Motorcycles auto news

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Ducati Scrambler to debut September 30

08/05/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Videos, Motorcycles

Franco and Elvira on the new Ducati Scrambler

Ducati has come a long way since the halcyon days of 1960s and '70s. These days it's known primarily for making sport bikes, with the occasional cruiser (Diavel) and off-road bike (Hypermotard) thrown into the mix. But it's preparing to go back to those simpler times with a new Scrambler.

The original Scrambler, for those unfamiliar, was a bare-bones, single-cylinder bike which Ducati made from the early '60s through the mid-70s, with engine sizes ranging from 125 to 450cc, with the largest-capacity versions sold as the Jupiter. They were cheap, simple, easy to ride and nothing like the Ducatis we know today, which half explains the cult following their picked up along the way. And it's that image into which Ducati hopes to tap with the new Scrambler.

The Italian motorbike company, now owned by Lamborghini and part of the Volkswagen Group, confirmed the new Scrambler was on its way when it launched the first episode in a three-part series to drum up some excitement. The Franco & Elvira Story recreates the two Ducati employees who were used in the advertising campaign for the original Scrambler, rendered in claymation in a time-traveling plot that takes Franco from the future to the past and (after meeting Elvira) to the present day.

With the release of the third and final episode, Ducati has confirmed that the bike will debut at the Intermot motorcycle show in Cologne, Germany - giving us the sneak peak above at what the final version will look like while we wait for the show to open on September 30. Watch the final episode (as well as the previous two) right here.

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Ducati Diavel lines up against Corvette Stingray on the drag strip

08/05/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Convertibles, Sports/GTs, Videos, Chevrolet, Motorcycles

Ducati Diavel vs Corvette Stingray

Car vs Bike: It's a story we've heard told and seen played out countless times before, but it's one of which we never get tired. Or seldom, anyway, especially when it pits such lust-worthy machinery against each other.

In this latest drag race is the Chevy Corvette Stingray Convertible piloted by sports and stock car racing veteran Tommy Kendall, lining up on the drag strip against the Ducati Diavel Carbon ridden by AMA racer Rich Gadson. Both are highly accomplished in their respective disciplines and come from famous racing families - so the competition comes down mainly to the vehicles.

The Vette, of course, has more power, but while the Ducati may be more of a cruiser than a sport bike, it's got all the muscle you could ask for on the drag strip. So which one takes the cake? Watch the video to find out.

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Indian Motorcycle reveals all-new 2015 Scout [w/videos]

08/04/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Videos, Motorcycles

2015 Indian Scout

Ever since acquiring Indian Motorcycle three years ago, Polaris Industries has been steadily revamping the legendary brand's lineup. The lineup already includes the Roadmaster, Chief and Chieftain, but at the Sturgis rally over the weekend, Indian unveiled the new Scout that could be its coolest model yet.

The clean-sheet redesign makes this the first all-new Indian Scout in over 70 years, incorporating the model's trademark "rigid triangle" design and modernizing a classic immortalized as "the world's fastest Indian" by Burt Munro back in 1967. At 562 pounds, the Scout is still a heavy bike, but its cast aluminum frame helps make it the lightest in its class. The solo tan leather bucket seat sits just 25 inches off the ground, making the bike more comfortable and maneuverable, riding on a 61.5-inch wheelbase with a 31-degree lean angle. This ought to be one of the sportiest cruiser-style motorcycles available for sale.

Power comes from a liquid-cooled, 1133cc V-twin driving 100 horsepower and 71 pound-feet of torque through a six-speed overdrive transmission and coil over monotube rear shocks. Standard ABS helps keep it all under control. Buyers can now order the new Scout in black, red, matte grey or matte black at a starting MSRP of $10,999. Expect to see brand-new Scouts at your local dealerships later this year.

Check out all the details in the press release below, along with the trio of videos and the extensive high-resolution image gallery above.

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Harley-Davidson joins GM, FCA in ignition-switch recall

08/04/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Recalls/TSBs, Safety, Motorcycles

2014 Harley-Davidson FXDL Dyna Lowrider

We've seen a rash of ignition switch recalls this year, especially from General Motors, but also from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. Harley-Davidson is joining their ranks with a new repair campaign on some of its bikes, but for a somewhat different reason: some examples of one model might be vibrating too much.

According to Harley's recall filing with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the problem affects 3,361 units of the 2014.5 FXDL Dyna Low Rider built from January 6, 2014, through June 19, 2014. The report states that "certain optional performance electronic control module calibrations" may cause enough engine vibrations to move the ignition switch from the "IGN" on position to the "ACC" position where only the accessories work. This movement would shut off the engine.

The full defect notice goes into more detail explaining that the engine mount bracket on these models has a resonant frequency that happens around 5,800 rpm. At this point, it begins vibrating the ignition switch and can cause it to change position. The stock bikes only allow engine speeds up to 5,600 rpm, according to the report, but the company offers an option to increase the limit further.

To fix the problem, Harley is replacing the "engine mount bracket assembly and ignition switch knob," on all models, even those that still have the 5,600-rpm limiter in place, according to the notice. Scroll down to read the recall announcement or check out the full defect notice in PDF format, here.

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Indian Roadmaster returns for 2015 with 'Proven power and endless chrome' [w/video]

07/31/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Motorcycles, Luxury

2015 Indian Roadmaster, side view.

It's a busy summer for Polaris - it's got a three-wheeled gunner called the Slingshot coming out under its own brand name, its Victory Motorcycle division is expected to launch something shortly, and now a new luxury tourer has rolled to the top of its Indian Motorcycle brand. Called the Roadmaster, the name recalls the original Indian bike of that name made from 1947 to 1953. True, Indian did produce a Roadmaster redux in 2010, but this one for 2015 is a very different bike.

Seeking to knock back any question of its bona fides as "the ultimate in luxury motorcycle touring," Indian has loaded it up with "proven power and endless chrome," as well as a long shopping list of features: LED lighting, keyless ignition with remote saddlebag and trunk locks, a power adjustable windscreen, heated grips with ten settings, adjustable passenger floorboards, and almost 38 gallons of weatherproof storage start things off.

Power comes from the company's Thunder Stroke 111 engine, a 111-cubic-inch V-twin with 119 pound-feet of torque, and according to a dyno run by Motorcycle USA, 73 horsepower. It will come in three colors when it appears in dealerships later this year, those being Thunder Black, Indian Motorcycle Red and two-tone Indian Motorcycle Red and Ivory Cream. It will wear a sticker price of $26,999 - a $7,000 drop from the last, much less luxurious Roadmaster effort.

If you happen to be at Sturgis, Indian will unveil the Roadmaster on August 2. While you wait, you can watch the first TV spot for the new bike and there's a press release below with more information.

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Kawasaki recounts the highs and lows of the 2014 Isle of Man TT

07/30/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Motorsports, Videos, Motorcycles, Racing

Kawasaki at the Isle of Man

There's no event in the world of motorsports quite like the annual Isle of Man TT. The course is long and treacherous, the scenery breathtaking, the motorcycles fast and the riders like gods on celestial chariots of two wheels. It's an amazing experience, and one that Kawasaki has decided to focus its efforts on, capturing the highs and lows of its time on the Isle in video form.

If there's any one motorcycle manufacturer that has had a foothold on the TT, it's Honda, representing most of the top riders of the last few decades, but more recently there has been surging participation from the likes of BMW, Suzuki, Yamaha, the aforementioned Kawasaki and others. At the 2014 running, Kawasaki performed pretty well for itself, scoring victories in the sidecar and Lightweight TT classes and reaching the podium in Superstock.

Scroll down below for all the action.

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What you missed on 7.28.14

07/29/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Motorsports, Sedans/Saloons, Sports/GTs, Videos, Cadillac, Ford, Infiniti, Scion, Motorcycles, Special/Limited Editions, Luxury, MISC, Racing

Daily U-Turn

First Drive: Infiniti Q50 Eau Rouge PrototypeInfiniti Q50 Eau Rouge prototype

It's quick - 0-60 in under four seconds. It's fast - top speed is estimated at around 186 miles per hour. And, rather surprisingly considering its status as a prototype, it drives pretty darn well. With a heart of gold borrowed from the Nissan GT-R mated to all-wheel-drive hung off a luxurious sedan chassis, this is one vehicle we openly beg and plead enters production. Soon.

Polaris Slingshot enters the fray on three wheelsPolaris Slingshot

The fact that it only has three wheels on which to stand means the government classifies the Polaris Slingshot as a motorcycle. That means you'll need an appropriate license to operate it, and it probably means you'll need to wear head and/or eye protection. But with an enviable power-to-weight ratio to go along with what's sure to be a thrilling drive experience, those may be small prices to pay. Speaking of which, this sucker will start just shy of $20,000.

Rain an equalizer at Hungarian Grand Prix2014 Hungarian Grand Prix

How thankful we are that rain doesn't keep these open-cockpit Formula 1 cars in the paddock. The 2014 Hungarian Grand Prix proved once again that changing weather conditions are one rather natural way of adding some excitement to the race track. Check out our full race recap for all the details of what went down in Hungary.

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Jay Leno puts focus on some retro-inspired BMW bikes

07/29/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Aftermarket, Videos, BMW, Motorcycles, Celebrities, Special/Limited Editions, Design/Style

Quartet of retro-inspired BMWs

Jay Leno puts eight wheels on display this week for Jay Leno's Garage from a quartet of retro-inspired BMW motorcycles. They are the creations of husband and wife team Larry and Carol Romestant, who build each one in their home garage.

Larry is a former aerospace engineer who loves BMW bikes, especially the K models. Now, he's combining his passion with a real talent for fabrication to build his own cycles with his wife. With Larry and Carol the only ones working on these projects, it takes them six to nine months to build each one. In addition to the old-school looks, the motorcycles are supposed to be a bit more user friendly than stock. For example, one of them ditches the standard five-speed gearbox in favor of a six-speed unit to be a little more comfy when cruising at high speeds.

Since there isn't enough time to take all four of them for a ride, Jay picks his favorite to test out on the open road. Scroll down to see which one he chooses.

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2014 Rallye Aicha des Gazelles: Part 2 [w/video]

07/23/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Motorsports, SUVs, Trucks/Pickups, Videos, Crossovers/CUVs, Motorcycles, Off-Road, Racing

Ping Land Rover Range Rover - 2014 Gazelles rally participant

There were six days left and the hardest of them were yet to come.

In case you missed it, be sure to read Part 1, here.

We stood in the north Saharan desert in Mech Irdane, Morocco under a high sun at 7:00 AM. The all-women's navigation challenge known as the Rallye Aïcha des Gazelles was only two days old, and in spite of a cool morning, it was already clear we'd need to make peace with a grueling desert captivity. The desert has no friends.

Part 1 tells the unintentionally intense story of our arrival in Mech Irdane and how we ended up in a broiling nowhere, with 320 women engaged in a colossal game of Capture the Flag. The abstract is that for eight days in March, the 24-year-old rally puts 160 teams of two women apiece in four classes of vehicles, charged with finding 60 flags hidden somewhere in 10,000 square miles of desert, navigating with 55-year-old maps using nothing more complex than a compass and a plotter. It's not a race for time but one for distance - the winner is the team that finds the most flags having driving the shortest distance possible over those eight days. Each team has paid $18,540 to enter. The winning team gets a medal. There are no other official prizes.

There were six days left and the hardest of them were yet to come. Today, we had to get through the dunes of Erg Chebbi.

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2014 Rallye Aicha des Gazelles: Part 1 [w/video]

07/22/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Motorsports, SUVs, Trucks/Pickups, Crossovers/CUVs, Motorcycles, Off-Road, Racing

2014 Rallye Aicha des Gazelles

For if the truth be told there is little more than a single path to all the goals that the undisguised European may reach.

- Morocco (1904), Samuel Levy Bensusan

Smiling Rallye Aicha Des Gazelles competitors in their truckCounting competitors, staff, press, guests and strangers, we were about 350 people bunched up in a conference room in the Xaluca Hotel in Erfoud, Morocco. We'd arrived there via a flight to Paris, another to Casablanca, a mythic ten-hour drive through Rabat and Meknes and stupefyingly emerald-green-grass valleys in the plains of the Middle Atlas Mountains, cracking the spine of the High Atlas to descend into the grueling void edged by jagged, prehistoric cliffs that Edith Wharton called "the savagery of the south." This is where it would begin.

"It" was the 24th running of the Rallye Aïcha des Gazelles, an off-road rally for women only. There were 320 competitors in the room - 160 teams of two women apiece from 24 countries, some of them ex-Olympians, professional rally drivers and celebrities, 243 of them first-timers, somewhere around the same number of them French.

Automakers had come, too: Volkswagen sent ten teams in Amarok pickups, Women@Renault and La Poste put 13 teams in Dacia Duster utilities, Mercedes-Benz had three teams driving Sprinter vans, BMW Azzuro sponsored a motorcycle team. The rest was run-what-you-brung as long as it fit into the three categories: 4x4, Crossover - where the Dusters and Sprinters lived, and Quad - where the ATVs, side-by-sides and the sole motorcycle duo lived.

Rally organizer Dominque Serra told the crowd, "You are all amazing to embark on this great adventure without really knowing what to expect for the next ten days!" When I read that line after the event, I lost my half-swallowed drink to involuntary laughter. I didn't know it then, but Serra's cheer was like a Roman empress telling Christians at the Coliseum "I know you're all going to be fantastic!" as the lions clandestinely waited in the nearby dark.

At the time, I was too busy laughing at another line, delivered twice because the organizers took it so seriously. It's the kind of directive you'd only hear when 320 women go on a mission through the North Sahara with a large contingent of male support staff: "No sex with the competitors!"

Continue reading 2014 Rallye Aicha des Gazelles: Part 1 [w/video]

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