Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Rights to Brough Superior trademark up for sale


The Brough Superior SS100. Each bike was test-ridden at 160km/h before being delivered to a customer

On the 5th of May, one of the most legendary names in motorcycling – Brough Superior – will be put up for sale by Bonhams & Butterfields. UK, EU and Japan rights to the trademark, company name ‘Brough Superior Engineering Limited,’ and its associated logos will all be included in the sale.

Referred to as ‘the Rolls-Royce of Motorcycles’ by The Motorcycle newspaper, Brough Superior bikes were high performance ‘superbikes’ of their era. The company was set up in the year 1919 in Nottingham, England, by one George Brough. Around 3,048 Brough Superior machines were made between 1919 and 1940, and about a thousand of those still exist.

Brough Superior bikes were always extremely well-finished and quite expensive – they remain eminently collectible by mega-rich collectors today, with prices touching US$3.0 million for some Brough bikes! The marque had many celebrity enthusiasts, including T E Lawrence and George Bernard Shaw.

Of the 19 different models produced by Brough in their 21 years of operations, some of their most famous machines include the SS100 and the SS80, both of which were powered by either J A Prestwich or Matchless, 1000cc, OHV, v-twin engines. Brough closed shop in 1940, but parts were made up till 1969.

After George Brough's death in 1970, his motorcycle company was reorganised and in 1974, the name was changed from George Brough Limited, to Brough Superior Engineering Limited. It is the rights to the latter name that will go on sale on the 5th of May. More information on the Bonhams website.

Also see:
Libero Liberati: 500cc motorcycle GP racing world champ in 1957
BMW return to Le Mans!
Moto Morini prepare for a better future
Benelli get back on track!

PAL-V One: The bike that’ll fly


A flying bike sounds very sci-fi, but who knows...

The Personal Air and Land Vehicle Company and their PAL-V One project has been around for some time, and it seems they’ve got some fresh new investments now. The company is moving from Belgium to Holland, where they hope to be able to use the Dutch National Aerospace Lab for further development work on their three-wheeled ‘flying motorcycle.’


If the PAL-V One ever makes it to production, WE WANT ONE!!!

If it ever makes it to production reality, the PAL-V One will be a car/motorcycle/gyrocopter hybrid, powered by a conventional petrol engine. With two wheels at the back and one at the front, the PAL-V will handle like a motorcycle (a bit like the Carver machine which we reported on earlier…), but here’s the sci-fi part – it’ll also have a single rotor and propeller which will allow it to fly.

The machine will fly at heights of under 1,500m so it won’t be a threat to commercial aircraft, and will be free of restrictive air traffic control regulations. The PAL-V will use autogyro flying technology, and like a helicopter, it will be able to take off and land without needing a runway. Top speed is expected to be in the region of 200km/h, on both land and in the air.

Visit the official website for more information.


Here's a gyrocopter video. Yeah, these things do fly...

Also see:
EZ Tuning: School of cool!
AC Schnitzer-tuned BMW K1200R Sport
Radical radial: JRL Cycles' funky new Chopper
Carver One: Have you put in your order yet?
The 3B7801X: A KTM for women!

Monday, April 23, 2007

AC Schnitzer-tuned BMW K1200R Sport now available


The lighter, faster, and funkier-than-stock AC Schnitzer K1200R Sport

We’ve reported on some pretty funky AC Schnitzer-tuned BMW bikes before (take a look at their BMW HP2 and various other bikes), and the German tuning experts are at it again. This time, they’ve used their talents on the BMW K1200R Sport, giving it lightweight wheels and exhaust system (which you can also have without a catalytic converter!).

They’ve also given it a new steering head which alters the steering geometry, and makes it more suitable for sportier riding. Prices have not been announced yet, but visit the AC Schnitzer website for more details.


Here's one they did earlier - the AC Schnitzer BMW R1200R

Also see:
Rapom V8: Supercharged, 1000bhp monsterbike!
KillaCycle: The world's quickest electric bike!
Gibbs Quadski: Baywatch...
Bring the bling: Roaring Toyz Kawasaki ZZR1400
Acabion GTBO 70: 700 horsepower, 600km/h top speed. Madness...

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Turkish MotoGP: Stoner on top in Istanbul


Ducati rider Casey Stoner in action in Istanbul. We think this Aussie is going to be Rossi's no.1 challenger this year

We wanted Rossi to win, but it was not to be. Ducati rider Casey Stoner stormed to an impressive victory at the Turkish MotoGP in Istanbul today, while Rossi finished a distant tenth, partly due to tyre problems with his Yamaha. Gresini Honda rider, Toni Elias came in second, while another of our favourite riders, Ducati rider Loris Capirossi took third spot. Says Capirossi, "I feel like the father of these two guys, because I'm really old! I tried to catch Casey, but he's really fast so I didn't want to risk too much..."

Go to the official MotoGP site here to see what other riders had to say about Turkish MotoGP.

Also see:
Nicky Hayden: "I'm not giving up...!"
John Hopkins: "I'm a better rider than Nicky Hayden!"
Libero Liberati: 500cc motorcycle GP racing world champ in 1957
2007 Cannonball Bike Run: It's coming!

2007 Los Angeles Calendar Motorcycle Show


Bikes + chicks + partying = LA Calendar Motorcycle Show

Long Beach, Los Angeles is the place to be on the 14th and 15th of July, when Pro Class bike builders from around the US and the rest of the world will gather for the annual LA Calendar motorcycle show. The organizers claim that more than 200 motorcycle, parts and accessories manufacturers will be taking part, and more than 20,000 motorcycle enthusiasts are expected to attend the two-day show.


Here's a video from last year's LA Calendar bike show...

Many celebrity custom bike builders, including Roger Goldammer, Russell Mitchell, Jesse Rooke, and Roland Sands are taking part in this event. And their custom-built bikes will be competing for the ‘Performance Machine Best of Show’ Award in the in the Iron Works magazine-sponsored Calendar Show Bike Building Championship. With US$70,000 in cash going to the winners, competition should be tough!


That's Tamara Witmer, the 2007 LA Bike Show MC and hostess

And oh yes, Playboy Playmate Tamara Witmer will be LA bike show MC and hostess this year, and even otherwise, the show’s T&A factor should be quite high. More details on the 2007 Los Angeles Calendar Motorcycle Show on the Fast Dates website here.

Also see:
Campagna T-Rex: Three-wheeled madness!
Freddie Spencer: The Sultan of Slide
Fabulous Five: The racing bikes we love
Remembering rotary: The Suzuki RE-5
MV Agusta F4 Senna: God's own motorcycle

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Allen Millyard’s 2300cc, V12 Kawasaki


You think the ZZR1400 is good? Millyard built this 2300cc, V12 Kawasaki in his backyard...

Remember the six-cylinder Kawasaki KZ1300 from the late-1970s? The brutish, 120 horsepower motorcycle weighed an almighty 322kg, did the quarter mile in 11.96 seconds, and was capable of hitting a top speed of 225km/h. Enough for you? It wasn’t, for Allen Millyard, a nuclear research engineer by profession.

So what did Mr Millyard do? Why, he built his own bike of course – a 12-cylinder Kawasaki KZ2300. While his hand-built machine looks stock, it’s actually considerably bigger and the V12 engine is comprised of two complete KZ1300 cylinder blocks.


The KZ1300's six-cylinder engine made 120bhp, so in theory at least, this one should have close to 240 horsepower...

This V12 Kawasaki isn’t the only bike that Millyard has made. He’s also made various two-, four-, five-, six-, and even eight-cylinder bikes. It’s a good thing that he’s a masterful genius with engines, because his creations – and especially the V12 – required massive reworking of engine internals, many special components and countless hours of sheer hard work.

Get Motorcyclist magazine’s riding impression of Millyard’s V12 Kawasaki here.

Also see:
Kawasaki GPZ 750 Turbo: Blow hard!
Kawasaki ZRX1200R Eddie Lawson replica
Memorable: Kawasaki Ninja ZX-12R
The great Kawasaki ZZR1100
Kawasaki 1400GTR: Insanity Express!

Update (12th September 2007):
2008 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R: First pics and details!

Radical Radial: JRL Cycles’ funky new Chopper


The Radial Chopper. A normal motorcycle, with the usual seven-cylinder, 2800cc aircraft engine...

Back in September last year, we had reported on Jesse James' Aero Bike. This spectacular machine was fitted with a 2800cc, seven-cylinder, 110bhp radial aircraft engine.

Now, John Levey and Mike Wherle have gone down the same route and using the same engine – an Australian-sourced Rotec R2800 – built their Radial Chopper. But they aren’t stopping at this – their outfit, JRL Cycles, is already working on plans for nine-cylinder radial-engined trike.

More on JRL Cycles and their Radial Chopper on the Motorcycle-USA website.

More custom-built bikes:
Lazareth Motorcycles' French stunners
From dreams to reality: The amazing V-Rex
Bring the bling: Roaring Toyz Kawasaki ZZR1400
Custom streetfighter: Mad Jack
NCR Ducati Millona: Got US$80,000...?
Kenny Roberts' KRV5: MotoGP-powered board-tracker!


A video of the JRL bike...

Friday, April 20, 2007

John Hopkins: ‘I think I’m a better rider than Nicky Hayden’


Forget Rossi, maybe Hayden should be more worried about John Hopkins coming after him...

While speaking to RoadRacerX magazine recently, Rizla Suzuki’s MotoGP rider John Hopkins made some interesting remarks. When asked about what he thought his championship chances were, Hopkins said, “In my mind, I feel that it’s possible. This season, I never want to finish further down than fourth place. I would definitely not be here if I could not win the world championship.”


Hopkins is good, but there are also other reasons why we appreciate Rizla Suzuki

Then, when asked about he thought of some of the other riders, Hopkins said, “The fact that Nicky Hayden won the world championship last year – that’s really motivated me.” And why is that, John? He says, “I guess it’s simple. I think I can plain-out beat him. I think I’m a better rider. I’m not being cocky or rude, but that’s how every racer has to be. I would hope every racer feels that way about me.” We’re sure they do, and one Mr Hayden especially so…

Also see:
Nicky Hayden: "I'm not giving up by any means!
2007 World Stunt Riding Championship to be held Hungary
Kenny Roberts to build Fireblade-based superbike
Down memory lane: The Bimota YB11

Cool Concept: Polaris Revolver Sport Quadricycle


Sportsbike-like performance from a quad? Maybe...

The Revolver Sport Quadricycle concept is powered by a single-cylinder, liquid-cooled, 4-valve, 500cc engine, and although it’s primarily meant for road use, it also offers basic off-road abilities. But really, with its big alloy wheels, chunky tyres and disc brakes on the front wheels, the Revolver is meant to offer sportsbike-like performance on the street.


While the Revolver is essentially street-oriented, it won't wilt at the first sign of a bit of mud

This very stylish Quad can seat two people, and Polaris say that its “State-of-the-art iPod instrumentation and entertainment system will see to it that you and your passenger are always in tune with your ride.” But of course. More details on the official website here.

Also see:
Lazareth Motorcycles: Custom cool
Troy Lee's Canyon Chaser
The V-Rex: Sometimes, dreams do come true!
V-Roehr 1130: All-American superbike

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Carver One: Orders being taken now


The 68bhp Carver One should be the perfect tool for your daily commute...

An increasing number of people, it would seem, are just not happy with having a Honda FireBlade and a Honda Civic Type R in their garage. No, they want something more. Something different. Something with three wheels…?

In the last few months, we’ve reported on quite a few three-wheeled contraptions – the Piaggio MP3, the Gilera Fuoco 500, the Campagna T-Rex, the Volkswagen GX3, the Brudeli 625L, the Can-Am Spyder and even the super-fast Acabion GTBO 70, which is not really a three-wheeler, but works like one at lower speeds.


Now imagine overtaking your neighbour's Golf GTI...

So do we need another one? You bet we do. Enter the Carver One, a few units of which were actually first produced and sold back in 2003. Based in the Netherlands, Carver have tweaked and improved their machine over the years, and now this… thing, is all set to go into production. In fact, the Carver One will be made in technical collaboration with Prodrive, one of the world's leading motorsport technology providers.

The Carver One is powered by a turbocharged, 660cc, 16-valve, inline-four from Daihatsu. This engine makes 68 horsepower at 6,000rpm, is mated to a five-speed manual gearbox, and powers the 670kg machine from zero to 100km/h in 8.2 seconds and on to a top speed of around 185km/h.


These hopped-up trikes can't really be beat for a spot of fun. Madness...

Of course, the most notable thing about the Carver One is not its acceleration or top speed numbers, but the fact that it steers like a car, and in turns, leans over like a motorcycle! Depending on cornering speed, the One’s Dynamic Vehicle Control (DVC) system automatically adjusts its tilt angle, ensuring optimum balance at all times.

Depending on the options you specify, this unique two-seater, three-wheeler costs about US$50,000. We don’t know if that’s good value for money, but it sure should be one hell of a ride!

More details on the Carver One at the official website here.


This video shows the Carver One in action!

Also see:
Some really cool custom bikes
Some interesting trikes!
The Polaris Revolver Sport Quadricycle
The Acabion GTBO 70: 700bhp, 600km/h top speed!


The Carver One, on test on Top Gear

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Ducati threaten to pull out of World Superbikes



Will Ducatis still be there on the 2008 WSB grid?

For quite some time now, Ducati have been pushing for upping the engine displacement limit for twin-cylinder engines to 1200cc, for World Superbikes. Even when Ducati launched the 1098 superbike in 2006, people expected it to serve as the basis for a 1198cc homologation-special, which would go racing in WSB.

Ducati’s current 999-based WSB racebike still manages to stay competitive due to things like special throttle bodies, cranks and crankcases, and other components. But the 194-horsepower engine is a highly stressed unit, which lasts barely 480km – as compared to more than 4500km for a four-cylinder WSB-spec superbike.

Now, Ducati are putting their foot down and threatening to exit the WSB series unless they are allowed to race a 1198cc version of the road-going 1098. While talking to Gazzetta dello Sport last week, Claudio Domenicali, Ducati Corse CEO, said “We have to know what is happening by the end of May, so we can get the bike working. That is our deadline.”

This is the twentieth year of the FIM's World Superbike Championship, and Ducati have won no less than 12 out of the last 19 WSB world titles! Starting with the 851, moving on to the 888 and then on to the legendary 916 and its various iterations, Ducati have made world superbikes their very own territory.

The stakes are high, and if a 1200cc limit is allowed for twin-cylinder bikes, Ducati are not the only ones who may benefit. KTM are working on a 1200cc twin for WSB, and BMW and Buell are also expected to join in with their own twin-cylinder bikes – definitely a good thing for the series.

Let’s see what happens in the next few weeks, and let’s just hope that Ducati are still around at the start of the 2008 World Superbikes season. Things just wouldn’t be the same without those Italians…



Legend of the Motorcycle: International Concours d’Elegance


That's a pic from last year's Legend of the Motorcycle event. Celeb in attendance is Ewan McGregor. Pic taken by Kristen Loken

The second International Concours d’Elegance event for motorcycles made up to 1975 and before, will take place at the ocean-side Ritz-Carlton in Half Moon Bay, California, on the 5th of May 2007. Held once a year in the US, this is an event where you can expect to see pristine examples of rare vintage and classic bikes. Crocker and Brough Superior were featured marques in the 2006 event, and this year, it’s Henderson, Excelsior and Vincent.

Apart from the classics, visitors will also see some brand new bikes - the first production model of the much awaited Ducati Hypermotard is expected to be shown here! And then there's the partying. Last year, there was free breakfast for entrants (provided by Hagerty), and free cognac and hand-rolled cigars (from Hennessy and Cohiba), so you never know what freebies you might blag this year. More information at the official website here.

A few contemporary classics:
Green meanie: Kawasaki ZXR750
Honda V4s: Racers for the road
Memorable Yamahas: FZR750R, YZF750R, R7
Slingshot: Late-1980s Suzuki GSX-R750
Your game's oval: Honda NR750
Greatest 11s: Kawasaki ZZR1100 and Suzuki GSX-R1100

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

The Kentucky Kid: "I'm not giving up by any means!"


It's not over until it's over...

It seems Nicky ‘The Kentucky Kid’ Hayden can do no right. Despite winning the 2006 MotoGP crown, Hayden doesn’t seem to have much support from MotoGP fans (except for a select band of people in the US…), and even HRC themselves seem to favour Dani Pedrosa over the Kentucky Kid!

Nicky Hayden recently spoke to American bike magazine Cycle World, where he admitted that he hasn't had a very good start to the 2007 season, and that “I feel bad for my team and my family who stand behind me, and my friends and fans who root for me.”

It also seems that Hayden still isn’t very comfortable with this year’s 800cc MotoGP bikes, saying that “I'm still trying to gain understanding about how to get the most out of the 800. They don't have the power to get in deep, square off corners and fire it out. You really have to keep the bike rolling through corners – high corner speed is a must. I wish it had some more grunt off the bottom to get me out of the corners, but right now my Honda is tuned to get the most top-end power out of it.”

Still, don’t count the Kentucky Kid out just yet. As he says, “I've been down before with circumstances looking grim and came back. It's a long season with only two races down, and 16 more to go. Anything can happen. I'm not giving up by any means.” Bravo!

See the full interview on the Cycle World website here.



Also see:
2007 Repsol-replica Honda FireBlade
Nicky Hayden: Watch out!
Shutting off? You're not winning then...
Harley Davidson Nightster rumbles out!

Game on: MotoGP '07 for PlayStation


PS owners, start your engines...

A leading developer of videogames, Capcom have announced that they have secured the rights to publish videogames based on MotoGP, for the Sony PlayStation. The first game to be released under this agreement will be MotoGP ’07 (working title), for the PlayStation 2, and it’ll be out in the next 3 – 4 months. Game on!



Also see:
Top fuel motorcycles: A lesson in acceleration!
The five racing bikes we love!
Segway transporters: Is this how we're all going to ride in 10 years from now...?
Bombardier Embrio: One-wheeled wonder!

Monday, April 16, 2007

World Endurance Championship teams prepare for Le Mans


The 2007 Le Mans 24 Hours race will take place on the 21st of April

The 30th running of the 24 Heures Moto at Le Mans, on the 21st of this month, will mark the start of the 2007 Endurance FIM World Championship. With Suzuki Endurance Racing, Yamaha GMT94, Kawasaki France, Yamaha Austria Racing, and National Motos being the top billed teams, it’s Suzuki GSX-R1000 vs Yamaha R1 vs Kawasaki ZX-10R vs Honda CBR1000RR.

Official testing begins on Thursday, the 19th of April, while the race itself starts at three in the afternoon on the 21st. More details at the official website here.

Also see:
July 18: Support the 'Ride to Work' day
It's coming: 2007 Cannonball Bike Run!
100th IoM: Suzuki's limited-edition GSX-Rs
The mighty Honda NSR500

Libero Liberati: World champ, half a century ago…


Libero Liberati aboard his 500cc Gilera grand prix racer

While Valentino Rossi prepares for the Turkish MotoGP, which is just one week away now, another Italian was racing and winning in the 500cc class, fifty years ago. We don’t suppose too many people remember him now, but Libero Liberati was the 500cc world champ half a century ago, back in 1957.

Liberati, who was born in Terni, Italy, went racing in the 500cc class with Moto Guzzi in 1950, and later moved to Gilera. Winning four GPs in 1957 aboard his Gilera, Liberati won the world championship, but his season ended in acrimony due to a dispute with the company.


An advert for some Gilera 125, probably from the 1950s. Ahem.. :-)

Gilera left the motorcycle GP racing scene after the end of the 1957 season, though Liberati went on to race in the 250cc class in 1959 with Moto Morini. His last race win came at the 250cc West German GP that year.

Sadly, Libero Liberati, 1957 500cc world champion, passed away in a high-speed road accident in 1962.



Also see:
"I'm not giving up!" - Nicky Hayden, 2006 MotoGP world champ fights back
Marco Lucchinelli - 1981 500cc motorcycle GP racing world champ
The future's bright, the future's Benelli?
Bring the bling: Roaring Toyz Kawasaki ZZR1400

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Trial without error: Dougie Lampkin


The MotoGP crowd probably can't do this. Lampkin can...

While Valentino Rossi is the best man for hurling 220-horsepower MotoGP bikes down twisty circuits at 300km/h, when it comes to riding motorcycles over seemingly impossible terrain, it’s 31-year-old British rider Dougie Lampkin who’s on top. Lampkin, who now lives on the Isle of Man, is possibly the best Trials rider ever, and has no less than twelve world championship titles to his name. He started off in Trials in 1991, and shows no signs of slowing down today.


What this 250cc, single-cylinder Montesa can do with Lampkin on board, simply defies belief

Lampkin rides for Team Montesa–HRC, and his bike is a four-stroke, liquid-cooled, SOHC, single-cylinder, 250cc Montesa Cota 4RT. This Trials-special motorcycle has an aluminum twin-spar chassis, 5-speed gearbox, a computer-controlled digital ignition system, and PGM-FI electronic fuel injection. There’s a 39mm Showa cartridge-type telescopic fork at the front, with 22-step adjustable compression and 20-step rebound damping. Rear suspension is Showa single damper ‘Pro-Link’ with stepless compression and 12-step rebound damping adjustment. The bike weighs 73kg dry.


Watch this video to see what Mr Lampkin is capable of doing on his bike!



Also see:
Libero Liberati: 500cc motorcycle GP racing world champ in 1957!
Kenny Roberts to build Fireblade-based sportsbike
The 2007 Cannonball Bike Run
Can you learn to live without bikes?

Friday, April 13, 2007

KTM 3B7801X Bikini Racing Flower R busts out!


Here's one woman who likes KTMs. Which one? Find out below... :-))

We are big KTM fans here at Faster and Faster. KTM motorcycles, most certainly, rock. And it's not just wheelies, stoppies, and other testosterone-fuelled fun - KTM also have a lesser-known side that's more caring, sensitive and female-friendly. Don't believe us? Have a look at the KTM below, then. It's the 3B7801X Bikini Racing Flower R, part of the official KTM catalog. And the company insists that we tell you that the pic has been shot by one Mitterbauer H. Never a dull moment, eh...

The KTM 3B7801X Bikini Racing Flower R. Get one for your girlfriend now!


Also see:
Dannii Minogue prefers the Yamaha Fazer
A woman's wisdom: What your bike says about you!

Thursday, April 12, 2007

MV Agusta announce partnership with JeanRichard


From left: Giovanni Castiglioni (MD, MV Agusta) with Massimo Macaluso (VP, JeanRichard)

MV Agusta will now partner with Swiss watch manufacturer JeanRichard. The first JeanRichard watch series with MV Agusta branding will be introduced at the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie, which will be held in Geneva between the 16th and the 21st of April 2007. And no, MV Agusta bikes will not be fitted with JeanRichard watches, so even if you buy an F4 CC, you'll still have to buy your own watch. Damn!



Also see:
MV Agusta F4 CC: God's own bike
MV Agusta F4R 312: The world's fastest production bike
MV Agusta F4 Senna: God's other bike
Moto Corse special edition MV Agusta F4

2007 World Stunt Riding Championship to be held in Hungary


Think you can do this? Get down to Kaposvar then...

For motorcycle stunt riders, Kaposvar, Hungary is going to be the place to be on the 19th of May, because that's where the 2007 World Stunt Riding Championship is happening. If you're good - really, really good - at wheelies, stoppies, burnouts and other forms of extreme stunt riding, book your tickets to Kaposvar now. Rider registration is on the 18th, while the main event starts at nine in the morning on the 19th.

For rules, regulations and entry form, go to the official website here

Also see:
July 18: 2007 Ride To Work Day!
Track riding for newbies: Ron Haslam tells you how
The mighty HRC Honda NSR500
Troy Lee's Canyon Chaser!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Marco Lucchinelli: The ‘Crazy Horse’


Marco Lucchinelli, 1981 500cc motorcycle GP racing world champ!

Ask motorcycle GP racing fans to name some big names from the 1980s and you may get Kenny Roberts, Freddie Spencer, Eddie Lawson, Wayne Gardner, Wayne Rainey, Randy Mamola and Kevin Schwantz. What you probably won’t get is Marco Lucchinelli, the man whom they used to call the Crazy Horse, and who won the 1981 500cc motorcycle GP world championship.

Born in 1954 in Bolano, Italy, Lucchinelli began his roadracing career in 1975 on a Laverda. But though he started with endurance racing, Lucchinelli moved to 500cc GP racing in 1976, with Suzuki. His wild, devil-may-care riding style earned him the nickname of Crazy Horse, and Mr Horse crashed hard, and often.

Lucchinelli moved from Suzuki to Yamaha for the 1977 season, but returned to Suzuki in 1978, which was also the year when he won his very first 500cc GP – at the Nürburgring, in Germany.

Riding a Roberto Gallina backed Suzuki in 1981, Lucchinelli took five 500cc GP wins and took his first and only world championship. Unfortunately for him though, it would all be downhill from here, and though he raced with Honda in 1982 and 83, and Cagiva in 1984 and 85, Lucchinelli never found his earlier race-winning form again.

Lucchinelli tried to go car racing in 1986, driving a Lola-Ford in the Formula 3000 series, and joined the Ducati Superbikes team in 1988, ultimately moving on to assume the role of team manager there – a position which he held for some years.


The Italian raced with the Honda team in 1982 and 83, but with little success

At the end of the day, Lucchinelli only won a total of six 500cc GP races ever, and one 500cc world championship. With his long hair, earrings, multiple divorces, the propensity to rebel against everyone and everything, controversies galore, and popularity with women everywhere, Marco Lucchinelli lived a rock-star’s life. They don’t make motorcycle racers like him anymore.


Marco Lucchinelli today. Once a world champ, always a world champ!

Other great racers from the past:
John Surtees: The only man ever to win motorcycle GP and F1 world championships!
"Barry Sheene was a cheeky sod!", says Stephanie...
Freddie Spencer: The Sultan of Slide
Wayne Gardner: The Wild One!
Wayne Rainey: Mr Consistency
Kevin Schwantz: The Cowboy from Texas


In this rare video from 1988, Marco Lucchinelli tests the legendary Ducati 851 Tricolore!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Rapom V8: 1,000bhp supercharged monster-bike


Nick Argyle, with the bike he's made - the Rapom V8

For most people, Hayabusas and ZZR1400s are more or less sufficiently powerful. Not for the UK-based Nick Argyle though, who probably thinks normally-aspirated, 1400cc, 190bhp inline-fours are for pansies. Which is why he’s built his own motorcycle – powered by a supercharged, 8.2-litre V8 taken off a monster truck.


It'll do zero to 100km/h in less than 3 seconds...

Called the Rapom V8, Argyle’s bike runs on pure alcohol and packs more than 1,000 horsepower. It weighs more than 500kg, but even then, power-to-weight ratio is twice that of, say, a GSX-R1000 or ZX-10R. Which is why if you ever meet Mr Argyle at a stoplight, you probably shouldn't try to race him down the street - the Rapom goes from zero to 100km/h in less than three seconds, and does the quarter-mile in less than seven seconds. Madness…

Some other really, really fast bikes:
Top fuel motorcycles: A lesson in acceleration!
KTM Nitroduke: The world's fastest KTM!
Turbo Hayabusa sets new streetbike speed record!
"GSX-Rs are for moped riders!"
Acabion GTBO 70: The fastest bike in the world!
KillaCycle: The world's quickest electric bike!

Monday, April 09, 2007

Kenny Roberts to build Fireblade-based superbike


Would you buy a Fireblade from this man?

Three-time 500cc motorcycle GP racing world champ, Kenny Roberts doesn’t believe in slowing down. In January this year, Kenny had announced his new venture, KR Tuned, which is all about high-end, high-performance exhaust systems and chassis components for sportsbikes.

Now, from components, Kenny’s moving to building complete motorcycles. He plans to build 50 units of his own ‘trackday special’ superbike, using Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade engines. The engines will be supplied by Honda, but the chassis, bodywork and exhausts will come from Kenny’s own outfit.

Expect a 180 horsepower machine that goes very hard and handles extremely well. Also expect to pay a lot – you’ll need about US$50,000 to get your hands on one of King Kenny’s finest. Could be worth it though…

Update (6th Sep., 2007): 2008 Honda Fireblade revealed!

Also see:
NRV588: Norton Rotary racer lives again!
Down memory lane: Yamaha RD500LC
Faster and Faster: The pros tell you how!
Two-stroke glory: Suzuki RGV250

New developments at Moto Morini


The Moto Morini MM3 is indeed going into production, though it may be detuned from 140 to 125bhp...

Morini Franco Motori, who previously owned a 50 percent stake in Moto Morini, has now purchased the remaining 50 percent from the Berti family, and is now the sole owner of Moto Morini.

The company has decided to put the MM3 ‘adventure bike’ (first show in Milan last year) into production, but with a few changes from the initial prototype. Some of the electronics (the show bike had traction control, ABS and fly-by-wire throttle) will not make to production, there will be some changes in the bodywork and the engine will go down from around 140bhp to 125bhp, in the interests of reliability.

The Moto Morini MM3 will essentially compete against bikes like the new Triumph Tiger 1050, the Ducati Multistrada 1100 and perhaps the KTM 950 Supermoto, and will be priced accordingly. But that’s not all – Moto Morini are also expected to start work on a full-blown 1200cc superbike which would go head to against the Ducati 1098, Aprilia RSV-R and other litre-class machines from Europe and Japan. We wish you all the best, Mr Motori.

Also see:
Benelli Tre-K 1130 Amazonas
Significant firsts in motorcycling!
Fischer MRX 650 riding impression
American Muscle: Shelby & Rucker's 150bhp chopper

Sunday, April 08, 2007

The future’s bright, the future’s Benelli?


Fancy having a turbo'd version of this? Benelli may be working on one right now...

With development fuelled by Chinese money, Qianjiang-owned Benelli could be on to big things in the near future. The historic Italian marque, which built the six-cylinder Benelli Sei sportsbike in the 1970s and 80s, is now again working on a 1,000cc V6 superbike. The new machine is likely to have more than 200 horsepower on tap and Benelli may race this bike in World Superbikes in 2009.

The 750 Due, which Benelli showed at the Intermot last year, is due to be launched soon and Benelli are also working on a 600cc inline-four sportsbike, as well as a new 900cc, three-cylinder Tre-K dual-sport machine (the existing 1130 Tre-K will still remain in the lineup). And finally, Benelli are said to be developing a turbocharged TNT for the power-crazed, so Ducati, Bimota and MV Agusta had better watch out!

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Battery Assault: KillaCycle is now the world’s quickest electric motorcycle


No nitrous here, just battery power!

A123Systems’ KillaCycle is now officially the world's quickest electric motorcycle, and with an elapsed time (ET) of 8.16 seconds at 249.25km/h, the official electric-vehicle world record holder in the quarter-mile (400m) drag.

The KillaCycle is powered by Nanophosphate cells – automotive class Lithium-Ion batteries that make lots of power! In fact, this A123Systems battery pack delivers the equivalent of more than 350 horsepower to the bike’s rear wheel, and the machine can accelerate from zero to 100km/h in less than 1.5 seconds.

Visit the KillaCycle website for more details.


Here's a video of the KillaCycle in action

Also see:
London Land Speed Record on a ZZR1400
Turbo Hayabusa sets new streetbike speed record
Kawasaki 1400GTR: Insanity Express!
2007 Ducati Sport Classics go Biposto

Friday, April 06, 2007

Le Mans: BMW Motorrad to return to endurance racing


The Le Mans 24 Hours on one of these? Yes!

After a half-century absence from top-level roadracing, BMW are ready to go back to the grid – at the 2007 24 Heures Moto at Le Mans, on the 21st of this month, a BMW Motorrad factory team will also be present alongside the usual suspects…

Team BMW Motorrad Motorsport will be entering the first Endurance World Championship race of the season with the HP2 Sport, a machine based on the BMW R1200S, which means they’ll be participating in the Open Class. And after Le Mans, Team BMW will also participate in the 24-hour races in Barcelona (7th/8th July), Oschersleben (11th/12th August) and Magny Cours (Bol d'Or, 15th/16th September).

For those who want BMW's Le Mans racer in their garage, BMW are also working on the production version of their racebike, which should be ready by the end of this year and which will probably go on sale in early-2008. Expect lots of carbonfibre and titanium (bringing wet weight down to 200kg) and around 130 horsepower from the twin-cylinder engine.

The rumour mill also says (agreeing with what we said back in September last year...) they are developing an all-new machine that will take on litre-class Japanese superbikes. BMW may launch this new bike by the end of this year, and they may race it in World Superbikes in 2009. The new bike is expected to have a four-cylinder engine, and a full range of cutting-edge electronics including traction control.

If you’re a BMW traditionalist and all this talk of racing and new high-performance bikes worries you, you actually have nothing to fear. BMW are also, supposedly, working on an all-new LT tourer which may be powered by an 1800cc straight-six! Don’t expect this machine to come out before 2010 though…

Also see:
Versatile: 2007 BMW G650 Xmoto series
Awesome: 2007 BMW HP2 Megamoto!
Practical: 2007 BMW K1200R Sport
Turbocharged: MAB BMW K1200R

It's coming: The Cannonball Bike Run!


All this and much, much more at the Cannonball Bike Run...

Fast bikes, high speeds, hot chicks and booze-fuelled partying. Sounds good? Then you should look at signing up for the next Cannonball Bike Run (CBR). The CBR was started in Europe in 2005 and with five of these events planned for this year, it sure is going places!

If you live in the US, the American CBR is going to take place between the 13th and the 17th of September. And the event is titled ‘Coming to America: 5 Days of Mayhem,’ so you can probably imagine all the wonderful debauchery that’s going to be a part of it.


Here's a promo video - see what it's like being on the CBR

While the exact route is still a secret (to stop the coppers from spoiling all the fun of course…), the American CBR will start in LA and wind up in Las Vegas. That’s more than 3,000km of riding motorcycles on some of the best roads in the US. Entry fee is US$2,195 per bike and rider, but the package includes a bit of VIP treatment – the launch party in LA, daily breakfasts and dinners, first class hotel accommodations and support vehicles for your luggage etc.

Three European CBRs are also scheduled to take place in 2007. The first is CBR Le Mans (April 20 – 22), which is billed as ‘The ultimate weekend of red-hot riding, partying, and motorsport action.’ Second is CBR MotoGP (June 29 – July 1), and the third is CBR Europe (August 21 – 27). And yeah, the winners of the European legs of the CBR will be flown to the US, where they’ll be pitched against the Americans.

Go to the CBR website for more details on how you can be a part of the action!

Also see:
The Great Indian Autorickshaw Challenge!
1990s: The first liquid-cooled GSX-R!
Top Fuel motorcycles: A lesson in acceleration!
Gimme Five: The strangest motorcycles ever!

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Memorable: Laverda 750 Formula S

Laverda 750 Formula S Laverda 750 Formula S
Laverda 750 Formula S Laverda 750 Formula S
Can't beat the Italians on style...

Properly gorgeous, eh? Indeed, the Laverda 750 Formula S, from the late-1990s, was quite something in its day. Its 747cc parallel twin made 95 horsepower at 9200rpm, the aluminum beam frame was one developed by chassis specialist Nico Bakker, the gearbox was a six-speed unit, and with its Termignoni exhausts, the 750 Formula S made all the right noises when opened up. And while it won’t keep up with a modern-day GSX-R, the 750 Formula S, with a dry weight of 189kg, could hit a top speed of around 220km/h.

Moto Laverda was actually set up back in the late-1940s, and their small-capacity bikes were successfully raced against competition from the likes of BMW, Zundapp and Husqvarna. And in 1972, with the debut of their 750 SF, Laverda made their first serious mark on the larger-capacity sportsbike scene. With their solid engineering, reliable parallel twin engines, and stable handling, 750 SFs were something of a hit with racers everywhere.

The 750 SFs ultimately evolved into 750 SFCs (Super Freni Competizione) and came with disc brakes, cast magnesium wheels, and other high-spec bits. These orange-painted racers earned their glory at endurance races like the Bol D'Or, Le Mans, and the Montjuic 24 Hours.




By 1973, Laverda had graduated to three-cylinder engines, with the debut of their first 1000cc bike. And in 1982 came the now-legendary Laverda Jota 1000 triple, which was a performance motorcycling icon of its time. However, with the advent of cheaper, more powerful and often more reliable Japanese machines, the early-1980s also marked the decline of Laverda. With sales slowing down and revenues drying up, the company had to shut shop in 1985.

Like some other European motorcycle companies, Laverda went through some ill-fated resurrection attempts. The company was bought by Francesco Tognon in 1993 (the 750 Formula S was developed and launched under his ownership…), and sold to Aprilia in the year 2000. For some time, Laverda had to suffer the ignominy of selling cheap, re-branded scooters sourced from China. Later, in 2003, when Piaggio bought Aprilia, they chose to shut down the brand completely, and that’s the way it remains today – dead.

Piaggio say they are ready to sell the Laverda name to a suitable investor, so if you’re extremely rich and if you’ve always dreamt of starting your very own Italian motorcycle company…

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