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.

BMW R1100RS

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.

Motoczysz

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.


Tuesday, August 29, 2006

MV Agusta sets Bonneville land speed record


This MV Agusta F4 1000R did 302km/h on the Bonneville Salt Flats!

During the 58th Annual Bonneville National Speedweek land speed trials earlier this month, an MV Agusta F4 1000R raced into the Southern California Timing Association record books as the fastest production class 1000cc motorcycle in the world. The 174bhp MV did this with an average combined speed of 299.148km/h, and a highest single speed of 302.116km/h. (So does this mean that the Kawasaki ZZR1400s and the Suzuki Hayabusas of this world are sitting around twiddling their thumbs?!)

The MV was ridden by Roosevelt ‘Rosey’ Lackey, and tuned/fettled by Eraldo Ferracci of Fast By Ferracci Racing Products. This 1000cc production class (bikes must run with the regular production engine and production frame) record means you can walk into any MV showroom today and ride out on a motorcycle that’s not only the best looking bike in the whole world, but one that’ll also do 300km/h down your local salt flats. Cool!

MV Agusta have plans to return to organized racing and Cagiva USA, Inc., the official North American importer of MV Agusta, has set its sights on AMA homologation for Superstock in 2007. We don’t know if MV can return to its Giacomo Agostini glory days, but the F4 1000R has shown its potential, so maybe…


An advert for the MV Agusta F4 1000 Tamburini edition, featuring Massimo Tamburini himself!


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