New 2019 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R Coming Oct. 11

August 13, 2018 Dennis Chung 0

Despite what you may have heard, the supersport class is not completely dead, as can confirm that an updated Kawasaki ZX-6R is coming for 2019. We can also confirm the new 2019 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R will be announced (at least, for the U.S.) on Oct. 11, which happens to be the first media day at the 2018 AIMExpo show.

The information comes to us via 2019 model information submitted by Kawasaki to the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The most recent document was dated Aug. 1, updating the previous filing made on May 24. The only change made was the addition of information for the Ninja ZX-6R. The document confirms the ZX-6R will continue to be powered by a 636cc four-cylinder engine, but the listed net brake horsepower sees a slight dip from the 2018 model’s 129.3 hp to 127.4 hp.

The filing also includes a note to NHTSA requesting the document not be released until the embargo lift date of Oct. 11, 2018. Needless to say, NHTSA either didn’t notice or disregarded the request and released the document. Seeing as how the 2019 ZX-6R was the only change being embargoed, it is clear that an official announcement was planned for that date, likely at AIMExpo. This doesn’t entirely rule out an earlier reveal, say, at Intermot on Oct. 2, but it does suggest that the U.S. announcement is planned for the 11th.

Further confirmation comes via the California Air Resources Board which has certified the Ninja ZX-6R for 2019. According to the CARB executive order, the 2019 ZX-6R receives a new three-way catalyst and Ho2S (heated oxygen sensor).

According to the CARB executive order for the 2018 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R the current model uses an oxidation catalyst. A new three-way catalyst and heated oxygen sensor helps the 2019 ZX-6R release fewer emissions.

As a result, the certified exhaust emissions for the 2019 model are lower than for 2018, with hydrocarbon (HC) emissions dropping to 0.2 g/km from 0.3 g/km. Certified HC+NOx (hydrocarbon plus nitrogen oxide) levels decreased from 0.4 g/km to 0.2 g/km, while carbon monoxide (CO) emission went from 2 g/km to 1 g/km.

Unfortunately, neither the NHTSA filing or the CARB executive order tells us any other information about the 2019 ZX-6R. It’s altogether possible the only thing that has changed are the emissions measures and the resulting dip in power. More likely there will be other changes too, such as a TFT display or design cues resembling the ZX-10R or H2.

There was a time that manufacturers released a new 600cc sportbike every few years. Shifting economics, consumer habits and emissions controls, however, have cooled off the once popular supersport segment.

Honda has reportedly given up on offering the CBR600RR in Europe, where it does not meet Euro 4 requirements, and Triumph has quietly said goodbye to the Daytona 675 (while playing coy about whether the 765cc Street Triple engine being pressed into Moto2 duties will power a new Daytona). Yamaha continues to support the YZF-R6, updating it in 2017, and now it looks like it’ll be joined by a new Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R.

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2019 Kawasaki Ninja H2 Updated, Now Claims 228HP

August 10, 2018 Dennis Chung 0

Kawasaki announced a number of updates to the 2019 Ninja H2 and Ninja H2 Carbon, making the supercharged engine more powerful, while maintaining the same fuel efficiency as the previous iteration. While Kawasaki USA hasn’t released any power figures for the H2, its European counterpart claims a substantial increase from 197.3 hp to 227.8 hp. We’ll have to wait to see if the North American-spec version gets the same boost. The 2019 Ninja H2R also receives some updates, though its engine remains unchanged.

The increase in power for the H2 and H2 Carbon comes from a new air filter, intake chamber, spark plugs and ECU developed from the H2 SX. Notably, the H2 and H2R did not receive the SX’s balanced supercharger which was designed more for low to mid-range performance.

The 2019 H2 and H2R models also receive Brembo’s new Stylema monoblock calipers. The radial-mount four-piston Stylemas are smaller and lighter than Brembo’s previous calipers, while claiming improved heat management. On the H2 and H2R models, they are paired with 330mm rotors, with Kawasaki’s KIBS ABS.

The H2 and H2 Carbon also receive new Bridgestone Battlax RS11 sport tires (the H2R is staying with the Battlax V01 rubbers).

The H2 and H2R inherit the SX’s TFT screen with the addition of smartphone connectivity.

All three models receive the color TFT screen first introduced on the H2 SX, offering four display modes, self-adjusting brightness and a choice of black or white background.

The H2 and H2 Carbon also receive smartphone connectivity. The H2’s screen will display incoming calls and messages while a proprietary phone app shares vehicle information with smartphones such as fuel level, odometer, trip meter, maintenance schedule and battery condition, as well as riding telemetry including GPS tracking, speed, engine speed, gear position and fuel mileage.

The app can also be used to display and adjust the bike’s electronic settings. A rider can preset the engine modes and quick shifter settings using the app, and as soon as the phone is within range and the engine is turned on, the changes will automatically be implemented.

The H2 and H2R models receive Kawasaki’s new self healing “Highly Durable Paint” treatment that is supposed to repair minor scratches.

The H2 and H2R models all receive a new paint treatment on all non-carbon bodywork parts. The new paint includes a special top coat that Kawasaki claims is self healing, repairing some minor wear and tear. The top coat contains microscopic hard and soft segments Kawasaki says acts like a chemical spring, absorbing any small impacts. The self-healing does have limits however. Some repairs can take more than a week to recover, and it will not work on some scratches such as those caused by keys or zippers.

The H2 and H2 Carbon receive new all-LED lighting.

The 2019 Kawasaki Ninja H2 will be offered in Mirror Coated Spark Black while the H2 Carbon will come in Mirror Coated Matte Spark Black/Golden Blazed Green. The H2R will come in Mirror Coated Matte Spark Black. US pricing remains to be announced.

The 2019 Kawasaki Ninja H2R receives the new Stylema calipers and self-healing paint.

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2018 Ducati Panigales and Hypermotard Affected by Brembo Recall

August 10, 2018 Dennis Chung 0

Brembo is currently going through it second significant recall of the year, this time affecting rear brake pads. This follows a recall in January for front radial master cylinders.

As with the earlier recall, the new brake pad recall affects parts installed as stock equipment on brand new motorcycles from a number of manufacturers, in addition to pads sold as part of aftermarket kits.

The first OEM to confirm a related recall with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is Ducati, affecting the 2018 Panigale V4, 959 Panigale, 1299 Panigale FE and Hypermotard. The recall affects 72 units in the U.S.

According to the recall documentation released by NHTSA, the friction material (i.e. the part that contacts the rotors) may not stick properly to the backing plates. As a result, the friction material may separate from the plate, resulting in a drop in rear brake efficiency and increase in stopping distance.

The faulty pads all stem from a single batch, identified as batch #672, manufactured by one of Brembo’s suppliers, Federal Mogul Italy S.r.l. According to the recall documentation, the pads were subjected to a second thermal treatment that exposed them to higher temperatures than intended. The higher temperatures reduced the strength of the bond between the backing plate and friction material.

Ducati dealers will inspect the rear brake pads on affected motorcycles to see if they are marked as being from batch 672. If they are, then the dealer will replace the pads.

We expect other manufacturers to announce their own related recalls in the weeks ahead.

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2018 Yamaha MT-07 and XSR700 Recalled for Loose Chain Guard

August 8, 2018 Dennis Chung 0

Yamaha is recall certain 2018 MT-07 and XSR700 models because the change guards attached to the swingarms may come loose. The recall affects 3,493 units in the U.S. As of this writing, the MT-07’s predecessor, the FZ-07, is not included in the recall, despite sharing a similar swingarm design.

According to documents released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the bolt fixing the chain guard to the swingarm make shake loose from vibrations while riding on rough roads. The bolt may completely come off, allowing the chain guard to detach and potentially contact the drive chain and break.

2018 Yamaha MT-07 recall

Yamaha Motor Corp. USA was first alerted to the problem by its parent company in Japan on July 9. The issue was first identified after a quality control review and testing of models to be exported from Japan.

Dealers will replace the chain guards retaining collars and the fastening bolts on recalled models.

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Harley-Davidson FXDR 114 Coming for 2019

August 1, 2018 Dennis Chung 0

Harley-Davidson dropped a bombshell on us this week, revealing a new liquid-cooled modular engine platform, prototypes of its first adventure touring bike, a streetfighter and custom model and detailed plans for the LiveWire and other electric motorcycles and small-displacement models for Asia.

Along with the announcements came a promotional video highlighting this bold new direction for Harley-Davidson. Look closely at the video and you can see at least one detail that was not announced, a new 2019 Harley-Davidson FXDR 114.

You first catch glimpse of the FXDR at the 41-second mark, a rear shot of a motorcycle on a racetrack. You can make out a fat rear tire, a white tail cover that extends along the sides and a sporty-looking triangular shaped silencer.

The mystery bike appears again in a couple of quick cuts at the 2:18 mark. The shots are blurry or from a distance but you can see a small flyscreen over the headlight. The foot controls appear to be slightly forward, though it’s difficult to say how far forward they are. The big giveaway is at 2:21 with a shot from the rider’s perspective, showing some raised bars, the fuel cap and, most notably, the letters “FXDR” with the R in red.

Click on the photo to view the high-res version. The letters FXDR are visible right in the middle of the shot.

More clues come to us via filings from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on an initial list of Harley-Davidson’s 2019 models. Listed among them is the FXDR 114, indicating the new model will run on the 1870cc Milwaukee-Eight engine. The NHTSA filing indicates a brake horsepower of 91 hp.

Even from a distance, you can see the white flyscreen on the FXDR 114. The rider’s right foot is also clearly visible, and its position indicates a forward placement.

That Harley-Davidson would drop some hints of the new model in the video without mentioning a word of it suggests a full announcement is coming sooner rather than later. The FXDR 114 might also help ease the minds of hardcore Harley-Davidson traditionalists who might feel estranged by the announcements made this week. A brand new performance-focused cruiser may help show that Harley-Davidson has not forgotten about its core.

Harley-Davidson traditionally announces its models in late August, so expect to hear official new in the next few weeks. As always, we’ll have the latest here on

2019 Harley-Davidson FXDR 114 2019 Harley-Davidson FXDR 114 2019 Harley-Davidson FXDR 114 2019 Harley-Davidson FXDR 114 2019 Harley-Davidson FXDR 114

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Harley-Davidson Developing Emergency Autonomous Braking System

July 31, 2018 Dennis Chung 0

Harley-Davidson has filed a patent application for a rider assist system that autonomously applies a motorcycle’s brakes in emergency situations.

Automakers have been employing autonomous emergency braking systems for cars over the last few years, but the technology has yet to make it to motorcycles, as abrupt braking can actually be more dangerous for two-wheelers. Still, companies are trying to find ways to make it work. We’ve previously reported that Honda is also developing an autonomous braking system for motorcycles, and companies like Bosch are no doubt working on their own solutions.

The idea is relatively straightforward. Various sensors, such as cameras, RADAR or LIDAR, scan the vehicle’s path for any hazards that may cause a frontal collision, such as a car making a sudden turn or a deer running across a highway. A controller processes this data and, if it predicts an imminent collision, automatically applies the brakes, closes the throttle and actuate the clutch to slow or stop the vehicle before it can hit the hazard.

On a car, such a system can work relatively safely, but on a motorcycle where a rider is exposed and not wearing a seat belt, sudden and unexpected braking can cause a rider to lose balance or even be thrown from the bike.

Harley-Davidson’s solution is to use additional sensors to determine whether the rider is physically or mentally prepared for emergency braking. These include sensors in the grips to determine whether they are being held, seat sensors to check if a rider is not standing up on the foot supports, and cognition sensors mounted on the instrument panel or even inside a helmet to track a rider’s eyes.

A rider cognition sensor (labeled as #76) on the instrument panel provides data that a controller uses to determine whether a rider is paying attention and thus prepared to react in an emergency situation. Sensors in the grips (#36) check to see if a rider is holding on with both hands.

These rider monitors evaluate whether a rider is sufficiently prepared to react before the autonomous brakes are activated. If the sensors determine a rider is not prepared, the system turns on various warning indicators (illustrated above by the exclamation marks in the mirrors and digital display), audio cues or even a vibration from haptic indicators in the handlebars or seat. The system may also apply a brief braking pulse, applying the brakes just enough for the rider to feel a shift in the weight. If the rider still does not respond, the system will wait a predetermined interval (the patent suggests between 200 ms to 500 ms) before stepping in and slowing down the motorcycle.

If the system determines the rider is alert enough, it will start applying emergency braking. If the rider has already applied the brakes, the system will assist by applying additional braking pressure.

An autonomous braking system still requires some fail safes. Sometimes, the safest response to a potential collision isn’t to hit the brakes but rather to take evasive maneuvers. Harley-Davidson’s patent application describes how the autonomous braking system may be over-ridden if the sensors determine the rider has the situation under control and assistance is not required.

As with all patents and patent applications, there’s no way of knowing if or when the invention may actually be used in a real product. Harley-Davidson’s patent application tells us the company at the very least considering an emergency autonomous braking system. Time will tell whether Harley follows through with this idea or goes in a different direction.

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Harley-Davidson Announces Growth Plan Through 2022

July 30, 2018 Dennis Chung 0

For a company like Harley-Davidson, change can be slow and incremental. Not so today, as Harley-Davidson announced a new plan for growth from now through 2020, including some significant, bold changes that many customers have long been asking for.

There’s the new liquid-cooled modular platform in four displacements from 500cc to 1250cc, led by the company’s first adventure bike, the 2020 Harley-Davidson Pan America 1250, which we posted earlier today. Harley-Davidson says this new middleweight platform will span three distinct product spaces. In addition to the Pan America, Harley showed off prototypes of a 975cc streetfighter and a custom model.

These three models are just the tip of the iceberg. Harley-Davidson says it will launch a second adventure-touring model using the 975cc version of the engine by 2021. The as-yet-unnamed streetfighter model will be the first of nine standard models. These will arrive from 2020-2022 and carry engines displacing from 500cc to 1250cc.

The custom model will be one of five bikes displacing between 500cc to 1250cc that are tentatively set to launch in 2021 and 2022. Harley-Davidson didn’t say anything specific, but it’s possible these five models may be a full replacement of the Sportster line.

The new adventure-touring and streetfighter/standard models are a recognition of the strong demand these segments have in Europe, and will be a key element of Harley-Davidson’s plans to grow overseas. Harley-Davidson estimates this segment accounts for sales of 273,000 in 2017 model sales in Europe, none of which currently bear the bar and shield.

There’s also the LiveWire, the first in a new line of electric Harley-Davidson models, set to launch in August 2019. The electric motorcycle market is still relatively dormant, and Harley-Davidson says it plans to take a leadership role, especially from a design perspective starting with the LiveWire. Electric motorcycles are currently priced significantly higher than similar performing internal combustion models, but Harley-Davidson predicts the market will reach cost parity as early as 2030.

The LiveWire will be followed by two more electric models in 2021-2022 that Harley says will offer accessible power and pricing. Harley-Davidson will also offer a selection of what it calls “lightweight urban” electric models in 2021 and 2022. According to Harley-Davidson, these lightweight urban bikes currently make up the bulk of worldwide electric motorcycle sales (including 38 million units in Asia and another 1.8 million in North America and Europe).

Harley-Davidson also announced plans to partner with an Asian motorcycle manufacturer to develop small-displacement models from 250cc to 500cc within the next two years. These will be produced in large quantities for the Asian market, and Indian in particular. The small-displacement models will help increase Harley-Davidson’s brand in Asia while acting as a bridge to its larger-displacement models.

From the business side of things, Harley-Davidson says it will try to broaden access to customers by expanding its website to “integrate and enhance the dealership retail experience” and forming alliances with online retailers. Harley-Davidson expects online or digitally-influenced sales will account for 99% of customer retail growth over the next five years.

Harley-Davidson also plans to open up to 125 new, smaller storefronts in urban locations by 2022 to increase sales of apparel and other products. This will include a mix of permanent and pop-up retail locations.

Traditional dealerships will still play an important role, and Harley-Davidson says it will implement a new performance framework to strengthen its dealer network. Harley also plans to open 25-35 new dealerships in international markets (primarily in emerging markets) by 2022.

Harley-Davidson says its accelerated strategy will require the allocation of $450-550 million towards operating investment and $225-275 million in capital investment through 2022. These will be funded entirely through the reallocation of previously planned resources and comprehensive cost reduction.

If all goes well, Harley-Davidson forecasts annual revenues to grow $1 billion by 2022.

“The bold actions we are announcing today leverage Harley-Davidson’s vast capabilities and competitive firepower – our excellence in product development and manufacturing, the global appeal of the brand and of course, our great dealer network,” says Matt Levatich, president and chief executive officer of Harley-Davidson. “Alongside our existing loyal riders, we will lead the next revolution of two-wheeled freedom to inspire future riders who have yet to even think about the thrill of riding.”

Invoking the “i” word, Levatich goes on to say, “Harley-Davidson is iconic because we’ve never been static. In moving forward, we are tapping into the spirit that drove our founders back in 1903 and every one of the employees and dealers who rose to the challenges faced along the way. Our plan will redefine existing boundaries of our brand – reaching more customers in a way that reinforces all we stand for as a brand and as a company and we can’t wait to kick it into gear.”

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2019 Harley-Davidson LiveWire Launching in August

July 30, 2018 Dennis Chung 0

Four years after introducing the prototype, Harley-Davidson is finally ready to go electric, announcing the impending launch of the LiveWire production model in August.

Harley-Davidson LiveWire Prototype First Ride

The electric 2019 Harley-Davidson LiveWire will be “the first in a broad, no-clutch “twist and go” portfolio of electric two-wheelers designed to establish the company as the leader in the electrification of the sport. LiveWire will be followed by additional models through 2022 to broaden the portfolio with lighter, smaller and even more accessible product options to inspire new riders with new ways to ride.”

It’s official, and the 2019 LiveWire looks like it’s ready to seriously ride, complete with full-size sport tires and big dual disc brakes up front. Other than that, however, important details, like range and $$$, remain unavailable…

Harley-Davidson also teased other electric models to be released further down the road. Unlike the LiveWire, these models will likely use technology developed by Alta Motors, which Harley-Davidson recently invested into. Based on trademark filings, we expect the electric powertrain will be known by the brand name “H-D Revelation.”

The LiveWire is just the beginning in its electric push, says the Motor Co.

In the sketches above and in the video above, Harley-Davidson showed several designs for potential models including what looks like some sort of utility bike with a cargo area and a bicycle-style electric motorcycle.

2019 Harley-Davidson LiveWire production

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EPA Certifies 2019 BMW C400X and Unannounced C400GT Scooter

July 24, 2018 Dennis Chung 0

Last fall at EICMA, BMW announced its first middleweight scooter,  the C400X. But, following a trend in recent years set by the G310R, G310GS, F750GS and F850GS models, we’ve had to wait longer than we would like before seeing the C400X land in North America.

The wait seems to be coming to an end, as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has certified the C400X for 2019. And it looks like it won’t be alone, as it was certified along with a yet-to-be-announced C400GT model.

According to the certification documentation, both scooters share the same 350cc liquid-cooled four-valve single overhead cam single-cylinder engine. BMW claims an output of 34 hp at 7500 rpm and 26 lb-ft. at 6000 rpm. Like the C400X, the C400GT will be produced in China.

The EPA document doesn’t provide any detail about how the C400GT will look or how it may differ from the C400X. From its name, we can assume a more conventional maxi-scooter style along the lines of the C650GT rather than the more robotic-looking C400X. As a “GT” model, we can also expect a taller windscreen and more comfortable seating for both the rider and a passenger (the fold-out passenger pegs visible above will likely be replaced by full foot boards.)

The C400X is equipped with a 35mm telescopic fork with twin preload-adjustable rear shocks. The GT version will likely have similar suspension. The brakes will likely be similar as well, which would mean twin 265mm discs with Bybre four-piston radial-mount calipers up front and a single 265mm disc with a single-piston caliper on the rear wheel.

ABS is, of course, standard on all BMW models, and we expect the C400GT will use the same Continental MK 100 MAB two-channel ABS unit as the C400X. Likewise, expect the C400GT to also use the same Automatic Stability Control system.

The 2019 BMW C400GT will likely debut at one of the fall’s big motorcycle shows, either Intermot in October or EICMA in November. We’ll have the latest information here on as it becomes available.


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2019 Husqvarna Svartpilen 701 Certified by CARB

July 20, 2018 Dennis Chung 0

We saw it at EICMA in concept form but we can now confirm the Husqvarna Svartpilen 701 is heading for production as a 2019 model.

EICMA 2017: Husqvarna Svartpilen 701 Concept

The proof comes from the California Air Resources Board which has issued an executive order certifying the Svartpilen 701 for 2019. The “Black Arrow” was certified along with is “White Arrow” sibling, the Vitplien 701 which also debuted at EICMA as a 2018 production model. The executive order lists the same emissions levels as the 2018 Vitpilen 701, suggesting the KTM Duke-based 693cc Single will return unchanged on the Svartpilen.

Judging from Husqvarna’s other models, we expect the Svartpilen 701 production model will look fairly close to its concept, naturally with the addition of street-legal necessities. The license plate holder, turn signals and instrumentation will likely be similar to those found on the Vitpilen 701. As we saw with the smaller 401 models, the Svartpilen 701 will have more of a scrambler or flat tracker style than its sibling. We can expect an 18-inch front wheel with a 17-inch wheel at the rear, though the concept was equipped with cast wheels and we don’t expect the production model to swap those for wire spoke wheels.

We expect the 2019 Husvarna Svartpilen 701 production model will be formally introduced at one of this fall’s big European shows, either at Intermot in early October or a month later at EICMA. Check back here on for the latest information as it becomes available.

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