Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show

Ducati

The Suzuki produces 679 kW of power and 887 Nm of torque

Two remarkable things happened at Pike’s Peak International Hill Climb on Sunday. The first was that a 60 year old man won an internationally recognized motorsport event – Japan’s Monster Tajima continued to do just that to all-comers, taking his 1100kg 910hp Monster Sport Suzuki SX4 to a fifth straight victory. The second was that a newcomer won the motorcycle class. Ducati’s Multistrada 1200 S has had a spectacular market introduction around the world, and furthered the legend by taking an international hillclimb title in very close to standard roadbike trim.  Read More

NCR's M16 MotoGP streetfighter: the most exclusive motorcycle on the planet?

Overkill. The word's origins are military in nature, describing a situation where one country has enough nuclear weapons to destroy significantly more of another nation that it would ever need to in order to win a war. But the term applies perfectly to today's sportsbike market, where any numpty with a license and a check book can waltz into a dealership and wobble out on a thoroughbred race machine that can break the speed limit at mid-revs in first gear and accelerate faster than any car on the road. Of course, for some people that's just not enough, bless their souls – but to create a vehicle that stands out from the pack in such a time of plenty, you have to take things to the absolute extreme. And it's a long time since we saw anything quite as extreme as the NCR M16, a bike that takes one of the most expensive roadbikes ever built, throws almost all of it in the bin and replaces it with the most exotic materials on the planet. Gentlemen, start your drooling.  Read More

Corser appears to be approaching his best again now that the BMW is getting sorted Photo b...

The world's fastest road bike derivatives went to Italy last weekend for the latest round of the World Superbike Championships at Monza, AKA “the Cathedral of Speed.” Monza favors very fast motorcycles and the results echo what we'd already suspected after several rounds of the championship - there appears to be a changing of the guard underway and the addition of BMW and Aprilia to Europe's previously sole superbike contender, Ducati, appears to have tipped the balance of power away from the Japanese marques. A double-win to Aprilia and BMW's first podium in the superbikes were one indicator as was BMW's continuing superstock dominance. In a class that's an excellent guide to the sportiness of showroom road bikes, BMW's S1000 RR blew the competition into the weeds.  Read More

Former Grand National Champion Joe Kopp leads the field on his Ducati

Harley Davidson has been dominating flat track racing in America basically since it began. On the faster one mile tracks it is 17 years since any other manufacturer has won a race. So it was an enormous surprise to see the Ducati Hypermotard 1100EVO powered flat-tracker take the marque's first ever Grand National victory in the Yavapai Downs Mile in Arizona last Saturday. Apart from ending an unbroken 17 year winning streak by Harley on one mile tracks, the win marks the first time a readily available production engine has won a Grand National Twins race in 29 years.  Read More

Clockwise from top left: the 2009 MotoGP Desmosedici GP9, two patent application drawings ...

Last year when we did an extensive feature on Ducati’s motogp carbon fibre semi-monocoque frame, we lauded its groundbreaking technology. Now it seems the Italian powerhouse is so pleased with its handiwork that the semi-monocoque design looks set to replace Ducati’s trademark trellis frame on its road bikes in the future too.  Read More

Valentino Rossi testing Ferrari F1 on January 21, 2010

It is interesting to note that the three biggest stories in Formula One right now concern a driver who competed in 2010 but not in 2009 (the Michael Schumacher comeback), a driver who competed in 2009 but not 2010 (Raikkonen loses his drive and goes WRC) and a driver who has never competed in F1 and quite possibly never will – Valentino Rossi. Indeed, Rossi has only ever driven an F1 car six times, but his status as one of motorcycling’s all-time greats and one of the most popular and media-savvy sportspeople of all time make the possibility an incredibly enticing prospect. For Ferrari, Rossi brings a global army of fans and the possibility of a rare Italian driver-car title combination that hasn’t happened since Alberto Ascari in 1953, despite 15 drivers titles and 16 constructors titles for the marque since then. This week Rossi tested in a Ferrari F1 car again, and was so fast that the possibility might now be approaching a probability.  Read More

The Yamaha 1200 Super Tenere twin

The 2009 Tokyo Motor Show last October saw some bizarre non-debuts as there had been an accord between the Japanese manufacturers that all would cut back their expenditure on the show in deference to the retrenchments resultant from the GFC. We mentioned this with our coverage of the Yamaha stand's Super Tenere “Art installation” at Tokyo. Here was a somehow fully formed motorcycle that was not really on show. Well the mystique has been maintained, because no images have been released yet, but we now know a lot more about the bike's fine details – the 1200cc parallel twin will have a 270 degree crank (for a v-twin feel), and will use Yamaha's YCC-T ride-by-wire throttle, have switchable engine-mapping, traction control, three-position anti-lock braking, a Unified Braking System that links the front and rear brakes, …  Read More

The 2010 Ducati Multistrada 1200

The Ducati team set itself a very ambitious goal when it went about re-imagining its least popular model, the Multistrada adventure bike. The aim was to make the 2010 Multistrada a much more flexible bike than anything before it, offering proper sportsbike performance, true long-range touring abilities, easy commuting and a genuine ability to get offroad and play in the dirt. Starting with the monstrous v-twin from the 1198 superbike, the design team has pulled together and integrated a huge range of cutting-edge technologies to get there. In fact, with its traction control, variable engine maps and electronically adjustable Ohlins suspension, there's a good argument to say that it'll be the most technologically advanced motorcycle in production next year. Oh, and it'll be much, much lighter and much, much more powerful than anything else in the adventure bike world. Forget everything you know about Multistradas, this bike is going to be an absolute animal.  Read More

Official images: Ducati's Hypermotard 796

Ducati's supermotard-on-steroids, the 1100 Hypermotard, has been terrorizing the streets for a couple of years now, a concept bike that became reality after it made a sensational splash at the 2005 EICMA show in Milan. Aimed at marrying some of the soft-suspension, short-wheelbase, low-weight feel of a motard with the grunt of a 100-horsepower L-twin motor and unmistakeable Ducati streetbike style, the Hypermotard is an absolute giggle machine. It's also fairly pricey though, which is why Ducati have just given it a much more affordable little brother. The Hypermotard 796 will sneak in under US$10,000, using a torqued-up version of the 696 Monster engine and boasting both less weight and a lighter clutch than the 1100.  Read More

Troy Bayliss thrashes the 2009 Ducati 1198S

MotoGP fans can argue all they like about whether Casey Stoner's 2007 World Championship was a triumph of Ducati electronics over rider skill - but the fact remains that traction control technology is certainly relevant to us lesser riders, particularly in an age where half the price of a family car can buy you a 180-horsepower, featherlight superbike missile at any dealership. Ducati's 2009 1198S packs a 170-horsepower, 97lb-ft L-twin, top-rate Öhlins suspension front and rear, 7-spoke Marsechini wheels, an upgraded data acquisition and downloading system - and the same 8-stage traction control system you'd find on Stoner's GP8 or Bayliss's 1098R. Oh, and if you paid USD$40K for the 1098R last year, you might be annoyed to find out that this year's 1198S, a virtually identical bike with just 10 less horsepower in stock trim, is going to sell for less than USD$22K. Ouch.  Read More

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