Tuesday, August 14, 2007

NSU 500 Kompressor: 200mph in 1956!

Hermann Mueller, aboard the 250cc NSU Sportmax

More than a 100 years ago, in a small town called Neckarsulm, in Germany, Neckarsulm Strickmaschinen Union (NSU) were making knitting machines and bicycles. They quickly moved ahead with technology though, and by 1905, they were already making a liquid-cooled single-cylinder motorcycle with swing-arm rear suspension and belt drive! By the 1930s, NSU were heavily into motorcycle racing and were making bikes with 500cc, 750cc and even 1000cc four-stroke v-twin engines.

During WW-1, along with other German motorcycle companies like BMW and Zundapp, NSU also made various kinds of motorcycle-based military vehicles, including the famous Kettenkrad. After the war, NSU resumed production of street and racing motorcycles, of which the 125cc Rennfox and the 250cc Rennmax were especially successful racing machines. Hermann P Mueller was the last rider to win a 250cc world championship aboard a 250cc NSU racing bike, the Sportmax.

The 1956 NSU 500 Kompressor. Top speed, 339km/h!

However, the one NSU which absolutely fascinates us is their 500cc supercharged machine, on which Wilhelm Herz hit 290km/h in the year 1951 – an absolute top speed record for bikes at that time. Later, in 1956, Herz again rode the NSU 500 Kompressor, pushing the top speed record to 338.99km/h this time. The stage was thus set for modern-day Hayabusas and ZZR1400s…

Also see:
Suzuki GSX-R1100 vs Kawasaki Ninja ZZR1100
Faster and faster: Turbo Hayabusa!
Limited edition MV Agusta F4 CC
Down memory lane: Cagiva 500 GP racer
The mighty Honda NSR500
That '70s show: The Laverda V6 racer!
Awesome: The 1950s Moto Guzzi V8

Monday, August 13, 2007

Now available: The Benelli Tre-K 1130 Amazon

The Benelli Tre-K 1130 Amazon. A bit heavy, but proper off-road stuff...

The dual-purpose Benelli Tre-K 1130 Amazon, which we first spoke of back in January this year, has finally gone on sale. With 19-inch (front) and 17-inch (rear) wheels, Metzeler Endurance rubber, and multi-adjustable suspension at both ends – Sachs monoshock at the back and USD Marzocchi forks at the front – the Amazon seems suitably equipped to handle rough terrain.

The engine is a well-tested 1130cc, three-cylinder, 120 horsepower unit which also does duty on various other Benelli bikes and is supposed to be very reliable. We think the bike looks good, though at about US$18,000 the price seems to be a bit steep. Still, the BMW R1200GS finally has an Italian rival!

More details and pics soon. Or visit the official Benelli website here.

Also see:
The Duel: Yamaha WRF450 vs Subaru Impreza WRX STi!
New bikes from MV Agusta in 2008...
Honda V4 revival in 2008-09?
Stylish new 125s from Derbi...
Memorable: The Moto Guzzi V8
Wunderlich WR2: A more focused BMW HP2
Coming soon: The KTM RC4 690

External links:
Cycle World: 2007 Benelli Tre-K first ride
The best way to keep your Benelli clean... ;-D

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Fast Past: Gary Nixon rides the Kawasaki ZX-RR

The 2006, 990cc, 240bhp Kawasaki Ninja ZX-RR. Below (left) Gary Nixon and (right) the mid-1970s Kawasaki KR750 which Nixon used to race...

 It’s often said that most of today’s motorcycle racers are not ‘hard’ enough to have raced in the 1960s and 70s. With tyre / brakes / suspension technologies lagging behind power outputs, and no electronic wizardry to help riders control their machines, motorcycle racing in that era was certainly very different from what it is now. But how would it be if a racer from that period got to grips with a modern-day MotoGP machine?

Motorcycle Cruiser have an answer to that question. They’ve done this feature where legendary American racer from the 1960s/70s, Gary Nixon gets to have a go on a 2006 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-RR. Nixon, now about 65 years old, won the Daytona 200 in 1967 and AMA Grand National Championships in 1967 and 68.

Shinya Nakano and the 2006 Kawasaki ZX-RR MotoGP machine are the only reasons why we've posted this pic here. Honest...

The last bike Nixon raced was a mid-1970s Kawasaki KR750, a two-stroke Formula 750 beast with a wild, three-cylinder 750cc engine. The bike weighed about 140kg and with 120 horsepower on tap, top speed was close to 280km/h. The 2006 ZX-RR MotoGP machine has a 990cc, four-stroke engine that makes 240 horsepower. Top speed is 320km/h.

So what does Nixon think of the ZX-RR? He says that a Yamaha R1 which he recently rode, feels like a minibike compared with the MotoGP Kawasaki. ‘The guys that race these bikes aren't just from different countries, they're from a different planet! Anyone involved in this scene – especially journalists – should ride one of these bikes before they write about the guys that race them,’ he says...

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Blown away: Supercharged Kawasaki ZRX1200!

Just imagine the supercharger howl.... This bike looks AWESOME!!!

We had showed you some pics of this supercharged Kawasaki ZRX1200 last year. Now, Sport Rider have a riding impression of the bike on their website here. Kent Kunitsugu, who rode the bike, says the ZRX ‘cranks out 200 horsepower and 9-second quarter-miles, and is as docile as a kitten and runs on pump gas!’

200bhp, 9-second quarter-mile times. Impressive, eh?

The bike itself is a 2003 model ZRX1200 that’s been fitted with an Eaton 45-cubic-inch Roots-type supercharger. Why a supercharger and not a turbo? Because the owner wanted a bike ‘that would haul ass without having to put up with low-speed rideability and ground clearance problems.’

Get the full story on the Sport Rider website here.

More reasons to love big, beautiful Kawasakis...!

More Kawasakis:
MotoGP: Kawasaki ZX-RR vs the others
Kawasaki 1400GTR Concours...
Kawasaki Z750, Superbike magazine style!
Memorable: Kawasaki GPZ750 Turbo
Kawasaki ZX-12R Ninja: Best hypersports-tourer ever?
The mighty Kawasaki ZZR1100!
Kawasaki ZX10: 1988 vs 2004...

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

New bikes from MV Agusta in 2008

This is last year's MV Agusta F4 CC. Hugely expensive. Ultra exclusive. Very powerful, very fast. Can it be beaten by what MV will show this year?

With a host of international motorcycle shows coming up over the next few months, manufacturers are getting ready to show their 2008 bikes. The rumours are, of course, keeping one step ahead. One such rumour is that MV Agusta are all set to show a brand-new 600cc supersports machine this year! There’s also talk of freshened-up styling for the F4 1000 and the range-topping 1098cc, 200bhp F4 R 312.

The current Brutale 910 may be replaced with a 1000cc version for 2008, and there may also be an all-new Brutale 750

The Brutale 910 is expected to be replaced with a Brutale 1000, which will use the 1000cc, 175bhp inline-four from the existing F4. And there may be a Brutale 750 once again, which will be powered by an all-new 750cc inline-four. But we'll have to wait for another month or two to see how things actually pan out in the real world...

Rothmans MV Agusta F4 Rothmans MV Agusta F4 Rothmans MV Agusta F4

Friday, August 10, 2007

Video: Supercharged Triumph Rocket III

Hide the GSX-Rs and the Fireblades, a supercharged Rocket III is coming...
(video courtesy MCN)

The stock Triumph Rocket III is powered by a 2.3-litre, three-cylinder engine that makes 142 horsepower and 200Nm of torque. That was not enough for some people however, who've gone ahead and bolted a supercharger on the thing. The bike sounds completely insane and goes like nothing else we've seen. Madness... :-D

Also see:
Triumph Rocket III: An amazing image gallery...
The Confederate F131 Hellcat!
Women in motorcycling: Hi-res wallpaper!
The very cool Harley-Davidson XR1200
Some interesting old motorcycle advertisements...
Wunderlich WR2: A lighter, faster BMW HP2
Triumph Street Triple image gallery
DataDot: Anti-theft initiative from Yamaha
Victory Motorcycles: The 2008 lineup
Triumph Rocket III wallpaper

Thursday, August 09, 2007

The Duel: Yamaha WRF 450 vs Subaru Impreza WRX STi

Rally car vs supermotard. Yes!

Also see:
Fifth Gear: Honda Fireblade vs Honda Civic Type-R!
Freddie Spencer: Honda NS500 vs Nissan 300ZX
Acceleration: Bugatti Veyron vs Suzuki GSX-R1000...
Carver One: Simply insane!
Silver Dream Racer: Blast from the past
Glamour: The world's most beautiful bikes...
Now available: The Ducati Desmosedici RR

Valentino Rossi faces tax evasion charges!

Rossi: "I don't want to hear a word of this..."

It seems this just isn't The Doctor's year. First, Casey Stoner has been giving him hell. And now Italian authorities are investigating Rossi for tax evasion. Rossi (who, as we earlier reported, is one of the highest earning sports stars in the world) is being investigated for undisclosed earnings amounting to about US$80 million which he is said to have earned between the years 2000 and 2004.

Not that Rossi is the first or the only MotoGP rider who's faced such an investigation. Fellow Italian, Loris Capirossi has also faced similar charges earlier.

Also see:
The 2007 MotoGP season: Race reports and hi-res wallpaper
Nicky Hayden: Scooter test rider for Honda?
Down memory lane: No.34, Keving Schwantz!
Buell 1125R: Serious performance!
Legendary: The Laverda V6 racebike
Jorge Lorenzo to ride alongside Rossi in 2008

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Yamaha EC-02: Two-wheeled transport, circa 2027?

Buy an R1 while you still can. Within twenty years, this is all that Yamaha might be selling...

First shown back in 2005, the Yamaha EC-02 is a battery-powered scooter that's treated with a film which, er... glows in the dark. Why? 'The technology enables the exterior to give a more vividly stereoscopic impression of the three-dimensional shape of any surface treated with the film,' said one report from Japan. Unable to recognise scooters as three-dimensional objects? There you are, sorted!

Apart from its night-glow tech and iPod compatibility, the EC-02 is your usual battery-powered scooter that weighs 47 kilos, has a range of 40km and a top speed of 30km/h. Batteries take six hours to charge. Park it out in the sun during the day, and the film covering the EC-02 gets all charged up and glows in the night. Not weird enough for you? Take a look at the Suzuki Choi Nori and the Gamax Spillo then. Or go here for some more wild and wonderful gadgets from Japan. And finally, though we don't expect too many of our readers to be Japanese schoolgirls, if you are one, do go here.

And here's another take on the future of two-wheeled transport. This is Axle Corporation's electric scooter concept shown last year. It's powered by a hybrid magnetic motor, can do 180km on one charge and can hit a top speed of 150km/h! The batteries take only six hours to charge fully. If this is the future, well, it isn't too bad...

Also see:
The mighty Quadzilla!
The amazing Suzuki RE-5
Wakan 1640, a French cruiser...
What your bike says about you!
A MotoGP-powered boardtracker!
Significant 'firsts' in motorcycling...
Only in Japan: Skateboard vs Honda CBR600!

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

Random Ramblings