Because testosterone-fueled monikers like Monster, Firebolt, and Intruder abound, it seems natural that MV Agusta would christen its no-holds-barred machine the Brutale. While first generation Brutales boasted gorgeous design and crisp handling, the 749cc motor came up a bit short on torque and horsepower.
To the disappointment of a number of adherents, the K 1200 GT vanished from the BMW motorcycle lineup in 2005. Striving to satisfy the open-class sport touring enthusiasts, BMW has revived the K 1200 GT designation, assigning it to a wholly redesigned machine. A close cousin of the K 1200 S sportbike, the new GT shares its in-line 4-cylinder motor (albeit in a torquier state of tune), frame, and suspension components with the S.
Of all the classes and categories that exist in motorcycling, none is as hotly contested among manufacturers as that of the supersports. Middleweight sportbikes represent the cornerstone of street-going product in the United States, with bragging rights and consumer demand driven directly by success on the racetrack.
Liter-sized superbikes have been measured in recent years by the standards of Yamaha's awe-inspiring R1. Fast and supremely capable, the Graves Motorsports-fettled machine continues to dominate the AMA Superstock class with only minimal upgrades. Yamaha has now seen fit to produce a special, limited-edition (LE) version of the bike that is packed with premium components.
It may seem naive to assume truth in advertising, but MV Agusta's description of its bikes as “contemporary motorcycle art” can be regarded as reliable: Its F4 1000 Tamburini—named for Massimo Tamburini, the designer of watershed sportbikes such as the Ducati 916—might be the most technologically advanced motorcycle available today.
In 1911, the widow “Mama” Theresa Benelli gambled the family assets on the Benelli Garage, a modest Pesaro workshop that she hoped would marshal the talents of her six sons repairing automobiles, motorcycles and quaintly enough, firearms. Through the 1920s, the Bros. Benelli were famous for building and racing motorcycles. By the 30s, Benelli had ascended to the Italian Pentarchia (the big five of the bike industry) along with Garelli, Moto Guzzi, Gilera and Bianchi.
A funny thing happened to me on the way to the racetrack, or so it goes. Recently, on my way to Thunderhill Park Raceway in Northern California, I decided to visit the Monterey Peninsula and say hello to my friend Dan Kyle of Kyle Racing Engines. In a conversation about what's new, Dan showed me the daily ride he's using to get back and forth between home and shop. At first look, in the dark confines of the shop, I thought it was merely a cleaned up Kawasaki ZX-10.
The tangerine red Ducati Monster S2R parked in front of a small café in the hills outside Fermignano, Italy, quickly attracted the admiration of two stout, elderly men. One of them furrowed his brow in deep concentration, carefully choosing words from his charming economy of English. “In America, Harley-Davidson is patriotism; in Italy, Ducati is religion.” That elegantly encapsulated the reverence with which Italians regard Ducatis, an esteem that verges on the sacrosanct.