Thursday, January 25, 2007

Significant Firsts in Motorcycling

Can you tell which of these was the first ever road bike to have fully adjustable suspension?

An interesting little list of significant 'firsts' in the history of motorcycles. The list was compiled with some help from the UK-based Performance Bikes, one of the best moto-mags in the business right now. Do visit their website here

Right, and now on to the list...

Genuine 100bhp
1978 Kawasaki Z1300. Six-cylinder engine. 225km/h top speed. It weighed a bit more than 300 kilos though, and handled liked a sack of potatoes. Not that it stopped nutters like Artie Nyquist and Gary Rothwell from pulling big wheelies on this beast!

10-second quarter-mile
Mid-1980s Kawasaki GPZ1100. (The 1984 GPZ 750 Turbo did the quarter-mile in 10.99 seconds, and the 2006 ZZR1400 does it in about 9.5…)

100bhp in a bike that weighed less than 200kg
1986 Suzuki GSX-R1100. 102bhp, 197kg. Also had the first cartridge fork on a road machine.

150bhp in a bike that weighed less than 200kg
2004 Kawasaki ZX-10R.

Aluminium beam frame
1987 Yamaha TZR250 and FZR1000.

Fully adjustable suspension on a road bike
1988 Honda RC30. Full compression and rebound damping adjustments. (The 1990 GSX-R750 was the first bike with fully adjustable suspension that real people could actually afford to buy…)

200bhp/litre engine
1989 Suzuki RGV250. 50.4bhp@11,000rpm. 202.4bhp/litre. Even the 2007 Yamaha R1 or GSX-R1000 can’t match that!

Ram-air that actually worked
The 1989 Kawasaki ZXR750 had those OTT pipes snaking over the fuel tank and the green/white/purple paint scheme was the business, but the 1989 Yamaha OW01 had ram air that really worked, with real world measurable effects. First exhaust valve too.

First radial caliper
2003 Aprilia RSV-R.

Separate high/low speed damping adjustment
2006 Yamaha R6. Also first fly-by-wire throttle linkage.

Yamaha UK: The Vale Collection

Lo and behold! The Vale Collection!

Rossi-obsessive? Then you may want to get these no.46 Rossi shirts, caps and bags etc., which Yamaha of UK have just launched. The shirt lets you corner harder, the cap psyches out other riders in your neighbourhood and the bag has enough space for the missus’ kit. More details on the ‘Vale Collection’ here

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Team Cristofolini Racing’s 350cc, 112bhp scooter

Yeah, that's a 112bhp, 350cc V4. In a scooter!

What would you want in a scooter? A 100cc, 8-10bhp engine and some underseat storage space? Not if you’re Team Cristofolini Racing. These Italians have built a scooter which is fitted with a carburetted 350cc V4 that makes 112 horsepower. The chassis is modified Malaguti F12. And we suppose you'd have to be Valentino Rossi himself to be able to ride this machine, which, with its small wheels, short wheelbase and 112bhp engine, should be a right nightmare.

Get more pics and details here

Benelli readying the Tre-K 1130 Amazonas

The Benelli Tre-K 1130 Amazonas: Mud in your eye!

Benelli are reported to be in the final stages of readying their Tre-K 1130 Amazonas. When the big dual-purpose Benelli hits showrooms in April this year, it will be up against some very capable and well-established competition – bikes like the BMW R1200GS and the KTM 990 Adventure. But with its powerful, 1130cc three-cylinder engine (which makes 123 horsepower at 9000rpm), funky styling and high-spec suspension and chassis components, the big Benelli might just pull it off.

The only thing is, it’s expected to cost about US$16,000. Uhh..hh…

Also see:
2007 Benelli Due 750
2007 BMW HP2 Megamoto
2007 BMW G650 X-Challenge
2007 KTM 990 Superduke R

External link:
Cycle World: 2007 Benelli Tre-K first ride

Monday, January 22, 2007

Kenny Roberts announces KR Tuned

Kenny Roberts. Brilliant rider and racer. And a never-say-die businessman

Kenny Roberts (500cc motorcycle grand prix racing world champ in 1978, 1979 and 1980) has announced his new venture, KR Tuned, which will focus on high-end, high-performance exhaust systems and chassis components for sportsbikes.

Kenny says KR Tuned will apply learnings from MotoGP while creating exhaust systems and other performance accessories for street-going sportsbikes. Apart from his racing successes in the late-1970s with Yamaha, Kenny Roberts has been running his own MotoGP racing team for the last many years, albeit with limited success. In 2007, he will be running his KR212V MotoGP bike, which uses an 800cc engine supplied by Honda. Kenny Roberts Jr. (Kenny Roberts’ son, and 500cc motorcycle GP racing world champ in the year 2000) will be riding the KR212V.

Expect to see (and hear...) this in your neighbourhood soon

KR Tuned products will be marketed through an alliance with Hotbodies Racing, who also sponsored Kenny's MotoGP team in 2006. For more details, visit and

2008 Victory Vision: A stylish new luxo-tourer...

The Victory Vision luxury-tourer. Coming to a showroom near you, by October/November 2007

Based in Minnesota, in the US, Victory describe their new Vision as ‘the most progressive American luxury-touring bike ever built.’ Well, it certainly doesn’t look like any other touring bike we’ve recently seen…

But seriously, the Victory Vision, designed by one Michael Song, is the culmination of six years of research and development. When it goes on sale in October this year, the bike will be available in two versions – the full-house touring-oriented Vision Tour, and the slightly smaller Vision Street. Both bikes, say Victory, ‘define 21st-century cool.’

The Victory Vision will be powered by a 1600cc v-twin (though this is not confirmed yet, and engine capacity may go up by the time the bikes goes into production), and will feature a low-maintenance belt-drive. Spec is likely to be high, with toys like MP3 stereo, GPS navigation, and satellite radio being fitted as standard equipment.

For Victory Vision wallpaper, video and more details, go here. For riding impressions, go here, here and here.

Imagine rolling up to your girlfriend's house on this!

Also see:
Wakan: 1640cc of French eccentricity
2007 Buell XBRR
2007 Suzuki B-King
2007 Buell Lightning Long XB12Ss

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Battleship Italia: 2007 Aprilia RSV1000R

Fast, sexy and very high tech - the 2007 Aprilia RSV1000R

Back in November 2006, at the EICMA show in Milan, Aprilia had unveiled two radical new sportsbikes – the NA 850 Mana, with a CVT/ sequential-shift seven-speed transmission, and the SL 750 Shiver, with ride-by-wire tech.

And now, it’s the 2007 Aprilia RSV1000R, which has been suitably fettled in order to comply with Euro 3 homologation norms. There’s new fuel injection mapping, new catalytic converters, and other changes to the bike’s intake valves and exhaust pipes in order to make it cleaner.

The 2007 RSV1000R gets 43mm Öhlins forks at the front, with titanium nitride coated stanchions and radial caliper mountings. The Sachs monoshock at the rear is adjustable for preload, as well as compression and rebound damping. Ride height at the back is also adjustable. The bike’s new fairing has bigger air vents, and the tail section has been redesigned and now incorporates an LED taillamp.

There’s also a new ram air intake which is supposed to boost power at higher speeds. The engine uses a sophisticated new engine management system made by Siemens VDO, and power output from the Aprilia’s 1000cc, DOHC, 8-valve, 60-degree v-twin stands at 143bhp at 10,000rpm. Top speed is 280km/h. So yeah, looks like it’ll be one hell of a bike! 

Also see:2007 Aprilia NA 850 Mana, SL 750 Shiver
2007 MV Agusta updates
Massimo Tamburini designs new Husqvarna STR 650 CC
Vyrus 985 C3 4V: Different strokes

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Valentino Rossi: The biggest earning star in MotoGP!

Rossi takes home US$29.25 million per annum, while Nicky Hayden doesn't

The results of an earnings survey conducted by Forbes magazine are out, and Valentino Rossi is right there among the top 10 earners in the world of sport! He is, in fact, at eighth place, with an annual pay packet of US$29.25 million.

Golf maestro Tiger Woods came in at first place (US$87.75 million), F1’s Michael Schumacher was in second place (US$56.55 million) while footballer David Beckham was in 12th place (US$26.33 million). So that settles it then – not only do motorcycle racers have more fun (riding a 220bhp racebike at 300km/h, versus kicking a ball around some mucky old field, hah!), they also earn more money. Cool!

Right-click and download this Valentino Rossi homage video here

Monday, January 15, 2007

Shutting Off? You’re not winning then!

That's Mick Extance, and he's keeping that throttle wide open

Mick Extance has been one of the UK’s top riders in the grueling Dakar Rally. Recently, while talking to British bike magazine, Performance Bikes, about his life and times in the Dakar Rally, Extance said, “Shut off and you fail. On the fast days, when you have a moment and you’re kissing the front mudguard at 160km/h, your heart’s going, and you hesitate. Well, the guys that win don’t hesitate. Marc Coma, David Fretigne and Fabrizio Meoni don’t back off. I’ve seen them full-lock, sideways at 160km/h and they haven’t even twitched. You’re behind and you go ‘urghh..!’ You back off and they’re gone…”

So now we know what it takes. And to tell you the truth, we’re a bit scared.

Also see:
Faster and Faster: The pros tell you how
Singularly Powerful: 2007 KTM 690SM
What your bike says about you!
On the pace: Read before you ride

Moto Morini 9½: The Better Half?

It's an... err... Italian cruiser. Probably

Moto Morini Nine-and-a-half..? Err…, yeah, that’s the strangely named, weirdly styled (by Luciano Marabese) cruiser you see here. And while the bike was first shown back in 2003 at the Bologna Motor Show in Italy, it’s gone on sale only now.

The Moto Morini 9½ uses a detuned version of the 1200cc v-twin used on the sportier Corsaro 1200, with smaller intake and exhaust valves, and reduced cam lift and valve overlap. The engine still makes 117bhp though, which should be quite enough for this type of motorcycle.

With 117bhp and high-grade suspension bits, the 91/2 should do just about all right for itself

Chassis is a tubular trellis (steel) structure, 50mm USD Marzocchi forks are used up front, and there’s an adjustable Paioli shock at the back, fitted to an oval-section tubular swingarm.

Go here for Cycle World magazine’s riding impression of this bike.

Limited Edition BMW R1200ST

If you have the heart to pay US$20,000 for this, you're a brave man

It might be a competent tourer, but from most angles, the BMW R1200ST looks just plain ugly. And it seems BMW haven’t really been able to sell as many of these muthas as they hoped to, because now they’re doing a Limited Edition (only 500 of these LE bikes will be made) R1200ST, which is absolutely packed with BMW-tech.

For US$19,600 you get a motorcycle fitted with anti-spin traction control (ASC), anti-lock brakes (ABS) and electronic suspension adjustment (ESA). It’s still ugly though…

On the other hand, the year 2006 was a good one for BMW, as the German company sold 100,064 motorcycles worldwide. This was the first time in the history of BMW that they sold more than 100,000 motorcycles in a single year! Germany, Italy, the US and Spain were BMW's biggest markets, while the R1200GS (and the GS Adventure) were the bestselling BMW bikes. And going by the number of new bikes that BMW are going to launch this year, it seems the good times will continue for them in 2007.

With sales of more than 100,000 bikes in 2006, it's celebration time at BMW!

Also see:
2007 BMW K1200R Sport
2007 BMW HP2 Megamoto
2007 BMW G650: Xmoto, XChallenge, and XCountry

Nicky Hayden: Watch out!

Wearing this limited-edition Tissot will make you a riding god. Maybe...

Want a piece of 2006 MotoGP world champ, Nicky Hayden? Hayden is brand ambassador for Tissot, the official timekeepers of MotoGP. And the Swiss company has created a Nicky Hayden limited-edition quartz-movement watch, based on its T-Race model. The watch is made of carbonfibre composite, bears Hayden's signature, and takes various design cues from MotoGP.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

MV Agusta sweep European Motorcycle of the Year awards

The most beautiful motorcycle in the world has won one more award...

The European Motorcycle of the Year 2006 awards were recently given away in Bologna, in Italy, and MV Agusta have come out on top. The awards were voted for by the readers of the following European motorcycle magazines: Motorrad (Germany), Toeff (Switzerland), Moto Journal (France), Motociclismo (Spain), Motociclismo (Portugal), Motor Revue (Hungary), Motocykl (Poland), Motocykl (Czech Republic), Motor Revija (Croatia) and Motosprint.

The MV Agusta F4 1000 Senna won the ‘Sportive’ (probably means ‘sportsbike’) category, the Brutale 910S won the ‘Naked’ category, while the Cagiva Mito 125 cleaned up the 125cc category. So yeah, when it comes to food, women and motorcycles, you can’t beat the Italians…

Also see:
2007 Motogiro D'Italia
Special-edition Moto Corse MV Agusta
The KTM X-Bow. Rocking!
Ducati Desmosedici RR - the most desirable bike in the world
MV Agusta hi-res wallpaper

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Tiff Needell tests the Campagna T-Rex

Tiff Needell of Fifth Gear, having an absolute blast in the T-Rex!

Some time ago, we had written about this absolutely awesome three-wheeler, the Campagna T-Rex, which is powered by a Kawasaki ZZR1200 engine that makes more than 150 horsepower. Recently, Tiff Needell of Fifth Gear tested the T-Rex and going by the video you see here, he had an absolute blast. In fact, the T-Rex looks like so much fun, we wouldn’t mind swapping two wheels for three. At least for a day…

See lots of other interesting trikes here

Friday, January 05, 2007

Bajaj Pulsar 220 DTS-Fi: The Indians are coming!

India is the second-largest motorcycle market in the world. And bikes like the Bajaj Pulsar 220 DTS-Fi are the new face of Indian motorcycles...

In the last one year, there has been much talk of Chinese and Korean motorcycle manufacturers ramping up their technical expertise and getting ready to take on the Japanese and the Europeans in a few years’ time. While that will certainly happen – especially with smaller motorcycles – another country which could soon make its mark on the international scene is India.

More than seven million motorcycles are sold in India every year, and three Japanese majors – Honda, Yamaha and Suzuki – are present in the Indian motorcycle market. Most motorcycles are bought for commuting, and price and fuel efficiency are the top concerns for most motorcycle buyers in India. ‘Sport’ was not really a factor till recently, but that’s gradually changing.

Bajaj 600 vs Honda 600? Within the next five years we think

And the one Indian motorcycle company that’s heading this change, and pushing ahead with newer, sportier bikes, is Bajaj Auto. The sharply-styled machine you see here – the Bajaj Pulsar 220 DTS-Fi – is their latest effort. The bike, which went on sale in India last month, is fitted with a 220cc, air-and-oil cooled, four-stroke, SOHC, fuel-injected single-cylinder engine, which is fitted with a counterbalancer to iron out the vibes. The engine makes 20.6 horsepower, making the Pulsar DTS-Fi the most powerful bike currently sold in India!

The 150kg (claimed kerb weight) bike is fitted with a five-speed gearbox, double-cradle downtube chassis, beefy front forks and preload-adjustable rear shocks. Disc brakes, alloy wheels, LED taillamp, projector-style headlamp, digital instrumentation and tubeless tyres complete the package – a complete revelation for the Indian market, which is used to dull, dumb, very old and very slow bikes from the 1970s and beyond!

But now that the high-tech Pulsar 220 DTS-Fi is available for a rather reasonable US$1,900 we suppose it’s only a matter of time before the second-largest (after China, which is the largest) motorcycle market in the world catches up with bigger and better machines. Will you see a Pulsar 600 DTS-Fi go head to head against the Honda Hornet 600 in the next five years? Stranger things have happened…

Also see:
Sportsbike development: No looking back
Campagna T-Rex: Three-wheeled madness
Freddie Spencer: The Sultan of Slide
The mighty six-cylinder Honda CBX1000
The very memorable Kawasaki GPZ750 Turbo
2007 Honda CBR600RR
2007 Yamaha R1
2007 Suzuki GSX-R1000
The mighty Yamaha RD500LC

Thursday, January 04, 2007

2007 Suzuki GSX-R1000s getting the Rizla treatment

Once Rizla Suzuki are done with this, it makes more than 200bhp...

Rizla Suzuki are now working on the 2007 GSX-R1000 and getting it ready for this year’s British Superbikes series. Four new GSX-Rs are in the process of being modified at Rizla Suzuki’s headquarters at the Crescent Performance Centre in Dorset, in the UK. These racebikes will be fitted with Ohlins forks and rear shock, Marchesini forged magnesium wheels, Yoshimura exhaust, and Dunlop tyres. A modified and strengthened swingarm, a new tank, and carbonfibre bodywork complete the package.

The GSX-R1000’s inline-four, which runs a new Motec engine management system, will be tuned by Rizla Suzuki experts and is expected to produce more than 200 horsepower. Rizla Suzuki team manager, Simon Buckmaster says that ‘Our test at Valencia in November showed us the 2007 bike has considerable potential but that is only the start of the process. Rizla Suzuki is working absolutely flat out on the new bikes and developing them as quickly as possible. We will do whatever it takes to be as competitive as possible this season!’

The 2006 Gixxer was mega. Can the 2007 model rework the magic?

In February this year, both Rizla Suzuki riders – Chris Walker and Cal Crutchlow – will be testing their racebikes over a period of two days in Calafat, Spain. The BSB season starts at Brands Hatch on the 9th of April, and Rizla Suzuki should have their bikes completely sorted by then, so wait for the action to begin!

Also see:
Evolution: Twenty years of the Suzuki GSX-R
Riding impression: Rizla Suzuki GSV-R
Italian stallion: Ducati 1098
Simply awesome: 2007 Yamaha R1
Uber cool: Kawasaki Z750

Random Ramblings