Harley-Davidson Fat Boy 30th

Harley-Davidson marks 30 years of the Fat Boy with special edition

Harley-Davidson Fat Boy 30th

Even if you’re not into motorcycles, you’ll almost certainly recognise the Harley-Davidson Fat Boy.

In 1991, a Fat Boy featured in Terminator 2: Judgment Day, a film in which Arnold Schwarzenegger rides a motorcycle through the streets of Los Angeles. It helped to catapult the Fat Boy into popular culture.

The original Harley-Davidson Fat Boy arrived in 1989 as a 1990 model. Designed by Willie G. Davidson and Louise Netz, the Fat Boy featured a wider handlebar, a seven-inch headlight and a fat front tyre covered with a trimmed fender. It rolled on aluminium disc wheels – the rear exposed by the Softail chassis – creating the defining feature of the Fat Boy model.

Fat Boy 30th

Harley-Davidson is celebrating three decades of the motorcycle with the launch of the Fat Boy 30 Anniversary edition. Limited to 2,500 examples, each motorcycle comes with a numbered plate affixed to the fuel tank console.

Finished in Vivid Black, the Fat Boy 30th Anniversary also features cast-aluminium Lakester wheels finished in Satin Black with machined highlights. The blacked-out Milwaukee-Eight 114 powertrain is finished with engine covers in gloss black with bronze-tone lower rocker covers and a timer cover script.

Further upgrades include an LED headlight in a newly shaped nacelle, black handlebars and a bronze-tone Fat Boy tank logo.

Fat Boy 30th anniversary

Brad Richards, Harley-Davidson vice president of styling and design, said: “The Fat Boy took the look, proportions and silhouette of a 1949 Hydra Glide motorcycle and completely modernised it for a new generation of riders.

“Those riders appreciated our post-war design DNA but also found themselves drawn to the clean simplicity of contemporary industrial design. Each of these elements was captured in the new 2018 version of the Fat Boy model.

“For this 30th Anniversary model we wanted to create something very special, so we leaned into the popularity of darker finishes and a limited run/serialised strategy to make the bike truly unique and exclusive.”

What’s in a name?

Milwaukee-Eight 114 V-Twin

Why is it called the Fat Boy? According to an account by Willie G. Davidson from his book 100 Years of Harley-Davidson, this is how it came about:

“You’re probably wondering how we came up with a name like ‘Fat Boy’, and I’ve heard a lot of tales about this, nearly all of which are untrue. Here’s the real story: it’s tough to come up with names that will be popular on the street. We always have to ask ourselves, ‘What’s the street going to name this?’ and work from there.

“We were looking for something unusual and maybe even a little irreverent, because there’s something sort of cool about poking fun at your products from time to time. To me, and to a lot of other insiders who’d seen it, the bike had a massive ‘fat’ look. So the folks in marketing came up with the name ‘Fat Boy’ – and the street picked it up.”

If you fancy a modern-day Fat Boy, the base price is £20,495.

Brad Pitt's motorbike up for auction at London Motorcycle Show

Brad Pitt’s motorbike up for auction at London Motorcycle Show

Brad Pitt's motorbike up for auction at London Motorcycle Show

A 2009 Triumph Bonneville motorcycle previously owned by Hollywood star Brad Pitt is up for grabs this weekend in England.

The Bud Ekins Desert Scrambler Special will be auctioned on Saturday by Coys at the London Motorcyle Show at the city’s Excel exhibition space.

One of just three special edition bikes created to celebrate the life of Steve McQueen’s stunt double Bud Ekins, it was built by Brad Holstein on behalf of Triumph. It’s said to have been given to Brad Pitt as a gift from the Ocean’s Eleven producer Jerry Weintraub, with a special birthday message engraved on the petrol cap.

The sellers describe the motorbike as being in good all-round condition, complete with its original license plates. It’s estimated to make between £20,000 and £30,000 ($28,000 – $42,000).

“We are excited to be back at the London Motorcycle Show for our third bike auction in the capital,” said Coys CEO, Chris Routledge. “We have a stunning selection of motorcycles on offer, including this special Triumph evocating the sled racers that Steve McQueen and Bud Ekins used to race in the 1960s.”

Other rare motorbikes going under the hammer at the MCN Carole Nash London Motorcycle Show include a c.1953 Matchless G45 (£38,000 – £45,000, or $63,000 – $63,000), a 1978 Ducati 900 SS Desmo NCR Replica (£19,000 – £26,000, or $27,000 – $36,000), a 1949 HRD Vincent Rapide Series C 998cc (£54,000 – £59,000, or $78,000 – $83,000) and a 1955 Vincent Grey Flash Replica 500cc (£22,000 – £28,000, or $31,000 – $40,000).

The HRD Vincent Rapide Series C 998cc being sold was manufactured in 1949, during the transition period in which HRD Vincent changed its trading name to simply ‘Vincent’. Evidence of the transition can be seen in the engine as later models just had the Vincent name rather than HRD.

This example, ‘FPY 327’, was restored by well-known Vincent period road racer Martin Quirk. The full renovation took 12 years and, since then, the bike has covered less than a mile.

At the same time as the Coys London Motorcycle Show auction, a second sale will be taking place next door at the Historic Motorsport International show, in association with the London Classic Car Show. Four-wheeled highlights include a 1984 Ferrari 512 BBi estimated to make £225,000 – £295,000 $315,000 – $415,000) and a 1988 Lamborghini Countach 5000 QV with an estimate of £250,000 – £350,000 ($350,000 – $495,000.

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Ducati Monster 821 2018

The naked Ducati marks 25 years with Monster 821 special

Ducati Monster 821 2018Back in 1992, the iconic Ducati Monster set the template for the modern naked motorcycle – one with stripped back bodywork and an exposed frame to show off the engine and innards in all their glory.

25 years on, the Italian motorcycle firm is marking this with a new Monster 821; Ducati’s even relaunching the vivid Ducati Yellow offered on the original Monster, along with the regular red and matt black options.

But unlike the original Monster 900, the new Monster 821 is not quite as back-to-basic as it seems. For starters, it’s been derived this time from the beefier Monster 1200, carrying over a similarly streamlined look with redesigned tank and tail. These reference the original 900 but have a contemporary twist, as do the new silencer and headlight.

(Click images to enlarge)

No original 900 Monster had such a sophisticated TFT colour instrument display either; you can even get an optional Ducati Quick Shift and Ducati Multimedia System.

That’s not all – Ducati’s also including a safety pack, with Bosch ABS and fully adjustable Ducati Traction Control. There are adjustable riding modes too, so bikers can tailor ABS, DTC and power modes one of three ways to suit. Ducati rather excitedly says it “allows the 821 to be transformed into three different motorcycles, each with a distinct personality”.

A 109hp liquid-cooled Testastretta two-cylinder engine offers performance on another planet compared to the original; 63lb ft of torque at 7,750rpm makes it rider-friendly as well, promises Ducati.

One of five new Ducatis set to debut for the 2018 model year, the new 821 Monster debuts on 5 November, ahead of the EICMA ‘Italian motorcycle show’ running from 9-12 November. 

NEXT> Best Bike Awards 2017

Riding in Britain 2017

Best Bike Awards 2017: Britain’s top new motorcycles

2017 Best Bike AwardsBrits still love their motorcycles. Already in 2017, Auto Trader Bikes has had 20 million visits – and riders have conducted no fewer than 36 million new and used bike searches. That’s why the automotive marketplace has once again held its annual Best Bike Awards.

Over the past two decades, the number of qualified riders in Britain has risen by a massive 74 percent. Growing numbers of people are discovering the money-saving, traffic-dodging benefits of scooters and entry-level motorcycles, while others are rediscovering motorcycles with a modern retro or adventure bike.

Once again, there’s a new motorcycle for everyone – but which are the finest in each category? That was the task of the 2017 award’s judging panel…

Best AM – Lexmoto Echo 50

Best AM Lexmoto Echo 50

The Lexmoto Echo 50 looks pretty good, rides nicely and, most importantly, costs less than £1,000 brand-new. This is why it’s such a strong seller in the UK – and this is why it’s been voted the best new scooter you can buy in 2017. 16 year olds, you can ride this simply by passing Compulsory Basic Training (CBT) and the theory test, adding further to its appeal.

Best A1 – KTM 125 Duke

Best A1 KTM 125 Duke

New for 2017, the latest KTM 125 Duke has been given a fresh chassis that transforms how it rides and handles. It looks stylish too, and the fantastic colour TFT instrument is a cracking standout feature on a £4k machine. 17 year olds can ride this on an A1 motorcycle lucence, once they’ve passed their CBT and theory tests.

Best A2 – Honda Rebel 500

Best A2 Honda Rebel 500

The Honda Rebel 500 is a bobber-style cruiser for 19 year olds and above. It looks cool, but rides with all the novice-friendly predictability new riders need, while also proving great fun for those following the progressive access motorcycle licence route. At just over £5,000 for the charismatic 500cc machine, it’s a deserving A2 winner.

Best Scooter – Vespa GTS300

Best Scooter Vespa GTS 300

The smart-looking Vespa GTS300 is a UK scooter favourite. It’s powerful, has advanced traction control and ABS, and you can even pair it to your smartphone to get extra display readouts. For busy city users, it’s a dream ride.

Best Naked – Aprilia Tuono 1100 Factory

Best Naked Aprilia Tuono Factory

The exceptional Aprilia Tuono 1100 is a mighty all-rounder with a simply divine 175hp V4 engine. It sounds brilliant and is seriously fast, while both handling and comfort are enough to have you in the saddle all day long and still left wanting more. It costs over £16,000, but connoisseurs will think it worth every penny.

Best Retro – Ducati Scrambler Desert Sled

Best Retro Ducati Scrambler Desert Sled

The retro Ducati Scrambler has been an enormous success for the Italian firm and now it’s expanding upon the theme with the evocative-looking Desert Sled. This is a phenomenally capable machine across all terrains, brilliantly combining modern ability with classic looks.

Best Tourer – BMW K1600GT

Best Tourer BMW K1600GT

The big BMW brings the firm’s famous straight-six engine to the touring motorcycle class, with impeccable sophistication. This is the machine to cross the globe on in 2017; it has an abundance of power and ability, brilliant rider protection, some amazing equipment features and even the reassurance of automatic emergency response call-out in the event of an accident.

Best Adventure – Suzuki V-Strom 650

Best Adventure Trail Suzuki VStrom 650

The Suzuki V-Strom is a great all-rounder that’s clocked up around a quarter of a million sales. Fully re-engineered for 2017, it still costs less than £7,500 but is now more able than ever, particularly the off-road-styled XT version. There are new electronic aids, tough-look new styling and enough improvements to the ride for it to be the adventure bike pick of 2017.

Best Cruiser – Harley-Davidson Street Glide CVO

Best Cruiser Harley Davidson Street Glide CVO

This is a truly incredible machine – a £30,000 spectacle created by Harley’s bespoke Central Vehicle Operations division. It has lairy paint, a hot engine, full onboard infotainment electronics and a hard-driving ride to die for. Just a handful are coming to the UK and you should form an orderly queue because it’s easily the finest new cruiser of 2017.

Best Middleweight – Triumph Street Triple 765

Best Midweight Triumph Street Triple 765

Triumph has reinvented its Street Triple range for 2017 with a three-model range, all using the same brilliant new 765cc engine, albeit in different states of tune. The range starts with the £8,000 S, moving up through R to the full-fat 123hp RS; there’s even a regulated 660cc Street Triple S A2 version for newbies. All are bona fide thoroughbreds.

Best Sports – Suzuki GSX-R1000R

Best Sports Suzuki GSX R1000R

The hottest new Gixxer, the GSX-R1000R aims to grab back the top superbike title Suzuki considers its own: on this evidence, with its top-notch blend of confidence and performance, the all-new machine is without question the best new sports bike of 2017.  

Best Sports Tourer – Kawasaki Z1000SX

Best Sports Tourer Kawasaki Z1000SX

Kawasaki continues to hone the superb Z1000SX, and the 2017 version is duly better than ever. The firm’s used customer feedback to tailor it even more perfectly, so if you want a fine sports tourer with no foibles but plenty of talent, look no further.  

2017 Best Bike Award winner – Triumph Street Triple 765

Triumph Street Triple 765

Triumph has put an enormous amount of time, talent and tenacity into crafting the new Street Triple 765 range, and it shows. All versions are wonderful rides, with enough character and ability to lift them clear of rivals. Those seeking the best new bike of 2017, look no further: the British firm has created a peach of a model range here.

Best Bike Awards 2017: in pictures

>NEXT: James May caught speeding moments after buying new motorbike

Ducati Monster 821

Own a new Ducati for £399 a month

Ducati Monster 821Ducati has launched a new series of PCP deals that open up the Ducati range to finance buyers for a deposit starting from £399.

The three-year Ducati TriOptions deal is offered on all Ducati models, including the range-topping Panigale R and the core Monster 821 naked.

On most models, the deposit is £1,000 but it’s been cut to just £399 for the Scrambler range, although monthly payments are higher to reflect this.

For those who want something cheaper each month, Ducati will continue its other deals that, for a higher deposit, offer low monthly payments: the Scrambler (including the learner-licence A2-compliant Sixty2) can be bought from £79 a month and the Monster from £99 a month.

The new finance deals launched today (1 September) and a TriOptions finance calculator is now available on the Italian motorcycle brand’s website to navigate buyers through the various options.

Best Bike Awards 2016

Best Bike Awards 2016: the UK’s top motorcycles revealed

Best Bike Awards 2016The Auto Trader Best Bike Awards 2016 have been revealed, celebrating the very best in the UK motorcycle market. It’s a sector in great shape, and 2016 has been a classic year for new model launches. Auto Trader has chosen the very best of the best.

British bike market in 2016

Best Bike Awards 2016

Almost 80,000 new motorcycles have been registered in the UK already in 2016, a healthy rise of nearly 6% on 2015. Although sales of entry-level bikes are down, bigger-engined motorcycles are doing well: the 126-650cc category is up an impressive 8.4%.

The biggest new bike category is for stripped-back Naked bikes, beating even Scooters and Adventure Sports bikes in the popularity stakes.

Biker boom

Best Bike Awards 2016

There are now 1.25 million motorcycles in use on UK roads, a number that’s been growing over the past few years. There are lots of active riders in Britain and, as bikes become ever-better and boast ever-more-attractive deals, many will be in the market for a new machine.

Here’s the pick of the UK new bike market in 2016.

Best bike for AM licence holders: Peugeot Django 50cc

Best Bike Awards 2016

The 50cc motorcycle 16-year-olds should be riding in 2016 is the retro-look Peugeot Django 50cc. It retains the award it won last year for its combination of cool looks and everyday usability. There’s even a 12-volt charger, so smartphone obsessives can top up their battery on the move.

Best bike for A1 licence holders: Honda CB125F

Best Bike Awards 2016

Riders aged 17 should hot-foot it to the local Honda dealer to pick up a bargain-priced CB125F. Not for nothing is it the UK’s best-selling 125cc machine. It costs from just £2,699, does 151mpg and looks far cooler than you’d ever believe a beginner’s motorbike could.

Best bike for A2 licence holders: Honda CB500F

Best Bike Awards 2016

Riders aged 19 or over can choose a full-size motorcycle that’s restricted to 47hp. Once they pass their full test, this restrictor can be taken off. The best choice here is, again, a Honda; the CB500F is the perfect step-up machine from the CB125F.

Best Scooter: Vespa GTS 300

Best Bike Awards 2016

Who doesn’t want a classic Vespa? Now there’s reason to want a modern Vespa: the GTS 300 has scooped this category three years running and Auto Trader says it’s hard to see anything beating it. It even has heated grips for winter!

Best Commuter: Honda NC750X

Best Bike Awards 2016

Commuter motorcycles should be painless and easy to ride, with a good seating position for excellent visibility. Cue the NC750X, a genuine twist-and-go machine with clutchless transmission and, new for 2016, cooler and edgier looks. Again, it’s a three-time category winner.

Best Naked: Triumph Speed Triple R

Best Bike Awards 2016

The most popular new motorcycle category in Britain right now is the Naked sector. Ooh-err. Aggressive looks, minimalist bodywork and savage power make them real thrillers – none more so than the 138hp race-bred Triumph Speed Triple R.

Best Retro: Triumph Thruxton R

Best Bike Awards 2016

Retro bikes are more classically-styled Naked machines – and Triumph has this sector sewn up too, with the beautiful Thruxton R. It builds upon the established Thruxton range with improved dynamics and engine power. “It’s the retro Triumph you’ve been waiting for,” said Auto Trader editor-in-chief, Jon Quirk.

Best Adventure: Honda Africa Twin

Best Bike Awards 2016

We’ve been waiting a long time for a new Honda Africa Twin, but at last it has arrived – and Auto Trader says the wait has been worth it. It’s one of the best motorcycles to come out of Honda in years, and is “a phenomenal all-rounder… If you want a reason not to buy a BMW GS, this is it”.

Best Tourer: BMW S 1000 XR

Best Bike Awards 2016

Planning on riding across Europe this summer? You need a BMW S 1000 XR. It’s a superbike engine in a sports touring chassis that, says Auto Trader, creates the motorcycle equivalent of a performance SUV. This, ladies and gentlemen, is a BMW X5 M for riders.

Best Sports: Yamaha YZF-F1

Best Bike Awards 2016

The fearsome Yamaha R1 has done it again. A sublime track bike, Auto Trader reckons it’s a bike that wins over both head and heart in an instant. It’s also a race bike for the road that you can thrash all day long without fear – mechanical integrity is second to none. “It’s staggering,” say the editors.

Best Cruiser: Indian Springfield

Best Bike Awards 2016

You may not have heard of the Indian motorcycle company but you’ll certainly have heard of the motorcycle brand it’s beaten to best Cruiser 2016: Harley-Davidson. The Springfield has “the ride quality of an ocean liner and a finish that out-luxes all-comers.” Just for added reassurance, it even has a five-year warranty. Born-again bikers, you need this in your life!

Best Manufacturer 2016: Triumph

Best Bike Awards 2016

Despite building more than 54,000 motorcycles overseen from its Hinckley, Leicestershire HQ, Triumph keeps on innovating, with models such as the Thunderbird, Bonneville and modernised Speed Triple range. It’s a brand that shows the future really is looking bright for the British motorcycle industry, says Auto Trader – which is why it didn’t hesitate to award it the Best Manufacturer 2016 gong.

Best Bike 2016: Honda Africa Twin

Best Bike Awards 2016

The Auto Trader judges were unanimous in picking the new Honda Africa Twin as their Best Bike 2016. They said its ability both on- and off-road is “staggering”, the engine is superb, it’s comfortable to ride and it offers tremendous value for money. An all-round champ that stands clear as Britain’s best in 2016.

Guy Martin and Triumph in world land speed record attempt

Guy Martin and Triumph in world speed record attempt

Guy Martin and Triumph in world land speed record attemptGuy Martin and Triumph Motorcycles will attempt to break the motorcycle world land speed record this month at Bonneville Salt Flats with a target speed of more than 376mph.

Martin, himself a multiple speed world record holder (and Isle of Man TT legend, and all-round top bloke), will ride the Triumph Infor Rocket Streamliner – a 1,000hp streamlined motorcycle powered by two turbocharged Triumph Rocket III motorcycle engines fuelled by methane.

It’s a motorcycle like no other: made from carbon-kevlar, it’s more than 25 feet long, two feet wide and just three feet tall.

Triumph Infor Rocket Streamliner

The current motorcycle world land speed record stands at 376.363mph, held by American Rocky Robinson who set it in 2010. To beat it, Martin will have to ride faster than this staggering motorcycle maximum speed twice over the Bonneville measured mile.

And he can’t wait. “The Triumph engineers have built an amazing machine, giving us the very best chance to beat the two-wheeled land speed record.”

It’s not the first time Triumph has challenged for the motorcycle speed record either – Triumph Streamliners through the years have been the world’s fastest motorcycles, with one of the most dramatic being the Gyronaut X-1 which claimed the record in 1966 and held it into the 1970s.

Its top speed? No less than 245.667mph. In 1966!

Honda Fireblade

Buy a Honda Fireblade for £99 a month

Honda FirebladeHonda is offering its high-performance Fireblade Black Edition superbike on finance for £99 a month, in a three-year, 5.9% APR PCP deal.

The offer is for the 16MY Black Edition special and is open to those who can find a £2,614 deposit for the £12,199 superbike, which Honda dealers will bolster with a £1,000 contribution.

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The 36 monthly payments are based on the rider covering 4,000 miles a year (it’s 7p a mile extra if you do more), with a final payment of £6,329.

The Black Edition was revealed at the opening round of the British Superbike Championship earlier this year, and now Honda BSB rider Jason O’Halloran has scored a victory on his CBR1000RR Fireblade at Snetterton, Honda reckons it’s a good time to roll out the special offer deal for the summer.

Black Edition extras include a 27mm higher smoked screen, Gilles brake lever and Galfer front wavy discs. It also gets a colour-matched seat cowl and carbon fibre hugger. Not bad for £99 a month, particularly when compared to what £99 a month will buy you in the car world.

Basic Suzuki Swift or a monster-performance Honda Fireblade? You decide…

Harley Davidson Street 750

How to buy a Harley-Davidson for £75 a month

Harley Davidson Street 750Harley-Davidson has launched a package of finance deals that allow born-again bikers to rediscover their love of motorcycling for just £75 a month.

The low-deposit, low-APR deals are offered across the range, with the entry-level Street 750 costing £75 for three years on a flexible PCP deal: the deposit on the £5,795 motorcycle is just £870.

APR starts from 6.9% and Harley keeps the deposit manageable even on the range-topping Fat Boy, Slim and Breakout models. Monthly payments even for the £15,995 Breakout are kept down to a relatively affordable £175.

The deals run until 30 June and the American motorbike firm reckons the best-value offer is on the £7,495 Iron 883: with a £1,537 deposit, this costs £99 per month.

All Harleys in the stripped-back Dark Custom range are available with the special PCP finance package: that’s Street 750, Forty-Eight and Iron 883, plus the Street Bob, Fat Bob, Slim and Breakout.

Harley-Davidson dealers will even offer customers a free test ride as a further incentive: visit the Harley-Davidson UK website to book one at a local dealer.

Revived Royal Enfield sells 500,000 motorcycles in a year

Royal EnfieldRoyal Enfield has reported a £125 million profit in the 2015-16 financial year, a record-breaking return for the famous British motorcycle brand after sales grew by more than 50% in just 12 months.

A staggering 508,099 Royal Enfield bikes were sold between April 2015 – March 2016, a rapid rate of expansion that’s growing more quickly with every passing quarter: it’s currently operating at a 60% growth rate, a performance that MD and CEO of the firm’s parent company Siddharha Lal described as “phenomenal.

“Royal Enfield has invested in building strong foundations across all areas of its business. We will be investing £60 million towards product development, setting up the two technical centres, in Leicestershire, UK and Chennai, India, enhancing our manufacturing capacity and market development activities across geographies.”

And if we thought half a million motorcycles was impressive, we haven’t seen nothing yet, said Lal. “In FY 2016-17, we plan to manufacture 675,000 motorcycles.

“Our immediate business outlook remains strong and Royal Enfield continues to grow consistently, competitively and profitably towards leading and expanding the mid-sized motorcycle segment globally.”

Royal Enfield is planning a series of new models and engines to further its expansion: to help with the development, it’s setting up a new R&D centre in Leicestershire and also, 12 months ago, bought Hertfordshire-based Harris Performance, a famous and respected motorcycle design and engineering firm.

Originally based in Redditch, England, Royal Enfield built its first motorcycle in 1901 and operated until 1970. The business also began collaborating with the Indian government in the 1950s and, in 1955, Enfield India was set up: the business merged with the Eicher Group in 1994 and, despite struggling in the 2000s, is today growing fast thanks to investment from its Indian parent.

Today, Royal Enfield claims to be the world’s oldest motorcycle manufacturer in continuous production. Its newest motorcycle, the Continental GT, is now being imported back to the UK.