MILAN (Reuters) – Italian scooter maker Piaggio said on Monday it had set up a consortium with Honda Motor Co., KTM AG and Yamaha Motor Co. to encourage the use of swappable batteries for electric motorcycles and light electric vehicles.
The Swappable Batteries Motorcycle Consortium (SBMC) aims to broaden the use of light electric vehicles, such as scooters, mopeds and motorcycles, and support a more sustainable management of their batteries, a joint statement said.
It will focus on issues such as battery life, recharging times, infrastructure and costs and will work on defining international standard technical specifications for swappable batteries.
The companies in the consortium said they welcomed others joining them to extend standards to as many companies as possible.
“Urban mobility is going through a delicate transition moment towards electrification. Thanks to this consortium, motorbikes will keep their key role,” Piaggio Chief of Strategy and Product Michele Colaninno said.
Honda’s Motorcycle Operations Chief Officer Yoshishige Nomura said the consortium’s objectives aimed to make electric motorbikes more convenient for clients, as their “use on large scale can substantially contribute to the creation of a more sustainable society”.
Piaggio Group owns iconic two-wheeler brands such as Vespa, Aprilia, Moto Guzzi, among others.
It begins with the story of the legendary Suzuki Hayabusa. When that beast launched back in 1999, it triggered a hurricane of anxiety among various manufacturers – and it all came down to the top speed of the bike – a stunning 194 mph.
The Hayabusa represented a quantum leap in speed and made it the fastest motorcycle you could buy and ride on the streets. In fact, it took the title away from the already insanely fast Honda CBR1100XX Super Blackbird, and it did it by a startling 14 mph.
In answer, Kawasaki announced the creation of the Ninja ZX-12R, and it promised a top speed of more than 200 blistering miles per hour. That announcement led regulators to consider tamping down the lust for speed among manufacturers, and it also led to what’s come to be known as The Gentleman’s Agreement among the top motorcycle manufacturers across the globe.
As the story goes, the “agreement” called on manufacturers to set the upper limit on motorcycle speed at 200 mph. Since then, that agreement has been violated to varying degrees, and here are some of the motorcycles that flirt with – and exceed – the barrier posited by The Gentlemen’s Agreement.
The Yamaha YZF-R1M, which purports to achieve a top end of 185.7 mph, has itself become legendary for its on and off-track precision and power. The R1 line and the street legal R1 models achieve their punch following a power-and-less-bulk formula.
Offering lightweight carbon-fiber construction and powered by an explosive 998cc, liquid-cooled “cross-plane” inline-four, the R1 creates 200 hp and offers 89.2 lb-ft torque. When that kind of juice moves through its 6-Speed manual, the R1M does 0-60 mph in a snot-loosening 2.3 seconds. One of these beasts will set you back just over $26,000 USD.
Next up on this rogues gallery is the KTM 1290 Super Duke R. This KTM is a naked hypersport bit of lunacy that packs a 1301 cc, 75-degree V-twin motor into a novel frame. The 1290 Super Duke R wacks the limits of physics to the tune of 180 hp and cranks out 103 lb-ft of torque.
At a svelte 462 lbs. dry weight., the Super Duke R covers 0-60 mph in just 2.6 seconds and is limited to 186 mph. If you must have one, this KTM will set you back right around $18,000 USD.
The Hayabusa is back, and the 3rd Generation variant uses the same 1340cc inline-four motor to produce a healthy 188 hp and 110 ft-lbs of torque and covers 0-60 mph in a serviceable 3.2 seconds.
While it’s now restricted to 186 mph top speed, it does its progenitors proud. It will be priced at just north of $22,000 USD.
The BMW S1000RR represented a huge technological leap for the time, and when it launched in 2009, it was packed to the brim with electronics and rider-assist features unheard of even for the sophisticated ‘ultra bikes’ of the time.
The latest iteration, the 2021 BMW S1000RR is powered by a water/oil-cooled inline-4 motor that generates a stunning 205 hp and 83 lb-ft of torque.
In ‘Race Pro Mode’ it covers 0-60 mph in 3.1 seconds and is capable of reaching a top speed of 192 mph. All that performance does not come cheap and the sticker price is expected to come in around $30,000.
An Aprilia RSV4 1100 Factory is a sublime example of Italian design and engineering and an amazing achievement when you consider the fact that the has only been in the game since the end of the Second World War. Aprilia is dedicated to motorcycle sports and they use the competitive anvil to forge their lightning-fast and supple machines.
The RSV4 1100 Factory is powered by a 1099cc V4 engine which turns out 217 hp and 90 lb-ft of torque. And perhaps most critically, it weighs just 390 lbs and that finely-balanced power-to-weight ratio means it can do 0-60 mph in just 2.9 seconds and achieve a reported top speed of 198.8 mph. The Aprilia RSV4 1100 Factory sports an MSRP of $25,999.
Known for the subtlety and innovative character of their designs, Ducati remains iconic for their blend of finish, style and pure power. The Panigale V4R combines carbon fiber and their signature desmodromic engine, Desmosedici Stradale R 998 cc Inline-4, produces 221hp straight out of the factory and you can ramp that power up to 234 hp with the addition of an Akrapovic full-racing exhaust.
The Desmosedici Stradale motor puts out 92 lb-ft of torque and travels from 0-60 mph in 3.2 seconds before ultimately achieving a top speed of 199 mph. You can be the proud owner of a 2021 Ducati Panigale V4R for just under $23,000.
As we near the top of this list, we find a pair of Kawasakis perched near the pinnacle. The ZH2 and the Ninja H2 are both said to be capable of 200+ mph, and these novel supercharger-boosted motorcycles feature 998cc inline-4 motors that crank out 200 hp and 101 lb-ft of torque.
The ZH2 with the ability to cover 0-60 mph in under 3 seconds and reach a top speed of more than 200 mph also represents a devil’s bargain of sorts. For 2021, Kawasaki ZH2 is priced at just over $17,500.
The lunatic Kawasaki Ninja H2R – with a stated top speed of 248 mph, is a track-only machine and therefore not allowed on our list. The H2R does hold the record holder for top end speed as it reached a snot-loosening 250 mph in just 26 seconds. For 2021, the Kawasaki Ninja H2 is priced at $29,500.
But the bike at the top of the list of mad-dog bikes you can ride on the street belongs to the Lightning LS-218.
Electric motorcycles are clearly the future, and the neck snapping torque offered up by an electric motor is surely attractive to wild fools in search of speed at all costs.
The Lightning LS-218 is powered by a 380V electric powerplant coupled to any of three battery packs: 12, 15, or 20 kWh. At its top tuning settings, this nearly silent monster churns out 200 hp and 168 lb-ft of torque and can reach a top speed of 218 mph.
Coupled with a demented 0-60 mph time of just 2.2 seconds, it takes the top slot when it comes to streetworthy guts. The 2021 Lightning LS-218 comes in at around $39,000 USD out the door.
Of course, most of these figures are reported by the manufacturers and results may vary according to conditions and tuning…
Back in the day, powerful bikes were thrilling and terrifying, but this naked Italian beauty has all the thrills and none of the terror thanks to a brain that works faster than the rider’s. Well, Geoff’s, although that’s not saying much.
I started doing bike tests in 1846, before bikes were even invented, so I just sat on a fence making bike noises, then hauled out a quill pen and a sheet of parchment and sent in my review to Velocipede Monthly on a passing donkey.
When bikes finally came along, I remember being simultaneously thrilled and terrified by some superbikes, such as the Kawasaki ZX-10R.
You got the feeling that at any moment it would fling you over the hedge, leaving you draped over a baffled cow called Gertrude, although it did get less frisky when Kawasaki fitted a steering damper to later models.
However, I realised at the launch a while back on the Suzuki Hayabusa that I wasn’t a bit scared.
There are several possible explanations for this. Either I’ve taken on board the advice I read from a psychiatrist recently that fear and excitement are just two sides of the same coin in your brain, so when you feel afraid, pretend it’s excitement.
I tried it on my first time back flying after lockdown, and it worked.
Another alternative is that I have become an astonishingly skilled rider, but since that’s highly unlikely, I suspect the answer is that bikes today such as this one are fitted with so many safety features that you’d need to be a complete idiot to end up draped over Gertrude.
I’m talking about cornering ABS, cornering traction control, anti-wheelie control, launch control, adaptive cruise control and so many other controls that before long we’ll be able to send bikes out on their own, and they can come back and tell us what a great day out they had.
And don’t laugh – BMW has already shown off an R 1200 GS which can tootle around without a rider, and that was back in 2018.
Anyway, where was I? Ah yes, just about to climb on board the Aprilia Tuono V4 Factory, the Factory bit meaning that it’s got electronically adjustable semi-active suspension, lower bars, better tyres and a more comfortable pillion position than the £15,500 base model.
In spite of the lower bars on the Factory, it’s surprisingly comfortable, even for the taller motorcycling chap, which is a welcome relief from the days when sportsbikes hunched you over like the love child of Quasimodo and Richard III and left you calling by the chiropractor on the way home.
Which left me free to admire the rather useful mirrors and a 5in TFT screen which is much clearer than on the previous Tuono, with bigger, brighter graphics which show you everything you need at a glance, including road riding modes, which can be either Tour, Sport and User, where you can geek out to your heart’s desire. There are also three track modes.
Acceleration, even in Tour mode, is gloriously lusty, accompanied by a visceral howl from the V4, handling is sublimely light and precise, and braking is as brutal but seamless as acceleration.
It’s a bike that’s impossible to unsettle no matter how ham-fisted you are in and out of corners, even on rough surfaces. Remarkable.
I spent a very happy hour getting lost on the rural A and B roads of Armagh, Northern Ireland’s apple country, feeling like I was on a bike I’d owned for years, rather than just picked up an hour ago.
Tweaked fuelling from the old model, and a firm but slick quickshifter to snick up and down the six-speed box just add to the feeling that this is a very well-sorted package indeed – fast but safe, agile but stable, and sporty but comfortable.
Switch to Sport mode, and it’s as if the bike’s been given a large and probably illegal dose of steroids, and yet even with the suspension firmer and the acceleration even more ludicrously breathtaking, it still never feels unsafe or unsettled, with the bike’s brain working faster than yours can to keep the bike stable under all conditions.
Well, my brain, anyway. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ll put away my quill pen and roll up the parchment, since I see a donkey approaching, and the editor of Velocipede Monthly is an impatient sort of chap.
With a dry weigh of 187 kg, the Aprilia Tuareg 660 is one of the lightest offerings in its class
The highly competitive middle-weight adventure tourer segment has received a new European entrant in the form of Aprilia Tuareg 660. The Piaggio-owned sportsbike marque has revived its old nameplate with a product which conforms to the original philosophy.
Aprilia Tuareg 660 – Overview
The styling, however, has nothing in common with any of Aprilia’s existing and previous models. The striking front fascia with compartmentalised headlamp cluster and tall windscreen is highly unconventional. With a tall stance, massive fuel tank, comfortable seats and an upward sweeping exhaust canister, the Aprilia Tuareg 660 is a typical adventure tourer which is not afraid to get its tyres dirty.
The Italian motorcycle is equipped with spoke wheels (21 inch front and 18 inch rear), dual-purpose tyres, long-travel (240 mm) upside down front telescopic forks and progressive linkage rear suspension system, twin front discs and a single rear disc. Everything is held together by a trellis frame. The Aprilia Tuareg 660’s hardcore appeal makes it a serious rival to the Yamaha Tenere 700 and BMW F 860 GS.
Engine and equipment
The 660 cc V-twin liquid-cooled engine has been borrowed from the RS660 and Tuono 660. This motor is essentially a twin-cylinder derivative of the iconic RSV4’s unit but on board the adventure tourer, it is tuned to suit the application. Power and torque outputs stand at 80 hp and 70 Nm of torque, and the gearbox is a 6-speed unit.
Aprilia will position its newest offering at the premium end of the segment, and will back it up with a comprehensive suite of APRC electronic gadgetry including traction control, cruise control, engine braking, fuel maps, and so on. The motorcycle will have four riding modes of which two are adjustable, switchable ABS, LED headlamp, and a colour TFT instrument cluster with possible Bluetooth connectivity. The Tuareg 660 weights 187 kg dry and carries an 18-liter fuel tank.
Launch and price
Aprilia has not announced the price of the Tuareg 660 yet but one can expect it to be more expensive than most of its rivals given that it is equipped up to its gills. The Italian brand is expected to launch the motorcycle in international markets towards the end of this year as a 2022 model.
The product will give Aprilia access to the highly lucrative global medium displacement adventure tourer market. The Tuareg has the potential to become the brand’s international best seller in a very short period of time. Could a bigger engined Tuareg be in the pipeline?
RiMS Racing is one of the most anticipated game releases of the year for moto racing fans, especially as Nacon and RaceWard Studio have promised to accurately reproduce the fastest bikes out there in this new title.
So in theory, RiMS Racing is supposed to feel stunningly real from one end to another, and based on a new video published by the two companies, it looks like this is very likely to happen.
Nacon has published gaming footage recorded on the Suzuka circuit in Japan, allowing us to see how the 2019 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10RR behaves on the track. And at the same time, the video also reveals other tidbits about the game, including the customization screen where you can change nearly every little detail about the motorcycle you’re about to hop on for the next race.
And last but not least, Nacon has also shared the list of eight motorcycles that will be available in the game: the Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10 RR, Aprilia RSV4 1100 Factory, BMW M 1000 RR, Ducati Panigale V4 R, Honda CBR1000RR ABS, MV Agusta F4 RC, Suzuki GSX-R1000R and the Yamaha YZF-R1.
As we said earlier, every single model comes with insane realism, and you can figure this out by simply checking out the video we embedded below. It’s pretty clear Nacon and RaceWard struggled to make the whole experience feel as real as possible, and you can almost feel the feedback the Kawasaki gives by simply looking at the video.
RiMS Racing will include over 70 events, and Nacon says it’ll roll out lots of multiplayer challenges after the game finally becomes available this summer.
And speaking of launch date, RiMS Racing is projected to see the daylight on August 19 on pretty much every gaming platform out there, including not only PC, but also consoles. The game will be available on both current and next-gen consoles, as well as on the Nintendo Switch.
TVS announces new top management at Norton Motorcycles: 2021 V4SS to launch soon.
With TVS infusing multi-million-pound investments, the Solihull facility will be the most advanced and modern plant that Norton has operated out of in its 122-year-old history.
TVS Motor Company (TVS), owner of The Norton Motorcycle Co Ltd (Norton), today announced that Dr Robert Hentschel has been appointed as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Vittorio Urciuoli as its Chief Technical Officer (CTO) of the historic Solihull-based motorcycle brand. Hentschel and Urciuoli will take up their new positions as John Russell steps down from his role as Interim CEO. Dr Robert Hentschel joins Norton from Valmet Automotive Holding GmbH & Co KG, where he has served as Managing Director since 2017.
Before that, he headed Ricardo Deutschland and Hentschel System and was also Director of Lotus Engineering. Vittorio Urciuoli’s former key roles within the global automotive industry include Director of URVI LTD, Head of Powertrain at Lotus Cars and Project Leader at Ferrari and Aprilia Racing.
TVS has created a plan for Norton to transform into the future. Along with the entire TVS team, I look forward to working together with them for the revitalisation of one of the world’s most storied brands. Under John’s tenure, with investment and support from TVS, Norton has returned to a firm footing and made marked improvements to engineering and product quality, which will be seen in the updated V4SS that will be launched soon. In addition, we have established a new, state-of-the-art global design, engineering, manufacturing and sales and marketing HQ in Solihull, Sudarshan Venu, Joint Managing Director of TVS Motors, said.
In January this year, Norton announced it would get back to work in full swing by March at its new facility at Solihull, Birmingham in the UK. The British manufacturer has moved its production base from its former headquarters at Donington Hall after its acquisition by TVS Motor Company in April last year.
With TVS infusing multi-million-pound investments, the Solihull facility will be the most advanced and modern plant that Norton has operated out of in its 122-year-old history. The production of the Commando Classic has also been resumed.
The V4SS will also be one of the first motorcycles to roll out as the company resumes operations. Limited to just 200 units, the V4SS boasts full carbon fibre bodywork contrasted by a bright finish on the frame and engine casing. It gets a single-sided swingarm and carbon fibre wheels. It is powered by a 1,200cc V4 engine that makes 200 bhp and 130 Nm of peak torque. Soon after the V4SS, the company is expected to unveil the updated V4RR as well.
Kaspersky has become a sponsor of Aprilia Racing – one of the most successful teams in motorcycle racing history, Partners with Piaggio Group
Kaspersky has become a sponsor of Aprilia Racing – one of the most successful teams in motorcycle racing history. The cybersecurity company’s logos will be placed on the team’s bikes for the entire 2021 season, starting with the first race in Qatar on March 28. The sponsorship comes as part of Kaspersky’s partnership with Aprilia’s parent company Piaggio Group – Europe’s largest scooter and motorcycle manufacturer.
This new sponsorship adds to the cybersecurity vendor’s contribution to motorsport. Kaspersky has been a long-time supporter of talented racers, who the company helps to reach their full potential. The global list of athletes, supported by Kaspersky, includes the first female Emirati racing driver Amna Al Qubaisi, as well as Formula One racer Antonio Giovinazzi.
“Kaspersky is committed to securing the technological progress of the mobility industry and to the development of motorsports. Despite working in different sectors to Piaggio Group and Aprilia, we share the same values of constant improvement, innovation and becoming the best at what we do. I’m sure our partnership will be beneficial for the whole mobility, automotive and motorbike community,” says Alexander Moiseev, CBO of Kaspersky.
Aprilia Racing is the most advanced technological expression of the Piaggio Group – it has won an astonishing 54 world titles, including 28 since the Noale-based manufacturer joined the Piaggio Group in 2005. From its inception, Aprilia Racing has been an extraordinary breeding ground for new talent.
“It is a great honor to have Kaspersky’s name on the Aprilia RS-GP livery this year. Our new partner is a successful name in motorsport and we are sure that MotoGP will represent a wonderful new challenge in this realm. Together, we will be able to enhance talents and honor the true spirit of racing, as both Kaspersky and Aprilia Racing have been able to demonstrate in the course of their history,” says Massimo Rivola, CEO of Aprilia Racing.
The sponsorship of Aprilia is part of Kaspersky’s new partnership with Piaggio Group, which gives one of the world leaders in motorcycle production access to the IT company’s time-proven expertise and the ability to securely use the best of what technology can offer. Kaspersky has long been a household name in automotive cybersecurity – for over a decade it has worked with renowned vehicle manufacturers, as well as developers of connected components.
This promises to be a much more approachable and affordable naked bike from the Italian brand. Enough power, very light weight and top-tier safety tech make the Tuono 660 pretty appealing.
The Aprilia Tuono V4 is one of the most over-the-top, terrifying, wonderful and life-affirming machines I’ve ever had the pleasure of riding. It’s massively powerful, thanks to its 1,077-cc V4 engine, it sounds like half of the world’s angriest Ferrari, and it’s packed to the gunwales with brilliant electronics designed to keep your tires on the pavement. It’s also not a bike I’d recommend to most people as a first, second or even third motorcycle. It’s just overwhelming.
Aprilia seems to understand that issue with its Tuono V4, so it’s done the only sensible thing and lopped two cylinders off it, calling it the Tuono 660 and making it a much more accessible motorcycle. It teased the Tuono 660 alongside the RS 660 sportbike at EICMA in 2019, and now it’s getting its official debut, according to an announcement on Wednesday.
The Tuono 660 makes a reasonable 95 horsepower (the V4, for comparison, produces over 170 hp) and has a curb weight of just 403 pounds. This means that things with the baby Tuono should be plenty rowdy but not quite so hectic as on the V4.
Like its bigger brother, the Tuono 660 sports a more upright riding position than the similarly powered RS 660, which means it should be more comfortable for longer rides. It comes with a KYB suspension with limited adjustment, paired with decently sized, radially mounted Brembo brakes. While miles away from the high-zoot stuff on the more expensive V4, this combination should be more than adequate for some hardcore canyon carving for most riders.
To help make the 660 more friendly for newer riders, it comes standard with Aprilia’s excellent APRC rider-aid suite, which includes multilevel traction control, antiwheelie control, cruise control and user-selectable engine maps. Corner-sensitive, multistage antilock brakes are standard as well.
The 2021 Aprilia Tuono 660 will be available in the US towards the end of Q1 for a starting price of $10,499 before dealer fees. It will be interesting to see how it compares to Ducati’s all-new Monster and KTM’s 790 Duke.
Aprilia RS660 will soon be making an official entry to the markets soon and the latest spy shot reveals a lot of interesting details
Aprilia’s middleweight supersport – the RS660 has been snapped testing doing test runs, image courtesy Aprilia Forum. What is even more interesting is the fact that the middleweight Aprilia was snapped alongside a Honda CBR650R, possibly due to performance comparison and some other aspects. The RS660 test mule that has been snapped looks production-ready and can be seen devoid of any camouflage on the body. The bike can be seen with well-finished body panels. As there is no test equipment mounted on the motorcycle, this further confirms that the bike is ready to enter production soon. The global debut of the Aprilia RS660 was earlier slated to take place on 9th May but the same has now been postponed with the Covid-19 crisis.
At the 2019 EICMA, the Aprilia RS660 concept was showcased for the first time which left a lot of visitors awestruck. This is all thanks to an impressive design language including the all-LED headlamp cluster upfront with sporty looking LED DRLs that should make the bike looks majestic and predatory in the dark. Moreover, what makes the RS660 quite interesting and worth waiting is its low kerb weight of just 169 kg and hence, one can expect an exciting power-to-weight ratio which should make it a great weapon for the racetracks. Now coming to the powertrain, the Aprilia RS660 is powered by a 660cc, parallel-twin motor that is good for producing a peak power output in the region of 100hp.
The bike also gets an impressive electronics package that includes a six-axis IMU along with wheelie control, traction control, quick shifter and five riding modes as well. India launch of the Aprilia RS660 is most likely and that should take place soon after its global debut. The RS660 is seeming a worthy middleweight supersport and in the current scenario, it will lock horns against the likes of the Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R in the segment. Also, can you see it as something that can be a worthy alternative to the highly-respected Triumph Daytona? Well, only time will tell.
Aprilia’s new Terra 250 adventure motorcycle is powered by the same power plant in CFMoto’s 250NK
Italian two-wheeler brand, Aprilia is apparently working on a new adventure (or dual-sport) motorcycle in the 250cc category, for the Chinese market. It was recently spied at Zongshen Aprilia’s manufacturing facility in a market-ready format. Zongshen Aprilia is the Italian automaker’s Chinese counterpart.
Aprilia already sells the Terra 150 in China. The 150cc liquid-cooled single-cylinder motorcycle (which originally made its debut in a 125cc avatar) is relatively expensive and has not been able to perform well on monthly sales charts. Zongshen Aprilia aims to change this story with its new Terra 250. The motorcycle could be introduced in other Asian markets in phases but it is too early to make any conclusions.
The Aprilia Terra 250 is based on a split-cradle chassis frame with a box-section swingarm and a tubular handlebar. To aid off-roading characteristics, it gets 18-inch front and 17-inch rear spoke wheels with knobby tyres. Reports state that this is the standard version and a more capable ‘Adventure’ variant could be introduced alongside (with longer suspension travel and 21-inch wheels at the front).
At the moment, a lot of details about the motorcycle remain unknown. However, it shares its power plant with the CFMoto 250NK which could be launched in India soon. The 249.2cc liquid-cooled DOHC single-cylinder engine makes around 26bhp @ 9,000rpm and 22Nm @ 7,500rpm. This is mated to a 6-speed gearbox via a slipper clutch. The CFMoto 250NK can hit a top speed of 140km/h.
The Aprilia GPR 250, which was introduced in China last year, is also powered by the same engine. In the Aprilia Terra 250, the output characteristics could be slightly tuned to suit its touring or off-roading trait. The Terra 250 is a potential product for Aprilia India considering the country’s growing interest in adventure-tourers and low-capacity off-roaders. If launched, it will directly lock horns with KTM India’s upcoming 250 Adventure while also being an interesting alternative to Royal Enfield’s Himalayan and Hero MotoCorp’s Xpulse 200.
However, Aprilia India had previously disappointed Indian motorcycle enthusiasts by stepping away from introducing the RS 150 and Tuono 150. The motorcycles were first showcased in India back at Auto Expo 2018. At the time, the Aprilia RS 150 seemed to be a compelling alternative to Yamaha Motor India’s YZF-R15 V2.0 (now YZF-R15 V3.0). If the Aprilia Tuono 150 was introduced by now, it could have been a strong rival to the Yamaha MT-15.