Tuesday, August 04, 2015

Robbie Maddison takes on the Pacific Ocean on his dirtbike

Can a dirtbike be ridden across the Pacific Ocean in French Polynesia? Yes, if you're Robbie Maddison. For two years, Robbie had been working on making ocean surfing on his motorcycle a reality. Here, he shows his stuff in Tahiti, where he rides the waves at Teahupoo and Papara. Unbelievable stuff. Phenomenal.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

2016 Honda CRF1000L Africa Twin: Official high-res pic, specs and details

The 2016 Honda CRF1000L Africa Twin is a proper litre-class adventure-touring bike, with genuine off-road capability. Dual-clutch automatic transmission is optional. It's light, slim and fast. We like it!

Honda have released technical details and a full set of official high-res pics of their new adventure-touring motorcycle, the CRF1000L Africa Twin, which is powered by an all-new parallel-twin that produces 94bhp and 98Nm of torque. For a litre-class dual-purpose bike, the new Africa Twin looks impressively slim and compact, so those power and torque figures should be quite adequate on the street and for off-road use. There is, of course, a full set of electronics, including ABS, traction-control and optional DCT dual-clutch automatic transmission. In their press release, Honda claim that the new CRF1000L is, "like its celebrated forerunners, ready to cover continents on or off-road."

The 2016 Africa Twin's twin-cylinder engine draws on Honda’s experience with off-road bikes like the CRF250R and CRF450R, using the same four-valve Unicam head design for compact overall dimensions. "A 270° phased crankshaft gives the power delivery a distinct character as well delivering excellent feel for rear wheel traction," claim Honda. "Strong and linear power and torque deliver instant response anywhere in the rev-range – accompanied by a satisfying, characterful deep growl as rpm rises," adds the press release. The engine is mated to a 6-speed gearbox that is equipped with an assist slipper clutch. (A DCT automatic is optional.)

Thursday, July 23, 2015

2016 Yamaha XSR700 unveiled

The all-new Yamaha XSR700, a sporty retro-yet-modern streebike aimed at bearded young gentlemen and stylish young women. Hipsters everywhere should love this one...

Yamaha are taking their "Sport Heritage" bike building philosophy, which they've latched on to in a big way over the last few months, pretty seriously. According to Yamaha, this is all about "respecting the iconic styles and designs of Yamaha motorcycles of the past, whilst intending to push the boundaries of motorcycle technology to create amazing bikes with real character that never compromise on riding ability." In keeping with this philosophy, Yamaha have now unveiled the new XSR700, which is supposedly a "faster son" of the erstwhile Yamaha XS650. Faster son? Yeah, well, the term "shows respect to the bikes that came before, whilst also showing pride in the faster sons of today and tomorrow, because above all, we love to ride."

For the new XSR700, Yamaha worked closely with the Los Angeles-based bike builder Shinya Kimura. The brief was to build a casual, retro styled streetbike that pays tribute to the iconic Yamaha XS650 - simple, 1970s/1980s inspired styling, with a modern engine, suspension and brakes etc. The XSR700 is powered by a 700cc parallel twin that, according to Yamaha, "kicks out a linear, deep torque for not just outstanding acceleration, but smiles in every gear. The uneven firing interval and 270-degree crank ensures a strong sensation of acceleration and outstanding traction, while maintaining continuous smooth and exciting power delivery till high rpm." However, no actual power or torque figures are quoted.

Monday, July 06, 2015

Freddie Spencer: The Secrets of Speed

Freddie Spencer, who won both the 250cc and the 500cc motorcycle grand prix roadracing world championships in 1985, definitely knows a thing or two about going very, very fast on a motorcycle. Here's his 3-part masterclass for you

Friday, July 03, 2015

2016 BMW S1000RR and other BMW motorcycles get minor updates

New paintjobs, ABS Pro and dynamic brake lights for 2016 BMW motorcycles. Yaayyy!!!

The 2016-spec BMW S1000RR gets a major update this year - it will be available with a new black storm metallic / racing red non-metallic paintjob. Which actually looks terrible, quite frankly. Whatever happened to this fabulous paintjob that BMW were offering on the HP4?!

Moving on, the 2016 BMW F800GT also gets new colours - monolith metallic matt / sapphire black metallic, and we're told that dark graphite metallic will no longer be available, so if you were holding out for that, hard luck mate. Also, if you don't know what the hell is "monolith" metallic matt, you're on your own brother...

The 2016 BMW R1200GS gets new colours - light white non-metallic replaces the existing Alpine white 3 non-metallic, while black storm metallic will no longer be available. Damn. But, okay, changes on the R1200GS are not limited to new colours, the bike also gets the banking-optimised ABS Pro and a dynamic brake light, which works in conjunction with the Riding Modes Pro option. What the f@*$ is that, you ask. Yeah, well. If you're not happy with that, you could buy the new R1200GS TripleBlack, which BMW claim is a "special" model that gets an all-black paintjob, cross-spoke wheels and a new black-grey seat with the GS logo on the passenger seat. You've got to love them Germans!

The R1200GS Adventure also gets the ABS Pro and dynamic brake light along with new colours, including racing red non-metallic matt and ocean blue metallic matt. Light white non-metallic replaces the earlier Alpine white 3 non-metallic, while olive non-metallic matt and racing blue metallic matt will no longer be available. Sob.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Valentino Rossi attends the 2015 Goodwood Festival of Speed

The Doctor attends the Goodwood Festival of Speed for the very first time...

Valentino 'The Doctor' Rossi was a special guest at this year's Goodwood Festival of Speed (the 23rd edition of this event), where Yamaha Motor Co. Ltd. celebrated its 60th anniversary. Rossi, who won the Dutch TT at Assen yesterday - his third win this season and the 111th race win in his career - made his first ever appearance at the Goodwood FoS, alongside other motorcycle GP racing legends including Giacomo Agostini, Kenny Roberts, Phil Read, John Surtees, and Freddie Spencer.

Specially invited by Lord March himself, The Doctor flew down to Goodwood straight from the Dutch TT and was accompanied by Yamaha Motor Racing Managing Director, Lin Jarvis, and other top brass from Yamaha. Rossi and Lord March unveiled The Doctor's Yamaha YZR M1 today, which was painted in Yamaha's retro-style yellow-and-black livery to commemorate Yamaha's 60th anniversary. Phil Read‘s 1965 Yamaha RD56, Giacomo Agostini‘s 1975 Yamaha YZR500 OW23 and Kenny Roberts‘s 1978 Yamaha YZR750 OW31 were also on display alongside Rossi's M1.

"It‘s been an incredible weekend. I‘m very happy that I got to attend the Festival of Speed at Goodwood - it's even more impressive than I imagined. I want to say a big thank you to Lord March for inviting and hosting me at this year's event," said Rossi, who rode his YZR M1 up and down Goodwood's 1.16-mile Hillclimb and also drove the legendary 1991 Le Mans-winning Mazda 787B as well as an ex-Henri Toivonen Lancia Delta S4 Group B rally car!

Indeed, The Doctor is that one rider who actually personifies this year's Goodwood FoS' them, "Flat-Out and Fearless: Racing on the Edge."

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Vespa 946 Emporio Armani unveiled, is the most beautiful scooter in the world

With its subtle, elegant and understated colour palette, the Vespa 946 Emporio Armani looks gorgeous! The brown leather seat and matching luggage adds to the effect...

Piaggio have collaborated with fashion icon Giorgio Armani and the two have jointly developed the new Vespa 946 Emporio Armani, which marks the 40th anniversary of the foundation of Giorgio Armani as well as the 130th birthday of the Piaggio Group.

In keeping with Armani’s signature subtle colour palette, the Vespa 946 Emporio Armani features a beautiful combination of grays with subtle hints of dark olive green that's only visible under certain light conditions. Metallic parts also get a matt finish that's in keeping with the body finish. The words ‘Emporio Armani’ appear on the side, while the iconic Eagle logo of the brand sits above the headlight. Brown leather seat and matching luggage complete the package.

The Vespa 946 Emporio Armani will be produced in limited numbers and will go on sale in Europe later this month.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Honda unveil the US$184,000 RC213V-S, a MotoGP bike that you can ride on the street

We're sure 210+ bhp is nice to have in a streetbike, but US$184,000 for the Honda RC213V-S?!?!? Really?? We'd much rather have a Kawasaki H2R, Yamaha R1M, BMW S1000RR, Aprilia RSV4 RF and Ducati Panigale R

Back in the 1980s and 1990s, there were the Honda RC30 and RC45, full-on race-bred exotica, street-legal versions of Honda's World Superbikes racebikes of that time. But, of course, even that wasn't enough for some people, who wanted Honda to do a street version of their MotoGP bike. Now, while there's never really been an NSR500 that you could ride down to the local supermarket back then, it seems that we're moving on to more interesting times. Yes, Honda have finally unveiled a roadgoing version of their RC213V MotoGP bike, the RC213V-S, which you can buy as long as you have US$184,000 lying idle in your bank account. Or 188,000 euros if you live in Europe, or 21.9 million yen if you live in Japan. And just in case you were wondering, the European and Japanese prices are even tax inclusive, so you can't possibly have a reason to complain.

Over the last 15 years, riders like Valentino Rossi, Nicky Hayden, Casey Stoner and Marc Marquez have won MotoGP world championships aboard the Honda RC213V and its closely related predecessors, so we're sure the RC213V-S will certainly be a bit special. As it damn well should be, given the fact that for what the RC213V-S costs, you can buy a Yamaha R1M, BMW S1000RR, Kawasaki H2 / H2R, Ducati Panigale R and Aprilia RSV4 RF, and still have some money left over with which to buy aftermarket exhausts, tyres, suspension components or whatever else that you fancy. So yeah, it really is f***ing ridiculous.

According to Honda, the RC213V-S "has inherited the specifications of the RC213V to thoroughly ensure mass concentration and reduced friction, as well as all key aspects in manufacturing that set the RC213V apart as a MotoGP machine from ordinary mass production models, with overwhelming differences which involve light weight and precise machining of the components, plus superior expert skills required in manufacturing." Changes made to the streetlegal RC213V-S, as compared to the actual MotoGP bike, are relatively minor. The RC213V-S has the MotoGP bike's camshaft gear train structure, but uses a coil spring system in place of the RC213V's pneumatic valves. Also, the MotoGP bike's seamless transmission has been replaced with a conventional 6-speed transmission. And, of course, unlike the MotoGP bike, the RC213V-S is fitted with a headlamp, taillamp, turn indicators, rearview mirrors, horn, speedometer, muffler with a catalyst, license plate holders, a self starter and a side stand etc. The steering angle is less extreme and the RC213V-S rides on Bridgestone RS10 rubber. A kit exclusive for use on closed circuits is offered as an option, though this is not available in the US.