Aprilia is celebrating the success of the RS660 worldwide (and claiming it’s the best-selling sportbike in Europe) with this – the RS660 Extrema, the sportiest version of the RS660 family. The name is modeled after that of the Aprilia 125 Extrema, one of the highest-performing and fastest eighth-liter bikes ever, manufactured from 1992 to 1994.
If you’ve been following me on social media at all in 2020 (I’m @motrizzle, in case you’re wondering), you’ve probably noticed my feed is littered with pics of a certain orange motorcycle. It’s not that common for a single bike to dominate my feed considering the different number of bikes I get to ride (pre-pandemic, anyway). But this one is different. Both literally and figuratively. The Lightfighter electric superbike plays such a dominant role in my feed because I have a personal stake in it. I helped develop it. And now, for version 2.0, a physical object built around my feedback would be the proof in the pudding to determine whether I have any idea what I’m talking about.
Four years ago, I bought my first real dirtbike (the 1978 Suzuki TS185 my friends and I passed around as kids didn’t count). It was a 2009 Kawasaki KX250F modified for desert trail riding. Foolishly, I bought that bike before I had a way to transport it to the desert that it had been modified for, or anywhere else really. At that point, I hadn’t owned a truck or any other four-wheeled vehicle for nine years. As numerous motorcycles made their way in and out of the garage over that time, I hadn’t felt the need or interest to own anything more than a few streetbikes thanks to southern California’s year-round riding season.
Carbon fiber, it’s light, it’s sexy, and it looks fast standing still. However, unless you’re a pro racer at the top of your game, no one could ever call it necessary. So, let’s just admit it, carbon fiber bodywork on sporting street bikes is the equivalent of chrome on a cruiser. While we can extoll its high-tech construction and light weight, we install it for pure vanity. Yeah, shaving an ounce of unsprung weight off of the front fender is always good, but can you or I feel the difference? Not likely. (An argument can be made for carbon fiber wheels, but other issues need to be considered for them on the street.)
When you think of a 1000cc Honda V-Twin sportbike from the start of the millennium, what comes to mind? Naturally, it’s the VTR1000F, right? Wait, what’s that? You’re thinking of the RC51? Well, Micky Garneau wasn’t. Granted he was looking for a street bike, but the time, effort, and money he’s put into his VTR1000F Firestorm, otherwise known as the Superhawk in the US, rivals that of many racebike builds we’ve seen. Here’s Part 1 of Micky’s bike build.
Indian announced a new FTR 1200 variant with carbon fiber bodywork for international markets. As of this writing, the 2020 Indian FTR Carbon has not been confirmed for the U.S., though that may change at any moment. Right now, the Carbon model has only officially been confirmed for Indian’s Europe, Middle East and Africa division. We can confirm that it has also been certified for Australia.
How do you top a 221 hp, wing-sprouting beast like the Panigale V4 R? If you’re Ducati, the answer is to add more winglets and replace the V4 R’s fairing and chassis with carbon fiber and reduce the weight by 35 pounds to a claimed dry weight of 351 pounds. Top it off with a paint scheme inspired by the Desmosedici GP19 MotoGP bike’s livery and you get the 2020 Ducati Superleggera V4. A limited edition model (only 500 individually numbered units will be produced), the Superleggera V4 is billed as the “most powerful and technologically advanced production Ducati ever built.”
I’m a happy man. Not because I enjoy staring at my computer, sporadically typing as the coffee slowly warms my sleepy cockles, on yet another bright and breezy California morning. I’m happy because my head no longer feels like it’s being squeezed between the bowling balls of a nasty oil-stained concussion, whose relentless grip has steadily faded with every passing day. His BFF, vertigo, has been stalking me for weeks and only makes itself known when I stand up too fast or move about too quickly. Like slamming a fifth of tequila with every flight of stairs, the dizzying effects of slapping one’s brain against the sides of a thickened skull, preferably your own, can be quite debilitating. But I’m feeling better now… much mo’ betta’. Perhaps 93.98% mo’ betta’.
The major bane of every electric motorcycle’s existence, at least so far, is weight. As battery technology stands these days, there’s no getting around the fact that batteries are heavy. No matter how many trick components you surround the battery with, a plump curb weight is a killer when it comes to performance. Case in point, the Energica Eva Esse Esse 9. A trellis frame, Marzocchi fork, Bitubo shock, OZ wheels, Brembo brakes, and the finest in Italian electric motorcycle technology can’t hide the fact that the bike weighs 621 pounds.
[Frequent MO readers will know that our friend, Thai Long Ly, is not a man of few words. Consequently, we should’ve known what we were getting into when he offered to write up his experience with Tuono modifications. Still, we never expected an 8,400-word opus. So, we decided to break the story into easier to digest pieces. Here is Part 1 for your reading enjoyment. – Ed.]
BMW’s S1000RR knocked our socks off when it debuted in 2009, earning immediate praise and going on to win several of our superbike shootouts and repeated MOBO awards as it was updated in 2012 and again in 2015. And then there was the higher-spec HP4 version that we described as the most capable sportbike ever when we reviewed it late in 2012.
If you’re a fan of high-performance sportbikes, BMW’s new HP4 Race should be at or near the top of your must-ride list. This carbon-framed and -wheeled ultra-sportbike achieves new levels of what’s possible from a production superbike. Imagine about 200 horsepower in a bike weighing less than a Ninja 300!
Klim’s a new player in the modular streetbike motorcycle helmet game. With a reputation of constructing technical apparel – oftentimes of the high-end, expensive variety – it should come as no surprise the company managed to create a quality modular lid for a price commensurate with competitors Schuberth and Shoei.
As expected, BMW introduced the production version of the carbon fiber HP4 RACE at the 2017 Auto Shanghai show. To be produced in a limited run of 750 units, the BMW HP4 RACE claims a fully-fueled weight of just 378 pounds while its S1000RR-based inline-Four claims a maximum output of 212 hp when rated at its crankshaft.