Saturday, July 07, 2007

Chris Vermeulen working with Dainese on motorcycle rider airbags

Dainese and Chris Vermeulen are working on a rider airbag system, which chould be an important safety aid for motorcyclists in the future...

Dainese have been working on rider airbag systems for quite some time and now their work and research is being supported by Rizla Suzuki MotoGP rider, Chris Vermeulen. Says Dainese's sports marketing manager Lerrj Piazza, ‘Inside Chris’ riding suit, we have a special data logger and with this we store a lot of data about the dynamics of the rider on the bike. We need this to develop the airbag system.’

An ‘intelligent’ crash protection system for motorcycle riders, Dainese’s airbag system might be ready by next year and should be an important advance in rider safety when it finally goes on sale.

Also see:
Chris Vermeulen on top in French MotoGP!
Memorable: The 1983 Suzuki XN85 Turbo
Which is the best-loved naked in Italy...?
Retro SBK's Freddie Spencer tribute
Bikes vs cars: Fireblade takes on Civic Type-R!
Italian stallion: The mighty Bimota Tuatara

Electric and expensive: Enertia to go on sale early next year

The Enertia is clean and green, but will cost US$12,000 when it goes on sale next year!

For those who like their bikes clean, green and environment-friendly, you now have the Enertia electric motorcycle to look forward to. Engineered by Brammo, the bike boasts of a carbonfibre monocoque chassis, which houses the six Lithium-Phosphate batteries that power the Enertia’s electric motor.

The Enertia has performance comparable to most conventional scooters. It sprints from zero to 50km/h in about 3.8 seconds and is capable of hitting a top speed of 80km/h. It’ll also do 70km on a single charge, which should take care of most city commutes. And yes, the batteries will last for more than 600 charge cycles…

The Enertia will cost US$12,000 and above when it goes on sale in early-2008 and that makes it quite expensive. More details on the Enertia website here.

Also see:
The 190bhp Kawasaki 1400GTR Concours. Boring?
The SR8LM. For those who think a stock Hayabusa isn't powerful enough!
Missing no.34, Kevin Schwantz...
Peugeot Satelis: A supercharged scooter!
Motorcycle riders: Watch out!!!
What happened to the Rossi vs Pedrosa battle?

Friday, July 06, 2007

Throttle control: Motorcycle rider vs electronics

Definitely no electronics at work here!

While most of us agree that the increased use of electronics in modern-day motorcycles is a good thing, are manufacturers are going too far already? We’d support most things that enhance rider safety on the street. ABS and traction control etc. are all fine by us as long as they can be controlled/modulated by the rider, and switched off if the rider wants, what about motorcycle racing? How far should electronic aids be allowed to go before it becomes less of a motorcycle race on the circuit and more of a contest between computer scientists?

Umm… we don’t really know. We don’t have answers to the above question. But motorcycle tech guru, Kevin Cameron has written a brilliant article at the Cycle World website, which you may want to read. It talks about how building a racing motorcycle has gone from being all about ports and pipes and cams back then, to being mostly about electronic chips and computer software these days.

Learnings from racebike development ultimately filter down to streetbikes, so where we finally go with motorcycle electronics will have a very large impact on a very large number of riders...

The article is a fascinating read and might possibly even give you new insights into why a young rider from Australia has been regularly beating a multi-time world champion from Italy in this year’s MotoGP season! Get the article here.

Also see:
Suzuki RM-Z450: The first fuel-injected motocrosser!
Beringer brakes: New system to allow harder, safer braking
MotoGP: Can a new paintjob make a bike go faster? Yes!
MotoGP bikes: Three decades of evolution...
Frank Melling: Memories of the Isle of Man TT
David Howard's amazing Aprilia RSV-R 550
The world's most beautiful bikes...!!

Kawasaki 1400GTR Concours: Can a 153bhp bike be boring?

190bhp, 1.4-litre engine, variable valve timing and 300km/h top speed. And we still don't want the Kawasaki 1400GTR!
We are big fans of big, fast and brutish Kawasakis here and yet somehow we don't really like the 2008 Kawasaki 1400GTR Concours too much. How could that be? The bike is powered by the ZZR1400's engine (detuned from 190bhp down to 153...), is packed with cutting-edge technology and going by most road test reports, is fast, smooth, safe and comfortable.

We guess our problem with the bike is that it looks a bit dull. While it may be efficient and hassle-free, shaft-drive belongs on old-school BMWs and Moto Guzzis. And the 1400GTR also looks too big and bloated. Since the ZZR1400 can't possibly compete with GSX-R1000s and R1s on twisty mountain roads, isn't it already a hyper-fast sports-tourer? Where's the need for a GTR1400? Fast it may be, but isn't the Concours too much of an old man's bike?

While we don't like the GTR too much, we guess the bike would have some fans among our readers. If you like the 1400GTR, read Lance Oliver's first ride report, at the AMA website here.

No, the 1400GTR doesn't do anything for us. We'd much rather take the ZZR1400 or even the 2008 Hayabusa...

Ducati Desmosedici RR makes its first public appearance in action at Misano!

With Vittoriano Guareschi aboard, the Desmosedici RR struts its stuff

The absolutely glorious Ducati Desmosedici RR made its first ever public appearance at the recently concluded 2007 World Ducati Week. Ducati MotoGP Team test rider, Vittoriano Guareschi rode the bike around the Misano Circuit for a few demo laps.

Powered by Ducati’s pre-2007 MotoGP-spec 989cc, 200bhp L4, the Desmosedici RR is indeed a MotoGP bike for the road. Ducati Motor Holding CEO, Gabriele Del Torchio says, ‘This is a dream motorcycle that is destined to become an icon, endorsed by the fact that so many of the world’s top sportsmen and celebrities alike have placed orders to own one.’

Apart from its GP6 MotoGP bike-spec engine, the Desmosedici RR boasts of bits like sand-cast aluminium crankcases, magnesium engine covers, a cassette type six-speed gearbox and hydraulically actuated dry multi-plate slipper clutch. The engine’s double overhead cams actuate four titanium valves per cylinder and are gear driven from a crankshaft which has titanium connecting rods.

Ducati Desmosedici RR. Perhaps the most lust-worthy motorcycle in the world

Says Claudio Domenicali, Director of Product Development at Ducati Motor Holding and the CEO at Ducati Corse, ‘We are extremely pleased with the final result – the bike is fantastic both statically and dynamically. The chassis is rigid and the engine crisp, just like the racing Desmosedici and this is the very essence of the project – to leave the owner with a taste of our MotoGP bike!’

Also see:
Limited edition MV Agusta F4 CC
V-Roehr 1130: The all-American superbike
Could you learn to live without bikes...?
New developments at Moto Morini
Allen Millyard's V12 Kawasaki!
Aprilia to enter WSBK in 2008
EZ Tuning: The school of cool

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Gut-wrenching: The SR8LM's 455bhp V8 Hayabusa engine!

The SR8LM. More than twice as powerful as a 2008 Suzuki Hayabusa!

So Suzuki have just launched the 2008 Hayabusa and its 180 horsepower is not nearly enough for you. No problem at all – just get a Radical SR8LM. Okay, it isn’t a motorcycle, but it uses a Suzuki Hayabusa engine. No, it uses two Suzuki Hayabusa engines, making it a 2800cc, 455 horsepower V8! Engineered by Powertec, the V8 is mated to a six-speed paddle-shift gearbox and will give you 30 hours of use between rebuilds.

That's two Hayabusa engines joined together, to make a 2.8-litre, 455bhp V8!

The SR8LM, its builders claim, is a car that will match most all-out Le Mans race cars around most circuits and we suppose that means it is one hell of a machine. More details on the SR8LM here, and more details on its Powertec V8 engine here. We first read about this car on The Kneeslider here.

If the 2008 Hayabusa isn't powerful enough for you, you need this Le Mans-worthy V8. Just find a specials builder who'll bolt it on to a motorcycle chassis...

The need for speed:
The mighty 2008 Suzuki Hayabusa: First pics, video and details
Riding a fast bike? WATCH OUT!
Drag race: Hayabusa vs ZZR1400
"ZZR1400s and Hayabusas? Pooh..!!"
"GSX-Rs? They're for moped riders!"

Triumph officially unveil Street Triple 675

Triumph Street Triple: Light, adequately powerful and sporty

Six weeks ago, we showed you the first official picture of the Triumph Street Triple. Now, Triumph have officially unveiled the Street Triple – the bike was shown at the Triumph Tridays in Neukirchen, Austria.

Using the Daytona 675’s three-cylinder engine, the Street Triple packs 107 horsepower and 69Nm of torque, which should make for entertaining performance in a bike that weighs 167kg.

The wheels, brakes, chassis and swingarm have been taken from the Daytona and in keeping with its sporting intent the Street Triple is fitted with Dunlop Sportmax Qualifier (120/70 ZR17 front and 180/55 ZR17 rear) rubber as standard. Pirelli SuperCorsa Pro and Bridgestone BT014G tyres are approved options. Kayaba suspension units are fitted front and rear.

Says Tue Mantoni, Triumph’s Commercial Director, “It’s a great bike for both new and experienced riders, with distinctive style, and class-leading performance in an affordable package. Reaction from customers to the Street Triple has been fantastic and our dealers are very much looking forward to receiving their demo bikes shortly.” More details on the Triumph website here.

So just how good is the Street Triple? Watch this video...

Also see:
NRV588: Norton Rotary lives again!
British is bigger, British is best!
Very fast past: The Vincent Black Shadow!
Wakan 1640: Motorcycling, the French way...
And now, make way for the KTM RC8!

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

2008 Suzuki RM-Z450: The first fuel-injected motocrosser is here!

The fuel-injected Suzuki RM-Z450. "Mud in your eye...!"

While street bikes have had fuel injection for ages, you might be surprised to know that all motocross machines were still making do with carburetors. Until now, that is. The 2008 Suzuki RM-Z450 has just been unveiled and the bike gets electronic fuel-injection – a first for motocross bikes!

The RM-Z450 weighs only 102 kilos and is powered by a liquid-cooled, four-stroke, single-cylinder, 449cc DOHC engine with Keihin EFI. Fully adjustable Showa suspension units are used front and rear – 47mm forks at the front and piggyback-reservoir shock at the back. The bike also has an aluminium fuel tank (instead of the usual plastic...) and the EFI unit is mounted at the bottom of this tank.

Other manufacturers should be following Suzuki's example very soon. Bring on the EFI...

With the new EFI system, Suzuki claim better low- and mid-end power delivery and improved roll-on performance for the RM-Z450. Indeed, the bike marks the beginning of a new era in motocross engine technology – all other manufacturers are also sure to introduce EFI on their motocross bikes very soon...

Also see:
The mighty 2008 Suzuki Hayabusa
Pimp'd: Accessories for the Suzuki GSX-R1000
Suzuki GSX-R1000 vs KTM 125cc GP racer?!
Suzuki finally back on top in MotoGP!
Kevin Schwantz: The greatest Suzuki GP rider ever...

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Back to the '50s: Piaggio Ape Calessino

We suppose only the Italians can make three-wheelers look so cool... :-)

We saw these images on Motoblog and well, aren't they cool? The three-wheeler in the pics is the Piaggio Ape Calessino and from what little we can understand (Motoblog is an Italian site...), it's a limited-edition model based on a 1950s/1960s machine, which also appeared in some Hollywood movie. More details on the Motoblog site here.

Buy one of these and your GSX-R riding mates will be left eating your dust. Maybe

Other interesting three-wheelers:
The amazing Piaggio MP3
The Gilera Fuoco 500
The Carver One: A three-wheeled superbike?
Pal V-One: The flying trike!
Campagna T-Rex: Tiff Needell tests the maddest trike ever...

Some old Vespa advertisements. Cool...

Monday, July 02, 2007

Ducati 1098 F08 World Superbikes racer unveiled

Troy Bayliss rides the Ducati 1098 F08 racebike at the Misano circuit...

The 1098 F08 superbike, which Ducati will be racing in World Superbikes in 2008, was unveiled during the 2007 World Ducati Week at Misano yesterday. Troy Bayliss put in a few demo laps on the new bike, which is still in the development stage, at the Misano circuit.

Says Troy, 'I just saw the new 1098 for the first time yesterday. It looks and feels good and although it clearly doesn't feel like home after a couple of laps, I'm sure Ducati are moving in the right direction and it will be soon! I've still got a few things to concentrate on at the moment, like winning this year's title, but I'm really looking forward to testing the bike at a quieter moment in the future.'

Ducati 999. The old order changeth...

Ducati have been racing the 999R in World Superbikes this year, but that will make way for the 1098 F08 in 2008. In keeping with new FIM regulations for 2008, we suppose the bike's engine capacity would be upped to 1200cc, but Ducati will have to run it in a lower state of tune (as compared to the 999R) and make do with standard con-rods, crankshaft and rocker arms.

...yielding place to the new! With the new 1098 racebike, sparks will fly in WSBK next year

Compared to 1000cc four-cylinder Japanese machines, the 1200cc Ducati twins will also have a slightly higher minimum weight limit and will have to run air restrictors. Rather confusingly, the FIM say that 'both these handicaps may change during the season depending on performance.' We still think the 2008 World Superbikes scene will be dominated by Ducati...

The 1098 WSBK race bike sure looks menacing. Yes, it'll be fast...

Also see:
Ducati 1098 wins Motorcycle Design Association’s 'Best Design Of 2006' award
Hi-res Ducati wallpaper
Pierre Terblanche: "I thought the 916 series needed to move on...'
Ducati 999 vs 1098: Doug Polen decides!
Istituto Europeo di Design: "The World’s Most Beautiful Motorcycle is...

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Kevin Schwantz: No.34, we miss you!

Kevin Schwantz at the 2007 Dutch TT at Assen

We can't see him in action anymore, but the smile hasn't changed... :-)

The legendary Kevin Schwantz (500cc world champ in 1993) was in attendance at the Dutch TT yesterday. We saw some pictures of his at Assen and suddenly realized that even though he’s not been racing for so many years now, we still miss him!

Our no.1 500cc GP racebike ever - the 1989 Pepsi Suzuki RGV500

The bike with the No.34 plate was always the one to watch out for!

The Stoner vs Capirossi battle at Assen reminded us of the epic races in the late-1980s and early-1990s, when Kevin Schwantz and Wayne Rainey used to go head to head like crazed bulldogs. Throw in Eddie Lawson, Wayne Gardner, and Mick Doohan into the mix and you had some truly spectacular races. We wouldn’t say that MotoGP races today are any less interesting, but we grew up watching races in those days, so the 1980s/1990s will always be special for us.

The year 1989 saw some epic battles between Rainey and Schwantz

Even today, Schwantz hasn't slowed down. Here he and Mamola go head to head on a pair of Rizla Suzuki GP bikes...

For those readers who also have fond memories Schwantz, his antics and his absolutely glorious Pepsi Suzuki RGV500, we’ve posted these pics and video for you. Enjoy! And remember, Schwantz may come to MotoGP next year as a team manager with Suzuki… :-)

Here's the various helmets Kevin wore over the years. The one in the bottom right hand corner is our no.1 favourite!

Possibly the most watched Rainey vs Schwantz clip on the Internet... :-)

And here's a slightly longer Kevin Schwantz video. Those were the days...

More Kevin Schwantz:
Schwantz talks about the Suzuki GSX-R series
An interview with Kevin Schwantz
Go-faster tips from No.34!
Schwantz's biggest rivals: Wayne Gardner and Wayne Rainey