Hot off the heels of the newly updated S 1000 RR, BMW today unveiled the 2023 M 1000 RR – the basis of its racing programs all over the world. With the new M model, focus wasn’t placed on increasing power, but rather on making the most of the aerodynamics to use the existing power as efficiently as possible. As you’ll see in the full press release below, countless hours were spent in the wind tunnel and on the track to take full advantage of the aero package – and improve upon it where necessary. BMW says top speed has gone up to “189+ mph” (the legal department surely stepped in and said the actual number couldn’t be published), and so has total downforce from the wings. This helps keep the bike from doing wheelies when it really should be accelerating, so the traction control doesn’t have to work as hard. It also helps mid-corner to keep weight on the front tire for better mechanical grip through the turn.
It’s been nearly two years since BMW first debuted the M 1000 RR, its first motorcycle to carry the company’s high-performance M brand. We knew it wouldn’t be the first, though, after we broke the news that BMW had trademarked the name along with “M 1000 XR” and “M 1300 GS.” What we didn’t expect was for the next M-branded motorcycle to be based on the S 1000 R.
A new Vehicle Identification Number decoder released by the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration confirms that Kawasaki will be introducing a 399cc Inline-Four Ninja ZX-4R model for 2023. While the VIN decoder does not provide any clue to what the ZX-4R will look like, we expect it will be styled similar to the 249cc Ninja ZX-25R (pictured above) currently offered in Japan and other Asian markets.
Earlier this year, Kawasaki revealed its first electric two-wheeler, but a lot of people were disappointed when they realized it was a kids’ balance bike called the Elektrode. Those hoping for an electric streetbike from Kawasaki won’t have to wait too much longer, as we can confirm two new models will be coming to the U.S. for the 2023 model year.
BMW is adding a new small displacement sportbike to its lineup, with the company’s Indian subsidiary already accepting pre-orders for the new 2023 G 310 RR. Expected to be based on the TVS Apache RR 310, the G 310 RR should be formally announced shortly for international markets.
Kawasaki’s November 2019 acquisition of a 49.9% shareholding in Bimota has brought the Italian boutique manufacturer back from oblivion, to the point that despite a slowdown caused by component supply issues, it’s now constructed all 250 examples of the its limited edition kickoff model unveiled at the 2020 EICMA Milan Show, the supercharged hub-centre Tesi H2 now being shipped to its dealers around the world – but mainly in Japan. As Bimota’s strapline for the bike succinctly puts it – “The Revolution Continues!”
Since its debut in 2015, the KTM RC390 has represented the pointed end of the lightweight sportbike spectrum. Aggressive in its styling, and dedicated to its Ready to Race brand promise, the RC390 has always been pitched as a fun little track bike that also happens to be street-legal with enough comfort for daily duty. This has caused the little KTM to be lauded with praise at the track in our previous comparisons, but at the same time, that attitude has caused the Kawasaki Ninja 400 to come out on top as a better well-rounded motorcycle in our last two comparisons.
As we had previously reported last month, Ducati is introducing a new Panigale V4 SP2, a numbered series production model it bills as “The Ultimate Racetrack Machine.” Internationally, the SP2 is a 2022 model, but for North America, it will arrive in dealerships in the fourth quarter as a 2023 model.
Last summer, KTM got us excited with a new RC 8C sportbike, but our interest waned when we realized it was a limited production track bike that was not street legal. Still, that didn’t stop interested customers from scooping up all 100 units less than five minutes after the pre-order window opened. Not that we were surprised about the strong demand, as it has been years since KTM produced a large-displacement sportbike.
When I got the call from Motorcycle.com asking if I’d be available to fly over to the Circuito de Jerez in Spain to test the new 2022 Ducati Panigale V4 S, not only did a certain grin return to my face, but also I was especially intrigued by two things: One, I had just finished participating in a seven bike heavyweight naked shootout with MO (see Battle Royale) with the 2021 Ducati Streetfighter V4 S finishing right up near the top of my personal list. But two, I got the opportunity a few years back to evaluate the 2019 Panigale V4 S Corse at both Laguna Seca and Pirelli’s test circuit, the Autodromo di Pergusa in Sicily. To ride Ducati’s latest Panigale V4 flagship once again, but some two and a half years later, might reveal a few of the special ingredients the Bologna factory has unearthed to help explain this seemingly magic formula they’ve cooked up in both MotoGP and World Superbike.
Before you start peppering me with hate mail about how on earth a Yamaha R7 could possibly be the best Sportbike, let’s remember what our MOBOs are about in the first place. It’s not strictly about performance. If that were the case, then clearly the Yamaha would be pretty far down the totem pole. How the machine works is a factor, sure, but it’s also about a motorcycle’s significance in the greater overall context of its category and motorcycling in general. Considered in this context, the R7 should start to make a little more sense.
Ducati revealed new Panigale V4 and V4 S models for 2022, announcing updates to the aerodynamics, ergonomics, chassis, engine and electronics. These evolutionary changes represent the most significant update since the V4’s debut in 2018, and the result of input from Ducati’s racing program.