Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Face off: 1989 Yamaha OW01 vs 2008 Yamaha R1!

Does 20 years of superbike development make the 2008 R1 a better machine than the 1989 FZR750RR...?
The World Superbikes championship series kicked off in 1988, and by 1989, Yamaha had launched the FZR750RR, which was built with one aim in mind – to win WSBK races at any cost. Also known as the OW01, the FZR750RR was made to get the better of Ducati 851s, Honda RC30s, Suzuki GSX-R750s and Kawasaki ZXR750s in World Superbike racing.

The 187kg (dry weight) OW01’s high-revving, liquid-cooled, 750cc, 20-valve, four-cylinder, carbureted engine made 120 horsepower at the crank – impressive stuff in those days. The bike was fitted with Yamaha’s stiff, lightweight ‘Deltabox’ chassis (made of aluminium), fully adjustable Ohlins rear shock, 43mm front fork, six-speed close-ratio gearbox, 17-inch wheels, and various titanium and magnesium bits to keep the weight down.

Exotic, expensive and fast - the FZR750RR OW01 is probably the most lust-worthy Yamaha ever made!
This was a racer-with-lights, so ergonomics were uncompromising – barely padded seat, high footpegs and low bars made it clear that this bike was not for pootling around town. Yamaha only made 500 units of the OW01, which was just as well – the bike was very expensive, costing two million yen in 1989 in Japan (about US$17,400 at current exchange rates) and about US$25,500 elsewhere. And if that wasn’t enough, you could spend another US$5,000 on buying a racing kit from Yamaha, which would get you more fancy bits for your FZR750RR.

Despite all of this, the OW01 wasn’t really as successful as, say, the Honda VFR750R RC30 or the Ducati 851, in World Superbike racing. And for the street, for most people, the Yamaha FZR1000 offered more usable performance at a significantly lower price. Sure, the FZR1000 never handled as well as the race-bred OW01, but on the street, where few dared to push to ten-tenths, that did not matter.

Heavier, less powerful, slower and not as good looking as the OW01, the YZF750 wasn't really a very good follow up to the mighty FZR750RR
The FZR750RR was succeeded by the rather less remarkable YZF750, which in stock form was heavier and less powerful than the OW01. The YZF R7 OW02 came much later, and though it was strikingly good looking, it was a bit underpowered and again, wasn’t very successful in World Superbike racing. The FZR1000 EXUP, on the other hand, ultimately led to the YZF1000 Thunderace and finally, in 1998, the mighty R1. The latter, with the demise of the 750s in World Superbikes, continues to be Yamaha’s top of the line offering today.

Now that almost 20 years have passed since the OW01 was launched, it’s interesting to compare that bike with Yamaha’s 2008 R1, pics of which were unveiled only yesterday. With 20 years of advances in motorcycle engineering, electronics and technology, it isn’t surprising to see that the R1 offers far more performance at a much lower cost.

The 2008 R1 offers huge performance gains over the old FZR, at a much lower cost. Such is sportsbike progress...
Compared with the FZR750RR, the new R1 (which also has a 250cc engine displacement advantage) has about 50 more horsepower, in a package that weighs about 10kg less. So while the OW01 had a power to weight ratio of 1:1.56, the newest R1 has a ratio of 1:1. It also has a more substantial swingarm, USD front forks, computer-controlled fuel injection, ride-by-wire throttle control, a variable air-intake system and more powerful brakes.

With equally capable riders on each bike, we don’t think even the exotic old OW01 would be able to keep up with an R1 today!

First pics: 2008 Yamaha R1

The 2008 Yamaha R1. Looks absolutely superb. Honda should look at these pics and think about what they've done to the new Fireblade

(From Left) The 2008 R1 will also be available in blue, with gold painted wheels, the 2008 XJR1300 gets a new paintjob, and the 2008 FZ1 gets ABS

Yamaha have released these pictures of the 2008 R1 and while there seem to be no radical changes, the new R1 paintjobs looks hot! Last year, Yamaha had introduced some radical technology on the R1, including the much-hyped Yamaha Chip-Controlled Intake (YCC-I), a variable length air intake system that boosts power at high revs, and the sophisticated YCC-T fly-by-wire throttle control system. Taking a break from 20 years of using five-valve cylinder heads, the bike had also been given four-valve cylinder heads with intake valves made of titanium.

More pics of the 2008 R1. Amazing looking bike...

We still don't have information on what tech changes have been implemented on the 2008 R1, but if at all any changes have been made to the engine, chassis or suspension, we expect those to be relatively minor. More details as they become available...

Update (20th Sep, 2007): Stunning new Honda Evo6, CB1100R and CB1100F revealed!

Also see:
Pics and specs: 2008 Kawasaki Ninja ZZR1400
1989 Yamaha OW01 vs 2008 Yamaha R1!
First pics: 2008 Yamaha R6 and R125
DVD review: Riding Solo to the top of the World
Kawasaki ZZR1400 Turbo: The quest for 200mph!
2008 BMW HP2 Sport: Pics, tech specs and details...
The Puerto Rico government doesn't like motorcyclists...
First pic: 2008 Honda Fireblade CBR1000RR
2007 MotoGP race reports, features, interviews and hi-res wallpaper!
Hubless wheels on motorcycles...?

For the adventure bike types, here is the 2008 Yamaha XT660Z Tenere. Does look quite funky, we must say! More pics of this bike here

Monday, September 10, 2007

2008 Yamaha R6 and R125 shown

Lighter, more powerful, faster and more high-tech: The 2008 Yamaha R6

Yamaha have released these pics of the 2008 R6 and R125 bikes. The 2008 R6 gets a mild style makeover, new chassis and swingarm, freshly fettled 599cc engine with titanium valves, slipper clutch and better front brakes.

With the new YZF R6, Yamaha are going all out on the performance front – they’ve increased the engine’s compression ratio from 12.8:1 to 13.1:1 and fitted their YCC-I (Yamaha Chip-Controlled Intake) system found on the 2007 R1. This system essentially comprises of a variable-length air-intake system which boosts power at higher revs. The 2008 R6 also gets remapped fuel injection for better throttle response.

2008 R6 paintjobs look good, but we're still undecided about the gold painted wheels...

The new R6's chassis gets a magnesium alloy subframe, which is supposed to improve mass centralization. Other changes are increased brake rotor thickness for better heat dissipation, and new colour schemes. The 2007 Honda CBR600RR had thrashed the Yamaha R6 in most bike magazine shootouts this year. Whether the 2008 R6 can claw its way back to the top remains to be seen...

The learner legal 2008 Yamaha YZF R125

For those who are just starting off with bikes, Yamaha have also shown the new YZF R125, which is learner legal. The bike is fitted with a liquid-cooled, four-valve, 124cc, fuel-injected, single-cylinder engine, which is mated to a six-speed gearbox. Styling cues are taken from the latest R6, which is so important when there are teenaged girlfriends to impress…

Also see:
First pics: 2008 Yamaha R1!
Scooter chic from Tokyo!
Women in motorcycling: Hi-res wallpaper
2008 Kawasaki Z1400 and KTM RC8 pics
2008 BMW HP2 Sport to go into production soon
2008 Triumph Hurricane 1300: The 200mph sports-tourer is coming...
2009 launch for the amazing, six-cylinder Suzuki Stratosphere 1100!
First pic: 2008 Honda Fireblade CBR1000RR
1989 Yamaha OW01 vs 2008 Yamaha R1!
Debate: Are electronics ruining MotoGP?!

A video of the 2008 Yamaha R6 in action!

Sunday, September 09, 2007

DVD Review: Riding Solo to the top of the World

Some images from the Riding Solo DVD...

Cubicle dwellers who also love motorcycles – people like us, here at Faster and Faster – are often enchanted by the idea of motorcycle travel. We fantasize about setting off on that really long journey, riding off into the sunset someday. We watch, again and again, our favourite bits in Long Way Round and promise ourselves we’ll do something similar, someday. And then the weekend ends, and it’s back to the office cubicle on Monday morning.

We reassure ourselves that we aren’t riding off into the unknown because of all the right, logical reasons. What if we lose our job? What about the loans? The wife will object. What will the neighbours think? What if the bike breaks down and we end up being stranded somewhere...?

Which is why you need to watch Riding Solo to the top of the World, a 90-minute film made by Gaurav Jani. An inhabitant of Mumbai, India, Jani is the founder of the 60Kph Motorcycle Travel Club and is also a part of Dirt Track Productions. Apparently, Jani loves bikes, loves travelling and is a filmmaker.

Gaurav Jani takes you to Changthang, a magical place at a height of more than 16,000ft, near the Indo-China border. The sights and sounds are truly amazing...

So, of course, he combined all his three passions and the result is Riding Solo to the top of the World – a film that chronicles Jani’s solo ride from Mumbai, to the Changthang Plateau in Ladakh, close to the Indo-China border. This is, perhaps, one of the remotest places on earth, and at a height of more than 16,000 feet, largely devoid of any creature comforts whatsoever. Add freezing cold winds, sub-zero temperature, inhospitable terrain and a single-cylinder, 18bhp motorcycle that was designed in the 1960s to the mix, and you begin to get an idea of what we’re talking about here.

What’s truly amazing about the film is that it’s a one-man effort. Jani just straps his luggage and equipment – all 100 kilos of it – on his trusty old Enfield Bullet 350, and sets off on the journey alone. Over two months and thousands of kilometers, he rides and shoots the entire film himself, with no assistance from anyone! And watching the film, it’s very hard to believe that Jani has managed to pull it all off on his own. The film is very well shot and it’s clear that Jani has a talent for frame composition – he knows what works, and he delivers the goods.

Video: A few snippets from Riding Solo

Just think of the huge effort and commitment that must have gone into him setting up the camera, leaving it running (unattended), shooting footage of him riding the bike, coming back to the camera, re-packing it and repeating the whole process again and again hundreds of times. Mind-boggling!

An integral part of the story is Jani meeting the people of Changthang – the hardy Changpas, who live a hard, nomadic life. In Changthang, time seems to stand still – you get a glimpse of how people might have lived a hundred or two hundred years ago. The Buddhist monasteries, the festivals, the hand-woven tents, the fresh, home-made butter (made from milk churned in the skin of a whole sheep!), the simple people and their no-frills existence – it makes you look at life from a whole new perspective.

Riding Solo to the top of the World has won various major awards in India and other countries. It really is a brilliant film and we heartily recommend that you watch it. You can order your copy at the Dirt Track Productions website here. You may also want to visit the 60Kph Motorcycle Travel Club website here.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Kawasaki ZZR1400 Turbo: The quest for 320km/h!

A zillion horsepower, and the need to ride faster and faster and faster...

If you aren’t entirely satisfied with your Kawasaki ZZR1400’s 190 horsepower and 300km/h top speed, we can understand. After all, who wouldn’t want a turbocharged, 500bhp ZZR that can outrun a fighter jet? Such a machine would, of course, be the only sensible bike to have.

And that’s where Big CC Racing come in. If you want your ZZR1400 (or any other big Japanese superbike…) fitted with a nitrous-oxide kit and a turbocharger, simply take it to Big CC, hand over the money, and they’ll do the rest. Speaking to Superbike magazine, Sean Miller, who’s been with Big CC Racing for the last 10 years, says, ‘I’m a firm believer of using big turbos. Of course, they give bigger power, but it’s also more controllable. You’re getting more grunt from less boost. Smaller turbos give a smaller powerband and make the bike difficult to manage. With the turbo we use on the ZZR, power is pretty linear and there are no big surprises.’

Big CC Racing will help you unlock the real potential of your big-bore Japanese superbike. After that, however, you're on your own...

Depending on how much money you want to burn, how many friends you have in the local police force and what lawyers / judges join you at the pub on Saturday evenings, Big CC’s turbo kits will boost your ZZR1400’s power output to anywhere between 275 to 500bhp. Cool, but what about turbo lag? Says Sean, ‘Boot the throttle of a turbo car and you’re not going to get an instant reaction, because you’ve got to move maybe two tones of car that isn’t revving particularly hard. Bikes have an advantage in that they weigh a lot less and you’re already on the move. The engine is already doing lots of work, so lag isn’t really a problem!’

The best part is, bikes like the ZZR1400 and the Hayabusa are so well engineered, that engine internals don’t need heavy modification if you intend to go mental with turbos and nitrous. For about US$9,000 of kit, you’re ready to go with a bike that’ll get to 320km/h (200mph) easily and quickly, and still be reliable for daily use. Sold on the idea? Get down to the Big CC website here and start ordering stuff...

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

Other fast bikes:
Girl on a bike: Kawasaki ZX-10R image gallery
Jaska Salakari's 272km/h Nitroduke!
Turbo Hayabusa sets new speed record for streetbikes...
MAB build a turbocharged BMW K1200R!
The turbocharged Canjamoto R1200S!
Memorable: The Kawasaki GPZ750 Turbo...
Acabion GTBO70: The bike that'll have your motorcycle - any motorcycle - for breakfast!
The 1990s Bimota YB11: 275km/h...
Memorable: The 282km/h Bimota Tuatara!
MV Agusta F4R 312: The fastest production motorcycle in the world...
2008 Suzuki Hayabusa: Ugly but fast!

It's not just Kawasaki ZZRs, Hayabusa owners are also welcome at Big CC Racing...
Here's on-board video from the 2008 Hayabusa's world launch ride at the Salzburgring circuit. John Urry from TWO magazine is riding the bike...

Riding tips from Superbike magazine

Here's one person who probably reads Superbike magazine every month...

The September 2007 issue of Superbike magazine has a handy little piece on how to get the best drive out of corners by using your body weight and positioning to steer your bike. The article says, ‘How we use our bodies during corner exits dramatically affects how much drive we get, how easily the bike steers, how settled the chassis is and how smoothly the process of picking the bike up and getting out the corner is.’

According to Superbike, here’s what you should do:

1. If you look where you want to go, chances are you’ll go there. Look two feet in front of your wheel and you won’t see what’s coming. Look at the birds in the crowd and chances are you’ll be running off the track (or road) for a closer inspection.

2. Don’t open the throttle too hard, too quickly. It forces too much power onto the back tyre too suddenly and most likely will have you off. Far better to feed the throttle in gradually, but surely.

Be decisive with the throttle, but also be nice, gentle. Rough, jerky and sudden movements of your right wrist is not the way to do it

3. The only time you should have any great grip of the bars is during braking, the rest of the time you should have a relaxed hold. Why would you need to cling on that tight? A lighter touch on the bars gives you a softer feel for what the front tyre is doing.

4. Be in the right gear. Ideally you want to be somewhere in the middle of your revs, just below peak power. As you wind the throttle on, you don’t want to wait half a mile for the power to pick up, and you don’t want to run out of revs six feet after the apex. Aim to be changing up when you’ve straightened up.

5. This applies more to the track than road. Not having the weight on the footrests will reduce your steering (or put more emphasis on your arms to do the work), and will ask the rear suspension to do more. Keep the centre of gravity down low and use your leg muscles!

You can download the September 2007 issue of Superbike magazine here. (It’s a 22MB PDF file, and you’ll need to open the download link using a BitTorrent client.)

Also see:
First pics: 2008 Yamaha R1! and 2008 Yamaha R6
Track riding for newbies: Ron Haslam tells you how...
Street survival for motorcyclists: 50 tips that could save your life!
Go-faster tips from Kevin Schwantz
Fast riding tips from Motorcyclist magazine
Mick Extance: "The guys that win, don't hesitate..."

Or, you could just buy a Desmosedici RR and look ice-cool. Let the GSX-R guys worry about mundane things like going fast...

Puerto Rico passes oppressive new laws for motorcyclists

Okay, so you can't ride bikes dressed like this anymore. Not in Puerto Rico

According to a report on the AMA website, Puerto Rico has passed ‘strict new laws regulating motorcyclists.’ Motorcycle riders in Puerto Rico will now be required to wear not only a helmet, ‘but also gloves, boots, and long pants.’ And that’s not enough – after dark, riders must also wear a reflective vest!

The report says that in some ways, ‘the law is even more restrictive than the requirements on many US military bases.’ On our part, we don’t understand what the f%*& this is all about. First it was Canada, where motorcyclists can now be fined more than US$9,000 and jailed for six months, for alleged ‘street racing.’ Then the US, which is now in the process of outlawing all aftermarket motorcycle exhaust systems. And now Puerto Rico comes up with this.

Aren’t there enough rapists, murderers, goons, scammers and other outstanding members of the society who warrant the authorities’ attention? Are there too many bureaucrats with not enough work? Why the f*#% should motorcyclists be subjected to all this crap? Jesus f%&*ing Christ!

Get the full story on the AMA website here.

Also see:
Are motorcycles dangerous? What do you have to say...
Motorcyclists to be penalised for using aftermarket exhaust systems
Canada: Not the best place in the world for riding that new Hayabusa...
NSU 500 Kompressor: 200mph in 1956!
Awesome: 200bhp, supercharged Kawasaki ZRX1200...
Hi-res motorcycle wallpaper collection - I
Hi-res motorcycle wallpaper collection - II

External link:
Spain to increase age limit for big bikes...

Friday, September 07, 2007

Colin Edwards: “Yamaha know they have to improve!”

Colin Edwards isn't happy with his Yamaha's performance...

Yamaha’s performance in MotoGP has been so incredibly poor this year that even the very good natured, mild mannered Texan, Colin Edwards has been forced to speak out against them. Speaking to MCN recently, Edwards says, ‘Yamaha know they have to improve. That’s something that we really don’t need to discuss. All you have to do is look at our top speed chart anywhere and just watch TV. Just about any bike that we come near, just out accelerates us and you can’t get close enough to out-brake anybody unless they slipstream you. Yamaha needs to do some work but they know that. We'll just wait and see what they come up with.’

By his own standards, Rossi has had a bad season. But he intends to hold on to second place in the 2007 MotoGP world championship

With the Portuguese MotoGP to be held at the Estoril circuit on the 16th of this month, Edwards’ teammate Rossi is all set to do the best he can. Rossi agrees that his championship hopes are finished, but the seven-time world champ, who’s taken four successive MotoGP victories in Portugal (from 2001 to 2004), is still hopeful of doing well at Estoril this year.

‘Hopefully we will be ready in Estoril with a package with which we can fight. We will put all our energies into holding onto our second place [in the championship] and winning as many races as possible, as well as thinking about continuing the development of our package for next year. Now the aim is to have a good end to the season. We have five races left and we will be trying to win all five, even if the championship is out of our reach,’ says Rossi.

Wait for our full race report from Estoril on the 16th!

Also see:
First pics: 2008 Yamaha R1!
Face off: 1989 FZR750RR vs 2008 R1...
First pics: 2008 Yamaha R6 and R125
Colin Edwards to join Tech3 Yamaha in 2008...
Ten years of the Portuguese Grand Prix
2007 MotoGP race reports, features, interviews and hi-res wallpaper!
MotoGP: Dorna CEO says tyre rules may be changed for next year
Kevin Schwantz interviews Valentino Rossi!
Colin Edwards talks about Rossi...

One of our readers just sent these pics. Suddenly, the Triumph Street Triple looks better than ever before. Could that be because of the extra pair of headlamps...?

KTM X-Bow: Pricing, delivery details

The 240bhp KTM X-Bow. Think of it as a Hayabusa on four wheels

KTM will start deliveries of the X-Bow sportscar by mid-2008. To be manufactured in Austria, the standard model will be powered by a 240 horsepower, 2.0-litre TFSI engine sourced from Audi and the car will be priced at about US$60,000. The 700kg X-Bow will be able to accelerate from zero to 100km/h in 3.9 seconds and is likely to have a top speed of more than 250km/h.

The KTM X-Bow ‘Dallara’ model gets additional bits like a limited slip differential (mechanical) on the rear axle and a race-tuned chassis. Like the standard car, the Dallara has a carbonfibre monocoque chassis, but also gets lots of other carbon bits which help reduce weight further. No word on pricing for this model yet, but stay tuned. In the meanwhile, get more tech details on the KTM website here.

A video of the KTM X-Bow in action!

More KTMs:
The radical KTM 690 Stunt prototype...
Details and first pics: 2008 KTM 690 Duke, SMR and SMC
2007 KTM 990 Super Duke R. Wildlife!
Brudeli 625L: A KTM-based trike...
KTM developing 2WD system for motorcycles!
KTM: Ready to look after their female customers...
KTM's 2008 off-road motorcycles range

Thursday, September 06, 2007

2008 Honda Fireblade CBR1000RR revealed...

2009 Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade: First pics here!

Yes indeed, this is the 2008 Honda Fireblade CBR1000RR!

All right, so the speculation has come to an end - what you see here isn't some computer-generated rendering, but the real deal, the brand-new, 2008 Honda CBR1000RR. Wet weight is 199 kilos, while power output is 178bhp at 12,000rpm. As you can see, the bike has been heavily restyled - the fairing is all new, as is the MotoGP-inspired rear end and the stubby exhaust system. The wheels are new, the chassis and swingarm have been redesigned, turn-signals at the front have been integrated into the rear-view mirrors, and the air-intakes ducts have been reworked and repositioned. The 2008 Fireblade also gets a slipper clutch (finally...!) and a new, sophisticated steering damper. This is a big, big makeover for the CBR1000RR, and Honda must be hoping the new Fireblade will not only be able to take on the R1, GSX-R1000 and ZX-10R but also beat those bikes in sheer performance terms.

While it doesn't look so good in profile, the new Fireblade looks better when viewed from the front...

Honda have also shown their 2008 VFR800, and surprisingly, it carries on unchanged from the 2007 model. We had earlier reported that Honda are likely to replace the VFR800 with a brand-new, high-tech VFR1000. However, that may indeed still happen. Honda might have two sports-tourers in their range and the VFR1000 may be the range-topper. It's also almost 100% certain that the inline-four-powered 2008 Fireblade will be the last of its ilk. Honda are expected to replace the CBR1000RR with an all-new, V4-powered 1000cc superbike in 2009, which will also be their WSBK contender.

The 2008 Fireblade: Launch video from the Paris Show

Does the 2008 CBR1000RR look better than the 2007 model? Umm... we don't think so!

Update (20th Sep, 2007): Stunning new Honda Evo6, CB1100R and CB1100F revealed!

For the adventure bike set, here's the 2008 Honda XL 700 V Transalp...

For middleweight sportsbike fans, the 2008 Honda CBR600RR, which carries on unchanged from the 2007 model. New colour schemes will be offered, but no changes to the engine, chassis or suspension...

...though this special edition 2008 Hannspree Honda CBR600RR looks cool!
On the left is the 2008 Honda VFR800 Interceptor and on the right is the 2008 Honda Big Red, some kind of quad/multi-utility vehicle...

Also see:
Ducati Desmosedici RR: Full tech specs, engine details, image gallery and wallpaper
2008 BMW HP2 Sport: Pics, tech specs and details...
Face off: 1989 Yamaha FZR750RR vs 2008 Yamaha R1!
The Suzuki Stratosphere 1100 to be launched in 2009!
KTM: You're toast!
Hurricane: 200mph superbike from Triumph in 2008?
2008 BMW HP2 Sport 1200 to go into production soon...
2008 Kawasaki Z1400 and KTM RC8 pics!
Star Motorcycles: Yamaha V-Max launch delayed to 2009
First pics: 2008 Yamaha R6 and R125...
2008 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R: Extreme performance, but what about the styling...?

Random Ramblings