Pininfarina Isn’t Messing Around, Unveils Two More Concept Models With HKG

Apparently, being under new ownership has breathed some new life to Pininfarina. Long regarded as one of the best auto design houses in the business, the Italian company has since ratcheted up its concept production with a pair of new concepts for its new automotive BFF, Chinese company Hybrid Kinetic Group. It wasn’t that long ago that the two companies joined together to present the H600 sedan, which debuted at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show. Now we’re seeing two more concepts, the K550 and the K750.

Presented at the 2017 Shanghai Auto Show, both the K550 and the K750 join the H600 in what could turn into an impressive electric vehicle lineup for the fledgling HKG brand. The two-row, five-seater K550, in particular, is presented as a five-seat crossover concept powered by an electric powertrain that itself is being developed by HKG. The same goes for the much larger K750, which rides taller and longer than its counterpart, thanks in part to having three rows of seating that can accommodate up to seven people. Both models aren’t expected to arrive anytime soon, but like the H600, there appears to be some optimism coming from both Pininfarina and HKG that we’ll end up seeing these models hit the road in production guise soon.

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Five Awesome Vehicles from Barrett-Jackson’s 2017 West Palm Beach Auction

The Barrett-Jackson auction recently went down in West Palm Beach, Florida, and while the auction of the first-ever 2018 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE was my main focus, there were plenty of other vehicles that fought for my attention. For two days I walked the 100 acres of the South Florida Fair Grounds looking at iron from every decade in motoring history. There were old Rolls Royces, Mercedes, and even a few Ferraris. Just feet away were iconic American muscle cars with hot-cammed V-8 thumping out unburned hydrocarbons and more than a few classic pickups and SUVs.

Of course, you know Barrett-Jackson is one of the largest traveling auctions in the country. It hammers bids on thousands of classic vehicles every year, some with million-dollar price tags. Barrett-Jackson visits locations including the Northeast, Las Vegas, Scottsdale, and obviously West Palm Beach, each year. The auctioneers, staff, and equipment all travel. The vehicles are generally more regional, with tons of locals and residents of nearby states looking to sell their stuff. The variety is nearly limitless.

Also limitless is my taste for history and cars. Combine the two, and I’m lost in a dizzying whirlwind of want and desire. Sadly, I wasn’t registered to bid (my wife might say thankfully). That didn’t stop me from looking, though, and look I did! Here are my five favorite vehicles from the auction.

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Harley-Davidson CVO Pro Street Breakout

Harley-Davidson’s Custom Vehicle Operations (CVO) program has been hard at work churning out models with the top pest-of-the-shel fest features they can cook up. All that R&D isn’t wasted on the premium models though, as frequently technology pioneered in the CVO program makes its way through the Rushmore bikes and on down the line to the less-expensive models.

H-D’s newest CVO release is a direct assault on the American muscle-bike market, and it cuts a mean figure with its raked front end and massive V-Twin engine. Introducing the 2016 FXSE CVO Pro Street Breakout, a model packed with CVO and Screamin’ Eagle yummy goodness as it rolls off the floor ready for stoplight-burner action.

While Harley markets the V-Rod as its “performance line,” this new Breakout definitely qualifies for that category as well, albeit with a more traditional look and DNA that goes back to the classic dragster/gasser era. Join me while I take a gander at this latest creation out of Harley’s CVO division.

Continue reading for my review of the Harley-Davidson CVO Pro Street Breakout.

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Daytona Beach Bike Week 2016

There’s an electricity in the Spring air as another Daytona Beach Bike Week is upon us. In fact, this year marks the 75th Anniversary of “the beach” bike rally, and it looks to be going as strongly as ever with hundreds of thousands of bikers in attendance in recent years. That’s right folks, in case time got behind you, the rally runs from March 4th through March 13th this year, and you have only days to prepare.

Oh, you can abandon all hope of scoring a hotel room in the area at this late hour, but for those willing to put up with a bit of a commute may yet find a room withing riding range, and folks with RVs or camping gear may be able to find something closer to the action. If you find yourself unable to secure reasonable lodging, take a lesson from this to go ahead and reserve a room/site for next year before they all fill up again.

Continue reading for more on Daytona Beach Bike Week 2016.

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Honda Fury / Stateline

More and more riders have come to appreciate the look associated with what I would call Classic Americana, and manufacturers around the world have responded in recent years to try to exploit this niche interest. This movement has actually been on and gaining momentum for a few years now, and we are starting to see some fairly bold designs from some of the big names.

Honda has two such designs available for the 2016 model year. First is the Stateline, the sole surviving member of the 1300 Custom Line having outlived its siblings, the Interstate and Sabre cruisers. The Fury joins the Stateline as a sort of brother-from-another-mother with lots of shared DNA, but with a few critical differences, and it represents a very bold design concept indeed.

Join me as I critique Honda’s attempt to recapture our glory days.

Continue reading for my review of the Honda Stateline and Fury.

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Suzuki Burgman

Largely carry-overs from previous years, the Burgmans in Suzuki’s 2016 lineup — called Skywave in Japan — consists of the 200, 400 and 650 Executive. Missing is the Burgman 125 available outside the U.S. market.

Styled for classy good looks and a certain amount of sophistication, the Burgmans present a scooter that demands to be taken seriously in an otherwise wild spirit or retro-style scooter market.

Continue reading for my review of the Suzuki Burgman 200, 400 and 650 Executive.

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Suzuki V-Strom 1000 ABS / V-Strom 1000 ABS Adventure

Suzuki continues strong in the adventure market for 2016 with the V Stromfamily. The 1000 and 1000 Adventure share the stable with their 650 cc counterparts for fun on-road and off-road in grand touring style.

If you’re looking at an adventure bike for the first time, understand that this isn’t a sport bike with off-road capabilities. Don’t look at that 1000 cc engine and get a chubby like you would with a crotch rocket. These V Strom 1000s are adventure bikes – tall seat, tall tank and suspension squishier than a street bike, but not as much travel as a proper off-road bike. Is that a bad thing? No, as long as you know what you’re looking at.

Continue reading for my review of the Suzuki V Strom 1000 and V Strom 1000 Adventure.

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Video: Ducati Releases “This Is X” Teaser Campaign

Ducati’s teaser tour ahead of the 2015 EICMA Motorcycle Show continues with the release of the “This Is X” teaser campaign. Those who have been following Borno Panigale’s recent attempts to hype its participation at the EICMA show should remember the “This Is Black” campaign that it rolled out in September 2015. Well, consider “This Is X” to be the follow up to that.

To no one’s surprise, the “This Is X” teaser is as vague and mysterious as its predecessor. It really doesn’t show or talk about anything specifically related to Ducati other than the brief second where the company’s logo appears towards the end. But the big chunk of the teaser alludes to various things like the “intersection of worlds” and the “multiplication of potential.”

Those are definitely words to live by if you’re a poet of some sort, but I highly doubt that anybody who watched the video knows what Ducati is talking about exactly. Adding to the confusion is the prevalent signs and allusions to the letter “X,” all of which explains absolutely nothing that can point to what Ducati’s plans are.

My best guess on the meaning of “X” is that it’s a new model that will make its debut at EICMA. Sure, it’s not a groundbreaking declaration, but I’m actually referring to a bike that may be the first of its kind for Ducati. We already know that the 959 Panigale and the Hypermotard 939 will be shown at EICMA, but don’t be surprised if another bike model, perhaps a crossover of some sort, shows up in Ducati’s booth.

Continue reading to read more about Ducati’s “This Is X” teaser campaign.

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Video: Highlights From The 12th KTM Adventure Rider Rally

The 12th edition of the KTM Adventure Rider Rally took place in late September 2015 in Crested Butte, Colorado. As expected, the event was a resounding success.

Created to give riders of all skill levels the chance to earn their stripes and learn from the best in the business, the Adventure Rider Rally once again drew hundreds of riders to Crested Butte where they got a chance to interact and ride with some of KTM’s top riders, including Quinn Cody, Andrew Short, Chris Fillmore, Mike Lafferty, Russell Bobbitt, and Paul Krause. The event wasn’t just your typical meet-and-greet; it also gave up-and-coming riders a chance to test their skills against the aforementioned KTM riders.

KTM even released a short video of highlights of the Adventure Rider Rally and judging by the testimonials from those who attended the event, the annual gathering is living through its purpose of providing a place for KTM enthusiasts to come together and enjoy the experience of riding their respective KTM bikes in a picturesque place like Crested Butte.

There’s a reason why the Adventure Rider Rally is still going strong for 12 straight years now. There’s no event quite like it for KTM enthusiasts and as long as there are riders who continue patronizing the Austrian motorcycle brand, the Adventure Rider Rally will continue to be a staple and a circled date in the calendars of KTM riders of all shapes and sizes.

Continue reading to read more about the 12th KTM Adventure Rider Rally.

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Video: Husqvarna 701 Supermoto Runs Wild

There’s been a lot of hype surrounding the Husqvarna 701 Supermoto and the KTM-owned brand hasn’t been shy about touting its supermotobike to the public. Over the past few months, we’ve seen Husqvarna launch a dedicated microsite for the 701 and release a promotional video of the bike running roughshod over a makeshift track on the surface of a frozen lake in Sweden. Now, Husky’s taking it one step further with the release of a new promo video of its new supermoto bike stretching its legs in its natural habitat: a race track.

The video shows the 701 completely at home in this element, taking any semblance of stunt riding out of the equation. The bike looks quick, agile, and totally in control of its surroundings and it’s a little rewarding to see it navigate around the track with aplomb, hitting apexes with ease and executing perfect lean angles on corners. It’s the kind of environment that the 701 was built for. Watching and listening to it run around the track is already giving me goosebumps on what it can do when it lines up against other 450cc bikes in actual competition.

I can’t tell at this point how the 701 Supermoto will do against its rivals, but judging from this new video alone, I’d be very confident in its chances, weight issues notwithstanding.

Continue reading to read more about the Husqvarna 701 Supermoto.

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