HRC re-enters WorldSBK in new-look factory team

HRC re-enters WorldSBK in new-look factory team

HRC to collaborate with Althea and Moriwaki while fielding Camier and Kiyonari.

Source: Supplied.

Honda Racing Corporation (HRC) is set to re-enter the Motul FIM Superbike World Championship (WorldSBK) in 2019 with a new-look factory team, announcing the news at the EICMA show in Milan, Italy.

HRC is set to collaborate with Althea and Moriwaki as they field Leon Camier and Ryuichi Kiyonari aboard the Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade SP2, receiving full factory support from the Japanese manufacturer.

Camier will be sticking with the machine for a second season in a row, and after a strong start to his campaign with the Fireblade before dealing with injury setbacks, he’s eager for what awaits in 2019.

“I am really excited, this is a massive opportunity and it’s massively exciting,” said Camier. “For HRC to come back into world superbike is incredible, and I’m really looking forward to getting started. The level of WorldSBK is really high, a lot higher than people realise, Rea has set the bar really high.

“Our plan is it improve and take it to Kawasaki at some point, we need to be competitive from the off. It’s a new team with new things coming together and a lot of things to work on. I feel the potential is there to be knocking on the podium.”

Next year will mark the return of Japanese ace Ryuichi Kiyonari, who’s set make his first WorldSBK start since 2009, when he was last on the grid with Honda.

“First I am a bit surprised are HRC coming back to superbike, and I am surprised HRC called me,” Kiyonari explained. “It’s been 10 years since I have ridden in WorldSBK, I am very happy to join this big project. I have two years of experience in WorldSBK – in 2008 and 2009 and it’s very competitive. It’s not easy to finish in the top six, but we have a good bike and a good team, if I can do a good job I hope I can get good results.”

The announcement marks the first time a factory Honda squad has been involved in the Superbike World Championship since 2002. Honda’s previous WorldSBK efforts were most recently operated by the Red Bull Honda squad, which received support from Honda Pro Racing.


Honda strengthens middleweight line-up with new 2019 models

Honda CB650R and CBR650R unveiled, CBR1000RR Fireblade receives upgrades.

Source: Supplied.

Honda has revealed its 2019 collection of motorcycles at EICMA in Milan, Italy, today, with the introduction of two new model names and three extensively upgraded models, which bring new energy to the middleweight area of Honda’s uniquely broad and deep product line-up.

Having introduced the CB1000R, CB300R and CB125R trio of naked models for 2018, Honda now brings its unique ‘Neo Sports Cafe’ look to the middleweight arena with the CB650R. The styling language is modern and minimalist, and mixes cafe racer inspirations and a super-compact trapezoid form to eye-catching effect.

The in-line four-cylinder engine is fully on display, and the signature round headlight and sculpted fuel tank underline the ‘Neo Sports Cafe’ family feel.

With the premium look comes premium specifications, including 41mm Showa upside-down Separate Function forks, radial-mount four-piston front brake callipers, Honda Selectable Torque Control, assist/slipper clutch and ultra-modern instruments. The result is a desirable naked middleweight with a unique combination of looks, performance and top-line specifications.

Source: Supplied.

Another new model name on the Honda line-up is the CBR650R sports middleweight. It features new styling which draws strongly on the CBR1000RR Fireblade for its sharp, aggressive lines and extended side fairings, plus super-short rear section and narrow dual LED headlights.

The CBR650R is 6kg lighter than the CBR650F that it replaces, with a sportier riding position thanks to handlebars repositioned 30mm forward, and footpegs moved both rearward and higher.

Its classically-Honda in-line four-cylinder engine revs 1,000rpm higher, producing five percent more top end power with peak output of 70kW arriving at 12,000rpm ensuring that – along with the sculpted looks and honed chassis – the new machine’s new ‘R’ designation is well deserved.

Honda’s lively parallel twin 500cc engine has been sold in over 75,000 motorcycles in Europe since its arrival in 2013. Having first arrived in the LAMS friendly CB500F, CBR500R and CB500X, for 2019 the engine has stronger power and torque between three and seven thousand rpm, and powers the light middleweight trio in upgraded packages with higher specifications and stronger roadster, sport and adventure identities.

All three models now have new rear suspension, assist/slipper clutch, full LED lighting, modernised LCD instruments with gear position and shift-up indication, and new dual-exit muffler for a richer engine note.

Source: Supplied.

The CB500F roadster has sharper new styling from front to back, with more angled nose fairing and side shrouds that interlock cleanly with the fuel tank. The CBR500R is also re-styled: it’s narrower and sharper with strong Fireblade styling inspiration and a sportier riding position.

The CB500X compact adventurer, meanwhile, has a much stronger ‘X factor’ thanks to a new 19-inch front wheel, longer suspension travel front and rear, slimmer seat, wider steering angle and tougher, more rugged fairing which also improves wind protection.

The 500cc and 650cc engine platforms constitute 35 percent of Honda’s large motorcycle sales in Europe. These five new products for 2019 offer a well-rounded balance of exciting middleweight performance for riders of all experience levels, while providing potential stepping stones to Honda’s flagship roadster, adventure and sports models.

Source: Supplied.

After a full model change in 2017, the CBR1000RR Fibreblade and CBR1000RR Fireblade SP ARE enhanced for 2019, with changes to the electronics package aimed at optimal circuit performance. Thus, HSTC and ABS have been modified, and the top Power setting boosted based on input from the HRC MotoGP programme. Honda Selectable Torque Control and Wheelie Control functions are now separated, with a new ‘W’ indicator on the instrument panel.

The Grand Prix Red colour has a thicker white stripe for a slightly more ‘tricolore’ effect, while the Matt Ballistic Black Metallic version is now totally black, save for its red CBR logo.

Having been an instant hit on its arrival in 2017 and upgraded in 2018 with multi-level Honda Selectable Torque Control and a ‘G’ switch for more off-road friendly gear changes from its Dual Clutch Transmission, for 2019 Honda’s ‘motorcycle SUV’ will now come in new colours including a striking ‘camouflage’ green.

Source: Supplied.

Synonymous with long range comfort, luxury and quality for over 40 years, the Gold Wing was redesigned from the wheels up for 2018 to be sharper, lighter and more compact, while maintaining its reputation as a technological flagship with numerous new features including the first adoption of Apple CarPlay on a motorcycle.

For 2019, both the GL1800 Gold Wing itself and the Manual Transmission version of the Gold Wing ‘Tour’ will be available in a new ‘moody’ Darkness Black Metallic colour.

The top of the range Gold Wing ‘Tour’ with Dual Clutch Transmission will be available in a new ‘Pearl Hawkseye Blue’. While pricing and availability in Australian is yet to be revealed, more information can be found at


Royal Enfield develops 834cc V-twin engine

Royal Enfield has only just unveiled their 650cc parallel-twin-engined Interceptor and Continental GT, but are already developing a bigger 834cc V-twin.

The Indian company unveiled the engine in a Bobber prototype soft-tail called the Concept KX to pay homage to their 1938 1140cc V-twin.

1938 Royal Enfield KX 1140 834cc
1938 Royal Enfield KX 1140

Interestingly it’s 834cc, but there is 838 stamped on the engine in their official video.Royal Enfield KX Concept bobber 834cc

While Royal Enfield says the KX will not go into production any time soon, it could be the start of a whole new line of cruiser models with the traditional cruiser-oriented V-twin format.

While the Bobber is designed along the lines of their 1938 model and has old-style girder fork, it has modern tech such as twin ByBre (cheaper Brembo version) brake discs, LED headlight, all-digital circular instrument pod (like the Ducati Scrambler) and an airbox that is part of the frame. Sounds as innovative as something Erik Buel would think up!

No more details on the bike are available, but it does look a lot like the very poplar Indian Scout right down to the dual right-right-side pipes and brown solo seat.

The new 834cc V-twin engine was probably developed in Leicestershire, England, were the Indian-owned company has built a research, design and development “technology centre”.

Enfield of India began assembling Bullet motorcycles under licence from the British company in 1956 and complete bikes by 1962.

The British company went bust in 1971 and Enfield of India was bought by heavy vehicle and bus maker Eicher in 1995.

Royal Enfield is now the oldest motorcycle brand in the world still in production while the Bullet model is the longest motorcycle production run of all time.

We will be very interested to see what other engines and bikes will come from the new UK tech centre!

The 650cc models certainly could do with a scrambler, street tracker and bobber.


BMW extends ShiftCam technology

BMW Motorrad has extended its ShiftCam (variable valve timing) technology and 1254cc boxer engines to the rest of the R range.

It was introduced in September to the GS and RT 1250 models.

BMW R 1250 GS and RT Shiftcam
BMW R 1250 GS and RT

SiftCam technology now comes in all the other liquid-cooled boxers: the R 1250 R, RS and GS Adventure.

There is no word yet on when the 1254cc boxer bikes will arrive in Australia or their pricing.

Here is the official BMW Motorrad press release on the new models:

BMW boxer R models all get Shiftcam technology
BMW R 1250 R

Further advanced boxer engine with BMW ShiftCam Technology for an additional increase in power across the entire engine speed range, reduced emission and fuel consumption levels, optimised running smoothness and refinement.
With the extensively further advanced boxer engine, the new R 1250 R, R 1250 GS and R 1250 GS Adventure not only achieve a whole new level of power and torque. It was also possible to significantly optimise refinement and running smoothness – especially within the lower engine speed range. What is more, the new engine offers improved emission and fuel consumption levels as well as a particularly satisfying sound. For this purpose, BMW ShiftCam Technology has been used for the first time in the serial production of BMW Motorrad engines: this enables variation of the valve timings and valve stroke on the intake side. In addition, the intake camshafts are designed for asynchronous opening of the two intake valves, resulting in enhanced swirl of the fresh, incoming mixture and therefore more effective combustion. Other technical changes to the engine relate to the camshaft drive – now taken care of by a toothed chain (previously a roller chain) – an optimised oil supply, twin-jet injection valves and a new exhaust system.

Two riding modes, ASC and Hill Start Control as standard.
There are two riding modes available as standard in order to be able to adapt the motorcycle to individual rider preferences. The standard Automatic Stability Control ASC ensures a high level of riding safety due to the best possible traction. The set-off assistant Hill Start Control is likewise a standard feature in all three models, enabling convenient set-off on slopes.

Riding Modes Pro, featuring additional riding modes, Dynamic Traction Control DTC, ABS Pro, Hill Start Control Pro and Dynamic Brake Assistant DBC, available as an optional equipment ex works.
“Riding Modes Pro” is now available as an optional equipment item, featuring the additional riding mode “Dynamic” and “Dynamic Pro” (configurable), Dynamic Traction Control DTC, and in the R 1250 GS Adventure also the riding modes “Enduro” and “Enduro Pro” (configurable). DTC enables even more efficient and safe acceleration, especially when banking. ABS Pro offers even greater safety when braking, even in banking position. The new Dynamic Brake Control DBC provides additional safety when braking, also in difficult situations, by avoiding unintentional accelerator activation. By means of intervention in the engine control, drive torque is reduced during braking so as to make full use of the braking power at the rear wheel. This keeps the motorcycle stable and shortens the braking distance.

LED headlamp for the R 1250 RS and R 1250 GS Adventure as standard and LED daytime riding light for all three models as an ex works optional equipment item.
The new R 1250 RS and R 1250 GS Adventure now feature a LED headlamp as standard. In addition to this, the LED daytime riding light is available as an optional equipment item for the R 1250 RS and the R 1250 GS Adventure as well as for the R 1250 R, which has halogen headlamps.

BMW boxer R models all get Shiftcam technology
BMW R 1250 GS Adventure HP

Electronic suspension Dynamic ESA “Next Generation” with fully automatic load compensation as an option.
With the optional equipment item BMW Motorrad Dynamic ESA “Next Generation”, damping automatically adapts to the situation according to riding state and manoeuvres, and there is also automatic compensation in all load states. This allows finely tuned adaptation of the motorcycle to riding states, achieving optimum damping comfort and a very stable ride response.

Connectivity: Multifunctional instrument cluster with 6.5 inch full-colour TFT display offering many features as standard.
The three new boxer models now have the equipment feature Connectivity as standard including a 6.5-inch full-colour TFT screen. In conjunction with the standard BMW Motorrad Multi-Controller, this means the rider can access vehicle and connectivity functions particularly swiftly and conveniently.

Intelligent Emergency Call as an ex works option.
Ensuring the fastest possible assistance in the event of an accident or in situations of emergency and danger can save people’s lives. The optional equipment item Intelligent Emergency Call summons assistance to the scene as quickly as possible.
As before, this feature can be ordered for all three models.

BMW boxer R models all get Shiftcam technology
BMW R 1250 RS

BMW Motorrad Spezial – high-quality customisation features as optional equipment items ex works.
BMW Motorrad Spezial is range of iconic customisation features that enhance both performance and value, available as optional equipment items ex works. The focus is on harmonious integration in the vehicle as a whole, use of the very highest-quality materials, elaborate manual workmanship and characteristic attention to detail.

The billet packs Option 719 Classic and HP are available for the new boxer models, for example.

The new R 1250 R and R 1250 RS can also be equipped with the Option 719 Classic or Sport Wheels as well as the exclusive paintwork and the Option 719 seat.

An HP sports silencer is likewise available ex works for all three new boxer models.

New attractive colours and style variants.
The new boxer models feature one basic finish each as well as two striking style variants. The Option 718 Special Paint Finish is also available for the new R 1250 R and R 1240 RS.

The highlights of the new BMW R 1250 R, BMW R 1250 RS and BMW R 1250 GS Adventure:

  • Further developed boxer engine with BMW ShiftCam Technology for variation of the valve timings and valve stroke on the intake side.
  • Even more power across the entire engine speed range, optimised fuel consumption and emission levels, increased running smoothness and refinement.
  • Increased output and torque: 100 kW (136 hp) at 7 750 rpm and 143 Nm at 6 250 rpm (previously:92 kW (125 hp) / 125 Nm at 6 750 rpm and 125 Nm at 6 500 rpm.
  • Capacity increased to 1 254 cc (previously: 1 170 cc).
  • Asynchronous valve opening on the intake side for optimised swirl and therefore more effective combustion.
  • Camshaft drive now via toothed chain (previously roller chain)
  • Optimised oil supply and piston base cooling.
  • Knock sensor system for optimised travel suitability.
  • Latest generation of BMS-O engine control and use of twin-jet injection valves for even more effective carburetion.
  • New exhaust system for optimum performance characteristics.
  • Two riding modes, ASC and Hill Start Control as standard.
  • Riding Modes Pro, featuring additional riding modes, Dynamic Traction Control DTC, ABS Pro, Hill Start Control Pro and Dynamic Brake Assistant DBC, available as an optional equipment item ex works.
  • Electronic suspension Dynamic ESA “Next Generation” with fully automatic load compensation.
  • Standard adjustability of the seat height on the R 1250 GS Adventure (exception Style HP) as well as a wide range of seat height variants ex works.
  • New optional Sports Handlebars for R 1250 R for a more dynamic riding position.
  • In addition to standard adjustability of seat height (exception: HP style for the R 1250 GS Adventure), wide range of seat height variants ex works.
  • LED headlamp for the R 1250 RS (completely new design) and
    R 1250 GS Adventure as standard; LED daytime riding light for all  models as an ex works optional equipment item.
  • Connectivity: Multifunctional instrument cluster with 6.5 inch full-colour TFT display offering many features as standard.
  • Intelligent Emergency Call as an ex works option.
  • BMW Motorrad Spezial – customisation features as optional equipment items ex works.
  • Extended range of optional equipment items and original BMW Motorrad Accessories.
  • The new R 1250 R:
  • Dynamic naked bike character in one basic colour, two style variants and Option 719 Spezial finishes.
  • The new R 1250 RS: Sport and touring character in one basic colour, two style variants and Option 719 Spezial finishes.
  • New front spoiler and cockpit cover (R 1250 R and R 1250 RS).
  • Newly designed upper trim (R 1250 RS).
  • The new F 1250 GS Adventure: Off-road and adventure prowess in two modern basic finishes and two striking style variants.
  • R 1250 GS Adventure with new body features such as black-grained lid for storage compartment with embossed GS logo, trim for the intake snorkel, radiator trim with electroplated look, tank bracket and engine protection bars adapted to the design of the body frame.


KTM pulls the covers off extensive new range at EICMA

KTM pulls the covers off extensive new range at EICMA

Presentation in Milan spearheaded by all-new 790 Adventure model.

Source: Supplied.

KTM has pulled the covers off an extensive new range of motorcycles at EICMA in Milan to join its already impressive collection for 2019, the presentation being headlined by the highly-anticipated KTM 790 Adventure and 790 Adventure R.

The KTM 790 Adventure is for travel enduro fans of every ambition and ability, ready to discover new roads whichever way it’s pointed at – no matter surface. The KTM 790 Adventure R is a lightweight, agile and technically advanced machine for adventurers that endeavour to challenge themselves while challenging tricky terrain.

Both powered by the 799cc LC8c parallel twin – first seen in the KTM 790 Duke – the engine has been tuned to deliver its torque lower down the rev range to fit the specific requirements of adventure riding. The result is smooth acceleration, plentiful performance and a 450 km range from a 20-litre tank.

Each of these rugged bikes have been developed by some of the best adventure riders in the world and in conjunction with the Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Racing Team to provide a confidence-inspiring chassis with a low centre of gravity and riding ergonomics to suit riders of all sizes and spirit.

A full suite of rider assistance systems, easily navigated and activated with a bar-mounted menu switch, aligned to a full colour, TFT display, allow the adventurous to get the most from these machines in all situations. Both versions are anticipated to land in June 2019.

Elsewhere in the KTM Travel Enduro range, the incredible KTM 1090 Adventure R, KTM 1290 Super Adventure S and KTM 1290 Super Adventure R receive new colours and graphics to keep these exciting machines looking as sharp and bold as they perform.

Source: Supplied.

Rebooting supermoto for the road, the KTM 690 SMC R returns in 2019 and takes the KTM Ready To Race approach to its purest incarnation on the street – lightweight, agile, addictive single-cylinder punch, premium chassis components and now backed up by leading performance-enhancing electronics.

Powering the KTM 690 SMC R is the latest generation LC4 engine – the world’s most powerful production single-cylinder engine dishes up a devastating 74hp and 73.5Nm of torque. Getting the most from this performance in all situations is a suite of rider assistance systems.

Two ride modes – Street and Sport – cornering ABS, lean angle-sensitive motorcycle traction control (MTC), motor slip regulation (MSR) and Quickshifter+ are new to the game, with the familiar Supermoto ABS mode aiding rear slides with front-end confidence.

All this is packaged in an updated chassis and new subframe, supported by the latest generation fully-adjustable WP APEX suspension and wrapped up in slimmer, sharper bodywork. Better still, the fun goes further with a 1.5-litre larger fuel tank. Expect this model to hit dealerships in March 2019.

Source: Supplied.

The new KTM 690 Enduro R is even more perfectly positioned to connect the tarmac and trails, also benefitting from the same engine, electronics and chassis improvements made to its sliding Supermoto sibling, but in a platform completely focused on off-road.

Evolution means retaining everything that was good about the previous model and building on that. Under the new seat and fresh bodywork –sharpened for both style as well as better movement on the bike – is an all-new chassis with WP XPLOR suspension derived from KTM’s world-beating EXC models.

Designed to be confidence-inspiring with ease of handling, it is ready to tackle everything from easy trails to extreme off-road obstacles as well as being a competent every day street bike. Endless enduro without the need to ever trailer to the trails. KTM are anticipating the model will be available in April 2019.

As unveiled last month in Cologne, also joining the 2019 range is a sharper, stronger and more refined version of the KTM 1290 Super Duke GT. The most radical long-distance Sports Tourer on the market takes the best from ‘The Beast’ – phenomenal engine performance, street handling and race track capabilities of the KTM 1290 Super Duke R are brought into a machine that is as happy munching massive miles in comfort as it is carving up challenging corners.

Major updates to this premium machine can be found in the engine, suspension, electronics and bodywork with a focus on improving comfort and performance – be it while two-up touring, continent cruising or track attacking. Availability is pencilled in for February 2019. For more information, visit


Harley-Davidson confirms electric arrival

Harley-Davidson Australia finally confirms that the electric LiveWire being released next year around the world will arrive in Australia and New Zealand in late 2020.

The bike made its European debut at the EICMA motorcycle show in Milan overnight where tech details were released.

However, there was nothing new that we had not heard when we inspected the production version at Harley’s 115th anniversary celebrations in Milwaukee in August.

Electric Harley-Davidson LiveWire leads parade smart desert charging
LiveWire unveiled in Milwaukee

Click here for all the tech details.

Unfortunately, there is still no mention of the all-important price, battery charging time or range.

HD Vice President of Product Planning and Portfolio Marc McAllister said the bike would be the first in “a portfolio of electric two-wheelers from Harley-Davidson” by 2020.

Click here for more details on the other small electric bikes, bicycles and scooters.

Harley plans adventure, streetfighters and electric bicycles first last small
Official Harley artist’s impression a small electric bike

In September, Harley boss Matt Levatich told me they were developing a new research and development facility in California’s Silicon Valley for its coming line of electric motorcycles and bicycles.

The new facility, serving as a satellite of the Willie G. Davidson Product Development Facility in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, is expected to open in the fourth quarter of 2018.

“This new R&D facility in the heart of Silicon Valley will help us deliver on those plans and demonstrate our commitment to lead the electrification of the sport,” Matt said.

Matt Levatich Harley-Davidson CEO politics silicon confirms
Matt at the 115th party

The new R&D centre will initially focus on electric vehicle research and development, including battery, power electronics and e-machine design, development and advanced manufacturing.

In March, Harley-Davidson acquired a stake in American electric dirt bike company Alta Motors.

The collaboration project finished  a few months later and last month Alta closed its doors.


790 Adventure leads KTM assault

KTM Australia says the new 790 Adventure and R models will arrive here in June 2019, several months before its major new mid-mid-sized competitor, the Yamaha Ténéré 700.

The 790 Adventure is not the only new product from KTM on display at the EICMA motorcycle show in Milan.

They also feature the new 690 SMC R (arriving in March 2019), 690 Enduro R (April), 1290 Super Duke GT (February) and SX-E 5 mini electric trail bike (December).

The latter is a KTM version of the Husqvarna EE 5 electric minicycle, tapping into the Euro frenzy over electric motorcycles.

790 AdventureKTM 790 Adventure

The much anticipated 790 Adventure is powered by KTM’s new-generation LC8c 799cc in-line twin-engine with 70kW of power (95hp) and weighing in at only 189kg.

KTM claims 400km of range from the 20-litre tank. And it should all be smooth riding with two balancer shafts and long service intervals of 15,000km.KTM 790 Adventure

Suspension is, of course, WP, with 43mm forks, 200mm of travel, 233mm clearance and an 850mm seat height, compared with the Ténéré 700 at 880mm.

The engine sits in a CroMo steel frame with an open-lattice swingarm.

Finally, a manufacturer has provided an easy-to-adjust handlebar. It can be set in six different positions with a 30mm adjustment range making it comfortable no matter what size the rider and whether standing or sitting.

Instruments are in a 5-inch TFT display with a wide range of configurable information. The display varies according to light and the rev counter blinks to indicate when to shift.

KTM 790 Adventure

Electronic rider aids include traction control, cornering ABS, and an off-road mode with a smooth throttle response.

Other tasty features are LED lighting, steering damper and hefty 320mm twin discs with four-piston radially mounted callipers.

Factory accessories include an up/down quickshifter, heated grips and cruise control, as well as the usual protection parts and luggage.

KTM 790 Adventure R
790 Adventure R

The R model adds longer-travel 240mm suspension, Karoo 3 dirt tyres, 48mm WP XPLOR forks, upgraded shock and different bodywork.

1290 Super Duke GT

1290 Super Duke GT KTM 790 Adventure
1290 Super Duke GT

KTM engineers have tweaked the 1301cc 75° V-twin LC8 engine from the 1290 Super Duke R and revised resonator chambers, titanium inlet valves and a new mapping.

The result is only an kilowatt of power to 130kW, while torque is actually down 3Nm to 141Nm.

KTM has also added and up/down Quickshifter.

Electronic rider aids include lean angle sensitivity for braking power and traction control and different ride modes – including the optional ‘Track’ mode.

There is a new aerodynamic windshield developed in a wind tunnel with multiple height positions and improved one-handed adjustability.

The new 6.5-inch TFT full-colour screen is claimed to be visible in direct sunlight and has a variety of menus chock full of info.

KTM MY RIDE smartphone connectivity allows the rider to use phone functions (navigation, phone, music) via an app through the bike’s screen.

Cosmetically it now has a Duke family appearance and a new LED headlight with daytime running light and tank spoiler-mounted LED cornering lights.

The latest generation WP semi-active chassis has “deeper analysing sensors” to adjust to surface conditions with a switch to select damping for Comfort, Street and Sport.

There are two new storage compartments on the side of the tank for a mobile phone, wallet, etc. One side has a USB charging socket.

Heated grips come standard.

690 Enduro R

KTM 790 Adventure 690 ENDURO R
690 Enduro R

The 690 Enduro R returns in 2019 with several updates.

One of the best for long-range touring is the addition of two balancer shafts to smooth out the LC4 single.

It also now gets the super-duper fully-adjustable WP XPLOR suspension.

There are two changeable rider modes (off-road and street), cornering ABS and traction control.

Styling is now sharper and slimmer, with a redesigned seat.

690 SMC R

KTM 790 Adventure KTM 690 SMC R
690 SMC R

Also returning for 2019 is the R supermotard version with an advanced electronics package and 6kW more power to 55kW and 73.5Nm of torque.

It also features two balancer shafts and dual-spark cylinder head.

KTM promises improved rider ergonomics, multiple electronic rider aid systems and new WP suspension.


Honda updates 2019 CB model range

Rather than new models or a radical V4-powered Fireblade as widely tipped, Honda showed up at the EICMA motorcycle show in Milan with a range of updated CB models including a more off-road-oriented CB500X (pictured).

2019 CB models

2019 Honda CB 500X
2019 Honda CB500X

Honda’s mid-sized CB range has been very popular in Australia for years, especially the more recent 500 models.

Leading the charge with desirable updates is the 2019 CB500X all-roader now with better dirt capabilities.

It features  increased suspension travel, more clearance, a 19-inch front wheel and a more aggressive tyre tread.

Meanwhile, the CBR650R replaces the CBR650F with more power, updated “Fireblade” styling, 5kg weight-loss, a more sporty riding position and a new LCD instrument panel.2019 Honda CB 650

The CBR500R also looks sportier redesign and the engine has been revised for better response in low-to-mid-range revs.

CB500F and CB650R now come with an assist/slipper clutch, a more powerful twin-cylinder engine and and cafe-racer styling.

2019 Fireblade2019 Honda Fireblade CB 1000 RR

The 2019 Fireblade gets an upgrade in its electronics package.

For example, traction and wheelie control are now separate so you can adjust them separately; ABS now has less intervention above 120km/h for 15% more deceleration; and the ride-by-wire throttle reacts faster for more engine braking and power delivery.

But that’s it for the updates, unless you consider new paint. The base model comes in black and silver or red and white, while the SP tricolour has darker blue accents.

We may have to wait another year for the rumoured V4 model.

There is no word yet from Honda Australia on when these updated models will arrive in Australia or pricing.

We expect they may hold off until floor stock is cleared.


Aprilia RS 660 concept is half a Tuono

Aprilia has cleverly taken half a Tuono engine and made what they call an RS 660 Supersport twin concept machine.

It is powered by two cylinders from a Tuono/RSV4 1100 engine as a 660c parallel twin.

“This configuration was chosen for its compact nature and efficiency, the extremely low level of heat transmitted to the rider and for the freedom that it leaves the designers to create a sleek and lightweight frame and suspension,” Aprilia’s press release says.

The Austrian company says the RS 660 project is aimed at younger riders and shows the supersport market may not be quite dead yet.

They say it will also be the “development base for a wider range that intends to make Aprilia a key player in an extremely strategic market segment in Europe, but also in Asia and the American market”.

Although not mentioned, we should expect to see it in Australia to compete against the very popular mid-sized naked sector led by the Yamaha MT-07.

RS 660 aeroAprilia RS 660 concept is half a Tuono

Aprilia says the Concept RS 660 was developed out of a “series of aerodynamic studies” in a wind tunnel.

With fuel economy top of mind and emissions regulations tightening, motorcycle manufacturers are looking for ways to compete and aero remains one of the biggest hurdles to motorcycles, even more so than big, bulky cars.

Click there to find out how aero affects motorcycles.

Aprilia’s Concept RS 660 features a unique “variable front section” which can adjust air flow direction to vary downforce.

RS 600 has a large saddle and a comfortable riding position to suit most rider sizes.Aprilia RS 660 concept is half a Tuono

It is supported by a lightweight aluminium frame and swingarm with the engine as a stressed element.

The right arm of the swingarm has a curved shape to accomodate the exhaust, while the shock absorber mount is mounted directly to the swingarm with no linkage to reduce weight.


Cardo Partners With Ducati On Branded Communicators

Cardo Systems and Ducati have partnered to produce branded PackTalk communicators for Ducati dealerships. Guess what color they are.

Begin Press Release:


Partnership Builds On Cardo’s Commitment to Integrate Motorcycles and Communicators

Milan, Italy (Nov. 6, 2018) –Cardo Systems, Ltd. the global market leader in wireless communication systems for motorcyclists, and Ducati Motor Holdings S.p.A. manufacturer of the world’s most attractive motorcycles, have partnered to produce dedicated PACKTALK units, designed in the classic Ducati red for the 2019 riding season. The collaboration represents the next evolution of Cardo’s commitment to integrate motorcycles and communicators.

cardo systems

“Ducati’s motorcycles are among the world’s most coveted bikes and the company is second to none in terms of  innovative design, advanced engineering and overall technical excellence. These are also qualities we admire and remain committed to implementing them in every product we design and produce,” said Dr. Abraham Glezerman, Cardo’s founder and CEO.“Ducati is a world-class brand, and an ideal partner to help further our commitment to integrate industry leading communication systems with motorcycles.”

PACKTALK products are powered by Cardo’s proprietary and pioneering mesh technology (“DMC”) and give riders the ability to enjoy the company of their riding companions like never before by remaining seamlessly connected with up to 15 riders. Riders can also enjoy a safe riding experience utilizing Cardo’s unique  natural voice-command by simply saying, “Hey Cardo” with the desired action to the always-on system and it reacts instantaneously. No other product in the market offers such seamless voice command technology, in 8 different langugaes. Users will have instant access to their mobile device, GPS and music. Plus, riders will enjoy world-class sound for the best riding experience possible thanks to Sound by JBL.

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In October, Cardo Systems and Bosch SoftTech announced the integration of the Cardo ConnectiOS and Android smartphone application into Bosch SoftTech mySPIN for two-wheelers. The award-winning technology enables convenient use of Cardo Connect on motorcycles and other two-wheelers for a whole new connected riding experience without compromising safety.

Cardo Systems PACKTALK units will be available exclusively through Ducati official networkworldwide in spring of 2019.

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