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.”

2010 Sport Touring Shootout Gen III FJR?

Motorcycle USA has published its annual sport-touring shootout, but sadly, this time, two of the top contenders aren’t even being tested.  Instead, the shootout is limited to just three bikes: The Kawasaki Concours14, The Triumph Sprint GT, and the Honda VFR1200F.  The final results were…interesting, and I can’t say I agree, as the winning bike has some serious touring shortcomings.  But I won’t spoil the surprise any more than that.

What I found more interesting was that both BMW and Yamaha refused to make their sport-touring bikes available.  The BMW refusal to supply a K1300GT is understandable, as it’s a dead motorcycle, with the new K1600GT I-6-engined bike already announced as a replacement.

The lack of an FJR1300 in the line-up, however, makes me go, “Hmmmm.”  I take it that this means that Yamaha is about to release a Gen III FJR, or an FJR replacement bike.  Now, that really does interest me, because as an FJR rider on a daily basis, I really do like that motorcycle.  But Yamaha has kept the performance pretty much the same for almost a decade, while BMW, Honda, and Kawasaki have all produced more horsepower-charged mounts. So, I’m fascinated to see what Yamaha has planned for the third generation of what used to be the gold standard of sport-tourers, but now is the most underpowered of them, except, of course, for the Triumph Sprint GT.

There’s been tons of speculation about what the Gen III FJR might be.  Everything from an updated FJR1300 as hinted at by Cycle World:

2011 Yamaha FJR1300 Mockup
2011 Yamaha FJR1300 Mockup

To the rumored FJR1400 reported by the (not always reliable) French site, Moto Revue:

2011 Yamaha FJR1400 Mockup
2011 Yamaha FJR1400 Mockup

Both of these mockups are obviously computer-generated, and may or may not have anything to do with the actual motorcycle Yamaha actually produces.  Of the two imaginary motorcycles, though, I prefer the imaginary motorcycle on the bottom.

Huh.  This post ended up being about something entirely different than what it started out being about.

2011 Ducati Diavel

The first official image of the 2011 Ducati Diavel has been released by the manufacturer.

2011 Ducati Diavel
2011 Ducati Diavel

You really do need to click on the image to see the full-sized version.  Because what you can’t really see in the small pic above is that the rear section hides a little trunk in there.

About the only detail we know so far is that the Diavel uses the same Testastretta 11° 1200cc engine used in the Multistrada 1200.  In the MTS, that engine outputs 150HP, but this is, remember, essentially the same 1198cc L-Twin that powers the 170HP 1198 sportbike, although the 1198 has a 41° Testastretta.  In any case, the key takeaway is that the Diavel will put out at least 150HP.  That’s less than the massive grunt of the V-Max, but 50% more power than the V-Rod.

And I bet it’ll be considerably lighter than both.

2011 Triumph Tiger 800 XC

Triumph has released the first official picture of the new adventure bike they’ve been touting, the Triumph Tiger 800 XC.

2011 Triumph Tiger 800 XC
2011 Triumph Tiger 800 XC

Still no specs or details, other than that this is the off-road version that has a 21″ front wheel with knobbies.  The more street-oriented version will have a 17″ front wheel and street tires.  other than that, we’re still waiting on all the tech specs for these two models of the new Tiger.

Like all modern enduros, it has a beak, too, a la the BMW R1200GS.  I still don’t know what BMW did to get that passed into law.

Suzuki News

After taking a leave of absence from American shores last year due the economic downturn, Suzuki is back in a big way for 2011.  In addition to the redesigned Gixxers I covered last week, Suzuki is bringing a new, fully-faired model of the Bandit to the US for 2011.

2011 Suzuki GSX1250FA
2011 Suzuki GSX1250FA

Introduced last year in Europe as the GSX-1250FA, Suzuki has done much the same thing with the Bandit that Kawasaki did with the Z1000, which is to transform it from a naked bike to a sporty, fully faired one–without the more tortuous ergonomics of the GSX-Rs, albeit with a little extra weight thrown in, too. But the main idea is to build a sportbike that can tour, like the Ninja 1000.

Engine: Liquid-cooled, DOHC Inline Four
Bore x Stroke: 79.0 x 64.0mm
Displacement: 1255cc
Compression Ratio: 10.5:1
Fueling: EFI
Transmission: Six-speed
Final Drive: Chain
Front Suspension: 43mm fork, 5.1 inches travel
Rear Suspension: Single shock, adjustable for preload, 5.4 inches travel
Front Brakes: Dual 310mm disc, four-piston calipers Rear Brakes: Single 240mm disc, single-piston calipers
Fuel Tank: 5.0 gallons
Wheelbase: 58.5 inches
Seat Height: 31.7 inches / 32.5 inches
Curb Weight: 567 pounds
MSRP: $11,599

In addition, Suzuki has unveiled the 2011 Cruiser line-up, of which, two new things stand out for me.  The big-bore M109, with it’s unique, attractive, and modern styling cues now has a much more modern cockpit, with the instrumentation being tucked inside the cowling, rather than handlebar mounted.

M109R Instrumentation
M109R Instrumentation

The M109 is one of my favorite cruisers, in terms of styling, mainly because it looks like a cruiser that actually designed in this century, rather than back when Elvis was in the Army. The big 1800cc mill that poweres the thing isn’t bad, either.

Another standout item is that the new version of their smaller, 800cc cruiser, dubbed the C50T, comes fully set up for touring, with bags, windshield,and even a passenger backrest.

2011 Suzuki C50T
2011 Suzuki C50T

I suspect, however, that a small bike like this might get a little cramped with two-up riding over long distances.  It’s a nice option for the single rider who wants to tour, without breaking the bank, though.

2011 Ducati Diavel (Project 0803)

It appears that the Project 0803 bike is ready for production, and, based on what the Italian press are saying, Ducati has settled on the name “Diavel” for this model.

2011 Ducati Diavel
2011 Ducati Diavel

This is supposedly the power-cruiser competition for Yamaha’s–or Star’s–V-Max. In any event, it’s finally been seen in the wild, in a production-ready version. There’s no word on specs, etc., so, for that, we’ll probably have to wait until Ducati officially unveils it next month in Milan at the EICMA motorcycle show.

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.