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