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...