Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Air power for bikes, in the near future?

This car has a compressed air engine, which could possibly find its way into the 2017 GSX-R...

So what is this frumpy little car doing on Faster and Faster? Well, it isn’t about the car – it’s about the engine, which is powered by compressed air. The air engine has been developed by MDI, which is based in Luxemburg, with a factory in France.

Guy Nègre, the man who set up Moteur Developpement International (MDI) in 1991, and who’s invented the air engine, has significant engineering credentials. He’s worked in aeronautics and F1, and at one time, developed a W12 engine which was exhibited at the French Petroleum Institute.

To come back to the air engine, MDI have tied up with one of India’s largest carmakers, Tata Motors, and are all set to start producing the world’s first air-powered car by mid-2008. Some 6,000 zero-emissions ‘Air Cars’ are scheduled to hit Indian roads by August 2008.

This is what the air engine looks like. Will there be a Yamaha Air-1 in the next 10 years...?

These cars are expected to have a range of about 200km, and a top speed of 110km/h. One tank of fuel means 340 liters of air, at 4350psi. Till the time special, high-speed filling stations are built, owners can simply plug these Air Cars into an ordinary electrical outlet and use the car’s built-in compressor to refill their ‘fuel’ tanks – a process which will take about four hours.

The cars will also be fitted with GSM/CDMA phones, GPS navigation systems, and Internet connections. Apart from India, MDI have signed deals to launch their Air Car in 12 other countries, including Germany, Israel and South Africa.

MDI say that the ‘air engine’ used in their production cars will comprise of an “800cc moto-compressor, and four flat-lying cylinders.” While we confess we don’t really understand too many technical details (which are available at the MDI website here), we must say we’re quite intrigued with the idea of these compressed air engines. Will these alien engines replace the internal-combustion engine in the next 10-20 years? Will petrolheads convert to being airheads? Fifteen years from now, will there be a Yamaha Air-1…?

Also see:
Single-side exhaust systems for the 2007 GSX-R1000
Tom Cruise buys a Vyrus 985 C3 4V!
MotoGP: Is the Kawasaki Ninja ZX-RR any good?
1948 Vintage: The Ducati Cucciolo
Casey Stoner gets brand-new Alfa Romeo Brera!
Kalex AV1: All-out performance for the street
Top Gun: MotoTuning's streetfighter GSX-R

Beyond Tomorrow: The Air-engined MDI cars in action...!

John McGuinness wins 100th Anniversary Isle of Man TT Superbike race

McGuiness won the six-lap Superbike race aboard his Honda CBR1000RR, at an average speed of around 200.88km/h!

HM Plant Honda rider, John McGuinness has made history. Riding his Honda CBR1000RR, the 34-year-old won the six-lap Superbike race at the 100th Isle of Man TT event yesterday. This was McGuinness’ twelfth victory on the IoM, and Honda’s 131st win there!

Honda riders occupied the top six spots in this race, and McGuinness won with an average speed of 200.88km/h. He says, ‘I got my head down and went for it, riding as hard as I could, though being a bit careful in the damp bits. I had a few moments on the first lap including a big slide at the thirteenth milestone when the back end of the bike came round on me, but I kept it going.’

'I'm not getting any younger and they made me work for this one,' says McGuiness...

So how does Mr McGuinness feel after winning the 100th Isle of Man TT Superbike race? ‘It's unbelievable. I'm not getting any younger and they made me work for this one. I'd trained hard all winter to be ready for them and it is well worth it all. I had to ride really hard and gave it everything. To win this race is a tremendous feeling. It will go do in the history books as the first win in the Centenary event and that means an awful lot for me and for Honda – this victory is a testament to their preparation.’

McGuinness is now in third spot in the list of all time TT winners, behind Joey Dunlop (26 wins) and Mike Hailwood (14 wins).

That's Rem Fowler with his Norton, TT winner back in 1907!

2007 Bennetts Superbike Isle of Man TT Race Results

1. John McGuinness HM Plant Honda

2. Guy Martin Hydrex Honda

3. Ian Hutchinson HM Plant Honda

4. Martin Finnegan Alpha Boilers Honda

5. Ian Lougher Stobart Honda

More details on the Isle of Man website here. Here’s a pre-race interview with the John McGuiness, and you can download this podcast where he speaks about the race.

2007 Isle of Man TT, pre-race video

Also see:
Ducati 1098 wins Istituto Europeo di Design's beauty award
Madness: Helicopters vs Superbikes!
Air-powered engines for motorcycles in the near future?
Must read: 50 street survival tips
Ilmor to return to MotoGP in 2008

Monday, June 04, 2007

Aprilia to enter MotoGP within the next three years!

Forget the 2002-03 RS Cube. In the next three years, Aprilia will be back in MotoGP with an all-new bike...

A few weeks ago we had posted an article about Aprilia planning to enter World Superbike racing in 2008. Apparently, the Italian company isn’t going to stop at that. Aprilia’s ambition stretches all the way up to MotoGP and no, the 2002-03 debacle with their three-cylinder RS Cube MotoGP bike doesn’t faze them one bit.

Roberto Colaninno, President of the Piaggio Group recently met Carmelo Ezpeleta, Dorna CEO, and the two discussed Aprilia’s coming back to MotoGP. Said Colaninno, ‘We want to compete with Honda, BMW, Yamaha, and Ducati. We have a reorganized group and we can make it. Our objective is to arrive in MotoGP within three years!’

What does this mean for Aprilia’s plans of racing in SBK next year? Says Colaninno, ‘We will not abandon the world superbikes plan, but we will reorganize our presence in 125cc and 250cc grand prix racing.’ Hmm… with a lineup of exciting new sportsbikes and ambitious plans in top-level roadracing, Aprilia certainly seem to be going places…

Also see:
Moto Guzzi 1200 Sport: Chug along now...
The new world of Benelli
Reinventing the mighty Yamaha V-Max
Track T800CDI: Do diesel and motorcycles really mix?
Limited edition BMW R1200ST
The very cool Harley Davidson Nightster!
American muscle: Shelby & Rucker build 150bhp chopper
Bimota Tesi 3D: Coming to a showroom near you...

Street Survival: 50 tips from Motorcycle Cruiser magazine

When in doubt, just pin the throttle and hold on...!

Motorcycle Cruiser have an excellent article on their website, where they’ve put down 50 sensible tips that could save your life. Here are the six which we think are most crucial, but also do visit their website for the remaining 44

Assume you're invisible
Because to a lot of drivers, you are. Never make a move based on the assumption that another driver has seen you…

Hope for the best, prepare for the worst
Assume that car across the intersection will turn across your bow when the light goes green, with or without a turn signal

Leave your ego at home
 The only people who really care if you were faster on the freeway will be the officer and the judge

Mirrors only show you part of the picture
Never change direction without turning your head to make sure the coast really is clear

If it looks slippery, assume it is
 A patch of suspicious pavement could be just about anything. Butter Flavor Crisco? Gravel? Mobil 1? Or maybe it's nothing. Better to slow down for nothing than go on your head

Take a deep breath
 Count to 10. Visualize whirled peas. Forgetting about some clown's 80-mph indiscretion beats running the risk of ruining your life, or ending it

Sunday, June 03, 2007

2007 Gran Premio D’Italia Alice: Rossi takes sixth successive MotoGP win at Mugello!

New helmet, and sixth successive MotoGP win at Mugello. The Doctor is back!

Yes indeed, no. 46 is back on top. Belying fears of Stoner romping away with the win on his home ground, The Doctor simply ran away from the pack this time around. Rossi stamped his authority all over the Mugello circuit, winning by a comfortable margin over Repsol Honda man Dani Pedrosa, who took second. This was Rossi’s sixth successive MotoGP victory at Mugello.

Nicky Hayden finished in 10th place. His title defense seems to be well and truly over...

Pramac d’Antin Ducati got a wonderful surprise, with old-timer Alex Barros taking third place, while Casey Stoner finished in fourth place. With this victory, Rossi is now only 9 points behind Stoner (as opposed to 21 points before that start of the race) in the MotoGP world championship points standing. With the MotoGP circus going to the Catalunya circuit in Spain next weekend, the 2007 season seems to be heating up good and proper now…

Alex Barros took a well deserved third place, staying just ahead of Casey Stoner. So the oldies still have a thing or two to teach the youngsters... :-)

Also see:
Nicky Hayden: Watch out!
Alternative fronts: The bikes that dared to be different...
2008 Victory Vision luxury tourer
Team Cristofolini build the maddest scooter in the world!
Significant firsts in motorcycling
The US$80,000 NCR Ducati Millona

Ilmor may be back in MotoGP in 2008

Can a small team with a small budget really complete a full MotoGP season? Ilmor intend to find out in 2008...

The UK-based Ilmor, who raced their XR3 MotoGP machine at the season-opener in Qatar and then withdrew from competition due to lack of sponsorship money, may soon be back. As they had said they would, Ilmor have continued development work on their 800cc V4 engine, and their rider, Jeremy McWilliams will demo the bike on the 24th of June at the Goodwood Festival of Speed.

Says Ilmor’s managing director Steve Miller, ‘Time is running out for us to get everyone on board for a return to MotoGP for 2007. But we are very much in the sponsorship hunt, although the focus is beginning to shift to 2008.’ The British company is also looking at the possibility of leasing engines to other teams who may want to get into MotoGP. ‘Being an engine supplier is our core business,’ says Miller.

Also see:
Wild child: The Yamaha RD500LC
Riding impression: Rizla Suzuki GSV-R
MotoGP-powered KRV5 Boardtracker!!
Phase change material: The next level in motorcycle rider clothing?
Motorcycle cat-cons: Are they going to keep getting bigger?
Faster and Faster: The best of 2006

Lightning Motors’ Lithium battery-powered Yamaha R1

All those batteries look ugly, but they get the job done. Welcome to the future of fast bikes...?

Tired of filling petrol in your R1? California-based Lightning Motors will take away your bike’s IC engine and fit it with 28 Lithium Iron Phosphate batteries, each of them weighing 2.97 kilos. The electric R1 weighs about 180kg, and packs the equivalent of 70 horsepower. Its manufacturers claim it can go from zero to 100km/h in three seconds, and that it can hit a top speed of 160km/h!

Electric motors make a lot of low speed torque, so we can understand that huge rear sprocket. But why is it wearing slicks...?!?!

The bike does close to 130km on one charge, as long as you keep your speed below 100km/h. After that, plug in the bike’s on-board charger into a standard electricity outlet and you’re ready to go again in seven hours. The whole thing is quite expensive though – conversion costs US$15,000 and takes about a month to complete. Still interested? More details and a video of the bike in action on the LA Times website here.

Also see:
Killacycle: The world's fastest electric motorcycle!
Rapom V8: 1000bhp, supercharged monster-bike
And the best KTM for women is...
Bring the bling: Roaring Toyz Kawasaki ZZR1400
The incredible Laverda 750 Formula S
Down memory lane: The Bimota YB11

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Custom Triumph: Pettinari Speed Triple

One of the best streetfighter customs we've seen recently...

Yes, custom-built streetfighters are everywhere these days, but we think this Pettinari Speed Triple from Italy looks a bit special. Find out more here.

And here's an image gallery of some very interesting bikes which Triumph should think of building... :-)

Also see:
Cagiva Mito 650 to be made in India?
Fight Machines: The gloves are off...
Brutale 910R: The best loved naked in Italy!
Dorna to 'quantify' MotoGP exposure
Bike vs car: Honda Fireblade vs Honda Civic Type R

Friday, June 01, 2007

Ex-Top Gun buys a Vyrus 985 C3 4V

The Vyrus doesn't have an afterburner, but then the ex-Top Gun must have also mellowed a bit since 1986...

Back in 1986, Jerry Bruckheimer's big-time hit movie Top Gun pretty much established Tom Cruise as a Hollywood mega-star. But once it's been twenty years since you last flew a fighter jet, what do you do to get your kicks? Well, you get a very fast, very high-tech motorcycle. Which is what Mr Cruise has done – he's bought a Vyrus 985 C3 4V.

Built in Rimini, Italy, the Vyrus 985 C3 4V is powered by a 150bhp Ducati v-twin, and top speed is around 250km/h. Cruise, apparently, saw the bike in a Beverly Hills showroom and decided he must have one. Buying a US$90,000 bike is probably no big deal for someone who's worth more than US$100 million, and Ascanio Rodorigo, the man who owns Vyrus, personally delivered Cruise's bike to his house.

US$90,000 means front swingarm instead of USD front forks for the Vyrus. But seriously, it should be an amazing bike

Says Rodorigo, 'To get it right, we had to weigh Tom and take his height and riding position. That way, when he rides it, it feels like a tailor-made suit.' But of course. In the meanwhile, you can read Motorcyclist magazine's road test of the Vyrus here. Also take a look at various other bikes which experimented with alternative front suspension over the years, here.

Also see:
Bike magazine readers: "Carl Fogarty is an idiot!"
1980s Exotica: Suzuki XN85 Turbo!
Bikers, listen up: Could you be going deaf...?!
Spinning around: Tailgunner rotary exhaust system
Memorable: The mighty Munch Mammut TTS-E

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Single again: Mivv exhaust systems for the 2007 Suzuki GSX-R1000

Suzuki GSX-R1000s must have single-side exhaust systems. The 2007 Gixxer K7 model doesn't. Enter Italian specialists, Mivv...

Not much to say here. We love GSX-R1000s, and while styling is a matter of personal opinion to some extent, we'd say the 2006 GSX-R1000 was the best looking ever. The 2007 model is... umm... all right. But the 2006 model was the best. Perhaps what really spoils the K7's styling for us are its twin exhaust pipes - they just don't look right on the GSX-R1000.

Now, Italian bike parts specialists Mivv have a solution - the single side exhaust system you see here. For more details, go to their website here.

Also see:
Lithium battery-powered Yamaha R1!
Is the Kawasaki Ninja ZX-RR MotoGP bike any good?
From Italy: The very stylish Honda Hornet Cup
Moto Tuning's streetfighter: Top Gun GSX-R
Kalex AV1: MotoGP-spec performance for the road?

2008 World Superbikes: FIM approve 1200cc engine capacity limit for twins

Bigger twins! The Ducati camp is obviously delighted...

Ducati Superbike racing program Director, Davide Tardozzi has told Speed TV that new FIM regulations pertaining to SBK 2008 have been agreed upon, and are likely to be announced on the coming Sunday, after the Italian MotoGP at Mugello. The FIM have, in principle, agreed to Ducati's demands, and the new rules will allow twin-cylinder engines to go up to 1200cc.

This revised engine capacity for twins in World Superbikes is likely to have a major effect on many manufacturers' plans – BMW, KTM and Aprilia are likely to enter the prestigious series in 2008. Japanese manufacturers, all of whom run 1000cc four-cylinder engines, are likely to be unhappy about this. Alstare Suzuki, for one, are already reported to be thinking about getting out of World Superbikes, and going to MotoGP.

Expect to see a 1098R in 2008, with a 1198cc, World Superbikes-spec engine. It'll be expensive...

On the subject of why Ducati have been pushing for the 1200cc engine capacity limit for twins, Tardozzi says it's because 'That capacity allows us to be on an almost equal level to the Japanese 1000cc four-cylinder machines on the road. The difference in horsepower is around twenty percent. In World Superbikes, the best Japanese fours have about 215bhp, while we have about 194.'

What about electronics though? Aren't Ducati already supposed to have the best electronics in SBK? Says Tardozzi, 'We have the best electronics, but electronics and traction control cannot help you make the rear wheel turn faster. It can control the rear wheel on acceleration, but when you are on a straight, it is only the engine that is making the rear wheel turn – electronics cannot make more horsepower!'

With the new engine capacity for twin-cylinder engines, KTM and BMW may also enter the SBK fray in 2008. Good for the series...

So with the engine capacity for twins going up to 1200cc, what does this mean for the Ducati 1098? Well, expect a homologation special – perhaps called the 1098R – which will actually have a 1198cc engine. As per the new rules, Ducati will have to make at least 1000 units of this bike and offer it for sale on the open market. Of course, despite being hugely expensive, we don't suppose Ducati would have any trouble selling all 1000 units of their World Superbikes-spec 1098. The only thing that remains to be seen is how Japanese manufacturers react to this change...

Also see:
Ducati Desmosedici RR: The most lust-worthy bike in the world!
Bikes: Are there any alternatives to motorcycling...?
Acabion GTBO 70: The world's fastest motorcycle!
V-Roehr 1130: All-American superbike
Sizzler: 2007 Rizla Suzuki GSX-R1000
War of the Ninjas: Original ZX-10 vs New ZX-10R
Angelina Jolie on top, Rossi settles for second place

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

MotoGP: Rossi vs Capirossi at Mugello!

Expect a Rossi vs Capirossi showdown during the Italian MotoGP at Mugello on the coming Sunday

Valentino Rossi has won the last five MotoGP races at Mugello, and will no doubt be going all out to make sure he gets his sixth consecutive win there on Sunday, the 2nd of June. Says Rossi, ‘I have a very special relationship with Mugello. I have won there many times, including the last three years with Yamaha, and I've had some of the greatest races of my life there. Even though I will have a second home race this year at Misano, Mugello is something incredible and the fans and atmosphere there are always unbelievable. It's a fantastic track but of course the straight is very long, and we know we're going to have a very hard battle on our hands. At least we can rely on the weather... I hope!’

The Doctor is now also The Editor...

Incidentally, Rossi is also on the cover of the June 2007 issue of Italian GQ. Il Dottore is also GQ’s Il Edittore for this special issue! But back to Mugello, and on to the man who could be Rossi’s biggest challenger this coming Sunday – Loris Capirossi. Loris won at Mugello in the 500cc class back in the year 2000, when he took his Honda Pons NSR500 to first place. This time around, Capirossi could be a strong contender for the win, and his chances might be helped by the fact that his Ducati Desmosedici GP7 is getting freshly tweaked electronics and fuel mapping, which are supposed to make the engine respond better to Capirossi’s riding style.

Says Loris, ‘Mugello is our track, and it’s an important race for us. In fact, it is a great event for all the Italians. Last year, Valentino and I had a great battle here for the win. This year, we are working hard to adapt the GP7 to my style of riding – I absolutely want to find my speed again!’ Now we’re sure Mugello will see an all-out Rossi vs Capirossi battle on the coming Sunday, and we can’t wait to see whether The Stormy Stoner will be able to throw a spanner in the Italian riders’ works…

Also see:
On the pace: Read before you ride
What your bike says about you...!
2007 BMW K1200R Sport
Wildlife: 2007 KTM 990 Super Duke R
Memorable: The Yamaha RD500LC
The Best of Faster and Faster!
Tiff Needell tests the Campagna T-Rex!
The amazing Benelli Tre-K Amazonas

Is the Kawasaki Ninja ZX-RR as good as any other current MotoGP machine?

Why are Kawasaki doing so poorly in MotoGP? Is it the riders?

We are big Kawasaki fans here at Faster and Faster, so we feel pretty sorry for the poor show they’ve put up in MotoGP this year. Is it the riders? With Shinya Nakano having left for Honda, can Olivier Jacque and Randy de Puniet really stand up against the likes of Stoner and Rossi? Or is it the bike? Have Kawasaki put in enough time and money in developing their MotoGP racer?

The Ducati seems to have a clear power and top speed advantage

Well, Kawasaki’s problem might not be their bike. Most MotoGP insiders seem to think the Ninja ZX-RR is not such a bad machine. Speaking to Crash.net, Kawasaki Racing Team communications manager, Ian Wheeler says, ‘The development of the Ninja ZX-RR has been fairly rapid over the past few months. The bike we rolled out for pre-season testing was competitive from the off, because the fundamental design was good. However, it was pretty obvious straightaway that there was a top speed deficit when you compared our bike to the Yamaha and, especially, the Ducati.’

This year, the Rossi/Yamaha combo hasn't worked as well as expected

Sure enough, the Ducati’s speed and power has left all the Japanese teams stunned this year. But what are Kawasaki doing about dealing with the situation? Says Wheeler, ‘After Jerez, we tested some minor modifications to the fuel injection system and the electronics package, which gave us an increase in power of around six horsepower. The changes also allowed us to increase our rev limit by a significant amount, without impacting fuel consumption. At the Chinese Grand Prix, we tested some more modifications to the engine and fuel injection system that offered a further increase of six horsepower. The results could be clearly seen with the top speed figures at the end of the 1.2km straight in Shanghai, where Randy and Olivier were regularly in the top five through the speed trap.’

After a long, long break, Suzuki finally seem to be getting back on track in MotoGP

So despite Kawasaki riders de Puniet and Olivier being at the very back of the MotoGP pack right now, Wheeler believes the ZX-RR is as good as Yamaha, Honda, Suzuki and Ducati machines? He says, ‘At this point in time, I would say that our Ninja ZX-RR is on a par with the Yamaha and the Ducati, although the Ducati still has a significant advantage when it comes to top speed. The results might say otherwise at the moment, but I think we're currently ahead of both Honda and Suzuki.’

Up till now, Honda also haven't done very well this year. Why?

So all they need is a good rider then. With new riders – fast, aggressive, young riders – from the 250cc class coming to MotoGP in 2008, perhaps some of the old timers would be looking at other opportunities. How would the Ninja ZX-RR do, with Colin Edwards and/or Loris Capirossi riding the bike? If Max Biaggi also comes back to MotoGP with Alstare Suzuki, the oldies could be having one hell of a battle in 2008…

Also see:
Memorable: The Kawasaki ZXR750
Freddie Spencer: The Sultan of Slide
NitroDuke: The world's fastest KTM!
Bikes vs Cars: One more round...
Memorable: The Kawasaki Ninja ZX-12R
Cruiser gone bad: The Suzuki B-King!
Hyper-tourer: The Kawasaki 1400GTR

Monday, May 28, 2007

Ferrari chopper, anyone? Or a Kawasaki triple, perhaps...?

Found this on YouTube. Somebody's built a Ferrari chopper. Why?

We can understand if you didn't much care for the Ferrari chopper. So here's an infinitely more sensible two-stroke, three-cylinder, Kawasaki H2A Mach IV

You can read about the very memorable 1970s Kawasaki triples here and here.

Also see:
The 2007 World Stunt Riding championship
A special KTM for women...
Rapom V8: 1000bhp, supercharged megabike
New developments at Moto Morini...
It's coming: The Cannonball Bike Run
Memorable: The Laverda 750 Formula S

1948 Vintage: Ducati Cucciolo

Look carefully and you might just see where the 1098 takes some of its design influences from... :-)

In the mid-1940s, Ducati, who were making radios and miscellaneous electrical components at that time, partnered with an Italian company called SIATA, in order to start making motorcycles. And the Cucciolo (Italian for puppy…) was one of the first efforts of the fledgling company.

The 1948 Cucciolo T2 was the first motorcycle which Ducati designed on their own. It was powered by an air-cooled, 48cc, single-cylinder engine, which was mated to a two-speed gearbox. The engine only made 1.5 horsepower at 5500rpm, but there was a Sports version (!!!) for those who wanted more performance – 2.0 horsepower, and a claimed 60km/h top speed.

Today, the Cucciolo continues to attract female attention

The 1948 Cucciolo T2 led to the T3 in early-1949, which had a three-speed gearbox, stronger tubular chassis, rear suspension and grease lubricated valve gear enclosed in a case. As usual, Ducati also offered a Sports version, where the engine capacity upped to 65 cc, a swingarm fork was added, and two pairs of telescopic shock absorbers were bolted on. All heady stuff for those days! The bike was moderately successful in racing, and Ducati never looked back since then…

Here's the very interesting Ducati Virtual Museum - you'll want to visit all seven 'rooms' there.

Also see:
Ducati PS1000 LE: Paul Smart rides again!
Bike magazine readers: 'Carl Fogarty is an idiot!'
Memorable: The mighty Munch Mammut TTS-E
Racy reptile: The Bimota Tuatara
Blast from the past: Silver Dream Racer
Brough Superior: Rights to name on sale
Libero Liberati: 500cc motorcycle GP racing world champ in 1957...

WheelSurf Monowheel: Join the singles club…

That's the WheelSurf Monowheel. Practical transportation...
Monowheels are not exactly new – people have been working on these single-wheeled motorcycles (?) for the last 120 years. In fact, monowheels saw a fair bit of action in the early part of the last century, with interest in these weird machines fizzling out by the 1930s, by which time cars and motorcycles were firmly established as the future of motorized transport.

They thought they were on to the next big thing...
But there are still some who love the concept of traveling in a single-wheeled machine, which brings us to the WheelSurf. It has an engine and one wheel inside which the rider sits. The machine consists of an inner and an outer frame, with the inner frame being in contact with the outer, via three small wheels. Shod with a solid rubber tyre, the outer frame is the actual rotating wheel that comes in contact with the tarmac.

Single-wheeled military vehicle prototype from the 1930s
The rider sits inside the inner frame, on which the engine and propulsion mechanism are also mounted. The whole contraption weighs about 50 kilos, and powered by a two-stroke, single-cylinder, 55cc petrol engine, mated to a single-speed transmission with a centrifugal clutch.

A video of the WheelSurf monowheel in action
The WheelSurf can accelerate from zero to 40km/h (which is also its top speed) in around eight seconds. And yes, you need some time to practice – you can’t just fire it up and ride off in rush-hour traffic. Unless you’re Kerry McLean, that is. In which case you ride a fearsome, V8-powered monowheel – the Rocket Roadster.

That's McLean, with his Buick V8-powered Monowheel
McLean’s Rocket Roadster is powered by a Buick V8, and while it’s theoretically capable of doing 160km/h, it’s actually been clocked at 85km/h – no mean feat since monowheels are difficult to control at high speeds. Why ride a monowheel at all? Says McLean, ‘You may be hauling ass, but you feel like you're floating.’ Amen.

Doing 85km/h on this contraption probably takes more courage than doing 320km/h on a ZZR1400

Kerry McLean was crap at pulling wheelies, which is probably why he dreamt up this monowheel thing...
You can right-click and download this video, which shows McLean riding his Monowheel on the Bonneville Salt Flats. And for more information on WheelSurf, visit their website here.

More one-wheeled action...   :-)

Other crazy machines:
Life in the fast lane: The Peraves Monotracer
Pal V-One: The flying bike!
Allen Millyard's 2300cc, V12 Kawasaki!!
JRL Cycles' aircraft-engined chopper
Crazy Quad: The Polaris Revolver Sport
Fast and funky: The Carver One
Special KTMs for women...
Rapom V8: 1000bhp supercharged monster-bike
Acabion GTBO 70: The world's fastest bike!

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Casey Stoner gets an Alfa Romeo Brera!

Free cars. One of the advantages of being a top MotoGP rider...

...and here's some hi-res wallpaper for Stoner fans!

Update (24th Sept., 2007): Casey Stoner wins 2007 MotoGP world championship at Motegi!

We had earlier reported on Alfa Romeo having teamed up with Ducati Corse for the SBK Superbike World Championship series. Alfa Romeo are the official sponsor, official car and the safety car supplier for the 2007 World Superbikes series.

Alfa Romeo have also promised to ‘extend cooperation’ to Ducati’s MotoGP effort, and the first person to benefit from this ‘cooperation’ seems to be Casey Stoner. On the occasion of the first birthday of the Mirafiori Motor Village in Italy, Alfa Romeo gifted a Brera 3.2 to Stoner. The CEO of Alfa Romeo, Antonio Baravalle gave the car’s keys to a very happy Stoner, who said, ‘Alfa Romeo, as Ducati, is a prestigious Italian brand I have been fascinated with since I was a child. I'm looking forward to driving my new Brera.’

Alfa Romeo will also take part in the Fifth World Ducati Week, which will be held in the Romagna region of Northern Italy from the 28th of June to the 1st of July this year. And while they won’t give you a free Brera, if you fancy the car, you get can download some hi-res wallpaper here.

Also see:
More hi-res Casey Stoner wallpaper here, here, here and here
2007 MotoGP race reports, features, interviews and hi-res wallpaper...
Dorna to 'quantify' MotoGP television exposure
Retro SBK's Freddie Spencer tribute
2007 Superbike Smackdown!
Fifth Gear: Honda Fireblade vs Honda Civic Type R!
MV Agusta F4 R 312 wins 2007 Masterbike
Hi-res Valentino Rossi wallpaper

From Italy: The Honda Hornet Cup!

Leave it to the Italians to make bikes look good!
Here’s the rather immaculate looking Hornet Cup racer, from Italy. The regular Honda Hornet is a mildly interesting four-cylinder, 600cc sportsbike that offers the ultimate in reliability and practicality. Excitement is also available, but in moderation.

We think the white/red/green paint job looks totally cool!
The Italians have taken Honda’s girl-next-door to the gym, spa and the beauty salon, and transformed her into this confident, athletic charmer. With some help from parts and accessories specialist, Rosso Cromo. More details on the Hornet Cup on their website here.

The no.1 sticker seems to have been borrowed from Hayden's bike!

The wheels look a bit frumpy though...
Also see:
Ferrari chopper, anyone? Or a two-stroke Kawasaki triple?
Ducati working on all-new Monster!
Marcus Walz: "Building bikes gives me pleasure, not riding them..."
Spinning around: The Tailgunner rotary exhaust
Will the Cagiva Mito be an Indo-Korean 650?
MV Agusta 910R: The best loved naked in Italy!
Dainese invite European customers to test new helmet

Kalex AV1: All-out performance for the road

It weighs 155kg, the engine makes 140bhp. Fun!

The Kalex AV1 comes from Kalex Engineering, based in Germany. It’s the brainchild of two men – Alex Baumgartel and Klaus Hirsekorn – who’ve built this extreme sportsbike that offers all-out performance for the very committed.

The AV1, which weighs a mere 155kg dry, is fitted with a 60-degree, 998cc v-twin from Rotax, with a Motec M800 engine management system. This engine, the V990R (which also powers the Aprilia RSV1000), makes 140 horsepower at 9500rpm, and 107Nm of torque at 7750rpm, which makes for mind-blowing performance in the lightweight AV1. Just as well then, that the engine management system also incorporates an advanced form of traction control software.

Wonder how the AV1 would do against a stock R1...

The tubular steel trellis frame chassis is light and stiff, and the steering angle is 23.8 degrees, which lets the bike flick from side to side with minimal effort. WP RCMA 4800 USD forks are used at the front, and at the rear there is a WP 4618 monoshock, mated to a specially fabricated aluminum swingarm. Both suspension units are multi-adjustable. Brakes are top-spec Brembo units and the bike rides on 17-inch wheels, with 120/75 (front) and 190/65 (rear) tyres. Carbonfibre has been used extensively, for the bodywork.

Should be interesting to see how it does against a stock R1 or GSX-R1000, eh? Get more details on the Kalex AV1 on their official website here.

Also see:
Ducati PS1000LE: Paul Smart rides again!
Memorable: 1983 Suzuki XN85 Turbo
Quiet please: Put a lid on this...
The mighty Munch Mammut TTS-E
MV Agusta Brutale 910R: The best loved naked in Italy!
Tiff Needell: Honda Fireblade takes on Honda Civic

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Moto Tuning's streetfighter: Top Gun GSX-R1000

They say it's 'inspired' by the Benelli TNT...

Prepared by French custom bike builders, Moto Tuning, this Suzuki GSX-R1000 – named the Top Gun – is ‘inspired’ by the Benelli TNT. Apart from some body panels taken from Benelli and Bimota machines, the Top Gun features various carbonfibre and titanium bits, special turn indicators, and a modified exhaust system. We don’t know if the Top Gun performs better than a stock GSX-R, but to look, it’s certainly… er, distinctive!

More stylish than a stock Gixxer...?

A GSX-R1100 given the Moto Tuning treatment...

...and finally, the Moto Tuning Yamaha V-Max. Awesome!

More GSX-Rs:
20 years of the Suzuki GSX-R
The mid-1980s GSX-R750
The late-1980s GSX-R750
The mid-1990s GSX-R750
The mighty GSX-R1100
"GSX-Rs are for moped riders!"
2007 GSX-R1000 riding impression
2007 Rizla Suzuki GSX-R1000
Suzuki GSX-R1000 wins 2007 Le Mans 24 Hours race



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