Thursday, November 20, 2014
Based in Angers, France, Midual have created a beautifully luxurious motorcycle - the Midual Type 1 - which was unveiled earlier this year, at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elégance, in California. Now, the bike is being shown at Salon Belles Montres, from November 20th to 23rd, at Carrousel du Louvre in Paris. This is the first time the bike will be officially unveiled in France, and we thought it's a good time to take a quick look at the machine.
'The Midual Type 1 represent the brand’s vision of a French-style luxury motorcycle, modern, yet following the tradition of mechanical excellence illustrated by French cars and motorcycles from the 1930,' says a press note from the company. 'A real piece of mechanical jewelery, this motorcycle is built around two unique features - its 25-degree angle flat-twin engine with transversal crankshaft, and its double-wall chassis, sand-casted and shaped to hand,' it adds. There's also mention of the fact that the Midual Type 1 is extensively customisable and that it comes with a four-year contract for maintenance and warranty support, which inclues including collection of the motorcycle directly from the customer’s home for delivery to the manufacturer’s workshops.
We have to say we love the detailing on the Type 1 - the instrumentation which seems to be embedded in the fuel tank, the intricate leather trim around the instrumentation, the beautifully sculpted seat, the avant-garde monocoque chassis and even the wire-spoked wheels - it's all pure art. Deliveries of the Midual Type 1 will begin from mid-2016 and if you live in Europe, you can reserve yours right now by going to the Midual website.
Monday, November 10, 2014
Not as powerful as the ZX-14R, but the 1400 GTR Concours is more comfortable for long-distance touring...
For those who want to go touring on a very, very fast motorcycle, there's the incomparable Kawasaki ZX-14R Ninja, but for those who also want a bit of comfort thrown in (and shaft-drive, which doesn't require maintenance work like chain drive does...), the 1400 GTR Concours is probably one of the best choices around. Kawasaki have updated the bike for 2015 and new bits on the Concours 1400 include a revised first gear ratio for easier starts from a standstill, lighter steering at low speeds, stiffer rear suspension, revised and more ergonomic rear seat, a new electrically adjustable windshield, uprated ABS and a new rear luggage base.
The 1400 GTR Concours uses the same 1352cc inline-four as the ZX-14R, but in retuned form and with the addition of variable valve timing (VVT), with the whole package having been optimised for low- and mid-range torque rather than top-end power delivery. A stiff monocoque chassis, 43mm inverted front forks, radial-mounted calipers for the front brake discs and a traction control system mean that while the Concours is, by definition, a touring bike, it will still be able to deliver during all-out sports use.
New colours for the 2015 Kawasaki 1400 GTR include lime green, black and brown, the bike costs US$15,499 and comes with a three-year limited warranty.
Saturday, November 08, 2014
Friday, November 07, 2014
Like other concept bikes unveiled by Husqvarna at the EICMA in recent years, the new 401 Vitpilen and 401 Svartpilen look quite cool...
Husqvarna have this great tradition of showing one or two great looking concept bikes at the EICMA, and that tradition continued this year, with the 401 Vitpilen, 401 Svartpilen and 701 Supermoto.
The Husqvarna 401 Vitpilen (Swedish for ‘White Arrow’) draws on the DNA of the 1953 Silverpilen. 'A modern interpretation of the functional simplicity of the classic Silverpilen, the 401 Vitpilen combines contemporary technology, cutting-edge design and high quality hardware to deliver an uncompromised, genuine riding experience for the street,' says a press note from Husqvarna.
The Husqvarna 401 Svartpilen (Swedish for ‘Black Arrow’) concept is, according to the Swedish company, "A golden-age inspired modern streetbike that draws its design ethos from past iconic Husqvarnas. Reduced to the bare functional essentials, it’s free of gimmicks, gadgets and extravagant design embellishments. It ensures a riding experience that honours the simple idea behind early, pioneering Husqvarnas."
Both the 401s are powered by a lightweight and powerful single-cylinder four-stroke engine that's mounted in a compact chassis. "They bring back the honest and pioneering spirit of pure motorcycle riding from the good old days into our modern times," claim Husqvarna.
While the 401s are concept bikes, the 701 Supermoto is production ready and, according to Husqvarna, features "the finest craftsmanship and unparalleled single cylinder performance." The 701 gets bits like ride-by-wire throttle control and engine management, as well as high-spec WP suspension, dedicated supermoto ABS and APTC slipper clutch. With 67bhp from its single-pot engine, and a kerb weight of 145 kilos, the 701 should be great fun to ride.
Thursday, November 06, 2014
Ducati bikes like the 2015 Multistrada 1200 are now packed with so much technology, it will soon take computer geeks, rather than motorcycle bloggers, to write about these machines...
Earlier this week, Ducati unveiled the new, 2015-spec Multistrada 1200, which gets the latest Ducati Testastretta DVT (Desmodromic Variable Timing) engine that features a variable valve timing system with independent control of both the intake and exhaust camshafts. This optimises engine performance throughout the engine's rev range, ensuring maximum power at high revs, smoother power delivery, better low-rpm performance and lower fuel consumption, along with full Euro 4 compliance.
New bits on the 2015 Multistrada 1200 include an improved ABS system (which is now also optimised for performance while cornering at high speeds...), LED headlamps with additional LED cornering lights, a wheelie control system, electronic cruise control, Bluetooth compatibility, smartphone connectivity (iOS and Android apps are also available, which let you control various functions of the bike...), colour TFT dashboard and, as with the new Panigale 1299, an Intertial Measurement Unit (IMU), which sees, measures, understands and controls everything. Yeah, well, we find it boring to write too much about things like IMU etc., so we'll just leave it at this - IMU is the new 'brain' on Ducati sportsbikes and helps you go faster and ride safer.
BMW have given the F800R a fairly significat update for 2015. The engine remains unchanged - liquid-cooled 798cc parallel-twin that produces 90bhp and 86Nm - but the gearbox now gets shorter first and second gears. Suspension updates include a new USD fork, seat height is 10mm lower, headlamps are now symmetrical and the fairing, radiator shields, front mudguard and wheels have all been redesigned. The 2015 F800R also gets its share of electronics - ABS is standard, while stability control and electronic suspension adjustment are optional. Not too bad, we think.
No 200bhp here, but sorted engine and chassis, and no.93 on the fairing. Marc Marquez fans will love the 2015 Fireblade SP
While other manufacturers are busy unveiling 200bhp litre-class superbikes to lure buyers, Honda have chosen to continue with the CBR1000RR without any changes, though they have added a Marc Marquez-replica Fireblade SP to the line-up and are hoping that the MotoGP association will help sales.
Now, while the new Honda Fireblade SP doesn’t have 200bhp, it’s still a perfectly competent machine, with high-spec components that include Öhlins suspension at both ends, Brembo monobloc calipers for the front brakes, Pirelli Diablo Supercorsa SP tyres, lighter rear subframe, a windscreen optimised for high-speed aerodynamics (rather than weather protection), uprated cylinder heads and factory-matched engine internals. The Repsol #93 MotoGP replica paintjob might not do too much for the CBR’s engine performance and handling, but the Marquez angle might work for some. And for those who don’t like the Repsol colours, the HRC tri-colour paint looks pretty good.
A range of accessories are available for the 2015 Fireblade SP, including a carbonfibre rear hugger, carbonfibre crankcase covers, black-tinted high windscreen, tank pad and fuel filler cover sets, comfort seat, maintenance stand, a tank bag, wheel sticker set, battery optimiser and fairing scuff guards.
Fancy an S1000RR for adventure touring? BMW have the new S1000XR for you, which should be just the thing...
With the phenomenal engine they designed for the S1000RR, BMW now want to cover as many bases as possible. They unveiled the S1000R supernaked at the EICMA last year, and this year there’s the S1000XR ‘adventure sport’ machine, which wants a slice of the Ducati Multistrada’s and Aprilia Caponord 1200’s market share.
With 160bhp and 112Nm, the BMW S1000XR should be a pretty capable long-distance, high-speed touring bike that’s capable of taking the rough with the smooth. If you intend to carry a passenger, along with all her luggage, over many hundreds of kilometres, with a bit of not-too-intense off-road use thrown in for good measure, the S1000XR should be well up for it. Especially since the XR has a full suite of electronic rider aids to help you along – two riding modes (rain and road), stability control, traction control, electronic suspension adjustment and, of course, ABS.
The 2015 S1000XR gets an aluminium-alloy perimeter frame (which uses the engine as a stressed member), fully adjustable fork and shock (ESA is optional), ABS Pro (which provides optimum braking performance even under panic braking in corners, with the bike leaning over.) We’re not big fans of large adventure touring bikes – we’d much rather ride the 2015 S1000RR – but for those who fancy a bit of globe-trotting on two wheels, we suppose the S1000XR should be just fantastic.