Buell Bikes Coming Back to the Street

Buell 1190RSWhen Harley-Davidson disolved Buell, Erik Buell was given a liscence to continue making Buell Racing bikes, but was not permitted to make street motorcycles. It looks like Harley is lifting that restriction, because Buell is planning a new street bike, the 1190RS.

A photo of the new 1190RS was leaked on the web (left) but it doesn’t show much. The 1190RS is supposedly a spin-off street version of Buell Racing’s 1190RR race bike. The 1190RR was Buell Racing’s first racing bike, and was designed to race in both the AMA Superbike and World Superbike series.

Buell doesn’t currently have the capacity for a worldwide launch, so it seems reasonable to assume that Buell’s new streetbike will be available in limited quantities in the US. This weekend is the Dealer Expo in Indianapolis, and next month Buell is scheduled to speak at Daytona Bike Week.

“For me, motorcycling has always been about the journey, about the people, about the ideas behind the machines, and it will be great to connect with enthusiasts at the Motorcycle Hall of Fame Breakfast at Daytona fundraiser,” Buell said. “And who knows? I may have a surprise or two to announce by then.”

Could Buell make the 1190RS official in Daytona? I’d put money on it. Buell also said that he’d be traveling to the Dealer Expo to talk to a few people in the industry about the launch, but who knows when he’ll go public with more information.

The motorcycle industry is starting to recover, and with Buell back on the road there could be a bump in sales. Erik Buell has spent the last three decades building motorcycles, and his return to the street is a welcomed one.

Courtesy of AllAboutBikes.com

MotoQuest All Ladies Alaska Tour

Alaska_tour_2Ready for a big motorcycle adventure, but not sure if you want to go it alone?

Join MotoQuest as it takes off again in 2011 with its popular All Ladies Alaska tour – Eight days of girls-only fun! Enjoy all the thrills of touring without the hassle of logisitic planning or the uncertainty of exploring an unfamiliar terrain. An experienced, local guide shows you Alaska as only the residents know it, while you share your passion for riding and travel with like-minded companions.

Alaska_tourThe all-paved itinerary takes riders from costal Alaska to the hinterlands, looping through and over some of the country’s most majestic scenery (snow-capped mountain peaks, natural hot springs, waterfalls, glaciers, fishing towns) and to some of its most legendary “names” in exploration, like Denali, Valdez, Anchorage, and the North Pole! There’ll be ample opportunity for living out great stories to take back home.

If you’re in the Chicago area, stop by the Twisted Throttle display at the Chicago International Motorcycle Show to meet this years’ All Ladies MotoQuest Alaska tour guide, Ariel! Pick up a MotoQuest calendar and ask her your questions. She’ll be there Friday (2/11) from 3pm to 9pm; Saturday (2/12) from 9am to 9pm and Sunday (2/13) from 9am to 5pm.

Prices start at $4,100 for riders, and $2,200 for passengers. Spaces must be booked by May 1, 2011. More information at www.motoquesttours.com.

Courtesy of AllAboutBikes.com

Duke Launches 2011 Road Race Rankings

The Geoff Duke Trophy
Motorcycle racing fans can follow the AMA Pro Road Racing series. They can watch the MotoGP and the World Superbike series, or the Supercross, Motocross, or BSB. But how do you keep track of all the races that don’t belong to a specific series? Duke has just launched the 2011 Road Race Rankings series, which groups 26 international events into one series.

The 10th annual Road Race Rankings series will officially launch on Friday at the Isle of Man. This year’s series, the 10th annual, will include events like the Isle of Man TT, Macau Grand Prix, North West 200 and the Ulster Grand Prix. The Rankings series includes these big events, but will also include events like Cookstown, the Skerries and Killalane.

The Road Race Rankings series was developed to “pay tribute to those who show this high level of dedication and enthusiasm for the sport.”

“It is fitting that 2011 marks the start of a new era for the Duke Road Race Rankings as the sport we celebrate – real road racing – has enjoyed a modern renaissance during the decade the Rankings have been running,” said Peter Duke, Managing Director of Duke Marketing. “Visit almost any of the meetings in our 2011 schedule and you will find packed grandstands, full grids and paddocks heaving with top flight teams and leading racers; sure signs of confidence in the future of the sport.road_racing

“It comes as no surprise to me that there is an ever-expanding fan base – even in the USA – and continuing investment in real road racing. Others are now discovering what fans have always known; real road racing produces a jawdropping spectacle, incredible racing, pure drama and real passion. And now with modern TV technology, a whole new audience is growing worldwide.

“It is a sport about commitment and devotion. Just ask the hundreds of riders and teams who journey from Scarborough in April to Macau in November, visiting more than 20 other meetings along the way, to pursue their dream – investing time, money and hard work for often little reward other than the satisfaction of a good result or improved lap time.”

“It was for these people we launched the Duke Road Race Rankings in 2002, to recognise their awesome dedication to racing on the roads, to thank them for the amazing racing we can enjoy throughout the year, year after year.” “So, as we prepare for the flag to drop at Oliver’s Mount on April 17, we can look forward to another season of great racing. Good luck to all and may the best rider win!”

Road_RacingThe Duke Road Race Rankings series was launched in 2002, when Ian Loughner won the title. Loughner has won two more titles since 2002, but Ryan Farquhar has collected the most titles. Farquhar has won 5 Road Race Rankings title, including the last three in a row.

Farquhar will be going for his fourth consecutive title when the series gets underway on April 17 with the Spring Cup Road Races at Oliver’s Mount.

Courtesy of AllAboutBikes.com

Chip Yates Brings Electric Motorcycle Within 1.4 Seconds of Daytona Sportbike Qualifying Time

Chip_YatesThere are electric motorcycles, and then there is Chip Yates and the Swigz Racing team. Yates’ electric motorcycle isn’t like other electric bikes you’ve seen. The difference? Yates’ bike is unbelievably fast. Yates and the Swigz Racing team just came within 1.4 seconds of the qualifying time for the AMA Pro Daytona Sportbike series.

To qualify for the Daytona Sportbike series, Yates would have to set a lap time of 1:35.88. Yates was almost able to hit that time this weekend during a two day test at the Auto Club Speedway. Yates ended the test with a best time of 1:37.308. Yates got his 585 pound machine up to 163.7 mph, shaving 2.5 seconds off of his historic WERA track times. Yates might have been able to hit the mark, but some technical issues kept his motorcycle off during the final testing sessions.

Yates made history last month when he competed head to head with petrol bikes at Fontana in the WERA Heavyweight Twins Superbike & Superstock race classes and climbed up onto the podium.

Here’s a video from Yates’ historic race.

Yates will now take some time to analyze the data and to do some more testing before he brings his bike back out onto the track. But don’t be surprised if you see the Swigz Racing team lineup on the Daytona Sportbike grid sometime in the near future.

Courtesy of AllAboutBikes.com

Yamaha Leaving Spain for France

Yamaha MotorsYamaha Motor Company announced recently that their European operations will once again endure a factory closure, this time in Spain. The Japanese company has said that up to 80% of the jobs at the plant will be affected by the shuttering. In 2009, Yamaha closed their Italian plant as a direct result of the market slowdown which resulted from the global economic recession, and the motivation is the same in this situation.

Principles at Yamaha do not see a quick recovery in the making, so the decision was made to reorganize European operations in order to reflect the new normal. In 2010, the Spanish factory only produced 70,000 of a possible 130,000 unit capacity of 50 – 660cc motorcycles. Most of the products from this factory are

Yamaha MotoGP World Champion Jorge Lorenzo

destined for the European market which, for Yamaha, witnessed a 20% decline in sales for 2010. That meant a ¥7 billion (~US$85.5 million) loss to the company.

The Barcelona production line will loose 410 of 500 jobs with the balance relocating to the French factory. The consolidation should save Yamaha money, but that does little to help those joining the unemployed. It is hoped that recent indicators of an improving Euro-zone market and some incredibly well-designed new models will bring more customers to the tuning-fork marque.

A significant run at championships in racing over the past two seasons has not been enough, but we can hope that it is a delayed apex for Yamaha’s fortunes. Maybe they will be able to hire back some of those laid-off employees eventually…

Courtesy of AllAboutBikes.com