Saturday, October 27, 2007

Motorcycle Shelby: 150bhp musclebike in production now!

The 150bhp Motorcycle Shelby. Drop the hammer now...

We first spoke of the Shelby musclebike back in February this year, when Carroll Shelby International and Rucker Performance unveiled their bike at the Cincinnati V-Twin Expo. Well, the bike is all set to go into production now and out of the 25 units that will be built, five have already been ordered.

Carroll Shelby, who won the 1959 Le Mans 25 Hours race, is a legend in the world of American high-performance cars. But this bike – called the Motorcycle Shelby – is his first two-wheeled creation. The bike is fitted with a fuel-injected, 2100cc, S&S X-Wedge v-twin, which produces about 150 horsepower.

Sure, it won't corner, but in a straight line, even an R1 might have trouble keeping up with it, especially if the Shelby has the optional supercharger installed...

Billed as ‘An incredible high performance American motorcycle which rivals the power to weight ratio of the famed Shelby Cobra 427 S/C,’ the Motorcycle Shelby is being built by Rucker Performance, under license by Carroll Shelby. The bike is being fitted with high-spec components, including USD forks, ceramic brake rotors, air-assisted suspension, carbonfibre wheels, an electric gearshift system, and body panels made of carbonfibre and aluminium. And yes, buyers will be able to have the bike painted the way they want.

While the Shelby bike, which weighs 275 kilos, will never corner like a GSX-R, we suppose it’ll offer ample straight line performance, which is what many American motorcyclists want. And for those want more than 150 horsepower, there’s a Procharger supercharger on the options list, which should boost power to at least 180bhp or more!

For more details, visit the official Shelby Motorcycles website here.

More motorcycle muscle:
Morbidelli 850: V8 muscle-power!
Triumph Rocket III: Three-cylinder, 2.3-litre, 140bhp, 200Nm tourer!
Raging Buell: The supercharged Lazareth XB12S...
From Finland: Honda CBR1100XX Turbo!
Neander Turbodiesel: The 195Nm oil rig...
2008 Kawasaki ZZR1400: The ultimate rice-rocket!
Honda Evo6 and CB1100R: Simply stunning...
Blown away: Supercharged Kawasaki ZRX1200!
Wildlife: The Confederate F131 Hellcat...
NitroDuke: Jaska Salakari's 2000bhp (yeah, two thousand horsepower) KTM
"GSX-Rs are for moped riders..."

The 2008 Honda CB400 Super Bol d'Or gets fuel-injection and Honda's VTEC variable valve timing system. It's only a 400 but it sure looks cool, eh?
Pic: Moto Revue

Friday, October 26, 2007

MotoGP 2008: Nakano with Gresini Honda, Elias signs up with Pramac d’Antin Ducati

Next year, Shinya Nakano will be racing for Gresini Honda...

From left: Nakano moves from Konica Minolta Honda to Gresini Honda. Sylvain Guintoli (Yamaha Tech3) and Toni Elias (Gresini Honda) will be with Pramac d'Antin Ducati in 2008

Max Biaggi’s hopes of coming back to MotoGP with the Gresini Honda Team are now officially finished – Gresini have announced that Shinya Nakano would be riding for them in 2008. Alongside Nakano will be Italian youngster Alex de Angelis, who’ll be moving up from the 250cc class next year. Both riders will be on factory-supported Honda RC212Vs, shod with Bridgestone rubber.

Says team manager Fausto Gresini, ‘Shinya is a rider with great potential, so far expressed only in part. We strongly believe in him, as do Honda HRC and Bridgestone. We will start to prepare the new season immediately after the Valencia GP, in an important session where our riders can start to get confidence with the Honda RC212V with Bridgestone tires.’

Nakano says, ‘I know Fausto – he was a rider before becoming a team manager and he has worked very well with Honda HRC for many years. I believe we can have a good season together. I also look forward to working with Bridgestone tyres – I have good memories with them.’

The PR-speak notwithstanding, Nakano has had to move from Konica Minolta Honda to make way for young gun Andrea Dovizioso, who’s done well in 250s and who’ll be making his MotoGP debut next year. To be very honest, we don’t really believe Nakano, who’s now 30 years old, has the talent, determination or consistency to be a front-runner in MotoGP. But of course, we wish him all the best anyway. Hope he can at least get a podium finish or two in 2008!

In the meanwhile, Toni Elias, who rode for Gresini Honda this year, has signed up with Pramac d’Antin Ducati for 2008. The 24-year-old Elias hasn’t been very consistent but he’s shown that when he’s in the right frame of mind, he can take on anyone, and win. Fans will remember his first win at the Portuguese MotoGP in 2006, a race where Elias relegated Valentino Rossi to second palce! Alongside Elias in 2008 will be French rider Sylvain Guintoli, who’ll be moving on from Yamaha Tech3 and joining Pramac d’Antin Ducati for 2008. Both riders will be on factory-supported Ducati GP8 machines, on Bridgestone tyres.

As already announced earlier, Elias’ teammate at Gresini Honda this year, Marco Melandri will be moving to the factory Ducati Marlboro team in 2008, where he’ll ride alongside Casey Stoner. Jorge Lorenzo will be partnering Rossi at Fiat Yamaha, while Colin Edwards will be moving to Yamaha Tech3, where he’ll be teammates with James Toseland, who’s moving from WSBK to MotoGP in 2008.

All of the above notwithstanding, this trio - Stoner, Rossi and newcomer Lorenzo - is what we're really looking out for in MotoGP in 2008!

Also see:
2007 MotoGP race reports, features, interviews and hi-res wallpaper!
KTM RC8 in final stages of development...
From dream to disaster: The amazing Morbidelli 850 V8!
Which Honda is faster than the RC212V? This one...
Dual-purpose done right: Yamaha XT660Z Tenere and Honda XL700V Transalp
220 horsepower V4 Aprilia superbike coming in 2008!

External link:
Hot bikes and babes: Hi-res wallpaper!

For BMW fans, here's the HP2 Megamoto like you've never seen it before! Probably...
Pics: Superbike

From left: The production-ready Honda DN-01 (which features automatic transmission), the absolutely gorgeous Honda CB1100R retro-style cafe-racer concept, and the Evo6 concept, which has the Goldwing's six-cylinder engine!

From left: The Honda CB1100F concept, and more pics of the Honda Evo6 concept. More details here

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

First pic: 2008 Cagiva Mito 125

On the left is the new Cagiva Mito 125, and on the right is its inspiration, the Cagiva C594, 500cc GP racer from the early-1990s. Isn't it a bit late for Cagiva to be doing this...?

Remember the Ducati 916 look-alike Cagiva Mito 125? Well, after more than a decade, the bike has finally got a major update - it's now supposed to look like the Cagiva C594 GP racer from the 1990s! While the bike was to be officially unveiled at the EICMA in Milan next month, this picture has somehow been leaked and is now available on various websites.

While the earlier Cagiva Mito was a design classic – slim, svelte and very nicely proportioned – the new one isn’t… umm… as instantly likeable as the old one. The front end is indeed vaguely similar to John Kocinski’s and Eddie Lawson’s 500cc GP racebikes of the early-1990s, but we aren’t entirely convinced about the shape and the size of the headlamps.

The twin-spar aluminium beam chassis on the 2008 Mito 125 looks similar to the one on the old bike, and the new Mito is expected to weight about 125kg. Its 125cc, single-cylinder, two-stroke engine is likely to make 30 - 35 horsepower, and real-world top speed could be as much as 180km/h! More details and proper specs soon...

Also see:
Cagiva Mito 500 will now be Hyosung-powered Mito 650...
Ducati PS1000LE: Paul Smart rides again!
Air-powered engines for bikes in the near future?
Reinventing the superbike: The Ecosse Spirit ES1!
Pierre Terblance on Ducati 916 vs 999...
Peugeot Satelis 125 Compressor: Terrorise thy neighbour...
The very cool Harley-Davidson XR1200...
The 2008 Yamaha R6: Can it win this time around...?

External links:
More pics of the 2008 Cagiva Mito 125
Even more pics of the new Cagiva...
Right-click and download this video of the 2008 Kawasaki ZX-10R Ninja in action around the Losail Circuit...
Wired: Hackers get whimsical with bikes...
BioBike: Diesel-powered motorcycle does 45.45kmpl

A video from the days when Cagiva were active in off-road racing as well 500cc grand prix racing...

As the 2007 Tokyo Motor Show draws closer, Japan Inc is letting loose with some wild concepts. From left, the first two pics are of the Suzuki Biplance and on the right is the Suzuki Gemma 250. Hmmm.... all we can say is, for a vastly more agreeable Gemma, you may want to look here ;-D
Pics: Motoblog

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

From Dream to Disaster: The Morbidelli 850 V8

The mid-1990s Morbidelli V8. That engine looks awesome!

Pics: Robb Report Motorcycling

Here at Faster and Faster, we’ve often been fascinated with bikes that have six-cylinder engines. Regardless of the fact that they were big, heavy brutes that did not handle very well and offered little or no performance benefits over four-cylinder sportsbikes of the same era, we love six-cylinder bikes. The 1978 Laverda V6 Bol d’Or racer. The 1980s Honda CBX, Benelli Sei and Kawasaki Z1300 streetbikes. And the more recent Honda Evo6 and Suzuki Stratosphere concepts. We think these bikes absolutely rock.

So if six-cylinder engines are good, eight-cylinder engines have to be better, eh? Well, there was the Moto Guzzi V8 racebike in the mid-1950s, but apart from that, there’s just one eight-cylinder motorcycle that we can think of – the Morbidelli 850 V8. Made in Italy in the mid-1990s, the much-maligned Morbidelli 850 V8 was Giancarlo Morbidelli’s dream, a dream that ultimately turned out to be a disaster.

Morbidelli bikes actually won three 125cc and one 250cc motorcycle GP racing world championships in the 1970s. Graziano Rossi (Valentino’s Dad) used to race for the Morbidelli team in the 1970s, and Morbidelli was a reasonably successful motorcycle brand till then. But then the Japanese onslaught happened and Morbidelli, like many other European bike companies, were caught unprepared. Things started going downhill for them in the 1980s.

But then, after a decade of seeing his motorcycle company go down the drain, Giancarlo Morbidelli probably sat up one day and decided that Morbidelli motorcycles must make a big, fat comeback. And what better way to do that than make a motorcycle with an eight-cylinder engine. The Morbidelli V8 idea was born. It would be a bike, dreamed Giancarlo, with which he would be able to challenge the likes of Ducati and Bimota. And, of course, the pesky Japanese.

The first iteration of the Pininfarina-designed Morbidelli V8, unveiled in 1994. Umm... one of the ugliest motorcycles ever made?

At least the 848cc V8 engine was a masterpiece, and the second evolution of the bike (on the right) looked vastly better than the first one!

Though it was a noble dream, things did not exactly pan out the way Giancarlo Morbidelli thought they would. To begin with, the styling – the first prototypes were designed by Pininfarina – went horribly wrong. When it was first shown in 1994, the Morbidelli 850 V8, with its cartoonish twin headlamps and featureless, slab-sided bodywork, was derided for being one of the ugliest, most hideous-looking bikes ever built. (The styling improved with the Morbidelli V8’s second iteration, but by then it was already too late…)

Then there was the liquid-cooled, 32-valve, eight-cylinder, 848cc engine, which was essentially a miniaturized Cosworth V8 design. This complex engine made 120 horsepower at 11,000rpm and pushed the bike to a top speed of about 230km/h – not outstandingly impressive figures even by 1990s standards. In fact, this 200kg bike was tuned like a sports-tourer rather than an all-out performance bike and nobody was very clear about exactly what it was meant to be. Not that many would have cared anyway – the Morbidelli V8 cost a shattering US$60,000 back then.

Like some other rare, expensive and super-exclusive Italian sportsbikes, the Morbidelli 850 V8 was well engineered, and featured cutting-edge technology for its time. The bike was fitted with a Weber Marelli fuel-injection system, shaft drive, five-speed gearbox, tubular spaceframe, Marvic alloy wheels, and Brembo brakes. It also had high-spec suspension components – 43mm GCB forks and GCB monoshock, both adjustable for compression and rebound damping.

Speaking to Robb Report Motorcycling, motorcycle collector and Morbidelli V8 owner Robert D. Arnott says, ‘The Morbidelli feels somewhat heavy by today’s standards, but is absurdly light for a V8.’ Arnott also says that the bike’s V8 engine is ‘Effortless, quiet, and eerily smooth.’ But of course. And ultimately, that a Kawasaki ZZR1100 or Yamaha FZR1000 of that era – bikes that cost a tiny fraction of the V8’s price – would have the Morbidelli for breakfast, doesn’t matter. The Morbidelli V8 may have been too expensive, not very good looking, and not at all practical. But nonetheless, it was an engineering masterpiece, and a testament to the human desire to reach higher, do things better and create something extraordinary…

You can read more about Morbidelli here and here. And take a look at the Morbidelli Museum in Pesaro, Italy, here.

Also see:
Memorable: The 1970s Laverda V6 Bol d'Or racebike...
The mighty Munch Mammut TTS-E
Memorable: The 1950s Moto Guzzi V8 racer!
Blasts from the past: The mighty Bimota YB11 and Bimota YB6 Tuatara
The Bruise Brothers: Suzuki GSX-R1100 and Bimota SB6!
NRV588: The Norton Rotary rides again...

Elsewhere today:
The Boss Hoss V8 motorcycle range...
The Drysdale V8: See here and here!
From Australia: The Barbarian V8...
The Morbidelli Museum...
From Germany: The Mega Machines V8 range!

Okay, the Morbidelli V8 is gone forever, but you can still have one of these Drysdale 1000 V8 machines, built in Australia. More details here

Commuter Special: The 2008 Aprilia Mana 850

The 2008 Aprilia Mana 850. Nice styling, competent chassis and suspension, 76bhp v-twin, automatic gearbox. What more could you ask for?

Pics: Motoblog

The Mana 850, which was first shown at the 2006 EICMA in Milan, will now soon be available in Aprilia showrooms worldwide. While it seems to be a modern, smart looking and competent motorcycle overall, the Mana 850’s calling card is its electronically-controlled ‘Sportgear’ automatic transmission. The bike does not have a clutch lever – the gearbox can either be left in the fully automatic ‘Autodrive’ mode, or the rider can choose to shift gears manually, using the clutchless, sequential shift mode. And you can flip back and forth between the two modes, via a handlebar-mounted switch, even when the bike is running.

Automatic gearboxes on motorcycles are not exactly new. The 1975 Moto Guzzi V1000 Convert and the 1978 Honda CB400A Hondamatic had automatic gearboxes, as does the current Yamaha FJR1300AE. But, of course, the Aprilia Mana 850’s auto unit, with its more advanced electronics, is in a different world altogether. In fully automatic ‘Autodrive’ mode, the rider can choose between three settings – Touring, Sport and Rain – and power delivery is optimized accordingly.

In sequential manual shift mode, the CVT gearbox gives you seven electronically pre-defined ‘gear ratios’ to choose from, and the actual shifting can be done via a conventional left-side foot pedal, or a switch that’s mounted on the left side of the handlebar. And the best part is, in manual mode, if you do not downshift while slowing down (and/or while coming to a complete stop…), the Mana will still do it for you automatically!

A video of the Mana 850 in action!

The engine is a 90-degree, 8-valve, 839cc v-twin (developed by Aprilia themselves), which makes 76 horsepower at the crank. Yeah, sure, the Mana 850 is no GSX-R killer, but the bike’s CVT system and its engine’s Weber Marelli EFI system work hard to make sure that power delivery is smooth and consistent at all times. The Mana’s ‘fuel tank’ is actually a storage compartment that can take a full-face helmet, while fuel is stored in a tank that’s placed under the rider’s seat.

Coming to the suspension, the Mana 850 has a 43mm USD fork up front, and hydraulic monoshock at the back, that’s adjustable for preload and rebound damping. The bike is fitted with dual 320mm brake discs at the front with four-piston radial-mount calipers, and single 260mm rear disc.

To sum up, the 2008 Aprilia Mana 850 is a fresh, contemporary take on the middleweight, all-purpose motorcycle. If we had to choose, we’d probably take the high-tech, good looking Mana 850, over bikes like the BMW F800S, Honda Hornet, Suzuki GSR600, Yamaha FZ6 or Kawasaki ER-6n. For pricing and other details, visit the Aprilia Mana website here.

Also see:
Dannii Minogue likes Aprilia motorcycles!!
GSX-Rs too common for you? Just wait for the KTM RC8...
2008 Yamaha YZF-R6: The best middleweight sportsbike around?
Ducati almost ready with their all-new Monster 695...
Simply awesome: 2008 Triumph Speed Triple!
The amazing BMW HP2 Sport: Pics and details...
The all-new KTM 690 motorcycle range...
Top Secret! Hot new bikes coming from Yamaha, Honda and Ducati!!!

The first pics of the dual-purpose Moto Guzzi Stelvio! Better pics and more details soon...

First pics and specs: 2008 Triumph Rocket III Touring

The 2008 Triumph Rocket III Touring. With its 140bhp, 200Nm, 2.3-litre triple, it might make motorcycle touring a very interesting proposition for a lot of people...

Pics: Motorcycle Cruiser

Triumph have finally taken their big, bad cruiser – the Rocket III – and optimized it for longer-distance riding. The result is the Rocket III Touring, fitted with the Rocket III’s three-cylinder, liquid-cooled, DOHC, 12-valve, 2294cc engine that makes 140 horsepower and a giant 200Nm of torque.

The Rocket III Touring is a bit more than just a regular Rocket III with more chrome, new wheels, a backrest, and a bunch of bags for your luggage. To begin with, the chassis has been heavily revised for better, more secure handling at higher speeds. The front forks are all new (the Rocket III’s USD forks have made way for regular, right-side-up units on the Touring…), while preload-adjustable twin rear shocks remain.

Ergonomics have been reworked to make sure the Touring stays comfortable over the long haul. The bike gets a large, plush dual seat, forward-set floorboards, adjustable gear lever, and higher, more swept-back handlebars for a more relaxed riding position. The fuel tank has been made slimmer so the rider can ‘tuck in’ better, and the big Triumph's chunky, large-sized controls have been designed to be easy to operate with riding gloves on.

In keeping with its intent of long-distance touring, the Rocket III Touring has been fitted with a large, detachable windscreen to deflect windblast, lockable hard bags for luggage, and a big, single headlight in place of the Rocket III’s smaller, twin headlamps. A big range of accessories will be available for the Touring, which includes various seat and backrest combos, hard and soft luggage options and a variety of chrome trinkets. The price tag is US$16,700 which seems reasonable for this big, powerful tourer...

Also see:
Rocket III Touring not fast enough for you? Here's a 'tourer' that'll go a bit faster...
Voxan GTV1200: Motorcycle touring, French style
Diesel-powered tourer: The Neander Turbodiesel...
Memorable: The Laverda 750 S Formula!
KillaCycle: The fastest electric bike in the world...
Carver One: The coolest trike in the world!
Blast from the past: Silver Dream Racer
Fifth Gear video: Honda CBR1000RR vs Honda Civic!
Dual-purpose done right: 2008 Yamaha XT660Z Tenere and Honda XL700V Transalp

See AMA's 33 tips for smart touring here
Pic: Killboy

Tourers not your style? Here's three bikes you may like then - the 2008 ZX-10R, all-new Fireblade and the utterly gorgeous 2008 R1

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Malaysian MotoGP: Casey Stoner takes tenth win of the season at Sepang

Of course he won. What do you think...

Marco Melandri took second place, Dani Pedrosa was third and de Puniet took fourth spot

The Malaysian MotoGP at the sweltering hot and humid Sepang circuit was probably one of the most boring races of the season. It was like watching a procession of fast, very fast, motorcycles riding in strict formation. 2007 MotoGP world champ, Stoner led the race from start to finish, taking his tenth win of the season! He was followed by Honda Gresini rider, Marco Melandri (who’s joining Stoner at Ducati in 2008…) in second place, and Dani Pedrosa in third.

Kawasaki rider Randy de Puniet, who’ll move to the LCR Honda team next year, put in a strong performance, taking fourth place, while Valentino Rossi, who ultimately finished in fifth spot, was unable to make any impression on him. In sixth was Toni Elias, seventh and eighth places were taken by the Suzuki duo of Chris Vermeulen and John Hopkins, ex-world champ Nicky Hayden was down in ninth place, and Colin Edwards completed the top ten.

At the end of the day, this was a supremely dull race. We just hope the last MotoGP of the season at Valencia, on the 4th of November, is more interesting to watch. Hey, at least let’s wrap up the season in style!

Hi-res MotoGP images for you, so the action can continue on your desktop...

2007 MotoGP news, race reports, features, interviews and hi-res wallpaper here

Also see:
The BIGGEST collection of hi-res MotoGP wallpaper on the Internet!
Suzuki MotoGP bikes: The evolution...
A Honda that's more expensive than the RC212V!!
The hottest Aussie motorcyclist (no, it's not Casey Stoner!)...
Chris Vermeulen pays homage to Barry Sheene
Who's to blame for the current state of affairs in MotoGP?
Rizla Suzuki: The hottest pit girls in MotoGP!

That's Marco 'Crazy Horse' Lucchinelli, 1981 500cc motorcycle GP racing world champ. Read about him here