Monday, October 08, 2007

Norifumi ‘Norick’ Abe passes away in street mishap

Ex-GP racing star, Norick Abe is no more

Today, we start the week on a very sad note. Motorcycle GP racing star, Norifumi Abe died in an accident yesterday, near his home in Kawasaki, Kanagawa Prefecture, in Japan. The 32-year-old Abe was riding a scooter when he collided with a truck making an illegal U-turn. Abe was taken to a hospital immediately, but did not survive.

Norick won the All-Japan 500cc motorcycle GP racing championship in 1993 and made his debut as a wild-card rider for Honda at the 1994 500cc Japanese GP at Suzuka. While Kevin Schwantz ultimately won that race, Abe put in an absolutely brilliant performance and from there on, there was no looking back for him.

Between 1995 and 2002, Norick raced full-time in the 500cc class, taking three wins and 17 podium finishes in 144 Grand Prix races. Sporadically, he continued to race in MotoGP till 2004, moved to World Superbikes for 2005 and 2006, and to the All-Japan Superbikes Championship for 2007.

Here's a video clip from 1994 - Norick's debut race in the 500cc world championship class, at Suzuka, in Japan

The video clip above shows why Abe was a bit special. Watch as he (bike no.56) hangs in there with Doohan, Schwantz and Cadalora. He outbrakes Schwantz repeatedly, rides around him from the outside and passes pretty much everyone, before crashing out of the race. Even Valentino Rossi was amazed by Abe's amazing performance in this race.

In his autobiography, Rossi says, 'I was struck immediately by this wild-card named Norifumi Abe. Abe had long straight hair and even when he was standing still, he looked like a great character. But most of all, he rode like a madman. He was absolutely fearless. His racing style made me think he was an absolute nutter. He took turns with his steering locked, and often had to keep himself up with his knee. His suit was usually smoking, and he overtook in the most outrageous spots. His steering finally gave out and he fell... But to me, Abe was a hero!' (In a tribute to Norifumi Abe, Rossi sometimes even used the name 'Rossifumi' for himself...)

We, at Faster and Faster, offer our condolences to Abe's family and friends - our hearthfelt sympathies are with you. And, Norick, we'll miss you...

Saturday, October 06, 2007

MotoGP: Pass the blame…

Michelin get their arse kicked after 15 years, and nobody is very happy about that...

While there have been rumblings of dissent for quite some time now, the MotoGP tyre fiasco finally seems to be spiraling completely out of control. After being the dominant tyre manufacturer in the premier class of motorcycle racing for nearly 15 years, Michelin finally got their arse kicked by Bridgestone this year. That has upset more than a few very powerful people, who now seem to be keen on re-establishing status quo from next year onwards.

During the last week of August this year, Dorna CEO, Carmelo Ezpeleta said in an interview that MotoGP ‘tyre limitations are an error that must be solved.’ Ezpeleta, who had supported the tyre rule earlier, changed his stance and said that ‘The tyre manufacturers would have to create an acceptable solution if they want to avoid this [MotoGP] becoming a single tyre championship.’ Later, in a meeting of the Grand Prix Commission in September, Ezpeleta actually put in a formal request for implementing a one-make tyre rule in MotoGP from 2008 onwards.

Ezpeleta’s proposal has come as a nasty shock to some factions, with Bridgestone boss Hiroshi Yamada being especially critical of how things are shaping up. Speaking to MCN, Yamada said he’s very disappointed and shocked at Ezpeleta’s one-make tyre rule proposal and claimed that it’s Valentino Rossi who is using his influence with Dorna to push this change.

Colin Edwards, who hasn't ever won a single race in MotoGP, is now blaming Michelin for his woes! Even the pit babes can't stop laughing at this one...

On the other hand, Michelin aren’t happy with the proposed changed either. Jean-Philippe Weber, at Michelin, has expressed shock and disappointment and speaking to MCN, said ‘MotoGP has prototype bikes, tyres, and high level riders and we are really surprised that this [the proposed one-make rule] is coming so strongly. It looks as if everybody gets good competition and suddenly you have got somebody deciding to change something urgently.’

If the one-make tyre rule does go through, Bridgestone could end up being penalized for being more successful than Michelin, and that certainly seems to be completely unfair. Like Rossi’s crew chief Jerry Burgess says, the one-make tyre proposal doesn’t give Michelin an opportunity to respond to Bridgestone’s success this year and on the other hand, it may effectively punish Bridgestone for having spent millions of dollars towards becoming the dominant tyre brand in MotoGP. Not fair!

And yet, with Honda and Yamaha not being convinced about Michelin’s ability to catch up with Bridgestone next year, an amicable solution to the whole problem seems unlikely. Along with Rossi, his teammate Colin Edwards has also been supporting the proposed one-make tyre rule, saying that he doesn’t believe Michelin can compete with Bridgestone. Says Edwards, ‘The biggest problem to me is that the jump they need to make, they have never made. I’ve been with Michelin 10 years, and that big gap we need to make up, we’ve never ever done that in all my time with them.’

Rossi, who hasn't managed to win the MotoGP world championship for the second year running, now says he isn't happy with the way Yamaha work...

Edwards, who incidentally hasn’t won a single race in MotoGP ever, says ‘Look at guys like Dani, Nicky, Valentino and me. We are all on Michelin and at times we’ve been struggling just to stay in the top ten. I’ve been with Michelin forever and I get on great with them, but at the moment you just have to look at the results.’ Well, given that Rossi won five MotoGP world championships on Michelin rubber, and Hayden also took his first MotoGP world title last year using Michelin tyres, while Edwards hasn’t managed to win a single race in all these years, perhaps he should just shut the f*** up and be thankful he still has a ride in MotoGP at all.

In the middle of all this, you may be wondering what The Doctor himself has to say about the situation. Well, while he isn’t saying anything about tyres, he’s made it clear he isn’t happy with Yamaha. Rossi says that Yamaha need to be more aggressive and proactive in working towards regaining the MotoGP world title. Says Rossi, ‘If we want to win the title again, then we need the people in Japan to put in more effort. They must work their butts off! For 2008, I have a contract with Yamaha. If they show me we can still fight, fine. Otherwise, we could make a different choice.’

Unless Dani Pedrosa relegates him to third spot (unlikely, but a mathematical possibility…), Rossi is likely to take second place in the 2007 MotoGP world championship. The Doctor, who also finished in second place last year behind Hayden, is clearly not too pleased with Yamaha and says, ‘We need to stop suffering from the slowness of a big manufacturer and we need to be more aggressive and more courageous in the development of the bike. This is what we have lacked this year. We had a big disadvantage at the beginning of the season, and it's not as if we improved so much. Besides, every time we do something new, it breaks down!’

Hmmm… so there you are – Stoner, Ducati and Bridgestone have kicked arse, good and proper, and everybody is unhappy about it. When people like Colin Edwards, who’s never won a race in MotoGP ever, start blaming Michelin for their woes, you know something’s not right. All we can say is, if the one-make tyre rule does go through for 2008, it’ll be massively unfair for Bridgestone. They took on everyone and beat the big boys fair and square. Should they be penalized for that? No!!!

More MotoGP:
2007 MotoGP race reports, interviews, features and hi-res wallpaper
Faster and Faster: Bikes & babes on Flickr!
TWO magazine: In conversation with Jeremy Burgess
Casey Stoner is 2007 MotoGP world champ!
Hot! Rizla Suzuki pit babes wallpaper...
Who's the fastest motorcycle racer in the world?
Giacomo Agostini: "Stoner is good, but don't forget Rossi!"
Kevin Schwantz interviews Valentino Rossi...

External links:
Stoner and other riders express their views on one-make tyre proposal...
James Toseland wins 2007 World Superbikes title...!
James Toseland says electronics helped him win the 2007 WSBK title...

British rider James Toseland gets it sideways, on his way to winning the 2007 World Superbikes Championship aboard his Hannspree Ten Kate Honda CBR1000RR! Toseland will move to MotoGP for 2008, riding for the Tech3 Yamaha Team, alongside Colin Edwards...

Friday, October 05, 2007

Yamaha Tesseract: Japanese! Weird! Cool!

...and the Yamaha Tesseract ran away from the Transformers movie set!

Yamaha have released pics and details of some of the weird concept bikes they’ll be showing at the upcoming 40th Tokyo Motor Show. The most interesting of these seems to be the Tesseract, a four-wheeled ‘motorcycle.’ Probably dreamt up by a bunch of Yamaha engineers on a night when the sake was really flowing, the Tesseract is a hybrid – powered by an electric motor and a regular v-twin petrol engine.

But the Tesseract’s ‘dual-scythe’ suspension is where the real action is. This thing allows the bike to lean like a regular motorcycle while cornering, while allowing it to remain upright on its own (without the rider needing to put his feet down…) while standing still. We don’t know why anyone should need any of this - a regular R1 works just fine for us - but the Tesseract sure does look funky as hell, like it just walked off the sets of Transformers

Honda say they are going to fit the DN-01 with 'human friendly transmission' and put the bike into production. Surely, they cannot be serious?

Of course, if Yamaha are doing weird, Honda can’t be too far behind. So they’ve gone ahead and announced that they’ll be putting the DN-01 concept (shown at the 2005 Tokyo Motor Show) into production. And if you don’t fancy the DN-01’s spaced-out styling, get this – the bike will feature what Honda call ‘Human Friendly Transmission.’

HTF uses Honda’s infinitely variable hydraulic mechanical transmission and will work like an intelligent automatic gearbox found on some of the better cars these days. It will have two separate auto modes for ‘normal’ and ‘sporty’ riding, and third mode where the gearbox can be used as a conventional six-speed manual. Why such electro-gimmickry on a bike that seems to be about as sporty as a Goldwing...? No, we'll take a Fireblade after all, thanks very much.

More wild, weird machines from around the world:
The MV Agusta Bestiale project...
Suzuki Crosscage and Biplane concepts
The Neander Turbodiesel...
Kawasaki GPZ900-powered Fiat 500!
Hubless wheels on motorcycles...?!
The V-Max Roadstercycle
The amazing Confederate F131 Hellcat!
The Canjamoto R1200S Turbo..
Fast and fruagal: The FuelVapor Ale trike
2008 Can-Am Spyder. Man!
Sin City: Volkswagen GX3...
The trendsetting Piaggio MP3!
The wild and wonderful Gilera Fuoco 500...
Radical: The KTM-based Brudeli 625L trike
The absolutely amazing Carver One...
Acabion GTBO70: The bike that'll outrun... anything!

External link:
Three spree: A big image gallery of trikes...!

Thursday, October 04, 2007

2008 Voxan GTV 1200, Voxan Super Naked XV

A 1200cc French-built sports-tourer? The Voxan GTV1200 is your bike!

If the Kawasaki 1400GTR is radical for you and the Honda CBR1100XX is a bit too old, French motorcycle manufacturer Voxan might have just the bike for you – the 2008 GTV1200. Powered by an 1166cc, 106bhp engine, the 179kg GTV sports-tourer features belt-drive, USD front forks, brakes with radial-mount calipers (ABS is optional) and Givi luggage bags. If you like the bike, keep your fingers crossed – the GTV may go into production by mid-2008!

The Voxan Super Naked XV. Designed by the same man who did the Aprilia Moto 6.5, one of the worst looking bikes on the planet...

For those who find the GTV1200 too restrained, but who still want a French motorcycle anyway, Philippe Starck has designed the Voxan Super Naked XV, which is supposed to be ‘aggressive and radical looking.’ Well, at least it looks better than the Aprilia Moto 6.5 which Starck had designed back in 2001, and which we think is one of the worst looking motorcycles ever made anywhere.

If you still want one, you may be able to order your bike online. Next year. Maybe

But coming back to the Super Naked XV, it uses a hopped-up version of the GTV’s 1166cc engine, which makes a claimed 140bhp here! The XV may be built in limited numbers and if that does happen, you’ll be able to place your order online. (We don’t know if that would be from the Voxan website or from Starck’s own website, so you’d best keep track of both…)

Also see:
The totally HOT 2008 Triumph Speed Triple!
MV Agusta Brutale: The Bestiale project...
The amazing 2008 BMW HP2 Sport!
First pics: 2008 KTM 690 sportsbike range...
New and improved! 2008 Suzuki GSX-R750 and GSX-R600
Oil rig: The Neander Turbodiesel
2008 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R: Extreme performance, ugly styling...
2007 MotoGP race reports and hi-res wallpaper!
bikes and babes on Flick

External links:
More Voxan bikes here, here and here
The deadliest bike you'll ever see!

MCN's shootout video: Aprilia Shiver SL750 vs Suzuki SV650 vs Triumph Street Triple 675 vs BMW F800. (And here's a riding impression of the Shiver 750.)

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Pics and specs: 2008 Triumph Speed Triple

The 2008 Speed Triple. It's just perfect!

While the world seems to be going ga-ga over the Street Triple, our absolute no.1 favourite Triumph continues to be the Speed Triple. And for 2008, Triumph seem to have improved the bike even more, making it leaner, meaner and harder edged.

The Speed Triple’s 1050cc, three-cylinder, 131bhp engine remains unchanged, apart from a new radiator for better cooling. But there are various other new bits to keep you entertained. The rear end of the bike has been mildly restyled and now incorporates a new LED taillamp, the handlebars are now anodised aluminium, the wheels have been redesigned (and look hot!) and the bike gets radial-mount four-piston caliper Brembo brakes – twin 320mm discs – at the front.

The Speed Triple’s 43mm USD fork and rear shock are adjustable for preload and compression / rebound damping, and the chassis and single-sided swingarm remain unchanged. ‘Blazing orange,’ which you see here, is the new colour for 2008 and in the UK, the bike carries a price tag of ₤8,000. US prices are yet to be announced.

The bike will also be available with an aftermarket exhaust from Arrow, which will cost extra. Click here to listen to how the bike sounds with this exhaust fitted!

Also see:
British is bigger, British is best...?!
The radical new KTM 690 Stunt prototype...
2008 BMW HP2 Sport: Pics and details...
2008 KTM sportsbike range: Pics and details
2008 Suzuki GSX-R750 and GSX-R600: Pics and details
2008 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-14: Even more performance than before...
2008 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-1OR: Fast, but who did that styling...?
First pics: 2008 Kawasaki ZX-6R, ER-6n, Z1000, Z750 and Versys 650!
2008 Yamaha R1 and XT660Z Tenere: The best-looking bikes in 2008?
First pics: 2008 Yamaha R6 and R125...
Video and pics: 2009 Suzuki Stratosphere 1100

External link:
Triumph Street Triple: HUGE hi-res image gallery!

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Radical: The KTM 690 Stunt Prototype

The KTM 690 Stunt prototype. Are you skilled / brave enough?

Pics: MCN

KTM recently unveiled their all-new 690 range at the Paris Show – the 690 Duke, SMR, SMC and Enduro. But they aren’t done yet – there’s also the new Stunt prototype that you see here, which the company might put into production if there’s sufficient demand.

Like the other 2008 bikes, the Stunt prototype uses the 690cc single-cylinder engine, has minimal bodywork and a steel-tube trellis frame. And in keeping with its stunt-bike positioning, the prototype is fitted with high-spec WP suspension units, crash-bars around the engine and a ‘scrape bar’ on the tail unit for 90-degree-wheelie specialists!

For stoppies, there’s a 320mm disc up front, with a radial-mount four-piston caliper. The rear brake is thumb-operated, which seasoned stunt professionals sometimes need. There’s also a chunky, beautifully-finished single-sided swingarm, lightweight wheels, Akrapovic exhaust, and Renthal handlebars.

The prototype machine has been developed by Kiska Design, a company which has designed most KTMs over the last decade and a half. Speaking to MCN, Gerard Kiska says, ‘We looked at ideas from the urban stunt scene, and we just captured them and implemented them into the design. We based it on the new Duke, as it already has the right dimensions. It has to be decided whether the bike will go in to production – we’ll have to look at public reaction. The LC4 is a fantastic engine, and we will keep on surprising people with what we can do with it!’

The absolutely amazing KTM X-Bow in action. More pics and details of the car here

Also see:
From Finland: Honda CBR1100XX Super Blackbird Turbo. Whew...!
From France: MV Agusta Bestiale...
New & Improved! 2008 Suzuki GSX-R1000, GSX-R750 and GSX-R600!
Awesome: 2008 BMW HP2 Sport pics, video and tech specs
The radical (ugly!) new Kawasaki ZX-10R...
Faster and Faster! 2008 Kawasaki ZZR1400!
First pics and details: 2008 Yamaha R1...
The all-new, 2008 Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade!

External link:
Jackets, helmets, riding suits and other stuff from KTM

Repsol KTM's Marc Coma, on his way to winning the 2007 Pharaons Rally. This is third time in succession when Coma has won this off-road event...

Monday, October 01, 2007

From Finland: Honda CBR1100XX Turbo!

220 horsepower? Coming right up...
With a turbocharger and nitrous, this is one Honda CBR1100XX which even Hayabusas and ZZR1400s would be wary of!
Pics: Super Streetbike

What bike would you need to be able to keep up with your Hayabusa / ZZR1400 riding neighbour? Surely not a Honda CBR1100XX Super Blackbird? Yes indeed, if you live in Finland and if your name is Teemu Erpolku, you’ll take your Honda to Taistelija Osakeyhti, who’ll transform your nice, civilized sports-tourer into something that can live with the Hayabusas and ZZR1400s of this world!

Taistelija Osakeyhti builds high-performance custom bikes for adrenaline junkies. Based in Helsinki, Osakeyhti’s company, Fighter Incorporated takes standard bikes and converts them into fire-breathing monsters. The CBR1100XX you see here has been converted into a 220 horsepower ‘Dragmoto’ via the addition of a ProBoost turbocharger and nitrous. Front forks are from a Ducati 748, bodywork is from an old Suzuki GSX-R1100, the seat unit is off a Yamaha R6, and swingarm, wheels and exhaust are all custom-made.

More details on the Super Streetbike website here.

Okay, we also love the regular, stock Honda CBR1100XX Super Blackbird

The Bestiale Project: A more 'radical' MV Agusta Brutale

Can Tamburini's work be improved upon? Yacouba Galle seems to think so, hence the Bestiale!
Pics: Moto Caradisiac

The Massimo Tamburini-designed MV Agusta Brutale 910 is one hell of a good looking motorcycle. But there’s always room for 'improvement,' right? Which is why Yacouba Galle, a former motorcycle journalist who also likes to try his hand at designing bikes, has come up with the Bestiale concept that you see here. Along with another Frenchman, Laurent Dupas, Galle has designed the 'sharp, aggressive' Bestiale in an effort to make the Brutale more, er...., radical. Ahem.

Galle has kept the original Brutale 910’s engine, chassis, wheels, suspension and single-sided swingarm, but the bodywork is all new. At the front, there’s a single Xenon projector headlamp, flanked by multiple LEDs. Turn-indicators are incorporated into the bodywork and instead of conventional units, these are a line of LEDs on each side.

Dupas and Galle want to offer bolt-on Bestiale kits to Brutale owners who want to personalise their bike. (Aren't MV Brutale 910s 'personal' enough already...?)

For Brutale owners who want to ‘personalise’ their bike, Galle wants to provide a bolt-on kit which would allow them to transform their bike into the Bestiale. Get more details on the official website here.

Also see:
Suzuki Crosscage and Biplane concepts...
The amazing new BMW HP2 Sport!
The Neander Turbodiesel: Ready for this oil rig?
Master Blaster: The 2008 Kawasaki ZZR1400...
TWO magazine: In conversation with Jeremy Burgess
Scoop! Next-generation Yamaha, Honda and Ducati MotoGP bikes revealed!
Fearsome: The 1975 Yamaha TZ750 dirt-tracker
Big Brothers: Suzuki GSX-R1100 and Bimota SB6

The 2008 KTM 690 Duke. More pics and details here

Sunday, September 30, 2007

First pics: 2008 Suzuki GSX-R1000. Also, Crosscage and Biplane concepts...

...and for the 2009 Suzuki GSX-R1000, see here!

The 2008 Suzuki GSX-R1000. No changes apart from new paint and graphics, but it's still the most awesome litre-class superbike on the planet!

Pics: Moto Caradisiac

After the 2008 GSX-R750s and GSX-R600s which you saw here earlier, here are some pics of the 2008 GSX-R1000. Suzuki had made some radical changes to the GSX-R1000 last year so the 2008 model only gets lightly reworked paint and graphics. Still, with 185 horsepower from that 1000cc inline-four, and a dry weight of only 172 kilos, the 2008 GSX-R1000 continues to be the Big Daddy, the undisputed performance king of all litre-class superbikes.

The Hydrogen- and battery-powered Suzuki Crosscage concept

And while GSX-Rs are all very well, Suzuki have also seen Honda’s Evo6 and CB1100R, and decided they must do some concept bikes of their own. Hence, we have the Crosscage and Biplane concepts. The Crosscage, which says ‘Intelligent Energy’ on its fairing, has an X-shaped chassis and single-sided swingarm and front suspension. It’s a hydrogen and lithium-ion battery-powered hybrid, so… do not expect to see the Crosscage on the roads anytime soon!

...and this is the totally outlandish Suzuki Biplane concept. Weird!

The other concept is the Suzuki Biplane, which is supposedly powered by a V4 engine. And if you ride the bike, you’re supposed to feel like you’re flying a biplane with an open canopy. Doesn’t make any sense to us, but hey, this is supposed to be a ‘concept’ bike that’ll just be shown at the upcoming Tokyo Motor Show and then it’ll be put away in the basement forever. Or until the next motor show anyway…

Also see:
2008 BMW HP2 Sport: Pics and details...
2008 KTM sportsbike range: Pics and details
2008 Suzuki GSX-R750 and GSX-R600: Pics and details
2008 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-14: Even more performance than before...
2008 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-1OR: Fast, but who did that styling...?
First pics: 2008 Kawasaki ZX-6R, ER-6n, Z1000, Z750 and Versys 650!
2008 Yamaha R1 and XT660Z Tenere: The best-looking bikes in 2008?
First pics: 2008 Yamaha R6 and R125...
Video and pics: 2009 Suzuki Stratosphere 1100

2008 Suzuki Hayabusa in action! Get Motorcycle USA's riding impression of this bike here
Pic: Motorcycle USA

New pics of the 2008 Hayabusa from the Paris Show. The one on the left shows the bike fitted with Yoshimura's new exhaust system for the Hayabusa...
Pics: Moto Caradisiac

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Carl Fogarty dumps plans of 2008 WSBK comeback

Carl Fogarty won't be running the MV Agusta team in World Superbikes in 2008 due to lack of sponsorship money...

Earlier this year, we had reported that Carl Fogarty would be running the MV Agusta factory-supported team in World Superbikes, in 2008. Well, that isn’t going to happen after all – Foggy has been unable to find sponsorship and would hence be unable to run the MV team in WSBK.

Says Fogarty, ‘Everyone knows that this is a difficult time for motorcycle sponsorship. However, we hoped that the combination of my team with an iconic brand such as MV Agusta would have been an attractive proposition for potential sponsors both in the UK and abroad. Regrettably, despite the enormous excitement generated amongst motorcycle fans, this has not proved to be the case, leading us to the conclusion that the market will not support a professionally-run outfit of our size without significant financial input from a manufacturer. So I have decided to bring this chapter of my career to an end by putting our state-of-the-art facility at Burton, our race trailer and hospitality unit up for sale.’

What happens to MV's WSBK ambitions now...?

Mr Fogarty, who once claimed he was going to be the 'saviour' of World Superbikes, also has the unique distinction of having been voted as one of the biggest idiots in motorcycling by the readers of Bike magazine in the UK. The four-time WSBK world champion and Isle of Man winner says he will now explore other options inside as well as outside the motorcycle industry…

Also see:
2008 Kawasaki ZZR1400: Improved power delivery, lairy new paintjob!
2008 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R: Extreme performance, but what about the styling...?
Stunning new Hondas: The CB1100R and Evo6
Pics and details: 2008 Kawasaki Z1000, Z750, ER-6n, ZX-6R, Versys 650 and Ninja 250R
Pics and details: 2008 Yamaha R1
Pics and details: 2008 Yamaha R6 and R125
Video: 2009 Suzuki Stratosphere 1100
Triumph Hurricane 1300: Is the first 200mph British superbike coming...?
Pics and details: 2008 Honda Fireblade CBR1000RR, XL700V Transalp
Honda: V4 revival in 2009?
2008 KTM 690 Duke and other 690-based machines...
First pics: 2008 Suzuki GSX-R750 and GSX-R600
2008 BMW HP2 Sport: Pics, details and tech specs...

The awesome new BMW HP2 Sport! More pics and details here

Friday, September 28, 2007

2008 BMW HP2 Sport: More pics and details

The 2008 BMW HP2 Sport - the one BMW that isn't scared of GSX-Rs!

Yesterday, you saw MCN’s first ride video of the awesome 2008 BMW HP2 Sport, and now we have new pictures of the bike. This bike, along with BMW’s decision to go racing in World Superbikes in 2009 (with an all-new four-cylinder machine…), shows just how serious the Bavarian company is about taking on the R1s and GSX-Rs of this world.

As is already known, the BMW HP2 Sport is based on the BMW R1200S, though in the former, the boxer twin gets new cylinder heads, with double overhead cams and bigger valves. Along with its new forged pistons, new con-rods, and new stainless steel exhaust system, the 1170cc twin makes a respectable 130 – 140 horsepower and 115Nm of torque.

The HP2 Sport gets a six-speed close-ratio gearbox, and there’s also a quickshifter there to keep racer-types happy. Other fancy bits are Öhlins suspension, forged wheels, various carbonfibre parts, Brembo monoblock brakes with radially mounted four-piston calipers at the front, and a MotoGP-style digital dashboard. ABS is optional.

With this all-singing, all-dancing HP2 Sport, BMW should indeed be able to make people – especially the Japanese and Italian factories – sit up and take note. Yes sir, BMW are back, and how!

First pics: 2008 KTM 690 Duke, 690 SMC, 690 SMR and 690 Enduro

The 2008 KTM 690 SMR...

... and (from left) the 2008 KTM 690 Duke, 690 Enduro and 690 SMC
Pics: Moto Revue

Yes, these are the first official pics of the 2008 KTM range – the 690 SMR, the much-awaited 690 Duke, 690 Enduro and the 690 SMC. All the four bikes use KTM's 654cc, fuel-injected single-cylinder ‘LC4’ engine, which makes 65bhp.

The 690 Duke is fitted with a chrome-molybdenum tubular space frame that’s light and rigid, a one-piece, aluminium die-cast swingarm, and WP suspension components – 48mm USD fork at front, fully adjustable monoshock at the rear, with a Pro-Lever linkage system. The suspension has been tuned for high-performance street riding. Brakes are Brembo units – 320mm floating disc, with radially mounted four-piston calipers at front, 240mm disc with single-piston caliper at the rear.

While the 690 Duke has, perhaps, been the most eagerly awaited new KTM, the all-new 690 SMR is no less radical and exciting. With its edgy, convention-challenging styling and high-spec components, it’ll probably offer supermoto performance that may be hard to match. Like the Duke, the SMR is also fitted with a chrome-molybdenum tubular space frame, WP suspension components, Brembo brakes and KTM’s ‘APTC’ anti-hopping clutch.

More details on pricing and availability, soon.

A video of the KTM 690 Supermoto in action. Superb!

More 2008 bikes:
2008 Kawasaki ZZR1400: Improved power delivery, lairy new paintjob!
2008 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R: Extreme performance, but what about the styling...?
Stunning new Hondas: The CB1100R and Evo6
Pics and details: 2008 Kawasaki Z1000, Z750, ER-6n, ZX-6R, Versys 650 and Ninja 250R
Pics and details: 2008 Yamaha R1
Pics and details: 2008 Yamaha R6 and R125
Video: 2009 Suzuki Stratosphere 1100
Triumph Hurricane 1300: Is the first 200mph British superbike coming...?
BMW HP2 Sport Boxer to go into production soon...
Pics and details: 2008 Honda Fireblade CBR1000RR, XL700V Transalp
Honda: V4 revival in 2009?
2008 BMW HP2 Sport: Pics, tech specs and details...

Repsol KTM's Marc Coma, on his way to winning the 2007 Pharaons Rally. This is third time in succession when Coma has won this off-road event!



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