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Benetton now linked with Ducati purchase, but VW may not sell



With an announcement due from the Volkswagen Audi Group at any time, rumours swirl but future remains unclear.

Reuters have been enjoying the Ducati sale rumours more than most news agencies it would seem. With various rumours and purported claims from sources ‘close to Ducati’ being published on a nearly weekly basis, it’s clear that something is happening at board level of VW, but nobody seems to be sure as to exactly what.

The latest in the long line of ‘company x looking to buy Ducati’ stories comes from the news agency and – despite the CEO of Bajaj motors being bullish as to their alleged offer only last week – this time it’s the well-known Italian fashion brand Benetton who are in the running.

Alongside a reported four other bidders, the Italian clothing manufacturer is said to have tabled a bid believed to be in the region of $1.2 billion dollars for their compatriot motorcycle maker.

The other bidders are believed to be Eicher Motors (owners of Royal Enfield), Bajaj (who also own a large proportion of Austrian bike manufacturer KTM), a private equity firm and, perhaps even a bigger outside bet than Benetton, Polaris; the makers of Indian Motorcycles and (until this year) Victory.

However, there do appear to be some issues.

Outside of the market valuation – which at $1.4 billion is over 10 times greater than Ducati’s core earnings – the biggest stick in the spokes for any potential sale is that the VW board don’t appear to want to sell.

As mentioned when we first wrote about the story, the sale of Ducati would streamline the troubled automobile manufacturers’ portfolio, but other than reducing the holdings and injecting an initial amount of cash into the company, there appears to be little else compelling on the table in order for the suits at Volkswagen to action the offloading of the brand. Especially as it remains profitable and is growing year on year.

A spokesperson for the VW’s group council over the weekend has been quoted by Reuters as saying, ‘Everyone who can read the VW half-year results should know: We don’t need money and our subsidiaries are not up for grabs by bargain hunters.’

And with VW well-poised as a company to take advantage of the upcoming global transition into non-Internal Combustion Engine’d transport, offloading a company with such a rich heritage and brand as Ducati would seem to make very little immediate sense.

But that’s just the rumour for this week….

Source: Reuters & Reuters

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Custom of the Week: Yamaha SR500 ‘Scrambler’ by Daniel Peter




SCRAMBLERS ARE A HOT TOPIC. Build one, and you’re sure to be judged solely by how well equipped it is for hardcore off-piste use.

But that’s not all that scramblers are about. Daniel Peter compares his latest build to his childhood BMX—and it’s pretty much how we feel about modern-day scramblers too.

“When I was four years old, my BMX bike became my life,” he explains. “It was so simple, yet so fun. Just wheels, pedals and brakes. I’d ride it to the beach, jump a few curbs along the way, race my friends. Those were the good days.”

“30 years later, I set out to build a motorcycle based on the same principles. There’s nothing on this bike that doesn’t need to be there. It has wheels, a punchy engine and great brakes. I didn’t even put a speedo on it, because I never looked at the one on my last bike.”

Daniel works as a photographer in Chicago, but wrenches during the winter to keep his passion for riding alive. He keeps a workshop in Chicago’s Logan Square neighborhood, outfitted with a tool cabinet, a welder, and a 1940s South Bend lathe.

This 1978-model Yamaha SR500 is the fourth Yamaha 500 he’s built to date. “It’s the most simple, yet the most thorough, of the bunch,” he says.

The motor’s been bumped to 540 cc, with a grocery list of go-fast bits that includes a lighter XT500 crank, a new piston from JE and a Megacycle cam for better torque down low.

R&D valve springs with titanium caps, a Powerdynamo ignition and a high-flow oil pump from Kedo round out the package.

Hoos Racing refreshed the crank and cut new valve seats for Daniel, but he tackled the rest of the rebuild himself. Every single bearing and seal was replaced along the way too. As for the carb, it’s been swapped out for a 39 mm Keihin FCR flatslide number, fed by a fat K&N filter.

The exhaust system is a combination of a custom made stainless steel header, and a Cone Engineering muffler.

The SR rolls on 17” supermoto wheels, borrowed from a KTM (front) and a Honda CRF450 (rear). They’re wrapped in Pirelli MT60 Corsa tread; a 120 up front, and a chunky 160 on the 5” rear rim. (“It juuust fits,” says Daniel.)

The brakes have been upgraded with a mix of Brembo and Beringer parts, with an RCS 14 radial master cylinder up front.

On top is an aluminum Yamaha XT500 fuel tank, wrapped in a paint scheme “inspired by an unforgettable riding trip through Baja.” Just behind it is a new saddle from MotoLanna, with a new kicked-up subframe loop.

It’s just about spring in Chicago, so Daniel must be itching to rack up the miles on his SR500. And we’re betting it’s going to be impossible to get him off it.

A version of this article first appeared on Bike Exif. It’s republished here with permission.

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Icon claim back the streets in their latest, epic video



Street’s Not Dead.

Regular readers will know that we eagerly await anything released from the US streetwear firm Icon Motorsports. So the moment that a video drops from the Portland firm we’re bound to pay attention.

That’s an interest piqued double when they post it alongside what is essentially a call to arms…

“Street’s not dead. If you think it went away, you’d be wrong. Street’s still here undermining pompous authority, rejecting standards, and bucking the status quo..”

And they’re not kidding either. With the Icon clad rider thrashing their Kawasaki ZX-10R through city streets, car parks and even a public fountain at one point, there’s a lot to take in.

Couple that with their usual loud, Icon style and you’ve certainly got a statement of intent.

(Don’t try this at home kids).



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