Monday, May 21, 2007

Spinning around: The Tailgunner Rotary Exhaust

Stick one of these on your bike, and give 'em hell...

Sometimes, when car drivers pull really stupid overtaking maneouvers, or when that huge SUV almost runs you off the road, you wish you had a big gun with which you could mow them all down.

Well, it isn’t a gun and you won’t mow down anyone with it, but at least the Tailgunner rotating exhaust lets you live out some of those gun-wielding fantasies of yours. Just imagine pulling up next to one of those soccer moms in her BMW X5, and letting loose with one of these… :-D

The Tailgunner exhaust in all its rotating glory!

Also see:
Six fix: The mighty Honda CBX1000
Top Fuel motorcycles: A lesson in acceleration
Bikes vs cars: One more round!
London land speed record on a Kawasaki ZZR1400!
Jesse James' seven-cylinder, 2800cc Aero-bike
Phase change material: The next level in motorcycle rider apparel

Sunday, May 20, 2007

MotoGP: Chris Vermeulen wins the 2007 Grand Prix de France, Rossi finishes in sixth place

Chris Vermeulen wins his first MotoGP at Le Mans, France. After six years, Suzuki are back on top!

The fifth round of the 2007 MotoGP world championship, at the Le Mans circuit in France, was packed with action. Though it was declared a wet race before the start, most riders opted to start on slicks, but had to come back into the pits after a few laps, once it started raining harder.

Two Frenchmen – Kawasaki rider Randy de Puniet, and Dunlop Yamaha Tech3 rider Sylvain Guintoli – led the race at the front for some time, but both fell prey to the tricky weather conditions at Le Mans, and crashed.

There really seems to be no stopping Stoner this year...

The way things finally worked out was that Rizla Suzuki rider, Aussie Chris Vermeulen led the race most of the time and finished in first place, followed by Honda Gresini rider Marco Melandri, who came in second. Vermeulen’s win at Le Mans is not only his first win in MotoGP, but also the first time a Suzuki has taken first place in the premier class after the year 2000, when Kenny Roberts Jr won the 500cc world championship on his Suzuki.

Says Vermeulen, 'I'm absolutely over the moon! The bike felt really good in the rain, but as it got heavier it made it hard to hold the bike in top gear down the straight - there was so much water it was just spinning the rear! Tom O'Kane - my Crew Chief - and the rest of the guys gave me a really good wet bike today as we hadn't done much wet testing with the new 800. The tyre choice was spot-on and the bike was certainly good enough to win on!'

Casey Stoner again rode a smooth, fast and confident race, making no mistakes anywhere – he finished in third place. Valentino Rossi finished sixth, and we don’t know if that was because of bike problems, or because of Stoner, who seems to have gained a significant psychological advantage over Rossi! Stoner now seems to be able to play with Rossi, and then dismiss him at will. Says Rossi, 'Of course I'm very upset about this result. We had hoped that this would be a track at which we could gain some ground on Stoner, and it's going to be a very hard battle from here because he is very fast, not just on the straights but everywhere!'

"Listen, both you and I are going nowhere this year. So stop thinking about it and let's just go down to the pub for a beer..."

We doubt if Vermeulen or Melandri will be significant contenders for the 2007 MotoGP world title, but Stoner is certainly making steady progress towards that crown. He seems to have the measure of Rossi, and the much touted Honda/Pedrosa combo isn’t really turning out to be all that great after all…

Also see:
Stoner and Capirossi test at Le Mans, prepare for Mugello
Dorna to 'quantify' MotoGP TV exposure!
Bike vs car: Honda Fireblade takes on Honda Civic
Hi-res Valentino Rossi wallpaper
Blast from the past" Silver Dream Racer
Aprilia to enter World Superbikes in 2008

Pat Hennen inducted into the Motorcycle Hall of Fame

Suzuki rider Pat Hennen in action on his Suzuki RG500

Twelve new members have been selected this year, for induction into The Motorcycle Hall of Fame. And of those twelve is Pat Hennen, the first American ever to win a 500cc motorcycle grand prix – the 1976 Finnish GP. Hennen took third place in the 1976 500cc world championship, behind Barry Sheene, who took first place, and Teuvo Lansivuori, who finished second.

A very fast rider who was not afraid of taking risks, Hennen seemed to be destined for great things, but his career ended in 1978, when he had a massive crash at the Isle of Man TT, at a speed of around 250km/h. Hennen suffered serious head injuries in that crash and never recovered fully.

For more details, visit The Motorcycle Hall of Fame Museum website here

Also see:
Twenty years of the Suzuki GSX-R
Libero Liberati: 500cc motorcycle GP racing world champ in 1957
1993 500cc world champ, Kevin Schwantz speaks
After six years, Suzuki take a MotoGP win!
Max Biaggi: Staying alive...
Retro SBK's Freddie Spencer tribute

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Memorable: The mighty Münch Mammut TTS-E

In a brutish way, the 1970s Mammut still looks very, very cool...

The German-made Münch Mammut TTS-E was pretty much the Suzuki Hayabusa / Kawasaki ZZR1400 of the late-1960s / early-1970s. The first prototype Mammut was first shown in 1966, and with its across-the-frame four-cylinder engine, it was a revelation for its time.

100-horsepower, 1200cc, fuel-injected superbike in the 1970s? That'd be the Munch Mammut!

Created by German visionary engineer Friedl Münch, the first Mammut TTS was fitted with a 1085cc, four-cylinder, 55 horsepower engine sourced from NSU. Later, when Kawasaki released their Z1 in the early 1970s, Münch responded with the Mammut TTS-E. The TTS-E was fitted with an SOHC 1286cc inline-four, which made 100 horsepower at 7500rpm.

Each bike was customised according to individual buyers' preferences

The bike featured mechanical fuel injection (engineered by another German company, Kugelfiacher), had a four-speed gearbox and weighed in at about 340 kilos. Top speed was in the region of 225km/h, which is more than what most riders would want to do on the bike today, because the Mammut TTS-E only had drum brakes, front and rear.

Forget leathers, you'd look cool popping wheelies in a suit on the Mammut!

With no mass-market bikes in their lineup, and with the assault mounted by lighter, equally powerful and cheaper Japanese bikes, Münch was already in financial trouble by the early-1970s. The company declared bankruptcy in 1971, and then again in 1973.

The last Mammut - a 2000cc, 260 horsepower megabike that cost US$80,000 seven years ago

Friedl Münch sold the rights to his company, but struggled on with production for another few years. He even attempted a comeback a few years ago with 1800cc and 2000cc megabikes, and also experimented with turbocharging and supercharging. Münch’s last attempt at building a modern superbike was the Mammut 2000, which was fitted with a DOHC, 1998cc, fuel-injected inline-four, Öhlins suspension and carbonfibre fairing. With its Cosworth cylinder heads and Schwitzer turbocharger, the bike boasted of 260 horsepower, was capable of doing 250km/h, and was priced at US$80,000.

A video of the Munch Mammut 2000. Awesome!

Today, the mighty Mammut lives on in memories and museums. To read more about this very remarkable motorcycle, go here, here, here, here and here. Most of these pages are in German and French, but try using Google’s language translation tools here.

Cagiva Mito 500 will now be a 650, will be made in India!

The Mito's 916-inspired styling still looks pretty cool...

Back in December last year, we had reported on Cagiva’s plans of building the Mito 500 sportsbike, which would be fitted with a single-cylinder, 510cc engine sourced from Husqvarna. Well, Cagiva have changed their minds it seems. The Mito 500 will now be the Mito 650, and will be fitted with a liquid-cooled, DOHC, 650cc, 79bhp v-twin sourced from Korean motorcycle manufacturer Hyosung. (The same engine is also fitted to the American-made Fischer MRX.)

To keep costs down, the new Mito 650 will be built in India, by Pune-based two-wheeler manufacturer Kinetic, who also have tie-ups with Hyosung, SYM and Italjet. Though it’ll only be moderately powerful, The Mito 650’s Ducati 916-esque styling, light weight and low-ish price (we hope!) should make it an interesting proposition for some.

And for those who may be worried about a Hyosung engine powering the new Cagiva Mito, this video should allay your fears a bit...

Also see:
Memorable: The rotary-engined Suzuki RE-5
Nitroduke: The world's fastest KTM!
God's own bike: The MV Agusta F4 Senna
Your game's oval: The Honda NR750
The amazing 1980s Suzuki Katana GSX1000S
Hyosung TrendKiller and GT650X

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Yet another comeback for Indian Motorcycles?

We don't really know much about these motorcycles, but that's probably an Indian Chief...

‘Want some grief? Buy an Indian Chief! Want some more? Buy an Indian Four!’ That was a limerick the Harley camp came up with in the 1930-40s, when the Indian / Harley-Davidson rivalry was at its peak. Of course, fans of Indian motorcycles came back with one of their own: ‘You'll never wear out, the Indian Scout, or its brother, the Indian Chief. They're built like rocks, to take hard knocks. It's the Harleys that cause the grief!’

Indian started operations in the year 1901, while Harley started off in 1903. The two companies fought on American turf right up till 1954, when Indian suspended operations. A statement released from the company at that time said that ‘The management of the Indian company has just completed a study of conditions adversely affecting motorcycle production in the United States. This has led to a decision to suspend assembly of complete motorcycles at Springfield during 1954.’

But that was not the end of it. Over the last few decades, there have been various attempts – some genuine, others misguided, and yet some others driven by sheer greed – to revive the Indian name. So much so that now any talk of reviving Indian motorcycles can hardly be taken seriously.

And yet, there’s a story on Motorcycle-USA which talks about the return of Indian motorcycles. ‘Expect to see the Indian Chief rolling down a roadway near you late in the Fall of 2007,’ says Stephen Julius, chairman of Indian Motorcycles. Wouldn’t reviving Indian be an arduous, uphill task? Doesn’t that faze Julius? He says, ‘I specialize in buying famous brand names that have had troubles in their past. The fact that it's had a troubled past doesn't concern me in the slightest.’

Does the world really need one more motorcycle manufacturer? Says Julius, ‘This is a brand that has tremendous equity, and there is clearly an opportunity for another American brand apart from Harley-Davidson. We would be delighted to have a very, very tiny share of what Harley has. We're not trying to go out there and compete with anyone. We are going to follow our own niche. We believe it's out there.’

To be honest, we don’t really believe the Indian name can make a comeback. In fact the way we look at it, the Indian Motorcycles name is not even relevant anymore. We wish people would let go, and let Indian motorcycles live on in the memories of those who rode them. But still, if you really wish to know more about Julius’ plans, read the full article at the Motorcycle-USA website here. And if you already want to book your 2008 Indian Chief, visit the Indian website here.

image host

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Fight Machines: The gloves are off…

Er... it's from the land of beer and sausages

Custom-built bikes are a pretty regular feature on Faster and Faster, and the latest to join the list are Germany-based SP Fight Machines. Owner Phil Schubert started off as a car mechanic in the early1990s, but eventually got tired of cars and moved on to building motorcycles.

One thing led to another, and now his outfit – Fight Machines – seems to be building some pretty tough motorcycles. If you like the pics you see here, get more info on the Fight Machines website here.

It's a Buell. The rear tyre was specified by Darth Vader himself

A Triumph Speed Triple...

...and we can't identify this one!

Also see:
more cool customs!
The mighty Munch Mammut TTS-E
Striking trike: The Peraves Monotracer
Trial without error: Dougie Lampkin

The best loved naked in Italy: MV Agusta Brutale 910R

The MV Agusta Brutale 910R Italia: Hot, Italian and so naked...

Italian motorcycle magazine, Motociclismo has given their Motorcycle of the year 2007 (naked category) award to the MV Agusta Brutale 910R. The 910R took 24% votes as opposed to 4% for the Ducati Monster S4Rs, which came in second, and 3% for the Aprilia Shiver 750, which landed in third spot.

Claudio Castiglioni, President, MV Agusta said, ‘It is truly wonderful to see that Italian motorcyclists really appreciate and recognise the passion that Italian manufacturers put into developing and building superb, technically advanced machines. This type of recognition reinforces our image as manufacturers of beautiful, exclusive motorcycles.’

Sheer naked fun:
CR&S Vun: Single, naked, Italian…
Allen Millyard's 2300cc, V12 Kawasaki!
The amazing new Ducati Hypermotard
British is bigger, British is best!
MAB Power: Turbo'd BMW K1200R

Ducati CEO, Federico Minoli to leave the company soon

Ducati CEO, Federico Minoli (second from right) will leave the company on the 21st of this month...

Federico Minoli, CEO at Ducati, and the man responsible for bringing Ducati back on track, is all set to leave the Bologna-based company. Minoli says that ‘Ducati shareholders want someone who’s close to them’ to take charge, which is why he will have to move on. He will be leaving the company on Monday, the 21st of this month.

Ducati shareholders wanting Minoli replaced by someone else seems very weird, because Ducati have made significant advances under his brilliant leadership. Ducati produced a range of new bikes – the 1098, the Hypermotard, the Desmosedici RR, the Multistrada 1100 and the Sport Classic series – under Minoli’s direction, they’ve been doing well in MotoGP and World Superbikes, and things have never looked better for the company.

Minoli speaks about leaving Ducati

Federico Minoli was born in Gallarate, Italy, and apart from being a brilliant Business Head, he’s also an ardent motorcycle enthusiast – his blog was quite popular with Ducati fans. We’re sure he’ll be missed at Ducati, and the man who takes his place will certainly have a very tough act to follow. We wish Federico all the very best in whatever he chooses to do.

Alan Cathcart interviewed Minoli for Motorcyclist magazine some time ago.

Also see:
The absolutely awesome Ducati Desmosedici RR...!
Troll road: The 2007 Ducati Monster S4R
The 2007 Ducati Multistrada 1100
2007 Ducati SportClassic Biposto. Beautiful!
The amazing new Ducati Hypermotard goes into production
Doug Polen compares the Ducati 999 vs Ducati 1098

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Max Biaggi: Staying alive…

Max Biaggi: The Roman Emperor still has some racing left in him apparently. And the arrogance is still there too...!

While he was never a very popular man in MotoGP, somehow we miss Max Biaggi. Perhaps it’s because of the memories we have of watching him race in the 250cc class in the 1990s, where he was absolutely brilliant. Remember, he won four 250cc world titles – three of them with Aprilia (in 1994, 95 and 96) and one with Honda, in 1997.

Biaggi racing his Chesterfield Aprilia in the 250cc class in 1996

Now that his MotoGP days are over, Mad Max races for Alstare Suzuki Corona in world superbikes, and recently took his GSX-R1000 to third place in race one, in the World Superbike race at Monza. Says Max, ‘Monza has been a fantastic experience, and the huge number of fans here has made this a great weekend. Although there were a lot of people here asking for my autographs and photos, I didn't mind and I tried to sign as many as possible. I am happy to do this for race fans.’

So there you are. The arrogance is still there. The man still thinks he really is a Roman Emperor. But what the heck, the world of motorcycle racing would be poorer without Max, so it's alright… :-)

Update (May 28, 2007): The latest rumour doing the rounds is that Max could be back in MotoGP in 2008! There may be a second Suzuki team in MotoGP next year - the Alstare Suzuki team - and the team manager for this could be 1993 500cc world champ, Kevin Schwantz himself! We'd be happy to see Max back in MotoGP, though we wonder if would really have the fire in him to take on young guns Stoner, Pedrosa and others. Let's see how things unfold over the next few months...

Also see:
Loris Capirossi: Winning for 16 years...!
Valentino Rossi: The biggest earning star in MotoGP
Anjelina Jolie: Staying ahead of Rossi!
Saga of the mighty Honda NSR500
Down memory lane: The Cagiva 500 GP racer

Monday, May 14, 2007

Dainese invite European customers to test their new helmet’s communication system

The Dainese Airstream Infinity helmet lets you do the talking

Dainese are giving their customers an opportunity to get involved in the testing of the company’s new range of helmets – the Airstream Course Infinity. Customers who buy Infinity helmets from the Dainese website will be able to test the helmets’ communication system, which allows riders travelling in a group to hold a conversation on the move.

The communication system combines a Bluetooth 2.0 interface with a miniature radio device, and allows conversation between motorcyclists who are up to 400m away from each other.

"What..?!? You really heard him say that ?!?"

Up to three people can talk at one time, while an almost unlimited number of people can listen. A total of about 800 units of the Airstream Course Infinity will be sold in the UK, Spain, Germany and France, and buyers will be able to post their comments on the efficiency of the new communication system and offer suggestions for improvement.

Those who participate in this beta test project will get a Motorola V3xx mobile phone, courtesy of Dainese.

Also see:
Pal V-One: The flying bike!
JRL Cycles' airplane-engined bike
Rapom V8: Supercharged, 1000bhp monster-bike!
July 18, 2007: 'Ride to work' day
Could you learn to live without bikes?

Dorna to quantify MotoGP TV exposure value for sponsors and advertisers!

Careful there, Loris. They're not only watching you, they're watching every single logo on your bike, helmet and leathers...

Dorna Sports, exclusive holders of the MotoGP World Championship’s commercial and television rights, have teamed up with Applied Image Recognition Ltd., to work towards measuring and quantifying television exposure for advertising and sponsorship partners.

For this, Dorna will use the Magellan System, an image recognition software developed by Omniperception and distributed worldwide by Applied Recognition Limited. The Magellan System, claim its developers, ‘sets the global standard for brand logo exposure analysis and reporting.’ Whatever that means.

Why is all of this happening? It’s being said that ‘Dorna Sports’ use of Magellan for MotoGP will give their sponsors higher levels of accuracy in brand exposure assessment during televised races.’ Carmelo Ezpeleta, CEO, Dorna Sports, says, ‘OmniPerception's Magellan System allows us to improve the accuracy of our reporting on the data we produce, to demonstrate to each of our partners the levels of exposure and return on interest they receive as a result of their presence in MotoGP.’ Wonderful, if this means more big-ticket sponsors getting into MotoGP!

More MotoGP:
Hi-res Valentino Rossi wallpaper!
Rossi and Edwards prepare for Le Mans
Scoop pics: 2017 Ducati MotoGP bikes!
Silver Dream Racer: 1980s 'MotoGP' movie
John Hopkins: "I'm a better rider than Hayden!"
Nicky Hayden: "I'm not giving up by any means!"

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Amazingly Naro: 40km to a litre of petrol

Proof that secretly, car drivers have always wanted to ride bikes...

The part bike / part car Naro is powered by a 400cc, single-cylinder, 20-horsepower engine, which delivers about 40km/l of fuel economy. This four-wheeled concept bike (car?) has been co-developed by the Narrow Motor Co., and its founder, Hugh Kemp, says that his company hopes to start production of this two-passenger urban runabout before the end of this year.

The fully enclosed Naro is a bit wider than, say, a Honda Goldwing, has four wheels, and is taller than most SUVs. While this doesn’t sound like much of a recipe for any kind of handling prowess, the Naro’s suspension – double wishbone at the front, independent trailing link at the back – allows it to lean like a motorcycle while cornering.

Co-developers of the Naro, the Narrow Motor Co., want to put this thing into production before the end of this year

The 300kg Naro should be at least reasonably safe – it has an extruded aluminium passenger cell mounted on a carbonfibre platform, and anti-lock brakes and airbags are standard equipment. Performance is mild at best – zero to 100km/h takes 12 seconds, and top speed is 135km/h. At least riding (driving?) it in city traffic should be quite painless, what with the Naro’s fully automatic CVT requiring minimal rider (driver?) involvement.

If vehicles like the Naro are the future, we’d definitely like to stay with the present, thanks very much.

Also see:
Some amazing trikes!
Some of the best custom-made bikes in the world
Top Fuel motorcycles: A lesson in acceleration!
The strangest motorcycles ever!

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Scoop Pics: 2017 Ducati MotoGP bikes!

These are the MotoGP machines Ducati are going to be racing in the year 2017...! Bayliss, by the way, is also testing special footwear developed for riding these high-performance bikes

Ducati are already developing the bikes they’ll be racing in MotoGP in the year 2017. These lean, slim, energy-efficient racers feature an ultra-stiff chassis made of balsa wood, lightweight titanium-spoke Campagnolo wheels, sticky Pirelli tyres and a 20-speed transmission.

There is no internal combustion engine powering these Ducati MotoGP bikes – the rider provides all the motive power. Ducati test rider Troy Bayliss has already posted some pretty impressive lap times – worryingly close to those turned in by current 800cc MotoGP machines on most circuits!

A Ducati test rider takes some time off from work...

Like with the 990cc Desmosedici RR, Ducati are also planning street-going replicas of their human-powered MotoGP bikes. These should be in showrooms within the next decade, and prices are expected to be pegged at around the US$20,000 mark.

Scary, eh? Thank heavens then that it’s all so much BS… :-)

Also see:
British is bigger, British is best!
KTM make something special for women!
The amazing Carver One: Orders being taken now...
Allen Millyard's 2300cc, V12 Kawasaki!
Aprilia to race in World Superbikes in 2008

The Freddie: Retro SBK’s Freddie Spencer tribute

That's Retro SBK's tribute to Freddie Spencer - The Freddie
Remember Freddie Spencer? Back in 1985, the American racer became the only man ever to win both the 250cc and the 500cc motorcycle GP racing world championships in the same year. Today, California-based outfit, Retro SBK are offering a custom-built bike in tribute to the great man.

Their bike, The Freddie, is based on a heavily modified Honda CBR1000RR. Mods include strengthened chassis and swingarm, re-valved Ohlins front forks, Ohlins rear shock with special titanium spring, forged Magnesium PVM wheels, six-piston monoblock calipers, radial pump master cylinders, and even a thumb-operated rear brake!

That's Spencer himself, in action on his Honda GP racer
The Freddie also gets a custom calibrated Motech data acquisition system, STM slipper clutch, Arrow GP-replica exhaust system, carbonfibre bodywork and a paint scheme that mimics Freddie Spencer’s 1983 Daytona-winning Honda CB750. The Freddie’s specially-tuned engine makes about 180 horsepower, and the bike itself costs an eye watering US$114,000.

Retro SBK say they’ll only make twenty of these Fast Freddie replicas, and each one will signed and numbered by Freddie Spencer himself. Want one? Visit the Retro SBK website for more information.

Video of Freddie Spencer in action at Daytona in the early-1980s
Also see:
Motorcycle racing: Then, and now...
Sportsbike development: No looking back!
1993 500cc motorcycle GP racing world champ, Kevin Schwantz speaks
1987 500cc motorcycle GP racing world champ, Wayne Gardner speaks
Twenty years of the Suzuki GSX-R750

Rossi and Edwards prepare for Le Mans

"I don't care what you have to do, Jeremy! We have to win in France...!!"

After failing to overcome the Ducati-Stoner combo in China last week, the Fiat Yamaha Team is now preparing for the Grand Prix of France, which will take place at Le Mans in a week from now.

Valentino Rossi’s Yamaha broke down at the 2006 French MotoGP, but the feisty Italian would certainly be looking for a podium position – if not an outright win – this year. If he does get on the podium, it’ll be Rossi’s 95th podium finish, equaling Mick Doohan’s record.

Says Rossi, “I definitely have a score to settle at Le Mans after what happened last year, when I should have won the race! Anyway, everything is different now and I'm very determined and looking forward to this next race. I'm very happy to go back to Europe and this next run of races is over some of my favourite tracks, where I know I'm always strong. It's a very busy time with seven races in just over two months, but it's also a key part of the championship and I'm ready to race at hundred percent.”

Expect Edwards to go all out at Le Mans

What about his Yamaha’s top speed deficit, compared to Stoner’s Ducati? Says Rossi, “I think our bike is very, very good and although we lack a little bit of top speed, this won't be such a problem at the next few circuits as it was in China. I think we're in good shape.”

Rossi’s teammate, Colin Edwards also agrees, saying that “I honestly believe our bike is the best one out there and now I just want to get to Le Mans and prove it! We know we go well there, so I'm really hoping I can get back on the podium. Le Mans is home ground for Michelin and we've done a lot of testing there over the last couple of years, which will hopefully help.” Looks like Stoner and Co. may have a tough fight on their hands in France then...

Also see:
Blast from the past: Silver Dream Racer
From Japan: Moto Corse Ducati 1098 AC
Doug Polen not so impressed with the Ducati 1098
John Hopkins: "I think I'm a better rider than Nicky Hayden!
Libero Liberati - 500cc motorcycle GP racing world champ in 1957

Friday, May 11, 2007

Motorcycle-USA’s 2007 Superbike Smackdown

Motorcycle-USA, our all-time favourite motorcycle website, has just done a shootout between the four litre-class Japanese superbikes and it’s an absolute riot. Brilliant stuff!

What do they have to say about the bikes? Starting with the Kawasaki ZX-10R, they say that ‘The once mighty monster of the group has had a good run and continues to prove it is an excellent choice for everything but a platform at the highest level of competitive racing. There's no doubt that it feels like the fastest bike here but the Ninja lacks a few key elements on the track including the brakes and this makes it a real workout to ride it fast.’

The Ninja is having to fight hard this time. Very hard...

About the Yamaha R1, Motorcycle-USA says, ‘The amount of technology that has been poured into the R1 is staggering but as we witnessed first hand, sometimes too much technology can be difficult to dial in on the first try. The anemic mid-range, third-heaviest weight and disappointing throttle lag forced it into the role of cellar dweller…’

Packed with hi-tech, but can the R1 deliver results to match?

Moving on to the Honda CBR1000RR, they say that ‘This is a bike tailor made for street riders and is just a slipper clutch and a few HRC kit parts away from being capable of taking on all comers, be it street or the track. With the CBR, you get the muscle of a big bike with the agility of a middleweight.’

Smooth, powerful and fast - just what you'd expect from Honda

And finally on to the Suzuki GSX-R1000, about which they say that ‘The combination of a ridiculous amount of power and an ultra-smooth delivery keeps the GSX-R at the top of the food chain once again in the battle for track supremacy. The CBR and ZX gave it a run for its money on the street, but in the end there is just something about the Suzuki that gives it an edge at the track.’

Can the 2007 Gixxer hold on to its crown?

Go to the Motorcycle-USA website for the full story. It’s just brilliant!

And here's M-USA's 2007 Superbike Smackdown video!

Also see:
Scoop pics: 2017 Ducati MotoGP bikes!
Honda CBR 1000RR vs Honda Civic Type R
Hi-res Valentino Rossi wallpaper
2008 Suzuki Hayabusa to pack 1350cc, 200bhp inline-four!
Life in the fast lane: Pervaes Monotracer

Special Edition Triumph Speed Triple 1050 announced

You know you don't want to spill its pint...

While their new 675cc Street Triple is still 6 – 8 weeks away from being launched, Triumph have just announced a Special Edition Speed Triple 1050. The bike comes with an Arrow 3-into-1 exhaust system, various carbonfibre bits, black seat cowl and belly pan, and anodized axle covers. Triumph are only building 50 of these SE bikes and the price is US$11,999. Go to the official website for more information.

Also see:
Triumph 675 Daytona wins International Bike of the Year award
Multi-sport: 2007 Triumph Tiger
Coming soon: Triumph Street Triple
British is bigger, British is best!
Custom streetfighter: The Mad Jack

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Racy Reptile: Bimota YB6 Tuatara

282km/h on a production bike, in 1990? On a Bimota Tuatara, yes...
Bimota Tuatara Bimota Tuatara Bimota Tuatara

According to Wikipedia, ‘the tuatara is a reptile of the family Sphenodontidae, endemic to New Zealand. The tuataras resemble lizards, but are equally related to lizards and snakes, which are their closest living relatives. The tuatara has been classified as an endangered species since 1895.’ The Tuatara is also one of the slowest moving creatures on Earth…

So what could Bimota have been thinking of, when they decided to call one of their fastest-ever bikes, Tuatara? Unlike the reptile, the bike was neither ugly nor slow. Unveiled at the Milan motorcycle show in 1989, the Tuatara was a special variant of the Bimota YB6 – the main difference being that the Tuatara had Weber-Marelli electronic fuel-injection, while the YB6 had to make do with carburetors.

Bimota Tuatara Bimota Tuatara Bimota Tuatara
Only 56 of these Bimota Tuataras were ever built, and that was 17 years ago, so you probably wouldn't find one parked in your neighbour's driveway...

The Bimota Tuatara was indeed very avant-garde for its time. With 152 horsepower from its liquid-cooled, 989cc, DOHC, 20-valve inline-four (sourced from the pre-EXUP Yamaha FZR1000), the 168-kilo Tuatara could do the quarter mile (400m) in 10.4 seconds, and was capable of hitting a top speed of 282km/h! In those days, only the mighty Kawasaki ZZR1100 could keep up with the Tuatara, and both were billed as the fastest production motorcycles of their time by their respective manufacturers.

Given Bimota’s expertise in the chassis/suspension department, the Tuatara was fitted with top-spec components and once set up properly, handled very well. The bike had adjustable 42mm Marzocchi USD forks (with the then fashionable anti-dive plumbing) at the front, the steering angle was adjustable, and the rear shock was adjustable for preload and compression damping. Twin 320mm Brembo brake discs handled stopping duties at the front, while there was a single 230mm disc at the back. The Tuatara came with lightweight alloy wheels made by Oscam, and the instrument panel was all digital.

While Bimota built 546 units of the YB6 and 114 units of the YB6 EXUP, the Rimini-based company only built 56 units of the Tuatara, making it one of the most exclusive Bimotas ever produced. The Tuatara cost about US$15,000 back in 1990, which also makes it one of the most expensive bikes ever. But what a machine! In fact, the Tuatara is one of those rare bikes from the 1990s which can even hope to keep up with current-day litre-class superbikes in the performance stakes. A true classic...

Even today, the YB6 / Tuatara looks just so cool...
Bimota Tuatara Bimota Tuatara Bimota Tuatara
Bimota Tuatara Bimota Tuatara Bimota Tuatara
Bimota Tuatara Bimota Tuatara Bimota Tuatara

Also see:
Moto art: The Bimota Delirio
Coming soon: The Bimota Tesi 3D
Down memory lane: The Bimota YB11
What is it about Italian bikes...?
What your bike says about you!

Random Ramblings