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10 Best Motorcycle Companies in the World

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by Qasim Aslam from https://www.insidermonkey.com

Which big players are ruling the motorcycle industry? This article is going to tell you about the 10 best motorcycle manufacturers in the world right now.

10. Indian Motorcycle/Polaris Inc. (NYSE: PII)

Polaris claims to be America’s first motorcycle company as it traces its origin back to 1901. It was established by an accomplished Bicycle racer George M. Hendee with the name of Hendee Manufacturing Company and established its first factory in downtown Springfield, USA in 1901. The company produced motorcycles for US Army during World War I. The name Hendee Manufacturing Company was changed to ‘The Indian Motorcycle Company’ in 1923. The company was closed in 1953 and several attempts failed to restart production until it was reborn with the name ‘Indian Motorcycle’ when Polaris Industries acquired it in 2011. It has over 300 international dealers in addition to a network of over 200 dealers in North America. Total sales of Indian Motorcycle and Polaris Slingshot in 2020 totaled 330,000 units. North America is the biggest market for them, where they sold 190000 units.

Indian Motorcycle currently competes only in three segments of the motorcycle industry that are cruiser, touring, and standard motorcycles and so far they do not offer sports bikes. Their bikes are known for heritage-inspired designs, premium suspension, and beautiful styling. The most popular model of Indian Motorcycle is no other than ‘Scout’ as currently it is the finest cruiser bike in the motorcycle market.

9. KTM Industries AG Inhaber-Aktie (XSTU: KTMI.SG)

KTM is currently the largest producer of motorcycles in Europe. The Austrian company which traces its origin from an engine repair shop in Austria made its first motorcycle in 1953. KTM went bankrupt in 1991 and was restructured in 1992. Now, KTM is jointly owned by Pierer Mobility AG and Bajaj Auto. Despite the impact of the pandemic, KTM was able to sell 212,713 units of motorcycles in 2020.

KTM offers a broad range of models for different purposes. Its ‘1290 SUPER ADVENTURE R’ having 1301 cc engine is capable to run on any terrain. But, the best thing about KTM is that it is superb in making dirt bikes. KTM has won 12 of the last 13 titles in the MX2 World Motocross Championship. Similarly, it has seen 18 consecutive victories from 2001 to 2019 in Dakar Rally.

8. Triumph Motorcycles Ltd

Triumph is the biggest British motorcycle manufacturing company. The organization made its first motorized cycle ‘The Triumph 1’ in 1902. Triumph supplied motorcycles for the British military in both the World Wars. Following a fiscal crisis, the company disappeared in the 1980s and reemerged after a few years with its Headquarters at Hinckley, United Kingdom. Since then, Triumph has seen continued success. Triumph has six production factories along with a network of around 700 dealerships to market and distribute its products.

Triumph witnessed the highest level of annual sales in 2017 when its sales peaked at 60,628 units. In the fiscal year 2020 that ended on June 30, 2020, the company could sell only 48,993 motorcycles with a turnover of around £480 ( or about $593.232) million, largely due to the impact of the pandemic. Distinct features of Triumph include retaining classic charm as many of their bikes like the Bonneville family have charming heritage designs that are equipped with modern technology.

Moreover, they try to emulate the performance of their competitors’ bikes that are priced twice as their bikes. Thus, their bikes having more or less the same traits as Ducati or BMW has, come at much lower and affordable prices. Many of their bikes fall in the price range of $10000 to $15000. Triumph’s most expensive motorcycle ‘ROCKET 3 GT TRIPLE BLACK’ with outstanding technology and incredible 2500cc, the largest production motorcycle engine, costs only $24,400.

7. Suzuki Motor Corporation (TYO: 7269.T)

Japanese organization Suzuki has been producing some of the most exciting models of motorcycles for decades. The company made its first motorized bicycle in 1952 leading to the establishment of the present-day Suzuki ‘S’ in 1958. Today, Suzuki has 35 production facilities in 23 countries and the widest network of distributors among all bike manufacturers, comprising 133 distributors in 192 countries.

In the fiscal year 2019 that ended in March 2020, the motorcycle segment of Suzuki sold 1,708,000 units recording a year-on-year decline of 2.1%. Sales revenues also dipped by 4.9% to $2.26 billion from $3.43 billion. Such huge numbers in sales speak well for the demand of Suzuki in the motorcycle market.

So what are the features that compel huge swathes of the motorcycle market to buy their motorcycles? Certainly, its durability, affordability, and diverse product range make it one of the most in-demand brands of motorcycles. Suzuki motorcycles are known to last long, especially their city riding models can serve your purpose for decades. Moreover, their bikes are affordable as in many developing countries they sell bikes that cost even less than $1000. In addition to this, they have a diverse range of motorcycles for different types of customers including sports bikes, cruisers, touring, and dirt bikes.

6. Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Ltd. (OTC: KWHIY)

Kawasaki motorcycles are manufactured by the Motorcycle & Engine segment of Japanese multinational Corporation, Kawasaki Heavy Industries. The company started making motorcycle engines in 1953 and released its first Motorcycle “B7” in 1961. Other than Japan, Kawasaki motorcycle & engine company has 12 production and sales subsidiaries in 10 different countries, having around 5,000 employees. The key to their success is universality. They cater to all types of customers. They have motorcycles with a price range from $2300 to $550000.

If you are not well-off economically, that’s not an issue, Kawasaki has 110cc KLX series for you with price tags varying from $2300 to $2550. On the contrary, Kawasaki offers NINJA H2 R at $55000 to sports bike lovers. Moreover, by getting an understanding of local culture in different countries, they craft their product according to the local needs which goes a long way for them in getting around half a million yearly sales. Kawasaki recorded all-time high annual sales when it sold 550000 units in 2018. In the fiscal year 2020 that ended on 31st March 2020, Kawasaki’s motorcycle business faced a decline in sales and the annual revenue decreased to $3.13 billion from $3.22 billion.

Kawasaki offers a broad range of models; their products are comparatively less costly than their competitors. Furthermore, they target all segments of the motorcycle market and are known for the ultra-fast speed of their sports bikes as 7 of the last 8 World Superbikes championships were won by Kawasaki. ZX-10RR is their most famous superbike that won the last 4 superbike championships consecutively.

5. BMW – Bayerische Motoren Werke Aktiengesellschaft (ETR: BMW.DE)

BMW is a German multinational corporation and its motorcycle segment is known as BMW Motorrad. The Munich-based organization made its first motorcycle in 1923. Currently, its motorcycles are sold by more than 1,200 dealerships and importers in over 90 countries. BMW experienced a continuous rise in yearly sales from 2011 to 2019 as the number of motorcycle sales reached an all-time high figure of 175,162. Despite the pandemic-related decline in sales, BMW Motorrad sold 169,272 motorcycles worldwide in the financial year 2020.

Unlike its competitors, BMW Motorrad faced a year-on-year decline of only 3.4% in its sales and generated a sales revenue of €2284 (or about $2774.4) million in 2020. The top four big markets for the organization are Germany, France, Italy, and the U.S. Currently, they offer models in sport, tour, roadster, adventure, and urban mobility categories. The most compelling features of BMW motorcycles are aesthetics, excellent speed, safety, and reliability. They have produced some of the most beautiful bikes like BMW R 18 Cruiser and BMW RGS1150 with a dazzling outlook. They adopt a host of active and passive safety measures, to reduce the risk of accidents and injuries which include a highly effective braking system, optimized suspension tuning, and training for bikers.

BMW Motorrad offers training for BMW motorcycles in over 30 countries. Their top-notch model BMW S 1000 RR is a perfect blend of all of their outstanding features. With a captivating outlook and all of its amazing features including traction control, cruise control, and riding modes, it mesmerized the world of motorcycles at the time of its initial launch in 2009.

4. Harley-Davidson, Inc. (NYSE: HOG)

Next in the line is American Icon, Harley Davidson. The company made its first motorized bicycle in 1903 and gained fame after serving U.S troops in the First World War. Harley Davidson is the oldest continuously operating American motorcycle company. Today, Harley-Davidson has a global outreach with a network of 1379 dealers spanning across the world.

Despite the devastating impact of the pandemic on sales, Harley-Davidson managed to sell 180,248 motorcycles in the financial year 2020 with a sales revenue of $4.05 billion. They are specialized in large displacement cruisers, street motorcycles, and touring motorcycles. They do not manufacture sports bikes. Harley Davidson’s Iron 883 is considered their most popular brand. Having an average price of $20,338 in 2019, Harley-Davidson is considerably expensive than some of its competitors but their quality certainly stands up to their price.

Among big motorcycle companies, Harley-Davidson has the highest level of customer satisfaction and loyalty. Through their unique traits, they have been able to create an emotional bond with their customers as many of them can be seen deliberately tattooing the company logo on their bodies.

3. Ducati (ETR: VOW3)

Italian sensation Ducati stands at the third spot. Ducati started manufacturing Motorcycles in 1950 and it became part of Volkswagen Group (ETR: VOW3) in 2012. The most defining features of Ducati motorcycles are beauty, brisk speed, and high-price tags. As opposed to Japanese manufacturers, Ducati does not focus on making cheap and cost-effective motorcycles. It targets the premium segment of the motorcycle market, so their motorcycles are usually expensive but of supreme quality. Their desmodromic valve technology has helped them create many ultra-fast superbikes over the years. The fact that Ducati has won 17 World Superbike Titles, higher than all other manufacturers combined, further accentuates their position as top superbike manufacturers.

Aesthetics combined with state-of-the-art technology define Ducati motorcycles. You cannot come out of their showroom without being impressed by the beauty and refinement of their motorcycles. In 2019 Ducati sold 53184 units with a turnover of €716 ( or about $803.3) million. Notwithstanding exceptionally high prices, Ducati has been able to sell around 50 thousand units annually as the quality of their bikes worth every single penny the customer pays. One out of every four superbikes sold worldwide in 2018 belonged to the Panigale family of Ducati.

2. Honda Motor Co., Ltd. (NYSE: HMC)

Japanese giant in the motorcycle industry Honda lies at the second spot in the list of best motorcycle companies in the world. Honda is currently the largest producer of motorcycles on planet earth. The Tokyo-based organization sold 19.3 million motorcycles worldwide during the fiscal year 2020. Since its inception in 1949, Honda has sold over 300,000,000 units cumulatively. These figures testify its popularity in the motorcycle market. Honda has a global supply chain with 35 manufacturing plants in 21 different countries. The organization created history in 2017 when the production of ‘Honda Super Cub’ reached a milestone of 100 million units.

Honda gained traction in many developing countries owing to its cost-effectiveness and reliability. Their street bikes are famous for efficient engines that give extra mileage. They are known for making the most fuel-efficient bikes. It seems some of their bikes do not consume fuel at all and they just have to sniff fuel to get going. Honda CBF125 and Honda NC750X are famous in many countries for their fuel efficiency. Not only this, with 153 wins in MotoGP races, Honda has another jewel in its crown. Honda has produced one of the best racing motorcycles in its CBR series. Other than standard motorcycles, Honda produces cruisers, sports bikes, dirt bikes, and scooters.

The popularity of Honda can be gauged from the fact that in many countries word ‘Honda’ has become synonymous with the motorcycle.

1. Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd. (OTC: YAMHF)

Yamaha occupies the top slot in the list of best motorcycle companies. Yamaha Motors headquartered in Iwata, Japan, has 135 subsidiaries, with more than 52,000 employees to conduct its production and marketing operations. In Financial Year 2019, Yamaha sold around five million motorbikes worldwide with annual sales revenue of $15.3 billion which speaks volumes for its popularity among two-wheel lovers. After decades of refinement and innovation, Yamaha is capable of manufacturing the highest quality products at a reasonable price.

Let’s take a look at their different models of Yamaha which proved to be the best in the motorcycle industry. Yamaha’s MT family is the best series of naked bikes. Its MT-07 is the best-selling hyper naked bike as over 125,000 units have been sold since its launch in 2014. Yamaha Tenere 700 with its adventure-focused slim body, flat seat, and the advanced twin-cylinder engine is a wonderful bike for adventure touring. Similarly, they provide YZF-R1M, which is one of the best sports bikes, only for $26,099. They make exceptional bikes for anyone who wants one.

Whether you are an adrenaline junkie looking for speed and excitement, a sports cyclist, or a daily rider; Yamaha has the best product for you in their line-up.

Conclusion

In a nutshell, every motorcycle manufacturer has its unique and special traits along with a loyal fan base. Every company has some models that are matchless. Japanese manufacturers still rule the motorcycle industry as they have a low cost of production, hence low price than their European and American competitors.

Moreover, Japanese bikes are easy to maintain and more reliable than others. But certainly, in some aspects like beautiful styling and technological sophistication, European and American brands outshine their Japanese competitors.

Agreement Reached to Standardize Swappable Batteries for Electric Motorcycles

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The Swappable Battery Consortium for Electric Motorcycles (Consortium) has reached an agreement to standardize swappable batteries and replacement systems, allowing battery sharing and paving the way for increased adoption of electric motorcycles in Japan.

The Consortium was established by Honda Motor Co., Ltd., Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Ltd., Suzuki Motor Corporation and Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd. in April 2019, aimed at increasing the adoption of electric motorcycles in Japan. Since its inception, the Consortium has been formulating the standards for mutual-use swappable batteries and their replacement systems, as a solution to the issues preventing widespread adoption of electric motorcycles as a more environmentally friendly and convenient form of mobility – the drive range and reduction of charging time. In order to establish the convenience and effectiveness of mutual-use swappable batteries, the Consortium has been cooperating since last year with the “e-Yan OSAKA” field tests conducted by the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association’s Electric Motorcycle Promotion Subcommittee in collaboration with Osaka Prefecture and the national university corporation Osaka University, aimed at popularizing and increasing the adoption of environmentally-friendly electric motorcycles.

Parts of the common specifications agreed upon are compliant with the Society of Automotive Engineers of Japan, Inc. Organization (JASO) technical paper TP21003 issued on March 19. The Consortium will conduct technical verification and standardization of mutual-use swappable batteries, based on these common specifications. With the heightening worldwide demand for the electrification of mobility to realize a carbon-neutral society, the Consortium will work hand in hand with the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association to realize international mutual-use (international standardization).

As environmental awareness increases globally, the Consortium believes that cooperative consideration and promotion within the entire motorcycle industry, to build an environment for widespread adoption within the motorcycle industry, is vital to motorcycles continuing to be the customers’ mobility of choice, and aims to contribute to the realization of a carbon-neutral society.

Noriaki Abe | Consortium Representative Secretary, and Managing Officer, Motorcycle Operations, Honda Motor Co., Ltd. said:
“This agreement for the standardization of mutual-use batteries is an achievement made possible through the four Japanese motorcycle manufacturers working together over the past two years. I am grateful to all those associated with the Consortium and the Society of Automotive Engineers of Japan, Inc. for their understanding and support. While we will continue cooperation to build an environment allowing battery mutual-use based on our agreement, we will also be competing with each other to develop attractive products that meet the needs of our customers. Through our efforts in both cooperation and competition, we will work towards the widespread adoption of electric motorcycles to realize a sustainable society.”

Four generations of a family in motorcycle sales

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by Julie Perine from https://www.connect-bridgeport.com

Those who were into the Suzuki GT750 might remember Leeson’s Import Motors moving into its West Main Street storefront. That was in 1970, but the history of the family-owned retailer dates back much further.

It all started in the 1930s when Paul Leeson started a motorcycle shop out of his house on James Street, selling Harley Davidson and Triumph bikes. During the ‘40s, the shop was relocated to Route 50 in Adamston, operating into the ‘50s when Leeson retired.

“Our grandfather loved motorcycles and it is just in our blood,” said Shawna Merrill, current sales manager. “Once you have ridden a motorcycle, it gives you such a sense of freedom. There is nothing else that makes you feel the way you do when you are riding.”

In 1968, Leeson’s daughter Janice and her husband Sam reopened the shop, then called Clarksburg Suzuki Sales. Just two years later, Leeson Import Motors came full circle when it returned to Bridgeport. Four generations and many members of the Leeson family have been part of the operation which today carries a variety of power sports vehicles and accessories.

“We sell Suzuki motorcycles and ATVs, Kawasaki Motorcycles, ATVs and side-by-sides, Kymco scooters, ATVs and side-by-sides, Arctic Cat ATVs and side-by-sides and SSR Pit bikes, off-road motorcycles, youth electric ATVs and side-by-sides,” Merrill said. “We are a full-service dealership, offering sales, parts and service.”

Through the years, there have been definite trends and sought-after vehicles. The Suzuki T20 and RM370 of the late-1960s and ‘70s gave way to the Kawasaki 900 Eliminator of the ‘80s. That decade also featured Suzuki’s buy-out of the GSXRs and, of course, the ATV era as Suzuki introduced the Quad Runner 125 and 185.

“In the 1990s, ATVs and motorcycles got bigger and faster,” Merrill said. “Kawasaki built one of the largest cruisers – the Vulcan 1500 and the Bayou 400 4×4. In the late 1990s, Suzuki built the fastest stock street bike, the HAYABUSA.”

As the new millennium rolled in, side-by-sides gained popularity.

“Kawasaki actually brought out the first side-by-side back in 1988 – the Kawasaki Mule – but it wasn’t until the side-by-sides got a little faster that they became more popular,” Merrill said. “Arctic Cat had the Prowler 650, Kymco had the UXV500 and Kawasaki had the Teryx.”

Since 2010, the focus has been on off-road vehicles. “The sport model side-by-sides are the popular vehicles right now. The Arctic Cat Wildcat XX or the Kawasaki Teryx KRX1000 are the hot models these days,” Merrill said.

With 2021 featuring the selection of ATVs, side-by-sides, dirt bikes and street motorcycles – as well as helmets, jerseys, tire and roll kits and many other extras – there is something for just about everyone.

“We currently have a team of 16 associates that work hard so you can play hard,” Merrill said. “We have had Suzuki since 1968, Kawasaki since 1984, Artic Cat since 1996, Kymco since 2008 and SSR since 2016.”

Leeson’s also special orders parts and ships. Ordering is available through the dealership, as well as online at either leesonsmotors.com or leesonsatv on Ebay.

Leeson’s Import Motors is located at 320 West Main Street and is open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday.

Production-ready Bimota Tesi H2 revealed: 242 hp in a 207 kg bike!

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from https://www.financialexpress.com

The Bimota Tesi H2 is built around the Kawasaki Ninja H2 power plant and features the iconic Bimota hub-center steering design chassis covered with a carbon fiber bodywork.

Kawasaki H2 had to be the craziest thing there was in the motorcycle world but if you hand one to Bimota, the result is something on the lines of Looney Toons’ Taz. The Bimota Tesi H2 has been revealed in its production self and will be heading for a limited production run this month. It is the first production-ready motorcycle from the Italian manufacturer since Kawasaki purchased a 49.9% share of the company last year. The Tesi H2 uses Kawasaki’s 228 bhp supercharged 998cc four-cylinder engine from the Ninja H2.

The bonkers Tesi H2 was planned earlier but had to be moved to September 2020 due to the pandemic. Things now seem on track in Rimini as Bimota have also announced that the Tesi H2 can be pre-ordered. Not just that, Bimota have also released specifications of the Tesi H2 and here’s why most are calling it bonkers.

It gets Kawasaki’s liquid-cooled 998cc supercharged inline-four mounted to an aluminum chassis with the same bore and stroke as the H2 at 76 x 55 mm but a compression ratio of 8.3:1 more like the H2 R than the SX. Power has been bumped up to a healthy 231 hp at 11,500 rpm and 141 Nm of torque at 11,000 rpm, and it is a freaky 242 hp with ram-air boost. All this in a motorcycle that weighs in at 207 kg (dry).

The front and rear swingarms are made of aluminum with four inches of travel at the front and 5.11 inches at the back. The 17-inch wheels are armed with two 330mm discs at the front and a single 220mm disc at the back. For those of you who will commit to a new Tesi, deliveries of the first batch of 250 bikes will start shipping in October.

Kawasaki Eyes the Podium During First Leg of Historic RedBud Doubleheader

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Foothill Ranch, Calif. (September 5, 2020) – Monster Energy® Kawasaki rider Adam Cianciarulo finished just off the overall podium during the first of two races at the RedBud I National in Buchanan, Michigan. With two races in four days at the iconic motocross layout in Southwestern Michigan, racing on the RedBud track did not disappoint. Cianciarulo battled all day pushing hard for fifth overall (5-3) while his teammate and defending champion Eli Tomac claiming sixth overall (4-5). In the 250 class, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki rider Cameron McAdoo earned seventh overall (5-7) with Darian Sanayei returning from injury to finish 14th overall (10-20) and Mitchell Harrison finishing 18th overall (14-37).

Mother nature looked kindly on the Pro Motocross paddock as the riders lined up for practice/qualifying with a high temperature only reaching the mid-70s. The mild temperatures were welcomed as the series will race again at the same location on Monday. During qualifying practice, it was Cianciarulo who rode at a blistering pace, missing fastest qualifier by only six one-thousandths of a second while his teammate Tomac was right on his heels qualifying third.

Cianciarulo took advantage of his second gate pick to launch his KX™450 into battle for the lead on the first lap. While running second, the defending 250 class champion tipped over while pressuring the leader and dropped 10 positions in the running order. Once he remounted, Cianciarulo charged up through the field to earn a top-5 finish and an opportunity for an overall podium finish. Tomac wasn’t far behind his teammate off the start sitting in seventh place. Tomac worked hard throughout the moto applying pressure and making passes on the riders in front of him as he made his way up to fourth by the checkered flag.

Cianciarulo once again shot out of the gate in Moto 2, nearly grabbing the holeshot before beginning a race-long battle for second place with rival Justin Barcia. The two battled throughout the moto with Cianciarulo bringing his Monster Energy Kawasaki KX450 home in third place. Tomac started mid-pack and clawed his way up to fifth in the moto.

With their finishes today, Tomac and Cianciarulo hold onto fourth and fifth, respectively, in the championship point standings.

“The way the moto scores fell was a little frustrating. Zach (Osborne) got the starts today and that seems to be where I fell behind. Everyone was really close in pace, so I wasn’t able to come up through the pack like I normally am able to. I was doing everything I could, and I would run up on the end of the train at the end of the moto, but that wasn’t good enough. I feel good for the next race, we’ll recover and be fresh for Monday.” – Eli Tomac

“Today was a day where things seemed to even out, I went 5-3 for second place earlier this season, and today 5-3 was only good enough for fifth. I felt really good out there today and Justin (Barcia) was riding great. I felt I had a little more pace than he did, but I also wanted to be smart when I was trying to pass him. I feel really good right now and I still have a lot of energy in the tank for Monday’s race.”- Adam Cianciarulo

In the 250 class, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki rider Harrison was comfortable from the start racing in his home state. The Brighton, Michigan native qualified seventh with his teammates McAdoo qualifying 12th and Sanayei in 18th. With ideal track conditions and perfect dirt, lap times were tight throughout the field.

As the gate dropped on Moto 1, it was the No. 74 of Harrison who shot out near the front in third and even ran in second for a moment before dropping a few positions to finish just outside the top-10 in 11th place. McAdoo had his work cut out for him as he was forced to charge from mid-pack to finish ninth place.

Sanayei once again battled for the holeshot in Moto 2 and took the lead early on the first lap to put his Kawasaki out front briefly. It was Harrison and McAdoo though who stayed with the leaders, with both battling for a moto podium. Just past halfway Harrison crashed forcing him out of the race. McAdoo continued his consistent riding throughout the moto, earning seventh place in the moto and seventh overall. Sanayei held on to finish just inside the top-20 at the checkered.

“Today was a little better than last weekend. In both motos I got good starts that kept me close to the lead and I just worked to stay there. There are some things I can clean up and we are going to make some changes before Monday’s race.” – Cameron McAdoo

“I felt like I was riding good today on my Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki KX250. In the first moto, something was just a little off so I just did what I could to get the best finish I could. In the second moto, things were going a lot better. The track got rough and caught me off guard which happens sometimes. I’m going to rest up these next two days and come back out stronger on Monday.”- Mitchell Harrison

“Today was a day where I was focused on doing what I could do well. I got two good starts in the motos, but I was riding with a lot of pain in my shoulder, so it was hard to stay up front. In the second moto, I hit the braking bumps on the downhill and it jarred me pretty good, I felt like I was only able to hold on with one arm for a little bit. We’ve got a couple of days off and I’m going to keep getting better and come out on Monday looking for better results.” – Darian Sanayei

Monster Energy Kawasaki: Ironman MX National Preview

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Ironman – ET3
Three-time and current defending AMA Pro Motocross Champion Eli Tomac has captured two of his three 450 class titles at Ironman Raceway over the past three years aboard his Monster Energy Kawasaki KX™450. In 2019, Tomac clinched the title one weekend early at Round 11 of the Pro Motocross series at Budds Creek Motocross Park.

One Year Ago.
Almost exactly one year ago (August 24th, 2019), the former Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki rider Adam Cianciarulo captured his first 250 AMA Pro Motocross Championship at Ironman Raceway in Crawfordsville, Indiana. The 2019 title was the 15th 250 class motocross championship for Kawasaki, the most 250 class motocross championships of any manufacturer.

Career Best(s).
Last weekend at Round 2 of the AMA Pro Motocross Championship series, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki rider Cameron McAdoo achieved his career-best moto finish with a fourth in Moto 1. McAdoo went on to finish fifth in Moto 2, which earned him fourth overall and his highest-scoring Pro Motocross overall result to date.

Podium Rate = 60%
Over the past five years of AMA Pro Motocross racing at Ironman Raceway, a Kawasaki rider has successfully reached the overall podium 60% of the time in either the 250 or 450 class.

“Ironman Raceway is going to always hold a special place in my heart because, after years of working my tail off, I achieved a dream of mine that I had since I was a little kid, which was to win a pro motocross championship. It’s not something I will ever take for granted as so few get to actually experience it. I am looking forward to going back there again this weekend as it was just a little over a year ago when I won my title. The track has some massive hills and jumps so I am excited to race my Monster Energy Kawasaki KX™450 there.” – Adam Cianciarulo

“The first two rounds for me have been less than ideal, however, coming into this season there was so much unknown with regards to if we were even going to be able to race. I’m thankful that we get to line up each weekend and do what we love. I am going to approach each weekend as its own race and give it my all to be back on top where we belong. The team and I did some testing this week and we’re looking forward to the weekend.” – Eli Tomac

In only his second AMA Pro Motocross start in the 450 class, Kawasaki rider Justin Rodbell earned a top-10 overall finish at Round 2 of the 2020 Pro Motocross Championship series. The teenage rider from Prince Frederick, Maryland comes in a bit under the radar as he has spent the past couple of years competing down in Australia. 2020 will mark his first full year of competing in the Monster Energy Supercross and AMA Pro Motocross Championship series. Rodbell’s 12-12 scores in the muddy track conditions earned him 10th overall in the competitive premier class. The young 19-year-old rider will lineup aboard his SGB Racing/Maxxis Tires/Babbitt’s Online/Kawasaki KX™450 this weekend in Crawfordsville, Indiana for Round 3.

Rider Eli Tomac Starts Strong at Opening Round of 2020 AMA Pro Motocross Championship

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Foothill Ranch, Calif. (August 16, 2020) – The opening round of the 2020 AMA Pro Motocross Championship kicked off Saturday at the inaugural Loretta Lynn’s National in Hurricane Mills, Tennessee as Monster Energy® Kawasaki rider and three-time defending 450 class champion, Eli Tomac, captured third overall on the day after earning 7-2 moto scores while teammate Adam Cianciarulo earned 12th overall in his premier class debut. In the 250 class, Cameron McAdoo claimed seventh overall (9-6) in his Pro Motocross debut with the Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki team with his teammates Mitchell Harrison and Darian Sanayei scoring 15th and 18th overall respectively.

Due to the heavy downpour of rain the day before, the Kawasaki riders found themselves struggling with the rest of the field to make their way through the sloppy conditions as Tomac spent a vast majority of the second 450 class qualifying session trying to free his bike from the mud after getting stuck during the opening laps. He eventually managed to qualify seventh, three spots behind his teammate and 450 class rookie Cianciarulo who qualified fourth in his debut 450 class ride.

By the time the gate dropped on Moto 1 in the 450 class, the mud began to dry up, leaving behind some deep ruts presenting additional challenges as Tomac battled to seventh in the first lap with Cianciarulo in 10th. Halfway through the moto, Tomac and Cianciarulo raced their KX™450 motorcycles through similar lines at a good pace as they made their way up to fourth and fifth respectively. The teammates began to struggle with the changing track conditions in the latter portion of the moto, losing a few positions as Cianciarulo finished sixth and Tomac in seventh.

Moto 2 saw the reigning 250 class champion, Cianciarulo seize the lead early as he grabbed the holeshot, while Tomac found himself mid-pack off the gate before swiftly making his way up to eighth in the first lap. Tomac capitalized on the bike adjustments made in between motos as he charged forward to cross the finish line in second place and land on the podium for third overall (7-2) on the day. Just as it looked like smooth sailing for Cianciarulo, he caught a rut on the face of a jump and crashed hard, forcing him to roll off to the mechanic’s area to eventually withdraw from the moto resulting in a 12th place overall finish (6-38).

“Third overall on the day and the best way to put it is it was hot and cold. I was up front with the leading group in Moto 1, but I just went backward because I was struggling a bit and with the track. I just wasn’t comfortable, so the team and I made some changes to the bike between motos and I was able to improve and push to the front to be in the fight for the win in Moto 2. We’ll take this result on the day, but we’re looking forward to getting better when we get back out here again next weekend.” – Eli Tomac

“The Loretta’s track was nothing like I remember. I had zero sense of nostalgia out there. The track was ripped way deeper and you need to ride so much harder than I ever did as an amateur here. Obviously I’m tired of crashing, but I felt really good in Moto 2 and even grabbed the holeshot. We’ll keep working hard over the week and suit up for better results for Round 2 at the Ranch.” – Adam Cianciarulo

In their Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki Pro Motocross debut rides, McAdoo and new teammates Harrison and Sanayei were greeted with hot and humid weather in typical outdoor national fashion. In addition to the weather challenges, the trio fought through their first-race jitters as Harrison qualified 13th, McAdoo 14th and Sanayei 22nd in the 250 class.

As the gate dropped on Moto 1, the teammates battled the 40-rider field to grab positions near the front as Harrison pushed forward in eighth on the opening lap and continued to gain positions, even breaking into the top-5 at one point before making a critical error towards the end of the moto and dropping back to finish 23rd. Both McAdoo and Sanayei found themselves further back in the pack but maneuvered their way onward as they went on to finish ninth and 14th, respectively.

Moto 2 saw all three Kawasaki teammates running in the top-10 before misfortune struck for Sanayei as he injured his shoulder during a mid-moto crash, ultimately retiring early to finish 18th overall (14-34). Harrison made sure to improve on his first moto performance as he crossed the finish line in ninth for 15th overall (23-9). It was the No. 29 of McAdoo with two solid and consistent motos for the day after racing to a sixth-place finish for seventh overall (9-6).

Round 2 of the 2020 AMA Pro Motocross Championship, originally scheduled to be in Washougal, Washington, will now continue next weekend on Saturday, August 22nd at the same beloved location of Loretta Lynn’s Ranch in Hurricane Mills, Tennessee.

“All things considered, I am happy with today’s result. I tipped over early in the first moto which ended up costing me, but I was proud we were able to fight back up to ninth. In Moto 2, I got a much better jump out of the gate and was able to put in a solid ride from start to finish. I know what I need to work on and clean up for next week and we’ll come back out swinging again. I can’t thank my entire Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki team enough for giving me such an amazing bike, my KX™250 was an absolute beast!” – Cameron McAdoo

“Well, I can’t be too mad about today. We showed some great speed and consistency throughout the entire day. In Moto 1, I was running top-5 and then I made a boneheaded mistake in the back sand sweeper as I was trying to protect my line and went down. It took me a bit to get going again which ended up hurting my overall. We bounced back in Moto 2 with a ninth place to finish the day out 15th overall. I can’t thank Mitch (Payton) and the entire Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/ Kawasaki team enough for this incredible opportunity to race this amazing bike each week. We are going to continue to improve and push each week and put this bike where it belongs, on the podium.” – Mitchell Harrison

“Loretta’s was a tough one for me and I was just off all day. In the first moto, I fell around 10 minutes into it and had to work my way up from 20th to 14th. The second moto I started off good, but I made a few mistakes and I just wasn’t riding at a good pace. Later in the moto, I crashed and popped my shoulder out, so I wasn’t able to finish out the race. I’ll go get it checked out and hope to be back on the bike and ready for Round 2.” – Darian Sanayei

Review: 2020 Kawasaki W800

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by Sabrina Giacomini from https://www.rideapart.com

A legend brought back to life.

The 2019 show season was a good one for Kawasaki. Not only did Team Green unveil the Z H2 as well as the updated Ninja 1000 SE SX+ and 650, but it also teamed up with Bimota to create the polarizing Tesi H2 prototype. As though that wasn’t enough, the manufacturer also introduced the W800, a stripped down, entry-level version of the W800 Cafe.

I remember vividly the collective gasp we had when the model was first unveiled. The clean and simple lines were a hit among the RideApart team. I even remember being just a little upset about the U.S. and Canada getting the bike in red rather than in the gorgeous shade of green we saw in Tokyo. My disappointment didn’t last long, however, and by the time I picked one up from the Kawasaki HQ, it was completely crushed by how charming the bike actually looked. More on that later, let’s start from the beginning, shall we?

The year was 1965. While Americans and Russians were continuously outshining one another on the aerospace innovation front, Japanese and European motorcycle manufacturers had an ongoing Space Race of their own. Instead of reaching for the stars, however, the Big Four were competing for the title as the maker of the most powerful motorcycle on the market.

The early- to mid-60s were also formative years for newly-formed Kawasaki Motorcycle Co—a new competitor on the motorcycle scene born from the fusion of Kawasaki Aircraft Industry and Meguro Manufacturing Company in 1964. Thanks to the solid foundations provided by Meguro’s 30-year experience with motorcycles, it wasn’t long before Kawasaki introduced its first big displacement bike, the W1, in 1965. The 624cc parallel-twin is credited for putting Kawasaki on the map as a big bike maker and a serious competitor to Honda and Yamaha. The W1 was followed by the W2, then the W3 before the badge was ultimately dropped in 1975.

Fast-forward 24 years and Kawasaki revived the nametag just in time for the new millennium. In 1999, the W650 became Team Green’s attempt to take its share of the retro-revival cake, going up against an old-school heavyweight, the Triumph Bonneville. The model sold in North America for a meager two years before lame sales caused Kawasaki to pull the bike from the States and focus on the European and Japanese markets instead.

The reality of emissions standards soon caught up to Kawasaki and, by 2007, the manufacturer had to bid the W goodbye once again. Thankfully, the company didn’t wait another quarter of a century to revive the venerable badge. In 2011, it introduced the new and improved W800. The parallel-twin was fully overhauled a met the then current regulations. The fun lasted for another five years before the European Union came knocking once more with new regulations on emissions. This time, the turn-around was much faster and after a short year off the market, the W800 made a triumphant comeback in 2018.

Interestingly, instead of introducing an entry-level model first and following up with more elaborate version, Kawasaki did the opposite got the W ball rolling once again with the W800 Café. The entry-level W800 came the following year as a 2020 model-year. 55 years later, the W continues to roll out of the same plant that first produced the W1—talk about looping the loop.

2020 Kawasaki W800
Engine: 773cc, four-stroke, parallel-twin
Transmission: five-speed
Performance: 52 hp/46 lb-ft
Brakes: 1 x 320 mm disc with two-piston caliper front, 270 mm disc with two-piston caliper back
Suspension: 41mm telescopic fork front, preload adjustable twin-shocks back
Wheels: 100/90-19” front, 130/80-18” rear
Wheelbase: 57.6 inches
Seat Height: 31.1 inches
Weight: 496 pounds
Price: $9,199

If you like the look of the Kawasaki W800 in pictures, wait until you see it in person—I have yet to find a photo that does it justice. The W800 is a handsome bike. The proportions are elegant and Kawasaki found the right balance of chrome and black so that the bike doesn’t look like a disco ball. The manufacturer has been particularly attentive to the small details that give the model its tasteful but not tacky vintage look. Features such as the peashooter exhausts, the round turn signals, the braced fenders, and the exposed bevel-drive camshaft were borrowed from the original W, the one that started it all.

There’s no fluff or luxuries involved here—the W800 has standard ABS and that’s about as fancy as it gets. The two big dials at the center of the headstock are your analog speedometer and rpm gauge. There is a small digital display that shows mileage, trips, time, and such in the left-hand side dial and the usual panel of warning lights in the right-hand side one. There isn’t even a fuel gauge to let you monitor your progress. Just like on an older bike, you either have to do a bit of guessing or wait for the fuel warning to turn on.

As a standard, the W800 is your run of the mill, easy-to-get and to ride-on type of bike. The ergonomics are relaxed; for my 5’8” stature, the knees were at a comfortable, almost-90-degree bend and the straight handlebar is easy to reach without having to stretch the arms completely. This is as standard—and as comfortable—as this type of bike gets.

The Ride

If you’re looking for a bike that stands out with a particularly spicy or spunky personality, then chances are the W800 will feel a little underwhelming. Keep in mind that this isn’t a bike meant to be flashy—it plays the understated card and it plays it well. There’s beauty in simplicity, and while the W doesn’t have the spark of, say, a Z, it does have a few good things going for it.

The engine note is my favorite part. As the Kawasaki representative put it when I picked up the bike and did the walkaround, the bike has a really rich note at low rpm. Then, around the 5,000rpm mark, the grunting engine evens out and becomes as smooth as silk. Sure enough, I started the engine and a nice, musical rumble echoed out of the peashooters. Having to hear that aria in parallel-twin at every take-off definitely made city commuting a delight.

In the city, the W behaves impeccably—not even the addition of an occasional passenger fazes it. It’s nimble and easy to whirl around in an environment where obstacles and traffic lights abound. The stopping power provided by the single discs front and back was efficient without being too mushy or aggressive—a good middle ground for a standard bike that won’t try to buck you off the saddle.

Despite weighing a healthy 496 pounds, the bike is easy to maneuver at low speed, or even to walk out of a tight spot. The steering is breezy and light in the hand, you don’t have to wrestle it into submission or convince it to make a turn.

Once you get on the highway, you get acquainted with the bike’s only real flaw. At a certain speed, I could feel the front wheel buffet, a feeling exacerbated by speed. If you wish to put a few hundred miles on the factory tires (hey: they’re “free” tires!) then adjusting your speed accordingly, below the 70-mph mark will help for a while. If you’re willing to spend the extra money, a good set of radials can make the bike virtually perfect.

The engine itself is irreproachable at any speed. Even cruising at highway speeds felt effortless and I barely even touched the fifth gear—the mill happily purred away in fourth around the 6,000rpm mark. Power is easy to manage, the gears are long (you only get five instead of the now-standard six) and the throttle output is nice and gradual. The clutch is light under the fingers and the gears are smooth as butter—just make sure you give the lever a good kick shifting from first to second, the travel between the two seems a tad long which means I often ended up in Neutral. User error, probably.

The Conclusion

A small part of me thought the W800 would have a little more personality. Just a little something-something to give it more oomph, like with the other Kawasakis. However, I was wrong to expect that of the W because that’s not what the bike is for. It’s the celebration of a legacy rather than something revolutionary. Did I smile while riding it? I did, so in that regards, it fulfilled its mission.

The W800 is designed to be simple, straightforward, and mostly to play nice. In fact, it’s so well-mannered that I could easily recommend it as a starter bike. Think about it: it’s easy to maneuver and easy to control which also makes it easy to learn on without being overwhelmed.

Personality-wise, it might not be the right fit for me. That being said, if I could justify owning more than one bike, I would own a W for its looks alone. If you decide to buy one, be ready to have people come and ask you about it because they will. It seriously is that pretty.

2020 Kawasaki ZX-25R: Everything We Know

By General Posts

by Sabrina Giacomini from https://www.rideapart.com

Return of the quarter-liter inline four.

Nowadays, putting a 250cc, four-cylinder engine in a motorcycle may look like weird strategy, however, the layout was a rather popular one in the 80s. It allowed manufacturers to meet strict Japanese licensing standards while offering customers high-power, high-revving engines. The trend phased out as small bikes were relegated to the use of single or twin-cylinder engines, leaving the four pots to be used in bigger motorcycles.

That was until Kawasaki decided to revive its four-cylinder Ninja 250, or ZX-25R. Rumors of the model’s return surfaced in June 2019, when Japanese outlet Young Machine reported on the possibility of a ZX-25R in the works at Kawasaki. A few months later, Team Green showed up at the Tokyo Motor Show with a little 250cc monster that stole everyone’s heart with its pocket-sized big-bore attitude. Here’s a look at everything we know about the 2020 Kawasaki ZX-25R.

Though Kawasaki has yet to reveal the new ZX-25R’s full specs, we’ve been drop fed information about the bike thanks to a series of videos that showcase its abilities. In one of those clips published by Kawasaki Indonesia, we get to watch WSBK racer Jonathan Rea whip the baby Kawi around the track in Jerez. That’s when we find out that the little 249cc, inline-four redlines at a staggering 17,000rpm—screaming note included.

As Rea tackles a straight, we also get to watch the ZX reach a speed of at least 162 km/h (100 miles per hour)—we say “at least” because in said video, Rea shifts into 6th gear as he reaches 100 mph at roughly 15,800rpm, suggesting that the bike can be pushed even further. We simply don’t have an official stop speed yet. The possibilities that the video suggests, however, are exciting.

Same goes with power figures—Kawasaki has been tight-lipped about official numbers. Early estimates suggest it should produce between 50 and 60 horsepower. For comparison, that means the 250 would make between 7 and 17 horsepower more than the Ninja 400.

What we do know about the model is that it’s built on a WSBK-derived chassis with a 37mm inverted fork at the front and a horizontal back-link suspension setup at the back. It will feature riding modes (identified as “Full” and “Low” in one of the videos) as well as Kawasaki’s proprietary traction control system and quick shifter.

We doubt the model will make its way to North America, only because of its placement and pricing within the lineup. The model recently launched in New Zealand where pricing was set at NZ$15,990 (US$10,430), making the smallest ZX on the market more expensive than a Ninja ZX-6R (in the U.S.). The model is gradually making its way West but where will Kawasaki draw the geographic line for the 2020 ZX-25R, we can’t say for sure. With a bit of luck, the European market will be deemed viable and we’ll only be a few-hour flight away from be able to try one.

Top Gun-Inspired Federal Moto FED-016 “Danger Zone” Isn’t Your Average Kawasaki

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by Mircea Panait from https://www.autoevolution.com

Back in April, news broke out about Top Gun: Maverick. One of the most anticipated movies of 2020 has been pushed back to December 23rd instead of June 24th, morphing from a summer blockbuster to a Christmas blockbuster.

As opposed to the lovely GPZ900R from the 1986 original, Tom Cruise – or should I say Maverick – switches to a different Kawasaki in the sequel. To the point, he’s riding the Ninja H2 supercharged supersport motorcycle.

In keeping with the Kawasaki and Top Gun themes, Federal Moto came up with a one-of-a-kind motorcycle that started life as a GPZ1100. Named “Danger Zone” after the Kenny Loggings song, the bike has been treated to 3D printing and water-jet cutting to create an awesome-looking roadster.

The Chicago-based garage told Bike EXIF that “the commission came from an ‘80s kid. He’s based out of Ohio and only swears by Kawasakis and KTMs.”

Regarding the four-cylinder engine of the custom sportbike, Federal Moto didn’t cut any corners. The nut-and-bolt rebuild includes 3D-printed top covers, stainless-steel velocity stacks, and no fewer than four Mikuni carburetors from a KZ1000. Cone Engineering “Big Mouth” stainless-steel mufflers are also featured.

If you think the fuel tank looks familiar, that’s because it was transplanted from a Honda CB1100. The front forks are sourced from a Suzuki GSX1300R Hayabusa while Cognito supplied the steering stem, upper triple tree, and custom front-rim hub.

Finished in glossy black and Kawasaki Green, FED-016 as it’s also called, further flaunts a bite-the-back-of-your-hand beautiful seat. Dyna electronic ignition with Motogadget m.lock remote ignition, the m.unit control box, m.switch push buttons on the clip-on bars, and a Motoscope Pro gauge are also worthy of mention.

Custom fabrication includes the steel seat pan, the rear subframe and supports, along with the tail unit, LED headlights housing, and side covers. “We reckon Maverick would approve,” said Michael Muller of Federal Moto.