With the introduction of the new HP4 Race, BMW is about to make 750 fans of 215hp, ultralight race bikes very happy. The exclusive offering pushes the envelope further than already achieved by the S1000RR but the jewel in this high tech crown is the carbon fibre main frame that weighs less than 8kgs allowing for the 215 horses to push it around even faster. A Canadian price has not been announced but we are guessing it will fall into the vicinity of “a lot”.
The details of the HP4 Race include:
Carbon fibre main frame in monocoque construction weighing just 7.8 kilograms.
Self-supporting carbon fibre rear frame with three-stage height adjustment function.
Carbon fibre wheels offering a weight reduction of some 30 per cent as compared to light alloy forged wheels.
Öhlins FGR 300 upside-down fork.
Öhlins TTX 36 GP spring strut.
Brembo GP4 PR monoblock brake calipers with 320 T-type racing steel brake disks (thickness: 6.75 mm) at the front.
Racing engine at World Cup level with an output of 158 kW (215 hp) at 13 900 rpm and a maximum torque of 120 Nm at 10 000 rpm.
Close-ratio racing gearbox with adapted transmission ratios.
Weight-optimised electrical system featuring light lithium-ion battery with 5 Ah.
2D dashboard and 2D data recording including logger.
Dynamic Traction Control DTC (programmable for selected gears at 15 levels).
Engine Brake EBR (programmable for selected gears at 15 levels).
Wheelie Control (programmable for selected gears).
Pit Lane Limiter.
Light trim parts made of carbon fibre with snap fasteners.
Paint finish in BMW HP Motorsport colours.
For those of you with unusual tastes in motorcycles you can rest easy now that Honda has announced its first 2018 model. After taking a hiatus for 2017, the avantgarde NM4 will return for the 2018 model year. Perhaps Honda was hoping for some extra love heaped upon the unusually designed motorcycle from the product placing of the machine in the recent Scarlett Johansson film Ghost in the Shell. Unfortunately the film didn’t remain in movie theatre’s long enough to make an impression. The anime inspired 670cc parallel twin with a DCT transmission and a colour changing dashboard will be back on sale as of summer 2017.
KTM has announced a world first in that the company will be introducing a fuel injected two stroke in the 2018 EXC 250 and EXC 300 models. The claimed advantages of this new engine over cabureted models are increased fuel economy, no more fuel mixing and better power delivery and rideability. The full specs for the machine will be available in May when the launch of the machines occurs.
You may not be able to get your mitts on one of Honda’s new Rebel 300 or 500s at your local dealer for a while yet but that hasn’t stopped the rollout of the first of what will likely be several custom iterations of the little cruiser. Introducing the Honda Rebel + Aviation Nation edition. You don’t know who or what Aviation Nation is? That’s okay as the target market we assume does. Nice seat treatment but the colours remind us of a ski jacket from 1982 – but then again the target market for this little machine wasn’t born in 1982 so they are just discovering browns and oranges. The Rebel + Aviation Nation edition is being unveiled at the hippest of venues, the SXSW festival in Austin, TX.
There comes a point when even a retro styled machine needs to be refreshed. The question becomes how to do it. To paint a scenario and stick within the Honda stable, imagine one day there is a retro version of the Honda Interceptor 750 circa 1983. It isn’t an unlikely scenario as that first Interceptor launched a thousand riding dreams and looked at the time like nothing else on the road. If that bike was given a retro treatment today, what would its refreshes look like? If continuous and sustained would they eventually make their way back to the VFR800 we have today? That is all a little too Days of Future Past. The point is that you can not refresh a retro machine in a new direction from what eventually came after it originally. In the case of Honda’s CB1100 retro flagship, the refreshing is best described as subtle – which is the best course of action. Noticing the differences is like playing that game on the back of a kid’s menu involving spotting the ten differences in almost identical images.
CB1100 – Can you tell the difference?
For 2017 the CB1100EX gets a gently re-sculpted tank, stainless steel spoked wheels rather than cast, led lighting incorporated into both the headlight and taillight, smaller and lighter mufflers, suspension improvements and a slipper clutch. Subtle but still an evolutionary improvement on a bike intended to evoke the gory days of 1970’s Japanese sport machines.
While there is thus far no indication that this pint size adventurist will be coming to Canada it does make for interesting news. No longer is the fan favourite, the V-Strom 650, the little bike and in fact that bike is huge in displacement compared to the 250. While sporting the ADV cues of its larger namesakes and powered by a small parallel twin, the V-Strom 250 (obviously they couldn’t go with P-Strom) is more about the ergonomics and comforts of the ADV class than it is about tackling the Dempster Highway and around town if should make for a admirable commuter with horsepower in the 25-ish range. Suddenly with the arrival of this Strom and the new GSX-R250 (which is coming to Canada), Suzuki has completely brought their small bike offerings into the modern world. Way to go Suzuki.
While having the handsome retro machine in the line-up that is the TU250, Suzuki was noticeably absent from the small displacement sport bike category that represents a large number of sales in the Canadian market. For a little history on that scenario: Kawasaki had the segment pretty much to themselves in Canada for many years with the Ninja 250 – an entry level bike with the stye and dimensions of its larger Ninja stablemates. The company sold a lot of them. Eventually Honda noticed and wanting to grab a few of those sales introduced the CBR250 which went on to do battle with the Ninja 250 to claim the title of best selling bike in Canada. With success comes even more competition and soon Yamaha and KTM had bikes in and around the segment as displacements rose to 300 and above. Suzuki has now thrown their helmet in the ring with a GSX250R. A clean take on the GSXR line-up the new bike has a 248 cc engine, 6-speed transmission and a wet weight of 392 lbs. Fuel economy is expected to be in the range of 76 mpg from a 4 gallon (US) tank. Oddly the Suzuki press release states that the new bike is inspired by not the GSX-Rs but of the popular Suzuki of the 1980’s and 90’s , the Katana. In the release the company says:
The GSX250R draws its design and performance inspiration from the legendary line of Suzuki Katana sportbikes. Resonating with Suzuki loyalists and motorcycle enthusiasts in general, Katana sportbikes stood for versatile real world performance, elegant design and practical ownership. The GSX250R will carry on that winning combination and easily position alongside Suzuki’s sport and standard motorcycle line-ups.
Kawasaki has dropped an adventure themed entry level bike into its Versys line with the reveal of the Versys 300X. While having some of the styling characteristics of the venerable KLR650 including the spoked wheels. the new 300X is not intended as an off-road machine but rather the new small Versys offers riders the benefits of ADV ergonomics including an upright seating position, a small windscreen and a broad seat with accompanying rear carrier platform. Also in the ADV mode the bike has a 19 inch from rim, a 17 inch rear rim, a 41mm Showa long travel front fork and hooks for strapping down luggage. The Versys 300X borrows power from the 296cc twin that is found in the Ninja 300 so this lightweight machine should easily have the get up and go to make highway riding comfortable. Small displacement touring should also be in the works as the 17l fuel tank should provide the new bike with an impressive range. The Canadian MSRP is at the moment TBD.
Recognizing that a 1198cc, 160hp engine might just be a little more than your average commuter might required, Ducati has introduced a smaller displacement machine in the Multistrada line. The Multistrada 950 is powered by a 937cc mill producing 113 hp and a peak 71 lb-ft of torque. Designed to be smaller all around and not just in displacement the new machine has a wet weight of just 500lbs. It comes with all the tech goodies including riding modes, power modes, ABS and traction control. If you want to dress your 950 up to further emulate the big bike there are various “theme” packs that will give the bike an adventure, touring or sport look.
BMW has dressed up their smallest bike in the company’s biggest of big boy pants with the introduction of the G310GS. The 313 cc machine gets the full GS appearance package – beaky nose, two tone paint, skid plate and rear carrier. The beefy little beast also includes niceties like a tubular steel frame with a bolt-on rear section, switchable ABS and an inverted front fork. 34hp and a low weight of 170 kgs should make this a kinder, gentler GS for those who do not want to wrestle one of the big boys through the forest and across the tundra. Now BMW doesn’t want anyone to think that just because the G310GS only has 25% of the displacement of the R1200GS it is not a real BMW. To that aim the company states:
A genuine BMW. Like the G 310 R, the G 310 GS represents everything that BMW stands for: progressiveness, outstanding quality and of course many years of carefree partnership with its owner. Excellent components and materials come together to make it a real all-rounder. The G 310 GS is the GS below 500 cc, providing worldwide entry to the premium world of BMW Motorrad.
The extent to which the G310GS will have a premium price tag has not yet been disclosed for the Canadian market. BMW now has a 700GS and 800GS and of course the company’s top two selling motorcycles, the R1200GS and the R1200GSA. The ADV market is the strong trending segment so it makes sense that BMW would want to provide both a stepping stone model and an entry level bike which the G310GS is both. Intesting the G310 turns up in the same year that Honda releases a big boy ADV version of the company’s CRF250L in the Rally version. Things are looking interesting in the play pen.
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