Is Harley-Davidson planning a sportsbike?

This image has been doing the rounds of the internet rumour mill for days suggesting Harley-Davidson is about planning to return to sportsbike manufacture.

It’s an artist’s rendering from Japanese magazine Young Machine who frequently speculate and don’t always get it right.

In October 2018, their artists suggested this would be the small bike Harley would make in China for the Asian market.

Harley sportsbikeYoung Machine rendering of small Chinese Harley

However, this is now the official Harley drawing of the 350cc bike they are calling project HD350. It’s substantially different to the Young Machine drawing.

Harley-Davidson HD350Harley-Davidson HD350

So has the magazine go it right this time?

Sportsbike return

And would Harley really return to making a sportsbike like its 1994 VR1000?

VR1000

Later this year they will introduce their bareknuckle 115hp/94Nm Bronx Streetfighter range.

Harley-Davidson Revolution Max platform Bronx StreetfighterBronx Streetfighter

It wouldn’t be too much of a stretch to give the Bronx a half fairing and extended belly pan as in the latest artist’s rendering.

VisorDown points out that a similar image is featured in the background of this photo from the Harley design house when the Bareknuckle was in its clay model stage.

Harley VR1000 teaseBronx clay model wth small sportsbike image indicated (Image: Visordown)

But the question is why would Harley return to sportsbikes after axing its Buell brand and selling MV Agusta in the wake of the GFC?

Sportsbike sales have been declining in sales in recent years, although super-hi-tech models have had a slight recovery.

Asian Harleys

Meanwhile, India’s Hero MotoCorp is suggesting Harley may extend its Asian presence with a collaboration.

Hero MotoCorp’s Chairman, Pawan Munjal recently told the Times of India his company was open to partnering with Harley-Davidson, which is looking at making a 250-500cc motorcycle for the domestic market from 2022.

“The sooner it happens, it’s good for everyone,” he is quoted as saying.

Other recent motorcycle joint partnerships in India include KTM, Kawasaki and now Triumph with Bajaj; MV Agusta, Moto Guzzi and even Norton with Kinetic; and BMW’s G310 built by TVS.

Proposed Triumph 250Proposed Triumph 250

Harley already has a factory in India making Street models and a plant in Thailand commissioned late last year to make motorcycles for Europe to avoid high tariffs on American products in response to Trump’s trade wars.

In June 2019, Harley-Davidson also announced plans for a joint venture with China’s Qianjiang to produce a motorcycle under their HD350 project, indicating a 350cc engine.

Harley-Davidson HD350Harley-Davidson HD350

However, it could be even smaller as they now call it the HD338, presumably powered by the Benelli 338cc twin-cylinder engine from the Benelli 302S as Qianjiang also owns and makes the former Italian brand of motorcycle.

The baby Hog will hit the showrooms in China in June and India by the end of the year.

There is no word on whether it will be exported to any other markets, but we suspect it will be sold throughout Asia.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Kawasaki plans Bimota hub-centre steering

Kawasaki used to supply engines for esoteric Italian motorcycle manufacturer Bimota and now they are collaborating to share engineering ideas such as hub-centre steering.

The first result of their collaboration is the upcoming Tesi H2 powered by a Kawasaki H2 supercharged 998cc inline four.

Not only is it propelled by the stonking supercharged H2 engine, but there is a fair bit of H2 in the “origami” design.

It now appears that the bike is near production with this image on the Bimota social media.

Bimota Tesi H2Bimota Tesi H2

In a reciprocal arrangement it seems Bimota’s predilection for hub-centre steering may make its way into a future Kawasaki.

The Japanese company has recently applied for a patent for a strikingly similar front suspension setup.Kawasaki Bimota hub-centre steering patent

Don’t you think it looks very much like the Tesi H2?

Bimota Tesi H2Bimota Tesi H2

Hub-centre steering

Hub-centre steering has been around since 1910, so it’s interesting that Kawasaki would ask for a patent.

Perhaps their design is slightly differennt.

It typically has the steering pivot points inside the hub of the wheel, rather than above the wheel in the headstock as in the traditional layout.

Australian film animator and self-taught engineer Ray Van Steenwyk has also invented a variation of the hub-centre arrangement.

It’s called the Motoinno TS3 and is based on an air-cooled Ducati 900 SS.Motoinno TS3 with centre steering

They claim the advantages are no dive under brakes, adjustable rake, a tighter turning circle and improve corner handling.

we’ve also seen huib-cetre steering making a bit of a comeback in some electric motorcycle designs such as this Japanese Zec00.

Zec00 electric motorcycleZec00

Tesi H2

Meanwhile, there is no word yet on price for the limited-edition Tesi H2, but there is a rumour it will be near $A100,000.Bimota Tesi H2However, you can bet it will be eye-wateringly expensive being fettled with Öhlins suspension, Brembo brakes, plenty of carbon fibre and CNC machined bits and pieces.

As a guide, the current Ducati-powered Tesi 3D EVO is $A50,890 and the Tesi 3D Naked is $55,990.

Bimota Tesi 3DBimota Tesi 3D

That’s a lot more than the current Kawasaki H2 at $29,290, H2 SX SE at $34,999 or the Carbon version at $40,400.

Most significantly, the power figure has now been released and it’s the same as the H2 at 170kW (228hp), not like the track-only H2R at 240kW.

The current Tesi 3D models are powered by a 1078cc Ducati air-cooled engine from the old Monster 1100 which only outputs 78kW.Bimota Tesi H2

Tesi H2 will also be 24kg lighter than the H2 at 214kg, despite the seemingly heavy hub-centre steering.

Bimota history

Bimota has worked with Kawasaki before, using their engines and we expect the new ownership arrangement to result in more collaborative models.

The Italian boutique manufacturer was founded in 1973 in Rimini, Italy by Valerio Bianchi, Giuseppe Morri, and Massimo Tamburini who designed the beautiful Ducati 916 and equally elegant MV Agusta F4.

They have also had relationships other motorcycles manufacturers such as Ducati and the other Japanese manufacturers.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Lazareth adds cheaper quad bike

French motorcycle and car customiser Lazareth has unveiled a lighter and cheaper R1-powered leaning quad than the V8-Maserati-powered “bike” launched in 2016.

In the meantime, the company has also produced a jet-powered flying motorcycle prototype.

All are being built in very limited production runs of 5-10 with prices on application.

Cheaper and lighter

Obviously the new Euro-approved R1-powered LM410 quad is lighter than the Maserati-powered LM847 and most likely a lot cheaper at about €100,000 (about $A163,000).

“It was designed to be lighter, more manageable and accessible to as many people as possible,” they say.

This civilised version still retains the hyper sport style and the genes of the Lazareth brand.”Lazareth LM410 leaning quad cheaper

They claim the four wheels improve traction under acceleration, braking and cornering while still leaning like a normal motorcycle.

Like its bigger brother, it has a pendulum leaning system which is blocked by a mechanism when stationary so that it doesn’t need a sidestand to remain upright.

It features Rizoma billet aluminium controls and TFX shock absorber like the LM847.Lazareth LM410 leaning quad cheaper

More leaning quads

There have been other leaning four-wheeler concepts before powered by all sorts of massive engines and they’ve even featured in moves such as Tron and Batman.

In real life, HondaKawasaki and Yamaha seem to be leaning (‘scuse the pun) towards producing leaning multi-wheelers.

Yamaha OR2T leaning four-wheel motorcycleYamaha OR2T leaning four-wheel motorcycle

We can understand the attraction for people who can’t lift a heavy bike off its side stand and appreciate not having to put their foot down to hold the bike at the traffic lights.

There is also the safety aspect of the extra traction this concept affords.

However, the extra weight requires a more powerful engine and reduces efficiency, while the machine is needlessly complex and expensive.

We also think they look quite hideous.

Two wheels is still cheaper and more efficient.

What do you think of leaning multi-wheeler “bikes”? Leave you comments below.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Bezzecchi beats rookie Canet to Day 2 top spot

Under sunny Andalusian skies, Bezzecchi and Canet both beat Remy Gardner’s (Onexox TKKR SAG Team) new lap record time set on Day 1, the Australian finishing P13 on the second day of action. Fourth on Thursday was the experienced Tom Lüthi (Liqui Moly Intact GP) as both the Swiss and Jorge Navarro (Speed Up Racing) dipped below the 1:41 barrier. Xavi Vierge (Petronas Sprinta Racing) ended the day sixth fastest to finish 0.666 off Bezzecchi’s benchmark, but it wasn’t the day his teammate Jake Dixon would have been looking for. The British rider suffered a crash at Turn 2 in the second session which damaged his right-hand ring finger, the Moto2™ sophomore will now miss Day 3 as he flies back to the UK for further medical checks.

Source: MotoGP.comRead Full Article Here

Valencia renews agreement with MotoGP™ until 2026

Carmelo Ezpeleta, CEO of Dorna Sports: “Dorna guarantees the Valencian community that, during these five years, there will be three Grands Prix at the track as a minimum. As Valencia is the first in coming to this agreement, it will be on the calendar in the first year that rotation begins, which is 2022.

Source: MotoGP.comRead Full Article Here

Rodrigo takes Day 2 spoils in Jerez

In terms of new parts being tested, the SIC58 Squadra Corse and Rivacold Snipers Team’s were trying new swingarms. And it was SIC58 Squadra Corse’s Tatsuki Suzuki who claimed P4 on the Day 2 timesheets, 0.316 off Rodrigo. Masia completed a top five. Day 1 pacesetter Sergio Garcia (Estrella Galicia 0,0) was sixth on Thursday as he and seventh fastest Raul Fernandez (Red Bull KTM Ajo) – the leading KTM rider – finished under half a second from P1. Celestino Vietti (SKY Racing Team VR46), Darryn Binder (CIP Green Power) and Filip Salač (Rivacold Snipers Team) all ended 0.5 off top spot.

Source: MotoGP.comRead Full Article Here

OR Grand Prix of Thailand will go ahead

After consulting with the Ministry of Public Health’s Department of Disease Control, the Sports Authority of Thailand has officially communicated, on behalf of the Royal Thai government, that there is no major risk, with the country having infected patients under care and strict preventive measures in place – resulting in the highest rate of fully recovered patients worldwide.

Source: MotoGP.comRead Full Article Here

How to follow the MotoGP™ Qatar Test

Live Timing will be available across all three days, with the action getting underway between 13:00-20:00 local time (GMT+3) on Saturday 22nd, Sunday 23rd and Monday 24th February. At the end of each day, Matt Birt, Steve Day and Simon Crafar will be LIVE at 19:30 LT to give you 90 minutes of reaction, and during those 90 minutes you’ll be able to hear from some of the rider’s and their views on the day’s ongoings.

Source: MotoGP.comRead Full Article Here

Out April 23rd: Milestone and Dorna return with MotoGP™20

Milestone and Dorna Sports S.L. are proud to announce that MotoGP™20, the latest chapter in the beloved MotoGP™ franchise, will be released on April 23rd on PlayStation®4, Xbox One, Windows PC®/STEAM, Google Stadia and Nintendo Switch™. For the first time in its history, the game will be released a few weeks after the official MotoGP™ Championship kick off; a big effort from the development team, to allow players to fully enjoy the current season racing together with their legends. With MotoGP™20, players can participate in the 2020 season, racing against MotoGP™ champions, or they can get into the boots of a young rider, climbing ladders from the Red Bull MotoGP™ Rookies Cup to reach the top class.

Source: MotoGP.comRead Full Article Here

Touratech Zega Evo Pannier System | Gear Review

Touratech Zega Evo panniers installed on a Honda Africa Twin
Touratech Zega Evo panniers installed on a Honda Africa Twin.

Looking at a set of “panniers” (from the French panier, or basket), or hard locking saddlebags, most of us probably wouldn’t think of them as a “system,” like a suspension or electrical system. But with its Zega Evo Panniers, Touratech has indeed elevated a pair of motorcycle side cases to that level. Available for a number of BMW GS, KTM ADV and Honda Africa Twin models, I chose them for my AT because they sit a few inches lower and farther back than some others, yet still have plenty of ground clearance. But the quality and comprehensive features of the Zega Evos pleasantly surprised me once they arrived.

The primary Evo advantage is a slick but secure quick-release latching system, which allows you to pop them on and off the stainless steel mounting racks with a single locking lever outside, rather than having to unscrew and fiddle with a pair of knobs inside the bags. So the Evos can be installed or released quickly and easily whether they’re closed or open, and have fold-flat ergonomic handles on top that make them easy to carry.

Constructed of sturdy aluminum with no welded seams, the base of each Evo is secured with stainless-steel rivets and a silicone gasket, and the raised lid has a tongue-and-groove aluminum edge with an integrated, waterproof silicone seal that is recessed out of harm’s way. Both bags passed the hose test with nary a drop of water entering. A waterproof vent prevents vacuum from forming when changing elevation so they always open easily.

Touratech Zega Evo open Africa Twin
The Zega Evos feature dual hinging latches, a detachable nylon strap that holds the lids open, lashing loops on all four corners and integrated mounting pins for Touratech accessories like water or fuel bottle holders.

I went with the 31- and 38-liter pair of Evos (10 and 10¾ pounds, respectively) for the Africa Twin; the smaller one mounts on the exhaust side for a mostly symmetrical fit. Together they provide plenty of storage for a long solo ride, and the overall width is 40 inches – about 4 inches wider than the AT’s handlebar. There is still plenty of room for a passenger’s feet on the pegs, too. Touratech also offers a 38-/45-liter pair of Evos that it says end up 42 inches wide; the 45-liter bag can hold a full-face helmet.

The Zega Evo System comes with stainless tubular-steel mounts that are offset for the exhaust. They took me about two hours to install because the rear turn-signal extensions on 2018 and later Africa Twins have to be removed, an easy but time-consuming job, and the AT’s middle rack supports were a challenge to fit. Once they’re on, though, the sturdy, well-made racks provide solid support for the Evos or soft saddlebags.

Other nice Evo Pannier features include dual hinging latches, so you can remove the lids entirely or open them at either end – a detachable nylon strap holds the lids open. Lashing loops on all four corners of the lids – inside and out – let you utilize the inner lid space and secure additional gear on top. Integrated steel mounting pins are preinstalled in back for attaching Touratech accessories like water or fuel bottle holders.

After installing the Evos I loaded them up for a two-night trip to Lake Arrowhead, and gave them and the Africa Twin a good thrashing on some of the rocky, rutted forest roads in the San Bernardino Mountains. They held fast, kept the dirt and water out and popped right off at the hotel. At $1,799 for the complete Evo system you’ll pay about $450 more than Touratech’s Zega Pros for quick-release convenience.

For more information, call (800) 491-2926 or visit touratech-usa.com.

Source: RiderMagazine.com

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