Friday, October 13, 2006

2007 BMW HP2 Megamoto: BMW ups the ante again!

100 horsepower supermotard? That's the new BMW HP2 Megamoto!

Last year, BMW let loose with the awesome HP2 off-roader. This time, it’s the equally amazing HP2 Megamoto, which continues BMW’s continuing and big time image makeover. The German company is getting really, really serious about high performance motorcycles and seems to be firing on all fronts right now!

The HP2 Megamoto is essentially a street-optimised version of the HP2 dirtbike. It uses 17-inch wheels and street-oriented rubber, high-spec Ohlins suspension and an Akrapovic exhaust system. The Megamoto is fitted with BMW’s air/oil-cooled, 1170cc, four-valve-per-cylinder, Boxer-twin, which makes 105 horsepower at 7,000rpm. Shaft-drive, six-speed gearbox, Paralever rear suspension, and a tubular spaceframe chassis complete the package.

Should be interesting to watch the BMW HP2 Megamoto go head to head against the forthcoming Ducati Hypermotard!

If the HP2 off-roader is anything to go by, this new Megamoto should be an amazing bike!

Limited Edition MV Agusta F4 CC: Feeling rich today?

The MV Agusta F4 CC. Vastly expensive, very exclusive...

What’s beautiful, Italian, fast and very, very expensive? The new Limited Edition F4 CC, which is expected to cost US$125,000. MV will only build 100 units of the F4 CC – the CC being Claudio Castiglioni – so if you do buy one, it’s likely to be the only one in the neighbourhood.

The bike, which will debut at the Milan Motorcycle Show next month, will pack an all-new 1079cc inline-four, which makes 190 horsepower in street-legal trim and 200 horsepower with a free-flow racing exhaust system. Top speed is an electronically governed 315km/h, which should be enough to see you past stock Suzuki Hayabusas and Kawasaki ZZR1400s.

As you’d expect, you get an adequate amount of carbonfibre, magnesium and titanium bits for your money. And for added bling, buyers of the F4 CC will also have the option of buying a special Versace jacket and MV wristwatch. That’ll be about US$1,900 for the jacket and US$20,000 for the watch. Like 50 Cent says, get rich, or die tryin’…

Also see:
MV Agusta F4 1000R Senna Edition
MV Agusta F4 1000R sets Bonneville Speed Record
MV Agusta Brutale 910R Italia Special Edition

Thursday, October 12, 2006

2007 Moto Guzzi 1200 Sport: Chug along now…

The brand-new Moto Guzzi 1200 Sport, with 94 horsepower and reactive shaft drive. All right, calm down now...

As reported earlier, Moto Guzzi had been working on launching an all-new 1200cc sportsbike, and here it is – the 1200 Sport, which is being shown at the Intermot show in Germany. ‘New’ is a term which must be used sparingly for any Moto Guzzi, and the 1200 Sport is no exception. The bike uses an extensively reworked version of Guzzi’s age-old 1151cc v-twin, which now pumps out 94 horsepower at 7,800rpm. At least the chassis is supposed to be all new, and the suspension and braking components are said to be top-spec.

There’s also a revised six-speed gearbox, with ratios chosen with ‘sporty riding’ as the primary concern. The 1200 Sport uses Guzzi’s traditional shaft-drive which has been refined over the years. There’s a single-side swingarm at the back, and a right-side-up (non-USD) 45mm front fork. There are twin, petal-style 320mm brake discs up front, and ABS is expected to be available as an optional extra.

Moto Guzzi also plan to offer a racing kit – racing exhaust, remapped ECU, modified cylinder heads – which will boost power. We don’t know if the bike will be street-legal after this kit has been fitted. And in any case, Moto Guzzi bikes aren’t really your typical highly-strung, high-zoot Italian sportsbikes – sport-touring is more like it. Just chug along…

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

2007 BMW G650: Xmoto, XChallenge, and XCountry

The BMW G650 XChallenge is the most off-road-oriented among the three new XBikes

BMW have shown their new range of dual-purpose G650 motorcycles – the XMoto, XChallenge, and Xcountry. The bikes are powered by a retuned and lightened version of the BMW F650 engine – a single-cylinder, liquid-cooled, 652cc unit that makes 53 horsepower at 7,000rpm.

The XMoto wears street-oriented rubber and should be the sportiest of this trio

The XMoto is in the supermoto mould, with 17-inch wheels shod street-oriented rubber. The XChallenge is more off-road-oriented and sports 21-inch front and 18-inch rear wheels, wearing dirt-oriented rubber. It’s also the lightest of the three bikes in the G650 range. The XCountry lies somewhere between the other two, with its 19-inch front and 17-inch rear wheels. ABS will be available as an optional extra on all three bikes, and riders will have the option of switching it off on the run.

And here’s a surprise – these new BMW bikes have been designed with the help of Aprilia, and all three XBikes will actually be built at Aprilia's factory in Scorze, Italy!

The XCountry should be a 'funmoto' and is positioned between the street-oriented XMoto and the off-road XChallenge

Here's a first ride report of the BMW G650 X series bikes

Also see:
Schnitzer HP2 - the ultimate supermoto!
2007 KTM 950 Super Enduro R
2007 Husaberg FS550e supermoto
2007 Ducati Hypermotard
2007 BMW K1200R Sport
2007 KTM 690SM

Singularly Powerful: 2007 KTM 690SM

The 2007 KTM 690SM. Serious supermoto riders had better get used to the way it looks...

KTM have shown their 640-replacement, the new 690SM. This new machine is fitted with KTM’s 654cc fuel-injected single, which makes 65 horsepower – one of the most powerful single-cylinder engines ever fitted to a production motorcycle anywhere! The bike is, supposedly, capable of top speeds of up to 200km/h and features top-spec suspension and braking components.

While KTM’s much-awaited RC8 superbike will only be shown next year (and may be available as a 2008 model…), the company is expected to have something up its sleeve for the upcoming EICMA show in Italy this year. Stay tuned!

The KTM 690SM should be one hell of a performer!

Also see:
Fight Club: KTM Super Duke 990
Schnitzer HP2: The ultimate supermoto?
KTM NitroDuke: The world's fastest KTM!
2007 KTM 950 Super Enduro R
2007 Husaberg FS550e

Faired Deal: 2007 BMW K1200R Sport

The 2007 BMW K1200R Sport. Interesting...

The new BMW K1200R Sport, shown at the Intermot show this week, sports a half fairing and is probably a slightly saner alternative to the stark-naked bad-boy K1200R. While the new fairing offers some amount of weather protection, twin vents below the headlamp optimize airflow to the radiator, and help with cooling the engine.

The K1200R Sport uses the same four-cylinder engine as the K1200R, and makes a claimed 163 horsepower at 10,250rpm. Six-speed gearbox and Duolever/Paralever front/rear suspension complete the package, while BMW’s latest generation ABS is on the options list. The K1200R Sport should be a damn interesting option for those looking at an alternative to Japanese sport-tourers…

Also see:
The ultimate BMW HP2
Moto Morini Corsaro 1200
Yamaha FZ1
KTM Super Duke 990
AC Schnitzer BMWs
2007 Aprilia Tuono R Factory

2007 Ducati Sport 1000 S: Go Biposto

The 2007 Ducati Sport 1000 S Biposto - one of the most beautiful bikes in the world gets even better..!

Ducati have unveiled their 2007 Sport Classic range at the Intermot motorcycle show in Germany. The new bikes continue to use Ducati’s proven 1000cc, air-cooled, fuel-injected L-twin engines, which feature Desmodromic valve actuation and a new wet clutch. The latter is said to be longer lasting and offers decreased clutch lever effort.

While the Paul Smart 1000LE is no more, the new-for-2007 Sport 1000 S Biposto takes its place. Pegged at close to US$12,000 the 1000 S Biposto gets new paint schemes, a classic-style mini fairing, and can accommodate two people.

The 2007 Sport 1000 Biposto features better ergonomics – taller clip-ons and lower footpegs – which should make a lot of riders very happy! There’s no fairing here, but you do get a removable tail-cover for the times when you want to flaunt that solo seat look. Otherwise, the bike will be happy to carry two. The Sport 1000 Biposto can be yours for US$11,500 and will be available in red, black and yellow.

The GT 1000 also gets a paint scheme update and will now be available in metallic black/cream, in addition to the earlier red and gray.

Also see:
Ducati to make the radical Hypermotard
2007 Ducati Multistrada 1100
MV Agusta Brutale 910R Italia
2007 Ducati Monster S4R Testastretta

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Funkytown: 2007 Honda CB600F Hornet

The 2007 Honda Hornet. Stylish, eh?

Honda have unveiled the 2007 Hornet, and apart from the new styling, the 2007 Hornet uses the new CBR600RR’s 600cc engine, which should make it a proper tool. There’s a new, currently-in-fashion low-slung exhaust, new five-spoke alloys, revised chassis and 41mm USD forks. Overall, the new bike is five kilos lighter than the old Hornet, which can’t be a bad thing. And ABS will be on the options list when the bike goes on sale early next year. If you’re looking to buy your very first motorcycle, the 2007 Honda Hornet could very well be it!

Are there shades of the erstwhile Cagiva V-Raptor, and the Kawasaki ER-6n here...?

And here's a pic of the mighty 2007 Honda CBR1000RR, in Repsol livery. But Repsol colours or not, can it possibly take on the 2007 Suzuki GSX-R1000, Kawasaki ZX-10R and the Yamaha R1 machines? We think not...

2007 Yamaha R1: 'The One' fights back!

Yeah, you really can ride the 2007 Yamaha R1 like this...

The Yamaha YZF R1 has been one of the fastest, most powerful and best handling litre-class sportsbikes since 1988, when it was first launched. Almost a decade on, the R1 is still getting better and better with each passing year. The 2007 model is no exception. It isn’t an-new, totally radical R1 replacement that we were expecting, but the 2007 R1 still looks awesome. In fact, Yamaha Motor Italia have gone ahead and signed Noriyuka Haga and Troy Corser, who'll be riding the new bike in the 2007 Superbike World Championship!

For 2007, Yamaha have dropped their five-valve-per-cylinder design (first seen on the mid-1980s Yamaha FZ750) and gone in for the ubiquitous four-valve layout that’s favoured by all the Japanese manufacturers. The 2007 R1’s 31mm intake valves are made of titanium (25mm exhaust valves make do with steel…), the combustion chamber is more compact, and compression ratio is up to 12.7:1. Bore and stroke remain unchanged (77.0 x 53.6mm), as does the redline, at 13,750rpm. Con-rods have been strengthened for even greater durability.

As expected, the new R1 gets Yamaha’s ‘YCC-T’ fly-by-wire throttle control system, which scans changes in various parameters and adjusts fueling at up to 1,000 times a second! And that’s not all. The new bike also gets YCC-I (Yamaha Chip Controlled Intake) (YCC-I), which is how Yamaha describe the R1’s variable-length intake trumpets. This system is optimized for better torque output at lower rpm and maximum power at higher revs. 178 horsepower (at the crank) at 12,500rpm is what you get, which is just perfect!

The underseat exhaust system is now made of titanium and features dual catalyzers and an EXUP valve, which allow the 2007 R1 to conform to Euro 3 and 2008 EPA emissions norms. A slipper clutch is now standard, but last year’s LE model’s Ohlins bits are no longer available. At least for now.

Front brake discs are now 310mm (down from 320mm on the last year’s model), but Yamaha have fitted six-piston calipers on the new bike, so braking prowess should be mindblowing. Tyres are super-grippy Pirelli Diablo Corsas, which should offer near-limitless grip.

At US$ 11,600 we can only say the 2007 Yamaha R1 is a bargain. Just get One!

Update (11th September, 2007): First pics: The 2008 Yamaha R1!

Right-click and download this old Top Gear video, where a first-generation Yamaha R1 goes head to head against a Porsche Carrera...!

Go here to watch this very cool video of Valentino Rossi riding the 2007 Yamaha R1 and discussing the bike's performance.

...and here's the bike in action. Amazing video!
Another video of the 2007 Yamaha R1 in action
Hi-res Yamaha R1 wallpaper here.

Friday, October 06, 2006

2007 Buell Lightning Long XB12Ss: Go Further…

The Lightning Long packs a 103bhp Harley V-twin

The new-for-2007 Buell Lightning Long is built around the Harley Sportster’s 1203cc, air/oil-cooled, pushrod, fuel-injected, 103bhp V-twin, and features a stiff, cast-aluminum chassis. Buell sportsbikes have a reputation for handling very well, and the Lightning Long is fitted with 43mm USD forks up front, and multi-adjustable, horizontally mounted shock at the back.

Compared with the standard Lightning, the Long features Increased rake (23.5 degrees), a longer swingarm and a longer wheelbase of 54 inches. The bike runs on Pirelli Diablo rubber, which is said to offer high grip levels.

The Lightning Long XB12Ss is pegged at US$10,500 and you can read a detailed road test here and right-click and download this awesome Buell video here

Also see:
Buell XBRR - A blow-your-socks-off racer!
The World of Streetfighters!

The 2007 Harley-Davidson XR1200

Buell or not, if you're a fan of Harley-Davidson bikes, you may also like the very recently unveiled XR1200 prototype, which uses the Sportster's 1200cc, 85bhp V-twin. The bike is inspired by Harley's XR750 dirt-trackers and H-D have put in a lot of development work on the machine - the bike could very well make it to production in a few months. Performance would probably be mild at best, but for what it's worth, the new XR1200 does get an electronically controlled active air-intake system. Electro-trickery in a Harley? Wonders never cease... :-)

And here's a rather risqué Harley-Davidson video!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

On The Pace: Read before you ride!

Get on 'The Pace' before you go flat out on the street...

Want to ride motorcycles really, really fast? You should pay attention to what Nick Ienatsch at Motorcyclist magazine has to say then.

Says Ienatsch, ‘Racing involves speed, concentration and commitment; the results of a mistake are usually catastrophic because there's little room for error riding at 100 percent. Performance street riding is less intense and further from the absolute limit, but because circumstances are less controlled, mistakes and over aggressiveness can be equally catastrophic.’

How to make sure that you enjoy your flat-out Sunday morning ride and yet stay alive at the end of it all? Do read The Pace which talks about cornering, braking, acceleration, changing lanes, group riding and better bike control. Don’t miss out on this one!

While you're at it, also read Motorcyclist magazine's 50 Ways To Save Your Life. If you're on a bike, you definitely need to know this!

Saturday, September 30, 2006

2007 Yamaha R1: Spy pics?

The 2007 Yamaha R1

If reports and 'scoop pics' on some websites are true, then what you see above could possibly be the 2007 Yamaha R1. No details on engine/chassis/suspension changes yet, but styling looks all right. Yeah, 'all right' rather than astounding, radical or mind-blowing. Though the existing R1 is already a very capable machine, we were expecting a completely new, totally revamped and restyled and very radical new R1 from Yamaha for 2007, and if this is the new bike, we must say we're a bit disappointed...

More details as they become available. In the meanwhile, go here to download the Yamaha kit which'll let you make a paper replica of the R1 at home. If you're into that sort of thing.

Update (10th Oct 2006): 2007 Yamaha R1 unveiled at the Intermot in Germany

Also see:
2007 Suzuki GSX-R1000 K7
2007 Kawasaki 1400GTR and ZX-10R
2007 Kawasaki ZX-6R
2007 Aprilia Tuono R Factory
2007 Ducati Multistrada 1100

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Michelin Challenge Design: The Hyanide Concept

Hyanide - your uni-trak urban battletank!

Ever feel frustrated with how dumb (and seemingly blind) car drivers and cabbies behave? Want to run them over with your motorcycle and come out on top? We don’t suggest you try that with your Ducati 999R, but the Hyanide may let you get away with a bit of bumper bashing. Shown at this year’s Michelin Challenge Design, the Hyanide concept runs on a flexible rubber track, which ensures maximum traction on all kinds of road and off-road surfaces.

The displayed models used a CCM 500 ATV engine, but the vehicle has been engineered to be compatible with electric motors as well as hydrogen fuel cell propulsion units. The Hyanide’s young designers, who are from Germany, say that the machine ‘is designed as an everyday use vehicle for all areas in the world, such as Alaska, Greenland, desert areas or mountain regions like the Himalaya. It can carry two persons and provides much space to transport any kind of small to midsize goods.’

You think the Hyanide is interesting? Then also look at the Bombardier Embrio, Volkswagen GX3, Segway i2 and x2 runabouts, the Piaggio MP3, this homebrewed trike, Jesse James’ Aero Bike, and five of the weirdest motorcycles ever built!

Imagine car drivers taking on this

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Jesse James' seven-cylinder, 2800cc, Aero Bike!

The engine has seven, 400cc cylinders, and makes 110bhp!

Bikes that are fitted with aircraft engines? Take this then, the latest from custom bike builder Jesse James. Sure, it looks outrageous, but there’s more to this bike than just the styling. It’s powered by an Australian-built, seven-cylinder, 2800cc, radial aircraft engine, which makes around 110 horsepower. We don’t suppose it would be as fast as the jet-engined MTT Y2K, but still, the Aero Bike shouldn’t be too bad for pottering around town. More on this machine on the Cycle World website.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

2007 launch for new BMW superbike!

BMW created a stir when they launched the radical K1 superbike in 1988. Twenty years on, can they do a repeat performance in 2007?

BMW are believed to be working on a new superbike for 2007. This bike will be powered by their 1200cc, air-cooled ‘Boxer’ engine, which could be making as much as 130 horsepower! BMW hope to compete against the Ducati 999 (which is also due to be replaced with a bigger-engined, more powerful machine) with this bike. The new super-BMW is expected to be unveiled at the upcoming Cologne Motor Show in Germany.

BMW are also likely to be working on a big, fully automatic scooter, as well as an all-new cruiser. In 2007, the company is all set to go far more mainstream than they've ever been in the past. With their new 800 series motorcycles and HP versions of some of their existing bikes, BMW want to lure customers away from Japanese machines. Looks like there is no holding back the Germans this time!

Also see: The awesome BMW HP2!
German aggression: Schnitzer BMWs

An absolutely insane video of various BMW HP2 bikes being ridden at the Erzberg Rodeo in Austria

Dani Pedrosa tests 2007 Honda V4 800cc MotoGP bike at Motegi

Pedrosa, in action on next year's 800cc V4 MotoGP bike

Repsol Honda rider Dani Pedrosa tested Honda’s V4 800cc MotoGP bike yesterday, at the Motegi circuit in Japan. As Honda’s engineers tweak, fettle and prepare the 800cc bike for 2007 MotoGP battle, Pedrosa put in 30 laps of the 4.06km Motegi circuit to fine-tune development. His best lap time on the new 800cc machine was 1m48.210s, about half a second slower than his best lap time during the Japanese MotoGP on Sunday.

Said Pedrosa about the 2007 machine, ‘The engine character feels a little different, and this is to be expected, but the package feels quite similar to the RC211V. Some things about the bike feel smaller, and the rear seat is much shorter, which makes the whole bike look more compact. The bike has some characteristics which are a little more like a 250cc, but it's still a MotoGP bike. The lap time today is quite good for a first test, though it's too early to say whether it will be faster than the 990. The cornering speeds feel very similar to the RCV – though the corner speed at Motegi is very low because there are many hairpins, so it's very difficult to say definitely whether it'll be quicker. This was a good first test though.”

Apart from Pedrosa, who should definitely be a rider to watch out for in 2007, there'll be Hayden, so Repsol Honda could be strong contenders for the 2007 MotoGP championship. Rossi will be back on his Yamaha, while Capirossi and Gibernau will be back with Ducati. In fact, the Ducati Marlboro Team also tested their GP7 800cc MotoGP bike at Motegi, with Sete Gibernau putting in 43 laps, setting a best time of 1m47.44s. Capirossi also put in more than 40 laps, his best time being 1m47.91s. Yeah, 2007 should sure be a cracking year for MotoGP!

Monday, September 25, 2006

2008 Kawasaki 1400GTR: Insanity Express

A 190-horsepower, shaft-driven sports-tourer? That'd be the 2008 Kawasaki 1400GTR!

Kawasaki are putting the ZZR1400’s 190-horsepower engine to good use – they’re building the 1400GTR sport-tourer around it. Billed as a ‘transcontinental supersport’ machine, the 1400GTR gets a monocoque chassis, and a low-maintenance shaft-drive system instead of the ZZR1400’s chain-drive. The 1400GTR’s ‘Tetra-Lever’ shaft-drive uses an all-new four-link design for enhanced performance, there’s an electrically adjustable windscreen on the bike, and an LCD display gives you an odometer, dual trip meters, fuel gauge, gear position indicator, estimated fuel mileage, and even a tyre pressure indicator.

As with the 2007 Kawasaki Z1000, the 1400GTR also gets an absolutely humungous (and unsightly!) exhaust...

The 1400GTR also gets KI-PASS (Kawasaki Intelligent Proximity Activation Start System), a ‘smart key’ ignition system with which Kawasaki hope to fight bike thieves. Integrated hard luggage makes the GTR’s touring intent clear, and four-piston radial-mount calipers mated to a pair of petal-style rotors handle braking duties up front. ABS will be an optional extra. Kawasaki are expected to bestow variable valve timing on the ZZR1400 engine for the 1400GTR. This would likely cure the ZZR engine's soft-ish low-end power delivery and make it more responsive at all rpms.

Billed as a 2008 model, the Kawasaki 1400GTR will hit showrooms by March 2007 and could be priced between US$12-15,000.

Update (12th September 2007): 2008 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R: First pics and details!

Also see:
2008 Kawasaki Z1400 and KTM RC8 pics!
New Yamaha V-Max to be launched in 2009...
250bhp V-Quad Intel chopper!
Beautiful: The Bimota DB2
Mighty mite: The Yamaha TZR50
2007 Honda CBR600RR wins best middleweight sportsbike awards...

2007 Kawasaki ZX-6R Ninja: The sharpest sword!

The 2007 Kawasaki ZX-6R: leaner, meaner, ready to rock!

With an all-new 599cc engine (in place of the earlier 636cc unit), the 2007 ZX-6R is ready to rock. The new engine is significantly more compact than the old one, has a very high compression ratio of 13.9:1 and will likely rev to 16,000rpm. Kawasaki themselves describe the new engine as an ‘ultra-high-rpm powerplant.’

The new ZX-6R also gets a cassette-type transmission, which will allow racers to change gearing easily. There’s a slipper-type clutch as before, while front brakes are 300mm rotors gripped by radially-mounted four-piston calipers. The twin-spar aluminum frame is lighter, stiffer and shorter than before, and Kawasaki have been able to lengthen the swingarm slightly, without affecting the wheelbase. There’s a 41mm USD fork at the front, and the rear shock can be adjusted for high- and low-speed compression damping.

Up front, the 2007 ZX-6R gets projector-beam headlights and a centrally located ram-air intake. Kawasaki claim that the aerodynamics have been improved significantly. Expect the bike to be in showrooms before the end of this year, and price is likely to be around the US$8,500 mark.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

2007 Suzuki B-King: Production confirmed for Europe!

The 2007 Suzuki B-King packs a 200bhp, 1350cc inline-four!

In addition to the 2007 GSX-R1000, Suzuki also unveiled their 2007 B-King at the Paris Motor Show. The bike packs an all-new 1350cc inline-four, which is likely to make more than 200 horsepower, stock! This will make the B-King one of the fastest, most powerful naked bikes anywhere in the world, when it goes into production towards the end of 2007.

Suzuki have also updated their Bandit lineup for 2007 – styling has been revised and chassis and suspension have been reworked. The Bandit 1200 gets a capacity increase – it’s now the Bandit 1250 – and there’s also a smaller Bandit, the 650. Both naked and faired models will be available.

2007 Suzuki GSX-R1000 K7 shown at the Paris Motor Show

The 2007 Suzuki GSX-R1000 K7

Suzuki have revealed the 2007 GSX-R1000 at the Paris Motor Show in France. There’s a new dual-can exhaust system (necessitated due to new, more strict emissions norms) in place, probably because of which the bike has gained about seven kilos of weight.

The 1000cc inline-four engine’s bore and stroke remain the same – 73.4mm x 59mm, though Suzuki are claiming a significant increase in power over the 2006 model. Suzuki claim that aerodynamics have been improved, the chassis has been updated, and the big news on the 2007 GSX-R1000 is what’s being called traction control. This is a system where three different engine mapping configurations are available, and the rider can choose between these via a switch mounted on the handlebar. These settings are ‘standard,’ ‘sport,’ and ‘wet’ and will probably determine how aggressively the power is delivered to the rear wheel. In tricky conditions, the system could soften the power delivery, thereby reducing the chances of excessive wheelspin etc.

Other changes for 2007 include a new more compact 'Suzuki Dual Throttle Valve' fuel injection system, a new (larger) radiator for a ten percent increase in cooling capacity, and a new engine management system with massive computing power - up to four times the capacity of the previous models. There's also a new self-adjusting hydraulic clutch system, a revised chassis for better mass and a new, more rigid aluminum alloy swingarm. Suspension is more adjustable than ever before and a new electronically controlled steering damper has been fitted.

With the 2007 Yamaha R1, Honda CBR1000RR and Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R also having been shown, it should be one hell of a battle all over again...

Go here to download hi-res Suzuki GSX-R1000 wallpaper!

Also see:

Evolution: Twenty years of the Suzuki GSX-R!

Watch a Fifth Gear video of the Suzuki GSX-R1000 vs a Westfield XTR4

The mighty Suzuki GSX-R1100 of the 1980s/1990s

The late, great, Suzuki Katana

Friday, September 22, 2006

Stephanie McLean: “Barry Sheene was a cheeky little sod!”

Barry Sheene - The really wild one!

Barry Sheene was, without question, one of the greatest, most talented, and toughest motorcycle racers of all time. Born in the UK in 1950, Sheene succumbed to cancer in March 2003.

Starting with Bultaco and after racing in the 125s for a few years (he won the British 125cc GP championship in 1970, riding for Suzuki), Sheene went racing on the 500s in 1974. In 1976, with five race wins, he won the 500cc world championship with Suzuki. He again won the 500cc championship in 1977, with six race wins in the season.

Sheene left the works Suzuki team after the 1979 season, and joined a privateer Yamaha team. Sheene’s career was blighted with serious crashes and injuries – at one stage, he had metal plates in both knees, 28 screws in his legs and a bolt in his left wrist. Barry Sheene retired from racing in 1984, and moved from England to Australia shortly after that. His biography – A Will to Win – was written by Michael Scott and chronicles Sheene’s life and times as one of the top motorcycle racers of the 1970s.

Barry, with his wife Stephanie, and on his racing bikes...

Sheene was a flamboyant man who lived the good life – fast cars, big houses, endorsement deals (with Brut, Diesel and others…), private aircraft and the most glamorous of women. He married Stephanie McLean, a gracious, tall, beautiful, Page 3 model and Barry and ‘Steph’ were one of the most glamorous couples of the 1970s.

Barry and Steph. Together, forever...

It was a terribly sad day when Sheene succumbed to cancer in March 2003, leaving behind his wife Stephanie and their two children. Recently, British magazine Classic Bike spoke to Stephanie, and here are excerpts from what she had to say about Barry, and their life together:

“I thought Barry was a cheeky little sod, very cocky and outrageous.”

“Brut? I hated it. So did Barry. He never wore it. Anyone who came around the house was welcome to take as many free samples as they wanted.”

“The riders from that time were extreme characters – very outrageous and lots of fun. Cecotto, Lucchinelli – Barry adored them all. Everything’s too politically correct these days.”

“We thought we were pretty ordinary. The press never bothered us as a couple. The journalists at the races were interested only in Barry, it was all about him.”

“He never took a bad race out on me. He might whinge to the press but that was that. But when he was injured, oh dear, he was a typical bloke. You know how it is.”

“When I first met him, his hair looked like someone had trimmed it around the bottom of one of his old pudding basin helmets. He was quite old fashioned when I met him. I had to trendy him up a bit.”

“The Seventies was like one big summer. We felt free. Then you wake up one morning and realize that you had a really good time then, but now it’s all gone. But I have no regrets and don’t believe Barry did. There’s nothing we would have done differently.”

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Turbo Hayabusa sets new streetbike top speed record

The Suzuki 'Flying Hippo' Hayabusa really is the real deal...

Frank 'The Flying Dutchman' Gillebaard has, according to some website reports, set a new top speed world record for modified streetbikes. During a recent event in the UK, in Elvington (on a disused airport…) Gillebaard hits speeds of 424.64km/h on his turbocharged Suzuki Hayabusa. Reports say that he did this on street tyres, though we wonder which street tyres are capable of speeds in excess of 400km/h!

In second place was Jack Frost, who ran his turbo ’Busa at 411.68km/h, and in third was Andy Head, who hit 385.28km/h on his turbo Kawasaki ZX-12R. It just gets Faster and Faster… :-)

2007 Aprilia Tuono R Factory unveiled!

The 2007 Aprilia Tuono R Factory - the best streetfighter in the world!

The existing Aprilia Tuono R is already one of the maddest streetfighter style bikes around – one that gives full-blown superbikes a run for their money. And things are going to get even better with the 2007 model. The 2007 Tuono R continues with the latest Aprilia RSV-R V-twin engine, which makes 139 horsepower. Carbonfibre is used for the bellypan, the mudguards and the side panels. The engine gets various magnesium bits, and there are OZ forged aluminium wheels for you to ogle at. The Tuono R Factory, the hardest of them all, gets a new paint scheme and Aprilia will make only 300 units, so get your orders in now!

Aprilia is also expected to launch a completely revamped RS125, which will borrow styling cues from the new Tuono R. With 39bhp from its single-cylinder two-stroke engine, and stiff, lightweight chassis, this could well be a giant-killer.

Finally, Aprilia is also set to return to world superbikes in 2008, with an all-new v4-engined RS1000. Apparently, the bike is being designed by Sergio Robbiano, who once served as apprentice to none other than Massimo Tamburini himself. In recent times, Robbiano has designed the Bimota DB5 and DB6 Delirio machines, which says a lot about what he’s capable of. With Piaggio cash to fuel new bike development, Aprilia is definitely on the move!

Update (27th October 2006): Aprilia are expected to unveil their all-new V4 superbike at the EICMA show in Milan on the 14th of November! The company will also shown all-new Tuono 750, powered by a DOHC, 8-valve, 100bhp v-twin. And for those who like their motorcycles in moderation, there could be a milder machine, powered by an 850cc, SOHC, 70bhp v-twin. This bike will, in all probability, be offered with an automatic gearbox!

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 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

Random Ramblings