Thursday, March 15, 2007

Ducati Hypermotard inches closer to going into production

Radical, eh? Supermoto fans should love this Duke...

Back in September last year, we had reported on the Ducati Hypermotard having been spotted testing and production having been confirmed. Well, the bike is now very close to being put into production and final tests are being carried out.

Vittoriano Guareschi, official Ducati MotoGP Team test rider has been testing Hypermotard prototypes at the Mores circuit in Sardinia, Italy. Says Guareschi, ‘The bike is fantastic! It's so much fun to ride that you lose all track of time, and you never want to get off it. The bike's just perfect, well balanced, smooth and, above all, a true Ducati. These tests have allowed us to define the setup and make a few final modifications before the bike goes into production . Everything is on schedule.’ Sounds good. This should indeed be one bike to watch out for...

Update (16th May, 2007): So now that the Hypermotard is finally out, here are some pics and videos of SBK rider Ruben Xaus having a bit of fun on the thing.

Ruben Xaus shows how the Hypermotard is meant to be ridden!

Also see:
Alfa Romeo join forces with Ducati WSB
Wonder scooter: Gilera Fuoco 500
New bikes from Benelli this year?
Radical new sportsbikes from Aprilia

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Buell to do trackdays, enter off-road bikes market

Buell plan to do trackdays in the US and allow people to experience their bikes

Buell have just launched what they’re calling the ‘Inside Pass,’ essentially a trackday program which will allow American riders to experience some of the best racing circuits in the US. All motorcycle riders can participate (including those who do not own a Buell...), and they will also have the opportunity to test ride some of the newest Buell bikes on the track. More details on the Buell website.

On a different note, the innovative American company is also planning to launch an off-road motorcycle, which would be a closed-course competition model. But don’t rush off to your local Buell dealership just yet – this new machine is still about two years away from hitting showrooms...

Buell babes
Buell babes

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

The V-Rex: Sometimes, dreams do come true...

Should be just the thing for tootling down to the supermarket for a six-pack of beer...

Back in December 2003, Aussie designer Tim Cameron made a sketch of his dream cruiser and then made a 3D computer rendering of the bike. US-based Christian Travert, who had worked on the Y2K jet bike earlier, took it up from there and decided to actually build the bike. And it wasn’t just about building a one-off show bike – Christian wanted to put the bike into regular production.

Since then, Christian has set up Travertson Inc., in Fort Lauderdale in the US – a full-fledged factory where Cameron’s dream cruiser (now called the V-Rex) – would be made. And while the machine retains the far-out styling which Cameron dreamt up, it’s a fully functional real-world motorcycle. Guess dreams do come true sometimes!

For more details, go to the Travertson website

MV Agusta F4 312R: The fastest production motorcycle in the world!

Don't even think of racing your Hayabusa against this...

There’s a new MV Agusta F4 available now – the 312R – and guess what the ‘312’ in the name signifies? Yeah, the bike can hit a top speed of 312km/h – take that you ZZR1400 and Hayabusa owners!

Apart from the gorgeous styling, the new F4 312R also gets better suspension – 50mm Marzocchi forks (carbon-nitride treated, and featuring 13 compression and 22 rebound settings...) and a Sachs monoshock with double hydraulic compression settings (whatever that means...) It also gets very light, forged, Y-spoke aluminium Brembo wheels and brakes with radial mount calipers.

The F4 312R’s 1000cc inline-four makes more than 180 horsepower at 12,400rpm and is fully Euro 3 compliant. More important for many would be the fact that apart from new white and black paint schemes, the bike will also be available in the classic MV Agusta red/silver livery. Ooohhh... :-)

2007 Repsol-replica Honda Fireblade CBR1000RR

The 2007 Repsol-replica CBR1000RR. A must-have for Hayden fans...

To celebrate Nicky Hayden's 2006 MotoGP world championship, Honda are doing a limited edition Repsol-replica Fireblade CBR1000RR. The bike, which will be available in Europe and the US later this month, is the second Repsol-rep Fireblade – Honda did the first one back in 2005. Repsol first sponsored Honda’s motorcycle racing effort in 1995, with Mick Doohan riding the championship-winning NSR500 at that time.

The 2007 Repsol-rep Fireblade features PGM-DSFI dual sequential fuel injection (first seen on Honda’s RC211V MotoGP bike), a mass-centralised chassis, gravity die-cast aluminium frame, the Unit-Pro-Arm swingarm, radial-mount front brake callipers and an electronic steering damper. We don’t know how the bike stacks up to the 2007 GSX-R1000 or the latest R1 in terms of outright performance, but the Repsol livery alone should be worth an additional 2bhp at least, eh...?

Also see:
2007 BMW K1200R Sport
Limited edition MV Agusta F4 CC
Limited edition Moto Corse Ducati and MV Agusta bikes
Looking inside the 2007 Honda RC212V

Monday, March 12, 2007

The saga of the HRC Honda NSR500

The great American racer, Freddie Spencer, with his Honda NS500
Starting with 1985 and ending with the 2001 season, the Honda NSR500 won no less than ten 500cc motorcycle roadracing world championships. And that’s not counting the 1983 500cc world championship, which Freddie Spencer won on the NSR’s predecessor – the three-cylinder Honda NS500. Spencer later went on to win the 1985 500cc championship on the NSR500, and amazingly, also won the 250cc world championship that year, aboard a Honda NSR250!

Fiesty Australian, Wayne Gardner won the 1987 500c world championship aboard his Rothmans Honda NSR500
Aussie rider Wayne Gardner took the 1987 500cc crown riding his Rothmans Honda NSR500, and then American rider and multi-time world champ, Eddie Lawson won the 1989 500cc championship – again on a Honda NSR500.

American racing legend, Eddie Lawson won 500cc world championships with Yamaha in 1984, 1986 and 1988. He then moved to Honda for 1989 and won his last 500cc title aboard his Honda NSR500
From 1990 to 1992, Rainey picked up three world championships aboard his Yamaha YZR500, and Kevin Schwantz won the 1993 title on his Suzuki RGV500. But from then onwards, the Honda NSR500 ruled the 500cc class for six straight years, with the mighty Mick Doohan winning five world championships from 1994 to 1998, and Spanish rider Alex Criville taking the 1999 500cc title.

There was no beating Mick 'The Dominant' Doohan between 1994 and 1998. Mick's talent combined with NSR500 power meant five successive world championships for the Aussie rider
With the two-stroke era coming to an end, the NSR500 had its last outing in the hands of Valentino Rossi, who won the 2001 500cc championship aboard this bike. Of course, he went on to win another two MotoGP world championships aboard Honda machines – the five-cylinder RC211V – but even he agrees that the two-stroke NSR500 was much more exciting to ride.

Rossi won his first 500cc world title in 2001, aboard this NSR500. From 2002 onwards, it would be the four-stroke Honda RC211V...
Throughout its fifteen-year saga, the two-stroke, V4 Honda NSR500 was the very personification of raw, unbridled power, speed and acceleration. Eddie Lawson’s 1989 machine made 165bhp@12,000rpm and was capable of doing 300km/h. With its chassis struggling to cope with all that power, and with the mighty V4 making mincemeat of the bike’s tyres, the late-1980s NSR was a barely-contained wild animal, and needed the supreme riding talents of a man like Lawson for the bike to be able to win consistently. That, and the genius of HRC’s ace mechanic, the legendary Erv Kanemoto.

With five 500cc world championships won aboard the Honda NSR500, Mick Doohan was by far the most successful HRC rider in the 1990s. And going by this pic, his popularity has not diminished... :-)
By the early-1990s, the NSR500 had evolved into a friendlier machine. With computer-controlled engine management systems replacing carburetors, the NSR’s two-stroke V4 was making its 190-200 horsepower in a more controllable fashion. The ‘big bang’ engine debuted in 1992, where the firing order was such that the NSR’s V4 would behave more on the lines of a big single, rather than a vastly more frenzied four-cylinder unit. This made the bike more controllable and ultimately, reduced the chances of a highside.

Later, in the late-1990s, when other manufacturers also started building ‘big bang’ engines, Doohan actually went back to the earlier type of firing order to again get an edge over other riders! So yes, a large part of the NSR’s success was also due to rider skills and sheer talent, but that takes away nothing from the fact that the Honda 500cc GP bike was the very pinnacle of two-stroke racebike engineering. Pedrosa and the RC212V may be a great combo, but we still miss the sight of Doohan going sideways on his Repsol Honda NSR500…

Awesome video from the 1996 500cc motorcycle GP racing season. Honda NSR500 riders Mick Doohan and Alex Criville go hammer and tongs at each other. Superb!