Thursday 4th October 2012


PH2 travels to Germany to check out what we'll be riding next year...

The first big bike show of the year kicked off in Cologne earlier this week with two main talking points. First was the introduction of BMW’s first water-cooled Boxer engine, the second was Yamaha introducing a new family of triple engines.

Yamaha premieres triple and updates FJR
Little more than a concept at the moment, Yamaha’s P3 is claimed by the company to be the future direction for its bikes. A copy of Triumph? Yamaha is looking to separate itself from other Japanese manufacturers (hence the reason for the cross-plane crank R1) and a triple motor is a very good way to do this. All a bit pie in the sky? The sculpture Yamaha displayed that shows the triple with the M1 and R1 engines feeding into it was a bit weird but Yamaha claims that within a year it will be unveiling a finished bike…

Yamaha has also updated the FJR1300A and FJR1300AS with new bodywork and added ride-by-wire to the motor. As well as boosting power by 3hp, the addition of YCC-T has allowed Yamaha to fit cruise control to the FJR as well as two fuel modes – T and S. T is Touring with a softer power delivery while S is a sportier throttle response. The AS version retains the clutchless shift gear mechanism but gains inverted forks with basic electronic suspension with 12 different set-up options.

The FZ8 series of bikes now come with adjustable front and rear suspension and a new style of exhaust pipe.

LED lights among the tech for new GS
LED lights among the tech for new GS
Water-cooled BMW GS
The totally new 1,170cc Boxer twin has the same bore and stroke as the old model but uses a technique called ‘precision cooling’ to liquid cool only the elements in the motor that are particularly exposed to thermal stress while air cooling takes care of the rest. This aside the motor now has through-flow fuelling with the air/fuel mix being fed straight down into the engine rather than horizontally, ride-by-wire and a slipper clutch. All of which helps boost power to 125hp and 92lb ft as well as allowing the introduction of cruise control and five integrated power maps.

The tubular steel frame and bolt-on subframe is new with altered geometry and the shaft drive now runs on the left-hand side of the bike, which has moved the position of the exhaust pipe. Radial Brembo brakes replace conventionally mounted calipers on the old bike while the main headlight is an LED design – a world-first. The list of updates goes on and on and includes an adjustable rider and pillion seat, new instruments and even a neat adjustable windshield that can be raised or lowered via a turn-wheel on the left hand side of the instrument cluster. It’s a GS – only better…

Faster, lighter, meaner - new Street Triple R
Faster, lighter, meaner - new Street Triple R
Streets ahead…
Triumph pulled the covers off just one new bike in Cologne – the Street Triple. Available in two versions as before, the base and R model, the Street Triple has been extensively revised.

Despite looking similar the chassis is all new and so is the swingarm, trimming 6kg off the bike’s weight - making it 183kg.

The underseat pipes have been junked in favour of a new ‘low boy’ stainless steel exhaust to improve weight distribution and handling.

The forks feature improved damping while switchable ABS is now an option on the Street Triple and Street Triple R. Although the engine is pretty much unchanged, first gear is now higher and the throttle bodies are larger with power a claimed 105hp and torque 50lb ft. As before the R gains inverted forks and radial brakes. However it also now has more aggressive geometry – not to mention a red subframe…

Aprilia's updated RSV4, and friend
Aprilia's updated RSV4, and friend
RSV4 gets ABS…
Aprilia only unveiled an ABS version of the RSV4 Factory at Cologne. Built by Bosch and weighing just 2kg it has three levels – track, sport and rain – and works in conjunction with the three engine management settings. The RSV4’s headlight is also slightly restyled and so is the exhaust while the tank gains 1.5 litres in capacity and the Brembo brakes have been refined.

The V-Strom is back!
Suzuki will re-launch the V-Strom 1000 in 2014 and to prove the point it showed the updated ‘concept’ bike at the Cologne Show. The bike uses the TL1000 V-twin engine, re-worked to pass the  emissions laws that killed it off in the first place. The new bike will feature variable fuel modes, ABS, traction control and a damn sight better looking fairing than the first V-Strom! According to Suzuki, the bike is a 2014 model that will be launched late in 2013.

The Hayabusa, a bike known for its outrageous top speed and equally poor brakes, gains new Brembo calipers and ABS for 2013 while Suzuki and Yoshimura have combined to celebrate the one millionth GSX-R produced. Only 1,985 (get it?) models of the Yoshi GSX-R1000 will be made with each one featuring a unique paint job, key and commemorative plaque on the top yoke.

Suzuki’s new 2013 Intruder C1500T uses a 1,462cc liquid-cooled V-twin engine that comes with a slipper clutch, hard panniers and a tall screen. It’s not the most inspiring bike in the world but may prove popular with cruiser fans.

The Burgman 650 has been updated for 2013 with engine modifications that have increased fuel economy by a claimed 15 per cent while the chassis has also been tweaked to improve handling. The Burgman comes in two guises, the stocker and Executive, with the higher spec version including heated grips and seats as well as comfort-boosting backrests.

Author: Jon Urry
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