Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Buell Ulysses XB12XT launched

The multi-talented 2008 XB12XT sport-tourer is here...

Buell have now launched the Ulysses XB12XT, which they say is ‘a motorcycle that is just as comfortable carving canyons as it is eating up miles of highway and back roads on a long distance tour.’ A company press release also says the Buell XB12XT ‘possess the handling and soul to own every corner.’ But of course…

Positioned as an all-around do-it-all sports-tourer, the Ulysses XB12XT features specially-tuned (firmer, shorter travel) suspension, lower standard seat height, tall windscreen, Pirelli Strada sport-touring tyres, and standard lockable top box and side luggage cases in addition to a storage compartment below the seat.

The bike weighs about 210 kilos dry, and its 1200cc air-cooled, fuel-injected v-twin makes 104Nm of torque and 103 horsepower at 6800rpm, which should make for adequate performance. Coming to the suspension, the XB12XT is fitted with 43mm USD Showa forks and Showa monoshock, both ends being fully adjustable.

Like other Buells, the XB12XT also carries its fuel in its chassis, and oil in the swingarm. Other Buell bits include the ‘Zero Torsional Load’ braking system and the ‘Immediate Throttle Response’ belt drive. The bike will cost US$12,995. More details on the Buell website here.

Here's MCN's Buell XB12XT road test...

Also see:
The 2008 Yamaha R6. Can it win this time around?
The amazing Morbidelli 850 V8...
NSR500 Rossi-rep. The BEST we've ever seen!
Offbeat: 2008 Aprilia SMV750 Dorsoduro, and FV2 concept...
2008 Derbi Mulhacen Cafe 659 Angel Nieto LE!
Ready to roll: 2008 TriRod F3 Adrenaline trike...

External links:
Danielle Lloyd and HM Plant Honda image gallery. AWESOME!
Bajaj to increase stake in KTM to 30%...
Cycle World magazine's Bimota Tesi 3D riding impression...

The KTM RC8, BMW HP2 Sport and Ducati 1098R are, right now, the hottest twin-cylinder sportsbikes around. We'd probably take the RC8. Which one would you choose...? :-)

Promo video: Aprilia Shiver 750

We still think 'Shiver' is a very strange name for a motorcycle. Nice video though...

Also see:
MASSIVE collection of exclusive, hi-res MotoGP wallpaper...
Three's fun: Some very interesting trikes!
Ablative Design: Is this the future of motorcycling?
Howard Killer Custom's US$150,000 hubless-wheeled chopper!
Britten V1000: The greatest motorcycle ever built...

External links:
Image gallery: Bike Expo babes...!
Faster and Faster, on Flickr!

Here's something that all MotoGP fanboys (that includes us...) must see. Seriously insane stuff. You have to be a certified lunatic if you're doing this on your bike!
From: Motoblog

Monday, January 21, 2008

Dream Machine: K4 Rizla Suzuki GSX-R1000

Ok, so you can't have those Rizla Suzuki pit babes, but at least you can get yourself a Rizla-replica Suzuki GSX-R1000. Fair enough, we think

Another interesting find on the PB mag forum – a K4 model GSX-R1000 done up in Rizla Suzuki colours. The paintjob has been carried out by Dream Machine, possibly the best outfit in the business for this kind of work. And the seat unit has been signed by Chris Walker, John Reynolds, Carl Crutchlow and Paul Denning...

The bike has been fitted with strong, lightweight Marchesini wheels wearing Bridgestone BT014 rubber, a Zero Gravity screen, Renthal grips, Gilles chain adjusters, Crescent clip-ons, adjustable rearsets, adjustable yokes, and quick-action throttle. Front fork revalving and the rear shock are from WP, as is the steering damper.

Finally, there’s the Yoshimura tri-oval exhaust system, Power commander, Translogic quick-shifter, petal brake discs front and rear, and a sprinkling of carbonfibre bits all over. In outright engine performance and handling terms, we don’t really think this Rizla-rep will outshine the 2008 Gixxer 1000, but what the hell, it still looks hot!

Do take a look (below) at the full list of bits that've been bolted on...

If flashy, racer-rep paintjobs are not for you, you’ll probably like this 2005 Suzuki GSX-R1000, which we also found on PB. The bike is a bolt-on artist’s dream: Brembo racing-spec brakes with monobloc calipers, Marchesini magnesium alloy wheels, Yoshimura titanium racing exhaust, Ohlins suspension (front and rear), Ohlins steering damper, AIM digital dash, Dynojet power commander, quarter-turn throttle kit, Sato rearsets, and Crescent MotoGP front fender. Whew...!

More GSX-Rs:
The saga begins: The 1985 Suzuki GSX-R750...
...and the 1988 GSX-R750!
The GSX-R strikes back: The mid-90s GSX-R750...
The limited-edition 2006 GSX-R1000 Phantom!
"GSX-Rs are for moped riders!"
Sizzler: 2007 Rizla-rep GSX-R1000...
2008 Suzuki GSX-R750 and GSX-R600...
Velocity Racing's 250bhp GSX-R1000 Turbo!

External link:
2008 Suzuki GSX-R750 image gallery!

For fans of old-school Gixxers, here's a bunch of pics we found on PB!

Konica Minolta-replica FireBlade

On the left, the real thing. On the right, Brian's Konica Minolta-replica FireBlade...

Came across this rather interesting FireBlade on the PB mag forum and we think it looks quite all right! The Konica Minolta paintjob, done by Dream Machine, is a welcome break from the usual Repsol-replica colours. And yes, the owner has apparently spent quite a bit on doing up the bike.

The FireBlade features AP racing brakes, Ohlins rear shock, Ohlins internals for the front forks, Ohlins steering damper, K&N filter, D&D exhaust, various titanium bolts and… er, blue neon lighting. Brian, the owner, says the last bit is for ‘that all important 'bling' effect.’ More interesting is 129 horsepower which he claims the bike makes...

Also see:
HUGE collection of hi-res MotoGP wallpaper!
Honda CBR1000RR vs Honda Civic Type R!
Repsol-replica Fireblade...
Just how good is the 2008 Honda Fireblade...?
The amazing little Honda Dream 50R!

Twin, triple or four? Hard to choose, eh...? :-)

Supermanx: One of the best café racers we’ve seen!

The US$40,000 Supermanx really does look cool...
Pics: Moto Caradisiac

Came across this very good looking café racer – the Supermanx – on Moto Caradisiac. The MC article says that the builders of this bike, American Cafe Racers are no longer in business, and that’s indeed a shame. Powered by a 1,850cc Harley v-twin, and fitted with custom-made bodywork, chassis and exhaust system, the Supermanx cost about US$40,000. Expensive, yes, but the bike also looks better than most Harley-based specials we’ve seen. A pity it won’t be available anymore…

Other cool customs:
Violator Motorcycles: Adding bling to your Harley...
TwinTrax: A Harley-powered dragster for the street!
The turbocharged Canjamoto R1200S...
From Belgium: The amazing Krugger Goodwood!
Moto Tuning's streetfighter GSX-Rs and V-Max...
Marcus Walz: A man who'd rather build customs than ride them...
SP Fight Machines: The MADDEST motorcycles you've ever seen!!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

MotoGP: Yamaha reveal 2008 M1, Rossi hopeful of making a comeback

New bike, new team-mate and new hairstyle. Can the 'new' Rossi-Yamaha combo beat Stoner and co. this year? 2008 will probably be Rossi's toughest year ever...

Yamaha recently unveiled the 2008 M1 MotoGP racer – a machine with which we suppose they’ll hope to make a comeback this year. The two machines – no. 46 for The Doctor and no. 48 for Jorge Lorenzo – will have to be something special if they’re to go up against the very formidable Stoner-Ducati GP8 combo.

Rossi, for one, seems to think things might finally be moving in the right direction for Yamaha. ‘In the first test, we just tried to adapt to our new motorcycle tyres, but from the beginning I was glad of our decision. It is a big change, but I am optimistic for the challenge. In Jerez, I led with the latest specifications, including the new electronic mapping, and my first impressions were quite positive, although of course we still have a long way to go,’ said The Doctor.

Rossi, five-time MotoGP world champ, has not been able to get his act together for the last two years. This year, he perhaps faces the biggest challenge of his life, as Suzuki and Kawasaki are catching up, Honda are putting in a huge amount of effort and Ducati seem to be strong as ever, if not stronger. ‘We have to devote a lot of time to understand Bridgestone as much as possible, to ensure that our bike functions than with the new tyres. We must also devote much time to the development of the new engine and improve the speed,’ says Valentino.

About his imminent retirement from MotoGP, The Doctor says, ‘Don’t even think about it! I don’t understand why everyone is asking me about this. 2008 is an important year, and we must return to being competitive. I will be competitive and I can win. I dream of reaching the end of my career at Yamaha, and I think it’s a dream that we can achieve.’

‘We come from two difficult years and we face a tough job, but the team is fantastic, we have all the right people in the right place and we have good potential. 2007 was unfortunate, but in 2008 we should have learned from the mistakes of last year. Last year, Stoner won many races, but I hope we have a more balanced season this year. Me, him and Pedrosa will be the most competitive for the title, and then there could be surprises from my fellow teammates Lorenzo and Dovizioso,’ concludes the man whom we still think is the most talented MotoGP rider among the current lot of racers, Stoner included.

Also see:
MASSIVE collection of hi-res MotoGP wallpaper!
Kevin Schwantz interviews Valentino Rossi...!
Who's the fastest motorcycle racer in the world?
Colin Edwards talks about The Doctor...
Barry Sheene tribute: The coolest paintjob in MotoGP...

External links:
Bike Expo: 2008 Aprilia image gallery...
The Darth Vader collection: Some very interesting helmets!

2008 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-14 vs Suzuki Hayabusa. The ultimate bikes, the ultimate face-off. This, indeed, is the big one. Get the story on Motorcycle USA here
Pics: Motorcycle USA

Friday, January 18, 2008

Small Fantasies: The Honda Dream 50R

The 1962 Honda RC110 racer - the Dream 50R's spiritual predecessor!

Back in 1962, Honda had let loose with their first four-stroke, 50cc racebike – the RC110. Its single-cylinder, DOHC engine revved to 14,000rpm and produced 9.5 horsepower. Soon after that, Honda came out with the RC111, which was designed specifically for the Isle of Man TT races. With its 8-speed gearbox (9- and 10-speed gearboxes were optional…), this mighty mite revved all the way to 16,000rpm and could hit speeds of up to 145km/h!

Then, as now, enthusiasts lusted after racing exotica from Japan. But while the RC110 and 111 were definitely not for sale, you could buy the CR110 Cub Racing – a street-legal RC110 for all intents and purposes. The bike was fitted with a dry clutch, 8-speed gearbox and a DOHC, 4-valve, 50cc engine that revved to 13,500 rpm.

The 2004 Honda Dream 50R was built to celebrate Honda's early years in racing

In 2004, Honda decided to commemorate their racing history and released the Dream 50R, which was styled like the company’s racebikes from the 1960s. A high-tech piece of machinery, the 50R was fitted with a six-speed gearbox, four-stroke, 50cc engine that made 7bhp@13,500rpm, and various HRC parts including valve springs, low-friction cam chain, crankshaft and lightweight AC generator.

In the chassis department, the Dream 50R got a tubular steel frame, and preload adjustable Showa suspension units at both ends. Aluminium fenders were fitted for weight reduction (the bike weighs a mere 70 kilos…), and the bike’s exhaust system featured a one-piece expansion chamber and muffler. Finally, unlike the 1960s racebikes, the Dream 50R – which rides on 18-inch wheels – was fitted with disc brakes, front and rear.

So what does one do with a Dream 50R? Even if it were street legal (which it isn’t), it won’t keep up with modern 125s, let alone anything bigger. And if you’re riding one on a trackday, anyone and everyone – unless they’re riding an electric scooter – will blow you into the weeds. But still, we reckon the 50R probably offers a rare peek into the fascinating world of 1960s HRC racebike exotica. For some, we suppose that would be enough.

Also see:
Rossi-replica NSR500. The BEST race-rep in the world...!
The 2008 Honda CB1000R. Awesome!
RVF750R RC45: The most desirable Honda streetbike ever built?
From Italy: The Honda CB1000R XESS!
Memorable: The six-cylinder Honda CBX1000...
Your game's oval: The Honda NR750!
HRC: Saga of the mighty Honda NSR500!
Stunning new Hondas: CB1100R and Evo6...

External links:
Urban Guerrilla: Tips for riding in the city, from Sport Rider magazine...
The best things in life: Bikes, beer and...
2008 Moto Morini image gallery!

This video shows why Hondas are so much fun... :-)

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Ablative Design and Swann Insurance: Promoting motorcycle safety

Sponsored by Swann Insurance, this bike is all about safety. But then it would be...
Pics: Motoblog

Back in August last year, a certain Mr Stoner had unveiled the ‘Motorcycle of the Future’ concept. Sponsored by Swann Insurance, and designed by Tim Cameron, the bike packs in a lot of rider safety-related features and one of the aims has been to limit damage to the motorcycle, during low-speed crashes.

The motorcycle has been conceptualized using ‘Ablative Design,’ which is all about protecting expensive or essential components on a motorcycle. Parts which are most likely to touch down in a low-speed crash are identified, and configured so they protect critical and expensive parts – typically the chassis, front forks, the radiator, and the engine.

In keeping with its Ablative Design thought, the Swann bike has been fitted with covers for the chassis, engine, exhaust system, fork lowers, and the radiator. The bike is fitted with ABS and there are various sensors which can alert riders to potential dangers. There are sensors for traction control, tyre pressure, sidestand deployment, blind spot warning, and proximity detection. Anti-theft features include an ignition immobiliser, microdot VIN coding and keyless start/stop.

It may be deathly dull, but the Swann bike sure does have some features which look at least reasonably useful. Get more details on the machine here. We’d still much rather ride this Rossi-replica NSR500 though!

Also see:
Velocity Racing: 250bhp GSX-R1000 Turbo!
Steffano Motorcycles' Ducati 999-based Cafe9...
Radical Ducati unveil RAD 02 Corsa...
MIT's ready-to-fold RoboScooter!
Niting Design run riot with The Dacoit...
Dannii Minogue loves motorcycles!

External links:
Magni 861: The bike that MV Agusta should have built?
The Honda Goldwing Jet bike!
Image gallery: CR&S Vun and other exotics...

Apart from the Yamaha FZ150 and R15, and the Honda CBF Racing concept shown recently at the Auto Expo in New Delhi, India, there was also this Bajaj XCD Sprint 125, which looks quite good we think. More pics and info on Rearset

Howard's Killer Customs’ US$150,000 hubless-wheeled chopper!

Looks cool, yes, but changing the rear tyre takes about 4 hours...

When it comes to hubless wheels being used on bikes, Franco Sbarro’s legacy lives on even today, with various motorcycle specials builders fitting (or at least trying to fit…) these wheels on their creations. One such specials builder is Howard Sofield, who owns Howard's Killer Customs.

Howard started with a 1969 Harley-Davidson FL and has transformed the bike into this chopper, which has been fitted with a hubless rear wheel. ‘Using my experience in drafting and automotive industries, I was able to come up with a different way to make the hubless wheel work. We were able to create our bike entirely in-house, and do things that most every other builder would have had to outsource. Over 4,000 hours of design and build time went into this project and we could not be happier with how it turned out,’ says Howard.

The bike, which weighs about 330 kilos, can hit a top speed of about 160km/h. Howard says that 284 bolts have been used in the rear wheel rim assembly, and that the time needed to change the rear tyre is about four hours. And, oh, just in case you were thinking of getting your hands on one of these, the bike costs about US$150,000. More details on Howard’s website here.

Also see:
On a wheel and a prayer: The Wheelsurf Monowheel...
Street survival: 50 must-read tips for motorcyclists!
Air-powered engines for bikes in the future...?
What if Alfa Romeo had built a motorcycle?
Kettenkrad: A motorcycle that's not scared of SUVs!
Face off: 125cc GP racer vs litre-class superbike...

External links:
Back to the future: 1957 MV Agusta 500 Quattro!
Awesome image gallery for custom-cruiser enthusiasts...

A compilation of motorcycle racing crashes. Not for the faint of heart...

Hot Rod: Hank Young’s custom Hayabusa

With 170bhp and the Ford GT40-inspired paintjob, this Hayabusa should be plenty fast. We don't like the spoked wheel and the tubular swingarm though...

After 20 years of building hot rods, Hank Young decided to try his hand at bikes, and Hank Young Choppers was set up in the year 2001. And even with motorcycles, Mr Young apparently wasn’t happy doing only cruisers, which is probably why he decided to start customizing sportsbikes - hence the much-modified 2002 Hayabusa you see here.

Speaking to 2Wheel Tuner magazine, Hank says, ‘I thought they were really cool looking when they extend the swingarms. So I figured I’d put my touch on one. It’s just a diversion, something else to do on the weekends.’

Not that this could have been your regular, backyard, Sunday-morning project. ‘Everything I do is antique. The motors I run are 1940s, ’50s, ’60s. Old. I don’t know anything about fuel injection, and modules and sensors or any of that stuff. Of course I didn’t know anything about Japanese sportbikes whatsoever, but that’s just part of the attraction for me because I like the learning process,’ says Hank.

The bike has been fitted with two small HID headlamps, a Bonneville land speed-style front fender, an extended, tubular swingarm, and spoked rear wheel. The Gulf Racing-inspired paintjob – Hank loves Carroll Shelby’s Ford GT40 racers from the late-1960s – was done by Platinum Customs.

More pics and details on Hank’s website here.

More customs:
Howard Killer Customs: US$150,000 cruiser, with hubless rear wheel!
In XESS: Honda CB1000R-based custom sportsbike...
American flyer: The Buell XBRR Chronos!
Techno Bikes' custom V-Rod...
Jack Lilley's Speed Triple custom...
Italian racer-chic: Ferrari bikes!
The very cool Celtik custom trike...
The 30bhp, US$39,000 Pi X Bonneville racer edition!

External links:
Behind the scenes: Inside the Ducati and Aprilia factories...
From Slovenia: The art of Akrapovic...
Biker chick on the beach (NSFW!)



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