Friday, October 20, 2006

Benelli show new models at the Intermot

750cc Due - the brave new face of Benelli!

At the recent Intermot show in Germany, Benelli unveiled the Due, a chunky-looking, unfaired sports bike. This is the first bike to be shown by the company after Chinese manufacturer Qianjiang took over Benelli. The Due is powered by a 756cc, DOHC, 8-valve, liquid-cooled parallel twin, which makes about 100 horsepower. Later, Benelli may also make another version of this bike with a 600cc, 70bhp parallel twin.

The company also showed the BX, a 459cc, four-stroke, single-cylinder motocrosser, which may go into production early next year and later might be joined by a 250cc motocrosser as well. Also on display was the 49X prototype scooter, which is slated to go into production next year. Benelli, who used to make the six-cylinder 1000 and 750 'Sei' motorcycles (see pic below) in the 1970s/80s, may once again do a six-cylinder cruiser, though details are not available right now.

Qianjiang (the largest scooter manufacturer in China, and valued at over one billion US dollars!) plan to move rapidly and expand Benelli's product line-up, moving into every market segment which they feel will experience significant growth. They are also pumping in money to build a new factory near Pesaro, in Italy, which will have the capacity to manufacture more than 30,000 two-wheelers per year. Looks like this is one of those rare comeback stories which won’t fade away anytime soon…!

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Hyosung TrendKiller and GT650X shown at Intermot

The name is a bit silly (TrendKiller...?!), but the Hyosung cruiser looks rather good! Hope the Korean company puts it into production in 2007

Korean bike manufacturers, Hyosung are maturing fast and graduating to building bigger and better bikes. At the recent Intermot show in Germany, the company showed the TrendKiller, a stylish cruiser powered by Hyosung’s 650cc v-twin.

It may only be a 650cc engine, but that rear tyre is a 240-section Metzeler...

This one-off prototype was built by one of Hyosung’s German dealers and indeed, looks bespoke. The TrendKiller’s steel tube chassis, USD front fork, substantial-looking brakes, minimalist headlamp and 240-section rear Metzeler tyre really do make it stand out. Let’s see if Hyosung can put this one into production in 2007. And if they do, we hope they change the name!

The new Hyosung GT650X, a streetfighter-style machine

Hyosung also had their new GT650X on display at the Intermot. This bike is powered by their 650cc v-twin, which incidentally also powers the Fischer MRX, which is being billed as America’s first proper sportsbike!

A short video of Hyosung bikes at the Intermot 2006

Update (May 02, 2007): Hyosung are all set to launch a brand-new 450cc, single-cylinder Supermoto-style machine by the end of this year. Also, there’ll be new 1000cc v-twin cruiser, sport-tourer and sportsbikes from the Korean manufacturer this year!

Moto Corse show special MV and Ducati bikes at Intermot

The US$90,000 Moto Corse F4 Platino, based on the MV Agusta F4 1000R but with even more exotic bits...

Moto Corse, an Italian-Japanese collaboration, with offices in San Marino and Tokyo, showed two very special motorcycles at the Intermot show in Germany. The first was a Ducati 999 with carbonfibre bodywork, titanium exhaust and other detail changes.

The other bike was the MV Agusta F4 Platino, powered by a specially tuned 1080cc, 16-valve inline-four that makes 185 horsepower. The bike is fitted with a titanium exhaust, magnesium wheels and lightweight engine components. As you can see, both bikes get special paintjobs and at US$50,000 for the Ducati and US$88,000 for the MV, both are only for the super-rich.

The Moto Corse Ducati 999 costs only US$50,000. A bargain!

MZ and Sachs show new bikes at Intermot

The new MZ SMX is powered by a 1000cc v-twin and looks distinctive

Beleaguered German companies, MZ and Sachs aren’t ready to give up yet. At the recent Intermot show in Germany, MZ showed the new SMX, powered by a 1000cc V-twin. The SMX is based on MZ’s own 1000S, but for now, will be built in small numbers by a local dealer. The factory will take over production only if there is sufficient demand. For what it’s worth, the bike looks distinctive and just might find a niche of enthusiast buyers.

Sachs, who’ve officially gone bust (the company is currently in administration), also revealed a revamped XTC, which is now powered by a 125cc, DOHC, four-stroke, 15bhp single sourced from Italian company Franco Morini. Sachs also showed the revamped, dual-purpose X-road, powered by the same Morini engine.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Limited Edition Cagiva Mito 125 Black Gold

Only 34bhp, but the Mito 125 LE sure looks good!

Still lusting for a Ducati 916, but aren’t old/rich enough to get one? Here’s the next best thing – the limited edition Cagiva Mito 125 Black Gold. Ahem. Okay, so it doesn’t have a 120bhp V-twin and makes do with a 34 horsepower 125cc two-stroke single, but does come with racy bits like a water temperature gauge, steering damper, Brembo disc brakes, Marzocchi 40mm USD front forks, adjustable Sachs rear shock, and stiff aluminium beam chassis. Sometimes, good things do come in small packages… :-)

Update (22.12.06): Cagiva will also build an all-new 500cc Mito, using engines from the 510 Husqvarna. This lightweight, 60-horsepower bike is expected to cost around US$8,000 and will use high-spec chassis and suspension components. The Mito 500 is the first single-cylinder sportsbike after the rare and mega-expensive Ducati Supermono, and the Gilera Saturno of the early-1990s...

Also see:
Yamaha RD500LC
Limited Edition MV Agusta F4 CC
2007 Ducati Sport Classics
2007 Aprilia Tuono R
2007 Ducati Hypermotard
MV Agusta F4 1000 Senna

For Cagiva fans, here's a video from the early-1990s: John Kocinski aboard a Cagiva 500 GP bike, winning the USGP at Laguna Seca!

2007 MotoGP World Championship calendar announced

With new 800cc machines, and a host of riders capable of winning the championship, the 2007 MotoGP season could be one of the most exciting ever!

Who is it going to be in 2007? Hayden? Rossi? Pedrosa? They'll all be aboard all-new 800cc bikes and nobody would be prepared to give an inch. Each man for himself, god for all. The action begins on 10th March 2007, at the Losail circuit in Qatar. For the full 2007 MotoGP schedule, go here

In the meanwhile, some riders are changing teams for 2007. Carlos Checa is moving from Tech 3 Yamaha to LCR Honda, while LCR Honda's Casey Stoner may go to Ducati Marlboro. Sete Gibernau will have to move on from Ducati and may end up with the Kawasaki MotoGP team, who may also hire Alex Barros. Of course, more changes will continue to happen during the next few weeks. Stay tuned...

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.

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