Vespa has updated its two “small body” scooters – the 2024 Vespa Primavera and the 2024 Vespa Sprint S. Both models get freshened styling while maintaining a classic Vespa character, and both are available with either a gas-powered engine or an electric motor. These two Vespas also come in a wide range of trim levels and colors.
The Vespa Primavera and Sprint originally emerged in the mid-1960s. In 2013, Vespa brought back the Primavera as a “small body” scooter with a focus on accessibility, urban convenience, and style. The Vespa Sprint was reintroduced in 2014 as the more fun-loving and youthful of the small-body scooters. Both scooters are built on a full steel body and share many components, with the major differences between the two coming in the form of styling touches and color options.
Updates for 2024 include new switchgear, new hand grips, and a new front shield. Also new are the wheels, with the Primavera having five spokes and the Sprint S having six. The seat has been updated with new materials.
Most of the upgrades to the Vespa Primavera and Sprint S come from the electronics department. A new instrument panel combines an analog speedometer with a 3-inch LCD screen, which shows a tripmeter, fuel consumption, and average and max speed. The LCD instrumentation also permits the rider to connect to a smartphone. Smartphone connectivity comes as standard on the Vespa Primavera Tech and is available as an option on the rest of the models. In the 150cc version, the Vespa Primavera Tech options package adds a 5-inch TFT display that can show phone calls, messages, and music information once connected to a smartphone. Also new is an LED headlight, taillight, and indicators on all models.
Both the Vespa Primavera and the Vespa Sprint S are available with either a combustion engine or an electric motor. The combustion engine versions are available in either a 50cc or 150cc displacement with an air-cooled 4-stroke engine with three valves and electronic fuel injection. The electric option includes the Primavera Tech equipment package, which adds smartphone connectivity, a keyless system, and a 5-inch TFT display. Vespa hasn’t yet released full specifications on the electric powertrain.
In line with the theme of youthful energy, these Vespas will be available in a wide range of color options. The Primavera comes with chrome finishings and is available in Bianco Innocente, Nero Convinto, Verde Amabile, Arancio Impulsivo, or Blu Enérgico. The Primavera S trim includes a different seat, finishings, and graphics and is available in Beige Avvolgente, Nero Convinto Opaco, or Giallo Curioso. The Primavera Tech option comes in Blu Energic Opaco or Grigio Entusiasta.
The Vespa Sprint S is available in Bianco Innocente, Nero Convinto Opaco, Verde Ambizioso, Rosso Coraggioso, or Blu Eclettico.
Pricing for the U.S. has not yet been announced. Visit the Vespa website for more information.
Buell has announced that it has surpassed $120 million in preorders for its new Super Cruiser 1190, which will go into production in 2025. This impressive amount over only six months of preorders shows an enthusiastic interest in the Super Cruiser and will help Buell continue growing its company.
The Super Cruiser 1190 was designed in collaboration with famed builder Roland Sands and was unveiled in February 2023 at Roland Sands Design’s complex in Long Beach, California. It uses a new steel-tube frame, is powered by Buell’s liquid-cooled V-Twin that produces a claimed 175 hp, and weighs in at only 450 lb. This club-style hot-rod, which was also seen at Daytona Bike Week in March, has clearly attracted enough attention to draw in big dollars for Buell even before production starts.
“Americans love style, muscle, and performance,” says Bill Melvin, CEO of Buell. “The Super Cruiser breaks the mold for all three, and the response shows that Buell simply nailed it. This is utterly unheard of for an American V-Twin.”
Buell re-entered the motorcycle scene in 2021 with two new models. The company now has a five-model lineup, including the Hammerhead 1190 and Buell 1190SX sportbikes, the SuperTouring, and the 185-hp Baja Dune Racer dirtbike. The Super Cruiser will use Buell’s existing 1,190cc sportbike engine and a chassis inspired by Harley-Davidson’s FXR, which Erik Buell helped design. The Super Cruiser is estimated to retail for $20,000-$30,000.
This hefty preorder number has cemented Buell’s commitment to continue growing its company. Buell is looking to create jobs, collaborate with suppliers and vendors, and find development partners.
“We’ve laid a solid foundation over the last two years with an amazing team and support from West Michigan leaders,” said Melvin. “Now, the overwhelming demand for the Super Cruiser puts Buell on a trajectory for significant long-term growth. This ramp-up will be nothing short of exhilarating. Anyone interested in joining us for this exciting ride – in any capacity – should reach out now. We want to work with you.”
In 2022, Italian trophy brand Moto Morini made a successful start on its journey along the comeback trail after its acquisition by Chinese manufacturer Zhongneng Vehicle Group in October 2018. Its first new model to reach the marketplace under the new ownership, the parallel-Twin X-Cape 650 adventure bike, has been in production since 2021.
The X-Cape has been joined by two new models based on the same platform: the Seiemmezzo SCR (Scrambler) and STR (Street). Their shared Italian moniker means “6½” (engine displacement is 649cc), a passing tribute to the iconic 3½ V-Twin model that put Morini on the map in the 1970s, with 85,000 examples sold in a decade.
The motorcycles are designed at the Moto Morini headquarters outside Milan in Trivolzio, Italy, and they are built at the Zhongneng factory in Taizhou, China. With MSRPs of $7,799 for the SCR and $7,499 for the STR, the Seiemmezzo duo are competitively priced. They are more expensive than the CFMOTO 650NK ($6,499), on par with the Kawasaki Z650 ($7,749), and less expensive than the Moto Guzzi V7 Stone ($9,109) and Honda CB650R ($9,399).
Like the X-Cape, these two new models are powered by the well-established liquid-cooled 649cc parallel-Twin with DOHC and 4 valves per cylinder that is produced by Zhongneng’s near-neighbor, CFMOTO (their factories are just 25 miles apart). The engine, which makes a claimed 61 hp at 8,250 rpm and 39.8 lb-ft of torque at 7,000 rpm at the crank, has an 11.3:1 compression ratio, a 180-degree crankshaft, offset chain-driven camshaft, and a single gear-driven counterbalancer. In production since 2011, the engines have proven their reliability in CFMOTO’s roster of motorcycles.
The chance to spend a sunny day riding the Seiemmezzo SCR and STR around the foothills of the Italian Alps allowed me to find out if they live up to the expectations aroused by that historic badge on the fuel tank. The engines share the same tuning, with Bosch fuel injection feeding twin 38mm throttle bodies, and both employ the same tubular steel open-cradle frame that uses the engine as a stressed member. On both bikes is a fully adjustable 43mm KYB inverted fork set at a 25-degree rake with 4.4 inches of trail and 4.4 inches of wheel travel, the same travel as the rear with a cast aluminum swingarm operating a KYB shock adjustable for spring preload and rebound damping.
Wheelbase is the same on both bikes at 56.1 inches, and that’s because both the SCR scrambler and STR roadster carry an 18-inch front wheel rather than the 17-incher you might expect on the STR. This means the seat height on both is the same at 32 inches, thanks to them also sharing a 17-inch rear wheel. Both bikes carry Pirelli tires, but the STR is shod with Angel GT rubber, while the SCR carries more semi-knobby tubeless MT-60RS tires on wire-spoked alloy rims.
Both have the same brakes, with twin 298mm Chinese-made front discs gripped by 2-piston Brembo floating calipers and a 255mm rear disc with a 2-piston caliper. Bosch 9.1MB ABS is standard. Dry weight is claimed to be 441 lb, or probably around 480 lb ready to ride with its 4.2-gallon tank full.
Standard equipment includes LED lighting, backlit switchgear, and a comprehensive 5-inch TFT dash with two different choices of layout, Bluetooth connectivity to a smartphone, and a tire-pressure monitoring system (readings are in kPa [kilopascal] units, which is commonly used throughout the world; Moto Morini USA is working on having the TPMS system changed to psi readings for future U.S. market bikes). The noticeably high level of build quality now seems to be on a par with anything made in Japan – fit and finish are excellent, from lustrous paint to classy-looking graphics to high-quality frame welding, and all this on motorcycles that offer good value for money. The first major service comes at 25,900 miles.
Starting with the STR version, my first impression when I climbed aboard the well-padded seat is how substantial the bike seems to be – not in the sense that it’s cumbersome or bulky but simply that it has more of a presence about it than other bikes in this middleweight roadster category. The fuel tank is attractively shaped, allowing my knees to tuck into its flanks, in turn delivering a feeling of being part of the bike and inspiring confidence. Even shorter riders should be able to touch feet to the ground thanks to the seat which narrows at the stepover point.
The tapered steel handlebar is nicely placed thanks to the 1.6-inch risers cast into the upper triple clamp, resulting in a slightly leaned forward but agreeable stance that’s ideal for a roadster like this. The attractive mirrors are free from vibration and give good rearward view. The distinctive running light around the rim of the circular headlamp resembles that found on modern Mini cars, and none the worse for that.
Thumb the starter, and both versions of the Seiemmezzo fire up instantly before settling to a 1,500-rpm idle speed. There’s a quite playful note from the 2-into-1 exhaust that strangely sounds more strident at lower revs than higher up the rpm scale. The 6-speed transmission features a Japanese-developed FCC oil-bath clutch, and the gearbox shift action is perfect – crisp and precise and impossible to fault even shifting up without the clutch. Clutch action is not particularly light but it’s easy to modulate. Combined with the super controllable throttle, walking-pace U-turns are surprisingly easy on a bike with a very tight steering lock. Indeed, both Seiemmezzos are agile motorcycles, without sacrificing any stability at higher speeds.
The parallel-Twin engine in both Morini models feels refined and accessible, with a linear build of power and torque from 3,000 rpm all the way to the hard-action 10,500-rpm limiter. This has been characterized by some as lacking character, as if it’s more desirable to have steps in the power delivery rather than this smooth but eager response to what your right hand is doing, but for me this is a friendly yet enticing motor that gives a pleasurable ride. It makes either Seiemmezzo pleasant and practical in high-speed use on the open road, as well as untiring to ride.
Thanks to the single gear-driven counterbalancer and the hefty weights in the ends of the handlebars, the engine is free of vibration at any revs. There are especially no tingles in the footrests or seat as you sometimes get at a constant cruising speed from comparable single-cylinder models or even some of the Seiemmezzo’s twin-cylinder rivals, although it does get mechanically noisy above 8,000 rpm. For this reason, I used that mark as my shift point and found myself in the fat part of the torque curve in each next gear. Lovely.
Also novice-friendly – but certain to be appreciated by more experienced riders – is the Seiemmezzos’ responsive but well-mapped fueling. There’s no trace of an abrupt pickup from a closed throttle, just a smooth response that adds to the sense of controllability. With torque peaking at 7,000 rpm and spread widely enough throughout the powerband, there’s no point in revving it anywhere near redline.
The Seiemmezzo STR’s Pirelli Angel GT tires warmed up quickly on a cool morning, and within less than a mile of setting off, the Morini was ready for action. The wide handlebar gives good leverage for hustling the bike through turns, and it proves to be quite agile despite the conservative steering geometry. It steers very easily from side to side in a series of 3rd-gear turns, with completely neutral handling and confidence-inspiring control.
The footpegs are mounted quite low down, which adds to the sense of spaciousness in making this a bike that taller riders will also feel comfortable on. It’s possible to scrape the hero tabs on the pegs if you really set out to do so but only by adopting a lean angle that most of Moto Morini’s target customers will be unlikely to match.
Ride quality on the STR’s standard shock settings was quite hard, making ridges in the road surface very noticeable – more so than on the softer-sprung SCR version I rode immediately after, meaning this is presumably just a question of setup. But the front brakes were immediately good despite just 2-piston Brembo calipers being used up front to reduce speeds from what is not a featherweight motorcycle. I didn’t collapse the front end when I had to panic brake to avoid some escaped cows in the road on the other side of a blind bend, and braking hard on the angle didn’t see the Seiemmezzo sit upright and head for the hedges. Instead, it just shed speed, again indicating that this is a motorcycle that’s been developed by people who ride.
Swapping over to the SCR also revealed what definitely felt like a loftier seat height despite the spec sheet claiming they’re the same. The taller, more pulled-back handlebar delivered a more upright riding stance, which paradoxically made this pseudo-off-roader a better city bike than the STR roadster to ride in traffic, allowing you to see over car roofs so as to plan a route and avoid snarl-ups. However, this and some distance covered on unsealed roads with loose gravel made me use the rear brake more than on the STR, and it started to whine and lose bite as I did so. Maybe a different choice of pads would have fixed this.
I almost got bogged down getting too ambitious during my off-road jaunt when the hard stony surface turned muddy, and I had to turn round. That’s when I discovered the limitations of the MT60RS tires, which have only a nominally chunky tread pattern. I just got away with turning around in the mud without wheel-spinning my way to Sydney, Australia. Buy an X-Cape if you want to do serious off-roading on a 650 Morini.
The SCR’s softer suspension settings were definitely comfier, without bottoming out anywhere nor affecting the grip level while cranked over on tarmac, so I’d definitely switch the STR’s rear shock setup to these if I was riding one for longer. Basically, this is a city bike that’ll be ideal for commuting, with green lane capability if desired – though I suppose you could fit a properly chunky set of Pirelli Scorpion rubber on it, and you’d be left with a respectable go-anywhere model if you didn’t like the X-Cape’s distinctive styling. Your call, but what Moto Morini has here is a trio of super well-priced models that cover just about every riding possibility.
Founded in Bologna in 1937 by Alfonso Morini, Moto Morini was formerly a small but prestigious family concern whose sporting flair brought it widespread respect as an underdog capable of defeating larger motorcycle manufacturers, leading to deserved commercial success.
The most famous Moto Morini racer was the bike widely recognized as the world’s ultimate 4-stroke racing Single – the 12,000-rpm 37-hp twin-cam 250cc Grand Prix contender on which Morini’s solitary works rider Tarquinio Provini came so close to winning the 250 GP World title in 1963, finishing two points behind Jim Redman’s 4-cylinder Honda.
By then, Morini had established a loyal following for its 125/175cc sporting Singles like the Rebello, Settebello, and Corsaro. Giacomo Agostini actually began his racing career on a Morini, attracting the attention of Count Agusta by winning the 1964 Italian 250cc title on one before switching to the far wealthier MV team. By the time he passed away in 1969, Alfonso Morini could be well-satisfied with a lifetime of two-wheeled achievement.
Moto Morini’s management was taken over after Alfonso’s death by his daughter, Gabriella, who wisely diversified the company’s model line in 1973 by introducing the family of bikes powered by the ultra-distinctive air-cooled Heron-headed 72-degree V-Twin high-cam pushrod engine developed by the firm’s new chief engineer, former Ferrari designer Franco Lambertini. Debuting in 350cc form with the 3½ Strada, with later 500cc V-Twin and spinoff 250cc single-cylinder variants, more than 85,000 of these groundbreaking motorcycles were built over the next two decades, gaining Moto Morini a loyal following around the world.
This was the first volume production streetbike from any manufacturer to be fitted with electronic ignition, toothed-belt camshaft drive, a dry clutch, and a 6-speed gearbox. The Kanguro trail bike, which followed later, surfed the wave of popularity of dual-sports and was a hit in showrooms. But, although profitable, Moto Morini’s small production volume of around 10,000 bikes a year wasn’t capable of generating enough capital for the rising costs of developing a new range of bikes. After an abortive attempt in 1981 to produce an 84-hp turbo version of the 500cc V-Twin, Gabriella Morini sold the company to the Castiglioni brothers’ burgeoning Cagiva empire in 1987.
The Castiglionis couldn’t resist the chance to acquire such a historic marque, especially when it came with such a fine piece of real estate as the Moto Morini factory located in what was then a prime Bologna residential suburb not far from the Ducati plant they already owned. They commissioned design guru Massimo Tamburini to produce a modern sportbike addition to the V-Twin Morini range, which duly arrived in 1988 as the full-enclosure Dart, closely modeled on the same designer’s Ducati 750 Paso and Cagiva Freccia 125.
But while Moto Morini’s Excalibur custom models continued to sell well, the Dart’s air-cooled pushrod engine was too archaic to appeal to the sportbike customer, and although Lambertini already had its successor up and running on the dyno in the form of a liquid-cooled fuel-injected 720cc 8-valve 67-degree V-Twin of advanced design, the rival Ducati faction in the Cagiva empire headed by Massimo Bordi ensured the Castiglionis’ development cash was directed toward its own 851cc desmoquattro V-Twin design. Starved of funds, the new Morini V-Twin motor never saw the light of day, Lambertini joined Piaggio to design scooters, the Morini factory was knocked down and redeveloped (netting a tidy profit for Cagiva, helping refuel Ducati’s revival), and Moto Morini production petered out in 1992.
American investment firm TPG’s acquisition of Ducati from Cagiva at the end of 1996 brought Moto Morini with it, leaving the Castiglionis to find a buyer for a marque they’d ended up owning by default. In 1999, a sale was concluded to Morini Franco Motor, founded in 1957 in the Bologna suburb of Casalecchio by Alfonso Morini’s nephew, Franco. Producing over 100,000 engines a year, mainly for scooters, MFM also manufactured Benelli’s range of 3-cylinder motors, as well as the Bimota 500cc Vdue 2-stroke engine.
In 2003, a joint venture to relaunch the Moto Morini marque was formed between MFM and the three locally based Berti brothers, keen motorcyclists as well as successful industrialists. The Bertis acquired 50% of the new company, with MFM boss Maurizio Morini bringing the Moto Morini brand to the table. The marque’s former chief engineer, Franco Lambertini, had already joined MFM from Piaggio in 1997 and quickly developed the all-new 1,187cc 87-degree V-Twin CorsaCorta engine powering the Corsaro 1200, the reborn marque’s first model. The Corsaro and its later 9½ Granpasso and Scrambler sibling models established a well-earned reputation for muscular performance and mechanical reliability, which saw the Corsaro win successive Naked Bike magazine shootouts against its 2- and 3-cylinder competition.
Having reestablished the Moto Morini marque with a sound product and solid corporate structure, the Berti brothers accepted Maurizio Morini’s offer to cash in their share of the business in January 2007, transferring their half of the partnership to him and exiting the motorcycle industry. Moto Morini was back in the hands of the family that founded it – just in time for its future to be threatened by the Great Recession. The company went into voluntary liquidation in September 2009 and was sold by the liquidator in 2011 to two Milan-based entrepreneurs, investor Ruggeromassimo Jannuzzelli and banker Sandro Capotosti. Production restarted in April 2012 in a new, much smaller factory south of Milan, with the debut of a new model, the Rebello 1200 Giubileo, to celebrate Moto Morini’s 75th birthday.
Moto Morini had manufactured 4,000 bikes during its five years of existence after being relaunched at the end of 2004 up to its closure in 2010, with a maximum of 1,600 bikes produced in any one year. In 2016, Jannuzzelli took 100% control of the company and continued to invest in new models while addressing the single biggest hurdle to Moto Morini’s future success: making potential customers aware of what many considered to be the best-kept secret in the motorcycling marketplace.
In October 2018, Jannuzzelli passed on that task to Mr. Chen Huaneng, owner of China’s Zhongneng company, a maker of scooters and small-capacity motorcycles. The X-Cape was the first new Moto Morini model to be developed under Zhongneng ownership and has now been followed by its Seiemmezzo twin sisters, the SCR and STR.
Some memories are indelible. Etched clearly in my mind is a moment that happened 25 years ago when I went to the Guggenheim Museum in New York City for the Art of the Motorcycle exhibit. As I walked through the lobby and approached the exhibit, front and center on a mirrored pedestal was an MV Agusta F4 1000S, a stunning red and silver machine designed by Massimo Tamburini. Its quartet of underseat exhausts looked like God’s own pipe organ.
A decade later I joined the staff at Rider, and over the years that followed, I never got a chance to ride an MV Agusta. The brand always seemed to be on shaky ground, with ownership changing hands several times. The bikes were exotic and produced in small numbers, so opportunities to test them were few and far between.
My chance finally came when MV Agusta hosted a press launch in Los Angeles for the Dragster RR SCS America Edition, a limited-production model designed for the U.S. market.
MV Agusta and ’Merica!
Fifty years ago, MV Agusta released the 750S, the Italian company’s first model to sport a red, white, and blue paint scheme as a nod to the American market. Recent decades have seen several limited-edition “America” models – a Brutale 750 in 2004, a Brutale 1090 RR in 2012, a Brutale 800 RR in 2017, and a Dragster 800 RR in 2018.
Next in line, announced on July 4, 2023, is the Dragster RR SCS America, priced at a cool $28,247 to honor the 247th anniversary of American independence. With a stars-and-stripes logo on the tank, a mix of Ago Red and Mica America Blue paint with white accents, and “America Special Edition” stitched in white on the red seat, it’s the second most patriotic-looking motorcycle I’ve ever seen (it would be the most patriotic motorcycle I’ve ever seen had the American-made Buell Freedom Edition Hammerhead 1190 not been announced just days before the MV).
Only 300 Dragster RR SCS Americas will be made, each with a serialized number laser-etched on the triple clamp, and all are slated for sale in the good ol’ U.S. of A. Each bike comes with a Special Parts Kit that includes a transparent clutch cover, a dedicated motorcycle cover, and a certificate of authenticity.
The SCS in the model name stands for “Smart Clutch System” and refers to the bike’s hydraulically actuated SCS 3.0 Radius CX semi-automatic clutch, made in collaboration with Rekluse. It’s a slick system. Just hold in the clutch lever when starting the bike, and then ignore it the rest of the ride. The up/down quickshifter assists with smooth, fast gear changes, and the clutch automatically disengages when coming to a stop.
One of the SCS clutch’s coolest features is launch mode. At a stop, pull in the clutch lever, pin the throttle, and wait for the light to turn green. When it does, dump the clutch and you’ll be treated to the bike’s fastest possible launch time: 0-100 kph (62.1 mph) in 3.55 seconds. Works like a charm too. Lining up next to Rennie Scaysbrook, the road test editor at Cycle News who holds the motorcycle record at Pikes Peak and is way faster than me, the SCS launch mode let me get the drop on him a couple of times.
For those who want to use the clutch lever, it’s still fully functional. For trackdays or personal preference, the SCS function can also be disabled. And unlike Honda’s Dual Clutch Transmission, which adds more than 20 lb of weight compared to a conventional transmission, the MV’s SCS clutch is only 1.3 ounces heavier than a regular clutch.
At the heart of the MV Agusta Dragster RR is a thrilling mill: a liquid-cooled 798cc inline-Triple with a 13.3:1 compression ratio and DOHC with 4 valves per cylinder and DLC-coated tappets. It churns out a claimed 140 hp at 12,300 rpm and 64.2 lb-ft of torque at 10,250 rpm.
Motorcyclists are a greedy lot, and we always want more power. MV offers an accessory Akrapovič titanium exhaust with a dedicated ECU that bumps up peak power to 148 hp at 12,800 rpm while shaving off nearly 18 lb of weight (claimed dry weight for the stock bike is 386 lb). As appealing as the Akrapovič exhaust is, it’s a shame it requires the removal of the elegant triple-tipped stock exhaust.
The Dragster’s Triple sounds like a diesel at idle, but spin up the revs and it wails in a way that only an odd number of cylinders can, mashing up the rumble of a Twin and the scream of a Four. Response from the throttle-by-wire system is direct and snatch-free, and there are three standard ride modes: Sport, Race, and Rain. Pairing a smartphone with the MV Ride app allows a rider to create a custom map. Adjustable parameters include gas sensitivity (throttle response), max engine torque, engine braking, engine response, rpm limiter, quickshifter, traction control, and wheelie control. Choose your own adventure.
The MV Ride app also allows a rider to record a trip, which will show a map of the route taken and provide statistics such as average speed, max speed, max throttle, and max roll (lean) angle. Our test ride on public roads, for example, covered 60.2 miles at an average speed of 18.6 mph (we spent a lot of time in L.A. traffic and idling between photo passes). My max speed was 74.5 mph, and my deepest lean angle was 47 degrees. Rennie was certainly faster and leaned over more.
Made in Italy
MV Agusta is a storied Italian manufacturer that was founded in 1945 by Count Domenico Agusta. The brand has an impressive record on the racetrack, having won 270 Grand Prix races, 38 World Riders’ Championships, and 37 World Constructors’ Championships, many of those wins and championships courtesy of legends like John Surtees, Mike Hailwood, Giacomo Agostini, and Phil Read.
Following the death of Count Agusta in 1971, the company went through a roller coaster of highs and lows. It was acquired by the Castiglioni family in 1992, sold to Malaysian car maker Proton in 2004, sold to an Italian holding company for 1 euro in 2005, acquired by Harley-Davidson in 2008, and sold back to the Castiglioni family for 1 euro in 2010. Mercedes-AMG acquired a 25% stake in 2014, which was sold in 2017 when a Russian investment fund headed by the Sardarov family acquired a 49% stake, and the Sardarovs acquired 100% of the company in 2019. The brand is currently enjoying another high point. In late 2022, Pierer Mobility, the Austrian company that owns KTM, Husqvarna, and GasGas, acquired a 25.1% stake, with assurances to provide marketing, distribution, purchasing, and supply-chain support.
Although the brand’s fortunes have fluctuated, the support from Pierer Mobility puts it on a much more solid footing. MV Agusta motorcycles are built in small quantities, with an emphasis on the company’s “Motorcycle Art” motto. They are still built on the shores of Lake Varese in Italy, and MV claims that 75% of the parts on its motorcycles are manufactured in Italy.
MV Agusta: Rideable Art
On the road or at a bike night, the Dragster RR SCS America won’t be confused with another motorcycle. Its color palette, its sharply edged and creased surfaces, and its unique details give the America the exclusive look its price tag commands. The most eye-catching feature is the carbon fiber cover on the rear wheel, which has teardrop-shaped cut-outs and the “RR” logo. A trio of slash-cut exhaust tips are finished in black, though they’d pop more in silver against the black of the rear tire and wheel cover.
The Dragster also has one of the most unique tailsections of any motorcycle. Beneath the rider’s portion of the seat is negative space, and below the passenger seat is what looks like the open mouth of a bird, with the lower edge framed in red LED lighting. Under the tailsection are passenger pegs that can be discreetly tucked away or folded down for use.
As a naked sportbike, the Dragster has an upright handlebar with bar-end mirrors that can be folded back – a useful feature when we were lane-splitting through rush-hour traffic on Sunset Boulevard. Front and center is a 5.5-inch TFT display with bright, crisp, easy-to-read graphics, and navigating through the bike’s menus and settings was intuitive.
After escaping the traffic, we headed into the Malibu hills on roads familiar to every L.A.-based sport rider and SoCal motojournalist: Topanga, Saddle Peak, Piuma, and Mulholland. They are tight, technical roads, and the MV Agusta’s light weight, compact dimensions, counter-rotating crankshaft (which reduces gyroscopic effect), and premium components made it an ideal canyon carver. The fully adjustable suspension, with an inverted 43mm Marzocchi fork and a Sachs shock, is tuned for speed over comfort, but it kept the chassis in check, and the adjustable steering damper diffused any twitchiness.
Pirelli Diablo Rosso IV sport tires are grippy and lend themselves to fast, confident transitions. Good braking power and feel come courtesy of Brembo M4.32 radial calipers squeezing 320mm floating discs up front and a Brembo 2-piston caliper squeezing a 220mm disc out back, with Continental cornering ABS getting your back. A 6-axis IMU informs other electronics as well, including eight-level lean-sensitive traction control, front-lift control, and rear wheel lift-up mitigation.
Happy Birthday, America
Every MV Agusta is a special motorcycle. They have Italian flair, they are fast and fleet, and they are unique. The F4 I saw in the Guggenheim 25 years ago commanded admiration, respect, and envy. And now that I’ve ridden an MV Agusta, I know they are much more than visual art. They are visceral art too, which triggers a deeper level of desire. The Dragster RR SCS America is an exceptional motorcycle that celebrates American exceptionalism. Buon compleanno, America!
In January, Moto Morini, the Italian motorcycle brand founded in 1937, announced its entrance into the U.S. market, broadening its global presence, which already included operations in Italy, India, and Asia. At that point, the company didn’t specify which motorcycles would be introduced in the U.S. market, but on July 12, it announced the release of its 2023 Seiemmezzo STR naked street bike.
Moto Morini calls the Seiemmezzo STR “an exceptional blend of style, comfort, and premium features found on more expensive machines.” The STR is powered by a liquid-cooled 649cc inline-Twin with DOHC and 8 valves per cylinder making a claimed 61 hp at 8,250 rpm and 39.8 lb-ft of torque at 7,000 rpm.
The Seiemmezzo STR has fully adjustable KYB suspension, with a 43mm inverted fork offering 4.7 inches of travel and a rear monoshock, also providing 4.7 inches of travel. Braking comes from 2-piston floating calipers biting 298mm discs up front and a single 2-piston caliper grabbing a 255mm disc in the rear. Bosch ABS is standard. The bike has a steel trellis frame and an aluminum swingarm and rides on tubeless light alloy wheels (18-inch front, 17-inch rear wheels) with TPMS and wrapped in Pirelli Angel GT tires. It has an approximately 32-inch seat height, 4.2-gal. tank, and comes in with a dry weight of 441 lb.
The Seiemmezzo STR features a 5-inch color TFT screen with Bluetooth connectivity, full LED lighting, and backlit handlebar controls, and it is available in Metallic Red, Vivid White, and Anthracite Smoke starting at $7,499.
“We are excited to bring the Moto Morini brand to the United States” says Chris McGee, COO. “The STR is just one example that reflects the Moto Morini mantra of delivering performance, quality, and exceptional craftsmanship. It’s a great looking machine that’s super fun to ride.”
In addition to the STR, Moto Morini is also offering the Seiemmezzo SCR Scrambler model and the X-Cape Adventouring model. Each features the same 649cc engine as the STR.
Here at Rider, we do what we can to encourage and support the next generation of motorcyclists. When kids learn to ride at a young age, they adapt quickly and become “wet wired” as fans of all things on two wheels. With the growing popularity of electric vehicles, kids (and their parents) have more options to choose from, like the new Volcon Kids Moto Two electric dirtbike.
Last summer we shared the story of August Beck, the son of my friends Paul and Allison, and his experience learning to ride the Greenger x Honda CRF-E2 electric dirtbike. August started off as a toddler on a Strider balance bike, worked his way up to a BMX bike, and soon after turning 7, he stepped up to the CRF-E2, which is the electric equivalent of a 50cc dirtbike.
There was a learning curve, of course. At 106 lb, the CRF-E2 was much heavier than August’s BMX bike, and it outweighed him by nearly 40 lb. When it fell over, which happened often, he wasn’t strong enough to pick it up by himself. August also struggled with throttle control and braking, but young kids learn fast.
Volcon Kids Moto Two
Volcon ePowersports is one of the new players in the electric vehicle market. Established in 2020 and based in Austin, Texas, most of its off-road vehicles – including the two-wheeled Grunt, Runt, and Brat models and four-wheeled Stag UTV – are manufactured in the U.S. Its youth models, however, are built by Torrot, a Spanish manufacturer.
Volcon offers two models: the Kids Moto One ($2,899) and Kids Moto Two ($2,999). Aimed at younger/smaller kids, the One has a 0.84 kW motor, 10-inch wheels, and a 22.6-inch seat height. It weighs 68.3 lb and accommodates riders weighing up to 66 lb. Designed for kids 6-11 years old, the Two has a 1.5 kW motor, a 14-inch front wheel and a 12-inch rear, and a 25.2-inch seat height. It weighs 77.2 lb and has a maximum rider weight of 88 lb. Top speeds are similar: 26 mph on the One and 27 mph on the Two.
The Volcon Kids Moto Two was delivered to the Becks’ house, and it arrived in a small crate. August’s dad, Paul, is a handy guy, and getting it prepped to ride was straightforward.
For the test, we went to the Hungry Valley State Vehicular Recreation Area north of Los Angeles, which has a mini track for dirtbikes and ATVs that are under 90cc. Because August is still learning the basics of riding a dirtbike, the Moto Two suited him. It weighs a whopping 29 lb less than his CRF-E2, making it more manageable and easier to pick up.
It takes a lot of practice to learn throttle control (yes, we’re aware that the right twist grip on an electric bike adjusts the motor controller). Young kids aren’t known for finesse, and August is still in the phase of snapping the throttle back rather than rolling it on gradually. That often leads to the bike accelerating suddenly and before his body and head are ready for it. He reacts by snapping the throttle forward again, leading to herky-jerky movement of bike and body until he gets up to speed.
The Moto Two has Bluetooth connectivity that allows the bike to be paired with the Torrot smartphone app. August’s dad, Paul, used the app to configure the Two’s parameters – maximum power, maximum speed, throttle response, and regeneration. Each parameter can be adjusted via slider, or the three preset levels – low, medium, and high – can be selected for all parameters at once. As August got more comfortable, his dad adjusted the settings.
The bike is solidly built, with a chromoly-steel frame, a hydraulic fork with 3.7 inches of travel, a preload-adjustable shock with 4.9 inches of travel, disc brakes, and spoked wheels with Michelin Starcross tires. Another nice feature is the swappable battery, which makes recharging more convenient, and an optional second battery can provide ready-to-go power when the first one is depleted. (A standard 48-volt, 8.8-Ah battery is $599.99; an upgraded 48-volt, 12.5-Ah battery is $899.99.)
Thanks to its light weight and programmability, the Volcon Moto Two is a great bike for kids just learning to ride. For younger or shorter kids, the Moto One is a better option, but the Two is a bike kids can ride for several years. August loves it, and it’s now part of the Beck family stable. Little brother Wolfgang is champing at the bit.
Just in time for Independence Day, Buell Motorcycles, the manufacturer of the only American-built sportbike lineup, has announced the launch of a 40th-anniversary Freedom Edition Hammerhead 1190. The Freedom Edition has a paint scheme featuring red, white, and blue stars and stripes, which the company says celebrates 40 years of Buell Motorcycles “and the lifeblood of American freedom.”
“We’re thrilled to introduce the new Freedom paint scheme. Applied directly to the Hammerhead’s standard full carbon fiber bodywork, its design commemorates 40 years of Buell’s exciting journey and our enthusiasm for the next 40,” said Bill Melvin, CEO of Buell. “To us, the Freedom Edition represents our unwavering commitment to our heritage, our fans, and the freedom that comes with riding a Buell.”
Along the lines of that riding freedom, the Buell Hammerhead 1190 has a liquid-cooled, 72-degree V-Twin that makes a claimed 185 hp at 10,600 rpm and 102 lb-ft of torque at 8,200 rpm, a 6-speed transmission, and vacuum-operated slip/assist clutch.
The Hammerhead 1190 has an inverted Showa Big Piston fork and Showa rear monoshock, and stopping power comes from an 8-piston inside-out caliper biting a 386mm disc up front and 2-piston Hayes caliper clamping down on a 220mm disc in the rear. An aluminum frame, aluminum swingarm, and aluminum wheels (17.5 x 3.5 inches in the front, 17 X 6.0 in the rear) all contribute to a relatively trim 419-lb dry weight.
Starting July 1, 2023, enthusiasts can own the 40th-anniversary Freedom Edition Hammerhead 1190 priced at $24,990. Top-tier models are available at $26,775 for those seeking enhanced features and customization, including Buell’s black-out kit (normally available on the SX only), custom embroidered seat, Öhlins steering stabilizer, and special four-year warranty.
The first 40 Freedom Edition bikes will also feature the four-year warranty, and the underside of the bodywork will be autographed by the Buell factory family.
The Freedom Edition can be purchased directly through the Buell website or from an authorized premium and display service center.
“Our fans have been requesting a red, white, and blue color scheme for a long, long time,” Melvin said. “We listened. And we’re proud to deliver a design that truly reflects the fiercely independent spirit Buell shares with this great country.”
The new Buell Super Cruiser, a model designed by Roland Sands Design that was first revealed at a private event on February 10, has already gotten a heap of attention. Now, fans will be able to gawk at this new model in person at Daytona Bike Week. Featuring Buell’s 175-hp V-Twin in an FXR-inspired chassis, the Super Cruiser is set to go into production in 2025. Luckily, you don’t have to wait that long to see it in person at Daytona Bike Week.
Buell’s Hammerhead and 1190 SX models will also make an appearance in Daytona, as well as the updated 1190 SuperTouring modular superbike.
Read the press release below for more information.
Grand Rapids, MI, February 28, 2023 –Buell Motorcycles and Roland Sands Design have announced the first public preview of the 2025 Buell Super Cruiser. Making its East Coast debut at Daytona Bike Week, Friday, March 3 – Sunday, March 12, 2023, the Super Cruiser will star in Buell’s lineup along Destination Daytona’s main drag, showing off their high-performance, American-made superbikes and touting their latest updates.
The Super Cruiser, first revealed at a private event on February 10 at the Roland Sands Design facility in Long Beach, CA, has been well-received by both the media and fans. As eager riders continue to place unprecedented preorders on the Buell website, the Super Cruiser is exceeding expectations and generating significant buzz.
“It’s the design of this bike that’s got everyone going crazy,” said Buell’s CEO, Bill Melvin. “The response we’ve seen so far is overwhelming. It’s clear there’s a tremendous demand for a high- performance cruiser, and we’re thrilled to meet it. We always knew a Buell cruiser would be big, but it needed Buell features and had to be the highest-performing American production bike ever made. Lucky for us, we were the ones who innovated the kick-ass technology of the 1190 platform. So, we didn’t need to reinvent the wheel. We just needed to take what was already ideal and build a cruiser around it. Refining things like steering angle, rake, wheels, tires, brakes, and chassis – Roland Sands was the genius to pull all that together.”
Of course, Buell’s Daytona lineup would be incomplete without its flagship bikes, the Hammerhead and 1190 SX, featuring small but important improvements since last year. Notable changes include carbon bodywork, tires and throttle-body balancing refinement.
Also on display will be the latest refinements to Buell’s 1190 SuperTouring modular superbike, slated for 2025 production. “The ST provided a great opportunity for us to hear and engage with our fanbase,” said Jacob Stark, Buell’s Engineering Specialist. “It led to exploring new ideas, experimenting, and using the ST platform to stretch our comfort zone.”
Created in collaboration with award-winning designer J. Ruiter to thrill supersport fans and tourers alike, the SuperTouring is the world’s fastest adaptive motorcycle, easily converting to a track bike in under an hour. Its latest modifications include a new modular front faring with headlamp assembly, higher handlebars, foot-forward controls, and a new seat and bags.
“We can’t wait for Bike Week 2023. Buell is back and building a strong reputation as a small, responsive company building bikes to order and providing a unique customer experience,” said Melvin. “We’ve tuned our approach to match customer feedback and will continue making the changes that deliver the best riding experience possible.”
Buell Motorcycle is making a turn away from its sportbike heritage with its upcoming Buell Super Cruiser, a club-style hot-rod cruiser designed by Roland Sands and that leans on the heritage of Harley-Davidson’s vaunted FXR chassis originally created by Erik Buell. The bike was unveiled Feb. 10 at an excusive party at the Roland Sands Design complex in Long Beach, California, attended by Kevin Duke, the editor-in-chief of our sibling publication, American Rider.
The Super Cruiser concept began with a conversation between Buell’s CEO Bill Melvin and noted customizer Roland Sands. It only took seeing a sketch from Sands for Melvin to approve the concept and greenlight a prototype built around Buell’s existing sportbike powertrain.
“The FXR was our muse for this bike,” Sands told Duke. “To the core V-Twin customer, the FXR really represents the core of motorcycling, and that was an aesthetic we borrowed for this bike. It’s honoring the fact that Erik Buell was involved in designing that bike (the FXR), and that gives us the leeway to build this with Buell.”
Sands roared the Super Cruiser in front of the attendees at the unveiling, brapping Buell’s 175-hp V-Twin in celebration.
“When Bill first approached us about building a high-performance cruiser using the Buell motor, it was as if the bike designed itself,” said Sands, who is no stranger to building sport-focused cruisers. “Considering the history of Buell and the market’s need for a truly high-performance cruiser and the build quality of the existing Buell chassis parts, motor, and rolling kit, the project was a natural fit.”
“I’ve been working on projects like this for 20-plus years,” Sands continued, “and this is the first time we’ve been able to build a performance cruiser without the typical V-Twin performance compromises of weight and motor width and length.”
Although the Super Cruiser is only in its developmental stage, Buell reps are excited to bring it to production for 2025.
“The design lends itself to the West Coast scene, where customization is part of bike culture,” said Melvin. “And Roland was enthusiastic about incorporating Buell technology into that culture, creating the fastest, coolest cruiser on the market.”
The Super Cruiser uses a new steel-tube frame wrapped around Buell’s liquid-cooled V-Twin engine, adding up to 175 hp in a package weighing just 450 lb.
Combined with Buell’s existing inverted fork, aluminum swingarm, wheels, and the company’s unique perimeter front brake system, the result is a machine that Sands said is unapologetic in its aspirations to be a high-performance bike.
“To me, this is what’s badass right now – this profile, this style of bike,” he told Duke. “It stops, it goes, it wheelies, it goes around corners really well, it’s comfortable, and it’s a gas. You just jump on the bike and immediately feel tougher – it’s pure attitude. When you sit on the bike, it makes you feel like a badass, and that means something.”
Melvin chimed in that building a cruiser was something Buell always contemplated. “The market is full of American manufacturers known mostly for big, heavy bikes – not fast, hot ones like the famous V-Twins of the 1930s. Our Buell Super Cruiser will be the hottest bike on the market. Period.”