Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Kettenkrad: Mow ’em down with this NSU-built, WW-II motorcycle half-track!

This should put aggressive SUV drivers in their place!

Saw this Kettenkrad on The Kneeslider and we reckon it’s just the thing for mowing down all those unruly SUVs, buses, trucks and taxicabs. Built by NSU during the World War II, the Kettenkrad is powered by a 1.5-litre, four-cylinder, 36bhp petrol engine, which was sourced from Opel. Top speed, apparently, is a scarcely believeable 70km/h!

Imagine rolling up to the local pub in this. Perfect!

According to various sources on the Internet, a total of about 8,900 units of the Kettenkrad were produced. Today, some live on in various museums, while a few are in the hands of war memorabilia collectors, who keep these whacky machines running to this day! If you’ve got US$50,000 to spend on a slice of military motorcycle history, get bidding on ebay here.

Other off-beat bikes:
Ecosse Spirit ES1: Rewriting the superbike rulebook
Alfa Romeo-engined bike!
Air-powered engines for bikes in the near future?
Battery-powered Yamaha R1!
In the fast lane: The Peraves Monotracer
The flying bike: Pal V-One
Radical radial: JRL Cycles' aircraft-engined cruiser
Carver One: The funkiest bike in the world?

Pierre Terblanche: “I thought that the 916 series needed to move on…”

For Pierre Terblanche, the 916 vs 999 debate continues even after so many years...

For those who loved the Ducati 916, Pierre Terblanche committed the biggest crime ever – he designed the 999. While the Massimo Tamburini-designed 916 was all svelte and gorgeous, its replacement, the 999, was slab sided and clunky. The 999 had better ergonomics and worked better than the 916/996/998 on the road and on the track, but for Ducati fans, it was like Terblanche had desecrated one of their gods.

Most people agree the 999 works better than the 916, though of course it doesn't look as good

Here at Faster and Faster, we don’t think the 999 was all that bad. In fact, we believe the 999 was more of a brave, confident step ahead from the 916, than the 1098 is from the 999. Cycle World magazine interviewed Terblanche recently, and here is what the man himself had to say on the 916 vs 999 controversy: “I thought that the 916 series needed to move on. The original 916 was a beautiful bike, but it had a lot of issues that owners and journalists alike remarked on and complained about. These were mainly practical issues regarding using the bike on the road under real-world conditions. The 999 fixed a lot of the issues; it was a direct response to the complaints about the 916/996/998.”

But then he relents a bit and adds, “Maybe I was too rational; maybe people liked those flaws. The intention had been to give people an exciting bike which also works well under real-world riding conditions. I now know that I went too far on the styling for the average biker, but as you well know it’s always easier to play Monday-morning quarterback. It is all so easy to discuss now but, hey, you win some and you lose some, and it’s all water under the bridge now.”

Indeed, it is. In the meanwhile, get the full interview at the Cycle World website here. And visit the Motoblog site here for a whole new perspective on the 999!!

Other Ducati posts:
Ducati 999 vs 1098: Doug Polen's verdict
2017 Ducati MotoGP bikes: Scoop pics!!
Ducati PS1000 LE: Paul Smart rides again
Troll road: Ducati working on all-new Monster
World Superbikes: Ducati will get to run bigger twins in 2008
Ducati to merge with Harley-Davidson?!

Chris Pfeiffer wins TT Freestyle Championship

Chris Pfeiffer gets it up for the ladies in the audience...

Stunt riding maestro, and current European Stunt Riding champ Chris Pfeiffer has won the TT Freestyle Championship, which was a part of the centenary celebrations at the 100th Isle of Man TT races. The 37 year old from Halblech, Germany, performed on his BMW F800 at the Douglas Promenade on the IoM, with more than 10,000 spectators in attendance.

Though he was up against some of the world’s top freestyle stunt riders – including Humberto Ribeiro from Portugal, Zoltan Angyal from Hungary, and Matti Tepsa from Sweden – Pfeiffer managed to hold his own, and won the TT Freestyle Trophy after three days of some hard riding. Says Pfeiffer, ‘The weather on Sunday was very wet, which made things extremely slippery. I was a bit worried, as I hadn't been riding my F800 much, because I have been doing lots of off-road preparation for Erzberg. However, in the wet, slippery conditions I felt completely at home, so this probably helped me in the end!’

Pfeiffer also appreciates those who actually race at the Isle of Man. He says, ‘Those guys are seriously brave. To do what they do on public roads is something special. I couldn't believe how many slow corners there are on the course, so to achieve average speeds of almost 130mph over a 37-mile lap is amazing.’

Also see:
Istituto Europeo di Design: The world's most beautiful bikes
Ecosse Spirit ES1: Reinventing the superbike...
Motorcycles: What happens when petrol runs out?
Bikes, instead of fighter jets, for an ex-Top Gun!
Ducati PS1000 LE: Mr Smart rides again
Memorable: 1983 Suzuki XN85 Turbo
Calling all motorcyclists: Listen up!

Monday, June 11, 2007

Sky Cycle: Another flying motorcycle...

Traffic jams and careless bus drivers? What's that?

A flying motorcycle that you can actually register for road (and air…!) use? An emphatic yes, if Larry Neal has anything to say about it. Larry owns The Butterfly LLC, which sells gyrocopter-bikes, which anyone can buy, ride and yes, even fly.

Larry’s ‘Sky Cycles’ feature a special foldable rotor system, rear wheel suspension that’s optimized for soft landings, and a transmission that can be switched between driving the rear rotor, for when you want to fly, and driving the rear wheels, for when you just want to ride.

Stock engine is a 100bhp Rotax unit, but you can upgrade to a 115bhp, turbocharged engine for a bit more...

So just how practical is the Sky Cycle? Says Larry, ‘There’s nothing else like it. A gyroplane that can fly at better than freeway speeds, land in 20 feet, be driven home as a motorcycle, and fit in your garage!’ The Sky Cycle takes about 10 – 12 hours of training time before you’d be comfortable riding/flying it. The machine is capable of hitting a top speed of 90km/h on the road, 160km/h in the air, and in the US at least, can be registered for road use.

The Sky Cycle vs the Hayabusa? Should be interesting!

Prices start at US$37,200 for the stock version, which uses a Rotax 912ULS, four-stroke, 100 horsepower aircraft engine. For more money, you can upgrade to bigger, more powerful engines and two-seater variants. More details on the Company’s website here.

And here's a video of the Sky Cycle in action

Also see:
Pal V-One: The bike that'll soon fly...
Across the US on mopeds!
Wheelsurf: On one wheel and a prayer
50 must-read survival tips for motorcyclists
Air-powered engines for motorcycles in the near future?
Superbikes vs police helicopters! Madness!

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Spanish MotoGP: Stoner takes fourth win of the season at Catalunya!

Casey Stoner once again defeated Rossi. The Doctor definitely won't have it all his way this season

The Spanish MotoGP, at the Catalunya circuit in Barcelona, was probably the very best race of this season so far. Casey Stoner blasted off to a brilliant start on his Ducati and led most of the race. Dani Pedrosa gave him some competition, but it was The Doctor who had the battle of a lifetime with the Australian. In the last few laps, the two repeatedly passed each other, giving it all they had and then some, literally riding the wheels off their bikes. Absolutely awesome!

Pedrosa also fought hard, but just couldn't pass Rossi. He settled for a well deserved third place

Ultimately, it was Stoner who prevailed, winning the race, closely followed by Rossi in second, and Pedrosa in third place. Rizla Suzuki rider, John Hopkins came in fourth, while Randy de Puniet finished in fifth place on his Kawasaki Ninja ZX-RR. But the main show – and what a show indeed – was the dogfight between Stoner and Rossi, where no.46 came off second best. He now trails Stoner by 14 points in the world championship standings.

After dominating MotoGP for many years, Rossi has finally found his match in Casey Stoner

While the Ducati still seems to have a slight top speed advantage in the straights, it isn’t as pronounced as it was in the first few races of this season. So if Stoner beat Rossi, it wasn’t only because he had a better bike – it was definitely because of his sheer skill and his unflappable confidence. It seems that after many years of dominance, The Doctor has finally met his match. With seven races down and another 11 to go, we’re sure this is going to be one hell of a MotoGP season!

More MotoGP:
MotoGP rumours: Who'll go where in 2008...?
Team Roberts get Kurtis as development rider
Kawasaki Ninja ZX-RR vs other 800cc MotoGP bikes
Ilmor to return to MotoGP in 2008
Aprilia to enter MotoGP within the next three years!
Valentino Rossi wins the Italian MotoGP at Mugello...
...but Stoner comes back to win the Spanish MotoGP at Catalunya!

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Istituto Europeo di Design: The World’s Most Beautiful Motorcycles

The 1098 has been declared more beautiful than the MV F4

Last month, the Istituto Europeo di Design in Milan had hosted an international Jury for ‘The World’s Most Beautiful Motorcycle’ award. Headed by one Enrico Leonardo Fagone, the Jury consisted of fashion designers, architects, artists, designers and transportation design experts. The awards ceremony is due to take place in Milan next week, on the 13th of June. The awards are aimed at recognizing “the artistic achievement in products that truly represent design in motion.”

The F4 CC wins the 'Special Series' category...

Coming to the bikes, the Ducati 1098 has won the ‘Fully Faired Streetbike’ category, followed by the MV Agusta F4 R312 in second place. The Bimota DB6 Delirio 1100 won the ‘Naked Streetbike’ category, followed by the Aprilia Shiver 750 in second place, while the Husqvarna SM 610IE won the ‘Off-Road’ category, followed by the Ducati Hypermotard 1100 in second place. [What?! The Ducati Hypermotard 1100 is an off-road bike…?!?]

The MV Agusta F4 CC won the ‘Special Series’ category, with the MV Agusta Brutale 910R Italia in second place. The Benelli Due won the ‘Prototypes’ category, followed by the Bimota Tesi 3D in second place.

Ducati 1098R Ducati 1098R Ducati 1098R

Friday, June 08, 2007

Reinventing the superbike: Ecosse-Spirit ES1

The radically different ES1. Designed to go very fast...

Two UK-based F1 designers recently showed a new concept superbike, which they say will weigh a mere 120 kilos and which will be capable of hitting top speeds of up to 380km/h! The Ecosse-Spirit ES1, its designers say, will be radically different from existing sportsbikes and will have a completely different riding position, in order to improve aerodynamics. In fact, the entire bike is said to have been designed around the very low seat and the new riding position.

The Ecosse Spirit ES1 concept also features radical innovation in other areas, including the monoarm front suspension, and a new chain drive mechanism which allows the bike to be much narrower than conventional designs. According to various simulations and computer calculations, the bike's 1000cc engine would be capable of making anywhere between 170 and 210 horsepower, and top speeds would accordingly be between 350 and 385km/h. Hayabusa and ZZR1400 riders would be gutted...

Other notable things are a minimalist chassis, extensive use of carbonfibre, and perimeter ceramic disc brakes at the front.

A video of the Ecosse Spirit ES1

Other FAAA....ST bikes:
The 600km/h Acabion GTBO 70
Italian stallion: The Bimota YB11
KillaCycle: The world's fastest electric bike
Bling'd and it's gone: Roaring Toyz Kawasaki ZZR1400
NitroDuke: The world's fastest KTM
"GSX-Rs are for moped riders!"
Campagna T-Rex: The fastest, maddest trike in the world!
424km/h turbo Hayabusa!

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Superbikes vs Police helicopters! Madness!

500bhp vs 160bhp. No contest...?

If you thought you've had enough of speed cameras and police patrol cars, wait till you meet California's Airborne Law Enforcement (ABLE) division. Hoping your Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R will have their Harleys for lunch, is futile. ABLE have a fleet of three EC120B Eurocopters, which are on active duty for about 3,600 hours per year. And according to this Cycle World story, 'the ABLE team is involved in about 700 arrests, 125 vehicle pursuits, the recovery of 50 stolen vehicles and a variety of search-and-rescue missions every year.'

Even the mighty R1 will be humbled by the Police Eurocopter

Can a 500-horsepower EC120B Eurocopter, which costs US$1.2 million, keep up with a 160 horsepower Ninja ZX-10R or Yamaha R1? No, the helicopter is actually about 20km/h slower than the bikes, but it'll still catch you because it flies in straight lines, and doesn't have to deal with traffic.

The recommended course of action, if you're being chased by a police helicopter? The ABLE team says, “If you’re getting chased by the police, especially if the agency has a helicopter, give it up. Fleeing is futile. You’re gonna get caught or you’re gonna crash, and then your troubles have only just begun..."

Also see:
Dogfight: Ducati 1098 vs Lamborghini Gallardo Superleggera!
293km/h on the London airport, on a ZZR1400!
Veyron vs GSX-R: Who's the boss?
Sublime: The MV Agusta F4 Senna
Go-faster tips from Kevin Schwantz!
Off-road: KTM 950 Super Enduro R
Fast past: The Vincent Black Shadow

An Alfa Romeo motorcycle...?

Italian, right down to the red painted cylinder heads... :-)

The Kneeslider has some very interesting pics of this bike which has been fitted with an Alfa Romeo four-cylinder engine. Styling is a mix of old Laverdas, Benellis and MV Agustas. Check it out here. And here's Chris Barber's site for more specials.

Imagine starting it up on a Sunday morning... :-)

Also see:
Alfa Romeo team up with Ducati Corse
Ducati 999-powered Fiat 500!
The mighty Kawasaki ZZR1100 and Suzuki GSX-R1100
The un-Fireblade: Honda VTR1000 RC51
Chris Carr: 560km/h at Bonneville
Insane: The Volkswagen GX3

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



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