Tag Archives: Italy

Italy is back on the motorcycle tour calendar

With international borders slowly opening up, riders are preparing to head overseas for motorcycle tours.

Of all the countries I have visited and ridden in, perhaps Italy is the best for riders for so many reasons.

Apart from the food, the scenery, the history and the culture, the people love motorcycles and they have some of the best riding roads in the world.

And the best way to see it is with a local motorcycle guide who knows the non-tourist areas, the best roads and the best places to eat!

In 2018, I toured the beautiful Tuscany region with Hear the Road Motorcycle Tours who have just announced that they are back in 2022 after being closed down by the pandemic.

Tour owner Enrico Grassi is a keen motorcyclist who knows all the best rad s… and the best places to sample the local food and wine.

Enrico Grassi local tour guide Hear the Road Motorcycle Tours Italy
Enrico Grassi

His Tours for 2022 have a range from 8-12 riding days in an effort to suit everyone’s wish to ride the best scenic Italian roads, visiting destinations such as Amalfi Coast, Alps, Dolomites, Tuscany, Chianti, Sardinia, Corsica, riding a Ducati Panigale on a MotoGP World Circuit, or watching the MotoGp Race at Mugello and Misano circuits.

Enrico plans every detail of his tours, spending the winter months in his studio outside of Rome, road maps spread over the desk, exploring new routes, finding out about local events, country fêtes, interesting exhibitions and tasty food-venues.

Hear The Road Motorcycle Tours Italy provides motorcycle rental, accommodations in 3 or 4 stars hotel with local flavour, luggage transportation and transfer from and to the airport.

Tours are on a choice of Italian Ducati and Moto Guzzi motorcycles, but also BMWs and Harley-Davidsons.

Tours run from April to October and include a free night in Rome if you book by the end of January 2022.

Hear the Road Tours also caters to those who can’t meet the calendared tour dates with self-guided, customised and/or private tours.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Giacomo Agostini: The Man, The Myth, The Legend

Today we celebrate the belated birthday of seven-time 350cc and 500cc world title champion Giacomo Agostini, or “Ago”  – an Italian rider with an unmatched gift for racing. 

According to an article posted on TopGear, young Agostini was born June 16, 1942, in Brescia, Lombardy, where he started his passion for riding in secret. 

His first title was won in 1963 when he snatched the Italian Hillclimb Championship riding a 175cc Moto Morini. 

The successes continued into 1965, where Agostini became a member of the MV Agusta works team. The season saw Giacomo’s first ride for MV, finishing second only to his teammate and mentor, Mike Hailwood. 

With Hailwood scooped up by Honda the following year, Ago became lead rider of MV Agusta – setting the young prodigy up beautifully for what was to be a whirlwind of wins.

Giacomo Agostini riding for MV Agusta

By 1968, Giacomo was hitting uncontested streaks in both the 350cc and 500cc class titles. 

Hit Ctrl + Paste for 1969.

And again for 1970.

It soon became obvious that the man breaking statistical averages across the world was honed in on his game – and perhaps a little crazy, as all riders should be.

Giacomo Agostini, profile picture, 1970.

MoreBikes has a snippet of Agostini recalling the state of the tracks back in his day: 

“We ran because we had a lot of passion, a lot of desire to run. You could not choose, the tracks were what they had, the straw balls were something palliative.”

Agostini’s winning streak was broken only by the crumpling of his bike in the first lap of 1971’s Isle of Man TT. At this point, he had completely cleared the table, winning 26 titles in the 350cc class and 32 in the 500cc class – a mind-boggling 58 titles acquired, in a row, nonstop. 

Ago had two short retirement periods in 1971 and 1972, with his official retirement from the motorcycle scene in 1977, leaving behind a burning hot legacy that still inspires riders today – and Top Gear was right when they said that Agostini’s statistics are insane. 

a close-up photo of the new GSX-s950, in Triton Blue.

Ago took the title of every race he finished, stamping five years’ worth of wins in the record books. 

1966-1972 was when he won seven world titles in a row in the 500cc class, and that’s not counting the seven world titles for the 350cc class garnered 1968-1974.

If we were counting Ago’s win for Yamaha in 1975, that brings the number of world title wins to FIFTEEN.

All told, Giacomo Agostini’s 14-year career saw 223 races; he took the gold home 122 of the 159 times that he made the podium, with 117 inofficial ‘fastest lap’ records tucked under one capable arm, 6 of which are considered official pole positions.

Perhaps Agostini’s quote, translated in 1967 from the Vault, would best describe the Italian’s career and his drive to ride:
“I want to do everything I can – while I can.”

Giacomo Agostini, standing next to the bike that saw many of his successes in the mid to late '90s

For more information on Italians and motorcycles, head over to MotorBikeWriter.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

MV Agusta Launches New Bike To the (Mini) Masses

MV Agusta has just launched a brand new bike to cater to a specific audience.

It sports the classic Agusta red-and-silver color scheme, with max speeds topping out at a blistering 3 mph.

Did I mention that it’s a balance bike for toddlers?

Side view of the new MV Agusta Vintage Wooden Balance Bike for toddlers

You heard right.

According to a report from RideApart, the Italian manufacturer is now producing a spiffy classic-styled wooden balance bike for your young one. Labeled simply as the ‘Vintage Wooden Balance Bike,’ the contraption was manufactured to get a small child used to the concept of using balance to maneuver about on two wheels. Though Harley Davidson has also released a balance bike (though catered to a slightly older audience) with great success, I personally would prefer a makeshift MV Agusta when I watch a toddler rolling about the property in anticipation of a sporty motorcycle to call their own.

side view of the new MV Agusta wooden balance bike


Priced at $198, it’s an extremely affordable and easy addition to the collection – and having been manufactured in the same style as Giacomo Agostini’s iconic MV Agusta GP bike, the legacy can’t be beaten.

View of gas tank from a Honda Motorcycle made in India

 While the Vintage Wooden Balance Bike may be a far cry from 500cc, in the mind of a child, anything is possible – and I’ll bet my favorite helmet that this balance bike will set the ball rolling for some wonderful memories further down the road.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Italy Launches Inductive Highway Ring with Contactless Charging for EVs

With the future of electric vehicles taking up many a weekday headline, it’s fun to peruse the pages and take a gander at the novel ways companies are cooking up to increase clientele satisfaction and invest in an EV future.

To those skeptical about the grey zone of electric vehicles and battery longevity, Italy has come up with a smart solution.  

The “Arena del Futuro” (or “Arena of the Future”) is a 1,035-meter asphalt tester-circuit with the purpose of re-charging vehicles running low on juice mid-commute. Owned by ElectReon, the inductive highway is set to be implemented between Brescia and Milan, Italy.

a car travelling along an inductive highway for a quick charge.

According to CarAndBike, The ring of the road will be fed by one megawatt of power. It will use contactless induction to charge electric vehicles via the modest installation of a receiver on the vehicle’s underside. The result is an energy transfer to your EV of choice, a power charge that provides a surplus of zip, and a quick commute from point A to B. (For a list of EV news and electric motorcycles that will likely be more compatible with this charging method, click here.)

The Arena del Futuro is just one small example of what Italy plans on applying throughout the country. However, stakeholders still plan on further optimizing the road surface to increase charge efficiency and allow for the eventual evolution of increased energy output with 5G technology.  

Partners of this new endeavor include the A35 Brebemi-Aleatica motorway, ABB, ElectReon, FIAMM Energy Technology, IVECO, IVECO Bus, Mapei, Pizzarotti, Politecnico di Milano, Prysmian, Stellantis, TIM, Roma Tre University, and the University of Parma.

car takes advantage of "Arena del Future" inductive Highway in Italy

Kid smiling at a Ride for Kids Event

The big question to ask, I think, is how much charge would be guaranteed on an EV that circled the Arena del Futuro for, say, ten minutes. I’m all for a clean future as much as the next person, but I’m not so keen on circling about a highway for ten minutes so that my vehicle can juice up for an additional half-hour of commute time. ElectReon will resolve this, I’m assuming, once the highway is approved for a longer stretch of the thoroughfare.

Fingers crossed that the launch is a success, and inductive highways become an energy-efficient option for the future.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Piaggio Group Is Delivering Their Italian Motorcycles and Scooters Straight to Your Door

Order an Aprilia RSV4 Straight to Your Doorstep

Knock knock – Who’s there? It’s the second wave of the COVID-19 outbreak. The world has been seeing a steady rise in new cases across the board. My hometown didn’t have a terrible initial outbreak, but the news is showing cases skyrocketing due to cold weather and Halloween parties.

Italy had one of the first initial waves on earth, and are taking every possible opportunity to make sure that doesn’t happen this second time around. Ten days ago, the government imposed curfews and the country just divided itself into areas based on COVID cases with a colour assigned to indicate risk levels. Motorcycle dealerships and gear stores remain open, even in the highest risk areas.

If you don’t fancy braving the outside world to go pick up your new bike to help burn some free time during a second lockdown, the Piaggio Group has you covered. If you buy a new bike or scooter on their website they now offer an additional service that gives you the option to have your new vehicle delivered right to your doorstep. 

Piaggio, Vespa, Aprilia and Moto Guzzi’s websites will all have the option to have your new purchase delivered. Although you might initially think that keeping dealerships open in the ‘red zones’ is a bad idea, keep in mind much of Italy’s residents fully commute by motorcycle or moped, so it is important for the brands to keep their servicing centers open in the event a customer needs a tune-up or major repair to keep them mobile during the pandemic. 

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Suzuki Launches SmartMeet Video Chat in Italy

Talk to a Product Specialist

Do you have questions about some of Suzuki’s latest machines? Well, if you’re in Italy, you can have a chat with a salesperson or product specialist from the safety of your home.

Suzuki Italy just launched a new video chat system that allows for telemeetings for potential customers who want to discuss bikes and start the buying process. It’s called SmartMeet, and you can schedule a meeting. 

SmartMett uses a variety of video chatting software (whatever the customer wants to use) to interface with the person who set the appointment.

You can schedule a meeting via Skype, Zoom, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Microsoft Teams, or Google Meet. Italian customers can go to Suzuki’s SmartMeet website and schedule an appointment.

When you schedule an appointment, you’ll be able to specify what you want to discuss, and that should help get you in front of the right person who will have the correct answers for you.

While some manufacturers are trying to do fully virtual sales, this seems like a very smart second option. Suzuki is providing customers a way to get in touch and start the process without physical contact.

It will be interesting to see if the company plans to roll this out elsewhere, my gut tells me it will if this goes well in Italy. I also have a feeling it will go well.

If you’re in Italy (or you just want to check out the SmartMeet setup) check out the website by clicking here

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Italy Sees Sales Drop Again Due to COVID-19

Italy and the rest of Europe saw major jumps in terms of sales recently, recovering from the devastation of the COVID-19 pandemic that was quite bad there. Now, things are trending back down.

August and September proved to show positive growth and a real boom for two-wheeled machine sales. That has been disrupted in October, according to Motociclismo.

The publication reports that October sales in Italy closed in the negative when compared to last year. Sales for vehicles with a displacement greater than 50cc were down nearly 14 percent.

Scooters were the biggest culprit with a decrease in sales of 22.29 percent. However, other sectors of the two-wheeled market like motorcycles and mopeds were also down.

The overall for all sectors is 11.51 percent across all types of two-wheeled machines and all displacements. In Italy, 17,554 vehicles made it to the road in total in October.

The year-to-date numbers obviously don’t look too great either. While sales came back strong for a few months, they dropped considerably during the first wave of the pandemic.

One exception to all this is electric bikes. Zero-emission mopeds, scooters, and motorcycles saw growth of 115.2 percent in October. Year-to-date numbers indicate growth of 127.11 percent compared to 2019.

I’m hoping the second wave of COVID-19 isn’t as bad as the first, especially in Italy, for both the sake of the people there and the motorcycle industry and the nation’s economy. While other markets around the world saw increases in sales for motorcycles, this could be a worrisome start of what’s to come if the second wave of the pandemic proves to be

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Video shows brutal Brutale beauty

MV Agusta has released the first of a series very beautiful scenic videos shot in northern Italy and featuring the equally beautiful, limited-edition 208hp Brutale 1000 RR Serie Oro.

Warning: You cannot watch this video without wanting to book a flight to Italy now and hire a bike to do the same roads!

Our Beautiful Land

The series of MV Agusta videos is called “Il Nostro Bel Paese” (Our Beautiful Land).

First up is “Motosinfonia d’Autunno” (Autumn Motor Symphony) which was shot in Trentino and features CIV Supersport champion Davide Stirpe.

It’s all in slow motion and there is no exhaust note to relish, only Pucini’s most famous aria, Turandot.

Call us plebs, but we would have preferred to hear the Brutale’s beautiful but brutal cry!Beautiful MV Agusta Brutale 1000 RR Serie ORO

After all, not many of us will ever get to see one in the flesh — or carbon, titaniam and CNC machined bits — as they cost $71,990 ride away.

The “Il Nostro Bel Paese” video will be followed by“Motosinfonia d’Inverno” (winter), “Motosinfonia di Primavera” (spring), and “Motosinfonia d’Estate” (summer).

We can expect other models to be highlighted in the videos, including the Rush 1000 which was unveiled at the EICMA motorcycle show in Milan last week.

MV Agusta Rush 1000 beautiful
MV Agusta Rush 1000

We reckon it’s an exercise in over-styling, but we still are interested in seeing it among the beautiful Italian landscape.

Rush 1000 is another limited-edition model, based on the Brutale 1000 RR.

The bike didn’t rate with Italian visitors to the EICMA motorcycle show in Milan who voted the Ducati Streetfighter V4 most beautiful bike with 36.7% of the votes.

It was followed by Aprilia RS 660 on 14.9%, MV Agusta Superveloce 800 (11.23%), Honda CBR1000RR-R SP (9.43%) and Moto Guzzi V85 TT Travel (4.76%).

No mention of the Rush 1000 which only rated 4% of the votes in our poll of the most beautiful bikes of the show.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

2019 Aprilia RSV4 1100 Factory First Ride Review

The straightaway at the Mugello circuit is nearly three-quarters of a mile long, and as majestic as the Tuscan hills are the only thing I can think when I first lay eyes on the track is that it’s narrower than I expected. My brain quickly stumbles through memories of the racing lore that has been written here. All of the statistics that have been created. The hundreds of thousands of people who cram into the grounds every year, Shinya Nakano’s 199-mph crash, or Valentino Rossi being undefeated in MotoGP for seven years straight.

Then another number: 217. The number of horsepower that Aprilia claims can be produced by the new RSV4 1100 Factory. At the wheel, probably around 10 percent more than the previous RSV4, which made 185 hp on the dyno. I refocus on the straight: It’s 1.1 kilometers and I can’t see the beginning or the end because of the crests in the track. Somehow, even though I’m on the property, the mystique of Mugello is still hiding something from me. Better to focus on the bike, anyway, rather than the numbers.

Aprilia’s new superbike looks very much like the one we’ve come to know over the past decade. An angry triclops face, angular lines in the bodywork, and a tiny tailsection like a wasp’s stinger. This version is also 11 pounds lighter, thanks in part to a new exhaust system and a lithium-ion battery. The combination of matte black paint and winglet loops on the front of the fairing is the main giveaway that this is the new 1100 model, using an 81mm bore for a total of 1,078cc. (That’s the same swell the Tuono got a few years ago, but the RSV’s internals breathe harder and cool better.) Luckily another thing that hasn’t changed is the raspy baritone that fires out the pipe. We journalists have already used every hyperbole to describe what an Aprilia V-4 sounds like, so I’m not going to try again. If you’ve never heard one, just imagine the most perfect engine noise you can and you’re probably close.

RELATED: 2019 Aprilia RSV4 1100 Factory And RSV4 RR First Look

As I slap my helmet visor down I remember the RSV4 has a pit-lane limiter, which can be engaged to help you feel like a World Superbike racer. In the pits, anyway. It’s also modern superbikes in a microcosm—aesthetics and technologies designed to help you feel more like your heroes—and a good reminder that simply riding within your limits is usually the best solution. Especially in the paddock. I ignore the limiter function and tap the little paddles near the left clip-on to select traction control level 3, figuring I’m at least in the 70th percentile of track riders.

The first lap around Mugello is like a cruise on a perfect country road. Beautiful and, yes, still narrow. There’s something inescapable and totally intangible about Tuscany. It’s alive with perfect greenery which is periodically pierced and fractured by villages of ancient buildings. There’s a vitality that is as vibrant and new as anything in the world, stoically punctuated by towers and walls of ashen rock that were carved hundreds of years before Columbus set sail. It’s permanent, yet somehow always fresh.

Despite the romance of the scenery, the more you open the RSV4’s throttle the more inclined you are to face forward. The added displacement seems to have stemmed the top-end rush of the old engine, by simply adding midrange thrust. It’s incredibly strong, and makes not knowing my way around the track a little less awkward. Pointing horsepower in the right direction at the right time, however, that’s always the tricky bit. As usual, the RSV4’s chassis and brakes are up for it.

Side-to-side transitions are smooth and controlled, and the top-spec Ӧhlins suspenders are characteristically compliant and supportive. Stylema brake calipers from Brembo grace the front of the RSV4 (same as Ducati’s Panigale V4), and they’ve even got fancy carbon-fiber scoops directing air at them to stay cool. There’s limitless power, but I didn’t get the typical front-end feel I’m accustomed to from Italian superbikes while bailing toward apexes on the brakes. It was a little surprising, especially considering the RSV4 has always been a model of ideal superbike ergonomics and terrific comfort under pressure.

The only other source of instability seems to be horsepower provoked. In the last 20 percent of corner exit the RSV4 1100’s steadiness was a little delicate. Initially the traction control helped me smear the rear Pirelli across the pavement, but as the bike stood up a heavy bar input or bump can jostle the chassis into pumping back and forth. There’s no reason to get off the gas, and the pure quality of the chassis reins it in quickly, but even fiddling with suspension settings didn’t get to calm down. (I’m inclined to blame, at least partially, the soft carcass of the Pirelli SC1 race tires mounted to the bike, but I can’t be sure until I try the bike with different rubber.)

Those are my two main nits to pick, which is to say there is so much that was swept under the rug of my consciousness while flying around Mugello at triple-digit speeds. The quickshifter, for one, is tuned brilliantly for the track, making up- and downshifts as seamless as they are clutchless. The bike has advanced ABS too, but I never felt a whiff of it. Sometimes the dash would blink and remind me that the latest evolution of the APRC suit of rider aids was making sure I didn’t flick myself to the moon like Valentino in the Biondetti. Maybe I wasn’t riding hard enough.

And then there’s that straightaway. By the time I was wide open exiting the final corner the bike was showing 120 mph. At the top of fourth gear, around 150 mph, the front wheel would lift gently as if nodding to the pit-lane entrance. Sixth gear came along before start-finish and around the time I was cutting across the green, white, and red stripes of pit-lane exit the dash would show around 185 mph. This is where you can’t see turn one but you tell yourself slowly that it’s in the same place it was last lap. As the bike and I cleared the crest the speedo was typically showing between 190 and 195 mph, at which point the front wheels would lift off and carry for a number of yards before plopping back on the deck and shake me to sitting up into the wind.

The best part of any racetrack is the turns, but only after the straightaway at Mugello did I feel the warmth of having experienced the circuit. It felt as emotional and enigmatic as the surrounding countryside. Some of the curves are tight and some are open, but every one seems to coax you into the next. They aren’t turns to slow you down, only to dare you to go into the next one a little faster. Each lap is a workout for the senses and totally therapeutic at the same time.

As for whether or not the winglets work, all I can say is that I don’t think every MotoGP team uses them because they look cool. What I can say for sure is that the full 18 pounds of downforce applied at 186 mph is only applied at 186 mph, so if you think they’ll change your commute, you’ll be disappointed. On the other hand, if you’re thinking that it seems like similar technology as a certain winged red bike but for $25,000 instead of $40,000, I would say there’s probably a spreadsheet at Aprilia HQ that says the same thing.

It’s a brilliant machine that takes a majestic stretch of road (or preferably a racetrack) to appreciate, and you need it for the same reason you need a pit-lane limiter. Which is to say you don’t need it. But you want it for the same reason you want a pit-lane limiter, which is because it reflects the countless days, months, and years it takes to create a machine like this. A machine that can transport you from seeing a narrow racetrack laid in an idyllic valley to tasting the flavor of world-championship bliss.

Tech Spec

MSRP $24,999
ENGINE 1,078cc, liquid-cooled, DOHC 65-degree V-4
CLAIMED HORSEPOWER 217 @ 13,200 rpm
CLAIMED TORQUE 90 lb.-ft. @ 11,000 rpm
FRAME Aluminum twin-spar
FRONT SUSPENSION Öhlins NIX 30 fork adjustable for spring preload, rebound and compression damping (stepless), 4.9-in. travel
REAR SUSPENSION Öhlins TTX 36 shock adjustable for spring preload, rebound, high-/low-speed compression damping, and ride height, 4.7-in. travel
FRONT BRAKE Dual 4-piston radial-mount Brembo Stylema calipers, 330mm discs w/ switchable ABS
REAR BRAKE 2-piston Brembo caliper, 220mm disc w/ switchable Bosch 9.1 MP cornering ABS
RAKE/TRAIL 24.5°/4.1 in.
WHEELBASE 56.7 in.
SEAT HEIGHT 33.5 in.
AVAILABLE Spring 2019
CONTACT aprilia.com

Source: MotorCyclistOnline.com

2019 dates for Italian motorcycle tours

Having ridden the Tuscany region this year with Hear the Road Motorcycle Tours Italy, we can thoroughly recommend one of their tours in 2019.

Owner Enrico Grassi says he has prepared the 2019 riding season “with more determination and passion”.

Having a local guide like this Roman rider is a distinct advantage as he knows and rides all the roads, and he has a great knowledge of local history, foods and the best wines to have with dinner.

Enrico Grassi Hear the Road Motorcycle Tours Italy Tuscany and Umbria: Heart of Italy
Enrico, Mrs MBW and me at the Pantheon in Roma

His tours range from 8-12 riding days visiting scenic destinations such as the Amalfi Coast, Italian Alps, Dolomites, Tuscany, Chianti, Sardinia, Corsica, or even watching the MotoGP races at Mugello and Misano circuits. 

All include twisting country roads, historical destinations, spectacular views of the mountains and the Mediterranean with four-star hospitality.

“After the sun has set, there’s plenty of opportunities to experience the culture, the food and wine, the night-life and the passion of this amazing country,” Enrico says.  

Hear The Road Motorcycle Tours Italy provides motorcycle rental, accommodation with “a local flavour”, luggage transportation and transfer from and to the airport.

You can select from BMW, Ducati, Moto Guzzi and Harley-Davidson motorcycles.

Enrico Grassi Hear the Road Motorcycle Tours Italy Tuscany and Umbria: Heart of Italy
Italian pace

Bonus free night

Tours run from April to October with a bonus free night in Rome if you book by the end of January 2019.

Hear the Road Tours also caters to those riding enthusiasts who want to tour Italy but can’t meet the scheduled tour dates.

Enrico says they can organise self-guided, customised and/or private tours for individuals or groups of any size. 

Click here to contact Enrico via email or phone +39 393 04 03 260.


Source: MotorbikeWriter.com