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