Friday, August 04, 2006

Aprilia, KTM, Moto Guzzi, Ducati: Taking on Japan Inc.

Expect the KTM RC8 to create a proper stir in the sportsbike market!

When it comes to building and selling high-performance motorcycles, European manufactures are taking on Japan Inc. in a big, big way. First Ducati let loose with the Desmosedici RR MotoGP replica. Now, Aprilia are said to be planning a return to World Superbikes in 2008 and for that, they are said to be working on a road-going RS1000 powered by a V-four engine. Sergio Robbiano – designer of the recent Bimota DB5 and DB6 machines – is going to design the new Aprilia, so expect it to look really good.

KTM, builders of some very good off-road and dual-purpose bikes, are also working on the RC8, which will be powered by a 1150cc V-twin. A KTM spokesperson was recently quoted as saying that 'Our RC8 superbike is a rocket,' and that the company can 'evolve the engine even more into a WSB winner.' No wonder then that KTM are also planning to get into WSB in the next two years.

While Moto Guzzi have no plans to go racing, it seems they do plan to break away from their 'old codger' image. Which is why they're planning a 1200cc full-on sportsbike that they may launch by 2008.

With so much action happening from other European manufacturers, would you expect Ducati to sit around twiddling their thumbs? No! They are also rumoured to be planning to attack the WSB series with renewed vigour. And a new motorcycle – a 1200cc V-twin. The buzz on various websites and in foreign magazines is that they're working on the new 1188R, which will take styling cues from the late, great 998R.

Honda, Yamaha, Suzuki and Kawasaki should be getting worried now… ;-)

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