Three motorcycle auctions (London, Paris and Gainesville, Florida) in the next few weeks offer unprecedented opportunities to obtain some rare European motorcycles. Bonhams' Paris sale on 4 February will be followed by Coys' London Motorcycle Show sale on 13 February, and Jerry Wood's Florida auction on 8 March. The lots include a fabled Moto-Guzzi V8 plus many important Italian racing motorcycles, including a 1951 Moto Guzzi 500 Bicilindrica GP, a 1956 Mondial 250 GP Bicilindrica prototype and a 1961 Ducati 250 Trialbero prototype. Unprecedented in the motorcycle industry is the launch and auction of the first bike from French custom manufacturer Praëm (top right), which is expected to sell for between US$100,000 and $160,000. At 165 hp and 180 kg, it should be a goer too.
Italia Independent, the company and retail store chain created by Fiat heir Lapo Elkann kicked off a new three year partnership with Ducati yesterday by unveiling its first joint project, the Italia Independent Ducati Scrambler limited edition.
Unveiled at EICMA 2015, the entry-level version of the Scrambler is Ducati's attempt to make its hugely successful retro model accessible to a wider audience. The Sixty2stays true to the bigger Scrambler's design, but introduces a 399 cc variant of the air-cooled Desmodue engine.
Ducati's original Diavel was a successful oddity – a future-cruiser body with the heart of a superbike. It handled well and went fast, even if it made my butt go to sleep. But it didn't quite nail that relaxed cruiser feel, because it always, always wanted to go faster. This year, Ducati is kicking back a gear with the XDiavel, unveiled today at EICMA Milan, which uses a stroked-out engine to put the torque lower in the rev range, and gives a true feet-forward cruiser riding position, while pulling all the silly plastic off the sides for a much cleaner, sweeter look.
Every October there’s a three day party in Birmingham, Alabama, for motorcyclists of all persuasions. Unlike most brand-specific get togethers, this event honors one and all, from the beginning of motorcycling history to the wonderous two-wheeled technology of today. The event is kid-friendly, exceptionally well organised, incredibly welcoming and spotlessly clean. Here are the nine reasons why the Barber Vintage Festival is the one motorcycle happening you cannot say "no" to.
Two auctions at the extremities of the world on consecutive days last weekend highlight the importance of the internet in the modern elite auction process. One in Denmark was a raging success, the other, in New Zealand, was not. One employed full internet streaming and bidding, the other did not.
Ducati broke out the first of its 2016 models during the Volkswagen Group Night, ahead of IAA 2015 in Frankfurt. The new Monster 1200 R boasts superbike performance levels to claim the title of the most powerful naked Ducati. Based on the 1200 S sibling, the 1200 R is powered by the R-version of the Testastretta 11 engine, with an output that exceeds that of the venerable Fighter 1098.
The Scrambler is a radical departure from the sleek, expensive high-performance machines Ducati is known for these days. It's a small, humble, retro dual-sport machine with an 800cc engine, a modest 75 horsepower and a look so American you'd hardly believe it was designed in Italy. But this bike has been Ducati's biggest success of the year, single-handedly boosting global sales by more than 20 percent, so we've been very keen to get our hands on one. Last week, the stars aligned, and we had a chance to ride it. And yes, the Scrambler is nothing like any other Ducati in the range.
Two hours west of the Atlanta airport is a five story, state of the art monument of glass, steel and concrete generally considered to be the finest motorcycle museum in the world. Designed by its founder, George Barber, to draw visitors from all over the globe to his home town of Birmingham, Alabama, those that make the trip to the Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum can immediately see they are witnessing a truly remarkable achievement. This is a place like no other.
Bonhams Stafford Spring sale has been responsible for more sales of elite motorcycles than any other single sale anywhere in the world, rivaling even the combined January Las Vegas sales – it's that important. Not surprisingly, there are a number of very rare and valuable motorcycles going under the hammer on April 26, the most significant being a 1939 Vincent-HRD Series-A Rapide (US$320,000-380,000), an unraced 1979 Ducati 900 NCR Racer ($120,000-180,000), a 1926 Coventry Eagle Flying Eight ($120,000-180,000) and a 1930 Brough Superior 680 Black Alpine ($100,000-150,000).