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Euro Gossip November 2005

Monday, November 14, 2005
MV is expected to release an even newer 910 Brutale than the 2006 seen here. Called the 910R  the special edition will feature more power and a style similar to the previous Brutale Gladio.
MV is expected to release an even newer 910 Brutale than the 2006 seen here. Called the 910R, the special edition will feature more power and a style similar to the previous Brutale Gladio.
It is show time again with the Milan Show just days away and it is rumored that just as you are reading this two new MVs will be making their public appearance. The F4 Superbike homologation special we have previously mentioned - 200 bhp and 200 mph - and another limited-edition F4 1000 machine to be called the Senna, after the Brazilian racing driver, Ayrton.

This will be the third bike bearing the legendary F1 driver's name, all from MV leader Claudio Castiglioni who was a close friend. This bike is the most powerful of all of them and will have a run of 300 and have many special parts as well as a unique paint job. The engine is rumored to have 174 bhp and will rev to 13,000 rpm giving a top speed 187 mph. The revised engine has more torque as well, which will further enhance the bikes capabilities when coupled with the new lightweight chassis and fairing components. Expect a price around the $30,000 mark!

Expect also a new 910 Brutale called the 910R with more power and high specification running gear. Styling will be close to the limited Brutale Gladio revealed earlier this year.

Ducati continues to struggle, and that is official since the publication of its first half year trading figures. They took advantage of Stock Market regulations and delayed the results in an effort to be able to paint a rosier picture with a new investor in place.

However, that has not come to fruition yet and the figures show a 14.6% drop over the previous year, or to use cash figures 128.7 million pounds ($223 million) down! Bike sales themselves were down 15.7% and apparel was also down 7.7%. Ducati bosses were putting a brave spin on the figures stating that the 4000 pre-sold Classics will bring things back into line and they only expect a pre- tax loss of 1.3 million pounds ($2.25 million) by the end of the year. Meanwhile in London, two of Ducati's biggest flagship stores have closed their doors for the last time due to cash flow problems!

Ducati may have reported disappointing financial numbers  but if the opposite applies to you  for a mere  32 995  you can obtain a Xerox replica version of the World Superbike 999R  which made its debut at the recent Motorcycle and Scooter Show in Birmingham  UK .
Ducati may have reported disappointing financial numbers, but if the opposite applies to you, for a mere $32,995, you can obtain a Xerox replica version of the World Superbike 999R, which made its debut at the recent Motorcycle and Scooter Show in Birmingham (UK).
None of this gloom however, stopped it launching the new ST3S with ABS and higher spec suspension and wheels at the recent UK show. Along with this was a 999R Xerox WSB replica of the machine ridden by James Toseland and Regis Laconi. It has a 150 bhp version of the Testastretta motor with black Ohlins forks, and higher spec rear shock with separate adjusters for high- and low-speed damping adjustment.

While Ducati might not have a lot to shout about with its first half financial results, Piaggio does. The group's sales revenue increased by 6.9% despite a decline in scooter sales of 7%. However, the company acknowledged the growing contribution from its Aprilia and Moto Guzzi acquisitions, not forgetting the Spanish Derbi concern.

Apparently the intention is to float the whole group on the stock market next summer. Piaggio Chairman Roberto Colaninno has confirmed that the move will take place "a little before August 2006."

In the meantime, Aprilia is rumoured to be looking at a launch of 18 new models before 2008, and none of these will be just restyling exercises. A cash injection of 48 million pounds ($83 million) will see the firm move away from buying in engines from other manufacturers to become self- sufficient.

Aprilia has also had its test model of the new RSV-R spied when out completing its final tests. Expected to be publicly launched at Milan, it is far sharper in appearance than before, but specific details remain unknown until the public unveiling. Expect also to see a new RS125 at the same time or if not the near future, along with a new Scarebo 500cc scooter.

A newer version of the Benelli Tornado  2003 model pictured above  will compete against rival Japanese liter-bikes with a 161 bhp-producing Triple.
A newer version of the Benelli Tornado (2003 model pictured above) will compete against rival Japanese liter-bikes with a 161 bhp-producing Triple.
Moto Guzzi is set to turn its big 1100 Breva into a Honda Pan European type of tourer with integrated fairing and panniers. Remember too that it debuted a semi-automatic gearbox some two years ago, so this could find its way onto the new bike to rival the newly revamped Yamaha FJR1300.

It is thought that this new bike is being developed at the behest of new Guzzi boss Danile Bandiera who came from Alfa Romeo where he developed sexy, sleek cars and turned their fortunes around a before moving to Guzzi in March. The Mandello Del Lario firm have already seen a reversal of its fortunes since his arrival. What is certain to be shown at the Milan bash is the new California Vintage to remind people of their heritage.

Benelli is expected to come back with two new bikes despite the recent wrangling over its ownership - now Chinese. Expect a new Tornado 1130 with 161 bhp at the rider's control to help the Triple compete against Japanese 1000cc Fours. Also look out for the TRE-K, a bike to rival the Ducati Multistrada but with a lot more power than the Bologna machine.
The future of Mondial is in the hands of Piero Caronni who bought it at auction. He has big plans  but whether they become more than just plans remains to be seen.
The future of Mondial is in the hands of Piero Caronni who bought it at auction. He has big plans, but whether they become more than just plans remains to be seen.

Following on from last month, the saga that is Mondial continues. Bought at auction by Piero Caronni (who also bought all the stocks of the two-stroke Bimota V-Due) it now seems that his intention is the 30 completed Piegas he got as part of the deal.

Furthermore he has announced he intends to turn the prototype Nuda and Starfighters into production bikes along with another prototype he intends to show at Milan. All sounds kind of familiar somehow, and what it really needs is some positive cash-backed action if this is not to become a regular monthly report with just the names of the owners being changed!

Peugeot has moved into the 500cc scooter market due to low-priced competition from the Chinese.
Peugeot has moved into the 500cc scooter market due to low-priced competition from the Chinese.
Leading French scooter manufacturer Peugeot has moved in to the big scooter market (as we reported last month in the Paris Show report) due to having a hard time in the 50cc bracket thanks to the low-priced Chinese competition. Once its biggest market, they find it hard to compete on price. Although they still hold 20% of the European scooter market, they are moving to the bigger bikes where they don't have to sell at reduced prices as the customer base is normally a lot older and financially stable. Hence the 500cc models they have just launched.

Moving to Germany, MZ is now letting you specify the color scheme you get when you purchase one of its 1000cc range. You can also choose graphics and wheel colors along with black or stainless end cans.

BMW chose the British 2005 International Motorcycle and Scooter Show at Birmingham's National Exhibition Centre to reveal a brand new travel and enduro machine - the 2006 BMW R1200 GS Adventure. A replacement for the hugely popular and successful R1150 GS Adventure, the new 1200cc model features more power, less weight, and improved off-road capability. BMW expect that, ultimately, it will penetrate its market segment as the definitive bike for serious long-distance on and off-road riding.
The BMW F800S has been mentioned often but rarely seen. Rumor has it will be joined at its debut with a fully-faired F800ST.
The BMW F800S has been mentioned often but rarely seen. Rumor has it will be joined at its debut with a fully-faired F800ST.

Despite an impressive stand which won the best in show award, there was still no sign of BMW's F800S we have been mentioning in this column for some time. However, the firms Pieter de Waal let slip there may also be a fully faired F800ST to go with when it finally breaks cover!

At the same show, British firm CCM made yet another comeback with a new R35 Supermoto. Powered by a Suzuki DR-Z motor, it makes 44 bhp, but a big-bore version is also offered. Cost for the standard model is 5442 pounds ($9450) on the road.

Royal Enfield, too, debuted a bike to celebrate 50 years of production in India with the launch of the XR 500. The bike will be produced for one year only and has 25% more power than standard with 30 bhp at the crank. The all-red machine is based on the old cafe racers of the '60s but has many modern features like a front disc brake and electric start.

In the UK there is a worry that the proposed new European Driving Licence Directive will push up the minimum ages for riding large-capacity motorcycles. This will be done in the name of road safety to allow the UK government to meet casualty targets for 2010, but will of course adversely affect bike sales in the future.

Moving continents, in India a lawyer who had his bike stolen found it parked up with a different number plate on it. Enquiries showed it to be now owned by a police officer who allegedly bought it from a workshop in a remote area. He could not produce any receipts - the case continues!

Meanwhile the Japanese manufacturers are increasingly using their Asian bases to produce bikes to save on costs faced with stiff opposition from the Chinese. Honda have of course been doing this for years, but now the rest are following, as we reported last month with Suzuki moving back to India. Kawasaki already uses its Indian partner Baj Auto for their global 125cc machine.

Honda, too, plans to boost motorcycle sales in Asian regions outside China and Japan to 12 million units by 2007. Honda's third motorcycle factory in Indonesia was brought online recently, raising its production capacity in that nation to 3 million units, up from 2 million. Indonesia now joins India as Honda's largest base for motorcycle production. The firm will spend 30 billion yen in the three years through to 2007 to increase output in India, the Philippines and Pakistan, bringing total capacity to 14 million units.

In 2004, Honda sold 11 million motorcycles worldwide. It plans to boost global sales to 16 million by 2007, more than 80% of which will be sold in Asia.

Staying with the Japanese, it appears that Suzuki Motor Corp. will terminate its mutual OEM (original equipment manufacturing) tie-up with Kawasaki Heavy Industries Ltd. as early as 2007. The step is being taken because the arrangement is unlikely to boost their sales, partly due to customer confusion of their brands.

Suzuki has so far supplied Kawasaki with large scooters, ATVs and some motorcycle models for sale under Kawasaki's brand name. Kawasaki has supplied Suzuki with MX models and ATVs, among others. Last year, Suzuki supplied 24,000 vehicles to Kawasaki under the OEM deal while Kawasaki sold 17,000 vehicles to Suzuki.

The mutual supply was a centerpiece of the broader business tie-up agreement reached in 2001 between Suzuki, the third-largest motorcycle maker in Japan, and Kawasaki, the fourth largest. This will not dissolve other tie-up projects in the agreement, according to one factory official.

Lastly, in China a man has been arrested for letting the air out of 100 motorcycle tires. He told police he was lonely because nobody gave him any time! Quite what the motorcycle connection is nobody has yet grasped. It is truly a strange world!


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