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!