Our man in Europe, Ian delivers a monthly dose of those tasty rumors and hearsay from across the pond that make up our Euro Gossip column.
The KTM Race and Stunt 125 concepts revealed at Milan last year.
The weather over here in Europe for the past month has been pretty horrendous for motorcycling. Not only in terms of lack of riding, but it has meant that the motorcycle industry news has been pretty quiet, with very little happening in the way of leaks or sightings. Even the traditional warmer European circuits have seen little in the way of prototype testing taking place.
Certainly given the economic climate this has not helped the road to recovery, but as you will see from this month’s offering, there are a still a few glimmers of hope for a better year to come. At the risk of being accused of patriotic flag waving, this is highlighted by Triumph’s recently released figures showing their increase in market share!
Pictures are now leaking out from KTM of the new 125’s that are being built in India by its partner Bajaj. The four-stroke ‘Stunt’ looks almost identical to the concept model seen at the Milan show last November along with the ‘Race’ model. Sources claim the bike is undergoing final endurance testing and will be shown in final form at the end of this year for production in 2011 with the Race following soon after.
Bosch continues to be on the leading edge of motorcycle safety recieving an award from the ADAC.
German automotive component supplier Bosch has been awarded a prestigious ‘Gelber Engel’ (yellow angel) award, by the massive German ADAC motoring organization. The award is in recognition of the part that Bosch’s new motorcycle ABS is playing in motorcycle safety.
Bosch has actually been manufacturing brake control systems for motorcycles since 1994, but while all of the previous systems have been based on passenger car technology its new ‘Generation 9’ has been developed specifically for motorcycles at the Bosch competence center in Japan. Another big plus with the new system is that it is based on a modular design, allowing various levels of sophistication to be selected from a base system with basic functions, to a high-performance version. In the simplest version it weighs just 0.7 kilograms (1.54 lbs) and is half the size and weight of the previous Bosch units. Now in production, it is hoped that it will lead to more motorcycles being fitted with what many believe is a serious life saving aid.
Currently figures show only ten percent of new motorcycles manufactured in Europe are equipped with ABS, while taken on a worldwide basis, the figure drops to just one percent. In the passenger car market 80% have ABS as standard, but for the same distance traveled, the risk of being involved in a fatal collision for a motorcyclist is twenty times greater than a car driver in Europe. Various studies throughout the world, including the USA, show the risk of being killed is considerably reduced if ABS is fitted.
BMW’s 1 millionth ABS equipped motorcycle rolled off the assembly line, a BMW K1300R.
The foregoing is of course something that BMW Motorcycles would agree with, having just announced it has just produced its millionth motorcycle equipped with its integral ABS system. The K1300R left the Berlin Spandau factory to join the other machines on the road that got the integral system in the last 21 years of production. Currently 90% of all BMW machines are now supplied with ABS and apart from the Enduro 450X, every machine is either fitted as standard or has the ABS as an optional extra.
Rest of the World
With the markets growing in China, many manufacturers are increasing presence there by showing their latest offerings at the 8th China International Motorcycle Trade Exhibition.
Many motorcycle companies worldwide have joint venture operations with Chinese companies, so it was no surprise to see brands such as Harley-Davidson, Ducati, Piaggio and even Japanese manufacturers such as Yamaha and Suzuki exhibited at the 8th China International Motorcycle Trade Exhibition.
Held at the Chongging Exhibition Centre, which is the heart of China’s motorcycle manufacturing region, it attracted in excess of 140,000 trade visitors, 333 exhibitors and 27 manufacturers exhibiting over 1000 motorcycles. According to the recently release figures visitors came from over 40 countries.
None of the figures are surprising when you consider that of the 50 million machines sold worldwide, 27 million came from Japan. With 1.3 billion people living in China now demanding more mobility, their motorcycle market and potential sales are still on the increase even if other markets are shrinking!
Mira Motorcycles is bringing its MT80 to life, with a 250cc not far behind.
Mira Motorcycles is a new company based in Auckland, New Zealand, with an assembly plant in ChongQing, China. It has now announced it is ready to launch its own range of machines first shown as prototypes two years ago. The water-cooled 80cc two-stroke is available in Motocross and Motard versions and there is a 250cc four-stroke already under development.