Sunday, September 14, 2014

2015 Husqvarna FS450: Go forth and drift

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The Husqvarna FS450 packs only 60 horsepower, but for the expert rider, offers unmatched supermoto-style thrills. Wheelies? Two-wheel drifts? Yes!

Set up in Sweden about 110 years ago, Husqvarna have an interesting past. The company used to compete in 350cc and 500cc motorcycle grand prix racing in the 1930s, dominated motocross in the 1960s and 1970s, was bought out by Cagiva in the late-1980s, sold to BMW in 2007, and bought out by Stefan Pierer (current CEO of the Austria-based KTM Motorcycles) in 2013. Wow!

Starting in 2010-2011, Husqvarna had taken some tentative steps towards producing a few streetbikes (as opposed to their traditional off-road-oriented machines), but those streetbikes have been axed after Husky were bought out by Pierer Industrie AG. Now, the company is again focusing on off-road machines only. Except for the track-use-only FS450 supermotard. Fitted with a 450cc liquid-cooled single-cylinder engine that pumps out 60bhp, the FS450 doesn't seem to be that big a deal on paper. However, take into account its 110-kilo weight, light and stiff chrome-molybdenum steel tube chassis, adjustable WP forks and shock, APTC slipper clutch, and 310mm front brake disc with four-piston radial-mount caliper, and you realise that the FS is something of a razor-sharp weapon.

The Husqvarna FS450 rides on 16.5-inch (front) and 17-inch (rear) wheels, shod with Metzeler Racetec SM rubber, and the whole package is perfectly set up for supermoto-style drifting in and out of corners. Watch the video below to see the FS450 in action!

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Toyota i-Road goes to France for urban mobility experiment

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As many as 70 of these Toyota i-Road electric trikes will be a part of a new urban mobility project in Grenoble, France

It's not really a motorcycle, of course, but with just three wheels, the Toyota i-Road tilting trike is just about close enough. First shown in March last year, Toyota's compact, battery-powered three-wheeler is now going places - the Japanese company is providing 70 of these for Cité lib by Ha:Mo, an urban mobility project that will be launched in Grenoble, France on 1st October. Here, during a 3-year trial scheme, the i-Road will be available for public car sharing on local journeys. This low-carbon car sharing scheme is expected to transform the way people plan and make local journeys.

The plan is actually rather interesting. From 1st October, anyone 18 or older, who holds a valid driving licence, can register with Cité Lib to gain access to these Toyota electric trikes. Once subscribed to the service, they can download an application on their smartphone or tablet to see the real-time location of vehicles that are charged and ready to use.

Users will be able to pick up their Toyota trike and drop it off at a different location – at any of the 27 charging stations in the greater Grenoble area – rather than having to make a round-trip. When the vehicle is dropped off, it is plugged into the station to be recharged and ready for the next customer.

The concept is seen as a way of building a better-integrated public transport service, where people collect an electric vehicle from a location near their home or office to drive to a local transport hub for the next stage of their journey. Likewise, people arriving by bus or train can step into one of these electric trikes on arrival, to complete the last leg of their trip. The network of charging stations is seamlessly connected to Grenoble’s transport network IT system, to make total journey planning easier. Sounds good, right?

Friday, September 12, 2014

Aprilia to enter MotoGP from 2015

A decade after their exit from the premier class, Aprilia will be back in MotoGP in 2015

Aprilia have finally confirmed that they will be entering MotoGP from 2015. According to the Piaggio Group, the reason for entering MotoGP with Aprilia is to focus on rapid growth for the Aprilia brand, to increase the brand's competitiveness, and to develop new prototypes for racing and street use. "We decided to make our debut a year earlier than planned because Aprilia Racing's technical and competitive skills are absolutely top notch. Our growth in World Superbikes has been exemplary in this direction, from our rookie year in 2009 to the five world titles we've won so far with the RSV4," says Piaggio Group's Chairman and CEO, Roberto Colaninno.

Gresini Racing will manage Aprilia’s bikes in MotoGP from 2015 to 2018. This, according to Gresini, “will allow Aprilia Racing to take advantage of Gresini Racing's significant contribution in terms of MotoGP experience and know-how.”

‘I am very glad that Aprilia identified Gresini Racing as their partner to enter the MotoGP World Championship. This is a fantastic opportunity, working closely with such a glorious manufacturer, an Italian brand that has become synonymous for passion for racing, with amazing results worldwide. The Grand Prix world is part of the Aprilia brand and to represent it in the premier class, the MotoGP World Championship, is a source of great pride for all of us,” says Fausto Gresini, who owns and manages Gresini Racing.

In recent years, among others, the likes of Max Biaggi, Loris Capirossi, Valentino Rossi, Marco Melandri, Jorge Lorenzo and Casey Stoner have raced aboard Aprilia machinery.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Japanese customisers show us four ways to ruin a BMW R nineT

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The four hideously ugly, tacky, crappy machines you see here are called Cyclone, Highway Fighter, Clubman Racer and Boxer. Which one is which? We couldn't care less, really

Some things are just not right. Things like the four customised botched BMW R nineTs that you see here. A bunch of Japanese customisers have taken the R nineT - a handsome, very good looking motorcycle in stock form - and, each in their own special way, rubbished the bike completely. The four bikes were shown during the BMW Motorrad Days Japan, held at the Hakuba47 Mountain Sports Park, at the end of August this year.

The Japanese gentlemen responsible for the four ruined BMW R nineTs that you see here are, Go Takamine (Brat Style), Kaichiroh Kurosu (Cherry’s Company), Shiro Nakajima (46 Works) and Hideya Togashi (HIDE Motorcycle), all of whom had taken on a "challenge" to transform a BMW R nineT into an individual creation of their own design in less than 200 days. So the bikes you see here prove that you can indeed utterly and completely murder a perfectly good BMW R nineT in about 28 weeks.

"I was absolutely bowled over. I had high expectations – after all these are four of the best customisers in the world, and in the end I went down on my knees. What they have succeeded in creating here is just astounding. The ideas and innovations – just incredible and beautiful. The details – amazing," says Ola Stenegard, the man who actually designed the BMW R nineT. We only wonder how much they had to pay him to make him say that!

Want to see more of these bikes? Really?! Alright then, go on, there are many, many more high-res pics after the jump...

Sunday, September 07, 2014

Triumph Castrol Rocket: 1000 horsepower, 640kph top speed

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With 1,000bhp from its 6-cylinder twin-turbo engine, the Triumph Castrol Rocket is probably a bit faster than your Hayabusa or HP4...

Here and now, in 2014, there's no dearth of fast motorcycles in the world. The Suzuki Hayabusa, Kawasaki ZX-14R and the BMW HP4 are some that'll happily do 300kph. But 300kph isn't, apparently, enough for some people. It certainly isn't enough for Triumph Motorcycles America and Castrol, who are building a 1,000-horsepower motorcycle - the Triumph Castrol Rocket - which they hope will be able to hit a top speed of 640kph. At the Bonneville Salt Flats, of course.

The current FIM world land speed record is 602kph and next week, at Mike Cook’s Bonneville Shootout, this record will be up for shattering as Triumph Motorcycles America, in cooperation with Castrol, Hot Rod Conspiracy, and Carpenter Racing, take to the Bonneville Salt Flats with their new streamliner. Developed by Matt Markstaller of Hot Rod Conspiracy and Bob Carpenter of Carpenter Racing, the Triumph Castrol Rocket streamliner is powered by not one but two Triumph Rocket III engines, with twin turbochargers! With six cylinders and a total engine capacity of 4.6-litres, the twin-turbo engine produces a nice 1,000bhp and close to 700Nm of torque.

"Piloting the Triumph Castrol Rocket is a unique and thrilling challenge, but what really stands out is the unbelievable amount of power the machine produces. It simply defies explanation and belief. I find myself tapping into all the honed skill I have developed in my racing career and learning new ones as we continue to eclipse new speed levels," says AMA Pro Road Racer Jason DiSalvo, who will ride the bike during its record-setting attempt next week.

Saturday, September 06, 2014

Honda UK launches Fireblade race livery design competition

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Honda Fireblade design competition Honda Fireblade design competition Honda Fireblade design competition Honda Fireblade design competition
The Fireblade race livery design competition is on, and you can now vote for your favourite and stand a chance of winning some swag...

Honda UK have launched a competition for fans to vote for their favourite Fireblade race livery from eight designs submitted by a group of artists. The winning design will debut on track at the BSB Brands Hatch GP in October this year.

The race livery designs submitted by the participating artists pay tribute to various 'Honda Heroes,' including Dave Thorpe, Ron Haslam, Leon Haslam, James Toseland and others. The competition comes ahead of Honda UK’s return to the British Superbike Championship in the 2015 season. "As we look forward to returning to full competition in BSB for the 2015 season, we thought we’d have a bit of fun by putting the artistic skills of our Honda Heroes to the test. They’ve all certainly made valiant attempts and we look forward to finding out who the fans crown as their winning designer," says Nick Campolucci, Head of Motorcycles, Honda UK.

You can participate in this competition by going here and submitting your vote - the competition is open until Friday, 19th September. Prizes include VIP tickets for the BSB round at Brands Hatch and Motorcycle Live, Honda caps, Honda sunglasses and more.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

DR Moto: The MotoGP-spec Yamaha R1-powered bike you'd wish you could buy

DR Moto MotoGP-spec Yamaha R1-powered racebike
DR Moto MotoGP-spec Yamaha R1-powered racebike DR Moto MotoGP-spec Yamaha R1-powered racebike DR Moto MotoGP-spec Yamaha R1-powered racebike
The DR Moto. BSB-spec 200bhp Yamaha R1 engine, bespoke chassis, £89,500 price tag. If you think you're the next Valentino Rossi, you'd definitely want one of these...

The UK-based Reynolds Engineering, set up by Dean Reynolds back in 1993, specialise in producing precision-machined components and have worked with a range of demanding clients, including F1 and MotoGP teams. The Company currently builds complete billet swingarms and race-spec chassis components, which they supply to BSB, WSBK, Moto2 and MotoGP teams, as well as a few specialist motorcycle manufacturers.

Back in 2012, Dean Reynolds, apparently a big motorcycle and MotoGP enthusiast, decided he wanted to build a motorcycle that would be eligible to get on the MotoGP grid, and the result is the DR Moto, which is powered by a BSB-spec 200-horsepower Yamaha R1 crossplane-crank engine and features a totally custom-built aluminium beam chassis and carbonfibre bodywork. The chassis has been designed by Barry Ward (who used to work with Kenny Roberts' team in MotoGP), and top-grade components from Brembo, Ohlins, Marchesini and Motec are used on the DR Moto. "Our vision has been to bring MotoGP level technology and performance to a bike for the discerning enthusiast," says a blurb on the Company's website. Of course, since the DR Moto costs all of £89,500 we suppose the bike is only meant for very, very rich enthusiasts.

Friday, August 15, 2014

The story of Marvin Webber and the World's Best 1994 Kawasaki ZX-7R

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That's Marvin, and his 1994 Kawasaki ZX-7R. For those who love 1990s superbikes (yeah, that's us...), there's nothing else quite like this in the world!

Here at Faster and Faster, we absolutely love 1980s and 1990s Japanese race-replica 750s. These bikes haven't been around for a very long time now, but we still can't stop dreaming of machines like the Honda RC30 and RC45, the Yamaha FZR750R OW-01 and YZF750, the Suzuki GSX-R750 LE and the Kawasaki ZXR750 and ZX-7R.

We've always been huge fans of the original ZXR750. In the late-1980s, nothing else looked like the ZXR, with its hoover-tube air intakes and iconic green-white-and-blue paintjob. And then there was the equally hard-core ZX-7R. We used to watch Doug Chandler and then Scott Russell race the ZX-7R in the early-1990s and absolutely loved the bike to bits. We wanted one back then. We still do. Some dreams just never go away.

We've never actually been able to get the Kawasaki ZX-7R out of our dreams and into our garage, which is maybe why we envy Marvin Webber so much! Based in the United States, born and raised in Sioux Falls, SD, Marvin has the very best ZX-7R that currently exists on the planet. We caught up with him for a quick chat about his Kawasaki and here are some excerpts from what he had to say:

On how he got started with motorcyles

I always thought motorcycles were free-spirited and sexy. I grew up during the 1950s and if you rode a motorcycle you were a bad person, because motorcycles had a bad reputation. I had a part-time job at the local newspaper and I had been saving my money for this 1958 Triumph 200cc scrambler at the local motorcycle dealership. I would hang out there and eventually became friends with the owner, and he would teach me how to work on motorcycles.

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