Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Monowheeling in Michigan

Valentino Rossi should try doing this, eh?

The contraption you see here has been built in Michigan in the US. It’s four feet high, weighs about 60kg, is powered by a 5-horsepower Briggs & Stratton engine and costs US$8,500.

How is it to ride? A Cycle World journalist who rode the thing, says “Imagine balancing while sitting on a chair, which is on top of a piece of plywood, which is on top of a golf ball.’ And he adds, “Accelerate too fast and your boots are above your eyes as you rotate forward inside the wheel. Brake too hard and now you're looking straight down at the pavement.”

Interesting? Get the full riding impression here

Imagine rolling up to the local pub on this...

Also see:
Embrio: The one-wheeled wonder
The Mighty Quadzilla
Tiff Needell tests the Campagna T-Rex. Insane!

KTM developing new 2WD system for bikes

2WD - coming to a KTM showroom near you?

After ABS and traction control, two-wheel-drive (2WD) just might turn out to be the next big thing in motorcycling. Though Yamaha have tried their hand at building a 2WD motorcycle in the past, the Japanese company has now given up further development in this area.

But KTM may pick up from where Yamaha left off. Unfazed by Yamaha’s 2-Trac 2WD system not having taken off, the Austrian company has developed its own 2WD system and is already testing it on some of its motocross bikes. KTM’s 2WD mechanism uses a mechanical/hydraulic system to apportion torque between the front and rear wheels. It uses a small hydraulic motor inside the front hub, which drives the front wheel.

According to the company, test results have been good and ‘the 2WD system allows the bike to accelerate much harder out of corners, due to less slippage.’ The flip side to both wheels being powered is a tendency to stand up and run wide. Also, the 2WD mechanism adds six kilos to the bike, half of which is directly to the front hub – definitely not a good thing.

Still, it’s early days yet, and with further development, KTM’s 2WD could benefit some motorcycle riders, especially those who ride dual-purpose bikes and those who ride off-road. KTM bikes have dominated the Dakar Rally for quite some time now, and a new 2WD system may extend that domination in the years to come!

Also see:
The KTM RC8 superbike
X-Bow: KTM's radical new supercar!
Norton NRV 588: The rotary lives again!
Brudeli 625: KTM-based trike
2007 KTM 990 Superduke R

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 http://www.hotbodiesracing.com/ and http://www.krtuned.com/

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

Random Ramblings