Tuesday, November 13, 2012

2013 Moto Guzzi California 1400: Official high-res pics, specs, details

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The 2013 Moto Guzzi California 1400, perhaps the coolest, most stylish luxury touring motorcycle in the world right now. This is one tourer we love, floorboards and all...

The 2013 Moto Guzzi California 1400 has finally been unveiled at the EICMA, in all its 1950s-style art deco glory. No, really, it’s a beautiful motorcycle, this Guzzi – almost makes us want one, floorboards and all. Hand-assembled at Guzzi’s Mandello del Lario plant in Italy, this is one luxury touring (not adventure touring, thank god!) bike that shows what the Japanese still can’t do.

Guzzi have been building touring bikes named ‘California’ since the early-1970s, with varying engine capacities – 750, 850, 1000 and 1100. Most of these have been, we’re sorry to say, more than a bit crappy, but all is forgiven with this new 1400 California. It’s not just utterly gorgeous to look at, it also seems to be, mechanically, quite capable. Mated to a six-speed gearbox, the bike’s 1380cc opposed-twin 8-valve engine produces 96bhp and 120Nm of torque at only 2750rpm, which should mean that low-rev performance should be damn good. There’s even ride-by-wire, traction control and selectable engine mapping (Turismo, Veloce and Pioggia, and who cares what they mean or do…) here. What are Guzzis coming to?!

The California 1400 also has a brand new double cradle steel tube chassis for improved riding dynamics, and a new cardan (shaft) final drive for smooth operation and low maintenance. The quality of paint and brightwork is the best in the business and the Guzzi even has LED daytime running lights. The bike rides on 16-inch (rear) and 18-inch (front) wheels, shod with 200/60 and 130/70 tyres. There’s a beefy 46mm fork up front and twin shocks at the back, Brembo brakes with twin 320mm discs at the front and, of course, ABS.

Since the California 1400 is a luxury tourer, it’s kitted out like one – large windshield, plush two-tone saddle, 35-litre side panniers and a factory accessories catalogue that you can spend days poring over. Honestly, we love this Moto Guzzi and we want one in our garage. Parked right next to our Ducati 1199 Panigale R, of course! ;-)

2013 Aprilia Caponord 1200: Specs, details, official high-res pics, video

2013 Aprilia Caponord 1200
2013 Aprilia Caponord 1200 2013 Aprilia Caponord 1200 2013 Aprilia Caponord 1200
The 2013 Aprilia Caponord 1200, now showing at the EICMA, in Milan

If you’re into motorcycling, you can’t, it seems, escape adventure tourers these days. The damn things are everywhere, almost every single motorcycle manufacturer is producing at least one adventure touring motorcycle, which is now the SUV of the motorcycle world. So, of course, Aprilia have unveiled their all-new adventure tourer, the 2013 Caponord 1200, which is now being shown at the EICMA in Milan.

The Aprilia Caponord 1200 is powered by a 90-degree 1200cc liquid-cooled fuel-injected DOHC 8-valve V-twin that produces 128 horsepower and 116Nm of torque. As you’d expect, it’s packed with electronics – selectable engine mapping (sport, touring, raing) and ride-by-wire throttle for smooth, consistent power delivery. The engine is mated to a six-speed gearbox, operated via a hydraulic clutch.

The Caponord 1200’s chassis uses a mix of steel tubes and forged aluminium plates for lightness and strength, the ergonomics are optimized for long-distance riding over all kinds of terrain, the windshield is height-adjustable and the Capo’s 24-litre fuel tank means a range of more than 300km on one full tank of fuel. The bike also has 29-litre panniers that can be mounted at the back, on the sides, and according to Aprilia, these do not create any inconvenience for the rear seat passenger. And, oh, even the exhaust silencers are height-adjustable, so you can alter their height when you aren’t riding with panniers, making sure your bike looks… er, sportier and more aggressive. Ahem.

2013 BMW F800GT unveiled at the EICMA

2013 BMW F800GT
2013 BMW F800GT 2013 BMW F800GT 2013 BMW F800GT
The 2013 BMW F800GT, a relatively simple yet competent touring bike

BMW have released specs, details and first official pics of the 2013 F800GT (successor to the F800ST), which is now being shown at the EICMA in Milan. The F800GT is powered by an uprated iteration of BMW’s proven liquid-cooled 798cc parallel-twin, which now produces 90bhp, 5 horsepower more than what it used to make in the F800ST.

With a maintenance-free toothed belt transferring the engine’s power to the rear wheel and ergonomics that have been optimised for wind and weather protection, adequate luggage carrying capacity and electronics that include ABS, stability control and electronically adjustable suspension (the last two being optional), the new BMW F800GT definitely looks like a competent touring bike.

Husqvarna Concept Baja unveiled at the EICMA


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Stevel McQueen jumps a Husqvarna Cross 400 back in 1971 (top) and four decades on, the Husqvarna Concept Baja (above) pays tribute to the original

Husqvarna usually come with one really cool concept bike for the EICMA each year, and this year they have the Concept Baja, which, according to the BMW-owned Swedish company, represents “Seventies style and passion combined with the technology of today. It reflects the essence of what Husqvarna motorcycles stood for in the sixties and seventies.”

The Husqvarna Concept Baja pays tribute to, and is based on, the Husqvarna Cross 400, which was featured on the cover of the August 1971 issue of Sports Illustrated, with Steve McQueen riding the bike. “The McQueen-Husqvarna combination eventually became the idol of a whole generation of off-road fans, and the Husqvarna Cross 400 has been taken as the historical design role model for the Concept BAJA,” says a note from Husqvarna.

The Concept Baja is powered by a liquid-cooled single-cylinder engine, mated to a 5-speed gearbox. With its steel tube chassis, the bike rides on 19-inch (front) and 17-inch (rear) wire-spoke wheels and there’s a USD fork at the front and central spring strut hinged on a lever system at the back. The bike is, according to Husqvarna, ideal for light off-road use. We think McQueen would’ve been happy with this machine…

BMW Motorrad to mark its 90th anniversary by launching a new boxer-engined bike in 2013

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BMW will launch a new boxer-engined bike in 2013

Stephan Schaller, President - BMW Motorrad, said in his speech at the EICMA, today, that the company will launch an all-new air-cooled boxer-engined motorcycle in 2013, to the mark the 90th anniversary of BMW Motorrad.

Back in 1923, the BMW R32 established the template for future boxer-engined (air-cooled opposed-twin four-stroke engines) BMW motorcycles. Yes, even the mighty BMW HP2 Sport, which was unveiled in 2007, can trace its lineage all the way back to that first R32 of the 1920s!

‘The new, distinctive motorcycle to come out next year will express the genes of 90 years of BMW Motorrad, combined with emotional styling and innovative technology to create a new, multifaceted vehicle concept. The model designation and date of the market launch will be announced at a later stage,’ says a press release from BMW.





2013 Honda CB500X, adventure-touring mini-me

2013 Honda CB500X
2013 Honda CB500X 2013 Honda CB500X 2013 Honda CB500X
The 2013 Honda CB500X, perhaps the most useful of Honda's new 500cc motorcycle range, which includes the CB500F and CBR500R

The last of the new-for-2013 Honda 500 trio (see the CB500F and CBR500R), the CB500X is for those who want to go adventure-touring on a budget. Or, since the bike has been engineered primarily for emerging economies, perhaps for those who simply want to tackle third-world-country roads on a robustly-built motorcycle that looks good and is even mildly sporty.

The Honda CB500X shares its chassis, suspension and liquid-cooled, fuel-injected, DOHC parallel-twin with its CB500F and CBR500R cousins. With 47 horsepower and 43Nm of torque, and 195kg kerb weight, the CB500X is probably a mild-mannered machine, but one that’s refined and fuel-efficient, with Honda claiming 27km/l for the bike.

The chassis is a steel tube unit, and the CB500X is fitted with 41mm telescopic forks, Pro-Link rear monoshock, 17-inch wheels, 120/70 (front) and 160/60 (rear) radial tyres, disc brakes at both ends and standard ABS. The bike’s 17.3-litre fuel tank provides a range of more than 460km and given it’s adventure-touring positioning, the 500X gets a bash-plate fitted at the bottom to protect the engine’s underside and exhaust pipe on rough terrain.

For what it’s worth, we do think the CB500X is the coolest of Honda’s new 500 trio.

2013 Ducati Hyperstrada: The Hypermotard goes touring

2013 Ducati Hyperstrada
2013 Ducati Hyperstrada 2013 Ducati Hyperstrada 2013 Ducati Hyperstrada
So, what do you get when you cross a Hypermotard with a Multistrada? Er... a Ducati Hyperstrada. It's a Hypermotard that's been kitted out to go long-distance touring...

Ducati have unveiled the 2013 Hypermotard line-up just in time for the EICMA and alongside the Hypermotard and Hypermotard SP, the range now also includes the new Hyperstrada. While the Hypermotard duo continues to provide no-holds-barred supermoto-style thrills, the Hyperstrada is built for longer-distance travel and is powered by a new 821cc Testastretta V-twin that produces 110 horsepower and 89Nm of torque.

Like with other bikes in the Hypermotard line-up, the new Ducati Hyperstrada gets a steel tube trellis frame and a host of high-tech electronics, including ride-by-wire throttle, 3-level ABS, 8-level traction control and selectable riding modes that change power delivery to suit riding conditions.

With a touring screen, touring seat, passenger grabhandles, quickly-detachable side- and top-mounted luggage and even a centre-stand, the Hyperstrada is just that much more practical for longer journeys and is very much the ‘tourer’ in the Hypermotard line-up.

The Hyperstrada, which weighs 181kg dry, is fitted with 43mm USD Kayaba forks, Sachs adjustable rear shock absorber, 17-inch cast-aluminium wheels shod with Pirelli Scorpion Trail tyres and is priced at 12,790 euros. Adventure touring bikes seem to be very much in vogue these days, so we suppose there should be no dearth of takers for this machine from Ducati.

2013 Honda CBR500R: Specs, details, official high-res pics

2013 Honda CBR500R
2013 Honda CBR500R 2013 Honda CBR500R 2013 Honda CBR500R
The 2013 Honda CBR500R, a whole new take on affordable performance

The 2013 CBR500R is the second bike in Honda’s new 500cc trio and brings sporting performance down to a whole new level of affordability. Powered by a liquid-cooled, fuel-injected, DOHC parallel-twin that produces 47 horsepower and 43Nm of torque, and with a claimed fuel efficiency figure of up to 27km/l, the CBR500R is a new take on the marriage of practicality, affordability and sporting performance. The bike has been engineered primarily for emerging economies in Asia (India, China, Thailand and so on…), but will also be launched in Europe and the US.

The CBR500R shares its steel tube chassis with the CB500F and CB500X, but has its own unique riding position, feel and character. “Fast, frugal, affordable and fun, the CBR500R offers a great entry point to the world of sports motorcycles, with high a build quality plus pride of ownership that will last,” says a press release from Honda.

While ABS is standard on the CBR500R, there’s no electronics overkill here – no traction control, no selectable engine mapping etc., and the bike doesn’t really need any of that. It’s just an honest, old-school 1980s kind of sportsbike that offers adequate performance, reasonably decent styling and all-around practicality.

With its 41mm telescopic fork, Pro-Link rear monoshock, 17-inch cast aluminium wheels, 120/70 (front) and 160/60 (rear) radial tyres, disc brakes at both ends and 194kg kerb weight, the CBR500R isn’t exactly a cutting-edge sportsbike, but then not everyone wants or needs one. Honda will, in fact, go racing in the European Junior Cup (EJC) series with this bike in 2013, which probably says something about the bike.

On the street, the CBR500R’s 15.7-litre fuel tank gives it a range of more than 400km and its comprehensive instrumentation – digital speedo and tacho, dual trip meters, digital fuel level gauge and fuel consumption and HISS (Honda Intelligent Security System) that’s built into the ignition – makes it a ‘proper’ mid-size sports-touring machine.

We can’t say we love the Honda CBR500R, but that doesn’t matter – there will be thousands of young real-world buyers across the globe, who want a bike like this and who’d rush to Honda showrooms to buy one. More power to them, we say.

2013 CB500F: Specs, first official high-res pics released

2013 Honda CB500F
2013 Honda CB500F 2013 Honda CB500F 2013 Honda CB500F
The Honda CB500F - an all-new middleweight do-it-all machine that is expected to deliver great results for the Japanese company, especially in Asian markets

Honda have released full details and the first official high-res pics of its new commuter bike, the 2013 CB500F. Pitched as an entry-level full-size machine that’s reasonably sporty, is perfect for commuting in the city and which is also suitable for mid-distance touring, the CB500F takes some styling cues from the Honda CB1000R and is powered by a liquid-cooled fuel-injected DOHC 8-valve parallel-twin that produces 47bhp and 43Nm of torque, and returns up to 27km/l in terms of fuel-efficiency.

The Honda CB500F gets a tubular steel chassis, 41mm telescopic forks, Pro-Link preload-adjustable rear monoshock, 17-inch cast aluminium wheels, 120/70 (front) and 160/60 (rear) tyres and disc brakes at both ends, with optional ABS. Kerb weight is 190kg. Given the bike’s 15.7-litre fuel tank, range is over 400km, which should keep those happy who intend to go touring on this middleweight Honda.

Part of a new trio of 500cc machines, the CB500F will be key in Honda’s bid to increase its market share in emerging economies, especially various Asian markets.

2013 Honda CBR600RR unveiled in time for the EICMA

2013 Honda CBR600RR
2013 Honda CBR600RR 2013 Honda CBR600RR 2013 Honda CBR600RR
The 2013 Honda CBR600RR gets... new headlamps! Oh, well, there are also a lot of other detail changes that really do make it a better bike than its predecessor...

Honda are now showing the 2013 CBR600RR at the EICMA, in Milan. According to the Japanese company, the two key factors in the development of the latest iteration of the middleweight CBR have been improved racetrack performance and improved agility for better manoeuvreability.

“The 2013 Honda CBR600RR, building on the platform of the previous model, has taken its performance to a new level. It delivers an awesome ride on the circuit, but is even easier than before to ride on city streets. It sounds contradictory, but the natural fusion of these two aspects of the bike’s character is what makes this model even more attractive than its predecessor,” says Hirofumi Fukunaga, the CBR600RR’s Large Development Project Leader.

The 2013 CBR600RR gets new 41mm Showa big piston inverted forks that deliver better feedback and a smooth, stable ride. The bike also gets 12-spoke cast aluminium wheels that reduce unsprung weight and improve feedback and handling in a big way. The CBR’s 599cc inline-four produces 118bhp and 66Nm of torque and, with PGM-DSFI fuel-injection and remapped ECU, is said to be more tractable than ever before, with more linear, consistent power delivery across its rev range.

The bike’s Unit Pro-Link rear suspension has also been improved, resulting in better low speed performance, greater feedback, and improved stability and controllability. Changes made to the CBR’s chassis have further improved mass centralization, with the bike’s handling now being sharper and more intuitive. The new CBR600RR weighs just 196kg.

Braking duties on the 2013 CBR600RR are handled by twin 310mm discs with radial-mount 4-piston calipers (front) and single 220mm disc at the back. It’s a powerful, sophisticated brake-by-wire system, with integrated C-ABS. An electronically controlled speed-sensitive steering damper keeps things stable at all times and, according to Honda, the new CBR’s styling and headlamps have been inspired by the RC213V MotoGP bike.

It might not be a radical update, but the 2013 Honda CBR600RR is still likely to be somewhere near the top in the supersports 600 class next year.

F6B brings bagger-style to the 2013 Honda Gold Wing

2013 Honda Gold Wing F6B
2013 Honda Gold Wing F6B 2013 Honda Gold Wing F6B 2013 Honda Gold Wing F6B
The Honda Gold Wing F6B, surprisingly edgy, cool and stylish!

At long last, Honda have finally injected some excitement into the Gold Wing, an accomplished touring bike but one that’s become a bit too big, heavy and boring in recent years. For 2013, the Gold Wing has gone ‘bagger,’ which essentially means it’s been stripped down, gets a cut-down screen and a more minimal fairing, and a large dose of ‘cool.’

‘The new Gold Wing F6B is a lightweight and stylish touring bike. It features improved dynamic performance, while retaining great riding comfort,’ says Teishiro Goto, Honda's Large Project Leader for the F6B. The bike retains the regular Gold Wing’s 1.8-litre straight-six (116bhp, 167Nm) and aluminium twin-spar chassis, but at 385kg (kerb weight), it weighs 28 kilos less than the Gold Wing GL1800. The F6B also gets preload-adjustable 45mm anti-dive telescopic front forks, Pro-Link rear suspension, an all-new 4-speaker sound system, C-ABS, 18-inch alloy wheels, twin rear-mounted bags and a 25-litre fuel tank.

In keeping with its sportier character, the Gold Wing F6B doesn’t have sat-nav, airbag, electric reverse gear, cruise control and seat heater – things which are available as optional extras on the GL1800. Also, running boards for the rear passenger have now been replaced with regular footpegs. The bike’s 5-speed gearbox still, however, transmits the engine’s power to the rear wheel via shaft drive, which is smooth and maintenance free.

We like the Honda Gold Wing F6B. It’s one touring bike we think we can live with.

2013 Ducati 1199 Panigale R is now officially the most lust-worthy bike in the world

2013 Ducati 1199 Panigale R 2013 Ducati 1199 Panigale R
2013 Ducati 1199 Panigale R 2013 Ducati 1199 Panigale R
The 2013 Ducati Panigale R. Words are simply not enough...

To keep one step ahead of machines like the BMW HP4 and Aprilia RSV4 Factory, Ducati have unleashed the 1199 Panigale R for 2013, with the bike being unveiled at the EICMA in Milan. This is the bike that Ducati are homologating for World Superbikes and the R gets an updated engine management system and recalibrated ride-by-wire throttle. There’s also a new set of Titanium con-rods, a lighter crankshaft flywheel and DLC-coated rocker-arms, all of which allow the Panigale R’s Superquadro L-twin to rev even quicker, all the way to its 12,000rpm redline.

The Panigale R’s race kit consists of a racing screen, fairing mirror caps in machined alloy and a full Termignoni exhaust system with dedicated ECU mapping (for track use only). Ducati claim that the Termignoni system provides a power increase of 3% at the top of the rev-range and 15% in the mid-range, which is further amplified by the R’s acceleration-enhancing 15-41 final drive ratio. The Panigale R also features a 4-point adjustable swingarm pivot, which is designed to enable riders to personalize bike set-up by changing levels of pro- or anti-squat, to optimize traction on corner exit.

The Panigale R also gets a fully adjustable Öhlins suspension, Pirelli Diablo Supercorsa SP rubber, GPS-enhanced Ducati data acquisition system and circuit map-linked data, and a host of carbonfibre bits, including rear hugger, rear suspension guard, heel guards, ignition switch surround and top fairing inner panels, and protectors for the single-sided swingarm and clutch cover. The R weighs just 165kg dry and is available only in red, with brushed aluminium on the fuel tank and lightweight forged alloy wheels from Marchesini, in black.

We love the Panigale R so much, we have no words to describe how we feel about this motorcycle. The only thing is, it costs 31,990 euros and that's a bit more than we have in the bank right now. How we wish we’d done a bit more with our lives and earned more money, so we could have bought one of these…

2013 Ducati Diavel Strada unveiled at the EICMA

2013 Ducati Diavel Strada
2013 Ducati Diavel Strada 2013 Ducati Diavel Strada 2013 Ducati Diavel Strada 2013 Ducati Diavel Strada
The new Ducati Diavel Strada, optimised for long-distance touring...

Ducati have unveiled their new Diavel Strada, which is being shown for the first time at the EICMA, in Milan. The bike is powered by the same 162bhp Testastretta V-twin as the other Diavels (Carbon and Dark), weighs 205kg dry and features the same electronics package, which includes ABS, traction control, ride-by-wire and selectable riding modes. However, the Diavel Strada has been further optimized for long-distance touring comfort, with a windscreen, higher handlebars, heated grips and two auxiliary power outlets for heated clothing and/or navigation accessories.

The 2013 Ducati Diavel Strada also gets a rear seat backrest and grabrails for added passenger comfort, and a set of beautifully styled side-mounted panniers for 41 litres of luggage carrying capacity. The bike also gets an exclusive titanium colour scheme with black-painted frame and wheels.

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