Saturday, December 16, 2006

MotoGP-powered KRV5 Board-tracker replica!


That's a 990cc, V5, 200bhp MotoGP engine. And no front brakes!

US-based custom bike builder Rolands Sands has teamed with 500cc motorcycle grand prix racing star of the 1970s, Kenny Roberts, and created the KRV5 Tracker. And yes, the machine uses a 990cc, V5 MotoGP engine, which was used by Team Roberts in their racing bikes from 2002-2005!

Sands says the machine was built in homage to the board trackers raced on wooden tracks in the US many decades ago. Since MotoGP will have new 800cc engines from 2007 onwards, Kenny Roberts himself wanted to do something interesting, something ‘cool,’ with the old 990cc V5 powerplant. And the result has been the KRV5. You decide if it’s cool. And if you think it is, get the full story here

Also see these other custom-built specials:
The new NCR Ducati Old Blue
Hyosung TrendKiller
Moto Corse Ducati and MV Agusta
Jesse James' seven-cylinder, 2800cc, Aero Bike
AC Schnitzer BMW HP2


Friday, December 15, 2006

Two-stroke glory: The Suzuki RGV250


The 1990s Suzuki RGV250. Kevin Schwantz's bike for the street. Well, almost...

We love Kevin Schwantz here at Faster and Faster, and have fond memories of him riding his Suzuki RGV500 grandprix machine to the 1993 world championship. We want to be able to ride like Schwantz. We still want to wear a Schwantz-replica Arai helmet. And we want his Suzuki RGV. None of which is possible of course. But yes, in 1990, you could get tantalisingly close to being Kevin Schwantz on the street. Via the Suzuki RGV250, a head-banging two-stroke race-replica, built in homage to Kevin’s exploits on Suzuki GP racebikes.

Launched in 1989, the Suzuki RGV250 represented cutting-edge two-stroke technology of that time. While the Yamaha TZR250, the Honda NSR250 and the Kawasaki KR-1 also existed, the RGV was pretty much king of 250 race-rep hill. The bike was thin, light, and was fitted with GP-style bodywork. Trick bits included aluminium twin-spar chassis, USD forks at the front, a banana-style swingarm, and twin stacked exhaust pipes – just like you’d find on Schwantz’s bike!

The engine was a v-twin that made around 58 horsepower – enough to propel the 159-kilo RGV to a top speed of 195km/h. With the close-ratio six-speed gearbox, you could keep the engine on the boil through the twisties, and wide wheels shod with meaty tyres – along with the high-spec chassis and suspension – allowed for very high cornering speeds.

The two-stroke era started to come to an end by the late-1990s, and Suzuki ceased production of the RGV250 in 1999. Today’s GSX-Rs may offer performance far beyond what the RGV could ever aspire to, but two-stroke enthusiasts, and Kevin Schwantz fans, continue to miss the RGV250 even today…


Also see:
 Kevin Schwantz speaks to Faster and Faster
The Yamaha RD500LC
2007 Suzuki GSX-R1000
Stephanie McLean talks about Barry Sheene

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Angelina Jolie wins, Valentino Rossi in second place!


Would you want to take her with you on your bike? Hell, yes!

In a recent survey conducted for the MCN London Motorcycle Show 2007, Hollywood star Angelina Jolie has been voted at the no.1 slot for motorcyclists’ all-time dream pillion passenger! Jolie was in first with twenty-five percent of all votes, followed by Valentino Rossi in second place, with twenty-one percent votes, and glamour model Keeley Hazell in third place, with twenty percent votes.

Long Way Round star, Ewan McGregor was in fourth place with fourteen percent votes, while the late, great Barry Sheene (500cc motorcycle GP racing world champ in 1976 and 77) finished in fifth place. The remaining five names to make the top ten list are Elle Macpherson, Steve McQueen, Milla Jovovich, Brad Pitt and surprisingly, Mamie Van Doren, a not-so-well-known actress from the 1950s!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Yamaha V-Max concept shown in the US


This is what the next Terminator will probably ride

Yamaha recently showed their V-Max concept at the Cycle World International Motorcycle Show, at Long Beach, in the US. This is the first time that this concept was shown outside Japan. Yamaha are looking upon the next V-Max as a ‘muscle cruiser’ and the bike will be powered by a V4 engine. Engine capacity has not been finalised yet, but we expect it to be around 1800-2000cc.

With its stubby, almost-menacing lines and brutish engine, the new V-Max should be the last word in straight line performance and Yamaha want to do this motorcycle specifically for the American market. If the bike, which is purely a concept at this stage, does go into production at some time, it’ll be branded as a ‘Star,’ which is the Yamaha cruiser range. Regarding their other muscle cruiser, the MT-01, Yamaha spokespersons say that it was never intended to be a replacement for the V-Max and that the two bikes would anyway attract completely different types of customers.

Update: 2009 Yamaha V-Max
V-Max launch delayed, bike to hit the roads in 2009...

Also see:
2007 Yamaha R1 - stupendous!
The Japanese-maret-only Yamaha XJR1300
Yamaha RD500LC - racer cool for the street

Riding Impression: Rizla Suzuki GSV-R MotoGP bike


Suzuki's 990cc, 240 horsepower MotoGP bike. It'll wheelie even in sixth gear

Andy Ibbott is a UK-based motorcycle journalist and the author of Performance Riding Techniques, a book on riding skills for the racetrack. He’s also a Director at the very famous California Superbike School.

Ibbott recently got to ride John Hopkins' 2006 Rizla Suzuki GSV-R MotoGP bike at Valencia. And here’s what he had to say about the machine: “I did manage to get the bike to the throttle stop twice in my five laps on the way out of a corner and the sheer acceleration is awesome. I just managed to lift the front wheel along the long straight finish at Valencia. Exiting the final turn it would paw the air in second, third, fourth, fifth and it even felt like it lifted a little in sixth gear, at 280km/h. Excellent!”

Get the full report here.

Also see:
The 2007 Honda RC212V
The 2007 Suzuki GSX-R1000
The five racing bikes we love
Motorcycle racing in the 1980s and 90s


Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Ex-works MV Agusta 500cc Four coming up for auction!


In the 1960s and the 1970s, these four-cylinder, 500cc MV Agusta racers were unbeatable. Today, you can buy one for US$400,000...

Between 1958 and 1974, MV Agusta won seventeen motorcycle grand prix road racing world championships in the 500cc class. They also won nine world championships in the 350cc, two in the 250cc and five in the 125cc classes. Those old MV Agusta racing bikes are some of the most significant and the most desirable machines ever to come out of Italy. Today, most surviving examples are either in private collections or in museums. And no matter how much money you may have, it would probably be extremely difficult for you to buy one, since these bikes rarely – if ever – come up for sale.

Which is why if you’re a super-rich collector of vintage and classic racebikes, this should interest you. At the International Classic MotorCycle Show, in Stafford, in the UK, on the 29th of April 2007, Bonhams would be auctioning an ex-works MV Agusta 500. This bike is an example of the famous four-cylinder 'fire engines' which notched up 139 victories and 17 world championships in 500cc GP racing, for MV Agusta. Yeah, it’s a prime slice of motorcycle racing history that’s up for sale!

The bike was originally raced by John Surtees himself and the present owner, who acquired the bike in 1996, has maintained in perfect condition. The bike has regularly been taken out for events like the Isle of Man TT Parade, Goodwood Festival of Speed and Revival Meetings, and the Ulster Grand Prix. If you buy it, you can actually ride it home – just be prepared to pay something in the region of US$400,000.


15-time world champion, Giacomo Agostini won both the 350cc and the 500cc world championships between 1968 and 1972, riding MV Agusta machines

Also see:
MV Agusta updates for 2007
MV Agusta F41000 sets Bonneville land speed record
Special Edition MV Agusta Brutale 910R Italia


Thursday, December 07, 2006

More details on the 2007 Honda RC212V


800cc, 150kg weight and 200+ horsepower. The Honda RC212V MotoGP bike is likely to be a fearsome machine, and with Dani Pedrosa riding it... watch out Rossi!

HRC’s Large Project Leader for the RC212V, Takanori Okuma san recently spoke at length about Honda’s 800cc MotoGP machine for 2007. He says, 'When we started development of the 800cc machine, we gave top priority to the pursuit of excellent handling and drivability. For the newly-reduced engine capacity of 800cc, we decided a V4 was the most efficient layout. Rather than focusing solely on top end power, we also concentrated on producing good power delivery characteristics, which can have a significant effect on lap times. Using enhanced control systems, the result is an engine with good drivability in the low and mid ranges, and excellent power under acceleration when the engine is at the top of its range.'

Moving on to speak about the RC212V’s chassis development, Okuma san said, 'We further enhanced the mass concentration package developed for the RC211V, to improve the agility and quick handling characteristics of the bike. The outward appearance is aggressive and appropriately innovative for a new generation of bike, affording both drivability and aerodynamic efficiency. We will continue to evolve the bike before the season opener and throughout next season.'

Also see:
The mighty six-cylinder Honda CBX 1000
2007 Honda CBR600RR
The Honda RVT1000 RC51 SP2
The very memorable Honda RC30 and RC45
The oval-piston Honda NR750




Dani Pedrosa testing the Honda RC212V at the Motegi circuit in Japan. And he's very, very, very fast...!

Monday, December 04, 2006

Down memory lane: Yamaha RD500LC


The Yamaha RD500LC - a Grand Prix bike for the road!

If Ducati can do a full-on MotoGP-replica streetbike with the Desmosedici RR, why can’t Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki or Yamaha do one of their own? A Honda CBR1000RR in Repsol livery sure looks great, but it isn’t really the real thing, is it? A road-going RC211V or M1 would be the coolest thing on the planet. What a pity they’ll never be built…

Speaking of road-going race-replicas, some pretty hot ones have come out of Japan and Italy over the last 20 years. The Suzuki RGV250, the Yamaha TZ250, the Kawasaki KR-1, the Honda NSR250 and the Aprilia RS250 were pretty torrid stuff. These two-stroke machines had great power-to-weight ratios and very high speed cornering capabilities – on tight, twisty roads, even litre-class superbikes would struggle to keep up with these absolutely mental 250s.

But for the ultimate in repli-racer street-cred, the mid-1980s Yamaha RD500LC has to be the motorcycle. Based on Kenny Roberts’ Yamaha OW61 YZR500 Grand Prix machine, the RD500LC was powered by a two-stroke, liquid-cooled, 499cc V4, which made 88bhp@9500rpm in stock condition. It had a six-speed gearbox and dry weight was around 208kg. Top speed was 225km/h!

The RD500LC had underseat exhaust pipes, ran a 16-inch front wheel and an 18-inch rear, and carried twin brake discs at the front and a single disc at the back. Yamaha also fitted their YPVS (Yamaha Power Valve System) on the RD500LC. Chassis was box-section steel tube, but a Japanese-market-only version – the RZV500R – had an aluminium chassis, though the engine was actually detuned and made only 64bhp.

Of course, tuners regularly pumped up the 500LC engine and power outputs of 100-120bhp were not uncommon on tuned and fettled bikes! Yes, the RD500LC was not very successful in production racing series of that era, and never became anywhere near as popular as the RD250 or RD350 machines, but still, it has to be the world’s most desirable Grand Prix racebike replica ever made.

Also see:
Motorcycle Grand Prix racing - then and now
MotoCzysz C1 MotoGP replica
Ducati Desmosedici RR MotoGP replica
2007 Yamaha R1




A short video showing the Yamaha RZV500R, the Japanese-market RD500LC

Friday, December 01, 2006

Triumph Daytona 675 wins International Bike of the Year


Yeah, the Daytona 675 is the International Bike of the Year

The Triumph Daytona 675 has won the International Bike of the Year award. Fifteen of the world’s leading motorcycle magazines voted in the IBOTY poll, where the Triumph Daytona 675 got 26 votes, followed by the Yamaha YZF R6 at 11 votes and the Kawasaki ZZR1400 at 9 votes.

Earlier this year, the Daytona 675 had also won the Supersport class in the world’s biggest sportsbike shootout – the Masterbike – with 27 votes, as opposed to only 7 votes which went to the Suzuki GSX-R750, which came in second place. Looks like Triumph are on to a good thing with the 675…

Update (22.02.2007): According to some news articles on websites and in some magazines, Triumph are all set to launch a new Street Triple 675. This naked streetfighter will take styling cues from Triumph's own Speed Triple, but will use the Daytona 675's engine, chassis and suspension components. Hope this gets confirmed in the next few days!

Also see:
2007 Triumph Tiger
Triumph Speed Triple
Daytona 675 vs GSX-R750!


Triumph Daytona 675 road test video

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Derbi Mulhacen 659 X-Vision: Record your ride


Forget performance - this one has cameras that let you record your ride!

Car and SUV owners can watch TV while driving, but does television go with motorcycles? Yes, if you ask Derbi. The Spanish motorcycle manufacturers have developed the Derbi Mulhacen 659 X-Vision prototype, which has built-in cameras and a TV screen!

The bike allows you to place micro-cameras all around your motorcycle and you can then record your ride from various angles. And watch the video on a small LCD screen mounted on the bike. Then, of course, you can upload the video on to your PC and the Internet.

We think the engineers at Derbi are spending too much time on YouTube…


Record your ride and then watch the video on a small LCD screen mounted on the bike...

Like off-beat machines? Then also see:
Brudeli 625L
Gilera Fuoco 500
Hyosung Trendkiller
Jesse James' Aero Bike 2800
Suzuki B-King
Bombardier Embrio
Volkswagen GX3
Wakan 1640


Craig Jones: Stop This!


Craig Jones and Wing Chui, riding a Buell Firebolt XB12R at the Donington Park circuit in the UK. On the front wheel only. For 305metres...

Somebody stop British stunt pro, Craig Jones. Back in 2003, Jones, riding a Buell, had set the world’s longest solo stoppie record at 225 metres. In 2004, he beat his own record and did a 266 metre stoppie on a Buell Firebolt. Now, he’s done it again – a 305 metre stoppie on a Buell Firebolt XB12R, at the Donington Park circuit in the UK. And this time, Jones’ co-rider Wing Chui was also along for the ride.

Craig Jones took his Buell Firebolt to speeds in excess of 200km/h before applying the front brake, lifting the rear wheel off the ground and balancing the bike on its front wheel for 305 metres. Impressive, eh? And equally impressive was Chui, who was precariously mounted on the front wheel spindle as he hung on to the front fairing bracket for those 305 metres!

Says Jones, ‘We think we managed to conclusively prove that Buell motorcycles are capable of some pretty extraordinary things.’ Er, certainly…


Monday, November 27, 2006

NRV588 - The Norton Rotary lives again!


With a 170bhp rotary engine and 130kg kerb weight, the NRV588 should offer amazing performance!

The now-legendary rotary-engined Norton F1 from the early ’90s could possibly make a comeback. The mega-expensive (about US$45,000 back then…) F1 had a liquid-cooled 588cc rotary engine that produced 95bhp@9500rpm. The racebike based on the F1, the Norton F1 RCW588, won the British F1 series in 1989, and was also raced at the Isle of Man.

Now, there’s an all-new Norton – the NRV588 prototype – powered by a 170-horsepower Wankel rotary engine. Displayed at the recent NEC show in the UK, the new bike has been developed by Brian Crighton, the man behind the Norton racing team in the late-1980s and early-1990s. The machine is essentially based on the old F1 and the National Motorcycle Museum in the UK (where some of the old Norton rotary racers are displayed) has paid for development costs!

The engine is still a 588cc twin-rotor Wankel unit, but now it gets fuel injection, variable inlet tracts, and fly-by-wire technology. Chassis is a Spondon-made twin-spar aluminium frame and the front forks are Ohlins-made. The bike weighs in at a featherweight 130kg, and with 170bhp on tap, performance should be phenomenal. Here’s hoping the bike makes it past the prototype stage and gets into production. Should make for one hell of a giant-killing superbike!

Also see:
Rotary-engined Suzuki RE-5
Norton Ala'Verda: Daniel Delfour's Anglo-Italian hybrid...


Video footage of some rotary-powered Norton racebikes from the late-1980s

Saturday, November 25, 2006

WP electronic suspension now available for more bikes


WP's electronic suspension adjustment system allows you to twiddle a few knobs to make it stiffer or softer. Cool!

WP, the Netherlands-based suspension specialists have announced that their electronic suspension systems will now be available for other motorcycles apart from BMW machines.

Developed as the ESA – Electronic Suspension Adjustment – for various BMWs, the system allows riders to tailor suspension behaviour according to their riding style, road conditions and load being carried. The system allows for full adjustability of compression and rebound damping on the move, while preload can also be changed, albeit only when the bike is stationary.

WP are now engineering the same system for various other bikes as well, and we expect some Japanese and Italian manufacturers to start offering this electronic suspension adjustment system as an optional extra, on some of their high-end touring-oriented bikes next year. And going by what similar systems cost on BMWs, expect to pay about US$800 extra for adding WP’s electronic wizardry to your machine. This, surely, is the future of motorcycle suspension…

Also see:
2007 BMW HP2 Megamoto
2007 BMW K1200R Sport
AC Schnitzer HP2


Friday, November 24, 2006

New Old Blue: Ducati team up with NCR


That's the NCR Ducati Old Blue. Er.., ok, it's the New Blue

Ducati North America had commissioned NCR Racing to create a replica of the 1977 Daytona winning Ducati ‘Old Blue’ 750SS, which was raced in the mid-1970s by journalists Cook Neilson and Phil Schilling. The new Old Blue, which has been recreated to celebrate the old Old Blue’s landmark victory at Daytona, was shown at the recent EICMA show in Milan.

The 2007 Old Blue (New Blue…) is based on a Ducati SportClassic Sport 1000S, which NCR have worked on extensively. The result has been extensive weight reduction (down 38 kilos!) and a 30bhp power hike. With various carbonfibre, titanium and magnesium parts bringing kerb weight down to 150kg, and 116 horsepower from its 1100cc air-cooled v-twin, the Old Blue is no misty-eyed show-only replica – it’s serious stuff.

Slipper clutch, six-speed transmission, blue-and-silver paint scheme, Zard exhaust, upgraded suspension, steel tubular trellis chassis and manufacturing technologies borrowed from F1 and aerospace industries are all part of the New Blue package. And the bike will also carry a titanium plate bearing the signatures of Cook Neilson and Phil Schilling.

NCR will build a limited number of these bikes, all of which will be for track use only, for the American market.

Also see:
2007 Ducati SportClassic lineup
2007 Ducati 1098
2007 Ducati Hypermotard
2007 Ducati Multistrada 1100
Ducati Desmosedici RR


Massimo Tamburini designs new Husqvarna STR 650 CC


Styling by Massimo Tamburini, handling by Husqvarna

Unveiled at the EICMA show in Milan, the new Husqvarna STR 650 CC supermoto looks quite capable. The styling has been penned by Massimo Tamburini himself, and the 132-kilo bike is powered by a single-cylinder, liquid-cooled 650cc engine.

There’s a 50mm USD fork up front, while the progressive monoshock rear features a new eccentric system which allows continuous spring preload and rebound / compression damping adjustment. The Husqvarna STR 650 CC sure should be a blast on winding mountain roads then…

Also see:
2007 BMW G650 XMoto
2007 KTM 690SM supermoto
2007 BMW HP2 Megamoto
2007 Husaberg FS550e supermoto