Tag Archives: Latest News/What’s New

2020 BMW S 1000 XR | First Look Review

2020 BMW S 1000 XR in Racing Red.
2020 BMW S 1000 XR in Racing Red/White Aluminum. Images courtesy of BMW.

After BMW announced several changes to the potent in-line four powerplant in its S 1000 RR superbike earlier this year, we figured it was only a matter of time before the tech trickled down to its flagship adventure sport tourer. And sure enough, here comes the 2020 S 1000 XR, lighter, faster and more versatile than ever before.

The big news of course is the RR-derived engine, which pumps out a claimed 165 horsepower at 11,000 rpm and 84 lb-ft of torque at 9,250. Fourth, fifth and sixth gears have longer ratios to reduce noise, fuel consumption and engine speed (hopefully addressing some of the buzziness we’ve noted in our tests — read our review of the 2016 S 1000 XR here). It also now features what BMW calls engine drag torque control (MSR), which reduces rear wheel hopping under hard deceleration.

2020 BMW S 1000 XR in Racing Red/White Aluminum
A 6.5-inch TFT display is standard on the 2020 S 1000 XR.

The suspension, frame and swingarm have all been tweaked to reduce weight, and coupled with the lighter engine the 2020 S 1000 XR is said to weigh just 498 pounds (our 2016 test bike weighed in at 531 pounds).

The list of standard features is long: Dynamic ESA (electronic suspension), four ride modes (Road, Rain, Dynamic and Dynamic Pro), Dynamic Traction Control (DTC) with wheelie control, ABS Pro (cornering ABS) with Dynamic Brake Control (DBC), 6.5-inch TFT display, LED lighting and Hill Start Control Pro. Options include Dynamic ESA Pro with two damping modes and automatic load compensation, HP Shift Assistant Pro (up and down quickshifter), Headlight Pro with DRL and cornering lights, and electronic cruise control.

The 2020 BMW S 1000 XR will be available in Ice Gray and Racing Red/White Aluminum. U.S. pricing and availability are TBA.

Keep scrolling for more photos….

2020 BMW S 1000 XR in Ice Gray
2020 BMW S 1000 XR in Ice Gray.
2020 BMW S 1000 XR in Ice Gray.
2020 BMW S 1000 XR in Ice Gray.

Source: RiderMagazine.com

2020 & 2021 KTMs: 1290 Super Duke R, 790 Adventure R Rally, 890 Duke

In addition to the new 390 Adventure, KTM revealed several new and updated machines at the EICMA show in Milan, Italy this week that should further its reputation as a performance-oriented brand. The 1290 Super Duke R returns to the lineup completely revamped, and a Rally version of the 790 Adventure R promises heaps of off-road ability — both are expected at dealers in February 2020. The cover was also lifted from the new KTM 890 Duke R, which will come to North America in the fall of 2020 as a 2021 model. Details on the latter bike weren’t readily available, but we imagine giving a displacement bump to what appears to essentially be a 790 Duke is to compensate for Euro 5 emissions restrictions.

2020 KTM 1290 Super Duke R
MSRP: $18,699 USD

Though the name hasn’t changed, the 2020 1290 Super Duke R is so improved from its predecessor that it’s essentially an all-new motorcycle. Coming in at a claimed 416.6 pounds dry, the bike is said to be lighter and more powerful and have better handling than its predecessor.

2020 KTM 1290 Super Duke R
2020 KTM 1290 Super Duke R

An updated more powerful 1,301c LC8 V-twin, with titanium inlet valves and resonator chambers on the cylinder heads, gets new top-feeder injectors and 56mm throttle bodies for improved air/fuel mixture at high rpms. A new ram air intake positioned in the new headlight mask also maximizes flow by forcing air into the combustion chambers. New thinner engine casings and revised water and oil cooler mounts have resulted in a 1.7-pound weight savings, and new exhaust headers optimize gas flow. An updated Pankl gearbox provides quicker shift times, shorter shift action and lighter lever modulation.

A new ultra-lightweight chrome-molybdenum steel frame carries the engine as a stressed member. The combo is said to be 3 times stiffer and 4.4 pounds lighter than its predecessor. A new lighter composite subframe combines a number of functions to save weight and increase functionality, and a longer single-sided swingarm has been repositioned closer to the output sprocket for more control.

An updated, lighter 48mm WP Apex USD fully adjustable split front fork has separate damping circuits. The newly developed WP Apex rear shock absorber features separate gas and oil reservoirs, making it lighter and more compact than its predecessor. A “no-tools-needed” manual preload dial eases rear shock set-up, and new linkage at the rear helps smooth out rough roads.

New CAD designed wheels offer a lighter build while keeping strength, and new Bridgestone S22 tires were developed with a specific carcass in the rear for the KTM 1290 Super Duke R that provides a more stable ride in corners, improving grip and performance.

2020 KTM 1290 Super Duke R
2020 KTM 1290 Super Duke R

Reworked and updated ride modes have been designed to be less intrusive in all modes, with smoother anti-wheelie functions. MSC (Motorcycle Stability Control) with Cornering ABS by Bosch includes Supermoto mode, Ride mode technology and multi-stage, lean angle sensitive Motorcycle Traction Control (MTC). The lean-angle sensitive MTC uses a 6-axis lean angle sensor and two different controllers to keep things in check. The wheel-slip controller regulates the amount of spin or break in traction at the rear wheel. A pitch angle controller identifies and regulates abrupt changes in front wheel lift.

Optional “Track mode” includes launch control, 9-level spin adjuster, a track ride mode and anti-wheelie off function. Optional “Performance mode” takes the basic concept of “Track mode” but adapts it for the street. An optional dealer-installed Performance Pack combines Motor Slip Regulation (MSR) and Quickshifter+, and cruise control adds long distance convenience. KTM’s Race On keyless system means less hassle and increased security.

KTM My Ride is standard on the 1290 Super Duke R and features a Bluetooth connection to the rider’s smartphone to control audio playback and accept phone calls. A new LED headlight and LED daytime running lights improve visibility, and the new multifunctional TFT-dashboard with increased functionality displays information in a clear and bright display. Finally, new colorways and bodywork are aggressive and lean — every panel and plate has been calculated for optimum thickness and minimized wherever possible.

2020 KTM 790 Adventure R Rally
2020 KTM 790 Adventure R Rally

2020 KTM 790 Adventure R Rally
MSRP: $19,499

With only 500 units planned for production worldwide, the limited edition KTM 790 Adventure R Rally adds top-line suspension components from WP Pro to make it the most off-road-capable ADV bike in KTM’s lineup. Based on the KTM 790 Adventure R, the Rally model has the same steel trellis chassis, compact LC8c parallel twin engine and the R’s electronic rider aids. The major difference is the addition of the special WP Xplor Pro suspension, which was developed in the same department as WP’s Factory Racing equipment for superior performance. It also adds 30 mm of suspension travel front and back and raises seat height to 35.8 in.

2020 KTM 790 Adventure R Rally
2020 KTM 790 Adventure R Rally

KTM says that the WP Xplor Pro 7548 fork uses cone valve
technology that allows unlimited opening, so harshness of the suspension is
reduced, while the closed cartridge construction ensures reduced friction, consistent
performance over longer periods and improved responsiveness. The WP Xplor Pro
6746 shock absorber uses KTM’s trademark progressive damping system (PDS),
which allows progressive damping without using a linkage for reduced weight and

Other upgrades to the 790 Adventure R Rally include a completely new and unique color scheme, Akrapovic titanium silencer and an off-road-specific air filter from the KTM PowerParts line. The bike also has special high-strength DID Dirt Star rims, a high, race-specific straight seat and Rally footpegs.

2021 890 Duke
Here are photos of the 2021 890 Duke. Besides the addition of a passenger seat cowl and bump stop and passenger footpeg delete in this European-version photo (and obvious color and graphic changes), we don’t yet know what else has been changed besides displacement. KTM’s “Scalpel” 790 Duke certainly didn’t lack for power, so perhaps it was done for Euro 2020 reasons…we’ll find out soon enough!

2021 KTM 890 Duke
2021 KTM 890 Duke
2021 KTM 890 Duke
2021 KTM 890 Duke

Other street-legal KTM models returning for 2020 include:
RC 390
390 Duke
690 Enduro R
690 SMC R

790 Adventure
790 Adventure R

790 Duke
1290 Super Adventure R
1290 Super Adventure S
1290 Super Duke GT

Source: RiderMagazine.com

BMW Teases Another R18 Big Boxer Concept, Includes Most Detailed Engine Shots Yet

BMW R18 /2 slash two concept cruiser
BMW has announced its second “concept” bike based on the upcoming 1800cc Big Boxer engine, the R18 /2. Images courtesy BMW Motorrad.

BMW is marching steadily toward its promised cruiser, anticipated sometime in 2020, with the news of its latest concept bike based around the new 1,800cc “Big Boxer” opposed twin. Buried in a press release for a new Concept R18 /2 (pronounced “slash two”) were photos showing the design and production of the /2, including the most detailed shots to date of the new engine, clearly functional and roadworthy.

First, the bike. The Concept R18 /2 appears to be a classic cruiser in design, with modern flowing lines, a small headlight cowl and a slightly bobbed rear fender. Wheels are cast, 19 inches up front and 16 at the rear, with Brembo brakes and a gorgeous Candy Apple Red paint on the bodywork.

BMW R18 /2 slash two concept cruiser
The Concept R18 /2 has a hidden rear mono shock for a classic hardtail look.

The 1,800cc air/oil-cooled boxer engine used in the /2 has a classic BMW 1960s aesthetic, finished in matte gray and black. The massive cylinders protrude past the ends of the handlebar, and dual air intakes funnel under the rider’s thighs to the airbox beneath the front of the seat. To the rear of that is a hidden single shock absorber to maintain the classic hardtail look.

We’re not quite sure why BMW wants to try breaking into the American cruiser market, given lackluster sales in the segment (and its own ill-fated R 1200 C attempt in the late ’90s/early oughts). Hopefully plans include a bagger as well…but in any case, we’re excited to see and hear more about this new R18 Big Boxer engine, clearly headed for production in the near future.

Keep scrolling for more images….

BMW R18 /2 slash two concept cruiser
BMW Concept R18 /2 cruiser, based around the 1800cc “Big Boxer” opposed twin.
BMW R18 /2 slash two concept cruiser
Massive cylinders with cooling fins protrude beyond the ends of the handlebar.
BMW R18 /2 slash two concept cruiser
We do love the Candy Apple Red paint used on the Concept R18 /2.
BMW R18 /2 slash two concept cruiser
Driveshaft is on the right side, brake disc with big Brembo caliper is on the left.
BMW R18 /2 slash two concept cruiser
Oil cooler is placed unobtrusively at the lower leading edge of the engine, between the frame downtubes.

Source: RiderMagazine.com

2020 Ducatis: Streetfighter V4, Panigale V2, Multistrada 1260 S Grand Tour | First Look Review

Ducati has announced its entire 2020 motorcycle lineup, which includes new models such as the Streetfighter V4 and V4 S and the Panigale V2, updates to its Panigale V4 and V4 S, a new version of the Multistrada 1260 S called the Grand Tour and the Scrambler Icon Dark.

Check out Rider’s Guide to New 2020 Street Motorcycles

2020 Ducati Streetfighter V4 and V4 S

2020 Ducati Streetfighter V4 S
2020 Ducati Streetfighter V4 S

After a four-year absence, the Streetfighter returns for
2020 and is now a naked version of the Panigale V4 with an upright handlebar. Its
1,103cc Desmosedici Stradale V4 makes a claimed 208 horsepower at 12,750 rpm
and 90 lb-ft of torque at 11,500 rpm. Features include “biplane wing”
aerodynamics, a full IMU-based electronics package with riding modes, fully
adjustable suspension (Showa Big Piston Fork, Sachs shock), a Sachs steering
damper, Brembo Stylema monoblock front calipers, Pirelli Diablo Rosso Corsa II
tires, a TFT display and LED lighting. With its 4.23-gallon aluminum tank full,
the Streetfighter V4 is said to weigh 443 pounds.

The higher-spec Streetfighter V4 S gets Ducati Electronic
Suspension (DES) EVO, Öhlins suspension (NIX-30 fork, TTX 36 shock and steering
damper) with Öhlins Smart EC 2.0 control system and forged aluminum Marchesini
wheels, and claimed curb weight is 439 pounds.

Both the Streetfighter V4 and Streetfighter V4 S come in
Ducati Red with a dark gray frame and black wheels. Pricing and availability
are TBD.

2020 Ducati Panigale V2

2020 Ducati Panigale V2
2020 Ducati Panigale V2

The Panigale 959 has been renamed the Panigale V2, and it’s
powered by a Euro 5-compliant version of the 955cc Superquadro L-twin that
makes a claimed 155 horsepower at 10,750 rpm and 77 lb-ft of torque at 9,000
rpm. For 2020 the Panigale V2 gets all-new bodywork, a full IMU-based electronics
package with riding modes, fully adjustable suspension (Showa Big Piston Fork,
Sachs shock), a Sachs steering damper, Brembo M4.32 monoblock front calipers, Pirelli
Diablo Rosso Corsa II tires, a TFT display and LED lighting. With its 4.5-gallon
steel tank full, the Panigale V2 weighs a claimed 441 pounds. The only color
option is Ducati Red with black wheels; pricing and availability are TBD.

2020 Ducati Panigale V4 and V4 S

2020 Ducati Panigale V4
2020 Ducati Panigale V4

Introduced for 2018 as the first mass-produced Ducati to incorporate a 4-cylinder engine, the Panigale V4 and V4 S have been updated for 2020 with “a series of refinements [that] make for an easier, more user-friendly, less fatiguing ride while simultaneously making the bike faster not just on individual laps but over entire timed sessions.” Adapted from the Panigale V4 R, the V4 and V4 S get a new aerodynamics package for improved stability, modified Front Frame stiffness for better feel at full lean and new settings for the electronics, suspension and throttle-by-wire mapping.

The Panigale V4 and V4 S are powered by a version of the 1,103cc
Desmosedici Stradale V4 with “new rider torque demand control logic” that makes
a claimed 214 horsepower at 13,000 rpm and 91.5 lb-ft of torque at 10,000 rpm.
The Panigale V4 features a full IMU-based electronics package with riding
modes, fully adjustable suspension (Showa Big Piston Fork, Sachs shock), a
Sachs steering damper, Brembo Stylema monoblock front calipers, Pirelli Diablo Supercorsa
SP tires, a TFT display and LED lighting. With its 4.23-gallon aluminum tank
full, claimed curb weight for the Panigale V4 is 436 pounds.

The higher-spec Panigale V4 S gets Ducati Electronic Suspension (DES) EVO, Öhlins suspension (NIX-30 fork, TTX 36 shock and steering damper) with Öhlins Smart EC 2.0 control system, forged aluminum Marchesini wheels, a lithium-ion battery and sports grips. Claimed curb weight is 430 pounds.

Both the Panigale V4 and Panigale V4 S come in Ducati Red
with a dark gray frame and black wheels. Pricing and availability are TBD.

2020 Ducati Multistrada 1260 S Grand Tour

2020 Ducati Multistrada 1260 S Grand Tour
2020 Ducati Multistrada 1260 S Grand Tour

Joining Ducati’s adventure bike family for 2020 is the Multistrada 1260 S Grand Tour, a special version with enhanced style and touring capability. Powered by the 1,262cc Testastretta DVT L-twin that makes a claimed 158 horsepower at 9,500 rpm and 95 lb-ft of torque at 7,500 rpm, the Grand Tour features riding modes that adjust power, throttle response, ABS and traction control settings, a full suite of IMU-based electronics (cornering ABS and traction control, cornering lights, wheelie control), semi-active Ducati Skyhook Suspension Evolution, an up/down quickshifter, hill hold control, cruise control, Brembo M50 monoblock front calipers, a TFT display and the Ducati Multimedia System. The rider’s seat height is adjustable, and the Grand Tour comes standard with a centerstand, hard saddlebags, heated grips, a keyless gas cap and a tire-pressure monitoring system.

The 2020 Ducati Multistrada 1260 S Grand Tour comes in Sandstone Grey with Ducati Red trims, red frame and black wheels with Ducati red trims. Pricing and availability are TBD.

Returning for 2020 are the Multistrada 950, Multistrada 950 S, Multistrada 1260, Multistrada 1260 S, Multistrada 1260 S D|Air, Multistrada 1260 Pikes Peak and Multistrada 1260 Enduro.

2020 Ducati Scrambler Icon Dark

2020 Ducati Scrambler Icon Dark
2020 Ducati Scrambler Icon Dark

Joining the Icon, Full Throttle, Café Racer and Desert Sled
in Ducati’s 803cc air-cooled Scrambler lineup is the Icon Dark, a matte black
version with a black frame and black seat with gray piping. All Ducati
Scramblers are Euro 5 compliant without any loss in performance, and cornering
ABS is standard equipment.

Other returning Ducati models for 2020 include (pricing and availability are TBD):

  • Panigale V4 R
  • 1299 Panigale R Final Edition
  • Diavel 1260
  • Diavel 1260 S
  • XDiavel
  • XDiavel S
  • Hypermotard 950
  • Hypermotard 950 SP
  • Monster 797
  • Monster 821
  • Monster 821 Stealth
  • Monster 1200
  • Monster 1200 S
  • SuperSport
  • SuperSport S

Source: RiderMagazine.com

Honda Announces Updates, Pricing and Colors for 2020 Gold Wing Family

Honda has announced the colors and pricing of the 2020 Gold Wing family, which will be available in January. In addition to the new colors, some new features and refinements have been added to the 2020 models:

  • Fog lights standard on Tour models, for improved visibility in varying conditions
  • On Tour models, reshaped rear-seat grab handles provide improved ergonomics for passengers of all body types
  • Saddlebag-mounted USB charger on all models (previously standard only on Airbag model) joins dash-mounted charger for increased charging options
  • Updated front and rear suspension settings
  • Revised button on center storage pocket features improved action
  • Minor software updates on navigation system
  • Blacked-out engine, frame and wheels now available on Pearl Glare White Tour and Tour DCT
  • All-new black with anodized surfaces available on Gold Wing and Gold Wing DCT

Read our First U.S. Ride Review of the 2018 Honda Gold Wing DCT here!

Colors and pricing for the 2020 Gold Wings are as follows:

2020 Honda Gold Wing Tour DCT in Candy Ardent Red/Black. Photo courtesy Honda.

Gold Wing Tour

  • Colors: Pearl Glare White, Candy Ardent Red/Black
  • MSRP
    • Pearl Glare White: $27,500
    • Candy Ardent Red/Black: $28,000
2020 Honda Gold Wing Tour DCT in Pearl Glare White. Photo courtesy Honda.

Gold Wing Tour DCT

  • Colors: Pearl Glare White, Candy Ardent Red/Black
  • MSRP
    • Pearl Glare White: $28,500
    • Candy Ardent Red/Black: $29,000
2020 Honda Gold Wing Tour DCT Airbag in Darkness Black Metallic/Gray. Photo courtesy Honda.

Gold Wing Tour DCT Air Bag

  • Color: Darkness Black Metallic/Gray
  • MSRP: $32,300
2020 Honda Gold Wing in Matte Black Metallic. Photo courtesy Honda.

Gold Wing

  • Color: Matte Black Metallic
  • MSRP: $23,800

  Gold Wing DCT

  • Color: Matte Black Metallic
  • MSRP: $25,000

Keep scrolling for more photos….

Fog lights now come standard on the 2020 Honda Gold Wing Tour models.
Passenger grab handles have been redesigned for easier use.
All 2020 Gold Wing models now include an additional USB charging port in the saddlebag.
Anodized red accents on the 2020 Gold Wing.

Source: RiderMagazine.com

Rolling Thunder Lives On, With Rolling Thunder Ohio

Rolling Thunder’s seven Ohio chapters and the National Veterans Memorial and Museum in Columbus, Ohio, have announced the Rolling Thunder Ohio event to take place May 24, 2020 in Columbus.

The event, which has received approval from the National Rolling Thunder leadership, is expected to draw Rolling Thunder chapters, veterans and riders from as many as 15 states, all within a day’s ride of Columbus.

The endpoint for the ride is the National Veterans Memorial and Museum, a 7-acre historical landmark along downtown Columbus’ Scioto Mile. A 50,000-square-foot facility offers opportunities for reflection in the Memorial Grove, the Great Hall and the exhibition galleries, and to learn about the experiences of the brave men and women who serve and have served our country.

For updates and more information, call Ty Geiser at (330) 466-0086 or visit rollingthunderohio.com.

Source: RiderMagazine.com

Honda Celebrates 60 Years in America

American Honda West Pico Boulevard Los Angeles
Honda’s U.S. operations began in 1959 at a modest storefront on West Pico Boulevard in Los Angeles, California. (Photo courtesy Honda)

With just eight employees and three models, Honda began selling motorcycles in the U.S. 60 years ago, in September 1959. To celebrate the milestone, American Honda hosted an event in late September in conjunction with the American International Motorcycle Expo (AIMExpo) in Columbus, Ohio.

2020 Honda CRF1100L Africa Twin Adventure Sports ES
Colin Miller, Motorcycle Press Relations Onroad Media Coordinator at American Honda, provides a technical overview of the new 2020 Honda CRF1100L Africa Twin Adventure Sports ES during a special presentation at the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame Museum. (Photo by Jen Muecke)

It began with a technical briefing and in-person look at the new CRF1100L Africa Twin and CRF1100L Africa Twin Adventure Sports ES, held at the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame Museum in Pickerington, Ohio. The next day, aboard a selection of 2019 models from its demo fleet, Honda’s motorcycle press relations staff, select dealers and members of the press rode through the central Ohio countryside to Marysville, home of the Honda Heritage Center, which houses a museum highlighting the company’s achievements in North America, as well as Honda of America Manufacturing, where the company began building motorcycles in 1979.

READ: 2020 Honda CRF1100L Africa Twin First Look Review

Honda Heritage Center
The Honda Heritage Center is located in Marysville, Ohio, across the street from the auto plant. (Photo by Jen Muecke)

Humble Beginnings

Although many people associate Honda the company with Honda the man–Soichiro Honda, the former race-car driver, brilliant engineer and charismatic, outspoken leader of the company until his retirement in 1973–in fact Honda Motor Company, Ltd. had a co-founder. Takeo Fujisawa was in charge of sales, and his keen business acumen was the perfect complement to Mr. Honda’s talent for engineering and design. Referring to his partnership with Mr. Fujisawa, Mr. Honda said, “Honda is like a motorcycle–without two wheels it fails to go.”

Soichiro Honda and Takeo Fujisawa
Soichiro Honda (left) and Takeo Fujisawa, co-founders of Honda Motor Company, Ltd. (Photo courtesy Honda)

The company that would ultimately become the largest engine manufacturer in the world got its start by creating low-cost motorized bicycles using small engines left over from World War II. Honda grafted 50cc two-stroke radio generator engines built by Tohatsu onto bicycles. Once its supply of 500 surplus engines ran out, Honda built its own 50cc two-stroke engine, the A-Type, which made 0.5 horsepower and was nicknamed Bata Bata for the sound it made. Honda Motor introduced its first originally designed and engineered product, the D-Type Dream motorcycle, in 1949.

When Honda was looking to expand outside of Japan, the logical next step was to enter other markets in Asia. But Mr. Fujisawa made a bold proposition. “On second thought, let’s do America,” he said. “After all, America is the stronghold of capitalism, and the center of the world’s economy. To succeed in the U.S. is to succeed worldwide. To take up the challenge of the American market may be the most difficult thing to do, but it’s a critical step in expanding the export of our products.”

Honda Super Cub
The Honda Super Cub C100 was introduced in 1958, and it was one of the first three models sold in the U.S. (known here as the Honda 50). Total worldwide production of the Super Cub surpassed 100 million in 2017, making it the most produced motor vehicle in history. (Photo courtesy Honda)
2020 Honda Super Cub C125
Honda reintroduced the Super Cub for 2019, built around the air-cooled 125cc that powers the Grom. In 2019 it had the “sea and sky” livery of the very first model introduced in 1958. For 2020, the Super Cub is offered in Pearl Nebula Red, matching the Super Cub shown in the “You Meet the Nicest People on a Honda” ads (below). (Photo courtesy Honda)

READ: 2019 Honda Super Cub C125 ABS First Ride Review

And rather than sell its products in the U.S. through trading companies, as many Japanese companies did at the time, Mr. Fujisawa decided to build Honda’s own sales network by establishing a wholly owned distributorship. Mr. Fujisawa ordered Kihachiro Kawashima, a sales manager at Honda’s headquarters in Japan, to move to the U.S. and build the new subsidiary.

On June 11, 1959, American Honda Motor Co., Inc. was established in Los Angeles, California. Due to limitations imposed by Japan’s Ministry of Finance, the venture began with an investment of just $250,000, half in cash, half in products and parts. Mr. Kawashima spent most of the cash–$100,000–to buy a former photography studio to house its operations. “I felt that we had to put down roots and establish our own building,” recalled Kawashima. “So I thought, ‘Let’s not rent for the time being. Why not just buy the building?’ It might have seemed reckless, but I didn’t feel that I was acting out of desperation. Actually, I was dreaming of a rosy future!”

From the small storefront on on West Pico Boulevard, Mr. Kawashima and seven other employees began selling motorcycles. American Honda offered three models: the Honda 50 (aka the Super Cub), the 125cc Benly and the Dream, in 250cc and 350cc sizes. Employees would load a couple of bikes into the back of a Chevrolet Apache pickup truck and drop them off at dealerships (see lead photo). When the bikes sold, they’d come back to collect payments and drop off new units.

American Honda Chevrolet Apache
To commemorate the 60th anniversary of its operations in the U.S., American Honda bought and restored a Chevrolet Apache pickup truck just like the one it used to deliver motorcycles in its early days. This photo was taken in front of American Honda’s campus in Torrance, California. (Photo courtesy Honda)

American Honda was established with a goal of selling 1,000 motorcycles per month at a time when total annual sales in the U.S. was only 50,000 to 60,000 motorcycles. During its first four months–September through December 1959–American Honda sold only 170 motorcycles. But its “nifty, thrifty” Honda 50, which was more affordable (only about $250) and accessible than anything else you could buy, helped create a new market among young people and men and women who were not traditional motorcyclists. It was advertised in general-interest magazines such as “Life” and sold in sporting goods and outdoor/camping stores. In May 1961, American Honda finally surpassed its goal of selling 1,000 motorcycles per month. By December 1962, Honda was selling 40,000 motorcycles per year.

You Meet the Nicest People on a Honda ad
Honda’s “You Meet the Nicest People on a Honda” ad campaign has become the stuff of legend, and it almost single-handedly changed the American motorcycle industry forever. (Image courtesy Honda)

What really put Honda on the map was its “You Meet the Nicest People on a Honda” ad campaign, which was created by Grey Advertising. The ad depicted a mother and daughter, a father and son, a young man and his dog, polite ladies with parcels and even Santa Claus with a bag a presents, all riding bright red Honda 50s. Following the ad campaign’s launch in 1963, Honda sold 90,000 of its 50cc runabouts. By 1970, with an expanded lineup that included the Mini Trail, CL77 Scrambler and the ground-breaking CB750, Honda had sold 500,000 motorcycles in the U.S.

READ: 2019 Honda Monkey First Ride Review

Building Hondas in America

Soon after launching Honda Motor Company, Ltd., Soichiro Honda shared his dream of becoming the world’s leading manufacturer. Exporting motorcycles, automobiles, power equipment and other products had fueled Honda’s growth, but to become a truly global company Mr. Honda advocated “building products in the market where they are sold.”

Soichiro Honda and Governor James Rhodes
Soichiro Honda and Governor James Rhodes of Ohio, in 1977. (Photo courtesy Honda)

Even though Soichiro Honda and co-founder Takeo Fujisawa retired at the same time, in October 1973, on the 25th anniversary of Honda Motor’s establishment, Mr. Honda made sure his vision of manufacturing products in other countries became a reality. What began as a handshake agreement in 1977 between Mr. Honda and Governor James Rhodes of Ohio became Honda of America Manufacturing, Inc. (HAM) in February 1978.

Honda CR250R Elsinore Marysville Ohio 1979
The first Honda motorcycle produced in the U.S., a CR250R Elsinore, rolled off the line at the Marysville Motorcycle Plant on September 10, 1979. (Photo courtesy Honda)

Starting with 64 associates, including 11 engineers from Japan and 53 Americans who had never assembled a motorcycle before (most had never worked in a factory), the first motorcycle–a CR250R Elsinore dirt bike–rolled off the assembly line on September 10, 1979, at Honda’s Marysville Motorcycle Plant. That night, HAM received a fax from Japan telling it to proceed with automobile production as soon as possible. The manufacturing facility in Marysville was expanded, and the first Honda automobile produced in America rolled off the line in 1982.

Soichiro Honda Marysville 1979
Even though Soichiro Honda retired in 1973, he remained active in the company and helped establish its U.S. manufacturing operations. With endless smiles, handshakes and waves, the gregarious Mr. Honda visited the Marysville Motorcycle Plant soon after it opened in 1979. (Photo courtesy Honda)

The Marysville Motorcycle Plant produced a total of 1,093,871 motorcycles and 1,240,544 ATVs during 31 years of operation, from 1979 to 2009. The last motorcycle to roll off the line was a 2009 Gold Wing GL1800. ATV production was moved to Honda of South Carolina Manufacturing and motorcycle production was moved to Honda’s new plant in Kumamoto, Japan.

READ: Honda Gold Wing Milestone Models 1975-2015

READ: Honda Gold Wing Timeline 1972-2018

2009 Honda Gold Wing GL1800 at Honda Heritage Center
On June 24, 2009, the last motorcycle–a Gold Wing GL1800–rolled off the assembly line in Marysville, Ohio. This one is on display at the Honda Heritage Center. (Photo by Jen Muecke)

READ: 2018 Honda Gold Wing First Ride Review

Honda Heritage Center

Across the street from the Marysville Auto Plant is the Honda Heritage Center, a modern building that houses a free, self-guided museum that’s open to the public. Visitors can also sign up for a free, guided tour of the Auto Plant. If you have the time, the Auto Plant tour is not to be missed. The complexity, coordination, sophistication and professionalism on display in a state-of-the-art automobile assembly plant, from the constant stream of parts being delivered from suppliers and engines being delivered from Honda’s engine plant in Anna, Ohio, to the body panels being stamped out from raw sheet steel using a 4,800-metric-ton hydraulic press, the army of robotic welders and the hundreds of associates carefully installing components and testing finished products, is awe-inspiring.

For more information, visit hondaheritagecenter.com.

Honda Heritage Center
In the lobby of the Honda Heritage Center are three significant motorcycles in Honda’s history: a Super Cub (its most successful model), a CR250R Elsinore (the first motorcycle built in the U.S.) and a Gold Wing (the motorcycle that came to define luxury touring). (Photo by the author)
Honda Heritage Center
Inside the Honda Heritage Center museum are important motorcycles, cars, engines, race vehicles and even the HondaJet airplane. Here are the Super Cub, the rugged CT90 version and the legendary CB750. (Photo by the author)
Honda Heritage Center
As the largest engine manufacturer in the world–in 2018, Honda built 32 million of them–it’s no surprise that displays of engines are at the heart of the Honda Heritage Center. (Photo by the author)
Honda Heritage Center
Racing has always been important to Honda. Founder Soichiro Honda dreamed of winning a championship with a vehicle of his own design. His dream became a reality when Mike Hailwood won the 125 and 250 classes at the Isle of Man TT on Hondas, and Honda has won countless championships since on two and four wheels. This CBR1000RR was ridden in the 2007 AMA Superbike series by five-time Daytona 200 winner Miguel Duhamel. (Photo by the author)
Honda Heritage Center
We were given a tour of the Marysville Auto Plant by John Mapes (left), who was one of the original 64 associates at HAM in 1979, and Drake Hill. All Honda associates wear the same clean, white uniforms. Sorry, no photographs allowed inside the plant! (Photo by Jen Muecke)
Honda Marysville Auto Plant
Honda’s Marysville Auto Plant, part of which is on the site of the original motorcycle plant, is a 3.6-million-square-foot facility that employs more than 4,000 people. (Photo courtesy Honda)

Honda in America Today

Although Honda no longer builds motorcycles in the U.S., Honda of America Manufacturing is still going strong. Since 1982 it has built 26.1 million cars and light trucks. The Marysville Auto Plant, part of which is on the former site of the motorcycle plant, produces most of the Honda Accords and CR-Vs and several Acura models sold in the U.S., and the Acura NSX sports car is hand-built next door at Honda’s Performance Manufacturing Center. Throughout the U.S. Honda has 31,000 associates and 75 facilities, including 12 manufacturing plants, 14 R&D facilities, 12 parts centers, as well as American Honda’s marketing, sales, service and financing operations.

2020 Honda CRF1100L Africa Twin Adventure Sports ES
Honda’s CRF1100L Africa Twin Adventure Sports ES (left) and CRF1100L Africa Twin are among the first motorcycles it has announced for the 2020 model year. (Photo by Jen Muecke)

Honda has 12,400 automobile, powersports and power equipment dealers in the U.S. that employ 159,000 people, and just over 1,000 powersports dealers sell motorcycles, ATVs and side-by-sides. American Honda’s motorcycle lineup includes a full line of on-road models, ranging from the 49cc, $2,749 Ruckus scooter to the 1,833cc, $31,800 Gold Wing Tour Airbag DCT, in almost every conceivable segment, as well as a full line of off-road models, from the CRF50F minibike to the CRF450R Works Edition competition machine. According to Honda’s Summer 2018 Corporate Update, in 2017 it sold roughly 700,000 motorcycles, ATVs and side-by-sides in the U.S. and its market share was 21%. The United States remains an important market for Honda, but it comprised only about 4% of Honda’s 17,661,000 global motorcycle unit sales in 2017.

SOURCES: honda.com, global.honda, hondainamerica.com

Source: RiderMagazine.com

American Honda and REVER Join Forces to Support Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation

REVER Ride For Kids Honda

American Honda and REVER, the world’s largest motorcycle ride-planning, tracking and sharing app, have challenged riders of all motorcycle brands to collectively track 250,000 miles with the app prior to October 20th, 2019. If participants reach that goal, American Honda will donate $10,000 to the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation’s Los Angeles Ride For Kids charity event, taking place on October 20th at American Honda Motor Co.’s headquarters in Torrance, California. 

Current REVER users will go directly to the Honda LA Ride for Kids Challenge, click “Join” and start tracking every ride to help the kids. Individuals not currently signed up for REVER can CLICK HERE, where they will be taken to the appropriate app store to download the REVER app for FREE, and then redirected to the Challenge page where they can join, start tracking and saving rides to benefit the kids.

The LA Ride for Kids event takes place the morning of October 20th at American Honda Motor Co., Inc. in Torrance, California. Riders, kids and families will gather for a fun motorcycle ride, check out some cool motorcycles, enjoy lunch and have a chance to win raffle prizes. To attend the LA Ride for Kids ride or to donate, CLICK HERE.

Challenge Details
The Honda LA Ride for Kids Challenge is based on miles tracked in your REVER app between 12:00 a.m. MST, September 20th, to 11:59 p.m. MST, October 20th 2019. Rides imported from another source or rides that have been planned but not recorded, do not count. This challenge is free to join for any member of REVER with no purchase necessary. Riders may join the Challenge at any point between the start and end dates, but only rides after you have joined will be counted. Rides marked private will not count.

Source: RiderMagazine.com

Ducati Panigale V4 25th Anniversary 916 to be Auctioned for Carlin Dunne Foundation

Ducati Panigale V4 25 Anniversario 25th Anniversary 916
Ducati Panigale V4 25th Anniversary 916

Ducati has announced a charity auction to support the newly established Carlin Dunne Foundation, in which a limited edition Panigale V4 25° Anniversario 916 will be available for bidding beginning September 5. The auction will run until September 15, to commemorate the memory and preserve the legacy of Ducati racing legend Carlin Dunne funding the start of the foundation. Among Carlin’s many accomplishments, he was a four-time champion of the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb and his loss has been felt throughout the international motorcycling community.

Bidding for the auction can be found here: ebay.com/itm/233333233744

Chaz Davies
Chaz Davies

In addition to the Panigale V4 25° Anniversario 916–which is numbered 5 of 500, in order to honor Carlin Dunne’s race number–Ducati World Superbike pilot, Chaz Davies has donated his leather racing suit from his 2019 World Superbike WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca race weekend as part of this auction. This leather suit was specially designed as part of the unveiling of the Panigale V4 25° Anniversario 916 and fashion a livery inspired from those of Carl Fogarty’s leathers from the era of the 916 Superbike. All proceeds from this auction will go toward the Carlin Dunne Foundation. The Panigale V4 is valued at $42,500 and the racing suit at is valued in excess of $3,000.

The Carlin Dunne Foundation was created upon Dunne’s passing to carry on his legacy by aiding in the development of preventative resources and rehabilitation programs supporting extreme sport athletes diagnosed with and/or at risk of acquiring Concussion Syndrome, Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE), and traumatic brain injuries. Additionally, and separate from the Panigale V4 auction, the Carlin Dunne Foundation is enrolled in the eBay for Charity program in which people and organizations can support the Carlin Dunne Foundation directly by selecting the Carlin Dunne Foundation as their charity of choice when listing an item.

For more information on the Carlin Dunne Foundation, visit carlindunne.org.

The announcement of today’s auction also coincides with the lead-in to a Carlin Dunne Memorial Weekend (Celebration of Life) to be held in Santa Barbara to honor Dunne’s life. Memorial events taking place will include a dinner at Shoreline Park at 4 p.m. today (Thursday, September 5), a film screening on Friday, September 6, of “A Thousand Miles Behind” at 7 p.m. at Marjorie Luke Theater, a memorial paddle-out at 11 a.m. on Saturday, September 7, followed by a reception and silent auction at 3 p.m., and finally a motorcycle ride at 9 a.m. on Sunday, September 8, beginning at Ducati of Santa Barbara.

For more information about the Carlin Dunne Memorial Weekend, visit carlindunne5.com/celebration.

Source: RiderMagazine.com

Learn the Basics of Motorcycle Maintenance at City College of San Francisco

Moto 90 motorcycle maintenance course CCSF

Ever wondered what it would be like to work in a motorcycle shop? Or just want to learn how to change the oil on your motorcycle but don’t have enough garage space at home?

City College of San Francisco has a course for that. The college runs several motorcycle courses every semester, and a new semester is starting up August 17, running until December. Classes last eighteen weeks. Students attend from all over Northern California.

You’ll probably want to start with the Moto 90, Introduction to Motorcycle Technology course. It will give you an overview of motorcycle history, competition, and culture in class sessions, and also plenty of time to learn how to work on motorcycles in the fully-equipped shop.

Moto 90 courses run Monday and Wednesday evenings, from 6:30 to 9:20, or Saturdays from 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Half the time is spent in the classroom, the other half in the shop, so there’s plenty of chance for hands-on wrenching, and also the chance to talk about motorcycles with enthusiastic classmates. 

Other, more advanced courses are offered once you’ve passed Moto 90 (or pass a challenge test, if you have extensive motorcycle experience already).

Oh, and how much does it cost? If you’re a San Francisco resident, the classes may be free; residents of other California counties pay $46 per credit unit (Moto 90 is a 4-unit course), working out to about $265 a semester (still a bargain)!

For more information, go to CCSF.edu or call the Admissions department at 415-452-5101, emailadmit@ccsf.edu, or email instructor Andy Saunders at asaunder@ccsf.edu

Source: RiderMagazine.com