Saturday, August 12, 2006

MotoCzysz C1: MotoGP replicas now available


Want a 200+bhp MotoGP bike on which you can live out your I'm-faster-than-Rossi fantasies? The Motoczysz is your machine...

If you love bikes, have US$100,000 lying around, and want an American-built MotoGP replica, MotoCzysz have you covered. While the Ducati Desmosedici RR only costs about US$65,000 the MotoCzysz 990 C1 racer replicas, only 50 of which are being built, are probably meant for even richer, even more discerning, and even faster customers… :-)

The non-street legal replica C1 shares a lot of bits with the factory race bike, including its carbonfibre chassis, front and rear suspension, and twin-crank, triple overhead cam, 990cc four-cylinder engine. With more than 200bhp on tap, the C1 replica should offer acceleration and top speeds (and of course, handling…) far beyond what a current Suzuki Hayabusa or a Kawasaki ZZR1400 can.

Unfortunately though, the MotoCzysz will not be homologated and will not be road legal. For that, wait for a cheaper, lower-spec production version. In the meanwhile, deliveries of the C1 replica are slated to begin in early 2007. For more details, go to http://www.motoczysz.com/


Imagine one of these being parked in your garage...


Fischer MRX 650: Born in the USA!


The Fischer MRX 650, an exotic for those who don't want a Honda CBR600RR, a Ducati 749 or a Triumph Daytona 675...

The Fischer MRX 650 is powered by a Hyosung 650cc, 77bhp, liquid-cooled V-twin, and it’s being called ‘the first American superbike!’ in the American press. I don’t know about the ‘first American superbike’ bit and Dan Fischer, the man responsible for building the bike, agrees. He says ‘I think ‘superbike’ is a misnomer used in the press for the MRX650. The Fischer MRX650, our first bike, does not fit under that description. This is a pure sportsbike for the street.’

US-based Gemini Technology Systems have worked on refining and tuning the Hyosung engine and they’ve also worked on the MRX’s chassis. The sharp, angular and very distinctive styling is the work of the well known British motorcycle designer, Glynn Kerr. Why would someone buy a Fischer MRX 650 over a Honda CBR600RR? Says Dan Fischer, ‘Looks are important, but outside of that, the handling and build quality are the most important attributes according to customer surveys in our target audience, which is the American sportbike enthusiast. So while we’ll be about 15 percent more expensive than a comparable Japanese product, we’ll have higher-end components usually only found on an Italian exotic or a factory superbike – at a much lower price.’

Finally, here’s the clincher – if the MRX 650 does well when it’s launched later this year, the company may think of doing a hotter, supercharged version next year!

Visit the Fischer website here and read an interview with Dan Fischer here

Friday, August 11, 2006

The Quadzilla: 2007 GG Quad


Imagine going shopping with the wife, on this!

Okay, this blog is motorcycles-only, with a trike or two thrown in once in a while. I don’t do four-wheelers here. But what the hell, this GG Quad thing looked so interesting, I couldn’t resist putting it here. The machine is manufactured in Switzerland, by Gruter + Gut Motorradtechnik, and is powered by a BMW R1150 motorcycle engine, which makes a claimed 85bhp (closer to 75bhp in the real world…). Weight is 408 kilos, and drive is to the rear wheels, via a BMW driveshaft, which operates through a Quaife limited slip differential. Cool!

There is a six-speed (including one reverse gear) manual transmission, and the Quad can sprint from 0 to 100km/h in 4.9 seconds. Top speed is in the region of 190km/h. No, it won’t be outrunning any ZX-10Rs, but should still be fun on a twisty road on a bright day. Price? Er, about US$50,000 which puts it beyond my wildest dreams. Still, if you want to read more about the CG Quad, motorcycle-usa.com has an excellent report here




Cool, eh...?

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Fabulous Five: The racing bikes I love!

Manx Norton 500
With its ‘Featherbed’ frame, designed by the McCandless brothers, the early 1950s Manx Norton earned most of its glory at the Isle of Man TT races. Geoff Duke’s riding talent and the Manx Norton’s handling prowess was an unbeatable combination, and for years, the Italians and the Japanese had no answer to the winning ways of this British machine.

Pepsi Suzuki RGV500
In 1989, Lawson was champ, Rainey was trying hard, and Schwantz was god, for he made the number 34 Pepsi Suzuki do things which I still remember after more than fifteen years. The RGV has given me enduring images of Kevin on the bike, with the rear wheel going sideways and the front two feet off the deck - all at the same time. The best ever.

Cagiva 500 grand prix racer
GP bikes don’t need to look beautiful - going extremely fast would suffice. The Cagiva 500, raced by the likes of Lawson and Mamola, looked achingly gorgeous anyway. It didn’t win too many races (Lawson gave it its first GP win in 1992, and got a Ferrari from Cagiva for his efforts…), but when you look like this, you’re forgiven anything.

Honda NS/NSR500
In 1983, the ‘Sultan of Slide’, Freddie Spencer won the 500cc motorcycle GP racing championship on the V3 (three-cylinder) NS500. Then, in 1985, riding a V4 NSR500, he not only won the 500cc championship, but also picked up the 250cc crown in the same year. Honda released the MVX 250 in celebration of the NS500, and Fast Freddie’s 1985 double-crown feat remains unequalled ever since, though Honda NSRs kept notching up countless victories in top-flight GP racing, right until Valentino Rossi's last 500cc crown in 2001. (Of course, the Honda RC211V proved to be a worthy successor to the mighty NSR500 after that...)

Britten V1000
Some of my best early 1990s memories are those of watching, on television, Britten V1000s thundering past Ducati 851s in various BoTT races. Those strange-looking Brittens, with their Hossack-design frontends and pink/blue paintwork, wouldn’t so much overtake the Fast by Ferracci Ducatis as completely blow them into the weeds. John Britten, of New Zealand, the man who designed this bike from scratch, passed away about ten years ago - a terrible loss for the world of very fast, very unique motorcycles.


Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Kawasaki GPZ 750 Turbo: Blow hard!

Kawasaki GPZ 750 Turbo Kawasaki GPZ 750 Turbo
We love the Kawasaki GPZ750 Turbo...!!!
Kawasaki GPZ 750 Turbo Kawasaki GPZ 750 Turbo

Kawasaki’s most powerful motorcycle ever - the ZZR 1400 - packs 197bhp and sure, it's insane. But it still doesn't have a turbocharger, which the 1980s GPZ750 did! Oh, okay, given the added weight, cost and complexity, turbochargers on motorcycles aren’t probably worth the hassle. But then, a ‘factory turbo’ badge has to be worth a point or two down at the pub, swapping tales over a pint. Wind on the boost, and from stoplights, the mid-1980s GPZ Turbo will still leave your neighbour’s Porsche Cayenne for dead. This bike was, after all, the first production motorcycle ever to run the quarter mile (400m) in less than 11 seconds.
The bike featured digital fuel injection and was fitted with a Hitachi HT-10B turbocharger. Power output, in stock form, was 95bhp, but with a bit of fettling and tweaking, some tuners claim to be able to release more than 200bhp! Said Motorcyclist magazine, in October 1983, "The 750 Turbo is far more than the hottest. It's a milestone in motorcycling." Many will argue that the normally-aspirated GPZ 900R was the better machine, but come on, everyone should own at least one turbocharged motorcycle, at least once in their lives...

Yes, the GPZ750 Turbo was a bit special...

Can Moto Guzzi stage a comeback?


The Moto Guzzi Norge (above) and Griso (below) are not really very hot right now...

Moto Guzzi is just about the only Italian motorcycle manufacturer whose bikes I don’t really get. They are… umm… a bit clunky and old fashioned. I think some of their older bikes – especially the 850 Le Mans from the 1980s – were terrific, but in recent years, Moto Guzzi seem to have lost the plot a bit. Their current bikes – the Norge and the Griso – are nowhere in their respective segments. They don’t look too good, aren’t very powerful and aren’t desirable at all.

Things just might change though. I had said in an earlier post that the company is looking at launching a ‘proper’ sportsbike, powered by a 1200cc V-twin. Now, the Moto Guzzi press office says the company is indeed testing 1100cc, 1200cc and 1300cc engines, one of which will find its way to the production line. The bike is expected to sport a full fairing and be oriented for sporty riding on the road. But can they really match the charisma of the old Le Mans? Time will tell… :-)


That's a Moto Guzzi GP racing bike from 1955. It packs a 500cc V8!

Monday, August 07, 2006

AC Schnitzer: Doing more with BMW bikes


The BMW F800S, after it's been given the AC Schnitzer treatment!

German tuning house, AC Schnitzer, have been at it again. And this time, the BMW F800S and the R1200S have been at the receiving end of their magic wand.

For the F800, there is new, sports-oriented suspension from WP, a more substantial fairing, a high-performance titanium exhaust system, and improved engine cooling, resulting in better power delivery.



The R1200S gets funkier and more track-oriented

The R1200S gets fully-adjustable WP suspension, a race-oriented titanium exhaust system, and lightweight forged wheels, which reduce unsprung weight and hence improve steering. An adjustable footrest system is also being developed, for better ergonomics on the racetrack as well as on the street.


That's an R1200R, given the Schnitzer treatment

For more info, visit AC Schnitzer here

Payback Time: Suzuki GSX-R 750 (1996 – 1999)


The 1996 GSX-R 750WT got a brand-new beam frame (in place of the old perimeter frame), weighed less and packed more punch. Give Honda Fireblades something to think about, eh Suzuki? :-)

By the time this generation of GSX-R 750 came out, the Honda Fireblade 900RR was already thrashing everything on the road, the Kawasaki Ninja ZX-9R wasn’t helping the cause of 750cc superbikes either and the Yamaha R1 was waiting in the wings. Everyone was ready to write off the 750 when, like a phoenix rising from the ashes, Suzuki hit the motorcycling world with this – the GSX-R 750WT. The first big change was the chassis, with the old perimeter frame being dumped in favour of a proper, contemporary beam frame. Suzuki also put the bike on a strict weight loss program, with the Gixxer losing all of 25 kilos, which helped improve handling in a big way. Befitting the new package, Suzuki also lavished top-spec suspension components on this GSX-R, making it even more of a tool for the totally committed rider.

If the things were looking up in the chassis area, the engine guys weren’t about to be left behind either. The GSX-R 750 WT’s brand new engine was much lighter (around 10 kilos!) than the old 750’s, was fed by bigger carbs, revved higher, and made close to 115PS at the crank. For the first time, the bike got an electronic engine management system monitoring the carbs, which paved the way for full-on EFI systems on the WW and WX models. For a bike that everyone had already prepared to write off, not bad at all, eh? So good was this GSX-R that ridden hard enough, it would keep a Fireblade at bay – and don’t forget that the ’Blade had a 150cc engine capacity advantage over this Gixxer.

Those in the know say that the GSX-R 750 WV, the last of the carb-fed GSX-R 750s, is the one the best, most refined and most committed GSX-Rs ever made. Fit a set of modern, sticky tyres and new brake pads, and they say that the old GSX-R will still keep up with far more contemporary machinery on the racetrack. Maybe it really will. Maybe it won’t. But we’re sure it was one hell of a bike anyway.

Here's what PB mag had to say about the 1996 GSX-R750 SRAD!

GSX-R 750 (models WT, WV, WW and WX)
Power: 120bhp@12,000rpm
Weight: 174kg
Top Speed: 254km/h
0 – 400m: 11.9 seconds


Kevin Schwantz: "Today, at the level I currently ride, I can still get what I need out of a GSX-R 750 and I don't think I can do that on a 1000..."

Kevin Schwantz speaks about the Suzuki GSX-R:
The GSX-R750 was introduced in 1986 and as I was under contract by Suzuki, I was one of the first to ride the GSX-R at a professional level. I rode for Yoshimura Suzuki from 1986-1988 and during that time rode the current year model. The 1986 GSX-R750 handled great, but the problem was getting power and reliability at the same time. It was an awesome bike to ride, though I didn't win any races.

The 1987 GSX-R750 bike will always be my favorite. It was so reliable, I don't even remember breaking in a race. The bike was light and actually quite nervous, which I feel like got me ready for a GP bike because it was styled in that direction. Every time I got on it, I felt like I could win.

The 1988 GSX-R750 was a completely redesigned look – much smaller bodywork and therefore looked a sleeker-faster-smaller motorcycle that was again blue and white. Handling-wise, the bike was good, though we struggled with top speed development.

Today, at the level I currently ride, I can still get what I need out of a GSX-R 750 and I don't think I can do that on a 1000. I am able to ride at a pace that allows me to slide the thing around and have lots of fun! If I ride a GSX-R 1000, I've got to be on my game much better and nowadays I just ride for fun. However, there is no doubt a GSX-R 1000 is faster in the right hands!


Kevin Schwantz in action on his Suzuki RGV500 GP bike

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