Monday, June 18, 2007

Cruising the Italian way: Moto Guzzi Bellagio

An Italian Harley-Davidson? Moto Guzzi have you covered...

We think Italians do sportsbikes best – cruisers are best left to the Americans. But still, for those who have been holding out for an Italian Harley-Davidson, the new Moto Guzzi Bellagio ‘custom cruiser’ will be in showrooms in Europe by the end of June.

Powered by a 90-degree, 936cc v-twin that makes 75bhp at 7200rpm, the Bellagio is highly unlikely to offer any substantial performance – relaxed cruising is more like it. Likewise, the double-cradle steel tube chassis will not encourage cornering heroics, but at least the single-sided aluminium swingarm (which incorporates the traditional Guzzi shaft drive) looks cool. Kind of.

If you are prepared to spend about US$17,500 on an Italian cruiser, you can get more details on the Bellagio on the Moto Guzzi website here. And read Kevin Ash’s riding impression of the bike on The Telegraph website here.

The Moto Guzzi Norge 1200. Beating BMW at their own game. At least in Spain...

In the meanwhile, the Moto Guzzi Norge sportstourer has won Motociclismo magazine’s 2007 Motorcycle of the Year Award. More than 36,000 readers participated in a survey conducted by this Spanish motorcycle magazine, and the Moto Guzzi Norge 1200 was voted the winner in the ‘Granturismo’ category, followed by the BMW R1200RT in second place. The ‘Cruiser’ category was won by the Harley-Davidson Night Rod, followed by the Moto Guzzi California Vintage and the Bellagio in second and third places.

Some Italian bikes we love...
The very fast, very expensive MV Agusta F4 CC
Naked and gorgeous: The MV Agusta Brutale 910R
The funky new world of Benelli...
The very cool Ducati Hypermotard!
The awesome Cagiva 500 grand prix racer
The US$80,000 NCR Ducati Millona. Superb!
The very beautiful Ducati 1098

Sunday, June 17, 2007

World Superbikes 2008: Regulations for 1200cc twins announced

For now, Ducati have got what they wanted. But is it fair?

Till a few weeks ago, Ducati were threatening to pull out of World Superbikes if the FIM didn’t agree to upping the engine capacity limit for twin-cylinder engines to 1200cc, for 2008. Then, at the end of last month, the FIM did agree and an announcement was made regarding 1200cc twins being permitted for WSBK 2008.

Now, some tech regulations have also been announced. Yes, 1200cc twins will indeed be allowed to race against 1000cc inline-fours, but the twins will have to weigh six more kilos, have 50mm air restrictors and will have to use standard con-rods. The authorities will analyse how 1200cc twins perform against 1000cc fours with these restrictions in place, and if needed, the restrictions may be revised during the 2008 racing season.

Aprilia are also expected to come to WSBK in 2008, but with a 1000cc four-cylinder engine

Ducati, of course, will have a 1200cc version of their 1098 superbike ready by next year, and KTM and BMW may also come to World Superbikes with their own twins. Aprilia are also expected to go racing in WSBK next year, albeit with a 1000cc four-cylinder engine. For all these racing bikes, manufacturers will have to make at least 1,000 units in order to be able to homologate them for racing. And that’s just for 2008 and 2009. For 2010 and beyond, that number will go up to 3,000 bikes!

We appreciate the fact that more manufacturers may be coming to World Superbikes next year. It will mean more intense competition on the track and ultimately, better bikes for enthusiasts. But we really don’t know about this 1200cc engine capacity limit for twins. Manufacturers are free to choose an engine format (twins, fours, triples or anything else…) and develop it the way they want, so why should Ducati first choose the v-twin, then argue that it’s not as efficient as the inline-four, and arm-twist race organizers to make special concessions for their engines?

With 1200cc twins pitted against their smaller fours in WSBK 2008, Japanese manufacturers may have to struggle next year...

We don’t think it’s fair. We’ve seen Ducati’s four-cylinder MotoGP bikes and how they perform. That’s the way to go. If they want to continue with v-twin engines in WSBK, that’s fine, but in our opinion, Ducati should also be restricted to 1000cc like the Japanese manufacturers. Then, if they can still win, they would have proved a point. And they would’ve won the respect of racing enthusiasts worldwide. Let the playing field be level, then let the best bike win…

Also see:
Moto Guzzi Bellagio: Life in the slow lane...
Acabion GTBO 70: Life in the very, very fast lane!
18th July 2007: Ride to work day
The future's bright, the future's Benelli?
Kenny Roberts to build Fireblade-based superbike
The utterly mad, deeply desirable Carver One!

MotoGP: Steve Parrish to test ride the Kawasaki Ninja ZX-RR

Parrish will soon be getting his hands on that ZX-RR...

Three decades ago, he was teammate to Barry Sheene and used to race 500cc grand prix Suzukis. Then he moved on to truck racing and was very successful at that. These days, he’s a commentator at BBC Television, which he probably doesn’t find as productive of adrenaline as his earlier jobs. So very soon, Steve Parrish will be pulling on his leathers again – Kawasaki are allowing him to test ride their MotoGP machine, the Ninja ZX-RR, around the Donington Park circuit, just ahead of the British MotoGP next week.

Kawasaki rider Randy de Puniet recently finished in fifth place at the Spanish MotoGP at Catalunya, and Parrish will be riding de Puniet’s ZX-RR on Thursday, the 21st of this month. The ride will, in fact, be broadcast on the BBC.

Steve Parrish finished fifth in the 1977 500cc world championship

Parrish finished fifth in the 1977 500cc motorcycle GP racing world championship, but was actually more successful as a truck racer, winning no less than five European titles. When he gets on to the Kawasaki ZX-RR this Thursday, he will be only the sixth person ever to ride the MotoGP Kawasaki.

GP Racing bikes have, of course, evolved far beyond how they used to be in the 1970s, so how does Parrish feel about the MotoGP ride? He says, ‘I am very, very excited about riding the Kawasaki Ninja ZX-RR and particularly at Donington Park, my home Grand Prix, and a circuit where I have ridden many times. It is going to be the second 800cc MotoGP bike that I've tried. As I already have some idea from riding the Suzuki, it will be interesting to see if there are any differences. I feel like one of the luckiest men in the paddock, as I also rode all the 990cc MotoGP bikes last year!’

Kawasaki have struggled in MotoGP so far, but next year, if Hayden, Capirossi or Edwards joins the team, things could improve...

How different are today’s MotoGP machines from the 500cc racers of Parrish’s time? ‘It's difficult to see on screen just how unbelievably fast they are, and how the riders have to be athletes to ride them. I will do only four laps and even this will be pretty exhausting. But this is not to prove myself, but rather to be able to explain better how tough MotoGP racing is,’ he says. Yeah, you lucky bugger…

Saturday, June 16, 2007

KTM vs Suzuki: 125cc GP racer vs 1000cc superbike…?

Small, but perfectly former. All muscle, no fat...

We are big fans of MotoGP here at Faster and Faster, and you see MotoGP-related posts here very often. But talk about 125cc motorcycle GP racing, and with us, you draw a blank. We admit we don’t follow 125cc racing, and we hardly know anything at all about those bikes and the men who race them.

But are we missing something? We thought it would be interesting to take a quick look at a 125cc racebike’s specs and see how, as a package, one of these machines would stack up to a modern-day 1000cc road-going superbike. Let’s take the KTM 125 racer, for example. The bike is powered by a single-cylinder, liquid-cooled, two-stroke 125cc engine that makes 55 horsepower at 13,000rpm, and 31Nm of torque at 12,800rpm. No fuel injection here – the bike uses a Keihin carburetor.

The Gixxer weighs twice as much as the 125 racebike, but is also three times as powerful!

The minimum weight limit (bike+rider) in the 125cc class is 136kg, so the KTM 125 racer probably weighs just 80 kilos! The twin-spar chassis is made of aluminium, suspension is Öhlins front and rear, brakes are by Brembo, wheels are lightweight Marchesini units and the gearbox is a six-speed unit. Fuel capacity is 13 litres, which means the bike probably averages about 10 – 11km/l during races.

On to, say, a Suzuki GSX-R1000 now. The engine is a 999cc, four-stroke, liquid-cooled inline-four, and depending on who you talk to (or which motorcycle mag roadtest you choose to believe), it makes anywhere between 165 – 180 horsepower at 12,000rpm. Top speed is close to 300km/h, and while we don’t really know the exact top speed of the KTM 125, we don’t suppose it would be more than 220km/h. The Suzuki’s 1:1 power-to-weight ratio also compares favourably with the KTM’s 1:1.45.

In the end, it could all come down to skill and experience. Kevin Schwantz on a GSX-R1000 should be able to take on any 125 racer. We hope... :-)

The GSX-R1000 is about twice as heavy as the KTM 125, but also packs three times the power. So the numbers at least are weighted in favour of litre-class superbikes. How would things be in the real world? Would an average rider who weighs 85 kilos, riding a GSX-R1000, be able to keep up with a 55kg professional racer, on a 125cc GP racebike, on a set of mountain twisties?

Would the 125’s agility and higher corner speeds (?) offset the Gixxer’s sheer power, acceleration and higher top speeds? What if the GSX-R was fitted with high-spec street rubber, while the KTM ran racing slicks? We'd love to find out, but for that, we'll need a KTM 125 racer and a 2007 Suzuki GSX-R1000. Anyone willing to lend us these two machines for a day…? :-D

Other great battles:
Fifth Gear video: Ducati 1098 vs Lamborghini Gallardo Superleggera!
MotoGP: Rossi vs Capirossi at Mugello!
Superbikes vs police helicopters!
Drag racing: Kawasaki ZZR1400 vs Suzuki Hayabusa!
Helmet wars: Snell vs ECE22
1988 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10 vs modern-day Ninja ZX-10R!
Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade vs Honda Civic Type-R!
Acceleration: Supercars vs superbikes!

Friday, June 15, 2007

Triumph Tiger 1050 and The Many Worlds of Jonas Moore

James Bond can keep his Aston Martin, Jonas Moore prefers the Triumph Tiger 1050

Umm…, we admit we don’t fully understand this one. But to quote from their website, ‘The Many Worlds of Jonas Moore is a trilogy set in a time where the British Empire has never ended and America is just a virtual world hosted on a vast global game network. Jonas Moore, a character personally created by the network's founder, is thrown into a world where characters, creatures and monsters are all slaves to the gamers from the real world…’ Uhh… well. As far as we’re concerned, we’re talking about any of this at all only because Mr Moore rides a Triumph Tiger 1050.

The Tiger 1050 anyway seems to be a popular bike these days...

Factory Publishing Ltd., in association with Triumph Motorcycles, have launched ‘a world-first trilogy of second generation graphic novels designed for iPod and PC download.’ This, supposedly, ‘Marks a revolution in on-line branded content and user generated content.’ More such amazing details on the official website here, for those who may be interested. As for us, we’ll just open a can of ice-cold beer, watch an old James Bond movie and wish we had enough money to buy a 2006 GSX-R1000, fitted with a full-on Yoshimura exhaust system… :-(

Jonas Moore in action on his Triumph Tiger 1050

Also see:
Ducati to merge with Harley-Davidson?!?
Sky Cycle: The bike that flies. What else...?
Air-powered bikes in the year 2017?
John McGuinness on top at the 100th Isle of Man TT races
Wheelsurf: No need for wheelies anymore
Kalex AV1: Building an all-out sportsbike...

Frank Melling: Memories of the Isle of Man TT

Who wouldn't recognise that helmet on the IoM TT...

Frank Melling has written an excellent article for Motorcycle-USA, where he talks about his memories of the Isle of Man TT. Here are two brief excerpts.

‘My first independent trip away from home was to the TT. I was just 16 years old. I arrived to a scene of unbelievable glamour. The dockside was full of the latest superbikes – BSA Gold Stars, Triumph Bonnevilles and the glorious 650cc Norton SS. Their riders looked so cool too. Elvis haircuts, real leather jackets and badges from previous TTs. I wandered around in a dream of wonder and near ecstasy.’

‘It is the sounds which carry through the years more than the sights. The howl of the Honda fours, the desperately high-pitched screams of the tiny Suzuki two-strokes and the snarl and rasp of the British singles….’

Get the full article here.

More legends, more memories:
In conversation with Kevin Schwantz
Talking to Wayne Gardner
The late, great Kawasaki ZXR750
Remembering Wayne Rainey...
Suzuki GSX-R750: The saga begins...
Sultan of Slide: The great Freddie Spencer
Spinning around: The mighty Norton F1

Honda and Aprilia to get big and naked in 2008

Honda are likely to build the Hornet 1000, which may look like this, next year

As reported on the Motociclismo website some time ago, Honda are looking all set to build a bigger Hornet for 2008. The bike will borrow its engine from the CBR1000RR Fireblade, so even if it’s ‘tuned for torque,’ there should still be at least 125bhp to play with. Styling is very likely to be an evolution of the Hornet 600, with its trademark stubby exhausts and mini fairing. The new Hornet 1000 will be proper sportsbike tackle, with sticky rubber, USD forks, and radial brakes (ABS may be an option), but also all-day, two-up ride comfort. Should be interesting to see how it stacks up against the likes of the Yamaha Fazer FZ-1 and the Kawasaki Z1000.

The Aprilia 1200 supermotard will be on the lines of the Ducati Hypermotard
Pic: Motociclismo

Italians, of course, will have a different take on the big naked theme. Ducati have showed the way with their Hypermotard, and now Aprilia want to follow in their footsteps. Expect a Hypermotard-style supermoto from them by the end of this year. Initially, the engine may be the Shiver’s 750cc v-twin, but as reported earlier, they are also working on a 1200cc v-twin, so expect a 130 horpower, 1200cc version of the Aprilia supermoto by the end of 2008.

Update (20th Sep, 2007): Stunning new Honda Evo6, CB1100R and CB1100F revealed!

More of big and naked:
British is bigger, British is best!
2007 Repsol-replica Honda Hornet 600F
The Triumph Street Triple 675
Wheelsurf: Single and fully naked
CR&S Vun: Whacky, naked and Italian...
The Freddie: Spencer tribute with no clothes on!
MV Agusta Brutale 910R: The most beautiful naked...
...and finally, a KTM just for women!

External link:
Aprilia 850 Mana picture gallery

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Ducati to merge with Harley-Davidson?!

Will this be a Ducati-Davidson in a few years...?

According to a report on the Financial Times website, Ducati might soon merge with Harley-Davidson! Ducati CFO, Enrico D’Onofrio has been quoted as saying that ‘A merger with Harley-Davidson would be totally complementary,’ and that ‘Half of all Ducati owners in the US also own a Harley.’

The FT website report says that this merger could help Ducati with procurement – the Italian company would be able to get better quality parts at lower prices – and that it would also enhance ‘distribution opportunities’ for Ducati in the American market. The report adds that Harley may also benefit from this merger with regard to international expansion, as the US market is flattening out.

Since Ducati and H-D bikes are so very different - in what they stand for and in how they are to ride - we really don't know if a merger makes any sense

On the other hand, a press release on the Ducati website denies that any such merger may be in the offing. ‘Neither Ducati nor its principal shareholder TPG have had any contacts with Harley-Davidson, concerning a possible acquisition of an interest in Ducati,’ it says. Cycle World magazine has an interesting take on the whole issue - get it here.

In the meanwhile, Ducati have released a new special edition bike – the 2007 Ducati Sport 1000 Mono – which will only be made available in North America. Only 100 units of this bike will be made, and Ducati claim that ‘This Sport 1000 SE embodies the spirit of the legendary 1978 900SS Darmah.’

The 2007 Ducati Sport Mono SE. Only available in the US and in Canada

The 2007 Sport 1000 Mono features a twin muffler ‘shotgun’ exhaust, wire-spoke wheels and Brembo brakes, and costs US$11,495. The bike is now available at Ducati showrooms throughout North America.

Also see:
Ducati 1098 vs MV Agusta F4 1000: Which is more beautiful?
Street survival: 50 tips from Motorcycle Cruiser
Tom Cruise splurges out on fancy new bike...
What if Ferrari had built a motorcycle?
MotoTuning's streetfighter GSX-R1000
New trials bikes from Sherco
For the rich and famous: Marcus Walz's custom specials

David Howard: Aprilia RS250 + SXV 550 = RSV-R 550!

The Aprilia RS250 - a GP bike for the road. Pity you can't buy one anymore...

Across all bikes in all segments, the two-stroke race-rep Aprilia RS250 is one of our most favourite motorcycles ever. The bike weighed a mere 140kg, and its 250cc v-twin made 60 horsepower at 11,000rpm, which means a specific output of about 240bhp per litre. Not very far off from the 280bhp per litre of Casey Stoner’s current 800cc MotoGP Ducati! Pity, then, that the RS250 doesn’t exist anymore.

The RS250's specific output, in terms of bhp-per-litre, is close to current day 800cc MotoGP bikes!!

But while we simply sit and bemoan the fact that the RS250 is no more, London-based David Howard has gone and done something about it. The 46-year-old school teacher, who used to race Suzuki RG500s in the 1980s, took an RS250 chassis and bolted an Aprilia SXV 550 engine into it. And the RSV-R 550 was born!

David Howard's SXV 550-powered RSV-R 550. Awesome!

Howard says getting hold of an SXV 550 engine was a bit difficult, and he ultimately had to buy a brand new SXV 550 just so he could use its engine – but he still completed the entire project in just four months. He says, ‘After watching episodes of American Chopper, I figured that if they could build a bike to a deadline, than so could I!’

The Aprilia SXV 550 is pretty cool on its own, but the RSV-R 550 is where it's at, for on-track performance

Howard has kept the SXV’s 549cc, four-stroke, liquid-cooled v-twin basically stock, but he’s fitted a Gibson exhaust system and a power commander unit, and ditched the airbox. The engine now makes 71bhp, which means plenty of performance in the lightweight RSV-R 550.

For those who can't be bothered with building their own special, the stock RSV1000 should just about do... :-)

What advice does Howard have, for those who plan to build their own special? ‘Planning is the most important thing – don’t just let your project evolve, have a clear idea what you want to achieve and workout a timeline so that you can keep working on the bike.’ Aprilia News blog has an interview with Howard here. This is Howard’s website, which is under construction right now. And here's one place from where you can download tons of Aprilia wallpaper.

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

Random Ramblings