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!

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Chris Pfeiffer: Stunt-riding the BMW HP2 Megamoto!

While he's been riding other BMWs, the F800 remains Chris Pfeiffer's favourite stunt bike

BMW Motorrad's stunt rider, Chris Pfeiffer was recently in Moscow for a motorcycle exhibition, but ended up performing on his F800 for audiences outside the Cathedral of Saint Basil! And what did the local authorities have to say about that? Says Pfeiffer, “Luckily for me, one of the guys from BMW had a contact with the local police – who all ride BMW bikes – and he had seen one of my shows, so we were able to get permission."

While the F800 remains his favourite stunt bike, Chris has also been using the BMW HP2 Megamoto in some of his shows. He says, “While the F800 is the best bike out there for technical stunts, the Megamoto's raw power is superb for power drifting and things like crazy stoppies, when I stand on one cylinder!”

Chris finds the Megamoto's raw power, 'superb for power drifting...!'

Chris will also be present at the 100th Isle of Man TT event in June this year, doing what he does best. “I'm looking forward to going to the Isle of Man centenary TT in June because there will be about eight of the world's best stunt riders there and we're all going to put on shows as well as compete against each other.”

With riders like Mr Pfeiffer on board, the new 450cc, single-cylinder BMW Sport Enduro should do very well in off-road competition

Finally, Chris is also training hard for the forthcoming Erzberg Rodeo, where he hopes to be riding the new BMW 450cc single-cylinder sport enduro, which recently made its debut at the World Enduro Championship round in Puerto Lumbreras, Spain. Says Chris, “I've had a couple of test rides on this bike and it is unbelievably good.” If you absolutely insist, Mr Pfeiffer…

This superb video shows why Chris Pfeiffer is a bit special...

Also see:
2007 BMW HP2 Megamoto. Awesome!
AC Schnitzer-tuned BMW K1200R Sport
BMW return to endurance racing!
MAB power: BMW K1200R Turbo!

MV Agusta F4 R 312 wins MasterBike 2007

Randy Mamola shows his wheelie skills haven't diminished over the years...

Every year, motorcycle journalists from various bike mags from around the world get together, and do the MasterBike, where they decide on which is the best superbike / sportsbike in the world.

The MasterBike 2007 was recently held at the Jerez circuit in Spain, and the bike which is currently billed as the world’s fastest production motorcycle – the MV Agusta F4 R 312 – beat the Ducati 1098 and the Aprilia RSV 1000 to win the ‘Italian Superbike’ category.

The F4 R 312 beat the Yam R1 and the Triumph 675 to take top honours in the MasterBike 2007

Then, in the final smackdown, the F4 R 312 also beat the Yamaha R1 (winner of the 2007 Japanese Superbike category) and the Triumph 675 (winner of the 2007 Supersport 600 class), taking overall top honours in the MasterBike 2007. This win comes at a good time for MV, as they prepare to go racing in World Superbikes next year with Carl Fogarty’s team.

Also see:
Godly: The MV Agusta F4 1000 Senna
Sin City: The Volkswagen GX3
The greatest 11s: Suzuki GSX-R1100 and Kawasaki ZZR1100
Supermoto supreme: 2007 Husaberg FS55e
Turbo Hayabusa sets new streetbike speed record!
Wildlife: 2007 KTM 990 SuperDuke R

Monday, May 07, 2007

Charley and Ewan prepare for the Long Way Down

This time, it's from the UK to South Africa...

On their much-publicized Long Way Round trip in 2004, Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman rode from London to New York – a distance of about 24,000km – on their BMW R1150GS bikes. Back in December last year, we said that they’re planning more rides, the first of which would be in 2007. Well, the boys and their BMWs are ready – bring on Long Way Down.

Starting from John O'Groats in the UK, the duo will ride 25,000km across 20 countries, finishing in Cape Agulhas, the southern-most point in South Africa. The bikes will again be BMW R1200GS machines, which is just as well because the two will be traveling through demanding terrain, across Libya, Sudan Ethiopia, Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Botswana. No walk in the park, eh?

Their travels will again be made into a television series, called Long Way Down. You can register for more details and updates on the official website here.

British rider, Elspeth Beard, who rode around the world in the 1980s. Alone. On a beat-up BMW R60/6. Respect...

On a slight tangent, we thought we should mention here that long-distance bike travel is not just for richie-rich celebs. For those who dream of doing their very own Long Way Somewhere, you may want to read about one Elspeth Beard, a British woman who rode around the world in the early-1980s. Elspeth rode alone, on a 1974 BMW R60/6, and without a back-up crew of any sort. And remember, no cellphones, email or internet in those days! Read her amazing story on the Motorcyclist magazine website here.

Update (May 15, 2007): One of our readers, Paul Blezard just wrote in and sent us these pictures of Charley and Elspeth. Paul, a journalist and photographer, was in Namibia last year with Charley, on a BMW SA trip to the Fish River Canyon, where they rode BMW’s R1200GS Adventure bikes. Here are the four pics, all of them clicked by Paul Blezard:

Charley and Elspeth together during an event in 2005, at the Vines of Guildford

Paul Blezard with Elspeth Beard...

Charley and Elspeth with the BMW which Elspeth rode around the world!

Paul and Charley together in Namibia last year

Also see:
American Borders: Around the US on a Russian-made Ural sidecar combo!
2007 Cannonball Bike Run: Let the madness begin...
The future's bright, the future's Benelli
The very amazing Carver One. Order yours now!
AC Schnitzer-tuned BMW K1200R Sport

Sunday, May 06, 2007

No surprises in Shanghai. Stoner wins, Rossi second

Rossi had no answer to Ducati's horsepower and Stoner's unflappable calm

While we were hoping that Yamaha engineers would have found an answer to Ducati’s horsepower/top-speed advantage, and that Rossi would somehow win the Shanghai MotoGP, it was not to be.

No. 46 fought hard and tried every trick in the book, but with his Yamaha’s top speed down by about 8-10km/h compared with Stoner’s Ducati, and given the 1.2km long back straight on the Shanghai circuit, Rossi had to settle for second palce.

"He'll never know what we put in his pasta last night. Ha!"

Rossi also made one big mistake during the race, running off the track while trying to outbrake Stoner, and lost a second or two in the process. From then on, the unflappable Aussie was not to be caught. Says Stoner, "I knew Valentino was behind so I just concentrated and didn't make many mistakes. I was expecting a big fight during the last two laps but after he made his mistake I was able to control the race." Indeed, the way Stoner rode his Ducati was admirable – not one mistake anywhere, despite Rossi piling on the pressure.

With his third place finish in Shanghai, John Hopkins took his first ever podium position in MotoGP

On an interesting note, Rizla Suzuki rider John Hopkins, who recently claimed in an interview that he’s a better rider than Nicky Hayden, took third place in the race – his first podium finish in MotoGP! Hayden, 2006 MotoGP world champ, failed to finish in the top 10. Now let's see what happens when they all meet in France in two weeks time...

Also see:
Ducati 1098 vs 999: Doug Polen decides which is better!
Preaves Monotracer: Life in the fast lane!
Aprilia to go racing in World Superbikes in 2008....
...and MV Agusta to give them some competition!


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