Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Harley-Davidson, Marvel co-create superhero-themed motorcycles

We’ve all wondered about what kind of motorcycles our favourite superheroes would ride, right? For us, Batman would ride a matt-gray ZX-14R, Superman would ride an S1000RR and Spiderman might choose an F4RR. Harley-Davidson in the meanwhile have actually gone and built superhero-themed machines – two dozen of them, which include bikes for Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, Hulk and even Black Widow. We’d really like Scarlett Johansson to ride a black Panigale 1299, but still, these aren’t too bad either. The bikes have been built by Harley-Davidson dealerships in Australia and New Zealand and you can get more information on the machines here
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Friday, August 19, 2016

John McGuinness driving a Civic Type R takes on Gordon Shedden riding a Fireblade

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John McGuinness trades his Fireblade for a Civic Type R, but still manages to go very fast...

Isle of Man TT legend, John McGuinness driving a BTCC Honda Civic Type R, versus British Touring Car Champion, Gordon Shedden riding a CBR1000RR Fireblade SP?! Yes, in a unique reversal of roles, this really did happen - Dunlop and Honda jointly hosted this shootout at Knockhill circuit earlier this week, where McGuinness and Shedden completed 30 laps of the Scottish track on each other's machine. Unfortunately, Dunlop and Honda have chosen not to release the two racers' actual lap times, only saying that they were "incredibly close" to each other.

"It was brilliant; I didn’t want to get out of the car to be honest. The first session all happened really fast but then I settled down into a groove. The whole mindset changes when you swap from what you know to something new, and I was a bit nervous, but we’re all racers and just want to go fast," said John. "It’s hard to see the apex, you’re strapped in tight, and it’s quite warm in there. You’re breathing in engine fumes and there are lots of rattles and bangs. It’s such a different world but I was shocked by how nice and precise it was. Dunlop put on some soft, sticky, amazing grippy tyres on the Honda Civic Type R and they gave me so much confidence to go fast," he added.

"It was absolutely out of this world. You maybe build a picture of what you think it’s like in your head, but nothing compares to it when you’re out there. It’s phenomenally fast but once you get used to it you learn to relax and get more confident. It was an absolute privilege to have a go," said Gordon. "It was the first time I’ve ever ridden on a slick tyre and I cannot believe the grip that the contact patch the size of a credit card can actually give you. It’s just absolutely mind blowing. The speed obviously is as you’d expect, the world passes by at a million miles an hour. I can only imagine what it’s like going round the TT course, and John is welcome to stay on that. Each stint I started to relax more and get more confidence in the grip that was available. The brakes on the race car are fantastic with four big slick tyres to hold the thing on, so you wouldn’t believe the bike would have the stopping capability that it does," he added.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

High-res pics from the second Pure&Crafted Festival, presented by BMW Motorrad

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A bunch of cool bikes, some music, beer and sausage. A winning combination if ever there was one, right? The next Pure&Crafted is due to be held in Berlin in late summer 2017

What it is, is a medley of music and motorcycles, with cold beer and the odd sausage thrown in for good measure. This year’s Pure&Crafted was held in Berlin, with performances from a bunch of bands that we’ve never heard of – Noel Gallagher and the High Flying Birds, Mando Diao and Tricky with his Skilled Mechanics, the King Blues, Treetop Flyers, Frank Carter and The Rattlesnakes to name just a few. Of course, there were also some cool motorcycles on display for anyone who cared to watch. More than 8,000 people did, we’re told.

There was some death-defying riding on the Motodrom wall-of-death, a Rollin’ Eyes motorcycle culture photography show and a selection of films from the NY Motorcycle Film Festival. “I’m really pleased that this event is able to bring together so many completely different people who all have one thing in common: they simply want to have a good time together. The open-minded, relaxed and very friendly atmosphere is truly unique – in fact it’s what makes the Pure&Crafted Festival so special,” says Michael Trammer, the BMW Motorrad manager responsible for organizing things. Sounds interesting? The next Pure&Crafted will happen in Berlin in the late summer of 2017.

Roland Sands-built Ducati XDiavel shown at the 76th Annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally

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Honestly, we think the stock XDiavel looks better than Roland Sands' custom-built machine that you see here. But that's okay, to each his own...

Dating back to 1938, the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally draws over half a million bikers from every corner of the globe. It's one of the world's biggest meetings of motorcycle enthusiasts and this year, Ducati took their new XDiavel to Sturgis, which was held from August 5 to 14 in South Dakota, in the US. And not any old XDiavel either, this was a special one-off machine, designed by the California-based Roland Sands. The custom-built XDiavel has a one-piece body fixed to the Ducati trellis frame, a 19-inch front wheel and a collection of shiny billet aluminum bits for a bit of stand-out glitter.

"The response to our presence here at the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally has been exceptionally welcoming. The passion for two wheels, twin-cylinder engines, and beautiful roads is shared by everyone at this gathering of the motorcycle community,” says Jason Chinnock, CEO of Ducati North America. "As motorcyclists we are part of a tribe, but we also embrace our individuality. This custom-built XDiavel by Roland Sands Design embodies the spirit of personalization that makes this Rally so special. The XDiavel and this interpretation provides us an opportunity to share Ducati with all in attendance," he adds.

"The XDiavel is a beast. A wolf in wolves’ clothing and a serious piece of speed equipment. We really wanted to pivot off all that amazing technology and not mess it up by tearing it out. So the bike is still very stock from a functional standpoint," says Roland Sands, owner of Roland Sands Design. "The bike was a three-month build, with careful consideration and deliberation about the direction of the design. Ultimately, we decided to twist the aesthetic while retaining decidedly stock bike functionality. I’m proud to say that’s exactly what we've achieved," he adds.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

KTM RC16 MotoGP bike unveiled in all its Red Bull-liveried glory, prepares to do battle in 2017

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With its 250+ horsepower V4, KTM's racing DNA and the talents of Bradley Smith and Pol Esparago, the KTM RC16 is expected to do well in MotoGP in 2017

KTM are now all set to enter MotoGP fray in 2017 and have unveiled their 2017 RC16 MotoGP bike, which will be ridden by and next year. "Almost two and a half years ago we made the decision that when we become number one in Europe we would be forced to join MotoGP. We’re now selling more than 60% of our 200,000 bikes on-road and to get accepted at the highest level of the sport, you must take part in MotoGP, the F1 of motorcycle racing," says KTM Group CEO, Stefan Pierer. "Racing is our philosophy, our motivation and if we enter the segment, for sure we will have a learning curve but we will reach to podium. My life’s dream is to be the world champion in MotoGP," he adds.

"It was not difficult to convince them because the spirit of competition is in the heart of KTM. This is a very important step for us. We have a balance of Japanese and European manufacturers and KTM has proved its capability in all sporting activities. I am very impressed with how KTM does things, and not just with MotoGP. When they started with Moto3 they were immediately very competitive. KTM does things in the proper way. Races are races and you need some luck, but they prepare everything in the right way," says Dorna Sports CEO, Carmelo Ezpeleta.

There seems to be a positive buzz in the MotoGP paddock about KTM's entry into the premier class and the RC16, which is rumoured to already produce more than 250bhp from its V4 engine, is expected to do well in the hands of Bradley Smith and Pol Esparago. The bike uses White Power suspension instead of MotoGP-standard Öhlins, and has a steel tube chassis which is also rather unusual in MotoGP. KTM have four tests lined up for the RC16 over the next few months and the bike will compete in the last race of the season, in Valencia, in November this year.