New metal: Yamaha unveils new 2020 R1 and R1M

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Yamaha has announced new versions of its flagship sportsbikes at the Laguna Seca WSBK round.

The 2020 YZF-R1M and the 2020 YZF-R1 feature significant revamps to meet stricter emissions rules on the road and to stay in touch with the ever fiercer competition on the track.

New styling, revised suspension, improved electronics and a reworked engine mean that despite sharing its bare bones with the existing model, the updated R1 promises to be a vastly improved package.

At first glance, the new models may appear to be similar to the existing bikes, but Yamaha has altered almost every panel on the R1. Signature elements remain, including the MotoGP M1-aping nose intake shape and the twin, round headlights below the nose, but the front end is new, as is the tank.

The new R1M also boasts a new carbon fibre tail unit.

The engine updates mean the uprated motor now passes next year’s Euro 5 emissions rules – making it one of the first machines in its class to do so – and Yamaha is still claiming 197bhp, the same as the 2019 model.


New metal: Ducati celebrates 25 years of iconic 916 with special Panigale V4 S LE

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Ducati has unveiled a limited edition Panigale V4S in homage to arguably its greatest ever superbike, the iconic Ducati 916, which this year celebrates its 25th anniversary.

Just 500 individually-numbered Panigale V4 25° Anniversario 916s will be built, with bike number five being auctioned off in tribute to Carlin Dunne, who lost his life racing a Ducati at Pikes Peak earlier this year.

Although based on the 1103cc, 211bhp V4S, this special version features the front frame from the 998cc V4R, a dry clutch, Marchesini Racing forged magnesium wheels and a Euro4-compliant titanium Akrapovic silencer.

All 500 machines come in a distinctive new livery, inspired by Fogarty’s championship-winning 1999 Ducati 996 World Superbike.

New metal – 2018 Triumph Speed Triple

Speed-Triple-RS-Front-3-4-Crystal-WhiteThe 2018 Triumph Speed Triple S and 2018 Triumph Speed Triple RS represent Triumph’s ongoing evolution to its modern motorcycle lineup.

This latest iteration of the Speed Triple includes IMU-powered electronics (RS model) and a modest 13hp power increase.

The bike boasts more than 100 new parts in the engine alone, with the Speed Triple RS now claiming 148hp at the crank, with 86 lb.ft of peak torque also on tap.

This power is controlled by five riding modes (four riding modes for the S model, which doesn’t have a Track mode), and a safety net is created by an IMU-powered traction control system.

That IMU also powers the cornering ABS, which means that the new Speed Triple is finally in line with its rival machines, in terms of rider aids.

The new Speed Triple gets an all-new 5in TFT dash and new hand controls.

The RS comes with Brembo brakes, Öhlins suspension, and dual Arrow exhausts.

Metal – The Rev’It#95 All-Wheel-Drive Bike

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Meet the The REV’IT!#95, a bike conceptualised from the very beginning to break boundaries. The aim of the project was to convert a rugged adventure bike into an all-wheel-drive machine and in just four months, a KTM 950 Super Enduro was found, stripped, and reassembled a dozen or more times to create an immediately recognisable, one-off motorcycle.

Lead designer Gerbrandt Aart says: “This design features advanced technology in a simple and honest presentation, putting the parts that improve the rider’s experience on display.”

As the custom motorcycle trend sweeps the streetbike market, the idea of a custom adventure bike is without precedent. Adding to that a large displacement engine and all-wheel drive system is an even rarer phenomena; only three are known to exist. Why then all-wheel drive, and how does it work?

Street bikes can readily make use of all available traction, but off road it’s a different story: No matter how aggressive the tires on a larger displacement adventure bike, a spinning tire off-road is inevitable. The Christini-based system on the REV’IT!#95 transfers power off the countershaft sprocket through a custom-made system of gears and shafts, to the headstock where it’s converted again to two counter rotating drive shafts. These deliver power to the front hub via a one-way free hub. The front wheel is driven at 80 per cent of the speed of the rear wheel to prevent undue torque from affecting the steering, but when the rear wheel outpaces the front, the front digs in to bring the bike into line and convert what was once wasted power and roost into forward motion… and exhilaration.

The practical benefit of AWD on a full-sized adventure bike is the ability to navigate through deep sand or mud – the spots where a large, weighty bike might typically get stuck. It’s the same advantage as a four wheel drive vehicle, and offers a huge bonus to the solo adventure rider: You can traverse more difficult terrain, more easily.

King of cool – Yamaha Wrenchmonkees XJR1300, ‘Skullmonkee’


The 2015 Yamaha XJR1300 and XJR1300 Racer have drawn considerable attention in standard form already, with design updates inspired heavily by the custom world. A shortened and cleaned frame, narrower fuel tank and smaller headlight pay homage to recent custom creations and also show the potential for further customisation.

Throughout 2015 a series of Yard Built projects by select custom builders will focus on the new XJR1300 will demonstrate what is possible through creative use of ‘bolt-on’ parts, reinforcing the real ‘Yard Built’ concept instead of dramatic cutting and welding. First up to take on the challenge are two legendary Copenhagen based builders.

“The Wrenchmonkees provided valuable insight into this latest model of XJR with their earlier collaborations”, says Yamaha Motor Europe Product Manager, Shun Miyazawa. “Their Yard Built XJR1300 ‘Monkeefist’ was one of the ‘fathers’ of the 2015 XJR, providing essential inspiration to the modern design. Because of this influence we didn’t feel the need to change the bike drastically, instead focusing on fine tuning and upgrading where necessary to enhance the bike.”

“We worked hard to ensure we made no radical design changes for the build”, commented Wrenchmonkee Per Nielson, “instead focusing on adding our clean style and silhouette with no cutting or welding to the framework.”

Fellow Wrenchmonkee Nicholas Bech adds, “We looked to strip the bike back and removed some pieces to make it look like they had never been there, then from the beginning we were looking to work with other companies to find bolt-on parts that we could modify to create our style.”

The Wrenchmonkees tracked down and modified the coolest, cleanest and most fitting aftermarket parts to transform the bike. Handcrafted Wrenchmonkees parts, including CNC milled Wrenchmonkees ‘Monkeefist style’ aluminium triple trees and engine covers were also added.

The super clean handlebars are finished with LSL Speed Match black aluminium clip-ons and Biltwell grips, centered on a neat MMB mini digital speedo with yellow light, above a unique custom WM yellow headlight.

The brake system gets a serious work over with a full Beringer set up added, including Hypersport brake discs, Beringer calipers front and back, Beringer brake master cylinder and matching Beringer clutch master. Black steel braided hoses add the final touches.

Matt black LSL aluminium rear sets have been customised in-house to give amore aggressive riding position reinforced by Öhlins STX 36 shocks on the rear. The standard XJR rims remain as fitting wheels for the Skullmonkee, but come wrapped in Michelin Pilot Road 4s to hold the road.

An LSL Titan steering damper keeps everything under control and a Wrenchmonkees custom rear bracket with LED light is the last thing you’ll see above a custom 4 into 2 stainless system with Wrenchmonkees/ Spark stainless mufflers.

The finished bike is sublime, coated in a gloss black paint job with Skullmonkee tank emblem and a few simple gold touches, it is a fitting tribute to the 20th anniversary of this legendary street bike.

XJR owners can order Skullmonkee parts directly from the Wrenchmonkees website to add some serious Copenhagen style to their ride.

Aprilia drops standard RSV4

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Aprilia has announced that only its flagship RSV4 RF will be coming to the UK, meaning that the standard RSV4 won’t be available to domestic buyers.

The move highlights Aprilia’s difficulty in shifting the RSV4, which despite its WSBK titles and domination in UK media group tests, has failed to sell in big numbers.

Aprilia has given the bike an extensive overhaul, adding Ohlins suspension, lightweight forged aluminium wheels, uprated APRC electronics, an enhanced V4 engine and a special ‘Superpole’ paint scheme that honours Aprilia’s racing successes, but that isn’t likely to be enough to tempt new buyers, especially as the RSV4 RF costs £18,134 OTR.

EIMCA – 2015 Ducati Multistrada


Ducati’s new Multistrada features Desmodromic Variable Timing (DVT) – the first time variable valve technology has debuted on a V-twin powerplant – cornering ABS, Ducati corning lights, eight-level wheelie control, a shorter beak, and a full LED headlight unit.

The Multistrada S also gets a Bluetooth connection which allows owners to download an app that records data which can then be uploaded and shared with social networks.

But it’s the Ducati’s DVT system that catches the eye. The system can change the intake and exhaust timing independently, and across the whole of the rev range, optimising engine performance to guarantee the highest power, smooth delivery and low down grunt. An added benefit of all of this is that the engine passes strict Euro 4 noise and emission regulations.

All this means that the Multistrada’s 1198cc Testastretta lump now produces 160hp and 100 lb.ft of torque, up from the current model’s 150bhp and 91.8lb.ft of torque, all while reducing fuel consumption by eight per cent.

The Multistrada will be available with four personalisation packs: Touring; which comes with heated grips, panniers and a centre stand, Sport; which comes with a Termignoni exhaust and a carbon fibre front mudguard, Urban; which comes with a top case, tank bag and USB hub, and Enduro; which comes with additional lights, engine bars, radiator and oil sump guards and off-road footpegs.

EICMA – 2015 Aprilia Tuono V4 1100 RR

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The RR is the new designation for the standard Tuono, which gets an additional 5bhp to take its total output to 175bhp. It also gets an enhanced APRC electronics package, a new front fairing and tail unit taken  from the RSV4 RR, a 15mm lower seat and 15mm narrower handlebars.

The new bike is equipped with Sachs suspension front and rear, and a 6mm longer swingarm.

News: Supercharged Mercedes motorbike on the way?

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Mercedes-AMG has signed a long-term partnership agreement with MV Agusta after acquiring a 25 per cent stake in the Varese-based company.

Giovanni Castiglioni, President and CEO of MV Agusta Motor S.p.A., said that MV Agusta and Mercedes-AMG were a perfect brand fit. He said: “Two complementary companies that stand for design, high performance and excellence. Mercedes-AMG will help MV Agusta to further expand globally and to accelerate our growth. The uniqueness of MV Agusta will further enhance Mercedes-AMG’s leadership in the high-performance segment.”

What this means for MV is that the Italian marque will have access to significant investment, marketing, sales and distribution channels.

What this could mean for Mercedes-AMG is even more exciting as the company could launch a two-wheeled model of its own, a move that has been rumoured for years.

British concept designer Lee Thompson has released a sketch of what the bike could look like.

He said: “The bike is finished in an F1-related colour scheme and features a clear perspex side panel to show off the supercharged engine and inner workings. With a strong twin beam frame it would inspire more confidence than the H2’s minimal looking trellis option. The style incorporates Mercedes car touches, e.g. the exhaust and wheels, and a single-sided swingarm.”

We think it looks pretty cool. What about you?