This darn coronavirus is just mucking everything up. Virtual unveilings and press releases just don’t have quite the same impact as dramatically pulling a sleek black sheet off a new model, bright lights and flashbulbs popping off the paint, at an international auto or motorcycle show. Honda had originally planned to unveil its CB-F Concept, a CB1000R-based homage to “Fast” Freddie Spencer’s ’80s superbike, at the 36th Osaka Motorcycle Show and 47th Tokyo Motorcycle Show, both of which have been canceled.
Don’t fret, Honda, we still think this is a gorgeous machine, and we hope it becomes more than just a concept bike. Continuing the CB’s 60th anniversary theme, the CB-F Concept hearkens back to the classic air-cooled inline four CB900F and CB750F (famously raced by Freddie Spencer), complete with a cool white, silver and blue livery that should look familiar to anyone who remembers Freddie’s Daytona race bike.
Of course, this isn’t an old-fashioned tubular steel-framed, carbureted, air-cooled machine; it’s based around the potent CB1000R, with its 998cc DOHC, 4-valve-per-cylinder inline-four, high-tensile steel mono-backbone frame, single-sided aluminum swingarm and inverted fork.
What do you think? Should Honda turn this CB-F Concept into a production bike? Let us know in the comments below.
As I write this in early April 2020, the effect of the novel coronavirus on the planet is evolving daily. Currently entire countries are on lockdown and shelter-in-place orders are in effect in more than 40 U.S. states in an effort to control the spread of COVID-19 and “flatten the curve.” The toll on human life and the global economy has been heartbreaking, shocking and downright scary, and unlike anything most of us have experienced.
The concept of “social distancing” is strangely new and difficult to fathom by a species for which socializing is so vital to our health and well-being. Yet physically distancing ourselves from one another or just staying home has become the second most important weapon in our defense, after our brave, selfless and heroic first responders and healthcare workers, who soldier on despite a lack of basic supplies and the risk of infection. God bless every last one. Being an optimistic type, I believe we will get past this eventually, and that life will return to something like normal — perhaps even better than normal having learned a lot about ourselves from the experience (hoarding toilet paper, really?).
One topic of discussion that’s come up regularly, both within and beyond the friendly confines of the Rider office, is whether or not we should still be getting on our bikes and riding. Like any difficult question, the answer lies in a gray area; it’s not as clear-cut as many believe or would like it to be. I will say that here at Rider, we are still swinging legs over saddles and hitting the road, but only in the name of photo shoots and actual bike testing (perhaps at a slower pace than normal), so that we can continue to bring you the content we hope will help see us all through the coming weeks (months?). Touring is pretty much off the table, but fortunately we’ve got plenty of stories in the bank from our contributors around the country to see us through.
But to answer your question: to ride, or not to ride…I won’t tell you outright that you should defy an order to stay home — we’re all in this race against the virus together and can’t afford to let our guard down. We certainly can’t get together to kick tires or bench race at rallies or races right now, or even just hang out at the usual gathering spots, a major sacrifice for those of us for whom the group social experience is the ride. But riding a motorcycle can be the very definition of social distancing, and the soul-cleansing joy of a ride is needed by all of us now more than ever. It’s certainly much more rewarding than binge-watching Netflix!
While there are a lot fewer vehicles on the road, it’s important that if you choose to ride, you do so with extra caution to avoid placing an additional burden on the healthcare system. Weigh the risks and make an informed, careful, personal decision about where, how and with whom. In areas where it’s still permissible to visit public parks and go walking, running and bicycling, it seems to me that motorcycle riding adheres to the spirit if not the letter of a stay-at-home order and provides an equally and adequately social-distant venue for recreation, provided that extra caution is observed. Consider your skill level and the local healthcare situation, and do or don’t accordingly.
Curious about how you, our readers, are handling the riding question, we sent out a survey to our eNews subscribers (you may have seen it, and hopefully you participated). While nearly 85% of you are currently under a “safer at home” order, 58% of you are still riding — but you’re doing it alone. Only 10% still meet up with their friends for a ride.
If you decide a motorcycle ride is out of the question for now, fortunately there is still plenty you can do to stay involved in our favorite activity/lifestyle/passion. At this writing the industry is just beginning to generate some special promotions and contests to give us something to do while we shelter in place. Roland Sands Design has kicked off a bike build-off contest open to anyone, for example, with some very cool prizes for the winner — a deadline for entry has not been set so check out rolandsands.com.
Although some dealers are closed and only doing business online, it’s vitally important that we support local motorcycle businesses any way we can, even if it’s just ordering up some parts and doing those basic maintenance chores you’ve been putting off. My 1982 Yamaha Seca is finally going to get the carburetor rebuild it needs, and maybe I’ll pull the exhaust system off and polish it up as well (the wife is taking bets).
Of course one of the most hopeful things you can do at home that will help keep your two-wheel dreams alive is to start planning some rides! Order up a highlighter and some maps and paper the walls of your living room with them — no one’s coming over anyway, right? Search the touring features and Favorite Rides on this website by region or keyword to research the best roads in the area, the things you should see along the way and great places to eat. In the meantime we’ll keep finding and writing about new places for you to ride when we are released from this nightmare.
Speaking for the entire team at Rider andour contributors around the country, we hope that you and yours are safe and well and that you stay that way. For ourselves, the staff is taking the necessary precautions recommended or mandated by local government, but will continue to bring you Motorcycling at its Best somehow, some way. Motorcycling isn’t unique in that its enthusiasts have always nurtured and been part of a tight-knit community, but I like to think that we are exceptional in the strength of that bond, and in the universal understanding by our community’s members that for many of us motorcycle riding isn’t just a sport or a pastime — it’s a necessity, like breathing or eating. Stay safe and thanks for reading Rider.
In only a couple of hours, BMW Motorrad will be live streaming the worldwide unveiling of the highly-anticipated R18 cruiser. At 2:00 p.m. EDT (11:00 a.m. PDT), viewers can tune into BMW Motorrad’s Facebook page or YouTube channel to get a first, live look at the new “Big Boxer” R18 cruiser.
Teaser shots have been trickling in for months, after a series of concept bikes built around a new 1,800cc boxer twin were unveiled at motorcycle shows worldwide.
In response to the current COVID-19 crisis, Ural Motorcycles has announced a new drop shipping service for parts, with free home delivery (in the U.S. market only). Customers may order parts from their local (or any open) Ural dealership and the parts are directly drop shipped to their home.
We needed some good news, and KTM North America has delivered, announcing the early availability of the brand new 890 Duke R, unveiled in Milan last November and originally intended to launch in late 2020 as a MY2021 machine. Instead, KTM will be bringing in a “very limited number” of 890 Duke R models this spring as 2020 models.
Basically a more powerful and aggressive version of the impressive-in-its-own-right 790 Duke, the 2020 890 Duke R features a new 890cc parallel twin with an increased bore and stroke, higher compression ratio and redline, larger valves, a new piston design with new connecting rods and a new crankshaft, new individual mapping adjustment on each cylinder, a knock sensor and new engine cases. The new mill churns out more horsepower and torque, and KTM also says it provides better rideability due to increased rotating mass.
Brakes are by Brembo, with larger discs and Bosch ABS that includes a Supermoto setting, suspension is fully-adjustable WP Apex front and rear, and electronic rider aids include new-generation traction control and ride modes with optional Track mode and Quickshifter+, all aided by a new 6D lean angle sensor.
Befitting its “super scalpel” mission, the 890 Duke R has a lower, flatter handlebar and footpegs that are higher and more rear-set for a sportier riding position and greater lean angle. It makes no pretensions at being anything other than a twisty-munching or track-attacking machine, with a solo seat and no pillion footpegs. It’s you and Mr. Duke, that’s it.
Pricing has yet to be announced, but barring any supply chain disruptions we should see the bike in dealerships sometime this spring.
Save the date: on Wednesday, March 25, at 10:30am PDT, 1:30pm EDT, Ducati will live-stream a presentation on its new Streetfighter V4. Usually the type of thing reserved for journalists like us when we attend new model launches, this will be a unique opportunity (fueled by the coronavirus pandemic, but consider this a silver lining) for the general public to hear directly from the engineers, designers and test riders who are responsible for bringing the new Streetfighter to market.
The presentation will be live streamed on Ducati’s official website and social media channels:
America has announced its nationwide Ride Orange Street Demo Tour for 2020,
giving U.S. motorcyclists more opportunities than ever before to test ride KTM’s
lineup of Street models.
The 2020 Ride Orange Street Demo Tour is set to kick off Saturday, February 29, and Sunday, March 1, at KTM’s North American headquarters in Murrieta, California. The tour will continue making stops across the nation with participating KTM dealers at some of the largest motorcycle events in the country. Among the tour’s nearly 30 events are a stop at the U.S. MotoGP at Circuit of the Americas (COTA), several stops in conjunction with the American Flat Track Championship and a stop the American International Motorcycle Expo (AIMExpo) in early October.
take part in the KTM Ride Orange Street Demo program will ride KTM’s 2020
Street model range pre-planned routes that navigate through some great riding
areas. Participants will also receive a $500 Ride Orange VIP voucher for KTM
PowerParts, PowerWear and SpareParts on select Street models (model year 2020
the KTM Ride Orange Street Demo must be 25 years or older for motorcycles 690cc
and above and at least 21 years or older for 390cc machines. Participants 21 to
24-years-old can ONLY ride 390cc motorcycles. Experienced riders only (no
beginners). All riders must show a government-issued photo ID with motorcycle
endorsement. Demos are on a first-come first-served basis and registration will
take place on-site the morning of the event.
For a list of Ride Orange Street Demo Tour locations and to connect with your local participating dealer, please visit ktm.com/us/events/ or email [email protected] Follow KTM USA on all social media platforms for the most up-to-date information on events.
Aprilia USA announces the return of its Aprilia Racers Days track-day demo tour, where enthusiasts can ride the latest offerings from Aprilia in an environment that inspired the models. Five track-day events will provide a unique opportunity to test Aprilia sportbikes in a controlled setting with no stop signs, traffic signals or automobiles.
Starting at the recently repaved Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas, following the MotoGP weekend in April, two other Aprilia Racers Days will follow MotoAmerica race weekends, allowing enthusiasts to ride the same tracks where professionals raced the previous weekend.
Circuit of the Americas Tuesday, April 7, 2020 (following MotoGP weekend) 9201 Circuit of the Americas Blvd Austin, TX 78617
Road Atlanta Monday, April 20, 2020 (following MotoAmerica weekend) 5300 Winder Hwy Braselton, GA 30517
New Jersey Motorsports Park Friday, May 15, 2020 8000 Dividing Creek Rd Millville, NJ 08332
Buttonwillow Raceway Park Monday, June 1, 2020 24551 Lerdo Hwy Buttonwillow, CA 93206
The Ridge Motorsports Park Monday, June 29, 2020 (following MotoAmerica weekend) 1060 W Eells Hill Rd Shelton, WA 98584
Aprilia Racers Days events will be supported directly by Aprilia-trained technicians and product specialists, as well as partners Pirelli, Dainese and AGV to offer the best on-track experience with expert advice, performance and protection. The entry fee provides participants with an incredible track-day experience with their existing motorcycle and includes a VIP Aprilia Racers Days package, with ability to demo a new Aprilia for one of the track-day sessions, equipped with Pirelli performance tires. Attendees will also have an opportunity to be measured for a custom suit from Dainese and try out the latest track suits as well as helmets from AGV. All registrants will receive a $250 accessory voucher toward qualifying Aprilia purchases before June 30, 2020.
Factory installation offers the customer an attainable
custom paint option that eliminates the need to either re-paint the original
components or install an accessory paint set that leaves take-off painted parts
on the shop floor. The Eagle Eye Special Edition Paint Option finish meets
demanding Harley-Davidson standards for quality and durability, and is backed
by the Harley-Davidson limited warranty.
The Eagle Eye paint option is executed on a brilliant yellow
base color with a glossy clear coat finish. A design highlight is a black eagle
graphic with spread wings that flows from the right side of the fuel tank to
the right side of the fairing. A simple Bar & Shield logo is on the left
side of the tank. Harley-Davidson script is aligned on the outside edge of each
saddlebag lid, and the saddlebag latches are color-matched. The special edition
paint is applied to the fairing, fuel tank, front and rear fenders, saddlebags and
Last fall Ducati announced updates to its Panigale V4 and Panigale V4 S superbikes, including a new aerodynamics package and revised electronics, suspension and throttle-by-wire mapping. The 214-horsepower Panigale V4 weighs 436 pounds and the V4 S weighs 430 pounds (claimed figures)—that’s roughly 0.5 horsepower per pound for both models.
Ducati has now unveiled the Superleggera V4, which is Italian for “super light.” With a full racing kit and exhaust, it makes 234 horsepower and weighs a feathery 335.5 pounds, which is 0.7 horsepower per pound—a 40% higher power-to-weight ratio.
How did Ducati shave 100 pounds off the already-svelte Panigale V4? The Bologna-based company says the “Superleggera V4 is the world’s only street-legal motorcycle with the entire load-bearing structure of the chassis (frame, subframe, swingarm and wheels) made from composite material [carbon fiber], achieving a 6.7 kg [14.8 lb] reduction in weight.” Many other components, such as the bodywork and aerodynamic wings (which produce 110 pounds of downforce at 168 mph), are also made of carbon fiber, while others are made of titanium, magnesium or aluminum.
The Superleggera is powered by a 998cc V4 – the Desmosedici Stradale R also found in the Panigale V4 R – rather than the 1,103cc V4 in the Panigale V4 and V4 S, saving another 6.2 pounds. The smaller, lighter engine makes more power – 224 horsepower vs 214 in the standard configuration. The race kit and exhaust further reduce weight while boosting claimed horsepower to 234.
Of course, the Superleggera V4 is equipped with the very
best in electronics and components, including Öhlins suspension (with a
titanium shock spring) and Brembo Stylema R front calipers.
Only 500 Superleggera V4s will be produced, each
individually numbered and including a certificate of authenticity. The bike ID number
(XXX/500), which matches the VIN, is displayed on the frame, fork yoke and
The start of deliveries is planned for June 2020, and five bikes
will be produced per day. Superleggera buyers will also have a chance to
purchase an exclusive Superleggera V4 premium Dainese leather suit with
integrated airbag and an Arai carbon fiber helmet, both emblazoned with the
bike’s colors and graphics.
Such a premium motorcycle will include a premium “SBK Experience,” allowing owners to ride the Panigale V4 R, which competes in the SBK World Championship, on a test track at Mugello. Thirty lucky Superleggera V4 owners will have an exclusive opportunity to enjoy the “MotoGP Experience,” where they will be able to ride a Desmosedici GP20 on a race track.
Ducati has not released pricing, but the 2017 Ducati 1299
Superleggera went for a cool $80,000 and was also limited to 500 units—every
one of which was sold in short order. If you have the interest and the means,
make haste to your nearest Ducati dealer.