Future Motorcycle Trends

Hondax

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Insight as to what is likely to happen in the near future as far as new bikes are concerned:

Just as we approach the last of the new bike launches for this year, we also ar given some up-to-date trading figures for some of the major players in the bike world. Whilst to most they are boring and irrelevant, they do give an insight as to what is likely to happen in the near future as far as new bikes are concerned. Add to this the increasing news of tie-ups with Chinese and Far East manufacturers.

As usual, though, we continue to bring you all the news from Europe and the rest of the world so you remain well informed and can make your own judgements when visiting your local dealers! Italy

Although this is being written just prior to the Milan Show and all the new bike launches, sources have already confirmed and produced pictures of some of the bikes we have mentioned in this column over the last year from Aprilia. Take a look at MCUSA's article for info about the automatic Mana 850 parallel-Twin, the Tuono-ish Shiver 750 V-Twin, and a peek at the new 1000cc V-4 superbike engine claimed to crank out more than 200 horsepower that all emerged for the final major European show of the year.

Piaggio themselves have just announced that its net sales revenue was up by 10.9% to £611m ($222,052,600 US) for the first half of the year. By far the biggest contribution to these profits came from the motorcycle sector which grew 26% thanks to some stunning new bikes from Moto Guzzi. A 60% rise in sales in the USA was also reported at the press conference!

Gilera are set to launch a new three-wheeler maxi-scooter called the Fuoco. The 500cc machine is based on its stablemate the Piaggio MP3, but has been set up for more sportier handling and comes with a fresh new look.

Italian firm Extreme Design has beaten British bike manufacturer Triumph to the post, with a fully faired Rocket III tourer. We have mentioned the factory version for some months now in this column, but it has yet to be launched. However, Italian businessman Dario Arciprete showed his company's version at the recent Cologne show, much to upset of Triumph themselves who were just down the walk-way. The bike has an all-enveloping fairing and panniers, along with sat-nav and on-bike entertainment. Rumour has it that the price of the touring kit and the bike is less than Triumph will be selling the factory-produced version at, and the bike looks very close to the 'official' version! More information on www.extremedesign.it

If you want to have something really different to ride round on, then a look at an Italian website may well be worth some of your time. IRS have added a twin front wheel set-up to the front of a Suzuki SV1000 to mimic the Piaggio MP3 twin front wheel scooter, complete with tilting linkage. The machine has a new frame underneath the standard bodywork, which is retained like most of the original donor machine. More information at www.irs1000.it

China

One of China's largest motorcycle manufacturers, the Jincheng Corporation has just announced a 'strategic alliance' with Italian manufacturer Aprilia. According to the Beijing Review, Jincheng has been recognized by China's State Administration for Industry and Commerce as "the country's leading brand."

The company actually exported more than 500,000 bikes to 40 countries, (in addition to home sales) and produced annual revenues over $625 million in the 2005 financial year. As a result of such figures, they have headed China's motorcycle industry in terms of exports and foreign exchange income for the past nine years.

Aprilia is of course owned by Piaggio, which owns other brands like Moto Guzzi and has branches all over Europe which, no doubt was instrumental in the deal with Jincheng. Announcing the tie-up, Wang Jian, president of the Chinese Group of companies said, "This is an outstanding partnership for Jincheng, and a pivotal step towards our global expansion." (Read takeover?)

Jincheng machines are already distributed by Devon Motorcycles in the USA and they also announced that a new Italian-designed 150cc Eupolo Scooter would soon be appearing for this market to join the range of existing small-capacity machines. However, the Aprilia link could soon see some much larger models appearing in the near future. Austria

KTM have re-engineered the SuperDuke for 2007 and added a tuned version the 'R' for those who want that little bit more. Restyling has taken place, which includes a 25% larger bigger fuel tank to address common complaints about the bikes lack of range. Apart from engine management changes, the motor remains the same as does the main chassis. Radial brakes appear though and the suspension has been tweaked. No prices are available as yet, but expect the bikes to go on sale next spring. France

PSA, Peugeot Citroen's Peugeot scooter manufacturing division, has joined the bandwagon and has started to transfer production to the Far East. Like many others, the new joint venture with the ST Jinan Qinqi Motorcycle Company has been forged to help cut costs so they can remain competitive. Initially only the Speedflight model will be manufactured outside its Montbeliard scooter factory in eastern France.

The French Automotive giant has recently announced 10,000 redundancies, or one in 13, of its workforce in Europe! Its new partner currently turns out over a million scooters and motorcycles and already has an existing link with Suzuki.
 
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