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