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…

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Bring the Bling: Roaring Toyz Kawasaki ZZR1400

If you need a 300bhp paintjob to go with your 200bhp engine, Roaring Toyz is the place to go...

Bored with your 200bhp, 320km/h sportsbike? Take it to US-based customs builders, Roaring Toyz, and while they may not do much for speed or handling, they sure will make your bike stand out.

If billet accessories, chromed wheels, massive tyres, extended (and chromed swingarms), lowered suspension, and eye-searing paintjobs are your scene, Roaring Toyz will make you very happy indeed. Visit their website for more details.

Also see:
Video: ZZR1400 toasts Hayabusa!
Kawasaki Ninja ZX-12R: The greatest sport-tourer ever?
The sharpest tool: Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R