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

MotoGP: Kurtis to ride for Team Roberts at Mugello

With Kenny Roberts Jr. not having been able to sort out technical issues, younger brother Kurtis is being brought in as development rider...

Back in March this year, Team Roberts got a fresh lease of life, with F1 MAX-X and MGM's Treasure Island Hotel and Casino coming in as new team sponsors, and bringing in some much-needed cash with them. However, while their bikes’ livery changed, their race fortunes have remained pretty much the same – Team Roberts is going nowhere.

Now, for the next weekend’s race in Mugello (and perhaps also for the one after that, in Barcelona…), Team Roberts have roped in Kenny Roberts Jr.’s younger brother, Kurtis, who’ll be helping the team as a development rider. That’s because Kenny Roberts Jr., 500cc world champ in the year 2000, has not been able to solve the team’s technical problems. This is largely due to his old-school dirt-tracker riding style, which doesn’t work with current 800cc machines.

Kenny Roberts jr., 500cc world champ in the year 2000, has seen little success in MotoGP for the last many years...

Kenny Roberts Jr. was able to put in a reasonably good performance last year, since the 990cc V5 KR211V was more compatible with his riding style. In 2006, he finished third twice (in Barcelona and Portugal), and got another five fifth-place finishes. This year has not been good for him up till now, but with Kurtis (who’s ridden in MotoGP occasionally with his father’s team in 2004 and 2005) coming in as a development rider, things just might improve for Team Roberts.

More MotoGP:
Rossi: Biggest earning star in MotoGP
Kenny Roberts announces new venture, KR Tuned
In-depth: 2007 MotoGP Kawasakis
Memorable: Cagiva's 500cc GP racer
The mighty Honda NSR500
Marco Lucchinelli: 1981 500cc motorcycle GP racing world champ
Nicky Hayden: "I'm not giving up..."
John Hopkins: "I'm better than Hayden!"
Blast from the past: Silver Dream Racer

Ducati working on an all-new Monster

This is what the new Monster may look like, when it's shown in Milan in November this year

Designed by Miguel Galluzzi, the first Ducati Monster came out way back in 1992, and has been a significant success story for Ducati since then. Over the years, there have been various iterations of the Monster, and the bike has been made available in various engine capacities.

Now, after so many years, the Italians are all set to launch an all-new Monster, which we suppose would be a considerably difficult task. Having sold more than 150,000 Monsters over the last 15 years, this is one bike with which Ducati probably can’t afford to take too many risks.

Until now, there’s only conjecture, speculation and computer-generated pics like the one you see here. The real 2008 Ducati Monster will be revealed at the Milan Motorcycle Show in November this year, so that’s another six months of waiting. Should be worth it though.

The Fiat Panda Monster. One for the wife...

In the meanwhile, for Monster fans who also own cars, there’s the Fiat Panda Monster – a limited edition model which Fiat have created in collaboration with Ducati. The Panda Monster will be fitted with a 1.3-litre common-rail, 70bhp diesel engine and will feature 4WD. Only 695 units of this car will be made, and you can order yours right here. Or you could take a look at this Fiat 500 that's powered by a Ducati 999 engine..!

Also see:
First official pic of the Triumph Street Triple 675
The Hyosung-engined Cagiva Mito 650
Ducati CEO Federico Minoli leaves the company
Scoop pics: Ducati's MotoGP bikes for the future
The very memorable Bimota YB6 Tuatara
The MV Agusta F4 R 312 wins MasterBike 2007

Friday, May 25, 2007

First official picture of the Triumph Street Triple 675

The Daytona 675 takes its clothes off, gets ready to brawl..

Yeah, you’ve read about it in dozens of places including here, and the first official picture is finally out. Triumph say they will launch the naked version of the Daytona 675 – the Street Triple 675 – by the end of next month!

Compared with the Daytona 675, the Street Triple will be fitted with different front suspension and brakes, and will have a completely different rear end, which will be on the lines of the bigger Speed Triple.

The gearing on the new bike has been revised, and as you’d expect, the Daytona’s 675cc three-cylinder engine has been ‘retuned,’ which means slightly more low- and mid-range torque, and slightly less peak power. Still, with around 105 – 110bhp on tap, the Street Triple should be anything but sluggish.

The Street Triple will make its debut at the end of June this year, at the Tridays Festival in Neukirchen, Germany. The bike is expected to cost about US$9,000 and you can register for more information at the Triumph website here.

Also see:
British is bigger, British is best...
Chris Pfeiffer wins Indoor Streetbike Freestyle World Championship
United Motors: Going forward with Hyosung
Custom streetfighter: The Mad Jack
MotoCzysz gets Robb Report Design Award
Harley-Davidson Nightster rumbles out...
Kenny Roberts announces KR Tuned

MotoGP rumours: Hayden may move to Ducati for 2008!

Hayden's not been too happy with his Honda this year, and HRC don't seem to be interested in doing much about it. Enter Ducati...

While the 2007 MotoGP season is just getting into stride, rumours about what’s going to happen in 2008 have already started doing the rounds. And chief among those is Nicky Hayden leaving Honda and moving to Ducati for the 2008 MotoGP season!

The Kentucky Kid was, apparently, seen dining with senior Ducati officials in a Bologna restaurant recently. While the ‘official reason’ for this has been quoted as Hayden wanting to order a Desmosedici RR for himself, the ‘real reason’ is said to be something else – Ducati may be looking at replacing Loris Capirossi, and Hayden might be the man who’ll replace the Italian.

Casey Stoner has made Capirossi look a bit old this year, but the Italian may yet be back next year - with Kawasaki!

While Loris Capirossi garnered some impressive wins for the Ducati MotoGP team in 2006, this year it’s Casey Stoner who’s charging ahead, and making Capirossi look… a bit old? Another rumour being floated is that Capirossi may move to the Kawasaki MotoGP team for 2008, replacing Olivier Jacque in the process. Not only that, there's a bigger surprise here - it's being said that Rizla Suzuki rider, John Hopkins has also been talking to Kawasaki and may move to the Kawasaki MotoGP team for 2008! Ah, well, all shall be revealed in the next few months… :-)

Also see:
Ducati 1098 wins Motorcycle Design Association’s 'Best Design Of 2006' award
Lazareth Motorcycles: Custom cool...
Troy Lee createst the Canyon Chaser
Ninja Nation: 1988 Kawasaki ZX-10 vs 2004 Kawasaki ZX-10R
Down memory lane: The Cagiva 500 GP racer
American Borders: Around the US on a Ural sidecar

Ducati PS1000 LE: Paul Smart rides again

The bike that started it all for Ducati back in 1972 - the 750 Imola

British racer Paul Smart created a bit of history in 1972, when he rode his Ducati 750 Imola racebike to victory at the inaugural Imola 200 endurance racing event. Ducati were not known for their v-twin racers back then, and most people thought that Smart riding the Ducati 750 at Imola was a bit of a joke. Of course, they weren’t laughing by the time Smart finished in first place.

To celebrate their win at Imola, Ducati released a road-going version of their Imola 750 racer – the 750 Super Sport – which came out in 1974. This was a proper race replica, with the 750’s desmodromic valve train, big carburetors, disc brakes all around, and the racer’s distinctive green-painted chassis.

The 1974 Ducati 750 Super Sport

Then, back in 2005, Ducati released the modern-day equivalent of the 1974 750 Super Sport – the limited edition Paul Smart 1000 – which took its rightful place at the top of Ducati’s SportClassic range. And last month, Motorcyclist magazine pulled off a coup by getting Paul Smart himself to ride all three bikes back to back, at the Willow Springs Raceway in the US. So what did Mr Smart have to say about the three bikes?
Smart, now 63 years old, first rode the 84 horsepower Imola 750, which he reckons was good for around 250km/h back in 1972. He says, ‘It’s incredibly torquey – it has big old carbs and basic ignition, but the thing works so well. And considering its age, it also handles – it behaves itself extremely well, doesn’t require a lot of rider input and the brakes are faultless.’

...and the absolutely gorgeous Ducati Paul Smart 1000LE

Moving on to the 1974 750 Super Sport, Smart says, ‘It’s amazing how well they steer – the chassis does feel very much the same as the racebike, and though the engine probably makes 20 horsepower less than the 750 Imola, it has the same wide torque spread.’ The only thing he wasn’t happy with was the brakes, saying that they felt ‘Leaden, sallow and unresponsive.’

Finally on to the modern PS1000 LE, and Smart says, ‘You get lots of feedback and it feels very planted in fast corners. The engine is not highly tuned, but it does make a lot of torque, so you don’t have to rev it. Overall, the modern tyres, suspension and brakes are what separate it from the old bikes.’

So of the three, which one would he choose to ride today? Says Smart, ‘I have to be honest, it’s the new bike. Everything works, and the machine is far better than the rider in my case now.’ For the Ducati Paul Smart 1000 LE, there really can be no better stamp of approval.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Sherco announce 2007 4.5i, 5.1i and Cabestany Replicas

The Sherco 2.9 Cabestany Replica

Started in 1998 by one Marc Teissier, Spanish motorcycle company Sherco make some excellent trials and enduro bikes today. The company recently announced the launch of its new bikes – the Sherco 2.9 Cabestany Replica and the Sherco 4.5i and 5.1i Factory Replicas.

The Sherco 2.9 Cabestany Replica incorporates technology used in Sherco’s trials bikes for the Spanish Indoor Championship, and is meant for the serious trials rider. Among other things, the bike has a digital programmable ignition system, which lets riders alter power delivery characteristics to suit different kinds of terrain.

The Sherco 4.5i Factory Replica

The Sherco 5.1i Factory Replica

The Sherco 4.5i and 5.1i Factory Replicas are for the hardcore off-road/enduro rider. The bikes are fitted with high-grade Öhlins suspension, and upgraded electrics and high performance exhaust system. More details on the Sherco website here.

Also see:
2007 Husaberg FS550e: Supermoto supreme...
Singular Power: 2007 KTM 690SM
2007 BMW G650 XMoto and XChallenge
BMW HP2 Megamoto. Awesome!
The radical new Brudeli 625L trike

Bike magazine readers: “Carl Fogarty is an idiot!”

Once hero, now zero. The shame...

Multi-time World Superbikes champ, Carl Fogarty has been voted as one of the biggest idiots in motorcycling, by the readers of Bike magazine. Carl, who’ll be handling MV Agusta’s racing efforts in World Superbikes in 2008, is known to sometimes ‘have his head up his arse.’ That’s how an ex-editor of a prominent UK-based motorcycling magazine once described him…

Coming back to Bike magazine’s Biggest Idiots, one reader says, ‘My joint vote goes to Carl Fogarty and his ego. Foggy was my hero when he was battling at the TT, and then on the Ducati in World Superbikes, but what’s happened since then?’ What, indeed. Another reader adds, ‘Carl Fogarty should have slipped away quietly after he stopped racing. He said he was going to be the saviour of WSB. Utter rubbish. He was an embarrassment!’

And here are some other reader nominations for the Biggest Idiots in motorcycling:

‘The wankers who don’t slow down for 30mph limits. Don’t these people understand that they are slowly killing the thing they love most – biking? Slow down, and the non-biking zealots will leave us alone to speed on the open roads.’

‘The bad sportsbike riders. Those who hug rear bumpers before overtaking, or overtake on blind bends, causing others to brake hard or swerve. No wonder bikers get a bad name.’

‘Those gobshites who ride bikes like Kawasaki ZX-10Rs, but really poorly. Slow in bends, 170mph on the dual carriageway, wheelies through rush hour traffic, stoppies next to soccer moms in their gas-guzzling SUVs…’

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

May the force feed you: 1983 Suzuki XN85 Turbo

The Suzuki XN85 Turbo. Cool!

Back in 1983, when the Suzuki XN85 Turbo was let loose upon an unsuspecting world, Motorcyclist magazine actually claimed, ‘Nothing works better in the corners than the Suzuki XN85.’ Ah, well, the first GSX-R was still two years away…

85 horsepower, 200km/h top speed. Not too bad for 1983

The early-1980s was when all the Japanese motorcycle manufacturers decided that turbocharging was the way forward. So, of course, Suzuki decided they must join in, and released the XN85 Turbo to go against the Honda CX500TC Turbo, the Yamaha XJ650LJ Turbo and the Kawasaki GPZ750 Turbo.

16-inch front wheel, fuel injection, anti-dive front suspension...

The XN85 was cutting-edge stuff for its time, with a 16-inch front wheel, low clip-ons, rearset foot pegs, Suzuki’s ‘Full Floater’ monoshock rear suspension, and anti-dive plumbing in the Kayaba front forks. The engine was an air-cooled, fuel-injected, turbocharged, eight-valve, 673cc inline-four, mated to a five-speed gearbox. Power output was a modest 85 horsepower at 7000rpm.

Look at this and imagine what a factory turbo Hayabusa would be like today...

The XN85 Turbo weighed in at about 247kg, and depending on who you believe, did the quarter mile (400m) in anything between 11.50 to 12.30 seconds. Claimed top speed was 209km/h. While the XN85 was reliable, performed well, and quickly garnered a dedicated fan following, it was only a moderate success and that too only for a short while. The normally aspirated Suzuki GS750ES, released shortly after the XN85, was lighter, quicker, cheaper and less complex.

For about US$5,000 you can still find one of these. If you look hard enough...

Back in 1983 when it was launched, the Suzuki XN85 Turbo cost about US$4,700. Suzuki only made 1,153 units of this bike, and today, finding one in very good condition is extremely difficult. Second-hand examples do come up for sale, and depending on their condition, go for anything between US$3,000 – US$7,000. It may not be the quickest, fastest or the best handling, but if you always wanted something exotic, the XN85 Turbo fits the bill like a dream.

The Suzuki GSX-R750 came along in 1985 and changed everything. But that's another story...

Other turbo bikes:
Kawasaki GPZ750 Turbo. Blow hard!
Turbo Hayabusa sets new streetbike speed record
MAB Power: BMW K1200R Turbo
Acabion GTBO 70: The world's fastest bike

Christini's AWD system: The future of off-road bikes?

Always wanted a two-wheeled SUV? This is it...

For some time now, manufacturers have toyed with the idea of building all-wheel-drive (AWD) bikes, where power is delivered to both the wheels. Yamaha experimented with such bikes, and KTM are reported to be developing their own AWD off-roader.

Power is transferred to the front wheel via chains and shafts. No power-sapping hydraulics here

In the meanwhile, a smaller outfit, Christini have patented a mechanical AWD system for bikes. Unlike hydraulic systems tested by other manufactures, Christini’s AWD delivers power to the front wheel through a series of chains and shafts. When the bike’s rear wheel loses traction, Christini’s AWD system engages immediately, and transfers power to the front wheel until the rear wheel grips again. For optimum conditions, where traction is not an issue, the Christini AWD front hub is equipped with one-way clutches, which allow the front to freewheel.

Video shows the Christini AWD system in action

In addition to added traction, the main benefit of the Christini AWD system is better high-speed cornering. With a driven front wheel, the tendency to ‘wash out’ and ‘tuck in’ is greatly reduced, allowing the bike to be ridden harder, faster and with more confidence.

Or you could go with only one wheel drive, but two engines...

More details on the Christini website here.

Also see:
Special edition Triumph Speed Triple
In the fast lane: The Peraves Monotracer
Cool concept: Polaris Revolver SportQuad
Radical radial: JRL Cycles' funky new chopper
Rapom V8: 1000bhp, supercharged monsterbike!
Bring the bling: Roaring Toyz Kawasaki ZZR1400

Marcus Walz: ‘Building bikes gives me satisfaction, not riding them!’

The satisfaction is in the riding. Or is it...?

Though he’s also passionate about 1960s American muscle cars – Camaros, Corvettes, Chargers and Challengers – what Marcus Walz really enjoys doing is creating wild, over the top custom bikes.

A motocross rider in the 1980s and 1990s, Walz started his company – Walz Hardcore Cycles – in 1993, in Schwetzingen, Germany, and moved to Hockenheim in 1994. In the year 2004, he was invited as the first non-American custom bike builder, to the Artistry in Iron Master Builder Bike Show, held during the Las Vegas Bikefest in the US.

Just be cool...

Last year, Walz was also invited for Discovery Channel’s Biker Build-Off TV show, and ended up winning it! What does he do in his spare time? ‘The only day that I have just for me is Sunday. If the weather is god, I take a wild ride on my Buell X1,’ says Walz. But then he adds, ‘I'm not that type of guy who rides every day in all weather. If I ride 1000 miles each year it's a lot! I never was a real biker, I get my satisfaction by building my bikes not by riding them.’

Offering us a peek into the psyche of those who buy his bikes, Walz says, ‘When I'm finished with one of those $100,000 bikes I can't wait to ride them - but just down the street in front of a Café. Then I sit down and drink a beer and watch how the people can't believe what they see. That is the real satisfaction for me!’

Well, to each his own. We’d rather have a GSX-R1000, take it to the Isle of Man and ride it every day of the year. But those who would opt for one of Walz’s big-money customs can visit his website here.

Also see:
Spinning around: Tailgunner rotary exhaust system
Fight Machines: The gloves are off...
The Freddie: Retro SBK's Spencer tribute
Racy reptile: Bimota YB6 Tuatara
CR&S Vun: Single, naked and Italian!
EZ Tuning: School of cool
Pal V-One: The bike that will fly

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Quiet please: Put a lid on this...

Exhaust noise and wind roar can damage your hearing permanently

We all know that too much noise – including wind noise – is bad for our ears. Helmets, of course, offer some protection from noise, as do earplugs which some riders use. But we recently saw an article in Bike magazine which scared us a bit – it says that riding fast without earplugs definitely damages our hearing, and ultimately, can make us go deaf.

But what’s more, the article goes on to explain that even using earplugs may not necessarily save our hearing. It says, ‘Earplugs give some protection, but a lot of what you’re hearing isn’t arriving via your ear canal. It’s being transmitted through your skull. Essentially, a helmet is a very noisy device attached to your head, so part of the potential damage comes from direct vibration of the cochlea.’

At least one Dr Michael Carley, at the Bath University in the UK, is trying to do something about saving bikers’ hearing. He is heading a research project aimed at making motorcycle helmets quieter. But for this, he needs your help – he needs you to complete an online survey, which relates riding patterns to hearing damage. You can complete the survey here.

Also see:
Rider alert! Read before you ride...
One the pace: All about high-speed road riding
2007 BMW K1200R Sport
Faster and Faster: The pros tell you how...
The awesome new Bimota Tesi 3D
2007 Repsol-replica Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade

Stoner and Capirossi test at Le Mans, prepare for Mugello

He's been racking up the wins this year, and there's been a corresponding increase in Mr Stoner's female fan following

After Sunday’s race at the Le Mans circuit, where Rizla Suzuki rider Chris Vermeulen took his first MotoGP victory, the Ducati team went back to testing on Monday, to prepare for the Italian Grand Prix at Mugello, which will take place on Sunday, the 3rd of June.

Says Stoner, ‘We focused on testing tyres, found several that we like and gave the Bridgestone technicians our feedback so that we can make the best possible preparations for Mugello, which is one of my favourite racetracks.’ Capirossi adds, ‘We tried several fronts and rears and we found out some very interesting things. We also worked on engine mapping and traction control, making useful steps forward that make me confident for Mugello. I love Mugello because it suits my riding style a lot better than Le Mans.’

Ingrid Capirossi, Loris' wife, has promised him a special treat if he wins at Mugello

Of course, we suppose The Doctor won’t be taking things lying down and would be going all out in preparing for the Italian grand prix. All the Italian riders – Capirossi, Rossi and Melandri – would want to win at Mugello, while Stoner will be making things as tough as possible for them as usual. Should be fun…

Also see:
MotoGP-powered KRV5 Board-tracker
Fifth Gear's Tiff Needell testst the Campagna T-Rex
Nicky Hayden: Watch out...!
The amazing Benelli Tre-K 1130 Amazonas
Team Cristofolini's 350cc, 112bhp racing scooter!
Significant firsts in motorcycling
Icy cool: The Harley-Davidson Nightster
"GSX-Rs are for moped riders!"

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