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This Week In Motorcycling: H-D Unveils The Production Livewire, The End of Motus, Kawa's New Baby Naked, The Fastest Bikes of 2018, and More

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Harley-Davidson's 2020 Livewire in

Harley-Davidson's 2020 Livewire in

Harley-Davidson Pulls the Cover Off the Final Production Livewire, Legendary Sneaker Designer, Tinker Hatfield Discusses How Motorcycles Influence His Work, Motus Motorcycles Shuts Its Doors, Kawasaki Reveals a Z400 For Next Year, The Ten Fastest Production Models of the Year, and a Video Showing Why You Shouldn’t Text and Drive

Final Production Livewire Revealed

In 2014 Harley-Davidson began teasing it’s upcoming inaugural electric model, and this week we were finally treated to our first glimpse of the final production version of 2020 Livewire. Seemingly not much has changed aesthetically throughout the Livewire’s development, though this week’s grand unveiling has revealed two things; the factory color options (matte yellow, gloss black, and “Fused Orange”), and a little bikini fairing. Scratch beneath the surface however and it turns out the final production Livewire is practically a whole new bike when compared to the preproduction version that motojournalists tested a few years back.

The final production version of the Harley's first eBike

The final production version of the Harley's first eBike

"A lot of people are looking at it and thinking – 'hey I rode that bike two years ago' – well this one is totally different," explains Paul James, Director of Program Management. "Less than 1% of the parts on the production bike are shared with the LiveWire from four years ago."

The modern bikini fairing is a nice touch

The modern bikini fairing is a nice touch

Unveiled at Harley’s 115th Anniversary Celebration in its native city of Milwaukee, the Livewire is supposedly the first of several electric models from the MoCo. Prices haven’t been released but many are estimating an MSRP of around $30k, though the electric models that follow are slated to be markedly more affordable than the Livewire.

2020 Harley-Davidson LiveWire: First Look at the Electric Power Cruiser

Where Rubber Meets Road: Talking Bikes and Design with Tinker Hatfield

Good industrial design seamlessly blends form and function, whether you’re designing scoots or sneakers. Earlier this week legendary shoe designer, Tinker Hatfield (the creative force behind iconic kicks like the Air Jordan 3 through 15 and Air Max 1) sat down with Gabe Yeh, one third of the Southern California based creative agency Colorblind, to discuss his work. The conversation quickly shifts to talking motorbikes, and how they influence Hatfield and his design process. The entire video is some 25 minutes, though almost half of its running time is spent chopping it up over bikes.

Nike's Tinker Hatfield on designing Air Jordans, Nike MAGs & creative inspiration

The End of Motus

After a decade of operations, Motus Motorcycles is sadly no more. Founded by Lee Conn and Brian Case, the Alabama-based outfit set out to create the ultimate American sport-tourer. Unlike most small moto marques, Motus developed its own engine that was essentially a halved V8 (90-degree, direct injection V4). The latest version of 1,650cc mill put down a cool 180 horses and 126 foot-pounds of torque.

The beautiful carbon-clad Motus MST-R

The beautiful carbon-clad Motus MST-R

The sophisticated power plant was used to power the company’s MST and higher-spec MST-R. Lemmy from Revzilla did an awesome review of the 2018 MST and MST-R that’s well worth a read if you’re unfamiliar with the brand. Motus’ bikes were fantastic machines, however the MST’s steep price kept the model from being accessible to many riders, and while the American V4 is a great motorcycle, its exorbitant MSRP lead a lot of affluent riders to opt for a BMW or Ducati offering over the MST.

"This week, Motus' financial backers unexpectedly informed management that they will not provide sufficient capital to maintain operations and grow the business," the founders stated this week via a Facebook post. “We are very grateful to Team Motus, truly the finest group of professionals and people, who have each dedicated so much of their hearts and souls to Motus. We are also thankful to our dealers and the many customers and supporters who have cheered us on and put gas in our tanks along the way."

Based on this bespoke naked MST, it's a real shame Motus won't be expanding its lineup

Based on this bespoke naked MST, it's a real shame Motus won't be expanding its lineup

This news came as a major surprise as Motus had been developing a naked variant of the MST, though it appears said model won’t be coming to fruition (which is a damn shame considering how seriously awesome the one-off Fuller Moto naked MST build was). Whether or not one is (or was rather) a fan of Motus, or the luxury sport-touring segment, it’s still sad to see another American motorcycle manufacturer go under.

Naked Ninja 400 for 2019

Back in February Kawasaki released its new, slightly larger displacement, entry-level sportbike with the Ninja 400. Despite the engine being 35% bigger than the old 300, the new baby Ninja actually weighs in at 17lbs less than its predecessor. The lab coats at Team Green also developed an all new chassis for the 400.

We can expect to see the Ninja 400's chassis and engine used in next year's Z400

We can expect to see the Ninja 400's chassis and engine used in next year's Z400

With so much R&D money being thrown at the 400 platform, it only seemed natural that Kawa is now seemingly poised to introduce a naked variant of the full-faired 400. While this may seem obvious considering the company already offers naked versions of its existing sport bikes, we’re now fairly certain a naked 400 will be coming to US shores thanks to a recent filing with the California Air Resources Board (better known as “CARB”).

We can pretty safely assume the naked 400 will look A LOT like the existing Z300 seen here

We can pretty safely assume the naked 400 will look A LOT like the existing Z300 seen here

On August 17, 2018 Kawasaki filed emissions paperwork with CARB for a pair of 400 models, one of which is the 2019 version of the existing Ninja 400, and the other is something called the “ER400DK”. Kawa uses the “ER” prefix for naked models like on the ER6N, though to be honest I have no idea what the “DK” denotes. Either way, it seriously looks like we’ll be getting a naked baby Ninja for 2019.

2018’s Fastest Production Models

Around the heights of the early-2000’s super bike arms-race, a great deal of importance was placed on top-speed. While this trend has gone by the wayside, it’s still fun to take a look at the fastest production machines currently available. Fortunately for us, the folks over at VisorDown have put together a list of the 10 quickest 2018 models that can be obtained at your average dealership.

2018's fastest, road-legal production bike, the MV Agusta F4 RR

2018's fastest, road-legal production bike, the MV Agusta F4 RR

10. Suzuki GSX-R1000 - 183mph (295kmh)

9. Suzuki Hayabusa - 183mph (295kmh)

8. Kawasaki ZZR1400 / ZX14R - 185mph (298kmh)

7. Kawasaki ZX10R - 185mph (298kmh)

6. BMW S1000RR - 186mph (299kmh)

5. Ducati Panigale Superleggera - 186mph (299kmh)

4. Ducati Panigale V4 - 186mph (299kmh)

3. Kawasaki Ninja H2 - 186mph (299kmh)

2. Aprilia RSV4 - 190mph (305kmh)

1. MV Agusta F4 RR - 193mph - (310kmh)

Why You Shouldn’t Text and Drive

Distracted drivers pose a very real and obvious threat to motorcyclists. A lack of focus behind the wheel can often spell disaster for riders, so it can be particularly frustrating when one spots a driver on their phones. This week one rider experienced a motorist on her phone and dealt with it in a, let’s say “less-than-polite manner”.

Biker Snatches and Smashes Driver's Phone

I feel obligated to point out that I don’t in any way condone this rider’s actions, nor am I 100% convinced that this video is real. Having said that it’s a pretty entertaining little clip. We’re all abundantly aware of distracted drivers out on the road, so it seems a bit ridiculous to lose one’s sh*t when encountering such. Yes, distracted drivers are dangerous, however removing one’s self from the situation (via speeding up or pulling over) lessens said danger, while this kind of move clearly raises the possibility of injury.

Click here to check out previous weeks of This Week In Motorcycling.

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