:: Aprilia ::
Biggest news on the Aprilia front is that the vaunted RSV4 literbike finally makes its way to U.S. shores. Our Euro correspondent Alan Cathcart was the only rider to obtain a dry-weather riding impression at the world press launch earlier this year ("Reborn Return", July '09), and if his initial feeling on the Aprilia is any indication, the bike will be worth the wait. The 65-degree, 999.6cc V-four-powered machine has been generating raves on the other side of the pond, with other Euro journalists swooning over the Aprilia's incredibly agile handling and superb power characteristics. As per the usual modus operandi, Aprilia will be importing two versions of the RSV4: the "standard" R model, and the limited production "Factory" edition. The Factory will come equipped with Öhlins suspension front and rear, forged aluminum wheels, carbon fiber fenders, and multi-adjustable chassis setup, including steering head rake angle, swingarm pivot height, and engine mount position (all via replaceable inserts). The standard R version will come minus all the aforementioned premium pieces, and presumably come with the usual Sachs rear shock/Showa front fork suspension componentry. Current MSRP for the standard R model will be $16,499, while the Factory version will only be available in very limited quantities, and retail for $20,999. Aprilia will also be bringing in the Mana 850 GT ABS (basically the Mana 850 with a half-fairing and anti-lock brake system) for $10,599. New '10 models for Moto Guzzi (both Aprilia and Moto Guzzi are owned by the Piaggio Group) include the Stelvio 1200 ABS (an adventure tour machine using the four-valve V-twin engine from the Griso) for $15,990, and the retro-styled V7 Café Classic for $8990.
:: BMW ::
It's pretty obvious that most of the anticipation for '10 centers around the new BMW S 1000 RR, the German manufacturer's no-holds-barred assault on the four-cylinder superbike market that we featured in the September '09 issue (also check out SR Euro correspondent Alan Cathcart's exclusive ride on the BMW World Superbike racebike in this issue). With the claimed best horsepower-to-weight ratio on the literbike class, the S 1000 RR will have a lot of expectations when it finally hits the showrooms in early 2010. Although what wasn't quite expected is the price: a very reasonable MSRP of $13,800 for the base model puts it easily within reach of the average buyer. However, like most BMWs, it's the extras that will start adding up. If you want the Race ABS system, tack on another $1000; if you want both the Race ABS and Dynamic Traction Control system, it will run you an additional $1480. There is also the Gear Shift Assistant (GSA) electric shift option for $450, an anti-theft alarm for $395, or the Motorsports Paint Scheme (identical to the WSBK machine featured elsewhere in this issue) for $750.
:: Honda ::
CBR600RR & CBR1000RR ::
As far as the company's two supersport machines-the CBR600RR and CBR1000RR-things are basically status quo at Honda, especially for the 600RR, which is unchanged mechanically. It will be available in two colors: a Pearl Orange/Black paint scheme, and a wild special edition "Leyla" graphic seen here. The C-ABS option will once again be available, and will now be readily distinguishable from the standard version as it will only be available in Red/Black motif. The CBR1000RR has some minor modifications for '10, including a larger diameter flywheel for smoother throttle response, a redesigned license plate bracket for easier removal for track days, and a revamped lower muffler cover. Color schemes for the 1000RR for '10 will be Pearl Orange/Light Metallic Silver, and Red/Black; the C-ABS version will only come in black. Unfortunately, MSRPs (as well as any high resolution shots of the '10 CBR1000RR) were not established at press time.
The NT700V actually isn't a "new" model-it's been selling quite well in Europe for the past two years as the "Deauville 700". Long-time Honda fans may recognize the engine: the liquid-cooled, 52-degree V-twin is descended from the original Hawk GT sold back in the late 80s. Now displacing 680cc and-in European form-cranking out a claimed 67 horsepower, the NT700V is intended to be a smaller, lighter, and more affordable version of the ST1300. The five-speed tranny transmits power through a shaft drive, and the NT comes equipped with integrated large capacity hard saddlebags that offer a "pass-through space between the two sides to facilitate packing of longer items and provide additional carrying capacity"; a broad fairing with five-position windscreen helps keep the windblast off the rider. Claimed curb weight is 566 pounds, fuel tank capacity is 5.2 gallons, and the seat height is a manageable 31.7 inches. The NT700V will come in Metallic Red and Metallic Silver, with an MSRP of $9999 for the standard version, and $10,999 for the ABS version (only available in Metallic Silver).
VFR1200 with semi-auto F1-style gearbox ::
Photo by Brenda Priddy & ...
Photo by Brenda Priddy & Co.
Although it wasn't officially announced at press time, the venerable VFR800 will either be replaced or supplemented by a new VFR1200. Utilizing the same V-four engine architecture, the sport-tourer will feature a novel crankshaft layout that has the two rear cylinders' crankpins side-by-side (instead of alternating front and rear cylinders across the crankshaft), with the two front cylinder crankpins situated on either end. This allows the engine to be much narrower in the rear, consequently making the bike narrower between the rider's knees. The valve train will also make use of the UniCam rocker arm setup found on the company's off-road bikes, with a single overhead cam actuating both the intake and exhaust valves, saving weight and space. Reports are also swirling around the possibility of an evolution of the VFR800's V-TEC valve shutoff system, with the rear cylinder banks actually shutting off completely during steady-state cruise situations, saving fuel. This spy shot was taken during final production testing at a remote desert location, showing the bike in basically finished form.