TimHuber

70 months ago

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This Week In Motorcycling: The Future of Ducati, The Customs from Indian’s Wrench Build Off, A Blown SuperMoto For Sale, And More

This Week In Motorcycling: The Future of Ducati, The Customs from Indian’s Wrench Build Off, A Blown SuperMoto For Sale, And The End of the Hayden Era

Some sexy scoots from This Week in Motorcycling

Some sexy scoots from This Week in Motorcycling

Volkswagen AG CEO Talks Ducati’s Future

It seems like every few months there’s a new rumor regarding a potential Ducati buyout. In 2017 we heard murmurs of possible acquisitions from Harley-Davidson, Polaris, Bain Capitol, and a few others, all of which have failed to come to fruition. When Ducati’s parent company, Volkswagen AG, appointed Herbert Diess as CEO back in April, many began speculating as to what the new leadership would mean for the Italian moto marque’s future. This week Diess sat down with Bloomberg to talk about what’s next for the Bologna-based subsidiary, highlighting what he sees as the company’s two options.

Ducati's new flagship V4 is a great reminder of the value of the company and its future potential

Ducati's new flagship V4 is a great reminder of the value of the company and its future potential

“We have to look which is the best ownership for Ducati,” explained Diess. “Either we find a way forward for Ducati, which provides some growth, some probably additional brands, or we have to look for new ownerships. I wouldn’t exclude that.”

The Ducati Scrambler Mach 2 is the type of sub-brand offering that Ducati's parent company is exploring

The Ducati Scrambler Mach 2 is the type of sub-brand offering that Ducati's parent company is exploring

Diess went on to indicate that if the German conglomerate does opt to hold onto the motorcycle brand, it will have to further diversify Ducati's offerings. It’s hard to know exactly what this would mean, but based on the current state of affairs at Ducati, we can look to the Scrambler range to get a sense of what’s probably to come. For the majority of its existence, Ducati operated as an elite brand, relying on a relatively low-volume, high-dollar business model. This changed with the introduction of the Scrambler sub-brand, a cheaper, (trendier), more accessible product range that now accounts for just over one-quarter of Ducati’s total sales (and counting).

So like the Scrambler offerings, Diess’ words seem to suggest the company may double-down on more sub-brand endeavors which may mean the acquisition of other brands then sold under the Ducati umbrella, that is, if Diess doesn’t pick option A, and sell the company entirely. This definitely won’t be the last we’ll hear about this.

Indian’s The Wrench Build Off Unveils Completed Customs

In the last half-decade Indian Motorcycle has managed to nab an ever-growing portion of the American cruiser market. This has been possible thanks to some clever marketing that’s gone beyond traditional branding methods. This includes sponsoring hip events and shows like the Brooklyn Invitational and Moto Beach Classic, investing heavily (with a lot of success) in its flat track program, and organizing a few build-offs.

The three Wrench Build Off Finalist bikes

The three Wrench Build Off Finalist bikes

Back in March Indian announced the “Wrench: Scout Bobber Build Off”. The contest invited nonprofessional builders to submit renderings of customized Scout Bobbers. With the help of some big name judges (Satya Kraus, Jason Paul Michaels, Roland Sands, and Jordan Mastagni), ten finalists’ designs were selected, which the public then voted on to narrow the ten down to three. In April the trio of finalists were announced and then given a new 2018 Scout Bobber, and four months and $10K to bring their designs to life.

Earlier this week Indian unveiled the three completed bikes on stage at Sturgis, and boy are they something. Soon a winner will be crowned, who will have their work featured in HotBike Magazine. With three drastically different customs, Indian has once again done a stellar job of showcasing the potential its modular model that is the Scout Bobber. Modern marketing at its finest.

Turbo’d 250 For Sale

There’s something wonderfully kooky about turbo-charging a dirt bike. Considering their lightweight (impressive power-to-weight ratios) and torque, adding a forced induction system is a recipe for objective awesomeness. One brave rider in the midwest is currently selling their blown, 2009 Yamaha WRX250X on Craigslist, and while I don’t normally share Craigslist finds on here, this one seemed just too cool to pass up.

The coolest daily rider west of the Mississippi

The coolest daily rider west of the Mississippi

The build’s highlights include an MPfab stage 2 turbo kit with ported housing and pcm, dyne-tuned Power commander 5, Full race tech gold series suspension fore and aft, Zeta wrap around hand guards with built in turn signals, Pro taper bars, aluminum skidplate, Tusk radiator cap with built in temp gauge, just to name a few. The seller doesn’t cite any power figures, but I feel pretty comfortable assuming the blower adds between 25-35 ponies, essentially doubling the Yammy's power output.

Though I’m admittedly a little put off by the budget Two Brothers exhaust, I still love this bike. The cherry on top has gotta be the custom Illinois vanity plate that reads “TRBOED”.

If you have a spare $5,500 and questionable decision making, this could be your next bike. For more info you can check out the craigslist ad.

Goodwood Festival of Speed Highlights

Though it’s been a fortnight since the 25th running of the Goodwood Festival of Speed, organizers have just now posted a fun highlight video to Youtube, showcasing some of the breathtaking machines that tore up the 1.16-mile strip of road outside the ritzy residence of the Duke and Duchess of Richmond. Unlike most moto gatherings where bikes are displayed in static form, the FOS gives spectators a chance to see and hear these spectacular two-wheelers in action.

FOS 2018: All the bikes

For 2018 there were a total of 65 scoots entered into the FOS. While each and every bike is something special, there were a number of particularly noteworthy mounts. Some of my favorite machines from this year included a six-cylinder, 60hp (at a whopping 18,000rpm) 1967 Honda RC175, 1967 MV Agusta 500 triple, a Foggy Petronas FP1, a Ducati Desmosedici GP5, a new Triumph Moto2 racer, and the legendary Britten V1000.

Harley-Davidson Files Patent For Autonomous Braking System

Harley isn’t exactly known for developing cutting-edge technologies, so it was a little surprising when earlier this week, Motorcycle.com unearthed a patent the MoCo has filed for an autonomous rider-assist emergency braking system. In a nutshell, said system can survey the road and detect what’s going on ahead of the rider, and if a vehicle in front of the motorcycle stops and the biker fails to react, the system will apply the brakes for them.

Harley's new auto-braking tech patent image

Harley's new auto-braking tech patent image

Like most modern auto-driver-assist tech, Harley’s new system relies on a myriad of sensors, though as one may expect, employing this technology on two-wheels instead of four complicates the whole thing. Obviously this type of feature has to be highly developed and refined before it would ever make its way onto a production model, though the fact this tech is being explored is pretty interesting. Back in early 2017 Honda (which has cars that boast the self-stopping tech) filed a patent application for a similar auto-braking system for its two-wheelers, suggesting autonomous rider assists are on the way.

Rodger Hayden Announces Retirement

The Hayden brothers’ more than a quarter-century of professional competition will come to an end after the 2018 season. Tommy Hayden (the oldest of the trio) made his AMA debut in ’93 in the 250 GP class, followed by Nicky, and then finally Rodger in ’99. In the years that followed, the three managed to carve out impressive careers for themselves, earning a handful of championship titles including Nicky Hayden’s MotoGP world championship 2006.

The fastest family in Kentucky

The fastest family in Kentucky

With Nicky’s tragic death last year, and Tommy having already retired, Rodger Lee was the only brother left racing. The news of Rodger’s retirement marks the end of an era, though he says he plans on continuing to work in racing in some capacity. The news came as a bit of a surprise considering Rodger is doing pretty darn well racing for Yoshimura Suzuki in MotoAmerica at the moment.

While it was the brothers’ skill and talent that enabled them to have successful careers in racing, it was their charming personalities that won the hearts of countless race fans. For anyone interested in learning more I’d recommend checking out the full press release from Suzuki.

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