Writing about bikes for 20 years. Published in dozens of titles on five continents. Mildly obsessed with discovering how things work.
It’s no surprise that KTM is going to launch an adventure bike powered by the 373cc single from the 390 Duke. In fact we spied a prototype for just such a machine back in December 2016. But now it’s finally been confirmed for production in 2019.
Oddly, though, the confirmation didn’t come from KTM in Austria. Instead it emerged from Indian firm Bajaj, which is a major shareholder in KTM and builds most of KTM’s small-capacity street bikes, including the 390 Duke, on behalf of the Austrian firm.
Bajaj’s Amit Nandi, president of Bajaj’s KTM division, made the announcement, which has been widely reported in Indian media, saying:
“KTM is a niche brand for a select few. With the 390 Adventure we would be making our long awaited entry into the niche premium dual-sport segment which is a very apt segment for Indian roads.”
It might be a bike that’s perfect for Indian roads, but it’s also one that’s likely to be hot property over here.
Here’s one that’s going to make you look twice when it looms in your mirrors; a police-badged Ducati Panigale V4.
But you shouldn’t be worried. It might be in police regalia but the Panigale isn’t destined to be used as a pursuit bike. Instead it’s part of the long-running BikeSafe scheme and is intended to be wheeled out at motorcycle events to promote it.
Here’s what Ducati had to say about it when the bike was unveiled at a Ducati UK track day at Silverstone:
The Panigale V4 has been loaned to BikeSafe as part of Ducati UK’s commitment to the BikeSafe Project. Assistant Chief Constable Nick Adderley and members of the BikeSafe team took the opportunity to take the track alongside Ducati devotees and put the Panigale V4 through its paces.
BikeSafe is a police led motorcycle project that is run by most forces throughout the UK. The main aim is to reduce the number of bikers being hurt on the roads. The focus of BikeSafe is that riding should be fun, and by improving skills, knowledge and hazard awareness it will hopefully make riding safer and more enjoyable. Their workshop explores the main riding hazards that biker faces. By delivering theory presentations and observed rides, a BikeSafe workshop help riders discover their strengths and weakness and develop their riding.
Nick Adderley – Assistant Chief Constable for Stafforrdshire Police and National Lead for BikeSafe UK: "We are absolutely delighted with the relationship we have with Ducati, what’s really important is our mission as part of BikeSafe is to help bikers to become safer on the roads and better road users. The fact that we have a relationship with Ducati means that we have that engagement opportunity with bikers, because the V4 really peaks people’s interest. They want to come over to us and enjoy the bike with us and it gives us the opportunity to really speak to them and educate them about safe riding."
Tim Maccabee – Managing Director of Ducati UK: “On behalf of all of us at Ducati UK, we are extremely proud to be able to bring awareness to the BikeSafe campaign. The Panigale V4 we have had designed with Police livery will certainly attract attention, and I hope it will help to engage riders with what BikeSafe do and essentially promote safer riding.”
It’s hard not to like Moto Guzzi’s V7 range. Where other bikes are getting ever more complex and technologically advanced the Italian machine manages to be a pleasingly simple throwback. And now there’s another version on offer, albeit in small numbers, called the V7 III Limited.
It’s based on the existing V7, now in its third generation, and mixes and matches parts from several variants. It’s got the carbon side panels and mudguards of the V7 Carbon, the chrome fuel tank of the V7 Racer and the black engine with milled fins from the V7 Milano. And the result looks pretty good, particularly at a reasonable-sounding £8999.
Here’s what Guzzi says about it:
An exclusive limited-edition version of just 500 numbered units, the V7 III Limited is another demonstration of the stylistic versatility of a bike that symbolises 'Made in Italy’. Combining the classic and elegant chromium look with refined hi-tech materials such as carbon fibre and aluminium, it is an extremely youthful bike in an eclectic and modern style that reiterates how well the V7 III lends itself to customisation.
On the Moto Guzzi V7 III Limited, the numerous chromium plated parts are reminiscent of the purest Classic world, beginning with the chromium fuel tank, “wrapped” on the top under a black leather vintage-look strap. On the sides, the unmistakeable Moto Guzzi eagle is rendered in a burnished finish: after all, black is another recurring element on the V7 III Limited, from the alloy wheels to the saddle with “old school” stitching, as well as the typical pattern of carbon fibre, the material used for the front and rear fenders and the side panels. The locking fuel cap is made from billet aluminium, as are the handlebar risers which bear the model's laser inscribed serial number.
The Moto Guzzi 750 twin-cylinder engine also has a refined look, with the throttle body covers made of black anodised aluminium and the cylinder heads with milled cooling fins that create another contrasting effect. The essential instrumentation is a single, circular display with analogue speedometer and the other information contained on a digital display.
The Moto Guzzi V7 III Limited is available for purchase through the Moto Guzzi sales network at a price of £8,999 OTR.
A new generation of road signs has been tested and approved in Germany with the intention of saving riders’ lives.
Instead of putting the signs on traditional metal poles, the new ones have relatively weak plastic bases. They’re initially intended to be used for the reflective arrow signs on the outsides of corners, which are important to tell road-users about tight bends but also sit directly in the firing line if you have a crash.
Tests show that unlike unyielding metal poles, the plastic ones simply snap or bend over when hit by a rider’s body.
The new road signs will be installed in curves to point out that there is a sharp bend coming. The Ministry of Transport of Baden Wuertemberg just recently approved the use of this road equipment for all new installation sites in this country. Existing installations will be replaced step by step. The procedure to approve the new road signs by the Federal Ministry of Transport allowing their use in all German countries is on its way.
DEKRA has tested the new road signs in case of a motorcycle accident with very impressive results. A collision of a sliding motorcyclist with a steel post will most probably end up with fatal injuries. A collision with the new system would cause only minor injuries, because the post will easily break.
Indian has been dominating flat track racing in America – and comprehensively beating its rival Harley-Davidson in the process – with its race-only FTR750, so it’s not much of a surprise to hear that the company is to launch a production bike that draws on that success.
The firm showed a concept of the ‘FTR1200’ at EICMA in Milan last year, and now it’s confirmed that the bike is to reach production next year.
“When we unveiled the FTR1200 Custom at EICMA, we said we’d listen to feedback from riders around the world,” said Steve Menneto, President, Indian Motorcycle. “Riders definitely have spoken and the response has been overwhelming. We’re proud and excited to announce that we will be putting the FTR1200 into production.”
There are bound to be changes, of course. The concept bike’s exhausts were clearly not road legal, and elements like indicators and a licence plate hanger need to be added, which might water-down its appearance a bit. And there’s an element of mystery over the engine spec, too; the existing Indian Scout uses an 1133cc V-twin, and the FTR1200’s name seems to suggest it’s got more capacity than that, even though it’s clearly the same basic water-cooled V-twin design.
Indian made the announcement at the Wheels and Waves festival in Biarritz, where it also allowed certain industry VIPs to view a pre-production version behind closed doors. It also announced a chance to win one of the first bikes off the production line; you can enter at www.win-ftr1200.com
The FTR 1200, inspired by Indian’s history of dominance in flat track racing, will be going in to production. While a formal release date has not been set, plans point toward the bike going on sale in 2019.
The announcement comes in response to months of speculation and demand for a street version of the wildly successful FTR750 – a purpose-built flat track racer that has dominated the American Flat Track professional racing series since its introduction in 2017.
That speculation was intensified by the development of the FTR1200 Custom, a one-off build that toured global motorcycle shows this past year. The new FTR 1200 will take inspiration, design and performance cues from these two predecessors, but will maintain a look and style all its own.
The FTR 1200’s full specification is yet to be announced, but it will embody a flat tracker style, housed in a trellis frame and powered by a new V-twin engine.
“We wanted to make sure that the FTR 1200 wasn’t merely a regurgitation of the FTR1200 Custom, but something uniquely ‘street,’ albeit flat track inspired,” said senior Indian Motorcycle designer Rich Christoph. “We’re thrilled about the unique character this bike possesses, and its ability to take American V-twin motorcycles into brand new territory.”