Monday, August 06, 2007

Cracking Confederate: F131 Hellcat Combat

The B120 Wraith

If you’ve seen pictures of their bikes, you’ll probably agree that the Alabama, US-based Confederate Motor Company builds some absolutely rocking motorcycles. They claim their bikes ‘celebrate the art of rebellion,’ and that ‘Confederate machines evoke principled individuality through simple, pure, minimal, skeletal form language, which is at once, technical and primitive.’ For once, this is not marketing-inspired shtick – the bikes really do what it says on the cover.

To start with, there’s the B120 Wraith, which is billed as ‘the world's most luxurious, sporting two-wheeled device.’ With 125 horsepower from its v-twin, carbonfibre monocoque chassis, single-sided swingarm, double wishbone front suspension, titanium monoshock, LED lamps and belt drive, this is not your everyday cruiser. Only 250 are being built.

The F131 Hellcat

Next up is the F131 Hellcat. The bike packs a 140-horsepower v-twin, and the backbone downtube, cradle-based chassis utilizes the engine as a stressed member. The swingarm features an integrated exhaust system and power is transferred to the rear wheel via a belt drive mechanism. There’s 50mm Marzocchi USD forks at front, adjustable dual Penske shocks at back and the wheels are made of carbonfibre. Still not enough? Get the range-topping, limited edition, F131 Hellcat Combat. With reworked engine and suspension, the Combat has a bit more power and handles better than the ‘ordinary’ Hellcat. If you want a Confederate, this seems to be the one to buy!

Confederate's latest, the Renovatio Project...

Finally, there’s the Renovatio Project on which Confederate are now working. It’s minimalist design coupled with a 1686cc, 150bhp v-twin (190bhp if you take the optional supercharger!), girder-type multi-link front suspension (made of titanium and carbonfibre), single-sided swingarm, LED lamps, and carbonfibre wheels.

These bikes certainly aren’t a part of mainstream motorcycling, but as a showcase for engineering talent and unconventional thought, the Confederate machines would be hard to beat! More details and technical specifications on the Confederate website here.

Other mad machines:
The Acabion GTBO 70: It'll have your Hayabusa for lunch...
Gibbs Quadski: The bike that thinks it's a boat!
KillaCycle: The electric bike that isn't afraid of Porsches!
Supercharged, 1000bhp, V8-powered monsterbike!
Carver One: The trike which thinks it's a superbike!

Honda: V4 revival in 2008-2009!

Honda VFR800
Honda may finally be ready to move beyond the VFR800 and develop a whole new range of V4-engined sports, touring and even dual-purpose motorcycles

According to Spanish website Solomoto, we may see a resurgence of Honda’s legendary V4-powered bikes over the next two years. While the 1980s and 90s V4 Honda RC30 and RC45 are considered to be all-time performance bike greats, the current VFR800 sports-tourer simply isn’t in the same league. Its variable-valve-timing (VTEC) system has been criticized for its erratic performance, and the bike has steadily lost ground to newer, more sophisticated rivals.

Honda are now expected to build a non-VTEC, 1000cc V4 which will power their new VFR1000 sports-tourer. And unlike the existing VFR800, the new bike is likely to have USD forks at front, Honda’s Unit ProLink system at the back, and radially-mounted brakes with ABS.

Solomoto even say that the Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade may give way to an all-new RVF1000 by 2009. Instead of the Fireblade’s inline-four, the RVF1000 will use a 200bhp, 1000cc V4 and styling would mirror Honda’s MotoGP bikes. With Aprilia also working on their own 1,000cc V-four engine, which they claim will make more than 210 horsepower in race trim, maybe the V4 config is getting all set to make a big comeback. Should be worth waiting for!

Friday, August 03, 2007

The Mick Doohan 'Motocoaster' to be built in Australia

Doohan almost had one of his legs chopped off after a major bike racing accident. He then went on to win five 500cc world titles. A hard man...

Based in Australia, Dreamworld already claim to have some of the most 'terrifying' roller coaster rides anywhere in the world. With names like Tower of Terror, Giant Drop and Wipeout, you can imagine what we're talking about here. But now, they're moving up a whole new level and building the Mick Doohan Motocoaster, named after the five-time 500cc motorcycle GP racing world champ.

The Motocoaster will feature full-scale replicas of Doohan's Honda NSR500 and the ride is expected to be ready by September this year. Sure, it won't be the same as riding Doohan's fire-breathing, rear wheel sliding, 180bhp NSR, but for committed adrenaline junkies, perhaps this is as close as you can get to Mick's bike.

Some more details here. And for even hotter, wilder rides, go here!!!

Even more wild rides:
The completely amazing Carver One
A 2300cc, V12 Kawasaki!
A bike that's not afraid of SUVs...
A supercharged French scooter!
An Italian MotoGP bike that you can buy!
One of the best 500cc, two-stroke GP racebikes...
A twin-engined Harley-powered dragster!

Thursday, August 02, 2007

BMW R1200GS production hits 100,000 units mark

Between 2004 and now, BMW have made 100,000 units of the R1200GS!

More motorcyclists than ever before, it seems, are saddling up and riding off into the unknown. And most of them are apparently choosing the BMW R1200GS for their epic journeys across the world. We say this because BMW report that between February 2004 and the 27th of July this year, they've made a total of 100,000 units of the R1200GS and GS Adventure machines. This compares well with the older R1150GS – BMW only made about 58,000 units of that bike between 1999 and 2003...

In the meanwhile, go here to see what Cycle World have to say about our favourite BMW, the HP2 Megamoto!

More BMW:
2009 K1000RS: GSX-R1000 beater from BMW?
Canjamoto's turbocharged BMW R1200S
Wunderlich WR2: A lighter, faster BMW HP2!
BMW buy Husqvarna from Claudio Castiglioni
BMW G650 Xmoto, Xchallenge and Xcountry...
AC Schnitzer tuned BMW K1200R Sport

New 125s: Derbi Mulhacen and Terra

Derbi Mulhacen 125. 110kg dry weight, 15 horsepower...

The Derbi Terra 125 (left) is a dual-purpose machine, while the Mulhacen 125 (right) is street-oriented

Derbi have launched two new 125s – the street-oriented Mulhacen and the dual-purpose Terra. Both are powered by single-cylinder, carbureted, water-cooled, four-stroke, four-valve 125cc engines that make 15 horsepower at 9500rpm. Both the bikes are also fitted with tubular steel chassis, monoshock rear suspension and disc brakes front and rear. The Mulhacen 125 weighs only 110kg, while the Terra 125 weighs 117kg. Possibly the right stuff for teenagers who don't want an Aprilia RS125....?

More details on the Derbi website here.

Also see:
The Derbi Mulhacen 659 X-vision!
The amazing Gilera Fuoco 500
The fire-spitting Suzuki RGV250
"GSX-Rs are for moped riders!"
MAB's turbocharged BMW K1200R
Lazareth Motorcycles: Custom cool...
Down memory lane: The Cagiva 500 GP racer
MV Agusta F4 R 312: The fastest production motorcycle in the world!

James Toseland: The next Barry Sheene...?

Ten Kate Honda rider, James Toseland will move to MotoGP in 2008 with the Tech 3 Yamaha team

Reigning world superbikes champ, Ten Kate Honda rider James Toseland will be moving to MotoGP next year. Toseland, who looks all set to win his second WSBK title this year, will be riding for the Dunlop Yamaha Tech 3 MotoGP team in 2008. Honda wanted him to stay on in world superbikes and could not offer him a MotoGP ride, which is why Toseland had to decide to move to Yamaha.

Talking about his move to MotoGP, he says, 'The easy choice was to stay and be competitive in world superbikes. I could continue that, no problem. But I want to see where I line up against the best in the business.'

What about his lack of experience in riding GP bikes? At 26 years of age, can he now successfully move to MotoGP? Toseland says, 'The seven years I've had in superbikes, and hopefully being a two time world champion, will prove that I can be competitive there. I'm quietly confident that I can be.' And what about the bike that Tech 3 can provide him with? 'It's a 2008 Yamaha and it's not a million miles away from what Valentino Rossi will be riding,' says the WSBK champ.

Beating Max Biaggi is one thing. But can Toseland take on Stoner and Rossi...?

Indeed, for 2008, the Tech 3 team is being upgraded from being a 'satellite outfit' and will have full factory support next year, so Toseland's decision to join them may be proved right. Says Tech 3 team boss Herve Poncharal, 'Procuring James is a major coup for Tech 3 Yamaha and for the MotoGP championship in extending our reach into Northern Europe. It's an exciting time for us all and I am certain that he will be an integral part of the team's future.'

Toseland, of course, is quite sure of what he wants to do. He says, 'I want to be the first British rider to be competitive in GPs since Barry Sheene. I never got to see any of his racing but you can't get away from the fact that he was the last true household name in British motorcycling. I've worked hard for the last ten years to be given this chance to emulate him.'

With so many talented and experienced riders baying for blood in MotoGP, we doubt if James Toseland will be the next Barry Sheene. At best, he might finish in the top five once in a while and get a few podium finishes. But winning the world championship? Being the next Barry Sheene? Er, we don't think so...

Also see:
Toseland rides Honda Fireblade against Tiff Needell's Civic Type R!
2007 MotoGP race reports and hi-res wallpaper
An interview with John Hopkins...
MotoGP in the 1950s: V8 bikes!
MotoGP tyre wars: Bridgestone vs Michelin
Jorge Lorenzo to move to MotoGP in 2008...
Loris Capirossi to leave Ducati, join Rizla Suzuki for 2008

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Road Racer X: In conversation with John Hopkins

John Hopkins may be moving to Kawasaki next year, but for now, his loyalties are definitely with Suzuki...

Hopkins got his first MotoGP podium finish this year. Could he be gunning for the world championship in 2009?

Last month, we had reported that Rizla Suzuki rider John Hopkins would be moving to Kawasaki for the 2008 MotoGP season. Now, Road Racer X have done an interview with him, where The Hopper talks about MotoGP in the US, the offers he had for next year, and his loyalty for Suzuki.

In the interview, Hopkins also makes it clear that he's dead serious about winning the crown. He says, 'My ultimate goal is to be a MotoGP World Champion.' Hopkins also claims he's a bit old fashioned and says, 'I remember watching Barry Sheene and everyone. They had all the girls and all the champagne and they were all over the place. That’s cool. I’m a little old fashioned, but it’s all good.'

Get the full interview on the Road Racer X website here. And go here to see what Kevin Schwantz has to say about Hopkins' move to Kawasaki.

Also see:
The 2007 MotoGP season race reports, with hi-res MotoGP wallpaper
Nicky Hayden: From MotoGP to scooter development...?
Remembering no.34, Kevin Schwantz!
K1000RS: All-new superbike from BMW next year?
Rainey days: The mighty Yamaha YZR500
Loris Capirossi to move to Rizla Suzuki next year?

Yamaha equip bikes with DataDotDNA theft protection

Once sprayed with microscopic DataDots (see bottom right hand corner in the pic above), bikes are essentially useless for thieving scum
According to a report on Gizmag, Yamaha are offering free DataDotDNA theft protection system on all their motorcycles, scooters and ATVs sold in Australia. The vehicles are 'sprayed' with the microscopic DataDots, which carry 'identifying information linking every part on the bike back to its original frame number.' This should make stolen bikes (and/or parts of stolen bikes) extremely difficult to sell, easy to trace and hence less attractive to motorcycle thieves. And to deter potential thieves, the bikes also carry a 'Protected by DataDotDNA' sticker.

More details on the the DataDot website here.
Also see:
Bazzaz Performance offer traction control system for sportsbikes
Turbocharged: 2008 Canjamoto R1200S
Limited edition Fiat Yamaha MotoGP-replica R1
Throttle control: Rider vs electronics...
Beringer brakes: Stopping hard and fast!
Crash video: What happens when you ride like a jackass?

What does this picture of an R1 have to do with anti-theft measures? Er... nothing! We just thought it was an interesting pic nevertheless...

Pipe dreams: New Yoshimura exhaust systems now available

Lighter, louder, sexier and more powerful. Yoshimura exhaust systems rock!

Yoshimura are now offering new exhaust systems for the 2007 Suzuki GSX-R1000 and the Ducati 1098. Systems are available in stainless steel, carbonfibre, titanium and various combinations of the three. Most, in our opinion, look very good. The systems are lighter than stock and Yoshimura claim that their 'race-inspired' baffles provide significant gains in performance. More details on the Yoshimura website here.

Yoshimura have twin-side as well as single-side exhaust systems for the 2007 GSX-R1000

Also see:
Alfa Romeo-engined motorcycle...
Pierre Terblanche talks about the Ducati 999
Pimp your ride: Accessories for the GSX-R1000
Go-faster paintjob for Yamaha's MotoGP bikes
Gut-wrenching: The 455bhp, V8 SR8LM
Resident Evil: Movie star BMW K1200R...
Lighter, faster HP2: The Wunderlich WR2

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

MotoGP: Rossi vs Stoner. Or is it Bridgestone vs Michelin?

The Bridgestone - Michelin sandwich: Can you spot Pedrosa in there?

After 11 races in the 2007 MotoGP season, Australian Casey Stoner is leading the world championship by a big margin. He’s 44 points ahead of Valentino Rossi, who’s languishing in second place. So has The Doctor finally met his match? Or is Stoner leading because Bridgestone have been supplying significantly better tyres to Ducati than Michelin (or, for that matter, Dunlop…) have been able to serve up to Yamaha and Honda? It’s an endless debate.

After finishing in fourth place at Laguna Seca, Rossi has made it clear that he isn’t happy with current MotoGP tyre regulations, which do not allow one-off tyres to be supplied to riders during a race weekend. Rossi says that having to pre-select the allowed maximum of 17 rear tyres for a race does not work for him and that he would want this regulation changed.

Stoner: "Stop whining mate, and get on with your riding!"

Surprisingly enough, Rossi’s own chief mechanic, Jerry Burgess does not agree with Rossi. Says Burgess, 'The tyre rule has not been the main reason for Valentino not winning races this season. I like the rule - it's equal for everyone and I think it should stay!'

Casey Stoner, of course, agrees with Burgess and says 'At the beginning of the season, Valentino and the others were all for the new tyre rules. But as soon as they don't win, the rule is crap. I've had my bad races this year, especially in Germany, and I'm not complaining about the tyre rule. They can moan and whinge about it as much as they want, but it shows that Michelin have had an advantage in the past. This season, they cannot bring a tyre in just for the race and it's a matter of relying on the company that supports you to do a good job.'

Hiroshi Yamada, manager at Bridgestone Motorsport says, ‘The so called tyre war is a welcome situation for us as we are able to showcase our technical abilities in a competitive environment against other tyre manufacturers. The new tyre restrictions were developed based on joint discussions with all three tyre manufacturers involved in MotoGP. After eleven races, we are still supportive of the regulations and I think they have promoted a more even playing field and a greater competition among the tyre manufacturers and teams.’

Can The Doctor still salvage this season? We'll find out in two weeks time...

While the debate rages on, we look forward to the next MotoGP round at Brno, in the Czech Republic, which will take place on Sunday, the 19th of August. Will Yamaha, Michelin and Rossi have an answer for Ducati, Bridgestone and Stoner ready by then…?

Update (17.08.2007): Nicky Hayden agrees with Rossi, says tyre rule is hurting MotoGP.

Also see:
Hi-res wallpaper from the 2007 MotoGP season
Motorcycle GP racing in the 1950s: Eight-cylinder, 500cc bikes!
New colour schemes for the 2008 Suzuki GSX-R1000...
In action: The legendary Laverda V6 racebike
Bazzaz Performance: Traction control for streetbikes
Turbocharged: The 2008 Canjamoto R1200S
Team Roberts to say goodbye to MotoGP at the end of 2007?

The Michelin Man gets all worked up... :-)

Monday, July 30, 2007

Superbike magazine centrefold: The Kawasaki Z750!

How do you make the Kawasaki Z750 look even better? See below...

To be honest with you, Superbike isn't really our favourite motorcycle magazine. We'd much rather read Performance Bikes and Bike. But when it comes to centrefolds, ummm.... ok, we'll take Superbike! Take a look at their August centrefold Kawasaki Z750 pics below and we're sure you'll be convinced that they do the best centre-spreads. And if you've got a BitTorrent client, you can also download a PDF of their August issue here.

Come on, admit it - you love that bike...

Other amazing Kawasakis:
The late-1980s Kawasaki ZXR750
Spin it up: Kawasaki GPZ750 Turbo
Eddie Lawson special: Kawasaki ZRX1200R
Mad Kaws: The H1 and Z1...
The mighty Kawasaki ZX-12R Ninja
Land speed record on a Kawasaki ZZR1400!
Very, very fast: The Kawasaki ZZR1100
Amazing: The Kawasaki ZZR1200-powered Campagna T-Rex
MotoGP: The 800cc Kawasaki ZX-RR Ninja
War of the Ninjas: 1988 Kawasaki ZX-10 vs 2004 ZX-10R!

Update (12th September 2007):
2008 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R: First pics and details!

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Memorable: The Moto Guzzi V8

Moto Guzzi V8 Moto Guzzi V8
Moto Guzzi V8
Fast Past: The glorious Moto Guzzi V8 grand prix racer from the 1950s

Apart from sheer power and speed, grand prix racing motorcycles are also fascinating for the sheer technology that goes into them. And one such fascinating machine is the 500cc four-stroke Moto Guzzi V8, raced from 1955 to 1957. Apart from the two-stroke Galbusera V8 made in the late-1930s, the Moto Guzzi V8 is the only eight-cylinder racing bike ever made.

With its ‘dustbin’ fairing, the Guzzi V8 weighed 148 kilos and while the 1955 model only had 60bhp, by 1957 the liquid-cooled, DOHC, 500cc engine was making about 80 horsepower at 12,000rpm – enough for a top speed of 280km/h! The tyres of that era could barely cope with this kind of speed, the engine was temperamental and with leading link suspension at the front, the handling wasn’t too good either.

280km/h on those tyres. And with drum brakes...

The bike’s eight 20mm Dell 'Orto carburetors were difficult to set up and drum brakes (front and rear) meant stopping power was barely adequate. The bike ran a 19-inch wheel at the front and a rather unusual 20-incher at the back, and the rider could choose between 4-, 5- and 6-speed gearboxes.

So yes, the Moto Guzzi V8 was mechanically complex and difficult to ride, but it was the bike which Guzzi believed would help them get the better of Gilera and MV Agusta in 500cc grand prix racing. But it was not to be – before the V8 could really start to assert itself, Moto Guzzi decided to withdraw from GP racing in 1957 and it was the end of the road for a glorious racebike.

Want to listen to the Moto Guzzi V8? Download this .WAV file. And here's a more detailed article on the Guzzi V8, written by Phil Schilling, published in the March 1972 issue of Cycle magazine.

A video of the Moto Guzzi V8 in action

Friday, July 27, 2007

Valentino Rossi: 2008 and beyond...

Can MotoGP ever be the same without The Doctor...?

USA Today have an insightful story on Valentino Rossi here. Among other things, it talks about whether or not Rossi will move to F1 once he's done with motorcycle racing. Five-time 500cc world champ, Mick Doohan says, 'Formula One is very stiff. Valentino's personality is very flamboyant. People have more passion when they talk about Valentino than when they talk about Michael Schumacher or Fernando Alonso.'

Stoner and Pedrosa might also be fast, but Rossi is the greatest rider ever

Eugenio Gandolfi, chief engineer at Brembo and a close friend of the Rossi family says, 'He can be good anywhere, but the problem is that he's a guy that doesn't follow the rules too much. Formula One has six or seven meetings a day. You have to wake up early and go to bed by 10 o'clock. That's not hospitable to the Valentino lifestyle!'

Rossi himself says, 'I have to decide whether I stop or make it another two years in MotoGP. I'd like the second part of my career to be on four wheels. It's something I could race in for quite some time. Rally has also been a great passion of mine...'

The King holds court... :-)

Finally, Doohan sums up it up best: 'If you beat Valentino, you've beaten the best. He's still the benchmark. He's still going to be the one everyone looks to each weekend.'

Get the full story on the USA Today website here.

Also see:
2007 MotoGP: Hi-res wallpaper
Jorge Lorenzo to join Yamaha's MotoGP team in 2008
Italy: Rossi's stomping grounds...
Rossi vs Pedrosa...?
Two-stroke racers: The mighty Yamaha YZR500
990cc MotoGP replica: MotoCzysz C1 gets closer to production

Thursday, July 26, 2007

MotoGP: Lorenzo to join Yamaha in 2008

Spanish rider Jorge Lorenzo will ride for Yamaha's MotoGP team in 2008 and 2009

Colin Edwards is a nice guy and an accomplished racer. But he's 33 years old now and he isn't winning races in MotoGP. Valentino Rossi is, of course, God. But even he's had trouble going up against Casey Stoner this year. Rossi's won five successive MotoGP world championships already and doesn't need to prove anything to anyone. Which is perhaps why Yamaha need a fiery young gun on their team for 2008. They need someone who's wants to show his stuff, someone who's hungry to enter the MotoGP record books...

Will Lorenzo be able to do as well in MotoGP as he has in the 250s? We'll find out next year!

Enter Spaniard Jorge Lorenzo. The Aprilia rider won the 250cc world championship last year and so far, has been pretty much unbeatable this year as well. He will, in all probability, win his second 250cc world championship this year and yes, he seems well and truly ready for MotoGP. Which is why Yamaha have signed him on for two years – Lorenzo will be racing alongside Rossi next year. This also means Colin Edwards will probably have to move on to some other team, but with Kawasaki and Suzuki scouting for MotoGP talent, finding another ride might not be too hard for the Texas Tornado.

End of the MotoGP road for the Texas Tornado? As far as his riding for Yamaha is concerned, probably yes

Says Yamaha Motor Racing's MD, Lin Jarvis, 'We've been watching Jorge's career with interest for some time and we are delighted he is joining us. We're sure he'll be a valuable asset and we look forward to the commencement of his MotoGP career.'

The only Spanish rider to have won a world championship in motorcycle racing's premier class is Alex Criville, who won the 500cc world title in 1999 aboard his Honda NSR500.

Also see:
The 2007 MotoGP season unfolds...
The business of MotoGP: Dorna to quantify TV exposure
Pat Hennen inducted into The Motocycle Hall of Fame
BIKE magazine readers: "Carl Fogarty is an idiot!"
Aprilia may enter MotoGP by 2009
Desmosedici RR: Ducati's MotoGP bike for the street!
Wayne Rainey inducted into the Laguna Seca Walk of Fame

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

New colour schemes for the 2008 Suzuki GSX-R1000

The 2008 Gixxer paintjobs are boring, which is why we had to add the Dainese-clad lady...

Suzuki will be offering three colour schemes on the 2008 GSX-R1000. In addition to the traditional blue-and-white paintjob (above), there will be a bronze-and-black, and a white-and-gray paintjob on the new GSX-Rs. All colours are, we have to say, uniformly boring. Ho hum. Yawn…. Snooozzze. Hire a new paint and graphics specialist please, Suzuki. And doing a WSBK Rizla replica GSX-R1000 may be a good idea too.

More GSX-Rs:
Twenty years of the Suzuki GSX-R!
Flexi-flyer: The mid-1980s GSX-R750
Slingshot: The late-80s/early-90s GSX-R
Kevin Schwantz talks about Suzuki GSX-Rs...
2007 GSX-R1000s get the Rizla treatment!
"GSX-Rs are for moped riders!!!"

Kenny Dreer: “it’s time I pack my bags and head off in another direction…”

The Norton which Kenny Dreer tried to build. It wasn't to be...

Cycle World magazine has an interview with Kenny Dreer, the man behind Norton’s attempted revival for the last few years. The people who had promised to invest money into bringing Norton back to life backed out last year, and Norton had ceased operations in March 2006. Now, Dreer has also resigned from the Norton Motorsports board of directors.

Says Dreer, ‘While a lot of time and money has been expended on this enterprise, I feel it’s time I pack my bags and head off in another direction, hence my decision to resign. There is no denying that I would still like to see the 961 become reality. What I can’t answer is by whom and when, or if ever.’

Get the full interview on the Cycle World website here.

Also see:
Rotary revival: The NRV588...
Memorable: Yamaha RD500 LC
Significant firsts in motorcycling
Why British is best...!
NCR Ducati Millona: For a mere US$80,000...
Down memory lane: The Cagiva 500 GP racer

Monday, July 23, 2007

American MotoGP: Stoner extends world championship lead over Rossi

Other riders should give up their championship hopes now. 2007 is Casey Stoner's year...

Taking his sixth win of the season, Ducati rider Casey Stoner dominated the USGP at Laguna, ultimately taking 1st place almost 10 seconds ahead of Rizla Suzuki rider Chris Vermeulen, who finished in second place. In third was Gresini Honda’s Marco Melandri, who, by the way, will be moving to Ducati for the 2008 MotoGP season.

Chris Vermeulen finished in second place, about 10 seconds behind Stoner

The Doctor finished in fourth place and is now 44 points behind Stoner in the world championship standings. And the Americans didn’t do particularly well either, at Laguna. Nicky Hayden and John Hopkins collided on the first corner and while Hayden ultimately retired, Hopkins could only finish in 15th place.

Marco Melandri finished third. Next year, he'll be riding alongside Stoner, at Ducati

Nicky’s younger brother, Roger Hayden was the top placed American, finishing in 10th spot on his Kawasaki ZX-RR. His bike’s funky new paintjob didn’t help Colin Edwards. More mild breeze than tornado, Edwards finished in 11th place. Kurtis Roberts, of course, did not finish the race at all. What will happen to Team Roberts in 2008, we wonder...

More MotoGP:
The 2007 MotoGP season unfolds...
2007 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-RR vs other MotoGP bikes
Can The Doctor still come back this year?
John Hopkins to move to Kawasaki in 2008
Loris Capirossi to move to Rizla Suzuki in 2008

Saturday, July 21, 2007

The Wunderlich WR2: A lighter, faster BMW HP2...

The Wunderlich WR2 is essentially a lighter, faster version of the BMW HP2

Wunderlich have made their own version of the BMW HP2, which is said to be lighter and faster than BMW's original. The German tuning specialists started with a stock BMW R1200GS, pared the weight down to just 179kg and tuned the engine to make about 125 horsepower. The result is the Wunderlich WR2, which also has improved suspension, increased ground clearance and carbonfibre bodywork.

More details on the WR2 and other Wunderlich bikes on the official website here.

The Wunderlich K1200S Nuda...

...and the Wunderlich R1200GS

Also see:
Cool custom: The AC Schnitzer HP2
The amazing BMW HP2 Megamoto!
Turbocharged: The Canjamoto R1200S
From Belgium: The Krugger Goodwood
Streetfighter: The Pettinari Speed Triple
Kalex AV1: MotoGP-spec performance for the street!
Fight Machines: Building the coolest customs ever...
Ecosse Spirit ES1: Rewriting the superbike rulebook

Legendary Laverda V6 seen in action in the UK

The mighty Laverda V6, which was raced at the 1978 Bol d'Or 24 hour race at the Paul Ricard circuit. Only one of these bikes remains in running condition today...

According to an MCN report, the legendary Laverda V6 Bol d'Or racer from the 1970s was recently seen at a vintage bikes festival in the UK. Piero Laverda (son of Pietro Laverda, founder of Moto Laverda) and his ex-factory riders Augusto Brettoni and Roberto Gallina visited the UK to showcase the bike and put in a few demo laps around the Mallory Park circuit.

Produced in 1977-78, the Laverda V6 is powered by a DOHC, water-cooled, 1000cc, six-cylinder engine that makes 140 horsepower at 11,800rpm. Top speed is said to be 285km/h! Piero Laverda himself owns the bike shown in the UK and it's the only running example left. The bike is said to be insured by the Vintage Motorcycle Club for about US$500,000. There is one more Laverda V6, which lives in a Laverda museum in the Netherlands, but that bike is not in running condition.

Il signore Alfieri, who had earlier worked for Lamborghini and Maserati, was the man responsible for developing the Laverda V6. The bike was raced in the 1978 Bol d’Or 24 hour race, but failed to finish due to a broken transmission shaft. The V6 racing project was not developed further and Laverda never made a road-going version, so that was the end for another great Italian motorcycle...

Here are some links to various Laverda clubs and fan sites.

Friday, July 20, 2007

BMW buy Husqvarna from Castiglioni!

One great European motorcycle marque acquires another!

Back in March this year, we had reported the possibility of BMW getting into some kind of a joint venture agreement with Husqvarna. Now, according to a report on Motoblog, BMW have gone ahead and bought Husqvarna Motorcycles. Dr Herbert Diess, Director, BMW Motorrad and Claudio Castiglioni (who owned Husqvarna as a part of his company, MV Agusta S.p.A.) signed an agreement to that effect yesterday, though the sale will only be valid once it's been approved by governing bodies in Europe. The purchase price remains confidential.

Husqvarna have been known for building some of the best off-road bikes in the world!

Castiglioni says this transaction was carried out 'in order to have more financial resources for new model development' at MV Agusta and Cagiva. He also said that 'Husqvarna is steeped in tradition and is one of the most famous motorcycle companies in the world, and under the directions of BMW Motorrad it will continue to express its full potential.'

Established way back in 1903 in Sweden, Husqvarna have earned a reputation for building some of the best off-road motorcycles in the world. Acquiring the company seems to be a step in the right direction for BMW, who are now trying to build lightweight, powerful off-road bikes that are competitive on the street as well as in racing.

BMW will operate Husqvarna as a separate brand/entity, and Husqvarna's workforce and production facilities will continue to remain in Varese, Italy.

Also see:
Hi-res Husqvarna wallpaper
Turbocharged: 2008 Canjamoto BMW R1200S
The very cool Harley XR1200
The 2007 Triumph Street Triple
Suzuki's limited edition Intruder...
Big and naked! New Honda and Aprilia bikes coming next year...

Laguna Seca: New clothes for Colin Edwards' Yamaha YZR-M1

Rossi won the Dutch TT this year after Yamaha gave his YZR-M1 a new paintjob. Will this new livery work the same magic for Colin Edwards?

The Texas Tornado, Colin Edwards will run a special paintjob on his M1 for the 2007 American MotoGP at Laguna Seca this Sunday. After the Fiat 500 paint scheme which both Rossi and Edwards used at the Dutch TT at Assen, this will be the second one-off livery that Yamaha would be using this year. Says Colin, 'I'm always very proud to race in front of my home fans and I'm especially pleased to have something extra special to give them this weekend.'

Edwards is a talented and very likeable rider, though we think it's Nicky Hayden who stands a bigger chance of winning the 2007 USGP at Laguna. But if Edwards does end up beating Hayden, it has to be down to that funky paintjob...

More MotoGP:
The 2007 MotoGP season unfolds...
Loris Capirossi to move to Suzuki for the 2008 MotoGP season!
Two MotoGP events in the US in 2008...
Team Roberts going away from MotoGP?
John Hopkins to move to Kawasaki for 2008...



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