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Yamaha Suspends Production in Italy and France Due to Coronavirus

More Shutdowns

Yamaha is far from the first company to shut down production facilities in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, but it likely won’t be the last. According to MoreBikes, the company has suspended production at two of its facilities. The first is in Italy and the second is in France.

Production at the Motori Minarelli engine factory in Calderara di Reno, Italy, is the first. The second is the MBK Industrei assembly plant in Saint-Quentin, France. Both will shut down until March 22. The plan, according to the report, is to review the status of the virus outbreak weekly and decide if the facility should continue to stay closed or not.

Eric de Seynes, Chief Executive Officer of Yamaha Motor Europe said: “The health of our employees and our social responsibility are our priorities at this stage, which is why we took the decision to suspend production at these two facilities in the face of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. We also value highly the skills and commitment of a workforce that has shown tremendous loyalty to Yamaha, but now faces an unprecedented situation outside of the workplace.”

He went on to say that the company is working to ensure that no employee will lose out financially between now and the time that it can re-open the facilities. While March 22 is the target date to get back on track, that totally depends on how things go with the virus. It could be longer before things return to normal. 

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Could Yamaha Redesign the R1 Due to European Emissions?

Newer and Better

The Yamaha YZF-R1 is a force to be reckoned with in the liter bike category. It has been since the late 1990s. Now that bike may be redesigned to meet new European emissions standards. According to iMotorbike, the R1 doesn’t meet the restrictions for the Euro 5 emissions standards that will take effect in 2021. 

The publication also said the company won’t just scrap the old bike. It also won’t add in the necessary emissions compliant engine parts. It’s going to completely redesign the motorcycle and infuse it with more MotoGP technology. That could mean things like a counter-rotating crankshaft—like is in the Ducati Panigale V4—variable valve timing, and a seamless gearbox.

There’s supossed to be a patent application for the seamless gearbox floating around out there, but I was unable to find it. iMotorbike reported on it, though, and RideApart reported it as well. A seamless gearbox improves acceleration and makes the shift from one gear to the next extremely smooth.

The downside is it requires a ton of maintenance. If Yamaha will put one on its next R1 production bike, I’d assume it found a way to make the gearbox less labor intensive. That could make the new R1 a truly amazing machine indeed. If Yamaha has figured out how to do that, I’d assume it would use it for racing applications, too, which would be pretty cool.

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Yamaha Tenere 700 European Pricing Announced

No Word on the U.S. Yet

The Yamaha Tenere 700 is a highly anticipated adventure touring motorcycle, and its set to debut in Europe in 2019. Yamaha recently released pricing information for the European-spec bike. According to ADV Pulse, the bike will cost €9,299 which equates to about $10,600.

The lucky European riders will get to enjoy online ordering, too. This means they’ll be able to get the bike as soon as possible. However, there’s a caveat here, that price is exclusive to online orders. Once the online orders are done on July 31, the price will no longer stay at €9,299.

The U.S.-spec bike will not arrive until late 2020 due to differences in regulations. When it does, I’d imagine the pricing to be very similar to the European variant. There’s no word yet on if U.S. buyers will have a chance to place an online order at a special price for the motorcycle. One thing that will be different for the U.S. model, according to ADV Pulse is the fact that the Tenere 700 will only be offered in one color, Ceramic Ice. The Euro-spec model comes in three different colors.

The Tenere 700 features a 689cc parallel twin-cylinder engine. It comes with adjustable upside-down coil-spring forks, adjustable link-type rear suspension, a 452 lbs wet weight, and switchable ABS. It should be a true force to be reckoned with among its immediate competition. The bike will come to the U.S. in 2020. When it does, I’m sure there will be plenty of people excited to buy.

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Yamaha Gets Weird With MOTOROiD Concept Bike, Wins Award

It Looks Like a Robot and Acts Like One, Too

Yamaha won an iF Design Award 2019 for its concept motorcycle called the MOTOROiD. The iF Design Awards are awarded to excellent designs selected by top designers in the industry. The MOTOROiD’s blend of unique technology, innovative ideas, and superb execution is what qualified it for the honor.

The MOTOROiD has won similar awards in the past. According to Yamaha, the bike has won an International Design Excellence Award and Red Dot Award: Design Concept 2018. With the iF Design Award, it would seem the high-end design crowd is pretty pleased with this thing. To be honest, it is impressive, but that doesn’t mean it’s not weird as hell.

Yamaha says the MOTOROiD is designed for “personal mobility in which the rider resonates harmoniously with the machine.” That’s a fancy way of saying that the bike uses artificial intelligence to hold itself upright, recognize the owner and move forward to greet him or her, and react to rider’s actions based on what the company calls a human-machine interface. Call me crazy but that just sounds kind of freaky. 

There’s no denying that the MOTOROiD is a unique, interesting, and innovative design and worthy of some recognition from designers around the world. I think it’s interesting and in some ways cool, but if this is the direction motorcycle technology is going, I think I’ll delve deeper into the past and become a classic bike aficionado.

Of course, it will be years until this kind of tech makes its way onto production motorcycles. These forward-thinking designs and the technology on them usually take a while to come to fruition in the real world. However, the personal mobility movement is something that both automakers and motorcycle manufacturers seem to think is the future, so we might as well get ready for it.

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Motorcycle News Roundup: Week of 12/16

This week has been full of interesting motorcycle news from a customized 180hp Kawasaki GPz750 Turbo to Triumph Factory Custom bikes and rumors of a new Rocket III power cruiser. We’ve covered most of it and rounded up the news that somehow slipped through the cracks.
Check out all of this week’s top stories in the video roundup below.

1. Triumph Scrambler 1200 Pricing Announced

Triumph’s new Scrambler 1200 has a lot of people scrambling for their pocketbooks now that pricing has been announced. The least expensive model will run you $14,000.

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2. Customized 1984 Kawasaki GPz750 Turbo Makes 180 Horsepower

If you want a seriously fast motorcycle with a lot of horsepowers, but can’t stand new bikes, this is the deal for you. Check out the 1984 Kawasaki GPz750 Turbo that’s for sale by owner.

3. Fly Free Smart Motorcycles Brings Reto Styling and Electric Power

Electric bikes don’t have to look weird. Fly Free Smart Motorcycles proves that with its Smart Classic and Smart Desert retro styled bikes. Too, bad the power plants leave something to be desired.

Read More


4. 2019 Yamaha YZF-R1 GYTR 20th Anniversary Unveiled

Yamaha celebrates the 20-year anniversary of the debut of its YZF-R1 with a special edition called the GYTR. It comes with special racing equipment and graphics. Too bad they’re all spoken for.

Read More


5. Rolling Thunder Will Roll One Last Time in Washington D.C.

The biker club Rolling Thunder will have its annual ride in the nation’s capital to support the troops one last time. Funding has become an issue. The group will still do rides at locations across the country.

Read More


6. 2019 KTM 450 SX-F Factory Edition Revealed

If you were hoping to buy a race-ready motocross bike from KTM in 2019, your prayers have been answered. THe 450 SX-F Factory Edition is the most advanced motocross bike from the company yet.

Read More


7. Indian Motorcycle Files Trademark for Indian Raven

Indian may have a new bike in the works called the Raven. The company trademarked the name recently, and that has our heads spinning as to what the bike could be.

Read More

8. Yoshimura Exhaust System Introduced for 2019 Kawasaki ZX-6R

Is the new 2019 Kawasaki ZX-6R you’re going to buy just not special enough? Buy a new Yoshimura exhaust System and FE eliminator kit and you’ll be the coolest bro on the block.

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9. Triumph Thruxton R TFC Coming in January

Triumph will debut a Thruxton R TFC (Triumph Factory Custom) in January of 2019. It’s a special version of the motorcycle with all kinds of new equipment and only 750 models will be sold.

Read More


10. Could a Triumph Factory Custom Rocket III be Coming?

The Triumph Rocket III will receive a complete overhaul soon. When it does, Triumph may build a TFC model. An image of the upcoming bike was leaked after a recent dealer meeting.

Read More


11. BMW’s Head of Design Discusses the Future of Motorcycle Design

BMW’s future could get interesting. The company’s Head of Design discussed the company’s design moves with the new S1000RR and the possibilities that come with electric bikes. I have a feeling things are going to get weird.

Read More

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Yamaha Sets Aside $100 Million for Future Startup Investments

The Yamaha Motor Exploratory Fund Begins

Yamaha Motor Co. set up a new company fund that will focus on investing in new technologies and startups over the next 10 years. The Yamaha Motor Exploratory Fund is an effort by Yamaha. The company designed the fund to “further strengthen its global corporate venturing activities.” Yamaha allocated $100 million to the fund.

The company issued a statement about the new fund on Tuesday. It will be a U.S.-based venture located in Silicon Valley. This location currently houses the Yamaha Motor Ventures & Laboratory Silicon Valley (YMVLSV).

The YMVLSV was established in 2015. It acted as the tech and investing arm for Yamaha over the past few years. It invested in nine venture capital companies. In the statement, Yamaha pointed out two of the companies it invested in as Veniam and Robotics Plus. Those are likely the two it’s most proud of.

Veniam provides “mesh type Wi-Fi communication services for mobile units,” according to Yamaha. The U.S. venture also develops and sells communications hardware.

Robotics Plus is a New Zealand venture that uses robotics engineering and automation and analysis technology to create automated solutions for agricultural fields.

Why Spend the Money?

Neither Veniam or Robotics Plus directly correlate to motorcycles. You might be wondering why it matters if Yamaha invests in these companies. Well, the transportation industry is changing dramatically. Yamaha needs to start investing in technology start-ups if it hopes to keep pace.

The company seems to be getting out ahead of things by setting up this fund. It also invested $150 million in Grab, entering into a strategic partnership. Grab is an Indian-based motorcycle ride-hailing service. According to a statement by Yamaha, the move will allow the pursuit of next-generation mobility services.

Yamaha and Grab partnership
Image from Yamaha

With that in mind, is $100 million for the Yamaha Motor Exploratory Fund in Silicon Valley really enough?

Yamaha sees the fund as a start to its investment in technology ventures worldwide. If it just spent $150 million getting in on a partnership with Grab, it would seem that $100 million is a pittance to have for over 10 years of investment.

Grab is already large, though. Yamaha had to pony up the big bucks to get in on the game. Hopefully, the fund will focus on small ventures that have a potential to get big. That will enable Yamaha to get in on these tech ventures early. Hopefully, that will be before they have to start shelling out significant amounts of money to buy in.



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Yamaha Ultra Precision Papercraft Models Will Challenge Your Builder Skills

The first time we saw Yamaha papercraft models on The Kneeslider was way back in 2005. They were impressive then, but not new, these print, cut and assemble models had already been out since 1997. You can go to the website, download some pdf files and build yourself a motorcycle. As you might expect, in […]

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Yamaha Niken Means Leaning 3 Wheelers May Just Hit the Big Time

Two years ago we wrote about the Yamaha MWT-9, a sport bike with two wheels up front, it looked mean and nasty, in a good way. At that time, leaning 3 wheelers had been out for years in scooter form and some companies were building conversions for big tilting touring rigs, but the obvious question […]

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2017 Yamaha XSR900 Abarth café-racer brings the best of Japan and Italy in one cool package

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With cafe racer styling from the 1960s/1970s, a modern three-cylinder engine, and bits like ABS and traction control, the Yamaha XSR900 Abarth is one cool custom

Extending their 'sport heritage' line-up, Yamaha recently unveiled the 2017 XSR900 Abarth at the EICMA, in Milan. To create this limited-edition (production is limited to 695 units only) café-racer, bike builders Shinya Kimura and Roland Sands teamed up with Abarth, an iconic Italian company responsible for creating some truly memorable high-performance cars. With its 847cc CP3 three-cylinder engine, the XSR900 Abarth boasts 115 horsepower and 87Nm of torque. The bike is fitted with custom-built carbonfibre bodywork, suede solo seat, Akrapovič titanium exhaust and, of course, there's an exclusive red/gray paintjob and Abarth logos on the fuel tank, front fender and seat cowl.

While the Yamaha XSR Abarth's styling is inspired by the 1960s, the technology is very much from 2016 – there's ABS, traction control and a slipper clutch, and the bike rides on modern 17-inch wheels shod with 120/70 (front) and 180/55 (rear) tyres. Stopping duties are handled by twin 298mm brake discs at the front and a single 245mm disc at the back. The bike weighs 195 kilos and the fuel economy, at 19kpl, isn't too bad for an 850cc triple. More information on
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Yamaha T7 concept provides a preview of Yamaha's all-new mid-size off-roader which will be launched in 2018

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Existing mid-size adventure bikes are too soft for you? An all-new off-road machine from Yamaha, based on the T7 and to be launched in 2018, should take care of that

Yamaha recently unveiled the T7 concept at EICMA, in Milan. The bike pays tribute to the early-1980s Yamaha XT600Z Ténéré, which was based on Yamaha's factory Paris-Dakar Rally racebikes that were ridden by Stéphane Peterhansel and other legendary riders. The XTZ600 was a big success for Yamaha back then, with the company selling more than 60,000 units between 1984-1984. And now, the spirit of that original Ténéré is back with the new T7 concept.

According to Yamaha, the T7 represents the ideal mid-size long-distance off-road motorcycle and addresses the concern that other existing mid-size 'adventure' bikes are actually too street-oriented, are too high-tech and aren't actually suited to hard-core off-road use. "The adventure world needs a new kind of motorcycle that can offer the genuine long distance versatility and pure durability of the original Ténéré, combined with contemporary design plus cutting edge engine and chassis technology," says a press note from Yamaha. "A team composed of Yamaha's engineers, designers and product planners from the Official Rally Team in France, the R&D in Italy and GK Design in the Netherlands have developed the new T7 concept. Each member of the team is driven by a desire to create something that would fit the needs of the adventure traveller and represent the Yamaha vision for the next generation of adventure bikes," it adds.

While the Yamaha T7 isn't a production-spec machine, it's a fully functioning prototype and, according to the company, has been developed to "achieve a perfect balance between road and off road capability." It's powered by Yamaha's 700cc parallel-twin and gets an all-new off-road-oriented chassis, along with an aluminium fuel tank, 4-projector LED headlight, carbonfibre fairing and skid plate, custom-made Akrapovič exhaust and high-spec, long-travel KYB suspension.
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