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

The new 2011 6-cylinder BMWs

BMW has unveiled their new 6-cylinder touring motorcycles at INTERMOT, and also came up with a dedicated micro-site.  The site is chock full of details on the new bikes, as well as the first official photographs, shown in the thumbnails below.

The BMW K1600GT will replace the current K1300GT, while the K1600GTL will replace the current K1200LT.  The new model seems like a huge step up for both bikes.  Interestingly, the GT model now integrates a stereo system, something which was only available on the R1200RT and K1200LT, but was not available for the GT model at all.

The rather irritating flash site presents lots of information about the bikes, in frustratingly tiny pieces.  Among the available information is the following:

Engine output 160 HP  at approx. 7500 rpm and a maximum torque of approx 129 ft-lbs at approx. 5000 rpm. Over 70% of maximum torque available from 1500 rpm.

Three drive modes to choose from (“Rain”, “Road”, “Dynamic”).

Traction control DTC (Dynamic Traction Control) for maximum safety when accelerating (optional extra).

Electronic Suspension Adjustment ESA II for optimum adaptation to all uses and load states (optional extra).

World premiere for a motorcycle: Adaptive Headlight (optional extra) in conjunction with standard xenon headlamp and lighting rings for increased safety at night.

Integrated operating concept for the first time with Multi-Controller, TFT color screen and menu guidance.

The instrument panel based on digital technology comprises a speedometer and tachometer as well as an information display which takes the form of a powerfully lit 5.7-inch colour monitor. This display enables user-friendly presentation of text and graphics over several lines.The information unit is operated using the Multi-Controller. As a component of the integrated operating concept it is placed ergonomically favourably on the left handlebar grip. Unlike individual operating keys, this set-up means that the rider does not have to take his eyes off the road.

Audio system with preparation for navigation device and controllable interface for iPod, MP3, USB, Bluetooth and satellite radio (only USA and Canada) (standard in the K 1600 GTL). BMW Motorrad Navigator IV available as a special accessory is also integrated in the vehicle electrical system directly ex works. This means that the most important functions such as zoom or voice command repetition can be operated conveniently from the handlebars using the Multi-Controller.

Innovative design with outstanding wind and weather protection.

K 1600 GTL with very comfortable, relaxed ergonomics set-up for long trips with pillion passenger as well as luxury touring features.

With a total width of just 22″, the engine is only slightly wider than a current large-volume 4-cylinder in-line engine. In order to keep the width as low as possible, the electrical ancillary units and their drive units were moved behind the crankshaft into the free space above the gearbox. The ideal concentration of masses at the center of the vehicle makes for an optimum center of gravity and outstanding handling. The engine of the K 1600 models is about 3.9″ narrower than all 6-cylinder in-line engines previously used in serial motorcycle production. This makes the engine not only the most compact but also the lightest 6-cylinder in-line engine for a serial production motorcycle, weighing just 226 lbs.

When the rider activates the free-moving clutch lever, torque is transmitted from the crankshaft to a self-energising 10-disc wet clutch with anti-hopping function via a straight-toothed primary drive – so as to ensure that the high level of force is delivered gently.

Obviously, there’s much more there, but you get the idea.  If you’re like me, your only question now is, “When can I ride it?”

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.

2011 BMW K1600GTL first look

The first–grainy, low-res images of the 2011 BMW K1600GTL have been leaked.

2011 BMW K1600GTL
2011 BMW K1600GTL
2011 BMW K1600GTL - Front View
2011 BMW K1600GTL - Front View

Being the flagship BMW tourers, it will have all sorts of goodies on it.  Over and above the I-6 engine with 160HP and 129 ft-lbs of torque.  One thing it will have is adaptive headlights that sense when the bike is leaning into a turn, and pints the headlights into the turn. Another fancy bit is the motorcycle version of the iDrive system in BMW cars: a full-color screen that incorporates the integrated GPS, audio display, and probably the setup screen, showing what you’ve set the suspension settings to, tire pressure, etc.

No real specs on the bike as to dimensions and whatnot are available yet.

But really, what I’m waiting to see are the specs for is the sister GT model, which is replacing the K1300GT.  It should be a lot lighter than the GTL, and a lot faster than the current GT.

129 ft-lbs of torque.  I bet it’ll have arm-wrenching acceleration. I can’t wait to test ride it.

UPDATE: More info and official pics can be found at this entry that offers a rundown from the official unveiling at INTERMOT.

2011 Triumph Tiger 800

2011 Triumph Tiger 800
2011 Triumph Tiger 800

Via Motorcycle Daily, it appears that Triumph is finally unveiling their new adventurer tourer.  It’s an 800cc triple version of the Tiger. As noted previously, it will come in two versions, one with a 17″ front wheel for mainly on-road use, and one with a 21″ front wheel designed for better off-road performance. They’ll probably have quite different tires as well, with the off-road focused version perhaps coming with stock knobbys.

Essentially, Triumph has taken their existing 675cc triple and bored it out for the new bikes, to give it a displacement similar to–and probably power superior to–the BMW F800-series bikes.

In addition to the new Tigers, Triumph also released detail images–though nothing that shows the whole bike–of accessories for the 2011 Speed Triple.  From the looks of those photos, the Speed Triple has been completely redesigned, as well, giving it a more modern, updated taste of styling–insofar as a naked bike can be said to be styled, at any rate.

Triumph has been doing better financially than many other manufacturers, which I suspect stems from the value pricing of their products.  These two new Tiger models are only the beginning of the expansion of Triumph’s lineup, as they expect to launch four additional models by the 2012 model year.

Good for them.

It seems I’ve been doing a lot of Triumph cheerleading lately, huh?

2011 Triumph adventure bike video

Triumph has released another video of its upcoming adventure bikes, giving us a bit more information about them, as well some better glimpses of what they’ll look like.

httpvhd://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o2WWmp38kBI

There will be two models–one focused on on-road adventuring, and one emphasizing off road capabilities.

2011 MV Agusta F3 begins to go public

For the past few months, MV fans have been waiting for something concrete about the new 675cc triple, the F3, from MV Agusta.  There’s been lots of spy shots, though mostly those were of a bike with F4 fairings, preventing us from getting a good look at the bike’s final appearance.  That’s changing now, as MV begins releasing some images of what appears to be the final pre-production version.

We’re still short of performance specs for the F3, but Motociclismo, in Italy, is reporting the bike will have radial valves like the F4, a cassette transmission, and will weigh in, dry, at 354 lbs. As a 675 triple, this bike’s obvious performance comparison will be with the Triumph Daytona 675. The Daytona is 407 lbs., wet, with an engine output of 124HP at 12600 rpm and 53 ft.lbs of torque at 11700 RPM making for a pretty revvy bike, although not unusually so for a SuperSport.

So, the real question is whether MV is going to be satisfied with simply matching those specs…or try to better them. A 10% increase in power would give the F3 an output of 136HP. That would be…fun. How they’d get that much of an increase is a bit problematic, though.

The Daytona 675 already has a compression ratio of 12.65:1, so there’s not a lot of room to grow there, and a compression ratio of 20:1 to get to 136 HP is right out. An increase to a race-spec compression ratio of 14:1 yields an output of 127HP, so I think we’re pretty much done, there. Exhaust restrictions are probably going to limit any increase by preventing a freer-breathing–hence more polluting–system from being implemented. We’re already at 4 valves per cylinder, too.  So, we’re pretty much down to really hot cams, I guess.

I can hardly wait to see what the final specs look like.

Honda returns to EICMA

Honda didn’t show up at last year’s EICMA show in Italy, citing the world economic crisis.  This year is going to be quite the reverse.  Honda has announced that it will not only be returning to EICMA, but it will be debuting eight motorcycle models at the show as well.

There’s no official word on the bikes that will be unveiled, but one of the most likely candidates will be the new VFR1200 model that is slated to replace the ST1300, which has long been Honda’s flagship sport-tourer.  The new model of the VFR will probably include both the dual-clutch transmission, and the cylinder management system that has been touted by Honda for the last year.

2011 Aprilia Dorsoduro 1200

2011 Aprilia Dorsoduro 1200
2011 Aprilia Dorsoduro 1200

A few weeks ago, some eager beaver at Aprilia posted the owner’s manual for the new Dorsoduro 1200 on Aprilia’s web site, which I reported here.  That was odd, because the existence of the bike hadn’t actually been announced by Aprilia.  That’s all changed now, as Aprilia has announced the bike, and given us the first official picture.

The Dorsoduro is sort of the Aprilia version of the Multistrada, that is to say, kind of a dual sport/megamoto kind of bike that’s considerably more comfortable on road than off. Think streetfighter built along supermotard lines.

The specs from Aprilia say the 1196.63 cc L-Twin spits out 134.5HP at 9,oo0RPM, and 76 ft-lbs of torque at 4,000RPM. Dry weight is 467 pounds, however, so that comes out to something around 520 pounds ready to ride. So, it’ll be quick, but not quite a bike that will leave you slack-jawed with stupefaction is twist the throttle a bit too much. Compression ratio is also 12:1, so get ready to shell out for premium fuel.

The seat height is decently low, though, at 29.5 inches, which means that, unlike some of the taller offerings out there, the average person doesn’t have to worry about tippy-toeing it at a stop sign.

Full tech data follows below, all presented, sadly, in the metric measurements so favored by heathen foreigners.

TECHNICAL DATA

Engine Type 90 ° V-Twin DOHC 8V LC

Bore x stroke 106 x 67.8 mm

Displacement 1196.63 cc

Maximum power 134.5 bhp at 9500 rpm

Maximum torque 10.5 kgm at 4,000 rpm

Compression ratio 12,0:1

Electronic Fuel Injection (Multi)

Electric Start

Digital Electronic Ignition CDI

6-Speed

Multi-plate clutch in oil bath and hydraulic

Chain final drive

Steel and aluminum chassis with high strength bolts and aluminum side plates

Swingarm in cast aluminum

Front suspension fork 43 mm inverted telehydraulic, three-way adjustable

Rear suspension Hydraulic shock absorber adjustable rate. Wheel travel 150 mm.

Front brake Dual discs 320 mm, 4 piston radial calipers

Rear brake 240 mm disc, single piston caliper

Tyres 120/70 x 17 “and 180/55 x 17″

Total length 2248 mm

Maximum height 1205 mm

Maximum width 925 mm

Wheelbase 1528 mm

Seat height 750 mm

Empty weight 212 kg

Fuel tank 15 liters

2011 Triumph Sprint GT Review

2011 Triumph Sprint GT
2011 Triumph Sprint GT

The Triumph Sprint ST has been replaced by–or, rather, evolved into–the Sprint GT.  But looking at the specs in the Motorcycle.Com review, I’m not sure it’s an evolution to something better.  It may be, but the tale of the tape in comparison to the previous model doesn’t excite me.

First, the wheelbase has been lengthened significantly, from 57.3″ to 60.5″, which seems to threaten to reduce maneuverability (about which, more below).  But, I guess they had to lengthen the wheelbase, in order to stuff in the extra 60lbs of weight, with the GT model now coming in at a hefty 591lbs, fueled up and ready to ride.

In return for that 10% increase in weight the engine output has been slightly increased, from 123HP to 128HP, while torque jumps slightly to 79.7 ft-lbs–about 4 ft-pounds more than last year’s ST model.

The maneuverability reduction from the longer wheelbase seems to be offset by a narrower tires and more aggressive chassis geometry.  Power-to-weight ratio is much lower on the GT than the previous model, but it apparently still retains fine cornering and handling, despite the extra weight. And, of course, for the “touring” side of the sport-touring equation, the extra heft and longer wheelbase make for a steadier highway ride.

The looks have been updated a bit, although, to my eye, it looks very much like an FJR1300 with BMW saddlebags attached. In other words, the updated design is still about three or four years behind the times.

It also still has a chain drive, and whether you prefer that to a shaft is always a personal call.  Me, I want a shaft in a tourer.  It’s 2010.  Am I supposed to spend my Saturdays lubing a chain like some kind of animal?  Having said that, I’d trade my shaft-driven FJR for a chain-driven Ducati Multistrada without blinking an eye. (Actually, I’m begging for someone to let me make that deal.) But the Multistrada is not, first and foremost, a tourer.  It’s very much in the sport category, so the chain is appropriate.  At 600 pounds, however, the Sprint is definitely out of the sporting and into the touring category.

Still, for $13,199, you get a lot of bike for your money, so the drawbacks of the GT are not, at that price, by any means deal-breakers.

Buell’s Plans

I’ve communicated with the people at Erik Buell Racing to see if they could give up any more information about the 1190RS street bike, their schecule for producing it and making it available, etc.  Their response is essentially as follows:

Currently there is no information available from us on the 1190RS, other than that it is in development. What surprises us is how many people are already publishing specifications, business plans and limitations, and more. Even though the information they have is incorrect. Not sure what to do about that other than to let time take its course and as the facts are released then people will know them. There is much information that simply cannot be released yet.

In other words…nothing.

As far as the speculation goes about EBR’s “specifications, business plans and limitations, and more”, well, all you can really say is that this sort of thing inevitable happens when you’re unwilling–or unable–to provide any solid information.  Under the press of deadlines, reporters will often publish something that they hear from someone who they trust, who has been reliable in the past with inside info…and it’s still wrong.

About all you can do is ignore it, and release information as you’re able.

Yesterday I got an official press release from EBR that specifically mentioned the 1190RS again, saying once more that it is “under development”. Other than that, it looks like we’ll have to wait until February for hard and fast–and reliable–news about Buell’s plans.

There is this, however:

Erik Buell Racing 1190RS
Erik Buell Racing 1190RS

Click for the hi-res version.  I’m hoping that won’t be the production exhaust.

Is this the bike that saves MV Agusta?

Italians seem to be pretty happy that MV Agusta is back in Italian hands, “where it belongs” according to Italian motorsport enthusiasts. Sadly, though, while Harley-Davidson gave MV a reprieve from an untimely death, it remains to be seen whether that temporary reprieve turns into a permanent salvation.  Hiring Massimo Bordi, who did fantastic work making Ducati successful, as MV’s new CEO is a good first step, but some of MV’s old problems are still there. Before the Harley purchase, MV produced fantastically expensive bikes in very small numbers.  Reliability problems were an issue, and troublesome one, as MV Agusta dealers were few and far between.  The slightest mechanical problem might keep an MV off the road for weeks or months while some arcane part was produced and shipped from Italy.

2011 MV Agusta F3 Spy Shot
2011 MV Agusta F3 Spy Shot

But that may be changing.  In an interview with the Italian web site Il Solo 24 Ore (Italian), MV’s new owner–or is that re-owner–Claudio Castiglioni, opens up about the bike he hopes will save the company.

Pictured at left is the brand new MV Agusta F3.  According to Castiglione, the F3 is powered by a 675cc triple, just like the Triumph Daytona 675.  This bike will come in a base model, as well as an upgraded “sport” model.

Where things get really interesting is that Castiglioni quotes a base model price of €9,000 ($11,520 at today’s exchange rate), and a price of around €10,500 ($13.440) for the sport edition. The actual price in US terms probably won’t reflect straight exchange rate calculations, however, so, we might see a price of around $10,000 here in the US.  They’re also planning an as yet unnamed Brutale-like model of this bike, which will probably go for somewhere in the vicinity of $9,000, pleasing the fans of naked bikes.

At that price point, the F3 seriously undercuts the $12,995 sticker price for the base model of the Ducati 848, and even puts it in direct competition with the Triumph Daytona’s MSRP of $10,000. With pricing at that level, Castiglioni hopes that MV can sell 10,000 of these bikes next year.

Having said that, it’s still an open question whether MV even has the capacity to produce 10,000 supersports in the next year. If they can–and they can sell them–then MV stands a good chance of not returning to it’s pre-2009 state of slowly running into the ground.