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  1. There were two standout production bikes of 2018 at EICMA: Ducati’s Panigale V4 and the KTM 790 Duke. And, after Chris pulled a sicky, I hopped on the flu-ridden easyJet flight to Gran Canaria for the launch of KTM’s all-new naked middleweight contender. The 799cc LC8c parallel twin is the first all-new motor from Mattighofen since 2003. KTM engineers opted for this configuration for compactness, and it is a tangibly slender chunk of metal that packs 105bhp. Thanks to the firing intervals – 75 degrees apart – the 790 still sounds like a v-twin, but without the low-end chugga lugging and lumpiness. At the other end of the rev spectrum, forged pistons and a secondary balancer shaft in the cylinder head cope with the 10k redline. Another first for KTM is the engine being a stressed member of the chassis. WP split-function forks are non-adjustable (like the old 690) and KTM worked alongside a Spanish company to furnish the 790 with brakes. For the vertically challenged amongst us, the standard seat h is 825mm and a low seat option is 805mm. There’s also a 780mm chassis lowering kit. And then there’s the extensive electronics suite; launch control, adjustable traction control, anti-wheelie and multi-option ABS – all controlled by lean angle sensitivity – plus a quickshifter and blipper. Contrary to rumours, the ‘Track’ mode, which is rider configurable, comes as standard and allows anti-wheelie and TC to function separately. And finally, after however many years, you can cut the ignition, turn the bike on, and the system will remember your previous anti-wheelie setting. Thanks to silly laws, ABS resets itself. We spent the morning carving through the mountain roads of Gran Canaria on the Scalpel before heading to Maspalomas circuit to explore the 790’s limitations – and do some skids and wheelies. KTM wanted the most agile bike in the naked middleweight class and it’s safe to say they’ve succeeded. It steers with unfathomable pace, despite a very long wheelbase and it soon answered the most pertinent pre-ride question I had. Does the 790 carry those inherent Duke motard-based manners, or is it more of a midi supernaked? Well, thankfully, it’s the latter. Plenty are rightly positioning the Duke against Triumph’s Street Triple and, while the 790’s horsepower deficiency over the Street Triple is all too evident, the KTM makes up for an outright power deficit by offering superior smiles-per-hour and lightning dynamics. It would have absolutely chewed the Triumph on the nadgery mountain roads thanks to enhanced agility and flickability, although I would have liked some more initial bite from the brakes. It’s not as if I was yearning for more speed anyway. There’s a sumptuous blend of power, balance and control, with the front wheel hovering the surface during hard acceleration. Packing oodles of usable grunt at the bottom, the Duke still prefers life above 7,000rpm with a palpable hit in the midrange. As mentioned previously, the throttle and low-RPM etiquette is quite smooth (for a KTM), although if you want aggressive you can have aggressive. ‘Sport’ throttle is almost 1:1 and certainly livens the delivery, but is too aggro for urban climes. ‘Street’ is just the remedy. And what about the non-adjustable suspension? We’ve seen plenty of experts who reckon it won’t suffice, but I had no issues whatsoever – until we came to spanking it on track and it all got a bit bouncy. The only other concern is the 790’s puny 14-litre tank. In summary, it’s as if the A-Team have gone into a cave armed with a 390 Duke and a 1290 Super Duke R, and forced the pair to make sweet love. The consequent offspring is the compactness and agility of the 390 combined with that innate lunacy of the 1290, just far more manageable with a far more digestible price tag of £8,499. Our full review will be live very soon…
  2. All-new Yamaha YZ65

    If you, like me, have succumbed to a life engulfed in rigger boots and hi-viz jackets while your son/daughter blissfully annihilates your bank account by riding motocross every weekend, then you’ll be highly aroused by Yamaha’s latest release. Even if little Timmy has graduated through the schoolboy ranks and is now riding bigger bikes, the news of an all-new YZ65 should still be exciting. KTM has monopolised the mini segment from autos to 65s (through no fault of its own as other manufacturers have ceased development), so Yamaha’s YZ65 could be a proper game-changer – a bike that shakes up the entry-level sector like no other model has done for years. Everyone knows of the iconic PW50. How many careers have started aboard a PeeWee? Gazillions. Sure, it’s an auto 50, but racing one of them against a KTM SX is a form of child cruelty. Yamaha says the YZ features an all-new engine and chassis. The liquid-cooled 65cc two-smoker uses a reed valve system and comes equipped with Yamaha’s fabled YPVS power valve set-up for a wider spread of power. There’s a six-speed ‘box and a light action clutch for Junior’s little digits. “As well as delivering smooth and easy to use power with race winning performance, YZ65 riders and their parents can also be sure that this is one of the most durable and reliable models in the category.” Whether this is a dig at the sometimes-fickle KTM, we’ll never know. But it sounds like it. The all-new double cradle frame houses the motor and is connected to an aluminium subframe and lightweight swingarm. A 14” front and 12” rear wheel both come in that jizzy blue scheme, while wavey brake discs also look peng. 36mm KYB forks are fully adjustable and a KYB link-less rear set-up is utilised to keep maintenance at a minimum. The lil’ 65 really does look like a mini YZ450F and will be hitting UK shores in June this year. It just so happens that my son is old enough to progress to a 65cc next year, so we’ll be doing our utmost best to borrow one from Yamaha UK and accidentally keep it. [embedded content] Share the love:
  3. Suzuki has just confirmed a recall on all GSX-R1000 and GSX-R1000R models, which affects just over 600 registered bikes in the UK. The recall has been, erm, called due to iffy ECUs that need replacing. Don’t panic. Nothing too serious. Suzuki has identified a potential fault when upshifting from first to second gear, where neutral can be selected and consequent damage can occur if the rider shifts into second without using the clutch. “An excessive load can be applied to the powertrain which can cause the chain to stretch and, in the worst case, the drive chain can come off or break. Customer safety and satisfaction is the highest priority and Suzuki has elected to commence a recall to fit a new component to avoid any potential future issues. “Owners of officially imported and registered machines that are affected by the recall will receive a letter advising them to contact their local authorised Suzuki dealership, who will carry out the fitment of the new component free of charge. Notifications will commence during March when replacement parts stock is available.” We did notice a somewhat sticky action during our test at Jerez… Share the love:
  4. As you should know by now, Triumph has been busy revising the Tiger 800 for 2018 with a claimed 200 upgrades to the engine and chassis, gaining many of the improvements that its bigger brother – the Tiger 1200 – adopted this season. Internal work on the 94bhp 800cc triple, apparently, offers a more responsive delivery and there’s a shorter first gear for off-road benefits. Other highlights include Triumph’s fabled new TFT dash, updated Brembo brakes, shifting the ‘bars towards the rider by 10mm (a la Tiger 1200), updated cruise control, a five-way adjustable screen and an array of new switchgear featured on Hinckley’s latest machinery. Triumph has also geared the Tiger 800 further toward off-road shenanigans without sacrificing Tarmac prowess. The addition of ‘Off Road Pro’ mode allows skids and wheelies, and proper mudplugging capabilities. The launch was in Marrakesh, Morocco: the ideal testing facility for such a versatile middleweight. With the continual growth of 44T, and where we’re both busy on other launches and ensuring our trusty Budget Bike Battle steeds complete the trip to Africa, the time has come to share the love and allow other to represent our fine brand. Ladies and gents, Mossy… Which is why we sent Chris Moss. ‘Mossy’ is an industry legend. Simple. Famous for his brutal honesty and off-bike skulduggery (we’ll get to that another time), Mossy has just completed two days of riding in Morocco and we’ve gathered his first ride thoughts on the 2018 Triumph Tiger 800 via telecom communication. “There are six versions in total. I rode the top spec XRT road model and XCA off-road version on a great test that involved every terrain possible: nice roads, battered roads, scenic roads and very twisty roads. All in all, Triumph succeeded in letting us see this bike in its best light. The off-road, in particular, I was surprised as to how well it did. “Listen, it’s a big, fat, heavy thing but they put it on some decent tyres (Pirelli Scorpion Rally) and the bike was way more manageable than I thought it would be, and that’s probably the word to sum it up: manageable. Easy to master, go-anywhere, anytime type bike.” “I’m not sure whether the updates to the engine have made a huge difference but it’s very useable and there’s added excitement in the midrange when it gets going, a rush of extra speed. Overall, it handles very well, stops well and the suspension is very good – I especially like the better-spec kit on the XCA. “It’s one of Triumphs best-sellers and I don’t see any reason why that will change for 2018. I would have one of those as a longtermer straight away [because Mossy is a tight bastard who hasn’t bought a bike in years] because it’s a tool, something you can use for every aspect of motorcycling.” You can expect some fine japery, concise opinion and all the finer details on the Tiger 800 in a video coming soon. In the meantime, here’s the pricing… Tiger 800 XR £9,100.00 Tiger 800 XRX £10,550.00 Tiger 800 XCX £11,250.00 Tiger 800 XRT £12,050.00 Tiger 800 XCA £12,450.00 Tiger 800 XRX Low £10,550.00 Share the love:
  5. After several teasers involving racing gods and terrible flat-track riders, Carl Fogarty and Gary Johnson, Triumph has finally officially unveiled a heavily revised Speed Triple. The iconic naked thumper comes in S and RS flavours for 2018 and feature a number of significant updates including more power and an improved electronics suite. As with most of Triumph’s range this season, the Speed Triple is evolution over revolution. The 1050cc triple engine for both models has been treated to (over) 105 new components and now makes a claimed 148bhp (up by 7%), with Triumph reckoning she now spins faster and revs harder to a redline that’s been extended by 1,000rpm – sounds very similar to the new Tiger’s workings. Lighter crank gear, new pistons that slide by Nikasil-plated liners, and a reworked cylinder head are partly responsible for the additional power, and those sexy Arrow cans are standard on the RS. There’s also mention of an improved gearbox and slipper clutch, whatever that means. Hinckley’s engineers have also worked on something that’s so often overlooked, which is rerouting the oil system. It now runs the oil internally through the cylinder head and does away with messy external pipes. The Street Triple’s 5-inch TFT dash and 5-axis joystick/snazzy switchgear now adorns the S and RS, complemented by Triumph’s latest ride-by-wire trickery and features such as cruise control and a USB charging point. ‘Optimised’ cornering ABS and multi-level TC is controlled by a Continental IMU, and the RS comes with keyless ignition as standard. Finer details are scant regarding the chassis. The 2018 Speed Triple retains the twin-spar aluminium frame and single-sided swinger’ of the previous model – optimised for stiffness and rigidity – but gains new 5-spoke rims that look fiiiiiiya. The Speed Triple S comes with Showa suspension at either end, while the RS is fitted with Öhlins NIX30 forks and a TTX36 shock. The RS also weighs 3kg less than the S. The Speed Triple has always been one step behind its true supernaked adversaries, lacking outright performance but offering big, bullish behaviour and a triple treat to offset its sporting deficiencies. I rode the last incarnation at the launch at Calafat, which was a big improvement in almost every area (except wheelies, which was a bit guff), so it’ll be interesting to sample Hinckley’s latest workings. Assuming the SRAD and Ninja actually make it to southern Spain without spontaneously combusting, we’ll be riding the new Speed Triple RS at the launch in Almeria in a few weeks. Share the love:
  6. Some offices are better than others. An office that includes a medley of 2018 R1Ms based at Portimao is a pretty sexy office, and an office that Chris has inhabited this week for the press launch of Yamaha’s latest crossplane offerings. Unveiled in a very elusive fashion at the Milan show last year, the subtlety refreshed R1 and R1M almost slipped the net… There are several significant updates to one of the finest track steeds available for 2018: Öhlins Smart EC2, the addition of a blipper, ‘improved’ Lift control and new ECU mapping. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, etc, although we’d like to have seen some upgraded brakes in that tech spec. After hearing about the new Öhlins kit – damn similar to that seen on the Panigale V4 – I was hoping for a massive step in performance and fluidity. Is it? Well, Chris has an allergy to any kind of work typing and the general approach to writing, so we used the latest and greatest technology and spoke over the phone. Here are some of his initial thoughts. “The suspension is definitely an improvement but not a dramatic change in performance. It’s easier to use in terms of set-up, with brake support, acceleration support and mid-corner support all readily changeable via the fresh interface on the R1M’s dash. But yes, the dynamic upgrade is subtle. “As before, the quickshifter is sharp and responsive. The blipper is smooth, although I wasn’t the only rider who suffered with missed blips/changes from second gear to first. Then again, that could be down to a clumsy boot operation or the throttle not being 100% closed. “It is not available for retro fitting to ‘15/16/17 models. Despite the system being physically able to accept the ‘blipper, you’ll need to change the wiring harness, dash and ECU, so it’s hardly worth it anyway. Also worth noting on the ‘blipper, it makes an awesome noise on downshifting. There’s an aggressive soundtrack to accompany the crossplane noise. “Riding characteristics remain largely the same as before. There’s no power increase, as nothing inside the engine has changed, and it’s the same with braking, sadly. There’s still a somewhat distant feeling but still a very complete motorcycle.” And what of the updated LIF system, Lord Cuntybollox? “Well Al, I’m glad you asked. It’s not as violent as before, not as intrusive, and the bike feels more natural throughout a lap. Portimao is the ultimate test for electronics and anti-wheelie systems, and the LIF proved handy in some areas – especially over the start/finish straight’s crest. We were advised to keep it pinned to allow the system to function properly, rather than modulate the throttle and upset the bike. I still found it easier to manually control wheelies in certain areas of the track but this is an improvement.” There was also a stock R1 and a GYTR (Genuine Yamaha Technology Racing, not anything to do with Great Yarmouth) kitted bike with 215bhp and a feast of other bolt-ons now available for public consumption. Video dropping soon… Share the love:
  7. You’ve probably heard murmurings from last weekend’s Ducati Panigale V4 world press launch in Valencia, although you probably haven’t heard about a few of us taking some rental bikes (Valencia’s equivalent of Boris Bikes) and riding them down steps and swapping brake cables and basically imitating Mat Hoffman. Anyway, I digress. Rarely has a brand-new motorcycle received such unanimous praise and consequent torrent of superlatives, and its sexy Italian lineage, £24,000 price tag and enough in the electronics suite to worry a high street store have nothing to do with it. Honda’s original FireBlade. The 1998 Yamaha R1. Suzuki’s GSX-R1000 K5. The original BMW S 1000 RR. Every now and then, a bike will come along and raise the imaginary bar. Sure, the Panigale V4 still has two wheels and nothing truly innovative is mentioned in its tech spec, but there’s something intrinsically special about the Panigale V4, therefore deserving bar-raising status of the aforementioned quartet. Yes. It really is that special. Does it boil your spuds like the 1299? Difficult to confirm, as we didn’t encounter any urban environments on the launch and my spuds felt all warm and lovely, but never seared. Hopefully we answered most of your questions in this video, although I get round to replying to some of the more obscure enquiries. Sit back, relax and enjoy our Ducati Panigale V4 Review [embedded content] Share the love:
  8. 2018 KTM RC 390 R

    Just when we thought the influx of 2018 machinery had dried up, KTM has – this morning – unveiled a naughty little number in the shape of an RC 390 R. This limited-edition homologation special has been released to compete at the sharp end of the booming SSP300 class and restricted to just 500 units. Fully adjustable WP suspension separates the R model from the stock RC 390 (rather than the very crude bouncers), along with hardware updates, a shorter intake trumpet for a wider spread of power, CNC race levers and a new top yoke and handlebar kit to allow for racier ergonomics. The RC chassis has always been a belter, so Gucci suspension will no doubt take handling to another level. There’s also an SSP300 Race Kit, which features over 230 bolt-on goodies to go racing, including that stunning Akrapovic EVO02 exhaust, Race ECU, quickshifter, STM slipper clutch, plus everything you need to go racing for a season. The bad news? The 2018 KTM RC 390 R itself will cost €8,500, while the race kit will set you back €11,000. And, according to KTM, the kit cannot be retrospectively fitted to older RC models. Still, this could spark a new wave of fresh homologation lightweights from other manufacturers, which would be peng, especially given the success of SSP300 racing across the globe and British Superbikes launching their very own SSP300 support class in 2018. Share the love:
  9. My brain is still functioning at 180mph, a jumbled mess infected by an astonishing V4 Desmo that does naughty things. I’ve just completed two sessions aboard the Panigale V4 at Valencia’s Ricardo Tormo circuit and I’m struggling not to be embroiled by launch fever, or use the phrase ‘game-changer.’ My first (honest) impression? It went something like, ‘holy fuuuuuuuuuuuck.’ But it isn’t the engine that’s giving me a stiffy. It’s the Panigale’s insane handling attributes. It feels like a 600 to throw around, steers like an uncompromised race bike and boasts supernatural levels of mechanical grip that goad you into taking superhero liberties with an uncrashable swagger. I had to remind myself that we were riding a stock V4S, wearing stock Supercorsa SP rubber, although the Panigale kept laughing at my puerile attempts to abuse its boundaries. That’s not to say the V4 engine isn’t impressive. This thing blurs the scenery like nothing before (no shock given its cheaty cubes), ably hened by a sexy soundtrack. There are no peaks, no troughs, no naughty moments anywhere in the rev range – just a seamless linear delivery. What I can’t get my head around is the fact it still sounds like a twin at low RPM. Dawdling down the pitlane, I could well be straddling a 1299, which is due to the V4’s twin-pulse ignition and firing intervals. It’s only when the cable gets a stretching above 10,000rpm that a howling V4 symphony develops. Despite its track prowess, the new Panigale is super-easy to ride, smooth and stable. Traits previously not associated with a Ducati superbike, and traits that will unquestionably make the V4 a superior road bike to anything that’s left Bologna in recent times. Don’t get me wrong; muscling anything around this place is exhausting, but I now understand why Ducati launched the V4 in Valencia. I’ve never ridden a production Ducati superbike that hasn’t suffered with some degree of understeer. That’s all changed now. Granted, some of that is down to the new front frame, which certainly does give a more conventional chassis sensation, but it’s the counter-rotating crank that’s responsible for just as much positive handling as it does engine effect. It seems as though Öhlins have been (nearly) as busy as Ducati. This is the first electronically suspended bike that I’d happily race/not to choose to swap with a conventionally sprung steed as – along with Ducati’s grafting – these golden nuggets of joy have made the Panigale drastically more fluid from braking to apex, and all without sacrifice. Talking of electronics, you’re going to be some sort of ham-fisted throttle jockey in order to crash this bike. When everything’s up to temperature, the electronics suite ticks all the boxes for both performance and safety. Now with Slide Control, anyone can replicate their GP heroes and there’s an ABS system that’s equally as cunning. With a bit if luck, the full video review will be live on Wednesday and we’ll upload some pics on tomorrow. It’s going to be sexier than Rachel Riley smothered in oil. Ooooosh. Share the love:
  10. This weekend sees the world press launch of Ducati’s Panigale V4 at Valencia’s Ricardo Tormo circuit, and I won a game of soggy Ryvita to claim the 44T ticket – much to Chris’s dismay. Without even riding it, the latest techno queen to exit Bologna has to be the most sought after steed of 2018, not least because we’re short of fresh superbikes this season. But that’s no excuse not to be deeply aroused by Ducati’s hottest offerings. Valencia is a strange track to launch a 220bhp Bolognan missile in some ways. Those that have sampled the Ricardo Tormo circuit will appreciate its foibles, and its tight and twisty nature, and we’ll no doubt be spending a huge amount of time testing the V4’s second gear aptitude. Obviously, the start/finish straight will offer the chance to explore the Desmo’s top-end, abuse the 14,000rpm redline and pretend we’re fat Jorge Lorenzos, although it’s the cornering capabilities that will be scrutinised. The basic geometry isn’t too far from the 1299 (trail is up from 96mm to 100mm) so, for me, the most intriguing aspect is the V4’s handling traits – aside from the motor itself. There are two motives: the first is Panigale’s new ‘front frame’ which should supply a more conventional chassis sensation, rather than a full monocoque. The second is the motor housed in that chassis: the L-twin was pure evil as soon as you overworked it, which then caused handling issues on a hot lap. It was never going to bother lap records in standard trim but that’s all set to change. And then there’s the updated electronics (including slide control), suspension, Brembo brakes and tyres. We won’t bother dissecting trivialities such as fuel economy, its 16L tank and how it behaves dawdling at 30mph past your favoured café – that’s saved for a UK first ride in the coming weeks. A large majority of Panigale V4s are sold before a demo ride, based purely on the looks and a hardcore Ducati following. But there’s a selection of potential buyers waiting to hear whether or not they need to cancel their RSV4 order and move into the red corner, and we’ll bring you the full rundown next week. So, what d’ya wanna know? Leave a comment below or feel free to email us… Share the love:
  11. With the usual Ducati cinematic soundtrack resonating in the background, Claudio Domenicali hosted Ducati’s 2018 MotoGP presentation at the firm’s auditorium in Bologna along with a lovely brunette lady in a fresh black number. Gigi Dall’Igna and his marvellous monobrow then took to the stage to talk briefly about the tech side of things. Of course, extracting anything juicy from a team launch (and in public for that matter) is a blood-from-a-stone job, but the paraphrasing consists of more engine work (because Ducati needed more power) and a revised aero package that we’ll see later in the year, most probably after the Sepang tests. Jorge Lorenzo and Andrea Dovizioso were then welcomed onto the stage aboard their GP18s to reveal this season’s colours, which involve a modest smattering of grey on the fairings. 2018 is Ducati’s 16th season in MotoGP, clocking up a total of 125,885km in that time, which equates to 27,184 laps raced. Ducati riders have led 27,184 km/1,119 laps – most of which are due to a Mr C Stoner, we’re guessing. Can Dovi go one better this season and add to Ducati’s only world title? Anyway, here’s a Desmo-derived MotoGP porn gallery for your delectation… Share the love:
  12. In isolation, the Triumph Tiger Explorer was an excellent workhorse: comfy, solid with a sexy soundtrack. Against its more modern adventure bike peers, the Trumpet felt like a tired, saggy old granny that lacked some 21st century essentials. Thankfully, there are over 100 changes to the Tiger 1200 for 2018 – not least ditching the ‘Explorer’ tag from its model name – and we spent a few days in Spain sampling Triumph’s latest offerings at the press launch… Joining the existing ride-by-wire and IMU-powered electronics suite is keyless ignition, a snazzy TFT dash pinched from the Street Triple, adaptive cornering lights and a quickshifter/blipper among other techy trinkets. While the core chassis remains unchanged, Hinckley’s engineers have trimmed 2.5kg from the flywheel and 0.5kg from the crank to ensure a livelier delivery. In all, the top-spec XCa has lost a massive 11kg and the results are clearly evident. We spent a morning dissecting the Spanish mountain roads on both the XC and XR before switching tyres (and bikes) for an afternoon of Sierra Nevada desert action, ably guided by the UK’s youngest ever Dakar rider, Nick Plumb. Even Charley Boorman joined us for some japes. A glaring omission (thanks to a tech issue) is the chat we had regarding the Tiger’s tank size. If it weren’t for the GS Adventure, its 30-litre tank and its 300-mile range, there wouldn’t be an issue with the Triumph. But when you’re riding with friends on German übertanks, it suddenly becomes a pain in the cock unless you enjoy a smoke or suffer from bladder problems. When speaking to Triumph engineers at the launch, they neither confirmed or denied a more focused upcoming release with heftier fuel capacity, but did say the 20-litre tank suits the current model. We can’t argue with that… [embedded content] 2018 Triumph Tiger 1200 Review Share the love:
  13. After unveiling the Z900RS at the recent Tokyo Motor Show in, erm, Tokyo, Kawasaki has saved some of its freshest metal for release in Milan – including a supercharged sport-tourer and another addition to the ZX-10R family. The Kawasaki ZX-10R SE (Special Edition) sits alongside the basic ZX-10R and sportier ZX-10RR, and features semi-active suspension, unique 7-spoke forged Marchesinis and the up/down quickshifter seen on the RR. Otherwise, it’s a ZX-10R… Get your KECS out. KECS is Kawasaki Electronic Control Suspension and it’s an interesting project from Showa, taking it to the golden goodness from Öhlins. The SE wears the same Balance Free forks and shock as the base model but hides the magic. Built-in stroke sensors – exclusive technology to the SE – send data to the KECS ECU every 1ms, and are complimented by an IMU supplying info every 10ms. The damping is then adjusted accordingly. Pilots get a choice of Road, Track and Manual modes for a softer/stiffer base setting, while Manual allows the rider to tweak compression and rebound damping. Kawasaki reckons the faster reaction time provides a more natural feeling, so it’ll be interesting to sample Showa’s execution. Next up the Ninja H2 SX which, as the name suggests, is a more everyday supercharged behemoth and looks suspiciously like a Triumph Sprint made love to a VFR resulting in this offspring. The engine – according to Kawasaki – has been completely redesigned, with a new impeller, pistons, crank, cams, cylinder head, throttle bodies and intake system to ensure a more usable delivery. Meanwhile, the H2’s frame has also been tweaked to accommodate panniers and a change in rigidity. There’s also a longer wheelbase for stability and a wider steeper head angle for ‘low-speed manoeuvres.’ The fairings look like a ZZR14/H2/Z1000SX mash-up and Kawasaki says the riding position is far more relaxed than the ZZR but not as upright as the Z1000SX. It’s18kg more than H2, which isn’t exactly a slender beast itself. Gizmos include cruise control, Kawasaki’s first TFT dash and an IMU-equipped electronics package, which utilises the Big K’s fabled KTRC traction control and anti-wheelie. The SE (Special Edition) model brags launch control and a quickshifter. There’ll be more from the Milan show in video formateo… Share the love:
  14. 2018 KTM 790 Duke

    Remember last year’s EICMA? And KTM stealing the show with its 790 prototype? Well, say hello to the mass-produced puppy. Although the production bike looks nothing like last year’s showstopper, this all-new 2018 KTM 790 Duke still looks like a mini Beast. With the middleweight class growing rapidly, KTM has chucked some serious effort into making the ultimate road scalpel. Finer details are scant at the time of writing, but the 790 is powered by an LC8 799cc twin that produces a claimed 105bhp at 9,000rpm, which instantly places in the Duke in Street Triple territory (there’ll also be a 95bhp version to allow a 44bhp A2 model). Although there’s no official mention in the press guff, it looks like a beefier aftermarket exhaust will add a few extra ponies. And looking at the press action pics, the 790 looks far more at home during big lean and conventional cornering – somewhere the 690 fell short. It looks more of a naked nutter than motard-biased hooligan, although you can guarantee The Scalpel will stunt for fun weighing just 169kg and continue to carry that innate Duke ethos. KTM calls the chassis geometry ‘sophisticated’ and there’s a ‘relatively’ long wheelbase. Needless to say, the 790 is dressed in specially-developed WP suspension and also features a medley of performance enhancing electronics, including lean angle sensitive TC, cornering ABS and launch control. Yep, bloody launch control. Other intricacies include the LED tail light being intergrated into the licence plate holder, and Maxxis Supermaxx ST rubber. More when we get it. Share the love:
  15. Ducati Panigale V4 Unveiled

    Months after unveiling the Desmosedici Stradale engine, the wraps have officially come of the entire Ducati Panigale V4 in Milan. Or should I say V4s as, unsurprisingly, there are three of the beautiful buggers up for grabs, brimming with the latest Gucci technology: the base model Panigale V4, the S version, and a limited-edition ‘Speciale’ that’s clearly aimed at affluent trackday pilots. The major news is that 1,103cc V4 powerplant housed in a tweaked Panigale chassis, which utilises Bologna’s Desmodromic valve system, twin pulse ignition and a counter-rotating crank (very MV Agusta) that should liven things up somewhat. Churning out a claimed 214bhp at 13,000rpm with the same 81mm bore as Dovi’s MotoGP prototype, Ducati says the power-to-weight ratio is a class-leading 1:1. It’s also the biggest bore in the supersport segment – no shock given the cheaty cubes. . With a redline at 14,000rpm and an astonishingly high compression ratio of 14:1, the V4 also uses a variable inlet system (a first for Ducati). But check this: with the optional titanium Akrapovic exhaust fitted, the V4 will produce 226bhp. Wowzers. In order to accommodate the new engine and its extra dollop of horsepower, Ducati has added a ‘front frame’ to the monocoque arrangement which weighs just 4.4kg. It’s now a semi, not a full monocoque, and attaches to both cylinder heads. This allows torsional and lateral rigidity to be separated and optimum chassis tuning. The swingarm is still fixed directly to the rear of the engine, a la 1299. The V4’s rake remains at 24.5 degrees but trail has been upped to 100mm (previously 96mm on the 1299), and the new Panigale has been salad dodging, now with a claimed kerb weight of 195kg – the dry figure is now 174kg. To offset some of this extra timber, the fuel tank is now 16L (place your bets for fuel range) and is made from lightweight aluminium, sitting further back in the bike and under stretching further under the seat. The space previously occupied by gas is now a home for the smorgasbord of electronics. Other chassis highlights include new Brembo Stylema Monobloc calipers, which are the latest development from the ball-busting M50s. And there are new Pirelli Supercorsa SP tyres, which are being debuted on the Panigale V4 and feature an SC2 shoulder compound, a resized rear hoop and a few other updates. – Ducati Panigale V4 • £19,250 The base model wears 43mm Showa BPF forks and a Sachs shock, and comes laden with the latest generation electronics package controlled by a new 6-axis Inertial Measurement Unit. Cornering ABS, traction control, wheelie control, launch control, quickshifter + blipper, engine braking control AND Ducati slide control – technology that’s made Yamaha’s R1 so damn sexy. Debuted on the Multistrada, the V4 also features Ducati Multimedia system, which allows incoming calls, music selection and SMS via Bluetooth. Perfect for sub-50s laps of Brands Indy. – Ducati Panigale V4 S • £23, 895 As with previous S models, the Panigale V4 S is treated to top-shelf Öhlins suspension and lighter aluminium forged Marchesinis. The S uses new Öhlins Smart EC 2.0 electronic trickery, housed in NIX30 forks and a TTX46 shock. There’s also a lithium-ion battery and a magnesium front subframe. – Ducati Panigale V4 Speciale • £34,995 The limited-edition Speciale (only 1500 being built) is a jazzed-up S model with a host of lighter, go-faster goodies such as carbon fibre mudguards and adjustable rearsets, and weighs 10kg less with all the bolt-ons fitted . You get the full titanium Akrapovic exhaust (so 226bhp), a racing screen, and Ducati’s Data Analyser among other track-focused nuggets. Oh, and an Alcantara seat. The launch is in January and they’ll be hitting dealers soon after. We’re nursing chubby ones till then… Share the love: