New metal

New metal – BMW HP4 RACE

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Meet the BMW’s HP4 RACE carbon superbike – the first BMW motorcycle to feature a full carbon fibre frame.

The HP4 RACE will be strictly limited, and just 750 bikes will be produced.

BMW’s engineers have gone to town making the bike as light as possible, and to this end the bike uses a monocoque construction frame which weighs just 7.8kg and has carbon wheels, which BMW says are 30 per cent lighter than those made of conventional materials.

This weight saving programme means the bike weighs just 171kg fully-fuelled – about the same weight as a MotoGP bike – no mean feat for a bike making 212bhp.

This bike has been designed solely for the track and it shows in its impressive spec, much of which is the same spec as the BW WSBK machines: Öhlins FGR 300 upside-down forks and TTX 36 GP rear suspension, Brembo GP4 PR monoblock brake calipers, 320 T-type racing steel brake disks, Dynamic Traction Control DTC (programmable for selected gears at 15 levels), Engine Brake EBR (programmable for selected gears at 15 levels) and Wheelie Control (programmable for selected gears).

Then there’s the 2D dash complete with data logger, a weight-optimised electrical system featuring light lithium-ion battery with 5 Ah, and self-supporting carbon fibre rear frame with three-stage height adjustment function.

This is a very trick bike, essentially a customer version of the BMW WSBK machine, and this is reflected in the price tag; the HP4 RACE will cost £68,000 when it hits the market in September. Bikes will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis and can be ordered at all BMW Motorrad Centres in the UK.

New metal – Honda CB650F/ CBR650F

On the surface, the 2017 Honda CBR650F and its naked sibling, the CB650F don’t look much different than their 2016 versions apart from their new graphic schemes.

The overall visual design, including their cascading header pipes are back, and the underslung silencer has only a slightly different shape. Underneath the familiar skin, however, are a few updates that further refine Honda’s two 650 models.

Honda has shortened the air intake funnels for the 649cc inline-four while adding a dual-pass internal structure (rather than triple-pass) in the exhaust to improve the overall intake and exhaust flow management.

The result is a four bhp increase in peak power output to 89.8bhp at 11,000 rpm, while maximum torque increased by three-quarters of a pound-foot to 47lb.ft at 8000 rpm.

Shorter ratios from second to fifth gear improve acceleration with Honda claiming the 2017 models can beat the previous model in a second gear roll-on by three bike lengths over 400m.

Honda has also added a new 41mm Showa Dual Bending Valve fork, which claims to improve rider comfort and handling, and which delivers proportional rebound damping with firmer compression damping while offering more travel (up to 4.7 inches from 4.3 inches). The rear suspension remains the same monoshock with seven-stage preload adjustment which is mounted direct to the aluminium swingarm.

Both models feature revised Nissin front brake calipers and 320mm wavy discsw, and two-channel ABS is standard.

The 2016 models already had LED taillights but the 2017s receive LED headlights as well.

The CBR650F’s fairing looks very similar to the outgoing version but now features some open gaps in the side panels under the seat.

The CB650F on the other hand has a much smaller radiator shroud, further emphasizing the angular shape of the fuel tank while showing more of the engine.

 

New metal – Ducati 1299 Superleggera

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Meet the Ducati 1299 Superleggera, the latest word in desirable, two-wheeled exotica.

The bike is a limited edition version of Ducati’s superbike, and its engineers have gone to town breathing their magic on the bike – this is the lightest and most powerful, street-legal machine that the Borgo Panigale factory can produce.

The quest for lightness has been relentless and this bike uses a carbon fibre chassis (frame, swingarm, wheels, and bodywork) to make it as lights as possible – it weighs just 162kg wet.

Then there’s the Akrapovic race exhaust, which mirrors the system used on Chaz Davies’ WSBK winning bike.

In race trim the bike makes 220bhp, and this has been achieved through titanium valves, a crankshaft with tungsten inserts, and lighter con-rods.

Suspension is handled by Öhlins, with fully adjustable FL963 forks and TTX36 rear shock. Meanwhile, braking is handled by M50 Brembo calipers up front, mated to 330mm discs.

The electronics on the Ducati 1299 Superleggera have been upgraded as well, with an inertial measurement unit (IMU), being fitted to the superbike. The IMU not only powers the Superleggera’s anti-lock brakes, which have a special algorithm to work on the race track, but it also powers electronics that affect the rear wheel. This means that the Ducati 1299 Superleggera effectively has slide and spin control, which can be set independently of each other, in the traction control package. This upgrade comes courtesy of Ducati’s MotoGP and World Superbike racing efforts, and is a derivative of what Ducati Corse uses in those series.

Ducati Launch control (previously seen on the Ducati XDiavel) has also been added to the 1299 Superleggera, enabling flawless starts from a standstill.

The 1299 Superleggera costs £72,000 and only 500 units will be produced worldwide.

New metal – Ducati SCRAMBLER DESERT SLED

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An eclectic mix of funky retro and contemporary design, the Scrambler Desert Sled is the most ‘scrambler’ model in the Scrambler range.

The bike uses the same 803cc air-cooled Desmodue L-twin motor as the rest of the range, but it has a gold 19in front and 17in rear with both wearing Pirelli Scorpion Rally STR rubber.

The steel trellis frame has been strengthened to cope with off-road work, and the Desert Sled also has a bashplate and bear-claw footpegs with removable rubber inserts.

Up front there’s fully-adjustable 46KYB forks, while the rear is also fully-adjustable.

New metal – 2017 MONSTER 1200/ 1200S / R

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The 2017 Monster gets more power, concerning ABS and a new, sleeker tail and tank.

The new aesthetics bring the new bike ever closer to the original Monster in terms of looks, and there are three versions to choose from – the 1200, the 1200S and the R.

The entry-level 1200 sees the latest version of the Testastretta breathed on, and the engine now pumps out 150bhp at 9250rpm – a 25bhp boost over the outgoing model.

The 1200S receives upgraded Brembo M50 calipers and 330mm discs, fully adjustable Öhlins forks and rear monoschock, three Y-spoke wheels, a carbon front fender and LED front indicators.

The R has a further 10bhp to enjoy and a wider rear tyre.

All versions still sport Ducati’s comprehensive electronics package including cornering ABS and Ducati Wheelie Control.

 

New metal – Ducati Multistrada 950

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Ducati’s new Multistrada 950 is the lighter, smaller touring bike in Ducati’s brilliant Multistrada range.

Featuring a 937cc Testastretta engine taken straight from the Ducati Hypermotard and putting out a claimed 113bhp and 71lb.ft of torque, the bike should have character in spades.

The styling combines elements from the Multistrada 1200 and 1200 Enduro, but with seat height of 840mm, there’s nothing small about this bike.

It’s a proper Multistrada bitsa – the front is from the Multistrada 1200 front-end, as is the adjustable screen and fuel tank, while the seat, passenger seat, rear grab rail and exhaust and swingarm are all taken from the Multistrada Enduro.

There’s also a set of alloy wheels – 17in front and a 19in rear – 48m upsidedown Kayaba front forks and Brembo Monobloc M4.32 calipers at the front. And then there’s a suite of rider aids including eight-way traction control and four riding modes.

The bike will cost £10,995, compared to the standard Multistrada 1200 at £13,432.

 

New metal – BMW G310 GS

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The baby GS is the second bike to be released into BMW’s G310 family, and is set to take the smaller capacity market by storm.

Featuring the same GS styling as its bigger siblings, the G310 GS has a tubular steel frame, cast five-spoke wheels and a 313cc liquid-cooled single, complete with reversed 4v DOHC cylinder head which pumps out 34bhp.

There’s also an 11-litre tank, a six-speed gearbox, chain final drive, ABS as standards and an all LCD dash.

This being a BMW means there is a huge range of official accessories to choose from including 12-volt power sockets, heated grips, luggage and a centrestand.

New metal – 2017 BMW R1200GS

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The R1200GS range gets two new additions for 2017 – the Exclusive and the Rallye.

The Exclusive is the road-focused version of the pair, aimed squarely at riders who want their GS for mile-munching duties. Essentially a well-specified but subtle GS, this bike features cast wheels and an ‘Iced Chocolate metallic’ paintjob.

This is basically an entry-level bike, meaning that no other special parts come with it, leaving owners to spec it up as they see fit.

The Rallye is the bike for riders who wish to have a more off-road focused GS without having to go for the full bore GSA.

The GS Rallye comes on cross-spoked laced rims for enhanced off-road ability, and owners can even specify it comes on knobblies if they desire.

Other features include a Rallye seat, sports screen, radiator and frame guard, and wider endure footrests. Tougher, longer-travel suspension is also an option.

New metal – APRILIA RSV4 RF

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The RSV4 RF is more an evolution than a revolution, but Aprilia has done enough to keep the package competitive.

Featuring improved suspension and brakes, the RSV4 RF also has as an updated electronics package, which includes Bosch’s brilliantly effective cornering ABS system.

Changes to the powerplant ensure the RSV4 RF is compliant with the Euro 4 emissions standard, although Aprilia has managed to keep the bike’s 201bhp / 84.8lb.ft power and torque ratings by raising the RSV4 RF’s redline by 300 rpm. The engine also gets lighter pistons and a number of friction-reducing treatments, while a linear sensor has also been added to the gearbox for easier   quick-shifting up and down the box.

Other electronics changes include a new Aprilia Traction Control system, which is adjustable on the fly, Aprilia Wheelie Control, which is adjustable to three levels, and a new track use only Aprilia Launch Control system.

New metal – Aprilia Shiver / Dorsoduro 900

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There is no replacement for displacement, as the old saying goes, and to this end both the Aprilia Shiver and Dorsoduro get an engine and electronics upgrade for the 2017 model year.

The new 896cc 90° V-twin engine is a stroked out version of the old 750cc motor (stroke increased from 56.4mm to 67.4mm), which allows Aprilia to meet Euro4 emission standards, while keeping performance specs more or less the same.

To that vein, peak horsepower is now 95hp at 8,750 rpm, while peak torque is 66lb.ft at 6,600 rpm. Other changes include a new smoother ride-by-wire throttle, three-level traction control, and dual-channel ABS brakes.

Both models also get a visual overhaul, with new fuel tank covers, panels and the 4.3in TFT display from the Tuono and RSV4.

Other improvements include a new set of Kayaba front forks, which has preload and rebound adjustment. Only preload adjustment can be made to the rear shock suspension.