New metal

New metal: Ducati unveils Multistrada 950 S in GP White


Ducati has introduced a new “GP White” livery for its Multistrada 950 S.

The “GP White” livery takes its inspiration from the Ducati MotoGP graphics and is based on a colour scheme that alternates white and grey, maintaining the unmistakable Ducati touch in some red details, such as the frame and in the graphics on the alloy wheels.

The Multistrada 950 S is equipped with a raft of rider aids including electronic suspension with Ducati Skyhook Suspension Evo (DSS) system, Ducati Quick Shift up & down (DQS), full-LED headlamp with Ducati Cornering Lights (DCL), 5” colour TFT display, Hands Free system, Cruise Control and backlit handlebar controls, as well as Bosch ABS Cornering.

Starting from MY21, the entire Multistrada 950 range, powered by the Testastretta 11° engine (937 cc and 113 hp), will comply with Euro 5 standard in all countries where it is in force.

On all models of the Multistrada family, Ducati offers the exclusive “4Ever Multistrada” warranty, valid for 4 years with unlimited mileage.

The Multistrada 950 S “GP White”, both in the alloy wheels and spoked wheels versions, will be available in Ducati dealers by the end of the month.

New metal: 2020 BMW S 1000 RR test


BMW’s original S 1000 RR revolutionized the litre bike market when its hit showrooms in the summer of 2010, shaking up the class to become the benchmark by which all others were measured.

However, time relentlessly marches on, and the bike has found itself outgunned in recent years by the V4s from Aprilia and Ducati and the crossplane crank-powered Yamaha.

And so we come to this: The 2020 BMW S1000 RR, which is a ground-up redesign with almost nothing from the 2018 S 1000 RR being carried over.

The brief for the design team was simple: To put the customer first and to beat the competition. The order of those goals were not interchangeable. By prioritising the customer, the plan was to make the bike more approachable and friendlier to use.

To this end the bike has an aluminum BMW Motorrad Flexframe which is lighter and also allows for the tank to be 30mm narrower between the rider’s knees. Combined with flatter, wider clip-ons, a new seat and rearsets, BMW claims improved ergonomics. The  new swingarm, derived from the manufacturer’s WSBK machinery, is mounted to the frame and is 11mm longer than before for greater stability at higher speeds. There’s also a vertically-mounted rear shock to allow the new RR to hold a corner line much better than its predecessor.

So the bike is lighter and more agile than the old model, and it’s pack a more powerful punch too: peak power from the 999cc ShiftCam powerplant is 207bhp at 13,000rpm, with peak torque now a claimed 83lb-ft at 11,00 rpm. But what’s more impressive than peak torque is that the RR now produces more than 74lb-ft of torque from 5,500 to 14,500rpm, providing riders with a massive amount of usable power right across the rev range.

The bike is equipped with four standard ride modes included in the base package: Rain, Road, Dynamic, and Race. Each of these modes alter throttle response, engine torque, ABS/ABS Pro, Dynamic Traction Control (DTC), and Dynamic Damping Control (DDC), which automatically adjusts suspension damping. Ride Modes Pro adds three additional rider modes: Race Pro 1, 2, and 3. In these modes, riders can fine tune their personal preferences even further.

The bike on test is the M Package variant, which includes Ride Modes Pro, M lightweight battery, and M Chassis Kit (with rear ride height adjustment and swingarm pivot point adjustment) as included in the race pack. There’s also an M Sport Seat and M Carbon Wheels, which are stronger and more durable than forged wheels while also reducing unsprung weight, which makes the bike easier to steer at high speeds.

Aesthetically, the bike looks new. The “shark gills” remain on the right side of the bodywork because their design allowed the engine to run 10 percent cooler, but the rest of the bodywork has been redesigned  and those trademark asymmetrical headlights are gone in the quest for reduced weight. And in the M package colours of red, white and blue, it looks sensational.

Swing a leg over the bike and the first thing that becomes apparent is that it feels cramped. The tank is tiny, really, really narrow, but the perch feels massive, with loads of room to move around and hang off.

Turn on the ignition, fire up the bike and the new TFT dash catches the eye. It\s well laid out, intuitive and is easy to read in all light conditions. Good work BMW.

Twist the throttle and the bike snarls menacingly, giving the rider a reminder of the raw power that lies within. Snick first, open the throttle and the bike pulls away with poise and control. No snatch, no lag; just right. The bike is a pussy cat around town; agile, responsive and easy to ride.

But, as the saying goes, the throttle goes both ways, and if you roll it on, the engine wakes up, delivering instantaneous, relentless power. On the open roads, the bike changes from civilised to stark raving bankers in seconds, effortlessly unleashing raw speed in every gear. The up and down quickshifter is slick above 4000rpm, allowing you to poking the bear for as long as you feel brave enough. In fact, it’s too much. There I’ve said it; it is too much for the road.

Suspension is firm, but it’s a race bike with lights on, so what do you expect. And fuel economy isn’t great either, but thoroughbreds are high maintenance. It’s in its element on fast, flowing corners, effortlessly hunting apexes and allowing rides to cover distances quickly, easily and effortlessly.

The BMW is exactly like its predecessors; it’s clinical, polished and supremely capable. It will flatter any rider. But, after a couple of hours in the saddle wrists and knees hurt, and after 13 hours in the saddle my body felt destroyed. I can honestly say I didn’t notice when we stopped for fuel; my focus was on wringing the bike’s neck, but when we stopped riding at the end of the day; I felt battered. As did my ass. That M Package seat, as roomy as it is, is simply too slippery, and the friction and heat generated from my moving in the saddle left me with friction burns.

In our time together, we covered just shy of 900km, and the more time I spent in the saddle, the more confused I became. This bike is far more focused than previous models, and you have to ride it hard to get the most from it. The engine needs to be screaming constantly, and that quickly becomes tiring. On a track it’s fine, but when you’re carving your way through a mountain range, it quickly becomes exhausting.

The BMW S 1000 RR is exceptional; but flawed. It’s so single minded that it’s only fun when you’re riding it at full chat, at speeds way in excess of what is legal. And that’s the problem. This bike may just be the one which makes me say I’ve had enough of more…

New metal: Ducati presents Panigale V2 White Rosso

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The colour range of the Panigale V2 has been extended with the new White Rosso livery, which goes alongside the traditional monochromatic Ducati Red livery.

The new White Rosso livery has Star White Silk as its main colour. The predominance of white enhances the design of the Panigale V2, highlighting the lines and the purity of the geometrical shapes. At the same time the details in Ducati Red emphasize its sporty and powerful character. The Ducati Red colours the rims, the front air intakes and the deflectors of the upper half-fairings.

This new livery is completed with an additional touch of sportiness thanks to the positioning on the lower half-fairings of the large Panigale V2 logo, inspired by the graphics of Ducati Corse motorcycles.

The Panigale V2, presented less than a year ago  is the super-middleweight of the Ducati sportsbikes range and represents the entry model to the Panigale family. It is powered by the 955cc Superquadro twin-cylinder engine (compliant with Euro 5 standard) and has a maximum power of 155 hp at 10,750 rpm and a maximum torque of 104 Nm at 9,000 rpm.

The chassis of the Panigale V2 is based on the monocoque frame and is dressed in an elegant and sporty design inspired by that of the Panigale V4. The fairing has extensive and clean surfaces that surround the mechanical components, enhancing the small size of the Superquadro twin-cylinder and creating a visually compact motorcycle.

Th electronics package includes the “cornering” functionality applied to the Bosch ABS, an electronic gearbox, with operation also in downshift and traction, engine braking and wheelie controls. All the controls are integrated into the three Riding Modes (Race, Sport and Street) that can be modified via the 4.3” TFT colour dashboard with graphics and interface designed to make menu navigation and setting adjustments intuitive, as well as the immediate identification of the selected Riding Mode.

The chassis has fully-adjustable suspension with a Showa Big Piston Fork (BPF) 43mm in diameter and a Sachs shock absorber, a Sachs steering damper and by a Brembo braking system with M4.32 monobloc callipers activated by a radial brake master cylinder. The discs are 320mm in diameter at the front with a single 240mm disc at the rear.

The Panigale V2 in White Rosso livery will be available in Ducati dealers from July 2020.

New metal: Ducati Hypermotard 950 RVE


Meet the Ducati Hypermotard 950 RVE, the latest arrival to the Bologna-based manufacturer’s line-up.

The bike is essentially a standard Hypermotard 950, complete with an up-and-down quickshifter, wrapped in an eye-bleedingly loud new new graphics kit.

The bike will cost £11,750 and sits between the £10,995 standard machine and the £14,595 SP model.

The standout feature of the bike is the new ‘Graffiti’ livery, which uses ultra-thin decals in an attempt to mirror an air-brushed finish. Characterised by its half-black-half-red rims and ‘Hyper’ messaging along the tank, it’s a world away from the company’s traditional paint.

The RVE is set to arrive in dealers in July.

New metal: Ducati unveils Sugerleggera V4

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Ducati has officially unveiled its new Superleggera V4, the most powerful and technologically advanced motorcycle ever made by the Borgo Panigale manufacturer, produced in a limited edition of just 500 individually numbered bikes.

The Superleggera V4 is the world’s only street-legal motorcycle with the entire load-bearing structure of the chassis (frame, subframe, swingarm and wheels) made from composite material, achieving a 6.7kg reduction in weight thanks to these components.
To ensure the highest quality and safety standards, these components are 100% tested using the most sophisticated techniques borrowed from the aerospace industry, such as thermography, ultrasound inspections and tomography.

The chassis dimensions have been modified for optimised track use by increasing the length of the swingarm. The overall result is unparalleled deceleration power, faster leaning down into corners and sharper lines riding out of bends.

The level of performance achieved is extremely high: Alessandro Valia, an official Ducati tester, took the bike, fitted with the racing kit and slick tires, around the Mugello circuit in 1:52:45, less than two seconds from the lap time of the Panigale V4 R SBK, winner of the 2019 Italian Motorspeed Championship (CIV) with Michele Pirro.

Many of the bike’s components are made from carbon fibre, moulded into advanced aerodynamic shapes. These include the fairing, which ensures a level of aerodynamic efficiency that matches and exceeds that of current MotoGP bikes. Thanks to the ‘biplane’ aerofoils inspired by the 2016 Ducati MotoGP machine, with the highest performance in this field, it can guarantee a downforce of 50kg at 270kph, 20kg more than that created by the aerofoils on the Panigale V4 MY20 and V4 R; this downforce improves acceleration by countering the tendency to wheel-up, and increases braking stability.

The carbon fibre fairings also sport an eye-catching Desmosedici GP19-inspired livery that juxtaposes the red of the GP19 with a naked carbon that emphasises shapes, materials and technical details.

Beneath the carbon skin lies the Desmosedici Stradale R engine, lighter and more powerful than ever. The 998cc 90° V4 that powers the Superleggera V4 weighs 2.8kg less than the 1,103cc V4. Thanks to a type-approved Akrapovič exhaust, it delivers 224bhp in road-legal configuration (EU homologation figures); that figure rises to 234bhp  when fitted with the titanium Akrapovič exhaust for track use, which is included in the Racing Kit supplied with the bike. A special engine calibration for the racing exhaust gives riders access to a ‘RaceGP’ display. Intended exclusively for track use, and designed with valuable input from Andrea Dovizioso, it is a direct offshoot of the instrument panel on the Desmosedici GP20.

The racing nature of the engine is enhanced by the use of the dry clutch and the individual manual adjustment of the Desmodromic timing system.

Thanks to extensive use of carbon fibre, titanium and magnesium components and others machined from solid aluminium, the Superleggera V4 has a dry weight of just 159kg (16 kg less than the Panigale V4), resulting in a power-to-weight ratio of 1.41bhp/kg: a record-breaking figure for a road-legal sports bike.

The electronic controls have also been developed to enhance the racing nature of this motorcycle. Their operational parameters are associated by default with three reprogrammed Riding Modes (named Race A, Race B and Sport). There are also – for the very first time – five additional Riding Modes that can be personalised with the rider’s preferred settings. Riders can monitor lap times via the upgraded Lap Timer, which can record finish line and split times coordinates for five favourite circuits. These can be recalled at the start of each track day without having to repeat the set-up procedure. The default system settings feature the finish line/split time details of Laguna Seca, Mugello, Jerez, Sepang and Losail. This is topped by a latest-generation electronics package including EVO 2 strategies for the DTC and an up/down quickshifter.

Other standard items include a lighter Öhlins suspension system, with a pressurised fork and lighter machined aluminium fork bottoms, a titanium shock absorber spring and GP-derived valves that improve the damping of road bumps during the initial compression stage.

The braking system is the best in the Brembo production range, with an MCS calliper featuring a remotely adjusted lever gap and Stylema® R callipers, exclusive to the Superleggera V4, to provide greater front-brake stroke consistency in long track runs.

The exclusiveness of the materials and technical solutions is reflected in the limited number of bikes: just 500, all individually numbered and provided with a certificate of authenticity. The bike ID number (XXX/500), which matches the VIN, is displayed on the frame, fork yoke and ignition key.

The start of deliveries is planned for June 2020 in Europe and, given the extreme complexity of the production of so many components, the rate is limited to only 5 bikes/day. However, all the bikes will be produced within 2020.

New metal: Aprilia launches Misano Limited Edition RSV4 and Tuono V4 1100 liveries for US market

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Aprilia has announced it will produce 100 numbered units of both the 2020 RSV4 RR Misano Limited Edition and the 2020 Tuono RR 1100 Misano Limited Edition for the US market.

Both Limited Editions feature exclusive race-derived liveries in the classic Italian Tricolore scheme.

Inspired by the 1987 championship of Aprilia racer Loris Reggiani, the RSV4 RR will bear its special limited edition numbering on its top triple clamp, while the Tuono RR will instead it on its fuel tank cover instead.

We like. A lot. Come on Aprilia, make the paint available for the European market too.

New metal: 2020 Honda CBR1000RR-R Fireblade SP


Meet one of the most eagerly-awaited bikes of the modern era; the 2020 Honda CBR1000RR-R Fireblade SP.

The bike is all-new, with Honda’s engineers focusing on dragging the flagship Blade out of the doldrums and back to the very top of the litre sportsbike class.

Using technology from Honda’s involvement in MotoGP, the bore and stroke of the oversquare 999cc powerplant are identical to those in the RCV213V-S, with Honda claiming the engine will produce 214hp at 14,500rpm and 83 lb-ft. at 12,500rpm.

The cylinder head features new DLC-coated camshafts that actuate finger-follower rocker arms, replacing the shim-under-bucket design to reduce drivetrain friction by 35 percent and cut inertial weight by 75 percent. There are also new titanium connecting rods that are half the weight of the previous chrome-moly steel units and new forged pistons which are five percent lighter with improved durability and strength.

The Fireblade is equipped with electronic rider aids that increase rider control through a throttle-by-wire system derived from the RCV213V-S. The bikes comes with five power modes and nine levels of Honda Selectable Torque Control to allow riders to set engine response and rear-wheel slip to their liking, while a Bosch six-axis IMU monitors lean and pitch angles to control power delivery.

There’s also and an up-and-down quickshifter, three levels of three engine braking and two ABS modes: Sport and Track. Sport is calibrated for on-road performance, while track is suited to the higher speeds and demands of closed-circuit competition.

The new fairing features winglet structures with three internal ducted wings to generate maximum downforce without affecting yaw and roll, and Honda claims these winglets generate the same downforce as those used on the 2018 RCV213V MotoGP racebike.

The litre bike class just became a whole load more competitive.

New metal: Ducati Streetfighter V4

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Here it is, the Ducati Streetfighter V4, the bike racer Carlin Dunne will race at Pikes Peak.

The course is a challenge: there are 156 turns and thousands of feet in elevation, and is the perfect testing ground for the prototype machine ahead of the 2020 launch of the Ducati Streetfighter V4 production bike.

In keeping with tradition, the Streetfighter V4 derives directly from the sporty Panigale V4 stripped of its fairings, and fitted with high and wide handlebars, while the high performance of the 1100cc Desmosedici Stradale will be kept in by aerodynamic profiles specifically designed for this model.

The prototype will race with a “pixelated” livery, designed by the Centro Stile Ducati; unlike the normal practice with prototypes, the livery does not hide the lines, but accentuates them by deliberately revealing how the bike will finally look.

New metal: Aprilia celebrates 10 years of the RSV4 with the RSV4 X

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Aprilia has unveiled a new, track-ready version of its hugely successful RSV4 to celebrate 10 years of production; the RSV4 X.

As part of the 2019 Aprilia All Stars event at Mugello, Aprilia unveiled a track-only version of its RSV4 sportbike; the 225hp X. has been tailor-made by Aprilia Racing – and if you delve into the bikes technical specification, it’s obvious that it’s serious about its performance on track.

The bike is the creation of Aprilia Racing and makes use of a selection of lightweight components, including a carbon fairing, a lightweight fuel tank, a billet aluminium clutch lever, front brake lever guard, engine sump guard, adjustable foot pegs, upper steering plate and Marchesini forged magnesium wheels. All in this extensive weight saving programmer means the bike weighs just 165 kg.

The RSV4 X is powered by a hand-built 1100cc V4 engine that’s been breathed on by Aprilia Racing and boasts new intake camshafts, new valve return springs and caps and new convex bucket tappets.

The bike comes with a titanium Akrapovic exhaust system, a MotoGP-spec air filter and it receives an ECU map complete with dedicated track settings. It’s also equipped with the ANN (Aprilia No Neutral) system – essentially a gearbox with neutral positioned below first gear that speeds up shifting from first to second and prevents any up-shifting errors. It’s another clever piece of technology derived from Aprilia’s experiences in WSBK and MotoGP.

Brembo GP4-MS callipers complete the factory feel.

Just ten Aprilia RSV4 X bikes are available, priced at 39,900 Euros.

The new RSV4 X can be reserved online during the second half of April.

New metal – Ducati 1299 Panigale R Final Edition


Meet the Ducati 1299 Panigale R Final Edition – the company’s farewell to its desmodromic V-twin platform.

However, this isn’t a limited edition, but instead a numbered edition machine – Ducati will continue to manufacture the Panigale R Final Edition for as long as there is consumer demand for it.

Looking at the bike’s spec list, it’s clear that this bike is a celebration of the Panigale, and the bike features the best bits of the model range.

Each 1299 Panigale R Final Edition is individually numbered and will be offered in a dedicated tri-colour scheme. An offshoot of the 1299 Superleggera engine, the Final Edition Superquadro packs nearly 209 bhp at 11,000rpm and peak torque of 142Nm at 9,000rpm. It features a lighter crankshaft with a larger crank pin and tungsten balancing pads, while the con-rods, like the intake-exhaust valves, are made of titanium. As on Superbike engines, the two 116 mm diameter pistons have just two segments and slide on steel cylinder liners.

It’s also Euro 4 compliant.

The chassis set-up on the Ducati supersport is the same as that of the Panigale R, and features an ultra-compact monocoque and Ohlins suspension. The bike also gets the Euro 4 compliant all-titanium Akrapovic exhaust with dual silencer, just like the one on the WSBK Panigale R racer.

The electronics package features the Bosch Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU) and is equipped with cornering ABS, Ducati Wheelie Control EVO (DWC EVO), Ducati Traction Control EVO (DTC EVO) and Engine Brake Control (EBC). These systems have default settings linked to the selected Riding Mode (Race, Sport and Wet) but can be personalised as desired.