slashed by $3,000, with a new MSRP of $16,498.

The RC8’s 1148cc V-Twin mill pumps out 155HP at 10,000RPM and 88.5 lb-ft of torque at 8,000RPM.  Without fuel, the ready-to-race weight is 405 lbs.

2010 KTM RC8 R
2010 KTM RC8 R

But, maybe you’re one of those lusty, gusty fellows who needs a bit more power.  If so, the RC8 R, with it’s 170HP , 1195cc V-Twin, and upgraded components, has also been priced significantly lower, at 19,998.  They’ve got red Bull and Akraprovic special edition models, at slightly north of $23k, but the R model is now superbike ready, at a bit less of a superbike price.

All of the other KTM models, including the popular–but agonizingly ugly–990 Adventure also see similar price cuts.

2010 KTM 990 Adventure
2010 KTM 990 Adventure

Aaaaaugh!  My eyes!  My eyes!  The pain!

I’m sure uglier motorcycles have been seen out on the road.  But not by reliable observers.

I hear it’s quite popular among the well-to-do adventure biker set, though.

2010 Moto Guzzi Norge GT 8V

Moto Guzzi has announced the newest generation of their Norge sport-tourer, the Norge 8V.  New for 2010 is a new 1200cc L-twin with 4 valves per cylinder, as well as a redesigned fairing for better heat management and weather protection, and some more comfort features.

The Italian Eagle’s press release describes the new generation of the Norge in glowing terms, but that’s all PR stuff, so, if you want to read it, it’s below the fold.

There are few spoecs available yet, but MG claims 83lb-ft of torque at 5,800RPM, and “more than 100HPin power, all at a maximum rpm nearly that of an automobile”, whatever that means.  The gearbox has six speeds, and seat height is 31.5 inches.

It’s certainly a pretty bike–all the MGs are–but at 100HP, it’s the least sporty of the sport-tourers.  And, of course, here in the US, dealer network support is even sparser than BMW’s.

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EICMA Goodies

The new bikes are now being officially unveiled at the EICMA show in Milan, and it’s a nice crop so far.  Ducati and MV Agusta have made the big splashes today, with MV showing off the 2010 F4, and Ducati releasing the long-awaited Multistrada, as well as the Hypermotard 1100 EVO.

Click on any of the pics below to enlarge.

2010 MV Agusta F4
2010 MV Agusta F4

Let’s start with the 2010 MV Agusta F4.  MV Agusta  says that they’ve updated the Tamburini design to a more modern look.  If by modern, you mean “acutely angled and sort of ugly”, well, I guess they did.  There’s lots of improvements under the fairing though, getting an additional 3 HP out of a 3cc smaller 998cc engine, and shedding 22lbs of dead weight.  It also comes with a 8-level traction control system, a new chassis, swingarm, and 4-1 exhaust system.

2010 Ducati Multistrada
2010 Ducati Multistrada

The 2010 Ducati Multistrada has a new 150HP engine pushing 417lbs down the road.  The new powerplant is called the Testastretta 11° engine, and comes with a nice slipper clutch, because while a slipper clutch might not be a usual requirement for an on-road enduro bike, it should be for a Ducati.

There will be three variants of the Multistrada:

  • The 1200 base model with ABS brakes,
  • The 1200S with the new Ducati Electronic Suspension (DES) system and Öhlins suspension components,
  • And, the 1200S Touring with all the above and hard bags.
2010 Ducati Hypermotard 1100 EVO SP
2010 Ducati Hypermotard 1100 EVO SP

“Hypermotard” always seems like some sort of non-PC epithet you’d call a developmentally disabled dirt-biker,  But the Europeans seem to disagree, so we’ll use their unflattering word for the Ducati Hypermotard 1100 EVO. It’s got 95HP and weighs 379lbs, which is 15.5 less than last year.  There’s also an EVO SP model. It’s got an upgraded suspension, with an Öhlins setup in back and Marzocchi forks up front.

2010 Ducati 848 Dark
2010 Ducati 848 Dark

Finally, Ducati released a poor man’s 848, called the 848 Dark.  It should retail for about $1,000 less than the base model of the 848.  Nobody seems sure yet how they’ve downgraded it from the “base” model.  But if you want a cheap, black Ducati 848, here you go.

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EICMA Leaks Like A Sieve

Somehow, official photos of new motorcycles have been leaking out prior to the officially scheduled release at the EICMA motorcycle show in Milan.

Here’s a photo gallery of what we’ve gotten so far

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2010 BMW R-Series Motorcycles

By far the most popular search that leads people to this site, is a search for the rumored variants of the BMW R1200RT for 2010, such as “R1300RT”, or R1250RT”.  Everyone seems to want to know what the 2010 version of the BMW R-bikes are going to be.

Well, now we know.  It’s the R1200RT, and R1200GS.

2010 BMW R1200RT
2010 BMW R1200RT

BMW announced today that the 2010 R-Series bikes will all sport a DOHC Boxer motor derived from the Hp2 Sport.  Unlike the HP2 Sport, however, the R Engine will rev lower, and put out less horsepower.

So, the horsepower figure for the R-series Boxer will remain unchanged at 110HP, but torque will increase by 3lb-ft to 88lb-ft at an unchanged 6,000RPM, for faster acceleration.  The redline will increase to 8,500 RPM from the current 8,000rpm.

The R1200RT will receive an updated fairing and windscreen, designed to offer better wind protection.  The instrument panel has also been updated, with redesigned instruments and a visor to help keeps the sun’s glare off a bit better.  Also updated are the handlebar controls, with the old-style paddle turn signals on each side being replaced by standard turn signals.  An additional control is a rotary thumbwheel on the left handgrip to allow the rider to cycle through all the stereo options without taking his hand off the grip.  The stereo itself gets rid of BMW’s CD player, although a jack is provided for external audio sources.

2010 BMW R1200GS
2010 BMW R1200GS

TheR1200GS is visually unchanged from the previous year’s model, except for the cylider covers, which have two bolts, instead of four.  The new engine, on the other hand also gets the 110HP output, and increase of 5 horsies over last year’s.  There’s also an accessory LED headlight for a few extra bucks.

Overall, the change to the DOHC engine doesn’t provide as much oomph as I would have expected, considering that the HP2 engine actually puts out 130HP in the HP2.  I would’ve thought that BMW would have added more ponies to the R-series boxer, rather than upping the torque a bit.

I’m also a little disappointed in the new styling for the R1200RT.  I think last year’s version looked better, and came in better colors than white, beige and two-tone gray and white.  Overall, I suspect that GS afficionados will be a bit more pleased with the 2010 update than their RT brethren.

There’s tons of detail available from BMW about the new models in PDF format, which you can acquire here for the GS, and here for the RT.

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2010 CR&S Duu Cruiser

Buell Motorcycles may be gone, but their influence lives on in this new cruiser from CR&S, which will available in limited numbers–and only in Europe, alas–for 2010.

2010 CR&S Duu Cruiser
2010 CR&S Duu Cruiser

Notice, if you will, the underslung exhaust and odd side pods, so reminiscent of the Buell 1125R.  It even has a V-Twin powerplant.  Air cooled.  With push rods.

The similarity ends there, however.  The engine isn’t a re-engineered Evo, but a massive 1,916cc v-twin motor.  The side pods house the headlights, rather than air scoops for the (non-existent) radiator.

The company showed this off as a concept bike in August, but apparently it was a pretty concrete concept.  It had to be if they’re ready to produce it now.

They haven’t released any figures on weight or horsepower/torque, but it certainly looks beefy with that huge engine filling up the space under the tank.

At €20,000 (about $35,000 at today’s rate of exchange), it certainly is a pricey beast, but since they’ll be making about…oh, let’s say 50 or so of these bikes over the next year, I’m sure they’ll find the buyers they need to take it off the factory’s hands.

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2010 MV Agusta F4

The EICMA show must getting really close (10 November, 2009, actually), because everybody is giving tantalizing little glimpses of their 2010 motorcycles before heading out to Milan.

2010 MV Agusta F4
2010 MV Agusta F4

Today it’s MV Agusta, with their new F4 sporting its saucy little derriere for the camera.

The first thing that hits me is the angularity of the design.  It looks like they’ve sharpened the curves of the classic Tambourini design.  The same elements are there, lik the flared top of the gas tank, but you can see that the curves have been noticeably narrowed.  Even the tail pipes have been squared off.

It has LED taillights and blinkers.

Oh, yeah, and it’ll come in at least the classic red and silver color scheme at the very least.

And…that’s about all we can see.  It’s not all we know, however, thanks to a press release from MV Agusta describing the new bike, which says, in part:

The engine has been revolutionized: the ultra compact in-line 4-cylinder 998cc engine is capable of reaching 186 hp at 12900 rpm. The highest level of engineering technology have been coupled with the most advanced electronic controls including: twin fuel injectors per cylinder, variable length intake system, slipper clutch and the TC MK II traction control system which has 8 levels of adjustment.

These advancements along with the uniqueness of the radial valve system attribute to the fact that this engine is the most sophisticated and evolved on the market.

The chassis has also been engineered to unheard of levels of compactness, the new single sided rear swingarm has been lengthened while at the same time its weight has been reduced along with the fully adjustable suspension which are all factors that contribute to making the new F4 unique.

The bike that originally revolutionized the world of supersport motorcycles has become even more beautiful, sleeker and modern while maintaining the unmistakable design “Made in MV”. The new xenon headlight and the new super light fairing are factors that contribute to the incredibly narrow cross-sectional area and the new pipe organ exhaust system with a restyled 4-in-1 silencer are all distinctive elements identifying F4 as the most exclusive motorcycle in the world.

It sure sounds neat.  But I’m curious to see what the first post-Tambourini F4 actually looks like.

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2010 Kawasaki Concours14 First look

Pete Brissette of Motorcycle.Com got to spend a day with a brand new 2010 Concours14 that had all the trimmings, including Kawasaki’s new linked ABS system and Traction control.  He really liked it, for a number of reasons.

First kawasaki really seems to have listed to their customers about what was good and bad on the 1st-Gen C14.  The top complaints were heat management and wind protection…not enough of either.  Both issues seem to have been addressed, with a completely new front fairing design, and a taller, wider windscreen that even  has a bit of a Cee bailey-type lip at the top.

Second, Kawi stuck factory grip heater on it (they look like they come from exactly the same parts supplier as the ones on my FJR), dumped the useless little tank box, and put a real storage box in the front of the fairing.

But the big news is the linked ABS and traction control. The linked ABS system runs as follows:

But what really sets the new linked-ABS apart is the rider-selectable level of linking. For starters, ABS cannot be disabled, but by pressing the orange K-ACT button (bike must be stopped to select modes) the rider can choose the “high-combined” effect in Mode 2 or the lesser-combined effect in Mode 1.

K-ACT mode selection impacts the amount of front brake application (only one of the two front calipers are involved regardless of Mode 1 or 2) when applying only the rear brake. The amount of linking applied to the rear when using the front brake remains constant.

I can’t say I’m a big fan of this type of linking system.  I prefer the BMW partially linked system, where the rear brake doesn’t engage the front at all, while the front lever engages both.  I realize this is probably a simple matter of preference, but I don’t want the front end to dive when I hit the back brake.

The traction control system seems like a neat safety feature, as long as you remember that it is just a safety feature.  It’s not the Troy Bayliss Ducati 1098 system that’s designed to make you faster.  It’s the “you’re getting a little crazy, let’s apply some sanity” system.

By controlling airflow (via secondary butterfly valves in the throttle body), fuel delivery and ignition timing, three parameters as opposed to the two of competitors according to Kawasaki, the system limits engine output when it senses the rear wheel spinning faster than the front.

And for those wondering, yes, it is a wheelie nanny, but only when enabled. Phew!

Most impressive was how seamlessly and unobtrusively KTRC performed. When power is cut, it isn’t done abruptly, nor is reapplication of power. Rather than a stumbly on/off throttle experience, the bike simply feels like it has a fraction of its available power.

All in all, it looks like Kawi has made an already well-received bike even better.

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