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Harley-Davidson introduces new models for 2008

Barely have we got to the middle of the 2007 riding season, when those incredible people at Harley-Davidson have introduced 3 tasty new models to the line-up for 2008. It is becoming increasingly difficult to keep up with the pace of new model introduction at the Motor Company. Late into the year, they introduced the Nightster as a 2007 model, that we reported about earlier in this section.

Now we have 3 delightful new models officially designated 2008 models but appearing at your friendly neighborhood Harley store in September 2007. First up is the 2008 FXCW Rocker, which a part of the Softail family.

2008FXCW Rocker

With an aggressively raked out front end and a curvaceous rear defined by the stout 240mm rubber, the bike looks like a custom chopper. Lots of clever design cues like the ribbed oil tank and the integrated tail-light and turn signal assembly make this a true factory custom.

The hidden rear suspension of the Softail family adapted for the Rocker and Rocker-C (called Rockertail) allows the two bikes in the Rocker sub-family to have a completely uncluttered rear-end, with a rear fender that is suspended just above the rear wheel with no visible means of support. The reality is a comfortable ride and sharp handling, but the look is pure hard-tailed chopper, from a custom builder's garage.

2008 FXCW-C Rocker C

The Rocker C is identical to the Rocker in all mechanical aspects, except that it has a very clever convertible seat, that flips up when riding solo, and flips down to form the passenger seat, when riding two up. Since form is the objective here rather than function, the convertible seat clever as it is, will probably not be very comfortable for very long rides. If I was taking my significant other for a ride on the Rocker C, I would either take plenty of breaks or make sure the ride was not too long, to preserve peace.

Both bikes are powered by the TwinCam 96 which generates plenty of power, and this power is sent to the rear wheel by thge six speed transmission, that should make highway cruising very relaxed.

Another exciting model, this time an addition to the Dyna family is the Fat Bob. Making a re-appearance in the line-up for the for the first time since the 80s, this bike is pure menacing muscle bike. Finished in either pearlescent colors or a semi-gloss finish called denim, with the kind of lustrous chrome for which Harley is justly famous, the Fat Bob recalls a bygone era of hunch-shouldered muscle bikes that tore around our streets.

2008 FXDF Fat Bob

From the twin headlights in the small nacelles up front, to the sweeping curve of the exhausts, the steel disk wheels and the bob tail rear end, this is testosterone on 2 wheels.

The Fat Bob is powered by the Twin Cam 96 engine, and runs the same six speed transmission as the other Dynas.

Retailing for $17,495, the Fat Bob will be at Harley stores in September.

Harley-Davidson launches the 2007 Nightster XL1200N

Just as you thought, Harley was done introducing new models for 2007, what do they do? They launch an incredibly stylish new bob-tailed bike with blacked out wheels, based on the Sportster 1200 called the Nightster.

Designed by Richard Christoph, with inspiration and mentoring from the legendary Willie G. Davidson, the Nightster wins all kinds of style points. It's meant to appeal to the the kind of free spirit who might build a rat-bike in his garage from components scrounged fromall over the place, much as the legions of returning soldiers did after WWII.

2007 H-D XL 1200N Nightster

Christoph who happens to be the baby of the Harley design Department wanted to build a bike inspired by the street bobbers of the late 1940s, and Willie G encouraged him on with ideas and inspiration.

Styling cues like the exposed rear tire, the side-mounted license-plate frame and the integrated tail light and turn signals make the rear end of the bike stand out among the plain vanilla bikes in the malt shop parking lot. The medium grey engine treatment which is a first for Harley on a production bike contrasts with the blacked-out cooling fins on the Evolution 1200 CC engine to give the bike a mean and purposeful look.

The front fork treatment using blacked out fork legs and rubber fork boots complement the black rims with chrome laced spokes, makes the bike look even more the business.

In the engine area, the medium grey treatement is carried over to the air cleaner as well, and the exhaust with its slash-cut tips gives the bike a more aggressive exhaust note than the garden-variety Sportster.

With a low seat height of 25.3 inches from the pavement to your butt, the Nightster is an ideal first bike or perfect for riders with a shorter inseam. Available at your Harley store the Nightster starts at $9,595.


Harley-Davidson Museum rising in Milwaukee

In June 2006, the Harley-Davidson Motor Company broke ground for the Harley-Davidson museum in downtown Milwaukee in what must be the most unusual ground breaking ceremony in construction history. Instead of the traditional golden wielded by company honchos and local politicians, the ground was broken by legendary dirt track racer Scott Parker, doing a burn-out with the back wheel of his Harley dirt track racer version of the Sportster XL883.

Groundbreaking for H-D Museum

The museum which is to be set in a 130 acre parcel of land in downtown Milwaukee is expected to do much to revitalize the area and will attract visitors from all over the country and internationally, to experience the products and the lifestyle that is embodied by Harley-Davidson.

The museum itself will occupy an area of 130,000 sq. ft and will
feature exhibit space as well as a restaurant, café, retail shop, meeting space, special events facilities, and the Company's Archives.

The construction company and Harley-Davidson have anticipated the enthusiasm in the motorcycling community for the museum. They've set up a 24 hour webcam that shows you the construction site and is updated every few minutes. You can even pick a date in the past and check out what the site looked like then - which should be fun in the later days of the project as the building really starts to take shape.

If you'd like to watch the progress of the construction you can check out the web cam by clicking here  

Ducati introduces the 1098 for 2007

Ducati superbikes have finally gone to a four digit model designation after steadily increasing numbers culminating in the 999 in 2002. The logical progression of increased displacement and ever higher model numbers, brings us the the latest Ducati - the 1098.

The 1098 is the lightest, fastest stopping, quickest lapping Ducati in history. For the first time Ducati MotoGP and World Superbike technology have been combined to create a premier street bike - and the results are stunning.

Ducati 1098 and 1098S

This incredible new machine designed and built in Borgo Panigale, Italy produces 160hp and 12.5kgm (90.4 ft lbs) of torque. The result: the 1098 is the most powerful twin-cylinder motorcycle in the world with the highest torque-to-weight ratio of any sport bike.

The 1098 introduces a number of ‘firsts’ for Ducati and production sport bike design. The 1098 is the first production motorcycle to have the amazing stopping power of Brembo Monobloc brakes, the first to have a data acquisition system integrated as standard equipment and the first to use an ingenious construction method for its weight-saving single-sided swingarm. More ‘firsts’ for a road-going Ducati include the direct application of MotoGP technology, like the power producing GP6-derived elliptical throttle bodies and the use of the information-rich instrumentation originally developed for the new Desmosedici GP7.

This Superbike is available in two versions: the awesome 1098, and for those who demand the ultimate in performance with the very best suspension, lightweight wheels and components, the race-ready 1098S.

Harley-Davidson adds new models for 2007

Harley's VRSC family of which the V-Rod or the VRSC-A, first introduced in 2002 to rave reviews, has just been extended with the additon of several new models. The most radical of them is the VRSCDX Night Rod Special. With a choice of two color schemes only slightly more varied than Henry Ford's model T's (you can have it any color as long as it's black) the Night Rod Special is as menacing as it's powerful.

2007 Harley-Davidson VRSCDX Night Rod Special

The Night Rod Special  is powered by Harley's liquid-cooled 1130 cc (69 cu. in.) Revolution engine and a 5 speed gearbox with pretty tall gearing. The standard electronically fuel injected engine develops a lusty 80 ft lbs of torque at 7,000 RPM, providing plenty of grunt for the bike to smoke rubber from standstill. Brembo disc brakes front and rear bring the bike to a stop just as quickly.

As with any Harley, there are thousands of parts available from Harley's parts catalogs to customise the bike and make it truly your own. Ranging from saddle-bags to windshields only time and money will limit the extent to which you could customise this bike.

Priced at $16,495, the VRSCDX Night Rod Special is set to grab market share or perhaps create its own market niche.

Another newcomer to the Harley line-up for 2007 is the FLSTN Softail Classic. With the classic retro styling and deep lustrous chrome for which Harley has become justly revered the world over, the Softail Classic is powered by Harley's new Twin-Cam 96 mated to a new 6 speed gearbox.

2007 Harley-Davidson FLSTN Softail Classic  

Since this bike is a member of the Softail family, it uses a counter-balanced version of the 96 cu.in. (1584 cc) engine which is mounted rigidly to the frame. The TC96B engine develops 89.7 ft.lbs of torque at a leisurely 2750rpm. This low-end grunt and the ability to roll-on from any gear defines Harley's easy loping gait. The bike will not break a sweat either cruising along at highway speeds all day, or doing parade duty, chugging along at less than walking speed in 1st gear for hours.

With prices starting at $17,345, the question is really how can you not afford to own a bike this gorgeous?

Ducati adds new models to the SportClassic Line for 2007

Ducati's SportClassic line of retro 1970's style bikes had two new additions to the line - The Sport 1000 Biposto and the Sport 1000S. Both of these are curvaceous designs with minimalist looks reminiscent of the 1970's style of cafe racers and un-faired 'naked' bikes.

The Sport 1000 Biposto (two-seater in Italian) offers a proper passenger pillion seat for comfortable two-up riding, and for times when you want ride down to the malt shop alone, there is a seat cover that covers up the passenger seat to give the bike street cred as a cafe racer.

The Sport 1000S comes with a small retro fairing and a round headlamp that harks back to the sport bikes of the 1970s. With a red frame and blacked out components inclusing wheel rims and spokes, this bike really looks the business. The Sport 1000s is also a two-seater, but without the additional seat cover to convert it to a single seater.

Ducati Sport1000 Biposto
The Sport1000 Biposto

Ducati Sport 1000S

The Sport 1000S

The SportClassic line is equipped with Ducati's famous 90 degree air-cooled L-twin engine with the desmodromic valve train, fuel injection and electronic engine control, combining modern engineering technology with classic retro styling.

BMW launches the HP based Megamoto for 2007

BMW has just added a new and exciting member to the HP series family of motorcycles - the Megamoto. Based on the BMW HP2 Enduro, this unique motorcycle will rank right at the top among all street-legal two-cylinder Supermotos thanks to its excellent performance and the use of innovative materials.

Weighing less than 200 kilos or 440 lb in road trim, the Megamoto offers significantly more power and torque than even the powerful HP2 Enduro. And to meet the specific demands of sports surfing on country roads as well as the toughest conditions on the race track, the extra-firm, lowered suspension comes with truly outstanding components: Up front is a fully adjustable, upside-down fork from Marzocchi with sliding tubes measuring an impressive 45 millimetres or 1.77" in diameter and with 160 millimetres /6.30" spring travel ensures excellent control at all times. In the back is an Öhlins spring strut with 180 millimetres/7.09" spring travel that is adjustable in its basic spring setting, damper inbound and rebound stroke, which ensures a firm and muscular stance on the road.

BMW Megamoto

Harley-Davidson launches the new Twin Cam 96 Engine for 2007

Harley-Davidson announced the successor to the Twin Cam 88, its new stroked out Twin Cam 96, named for its capacity in cubic inches. That's right-96 cu.in. or for the metrically inclined that is 1584 cc. Harley once was the size-king in the big bike arena, but with big engines from Kawasaki, Honda and of course the Triumph Rocket 3 weighing in at a monstrous 2.3 Liters, Harleys engines were looking decidedly anemic in comparison. Enter the TC96.

While the TC96 doesn't still win the engine capacity wars, its certainly keeping the Harley faithfull adequately provided for. Harley claims an 8% increase in torque from the earlier TC88
now at 93 ft.lbs. All the new TC96 engines are now mated with a 6-speed Cruise Drive transmission, which should make long highway rides (Harley's sweet spot) much more comfortable. Also gone are the days of carburetted big twin engines. All the new TC96 engines are fuel injected. This will make for instant early morning starts, and easy cruising on hot days and in high altitudes.

For those riders who want even more juice than the TC96, Harley offers the 103 Big Bore Kit which is an upgrade from the Screamin' Eagle parts. This will take the engine to a stomping 1687 cc or 1.7 Liters of displacement.

The TC96 engine is being introduced on all Dyna, Touring and Softail models. Get to your Harley store for yours!

BMW to introduce new ABS and ASC systems for '07

BMW is introducing a completely new Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) and Automatic Stability Control (ASC) system on selct 2007 model bikes.

BMW says the new system offers better control and feedback to the rider when the limit of traction is reached. The new integral system controls the braking of both front and rear wheels together, eliminating the danger that a panicked novice rider would inadvertently lock up the rear wheel in a crisis situation. The new ABS system would provide measured braking response to both wheels and prevent lock up and even application of both front and rear brakes, based on the terrain the bike is going over. The system also doesn't require the ignition to be turned on in order to proivide sufficient braking to stop the bike. This makes it a snap to brake the bike if the engine cuts out for any reason or if the bike is being moved in the garage wihout the ingintion being on.

The Automatic Stability Control (ASC) is the first such offering for a motorcycle and moderates the amount of torque being fed to the rear wheel to ensure that the rear wheel doesn't slip unnecessarily on sand and gravel surfaces. The ASC systems was developed specifically for the R 1200GS and the R 1200 GS Adventure bikes and is now finding its way on to other bikes as well.