Tuesday, September 19, 2006

2007 Ducati Hypermotard spotted testing, production confirmed

The dramatic new Ducati Hypermotard will go on sale in 2007!

One of the more outstanding concepts to come out of Italy in recent times – and a bike which enthusiasts have been fervently hoping will make it to production – the Ducati Hypermotard is finally on! There are various reports of the bike having been seen testing in and around Bologna, in Italy, and it seems certain that the bike will be in Ducati showrooms early next year. The Hypermotard is expected to weigh in at around 175 kilos, and pack up to 135 horsepower from its 1100cc V-twin. That is if it gets Ducati's new 1098cc v-twin. If Ducati choose to fit the Hypermotard with their 1100cc air-cooled unit, it should still have around 100 horsepower. So it should be an amazing machine either way!

There's seems to be no letting up in sportsbike development in Italy. Ducati is also expected to be ready with its 1200cc superbike by 2008, which will replace the 999. Aprilia and KTM are also expected to be ready with their 1200cc superbikes by 2008, so the world superbike racing should be a riot in that year!

Also see:
2007 Ducati 1098 Superbike
2007 BMW HP2 Megamoto
2007 BMW G650 XMoto
2007 KTM 690SM Supermoto
2007 BMW K1200R Sport
BMW HP2 video
KTM 950 Super Enduro R
2007 Aprilia Tuono R Factory

2007 Triumph Tiger: Ready to roar!

The 2007 Triumph Tiger is a far better looking machine than the earlier model, and should be more capable all around

Triumph is ready with the 2007 Tiger, and it looks much, much better and far more stylish than the old bike. The big dual-purpose machine seems to be more road-oriented this time and with a new three-cylinder, 113 horsepower, 1050cc engine (which replaces the earlier 955cc triple…), it shouldn’t be lacking in the grunt department either.

The 2007 Triumph Tiger also gets a new aluminum beam chassis (in place of the old bike’s tubular steel frame) and 43mm USD forks. Wheel sizes are, again, a more street-oriented 17-inches instead of the 19-inch wheels used earlier. Nissin disc brakes are used front and rear, with twin 320mm rotors at the front being gripped by four-piston radial-mounted calipers! There’s an all-new braced aluminum swingarm and adjustable rear suspension – all nods towards better handling on the street.

With the 2007 Tiger, Triumph should be in a good position to take on similar D-P and/or streetfighter-style bikes from Aprilia, Benelli, BMW, Ducati, Kawasaki, KTM, Yamaha and others.

The 2007 Tiger is more street-oriented, which is a good thing

Monday, September 18, 2006

2007 Husaberg FS550e: Supermoto supreme!

2007 Husaberg FS550e: Light weight, powerful engine and a well-sorted chassis

Off-road/dual-purpose specialists, Husaberg have unveiled their new track-focused (yet street legal) FS550e for supermoto racing. The lightweight bike is powered by a liquid-cooled, 550cc, single-cylinder, SOHC, 4-stroke engine. Husaberg have not quoted any power figures for the bike, but we don’t suppose it would be lacking in the power department!

The FS550e is fitted with street-oriented 17-inch wheels (wearing Michelin Pilot Sport rubber), electric starter, six-speed gearbox, and meaty suspension components – 48mm USD WP front fork, and stiff, 50mm, linkageless adjustable rear shock. For stopping duties, there are Brembo brakes – a 310mm front disc gripped by four-piston radial caliper, and a 220mm, single caliper rear disc.

The bike is pegged at US$9,090 which is a bit on the high side, but this machine is probably just the right stuff for serious racers. To see the bike in action, watch a Motorcycle-usa.com video here. And also check out the competition from KTM and BMW!

Bombardier Embrio: One-wheeled Wonder

Ok, the Bombardier Embrio isn't a motorcycle, but it'll let you wheelie forever, so it deserves a place here! :-)

Bombardier introduced the first snowmobile back in 1942, and for the last 65 years, they’ve never stopped innovating – with trains, airplanes, watercraft and ATVs. This time, it’s the Embrio, which has been designed to whisk you through crowded city streets. Er, on one wheel.

The Embrio has been conceptualized by the Montreal-based Bombardier Recreational Products (a spinoff of the aviation-focused parent company), and uses hydrogen fuel-cell technology for propulsion. Its system of gyroscopes keeps it upright on one wheel when it’s on the move, though in standby mode, a pair of extra wheels automatically deploy to keep the Embrio from tipping over.

You can watch an animated video here, but there's no working prototype yet. Comparisons with the vaguely similar Segway machines is inevitable, but when asked about what he thought of the Embrio, Doug Field, Segway's vice-president of design, only said that ‘I respect the design and the flow of the Embrio, but there is a difference between that and a working prototype.’

The main difference between the Segway machines and the Embrio (if it’s ever made!), as far as potential users are concerned, would be that the Embrio would be much heavier and significantly faster than the Segway machines. Let’s see how this one pans out in the next few months…!

Top speed is expected to be in the region of 60km/h, and the front wheel automatically comes down when the Embrio is parked. Cool!

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Remembering John Surtees

John Surtees remains the only man in the history of motorsport to win 350cc and 500cc motorcycle roadracing world championships, and the Formula 1 car racing world championship as well!

Valentino Rossi is the only man to have won motorcycle racing world championships in four classes – 125cc, 250cc, 500cc and MotoGP. Freddie Spencer is the only man to have won 250cc and 500cc world championships in the same year (in 1985). And yet, both their accomplishments are overshadowed by those of one John Surtees – the only man to have won motorcycle racing world championships as well as the F1 crown!

Born in the UK in 1934, John Surtees won his first 500cc world championship in 1956, riding an MV Agusta. In 1958, 1959 and 1960, Surtees won both the 350cc and the 500cc world championships (!!!) and also became the first man ever to win the Senior Isle of Man TT three years in succession.

In 1960, at 26 years of age, Surtees switched from motorcycles to cars, making his Formula 1 debut driving for Lotus in the Monaco Grand Prix in Monte Carlo. He moved to Ferrari in 1963, and won the F1 world championship in 1964.

Surtees retired from competition in 1972, and was inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in 1996. Surely, one of the greatest motorcycle racers of all time! To read more about the man and the story of how he got into F1, go here

The Prancing Mouse: Ducati 999-powered Fiat 500!

The Fiat 500 is the cutest car we've seen. Now imagine a 150 horsepower Ducati V-twin under the bonnet... :-))

The simple, yet very charismatic late-1950s Fiat 500 is one of the cutest cars anywhere in the world. But, we have to accept, it could have done with a bit more power. So this Fiat F500 has been fitted with a Ducati V-twin, which pumps out more than 150 horsepower. It also gets a carbonfibre composite chassis, brembo disc brakes and sequential six-speed manual transmission. It won't actually outrun a Ferrari, but 0-100km/h time is claimed to be 4 seconds, and the car has a top speed of about 200km/h. Should be a right blast to drive, eh?

Go here for more cars that are powered by motorcycle engines!

An old Italian commercial for the Fiat 500. Charming!

Friday, September 15, 2006

Max Biaggi with Alstare Corona Extra in 2007

Max Biaggi will race a GSX-R1000 in world superbikes in 2007

Though Max Biaggi has been ousted from MotoGP, he’s coming back to motorcycle racing in 2007. Max has signed an agreement in Alleur, Belgium, with the Alstare Corona Extra team, to ride a Suzuki GSX-R1000 in next year’s World Superbike Championship. Biaggi is said to be fit and motivated and has already asked to test his new Suzuki GSX-R1000 K7 as soon as possible.

Said Max, “I have known Francis Batta [Alstare Corona Extra team manager] and his family for years and have a lot of respect for him, as he has devoted so much time and attention to promoting the profile of the World Superbike Championship. I am back in competitive sport and I am happy to be riding for an official team. I am as determined as ever and really want to win the Superbike World Championship. This is probably the biggest challenge of my sporting career."

Batta said, "Max Biaggi is definitely a valuable addition to my team and to the world of Superbike. I have enormous trust in his capabilities and know that his desire is to become the first Italian rider to win the World Superbike Championship."

We wonder what Rossi & Co. would have to say about Max’s move to WSB…

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

The Greatest 11s: Kawasaki ZZR1100 and Suzuki GSX-R1100

The Kawasaki ZZR1100. "It's like riding the blast wave of an endless explosion..." - Cycle World

Sometime in the early-1990s, a road test report of the Kawasaki ZZR1100 (called the Kawasaki Ninja ZX-11 in the American market) in the American magazine Cycle World, said that it was like ‘riding the blast wave of an endless explosion.’ And indeed, with a claimed 145 horsepower on tap, the ZZR1100 was capable of doing the quarter mile run in 10.25 seconds (the new ZZR1400 will do it in less than 10.50 seconds…), and would hit top speeds of close to 280km/h. Of course, even that was not enough for some, who'd fit a turbocharger to the bike for even more performance. Turbo ZZR1100s, with NOS kits, were capable of making more than 450 horsepower, and could do top speeds of 350km/h and more. Eeek! But even stock ZZR1100s were superb machines - an awesome blend of power, performance and long distance comfort. Read the diary of an incurable ZZR fanatic here.

Launched in 1990, and with a major update in 1993, the ZZR1100 was being made till 2001, after which the ZZR1200 took over. However, for enthusiasts all over the world, it’s the ZZR1100 that’s the definitive Kawasaki performance machine of all time – the ZZR1200 just could not match the 1100’s manic power delivery and raw sportsbike edge. Today’s super-light, super-fast 1000cc machines may make the ZZR100 look like a sport-tourer, but in the 1990s, the big Kaw was the baddest mutha on the block.

But while the ZZR1100 is an all-time great, there’s also another 1100cc motorcycle from Japan, which deserves to be ranked right up there with the Kawasaki. It’s the Suzuki GSX-R1100, which was launched in 1986. With continuing development, the GSX-R1100 had really become a force to reckon with by the mid-1990s.

With its extruded aluminum perimeter chassis, USD forks, six-piston brakes, distinctive styling and GSX-R street-cred, the mid-1990s Suzuki GSX-R1100 was one hell of a machine that was equally at home on the road and on the track. The GSX-R1100’s liquid-cooled DOHC inline-four made about 125 horsepower, and the bike could do the quarter mile in about 10.4 seconds. Top speed was in the region of 260km/h. Suzuki continued making the GSX-R1100 till 1998, after which the GSX-R1000 took over. But even though the 1100 isn’t with us today, it’ll be remembered as one of the greatest sportsbikes of all time!

Suzuki GSX-R1100

Light, fast and for the inexperienced, scary - the Suzuki GSX-R1100

Monday, September 11, 2006

2007 Ducati Multistrada 1100 announced

The Multistrada gets an additional 100cc of engine capacity

Rumors regarding Ducati’s new-for-2007 Multistrada 1100 have been doing the rounds for some time, and now they’ve been confirmed – the new bike has been officially announced. The chassis remains unchanged, but the air-cooled V-twin has grown to 1078cc (up from 992cc of the Multistrada 1000), and power is up from 92bhp to 95bhp.

Since other models in the Ducati lineup, including the Monster, also used the earlier 992cc engine, they should also be getting the 1078cc engine sometime soon. The company anyway seems to be on a new model spree, with the new Monster S4R Testastretta having been announced very recently, and rumours of a new 1200cc V-twin superbike still doing the rounds.

In an unrelated bit of news, Ducati also plan to build 150 road-going replicas of the Parts Unlimited Ducati Team AMA Superbikes. If Neil Hodgson's AMA Superbike is what you always wanted, the replica should be just the thing for you, but note that these bikes will only be sold in the US. These bikes are pegged at US$19,999 so you also need to be rich to buy one of these, but not as rich as you’d need to be to buy a Desmosedici RR

Update (22.12.2006): Ducati are now also working on updating the Multistrada's styling to try and make it more appealing to a wider range of motorcycle owners and riders.

The Parts Unlimited Team Ducati AMA superbike replica can now be yours for US$20,000
Here's a very interesting Ducati promo video!

Also see:
Ducati 999-powered Fiat 500
2007 Ducati Hypermotard
Special Moto Corse Ducati 999
2007 BMW HP2 Megamoto
2007 Ducati Sport Classic range

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Suzuki Katana: Taming of the Sword

The 1982 Suzuki Katana GSX1000S. Awesome!

Back in the early-1980s, Suzuki went to a German design house – Target Design – and asked them to help out with the styling of their new sportsbike. And thus, the mighty Katana (means sword in Japanese) was born. The Target Design team that did the original Katana consisted of three men – Hans Muth, Jan Fellstrom and Hans-Georg Kasten – of whom Hans Muth is still actively working with the motorcycle industry. He has, supposedly, also worked on the styling of some of the recent motorcycles from BMW.

Coming back to the Katana, the bike’s styling was a radical departure from anything else available at the time. With its aggressive stance, butch, naked styling, a brutal 1100cc engine, and the very stylish mini-fairing, the Katana was a stand-out bike all right. Target Design had actually designed a very similar prototype machine for MV Agusta, in the late-1970s, but that never went into production, and Suzuki probably got to benefit from that!

When it came out in 1980 at the Cologne Motor Show in Germany, the Suzuki GSX1100 Katana was criticized for being too radical. “It’ll never work!” cried purists. “We all want one!” said punters everywhere. And within the next 2 – 3 years, other manufacturers were trying to copy the Katana. Through the 1980s and till 1991, Suzuki made 1000cc, 750cc and 250cc versions of the Katana, which still had all the charm, all the allure of the 1100cc version. They also made a bunch of 650cc and 550cc versions in the early-80s, which were complete and utter rubbish – a disgrace to the Katana name. In any case, from the mid-90s onwards, Suzuki completely ruined the Katana by slapping the name on to slow, heavy and dated sport-tourers and even a bunch of Katana-branded scooters. The fiery, cutting-edge sportsbike that was the original Katana was lost forever.

Is there any hope of the Katana ever being resurrected? Well, at last year’s Tokyo Motorcycle Show, Suzuki showed Stratosphere concept bike, which incorporated some design elements from the original ED2 Katana, and was fitted with a six-cylinder engine! We doubt if the Stratosphere will ever make it to production, though if various rumours are to be believed, that six-cylinder engine just might make its way to the 2008 Hayabusa.

Read some old road tests of the Katana here

A Yoshimura-tuned and fettled GSX1100S Katana

Friday, September 08, 2006

Honda VTR1000 RC51 SP2: The un-Fireblade

Exotica: The 136bhp SP-2 is a proper racer for the road
Honda VTR1000 SP2 RC51 Honda VTR1000 SP2 RC51 Honda VTR1000 SP2 RC51

Sure, the Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade is a hugely powerful, mega-fast superbike – but these days, it’s getting a bit common, isn’t it? The words exotic and Honda don’t really go along, but if you really want an exotic Honda, then it has to be the RC51 VTR1000 SP-2. No, it isn’t as powerful as the four-cylinder, 1000cc Fireblade, but the race-bred SP-2’s 999cc, 8-valve V-twin still kicks out 136 horsepower, which should be enough for most people in most situations...

The RC51 SP-1 made its debut in the year 2000, and with Colin Edwards riding the factory racebike, it picked up the WSB championship in its very first year of competition. With HRC developments lavished on the SP-1, the SP-2 again won the WSB crown in 2002 with Colin. That, however, was where it ended for the RC51 SP-2, with WSB regulations moving on to permit four-cylinder 1000cc machines from 2003 onwards.

Though they don’t race it anymore, Honda have kept the RC51 SP-2 in their lineup and its still an absolutely brilliant motorcycle for those who are looking at a proper, HRC-bred racebike for the road.
Read a comparison test between the Honda RC51 and the Ducati 999R here and read about the very memorable V4-engined Honda RC30 and the RC45 bikes here

2007 Honda CBR600RR breaks cover!

Sharper, lighter, faster - the 2007 CBR600RR

Honda have unveiled the 2007 CBR600RR, and yes, it’s lighter and faster than ever. Thanks to reduced-weight components, the CBR600’s engine is now lighter and can rev all the way to 15,700rpm. It’s been revised to shorten the crankcase by about 30mm, which results in a more compact unit. The compression ratio has been bumped up to 12.2:1 and forged aluminum pistons are now shot-peened for greater durability. There’s a new knock sensor that maintains optimal spark advance and compensates for lower-octane fuel.

Honda claim 118bhp@13,500rpm for the new CBR600RR, which should put it in contention for the ‘top dog’ title in the forthcoming 2007 600s track scrap. Honda have also incorporated a new intake air control valve (IACV) in the airbox, which is said to smoothen throttle response. And while we’re not sure if the new CBR has a proper slipper clutch, there’s a new ‘no-lash’ transmission that helps reduce driveline lash between accelerating and slowing down repeatedly, at lower speeds.

In the chassis department, the wheelbase is shorter than last year’s model by about 22mm, though the swingarm is 5mm longer. The new chassis also uses just four die-cast sections instead of the 11 sections for the last year’s model. The bike is now fitted with an updated version of the CBR1000RR's electronic steering damper, to make sure it stays stable at higher speeds. Suspension and brakes remain unchanged (41mm USD fork at front, Unit Pro-Link at the back), but given Honda’s focus on weight reduction, the new bike is lighter than the ’06 CBR600RR by eight kilos.

Now that Honda have fired the first salvo, and Kawasaki have shown the 2007 ZX-6R Ninja, let's see what Suzuki and Yamaha do with their 600s…!

Styling is not hugely different from the 2006 model, but the white/blue graphics on the '07 model are a bit dubious...

Thursday, September 07, 2006

London Land Speed Record on a ZZR1400

The ZZR1400's fast, no doubt

How fast would you ride in London city? 100km/h? 150km/h? Well, the boys at TWO magazine recently took a Kawasaki ZZR1400 and hit 293.44km/h at the London City Airport. And no, they did not run into any Lear Jets because the airport was officially closed for the first London Land Speed record attempt! TWO’s sister publication, Autocar was also present, but the fastest that any of their assembled supercars could do was a mere 280km/h. Cars vs bikes, eh? Guess that one’s settled then.

A Japanese road test video of the Kawasaki ZZR1400. Simply amazing!

Go here to see just how hard a ZZR1400 accelerates!

See this awesome video of Tiff Needell (Fifth Gear) testing a Kawasaki ZZR1200-powered trike!

Chris Carr does 560km/h at Bonneville

That's Chris Carr, with the BUB streamliner that did 560km/h!

Barely two days ago, we had reported that Rocky Robinson has set a new motorcycle land speed world record on his Team Top-1 ACK Attack streamliner, riding the machine at 547km/h at the Bonneville Salt Flats. Well, the record didn’t last long. Chris Carr (who’s also a seven-time AMA Flat Track champion), riding his BUB streamliner, did 560km/h at Bonneville, and is now officially the ‘fastest human on two-wheels.’ Pity Valentino & Co.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Sin City: Volkswagen GX3

You've got to LOVE this trike!!!

What has three wheels, two seats, goes from zero to 100km/h in 5.7 seconds and has a top speed of 200km/h? The scintillating, 125bhp, Volkswagen GX3. First shown in January this year, the GX3 was designed by Volkswagen’s Design Centre in California, and is a fully functional concept.

The GX3 is powered by a VW 1600cc engine, which gives it a power/weight ratio of 1:4.56. The vehicle is also capable of achieving lateral acceleration of up to 1.25g, which is what some very expensive, high-performance cars do, but the GX3 was only supposed to cost about US $17,000. That was before VW dropped plans of building this vehicle because they thought it might be too dangerous, and result in too many liability claims, which the company definitely does not want. Too bad VW chickened out of producing this vehicle, which they claimed is “Inspired by the minimalist design language often expressed in contemporary GP motorcycles and F1 race cars…”

If you like high-performance three-wheelers, see this and if you like weird three-wheelers, see this

Forget the GTI - this is the best thing VW (n)ever made!

Beastly: 2007 Ducati Monster S4R Testastretta

That L-twin packs 130bhp, so watch out!

The Monster is getting more powerful as it grows older. The 2007 Monster S4R Testastretta gets Ducati’s 130 horsepower, 4-valve-per-cylinder, Desmodromic, liquid cooled, 998cc Testastretta L-twin engine (whew!), which was earlier available only with the S4Rs Testastretta. Twin mufflers, tubular trellis chassis, single-sided swingarm, and the mini fairing continue as before, but two new paint schemes – titanium and red – will be offered.

The suspension also gets an upgrade, with the 43mm Showa USD front forks and Sachs rear shock absorber now being fully adjustable. Ride height at the back, which can be an important factor for changing a bike’s handling characteristics, is also adjustable on the 2007 Ducati Monster S4R Testastretta. The new bike will be available by early October this year.

A Ducati Monster tribute video

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Say goodbye to the Kawasaki Ninja ZX-12R

The Kawasaki Ninja ZX-12R is still AWESOME, but it has to go now...

It’s a sad thing, but it’s finally time to say goodbye to the Kawasaki Ninja ZX-12R. One of our favourite bikes of all time, this 190bhp, 300km/h-capable machine was launched in the year 2000, taking on the likes of the Suzuki Hayabusa and the Honda 1100XX Super Blackbird.

While it’s still a hugely capable motorcycle, Kawasaki see no place for the ZX-12R in their lineup anymore. The sharper, more focused Ninja ZX-10R has taken the ‘pure sportsbike’ territory, while the even more powerful ZZR1400 reigns supreme in the sport-tourer segment. (What’s the world coming to? A 197-horsepower sport-tourer?!?!) The last few brand-new Ninja ZX-12Rs are now being shipped to European dealers, so if you’ve always wanted one, now’s the time to rush to your local Kawasaki dealership…

Limited Edition Suzuki GSX-R1000 Phantom

The Suzuki GSX-R1000 Phanton. The best superbike in the world?
The Brits are a lucky bunch indeed. As if a stock GSX-R1000 is not enough, Suzuki GB PLC have announced the launch of a new limited edition model – the GSX-R1000 Phantom – only 200 units of which will be made available. The Phantom features a silver/gray colour scheme (which was not available in Europe earlier), with a Yoshimura Tri-oval exhaust system. The Phantom will retail at £8,799 which is the same as a standard GSX-R1000, so it really is a brilliant deal! But of course, the 2007 GSX-R1000 K7 should be even better, so you may want to wait for that.

Update (22nd September, '06):
The latest news is that the 2007 GSX-R1000 gets traction control, where the rider can choose between three settings - normal, wet and sports. The Hayabusa remains the same, with only new colours and engine tweaks that make it Euro III emissions norms compliant.

Right now, the hottest superbike in the world...!

Rocky Robinson and the ACK Attack do 547km/h

Twin Hayabusa engines, 900 horsepower, 547km/h...

Rocky Robinson has set a new motorcycle land speed world record. Riding his Team Top-1 ACK Attack streamliner at the Bonneville Salt Flats, he made an initial pass at 550.4km/h and a return pass of 544km/h, resulting in the new record (average) speed of 547km/h. The last record, which stood for 16 years, was set by Dave Campos in 1990 – at 515.2km/h.

During the Bonneville Speed Week this year, riders had a 17.6km course to work with, compared with only 8km last year. This provided an opportunity to mega-powerful machines like the ACK Attack, which incidentally is powered by twin Suzuki Hayabusa engines – producing a total of more than 900 horsepower, to really strut their stuff.

Here’s a list of who’s been going how fast (on two wheels) over the years:

1937 Ernst Henne BMW 500 274.494km/h

1951 William Herz NSU 500 289.681km/h

1955 Russell Wright Vincent 1000 297.728km/h

1956 Johnny Allen Triumph 650 311.778km/h

1956 William Herz NSU 500 338.992km/h

1956 Johnny Allen Triumph 650 345.426km/h

1962 Bill Johnson Triumph 650 361.410km/h

1966 Bob Leppan Triumph 650 395.362km/h

1970 Don Vesco Yamaha 350 405.425km/h

1970 Cal Rayborn Harley-Davidson 427.267km/h

1975 Don Vesco Yamaha 700 487.084km/h

1978 Don Vesco Kawasaki 1000 512.733km/h

1990 Dave Campos Harley-Davidson 518.450km/h

Monday, September 04, 2006

Bikes vs Cars: One more round!

Which one would you have?

British bike mag TWO ran an interesting bikes vs cars feature in their September issue. Yes, many other magazines and TV channels have pitted supercars and superbikes against each other before, and the results are pretty much the same – bikes accelerate harder, cars brake and corner harder. In 0-100-0 timed runs, cars can have a problem with getting enough traction – excessive wheelspin may look spectacular, but you’re wasting time. With bikes, it’s not wheelspin, but the tendency to wheelie that can be a problem.

Anyway, in the TWO article, here are some 0-100-0mph (or 0-160-0km/h) times for different cars and bikes:

A1 GP racing car – 8.4 seconds

Bugatti Veyron – 9.9 seconds

Suzuki GSX-R1000 – 10.7 seconds

Porsche 911 Turbo – 12.50 seconds

Honda CBF1000F – 13.2 seconds

Nissan 350Z – 18.8 seconds

Since we all know the humungous difference in price between a Veyron and a GSX-R1000, I think we motorcyclists can afford to be just a wee bit smug, eh? And here's an absolutely brilliant video of a GSX-R1000 going head to head against a Westfield XTR4!

Also see: Aprilia Mille RSV1000R vs Ferrari 360 Modena!

2007 Buell XBRR: Bring it on!

It packs a 150bhp V-twin, and it'll blow your socks off!

While the Fischer MRX is being hailed as America’s first proper sportsbike, with its 77-horsepower, 647cc V-twin, it’s hardly a Hayabusa or a ZZR1400 beater. No, if you want an American bike that can dust those two Japanese heavyweights, you want the 2007 Buell XBRR. It isn’t road-legal of course, but weighing in at 164 kilos, and powered by a 1338cc, air and oil-cooled V-twin, which makes 150 horsepower at 8000rpm, it should certainly be capable of some serious performance!

Suspension is top quality Ohlins items (front and rear), and the chassis is all aluminum with Buell’s ‘Uniplanar powertrain vibration isolation system,’ which probably reduces vibes. Fuel is carried in the frame. At the front, Buell’s unique ‘Zero Torsional Load’ eight-piston Nissin disc brakes are used, which should make stoppies a cinch.

Overall, this should be one rocking Buell. Read Motorcycle-usa.com's first ride report here

A Buell video shows what these bikes are capable of!

Friday, September 01, 2006

Fischer MRX ready to roll!

The Glynn Kerr-designed Fischer MRX is certainly sharp and aggressive looking

The Fischer MRX, on which we had reported earlier, is now in production – you can buy one today for US$8,000. Designed by Glynn Kerr, the MRX looks quite distinctive, and build quality is supposed to be top notch. It’s powered by a Hyosung-built, DOHC, 16-valve, 647cc V-twin, which makes 77bhp@9400rpm. Performance should be adequate, but with its high-spec suspension components, the bike should handle very well.

The Fischer MRX’s chassis is derived from the Harley Davidson VR1000 superbike, which in turn was developed by top racers like Miguel Duhamel, Scott Russell, and Doug Chandler. The multi-adjustable, 43mm USD front forks and Ohlins rear shock are set up for sporty riding, and are suitably taut.

Visit the company website for more information.

It's being billed as an 'American exotic'...

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Triumph opens second plant in Thailand

Triumph have recently opened their second manufacturing facility there, and may even open a third one within the next one year! The new plant which is already operational, doubles the production capacity of Triumph in Thailand to 100,000 units per annum. Thai-made Triumph motorcycles are sold in that country, and also exported to other countries. India, one of the largest two-wheeler markets in the world, is close by and also has a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with Thailand. We wonder if Triumph will also set up a manufacturing unit in India sometime soon…?

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Honda NR750: Your game's oval…

The oval piston Honda NR750, from 1992
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Launched in 1992, the madly-expensive Honda NR750, with its oval-piston, fuel-injected, eight valve per cylinder V4, which redlined at an astounding 15,000rpm, is a superbike like no other. The bike, which ‘inspired’ Massimo Tamburini’s styling for the Ducati 916, made extensive use of carbonfibre and was fitted with exotica like a single-sided swingarm, digital instrumentation (very flash for 1992…) and projector type headlamps.

Power output was a modest 125bhp@14000rpm, and top speed was around 255km/h – figures which are easily beaten by current 1000cc sportsbikes. But the NR750 was about more than just numbers – the bike showed Honda’s strengths with technology and showed what the Japanese manufacturers were capable of. Only 200 of these bikes were ever made, and each is now worth more than US$50,000 (Rs. 23 lakh).

Download PDFs of original Japanese Honda NR750 brochures here

A video of some poor sod crashing his Honda NR. Unbelieveable!

Vyrus 985 C3 4V: Different strokes

Imagine seeing the Vyrus 985 C3 4V in your mirrors...

First there was the Bimota Tesi 1D, in the early-1990s. With its complex ‘alternative’ front suspension, the first Bimota Tesi was a magnificent display of Bimota’s prowess with advanced motorcycle technology. The hub-centre steering and front swingarm separated steering and braking forces, eliminated dive under hard braking, and offered enhanced stability in fast corners. Riders complained that the system did not offer enough feel. And the front suspension assembly was hugely complex, expensive to manufacture and tough to maintain. So yes, Bimota only sold a very few of these bikes, and that was the end of it.

Now it seems the Tesi 1D is reborn – as the Vyrus. A Rimini, Italy-based company, VDM, which is owned by former Bimota mechanic Rodorigo Ascanio, continued development on the original Tesi, and the result is the Vyrus 985 C3 4V. Says Rodorigo, ‘It’s our objective to try to persuade people to take a fresh look at two-wheeled chassis design. This is my challenge!’ Ahem.

The bike uses the Ducati 999R’s powerful, 150bhp V-twin engine, but the two are very different in terms of handling characteristics. Rodorigo says, ‘We made a bike that is a very stiff structure, where nothing moves except the suspension and the tires. And we produced a steering linkage with fewer bearings, so as to give it more sensitivity. You must feel the front tire as if the front axle were in your hands. All this influences handling and makes the bike steer much faster, especially with the short wheelbase. It’s like a 250cc GP bike in terms of geometry, but it’s also completely stable in a straight line. Even if you try to make it shake by moving the handlebars, you can’t. And we have no steering damper fitted; that’s a band-aid for a wrong design!’

For those who must have the Vyrus’ alien styling and cool front suspension, but are on a tighter budget, there’s also the Vyrus 984 2V, which is powered by the Ducati 1000DS v-twin and costs about US$40,000. And if you're all set to buy the US$75,000 985 C3 4V, you may want to read Motorcyclist magazine's road test here

Front End Funnies
Some other bikes that went the alternative front suspension route...

Hossack racebike

Back in 1981, inventor Norman Hossack presented his vision of the alternative front suspension – the Hossack Wishbone. A development of this is used on the BMW K1200S and K1200R bikes.

Elf Honda GP bike

Raced by Ron Haslam in 1985, the Elf Honda got hub-centre steering and a front swingarm instead of the usual front forks.

Bimota Tesi 1D

Launched in 1991, the Tesi 1D got Bimota’s complex and expensive hub-centre steering and front swingarm. It was beautiful to look at, but ahead of its time. Excessive steering linkage play made it scary to ride, and there were incessant issues with reliability and longevity of various components. Not that Bimota would give up though…

Gilera CX125

The most notable thing about the Gilera CX125 (launched in 1992) was not its eccentric styling, but its single-side front fork.

Britten V1000

Back in the 1990s, Britten V1000s used to thunder past Ducati 851s in BoTT races in Europe. And yes, they used a Hossack-design front end.

Yamaha GTS1000

Yamaha launched the GTS1000 in 1993. The bike was fitted with a 1000cc inline-four from the FZR1000, and had hub-centre steering via a single-side front swingarm. The bike was even raced at the Isle of Man TT, though it was a bit heavy and clumsy.


The first modern-day BMW to eschew the conventional front fork, the 1993 R1100RS sported BMW’s ‘Telelever’ front suspension. This used fork sliders (which look quite conventional to unsuspecting bystanders) connected to a rocker arm and a front shock absorber. People who’ve ridden the bike say it works well, but lacks the feedback of a conventional fork.

Italjet Dragster 180

One of the coolest, fastest and most radical scooters to come out of Italy, the Italjet Dragster 180 packed a 180cc two-stroke engine and boasted of hub-centre steering via single-sided swingarm.

BMW K1200S / K1200R

Launched in 2004, both, the K1200S and the K1200R use an iteration of the Hossack Wishbone front suspension.


The ‘Flex 6X’ front suspension used on the 2006 Motoczysz MotoGP bike employs linear bearing in stanchions, connected to an Ohlins shock in the headstock.

Bimota Tesi 3D

Ducati engine, hub-centre steering, trellis frame chassis, 168kg kerb weight and a price tag of US$38,400. Only 29 of these avant-garde Tesi 3D bikes will be built, so exclusivity is guaranteed.



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