Tag Archives: honda

Coronavirus affects Chinese bike manufacturers

The coronavirus scare has forced Honda and CFMoto Chinese factories to extend their lunar new year production closures.

Honda’s factory mainly produces models for the domestic market.

The CFMoto factory in Hangzhou also makes KTM bikes for the domestic market.

Australian CFMoto importer Mojo Motorcycles says the CFMoto factory is scheduled to return to work later this week.

However, with the increasing shutdown over the spread of coronavirus, this could change.

The CFMoto factory is just outside Shanghai and about 750km from Wuhan, the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak.

CFMoto and KTM are also building a joint factory in China with an estimated output of more than half a million bikes a year for the world market.

Michael Poynton, director of Australian CFMoto importer Mojo, says the joint factory was progressing well with production planned for the third quarter of this year.

“I believe the first models to be manufactured there will be the new CFMoto 700s (released in Milan) followed by KTM 790s.”

His planned trip to China early this year has been postponed due to the coronavirus situation.

CFMoto future

CFMoto 700CL-X SportCFMoto 7009CL-X

Coronavirus aside, CFMoto has not curtailed its future product development.

We will still be getting the sexy new 700CL-X at the end of this year and it looks like there will be a 250cc race replica as well.

The 700CL-X was unveiled at the EICMA motorcycle show in Milan last November, while the 250SR prototype rolled out last year looks more likely to hit production.

CFMoto 300SR patent designCFMoto 250SR race spec prototype

Several spy shots of production have been revealed in the past few months.

And now patent drawings and a few specifications have been revealed that show there will be both 27.5hp 250SR and 29hp 300SR versions.

The 700CL-X, 250SR and 300SR bikes would join their current Aussie line-up of 150NK ($3490 ride away), 250NK ($4290), 300NK ($4990) and 650NK naked bikes, plus 650MT sports/adventure ($7490) and 650GT tourer ($8490).

For 2020, there are new colour schemes for the 150NK, 300NK ABS and 650NK ABS:

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Honda patent suggests electric Fireblade

The latest patent application drawings from Honda seem to indicate the Japanese company is planning an electric Fireblade.

But don’t get too excited or outraged yet!

Most traditional motorcycle manufacturers have toyed with the idea of electric motorcycles for years.

Some have produced electric scooters, mobility scooters, trials bikes and trail bikes.

However, none has yet come to the market with a full-sized electric motorcycle, except for Harley’s LiveWire.

Harley-Davidson LiveWire electric motorcycleHarley LiveWire

Honda also filed has an extraordinary number of patent applications in the past couple of years.

None of these has yet come to the market either.

Honda patent blitz

Honda Goldwing GL1800 airbag radicalsHonda’s scooter airbag

Electric Fireblade

We wouldn’t bet on an electric Fireblade, unless they are planning on taking over the supply of race bikes from Energica for the FIM Moto-e World Cup.

Honda’s electric plans seem more tailored to scooters, mobility scooters and small commuter bikes.

Also, the use of the Fireblade outline in the drawings could simply be artist expediency as several other patent application drawings have included Fireblade outlines.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Mitch Evans ready to rock MXGP with HRC

New look Team HRC ready for MXGP 2020

Defending MXGP champion Tim Gajser will once again be leading the way for Team HRC as they look to repeat their efforts and win the 2020 FIM world motocross title.

MXGP Mitch Evans CRFR Gajser

MXGP Mitch Evans CRFR Gajser

Mitch Evans and Tim Gajser

This year he’ll be under the awning with a new team-mate in Australian Mitch Evans for the 21-year-old’s first season in the MXGP class, on what is a brand new Honda CRF450RW.

MXGP Mitch Evans

MXGP Mitch Evans

Mitch Evans

Evans moves up from the MX2 world championship which he rode in 2019. Many experts believe that Evans is much more suited to the more powerful 450cc machines, which is something he proved when he won his first outing on the larger capacity bike at Sugo for the Japanese national championship.

MXGP Mitch Evans CRFR

MXGP Mitch Evans CRFR

Mitch Evans CRF450R

Now though, the Australian youngster wants to show that as quickly as possible in the MXGP class as he hopes to settle into this 2020 campaign.

MXGP Mitch Evans

MXGP Mitch Evans

Mitch Evans

Mitch Evans

“It was a dream come true to sign with Team HRC at the end of last year, and even though I’ll be riding in a new class on a brand new bike, I feel ready to show everyone what I am capable of. I know it won’t be easy because the MXGP class is filled with top riders, but with the help of everyone in the team I believe I am ready to go out there and get some good results. My off season has gone well and when I jumped on this brand new Honda CRF450RW, I felt good right away. Each time I get on the machine I feel like I am improving and when I’m riding with Tim, I have the perfect gauge to see just how well I am doing. He has been a great team mate so far but I know the results are down to me and that’s what I am concentrating on when the season begins at the MXGP of Great Britain on March 1st.”



For Gajser, it’ll be a chance to win his fourth world title after successes in 2015, 2016 and 2019 and he’ll be hoping he can replicate the form that saw him win last year’s championship by over 200 points and included a record breaking seven wins in a row for Honda in the middle period of the season.

MXGP Tim Gajser

MXGP Tim Gajser

Tim Gajser

Now though, the focus is on the first round at Matterley Basin which is a track that he enjoys in what will be the first MXGP gate drops for the newest edition of the Honda CRF450RW.

MXGP Tim Gajser CRFR

MXGP Tim Gajser CRFR

Tim Gajser CRF450R

Tim Gajser

“I am very excited for the start of this 2020 season. Of course I won the MXGP championship last year but now I will try my best to defend the title, for myself and for Team HRC. We have been working very hard over the off season to get ready for the first round and with this new Honda CRF450RW, we believe we are in a very good position to be able to go out and win races just like I did in 2019. It will be tough as there are a lot of fast riders in the class but I feel as though I am still improving as a rider and knowing that Honda are continually trying to improve my bike is a massive confidence boost too. They did an amazing job on this new machine and I felt good straight away in testing, it really suits my style and I already feel stronger on it than this time last year. It will be a long season with 20 rounds, however I am ready to put in the necessary work and with Matterley Basin being a track I really enjoy, I believe I can start out strongly.”



Their machine for the season is a completely new Honda CRF450RW, which has been developed to cope with the multitude of conditions that an MXGP rider has to negotiate during these 20 gruelling rounds of the 2020 FIM world championship. First up though, is the three rounds of the Italian series, before the MXGP opener at Matterley Basin, Great Britain on March 1st.

MXGP Mitch Evans CRFR

MXGP Mitch Evans CRFR

Mitch Evans CRF450R

Marcus Pereira de Freitas – HRC General Manager – MXGP

“We have been working very hard this winter to make sure that Team HRC is ready for the 2020 world motocross championships. We once again line up with Tim Gajser, who is defending his MXGP championship, but then we have a new rider in Mitch Evans and we also have a completely new Honda CRF450RW that we have been developing in order to go racing for this year.

MXGP Mitch Evans CRFR

MXGP Mitch Evans CRFR

Mitch Evans CRF450R

“As always Tim has been great to work with, helping with the testing of the new bike and just being a total professional in everything that he does. He gelled with the new machine really quickly and just like last year, he is coming into the new season in a really good frame of mind.

MXGP Tim Gajser CRFR

MXGP Tim Gajser CRFR

Tim Gajser CRF450R

“Mitch has also fitted into the team quickly, and has adapted well to riding a 450cc machine after riding in the MX2 class last year. He has good fitness and has shown a lot of promise in the testing sessions that we’ve had so we are all excited to see what he can do in a race environment.

MXGP Mitch Evans

MXGP Mitch Evans

Mitch Evans CRF450R

“It won’t be easy for either rider but everyone in Team HRC is fully committed to helping them achieve their goals and we are confident that 2020 can be another good year for Honda.”

MXGP Tim Gajser CRFR

MXGP Tim Gajser CRFR

Tim Gajser CRF450R
Source: MCNews.com.au

Honda Racing to debut new Fireblade SP at North West 200

Glenn Irwin and Davey Todd on Fireblade SP at NW200

Glenn Irwin, the winner of the last four Superbike races at the North coast event, and Davey Todd, who claimed his first major road race win at last year’s NW200, will race the new machine in the Superbike and Superstock races at Portrush. Alongside his brother Andrew, Irwin will also spearhead Honda’s 2020 BSB challenge and make his debut on the TT’s Mountain course. Accompanied by Honda Racing team boss Havier Beltram, Irwin and Todd recently visited the North West 200 circuit.

Glenn Irwin Davey Todd NW

Glenn Irwin Davey Todd NW

Glenn Irwin and Davey Todd visited the NW200 circuit this week

Irwin maintains he has ‘zero expectations’ for the Manx event but his success around the 8.9 mile Triangle course means things will be very different for the Carrickfergus racer at the NW200.

‘The North West is an end in itself, it isn’t preparation for the TT’ Irwin insists.

‘I love this part of the world, I love the road racing vibe and I understand why there is an expectation on me.’

NW Glenn Irwin SBK

NW Glenn Irwin SBK

Glenn Irwin – Superbike winner – 2019 North West 200 with Kawasaki

Irwin’s move to Honda comes after spells with PBM Ducati, Quattro Plant Kawasaki and Tyco BMW over the past three seasons. Alongside Todd, Irwin will enjoy Spanish, BSB and Castle Combe test sessions plus the opening two British championship rounds at Silverstone and Oulton Park to familiarise himself with the new superbike.

Glenn Irwin Davey Todd NW

Glenn Irwin Davey Todd NW

Glenn Irwin and Davey Todd visited the NW200 circuit this week

‘We will have plenty of testing but will everything be in place by April or May?’ he said.

‘Probably not because that is just how racing is. But by the time the North West comes around I think we will be starting to find our feet with the bike.’

Irwin knows he will have to push hard on the new Honda to claim a fifth NW200 big bike victory.

‘Anyone who comes to the North West and says they aren’t trying, well I’ve raced with them all and I think they are trying harder than me!’ he smiled.

‘We all know everyone wants to win here. Look at the fight Michael Dunlop put up to me two years ago. He was the only one who came. Peter Hickman didn’t come, Michael Rutter didn’t come. None of the short circuit men came, but the man who was going to the TT with probably more pressure on him than anyone else came.’

Honda Fireblade CBRRR SP

Honda Fireblade CBRRR SP

2020 Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade SP

Despite being the rider everyone will be trying to beat, Irwin remains confident he has the experience to handle the pressure from his main rivals.

‘I’ve won a last lap race at the North West and I’ve come around on the first lap five seconds ahead of everyone.’ he explains.

‘I’ve made a mistake and recovered and pulled away again. I’ve won in the wet. These are all things I didn’t think I would do and I can’t doubt what I can do because I have now won four in a row. I am happy because when you win somewhere that feels like home you can take that tag. I feel like this is my house.’

Irwin says he is happy to have new team-mate, Davey Todd, alongside him in the Honda garage at Portrush.

‘Davey is one of the good guys.’ Irwin says.

‘He is doing well for himself but doesn’t put it in your face.’

Honda Fireblade CBRRR SP

Honda Fireblade CBRRR SP

2020 Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade SP

Todd’s Honda seat for the 2020 roads campaign plus the British Superstock championship is a fitting reward for the 24 year old following his stellar 2019 season with the Penz13.com BMW and Milenco Padgett’s Honda teams.

Alongside winning the International Road Racing Championship, lapping the TT at over 131mph and claiming two rostrum finishes at the Ulster Grand Prix, Todd scored his first international road race win in only his second appearance at the North West 200.

Honda Fireblade CBRRR SP

Honda Fireblade CBRRR SP

2020 Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade SP

‘I felt good from the start and I have always been strong in the wet.’ the Saltburn rider recalled.

‘It was a great battle with so many passes on every lap between Derek McGee and my Milenco Padgett’s teammate, Conor Cummins. The lead was changing all the time. I would go from third to second then into the lead and be back to third on the same lap! It was an aggressive battle but I had a massive smile on my face because it’s the reason we all do this.’

The youngster has enjoyed a supercharged rise through the road racing ranks to catch the eye of Honda’s management. Todd puts his progress down to his experience in a diverse variety of bike racing disciplines.

‘I have raced in everything from motocross to supermoto.’ Todd smiled.

‘I had a couple of years on the short circuits before I came to the roads, then a season on the Irish roads with John Burrows’ team. I have raced in the IRRC series as well as at the TT, NW200, Ulster and at Macau. They are all building blocks that have helped me progress as a rider. I am eager to get back to the NW and TT but also to race in the British Superstock championship to prove what I can do on the short circuits.’

Honda Fireblade CBRRR SP

Honda Fireblade CBRRR SP

2020 Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade SP

Todd says he wants to learn from team-mate Irwin at the North West.

‘Glenn is on a different footing at the North West than he will be at the TT.’ he said.

‘He is the target man at the North West but our mindset is to try to work as a team. We have talked about it and we want to try and help each other. I have a bit more experience than him at the TT and he can help me out at the NW. It would be silly not to.’

That co-operation will only last until the race begins though.

‘Then it will be every man for himself.’ Todd smiles.

‘Once the flag drops we will both want to win and I would love to be battling at the front with Glenn.’

Glenn Irwin Davey Todd

Glenn Irwin Davey Todd

Honda (UK) has confirmed a return to the Isle of Man TT Races as the Honda Racing team with a new rider line-up of Glenn Irwin and Davey Todd, who will contest the RST Superbike and Senior TT Races and RL360 Superstock TT classes aboard the all-new CBR1000RR-R Fireblade SP. The pair will make their debut at the North West 200 before the TT campaign begins
Source: MCNews.com.au

Ricky Brabec and Honda win 2020 Dakar Rally

Ricky Brabec and Honda claim victory at the 2020 Dakar Rally

Eight years after the return of the official Team HRC squad to the world’s toughest rally, Honda rider Ricky Brabec has topped the overall podium, having commanded from the start of the rally to the final special held in Saudi Arabia.

Dakar Ricky Brabec

Dakar Ricky Brabec

Ricky Brabec has won Dakar 2020

With the victory, Ricky Brabec (California, USA) becomes the first ever American rider to clinch the Dakar Rally. The rider concluded this year’s edition with two stage victories, in a rally which he led uninterruptedly from stage three. Consistency proved to be Brabec’s secret weapon, while deft navigational skills and pace aboard the Honda CRF450 Rally also helped him scoop the most coveted prize in off-road racing.

Dakar Ricky Brabec

Dakar Ricky Brabec

Ricky Brabec has won Dakar 2020

The rally covered some 5000 kilometres of timed special stage and a total distance of 7800 kilometres, where, in addition to the two Brabec stage victories (stages 3 and 6), can be added those of José Ignacio Cornejo (stage 4 and stage 12), Kevin Benavides (stage 7) and Joan Barreda (stage 10), as well as plenty of top partial times, with the Honda squad seizing podium lock-outs on both stages 3 and 10.

Dakar Ricky Brabec

Dakar Ricky Brabec

Ricky Brabec has won Dakar 2020

This represents the sixth Honda victory at the Dakar Rally after the five clinched in Africa, the most recent occurring 31 years ago: Ciryl Neveu (1982, 1986, 1987), Edi Orioli (1988) y Gilles Lalay (1989) took the previous top honours.

Dakar Ricky Brabec

Dakar Ricky Brabec

Ricky Brabec has won Dakar 2020

In 2013, Honda returned to the Dakar Rally after a 23-year absence. During that eight-year spell, Team HRC has been on the final podium on two occasions: Paulo Gonçalves (2015) and Kevin Benavides (2018) both in runner-up positions.

Dakar Ricky Brabec

Dakar Ricky Brabec

Ricky Brabec has won Dakar 2020

Husqvarna’s Pablo Quintanilla finished second while Australia’s Toby Price rounded out the podium.

Yoshishige Nomura – HRC President

“First, I would like to congratulate Ricky Brabec on his victory. Also, I thank Joan [Barreda], Kevin [Benavides] and José [Ignacio Cornejo] on their fine performances. And finally, I thank the team staff and development team for making this win possible. It has been seven years since we returned to the Dakar, and by learning from our losses, and everyone involved working hard, we’ve finally won. The relentless work of everyone involved over the past seven years, in other words a Team Honda effort, made this possible. We must not forget that Paulo [Goncalves] contributed immensely to the first six years, and we thank him, and pray he rests in peace. We are also deeply grateful to all of our sponsors, and our fans worldwide.”

Dakar Ricky Brabec

Dakar Ricky Brabec

Ricky Brabec has won Dakar 2020
Source: MCNews.com.au

Toby Price slides in shortened Dakar stage

Toby Price has dropped further off the lead after the marathon 534km 10th stage of the Dakar Rally was substantially shortened for safety reasons following several crashes.

Organisers said their rescue helicopters were all deployed for fallen riders and with strong winds picking up, they decided on a shortened stage.

The Aussie title defender and leading KTM rider finished fourth, some three minutes behind Joan Barreda Bort (Honda, Spain), losing another couple of minutes to outright leader Ricky Brabec (Honda, USA).

If Brabec is victorious, he will be the first American to win the event and break KTM’s streak of 18 wins.

Toby says he is still “comforted” by the fact that he virtually sacrificed his third rally win by being the first to stop for fallen rider Paulo Goncalves in the seventh stage.

Sadly Paulo later died and the eighth stage was cancelled in his honour, leaving less opportunity for Toby to make up time.

Shortened course

Toby Price slips in shortened courseToby tackles the dunes

“Today’s stage was cut short due to safety reasons,” Toby says.

There were a lot of drops throughout the course and I guess when we’re all traveling at such high speeds they do catch you out. I hope there were no serious injuries today and wishing those injured competitors a fast recovery.

“The cancellation of today’s stage has made it that much tougher for us to make up the time we needed. I was hoping to start a little further back tomorrow to make up that time but unfortunately that won’t be happening.

“We’re still in this race and aiming to get to the finish line strong.”

“Now I can really focus on the small number of remaining days to try and close this gap up to the lead,” he says.

Toby is dedicating his race to the loss of his friend, Paulo or “Speedy”.

Toby Price slips in shortened courseToby out on his own

Top 5 rankings

1 9 MONSTER ENERGY HONDA TEAM 2020 34H 12′ 18”
2 5 ROCKSTAR ENERGY HUSQVARNA FACTORY RACING 34H 38′ 02” + 00H 25′ 44”
3 12 MONSTER ENERGY HONDA TEAM 2020 34H 39′ 27” + 00H 27′ 09”
4 1 RED BULL KTM FACTORY TEAM 34H 40′ 51” + 00H 28′ 33” 00H 02′ 00”
5 17 MONSTER ENERGY HONDA TEAM 2020 34H 53′ 49” + 00H 41′ 31” 00H 01′ 00”

Other AussiesRodney Faggotter shortened

Today it was fellow Aussie Rodney Faggotter (Yamaha) who stopped to help a fallen rider.

“He’s going to be ok and got him in the chopper,” says the veteran Queensland competitor.

Rodney stopped in the neutral zone and said it seemed they had run out of choppers to ferry the injured riders.

The consistent rider had his first non-top-20 finish with a 39th placing which only drops him one place to 134th outright.

Despite the big dropout of injured riders in the shortened stage, the other Aussie bike competitors are still in the event.

Fellow Aussie Ben Young (KTM) finished 76th and moves up three spots to 6oth in his second Dakar while Matthew Tisdall (KTM) finished 101st and moves up two spots to 97th.

For the first time the Dakar rally is being run in the one country, Saudi Arabia, after being run in 35 countries on three continents since 1978.

Toby aids firefightersToby Price Dakar Rally super marathon stage

Like many Aussie sports stars and celebrities, Toby is raising money for the bushfire appeal.

He is auctioning his starting jersey and pants for firefighters

Toby is also doing his bit for the current critical bushfire situation by auctioning his starting jersey and pants with proceeds going to the NSW Rural Fire Service.

It is open worldwide, just send in your bid in Australian dollars on his Facebook page or Instagram.

Current highest bid is still $13,001.

Auction closes on 18 January at 5pm (AEST).

If you can’t bid, please donate on this link. Sp far he has raised abouot $5000.

Jack Miller's MotoGP helmetJack Miller’s MotoGP helmet

Meanwhile, Aussie MotoGP racer Jack Miller put his 2018 MotoGP helmet up for auction to raise money for the bushfire crisis.

The auction has closed with 22 bids and the winner bidding $18,000.

Jack will sign and send the helmet to the winning bidder.

Two-time MotoGP champ Casey Stoner says he will auction an old race suit for the first time, but no details are available yet.

Meanwhile, Deus Ex Machina founder Dare Jennings is raffling off his 1977 Triumph T140V.

Triumph bushfireDeus Trumpy

Money raised will be split among the Australia Red Cross, Save The Animals and Rural Fire Service.

You have the chance to win it by making at least a $50 donation via PayPal.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Toby Price stays in touch with lead

Aussie Toby Price has whittled a little off the lead of American Ricky Brabec with a strong second place in the 410km ninth stage of the Dakar Rally.

The 410km stage across rocky terrain was won by Chilean Pablo Quintanilla (Husqvarana) less than two minutes ahead of Toby who is chasing his third win and a 19th consecutive victory for KTM.

Toby says with the stage being so fast it was difficult to make up any time up as riders were able to follow each other.

Brabec finished fourth with Toby shaving two minutes from the American’s overall lead.

With a 26-minute gap and only three stages to go, Toby has a real fight on his hands.Toby Price Dakar lead

It comes two days after Toby stopped to help fallen rider Paulo Goncalves and stayed with him until the helicopters arrived. Sadly Paulo later died and the eighth stage was cancelled in his honour.

“Now I can really focus on the small number of remaining days to try and close this gap up to the lead,” he says.

Toby is dedicating his race to the loss of his friend, Paulo or “Speedy”.

We didn’t know Toby could speak French! (Sorry, no English video yet.)

Top 5 rankings

1 9 MONSTER ENERGY HONDA TEAM 2020 31H 59′ 29”
2 5 ROCKSTAR ENERGY HUSQVARNA FACTORY RACING 32H 20′ 22” + 00H 20′ 53”
3 1 RED BULL KTM FACTORY TEAM 32H 26′ 12” + 00H 26′ 43” 00H 02′ 00”
4 12 MONSTER ENERGY HONDA TEAM 2020 32H 27′ 45” + 00H 28′ 16”
5 17 MONSTER ENERGY HONDA TEAM 2020 32H 28′ 58” + 00H 29′ 29” 00H 01′ 00”

Other Aussies

Queensland veteran competitor Rodney Faggotter (Yamaha) is proving consistent with yet another top 20 finish.

He came in 18th and remains in 12th outright.

He says his bike is down on top speed from the factory bikes and he had to ride hard in the rough stuff.

“Last few stages have been pretty boring track/racing wise and super fast, but the scenery is magic! Like moonscape in places.”

Rodney FaggotterRodney Faggotter

Fellow Aussie Ben Young (KTM) finished 73rd despite a minor fall on the first part of the special stage.

It should be remembered that he rode half of his debut rally last year with a broken hand after a fall on stage 5. He drops back five places to 63rd.

The only other Aussie competing in the bike category is Matthew Tisdall (KTM) who finished 104th and moves up three spots to 99th.

For the first time the Dakar rally is being run in the one country, Saudi Arabia, after being run in 35 countries on three continents since 1978.

Toby aids firefightersToby Price Dakar Rally super marathon stage

Like many Aussie sports stars and celebrities, Toby is raising money for the bushfire appeal.

He is auctioning his starting jersey and pants for firefighters

Toby is also doing his bit for the current critical bushfire situation by auctioning his starting jersey and pants with proceeds going to the NSW Rural Fire Service.

It is open worldwide, just send in your bid in Australian dollars on his Facebook page or Instagram.

Current highest bid is still $13,001.

Auction closes on 18 January at 5pm (AEST).

If you can’t bid, please donate on this link.

Jack Miller's MotoGP helmetJack Miller’s MotoGP helmet

Meanwhile, Aussie MotoGP racer Jack Miller put his 2018 MotoGP helmet up for auction to raise money for the bushfire crisis.

The auction closed on Sunday with 22 bids and the winner bidding $18,000.

Jack will sign and send the helmet to the winning bidder

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Honda plans airbags for smaller motorcycles

After the problems Honda had with the massive global recall of dangerous Takata airbags in their Goldwing, the company is now filing for a patent on a smaller airbag suitable for smaller bikes.

Instead of deploying in front of the rider like a big bean bag, it goes straight up to stop the rider being flung over the bars.

While the rider in this video says his airbag suit was a lifesaver, we wonder what effect a vertical motorcycle airbag would have had, preventing him being flung clear of the vehicle.

Airbags trend

Airbags seem to be the flavour of the times for the safety “experts”.

A host of airbag leather race suits is now available, airbags are mandatory in most motorcycle racing and some companies such as DaineseAlpinestars and Furygan, are now releasing aftermarket airbag vests that go over or under a normal jacket.

And Brooklyn start-up Airbag for Bike even has a patent pending for a motorcycle seat that ejects a rider in a crash and then cocoons them in a full-length airbag suit to protect them from injury.

Smaller airbags

As for motorcycles airbags, we can see they may be a safety device in crashes where the rider hits something head-on or is hit from behind, but not glancing blows or being hit from the side.

The Goldwing airbag in the “tank” area is bulky and would only fit big tourers.

Honda Goldwing GL1800 airbag radical Goldwings incentive smaller airbagsHowever, Honda’s new patent is for a much smaller airbag.

It would be suitable on smaller motorcycles as shown in this patent drawing of a scooter published by Visor Down.Airbag Honda

We imagine this will also be a cheaper airbag than the one in the Goldwing.

It’s not the first time Honda has considered adding airbags to smaller bikes.

In 2017, the company exhibited an airbag designed for scooters at the Honda Meeting in Tokyo. (See image at the top of this page.)

The danger of this type of cheaper technology is that safety experts will one day deem it as a mandatory fitment on all bikes just as they have with ABS!

Honda patent blitz

Honda has been having something of a blitz on patents in the past couple of years.

While this idea seems quite reasonable and may make it into some future motorcycles, a lot of the others are less likely.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Kuniyoshi Iwata runs Honda’s Twin Ring Motegi Collection Hall

Twin Ring Motegi Honda Collection Hall


The Twin Ring Motegi Collection comprises Honda’s history of motorcycling since the late 1940s, when Soichiro Honda built his first machines powered by generators that had originally been designed to power radio transmitters.

Twin Ring Motegi Honda Collection Hall HCH entranceLTwin Ring Motegi Honda Collection Hall

Most of the motorcycles are Hondas, but the collection also features important models from other brands. Road machines from Honda’s first creation and its first superbike, the CB750, to iconic road bikes from the 1970s, 1980s, 1990s and later.

Also present is the entire arc of Honda’s racing career, from its early racers of the 1950s through to the numerous incarnations of the mighty NSR500 two-stroke to the more recent RC211V, RC212V and RC213V MotoGP machines.

Kuniyoshi Iwata is the man in charge of the Collection Hall.

Twin Ring Motegi Honda Collection Hall F HCH LTwin Ring Motegi Honda Collection Hall

Iwata learned his skills in Grand Prix racing of the 1980s and 1990s, where he worked on the NSR500s of Freddie Spencer and Mick Doohan.

Now his job is to keep those NSR500s and hundreds of other machines in perfect condition for museum display, and for use at events where the bikes are ridden, much to the delight of race fans young and old. Naturally Iwata and his team of five mechanics love their jobs.

Kuniyoshi Iwata

“We maintain the machines so they are ready for running at any time. I think it’s a very important job and I’m proud of it. The machines are strong and tough, but maintaining them when they are very old is difficult. Most of the parts we use in the machines are one-off parts. Luckily we get a lot of support from Honda R&D Centre Asaka [for motorcycles] and from Honda Racing Development Sakura [for cars]. We display a total of 350 machines in the Collection Hall – both two wheels and four wheels.”

Twin Ring Motegi Honda Collection Hall HCH view LTwin Ring Motegi Honda Collection Hall

Iwata does get to ride many of the motorcycles, but only at generally low-speeds when he’s making shakedown checks before the bikes are paraded by other riders at events in Japan and around the world.

He has no doubt which motorcycle in the Collection Hall is his favourite – Honda’s first NSR500, stating, “Because it’s the very first Grand Prix bike I worked on as a mechanic.”

The 1984 NSR500 is a fine example of Honda’s keenness for pushing the boundaries of technology and learning not only through success but also through lack of success. The first NSR500 had its fuel tank situated under the engine and its exhausts above the engine, the opposite of the norm. The bike did not win the 1984 500cc World Championship but it taught HRC much about chassis dynamics.

Twin Ring Motegi Honda Collection Hall viewTwin Ring Motegi Honda Collection Hall

Iwata recently had his busiest day of the year – November’s Honda Racing Thanks Day – when a number of legendary Honda machines ran parade laps around Motegi.

Twin Ring Motegi Honda Collection Hall Kuniyoshi IwataKuniyoshi Iwata

The machines that got the biggest cheer from the 17,000 fans were two of the most famous racing machines of all time: the Honda NSR500 ridden by Eddie Lawson to the 1989 500cc World Championship and the McLaren-Honda MP4/4 driven by Ayrton Senna to the 1988 Formula 1 World Championship.

Kuniyoshi Iwata

“I feel very happy when I see the machines we maintain being ridden and driven. Also, it makes me very happy when I see people enjoying watching the historic machines. Our machines run at events in many countries, but the Honda Racing Thanks Day is always very special for us, because it happens so close to the Collection Hall and it gives us the chance to run many of our historic machines.”

The Collection Hall was opened in 1998, fulfilling the dream of company founder Soichiro Honda, who realised the importance of showing the company’s history to the public.

Twin Ring Motegi Honda Collection Hall F HCH LTwin Ring Motegi Honda Collection Hall
Source: MCNews.com.au

Toby Price defends against Honda team

The Honda factory team is shaping to be the biggest threat to Aussie Toby Price scoring his third Dakar Rally win and the 19th consecutive victory for KTM.

Honda has the top three outright positions after yesterday’s 453km stage four of the rally in Saudi Arabia with Toby biding his time in fourth place outright.

It was a close stage with all top 20 riders, including Queensland veteran competitor Rodney Faggotter (Yamaha), within 13 minutes.

Dakar Rodney Faggotter team
Rodney Faggotter

“Crazy amounts of different terrain and dusty conditions have made for another tough day, a real reminder that we’re at the Dakar Rally, “says Toby.

“As tough as today was I’m happy to have a consistent day with only a couple of little mistakes. We’re sticking to our plan and are in a great position with plenty more racing ahead of us.

“I just need to stay focused and stick to my guns, with navigation being so damn full on my brain is fried and actually makes me feel like I do have some brains up there.”Toby Price KTM team

The stage was won  by Chilean rider Jose Florimo (Honda) followed by teammate Kevin Benavides with Toby sixth and less than three minutes behind.

He is now just over 12 minutes behind Honda rider Ricky Brabec who is hoping to be the first American to win the gruelling rally.

(Sorry it’s in Spanish, but the images are in English!)

Top 10 outright rankings

POS. EXP. DRIVE-TEAM MARK-MODEL TIME VARIATION PENALTY
1 9 MONSTER ENERGY HONDA TEAM 2020 15H 06′ 43”
2 7 MONSTER ENERGY HONDA TEAM 2020 15H 09′ 13” + 00H 02′ 30”
3 17 MONSTER ENERGY HONDA TEAM 2020 15H 15′ 14” + 00H 08′ 31” 00H 01′ 00”
4 1 RED BULL KTM FACTORY TEAM 15H 18′ 52” + 00H 12′ 09” 00H 02′ 00”
5 5 ROCKSTAR ENERGY HUSQVARNA FACTORY RACING 15H 24′ 35” + 00H 17′ 52”
6 3 RED BULL KTM FACTORY TEAM 15H 25′ 54” + 00H 19′ 11” 00H 05′ 00”
7 12 MONSTER ENERGY HONDA TEAM 2020 15H 32′ 03” + 00H 25′ 20”
8 16 RED BULL KTM FACTORY TEAM 15H 33′ 13” + 00H 26′ 30”
9 2 RED BULL KTM FACTORY TEAM 15H 33′ 46” + 00H 27′ 03”
10 59 KLYMCIW RACING 15H 41′ 11” + 00H 34′ 28”

Other Aussies

Rodney Faggotter team
Rodney Faggotter

Rodney Faggotter finished 18th and moved back two places to 17th outright.

“It was a brutal day and plenty of potential to hurt yourself, so I just rode smooth as possible though most of the time the throttle was wedged non stop.

“Fast tracks, fast sand and a million rocks littered throughout to make it interesting.”

Other Aussie Ben Young (KTM) finished a respectable 64th and moved up 10 places to 78th while Matthew Tisdall (KTM) finished last (121st) and moves up to 124th.

Tomorrow’s 353km special stage is mainly sand with large boulders as navigation markers.

For the first time the Dakar rally is being run in the one country, Saudi Arabia, after being run in 35 countries on three continents since 1978.

Toby aids firefightersToby Price Dakar Rally super marathon stage

Like many Aussie sports stars and celebrities, Toby (right) is raising money for the bushfire appeal.

He is auctioning his starting jersey and pants for firefighters

Toby is also doing his bit for the current critical bushfire situation by auctioning his starting jersey and pants with proceeds going to the NSW Rural Fire Service.

It is open worldwide, just send in your bid in Australian dollars on his Facebook page or Instagram.

Current highest bid is still $13,001.

Auction closes on 18 January at 5pm (AEST).

If you can’t bid, please donate on this link.

Jack Miller's MotoGP helmet
Jack Miller’s MotoGP helmet

Meanwhile, Aussie MotoGP racer Jack Miller is also putting his 2018 MotoGP helmet up for auction to raise money for the bushfire crisis.

The auction is open worldwide until Friday at 5pm (AEST).

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com