Saturday, January 26, 2008

Stefan Nebel now official test rider for KTM RC8


Stefan Nebel, apparently a racer of some repute, is now official test rider for the RC8. Lucky man...!

As the RC8 gets closer to going into production, KTM are busy putting final touches to the bike, tweaking and tuning it to near-perfection, as befits KTM’s ‘ready to race’ ethos. For this, the Austrian company has now appointed two-time German superbike racing champ, Stefan Nebel as the official test rider for the KTM RC8.

Born in 1981, Stefan Nebel is, by his own admission, at home on tracks like the Nurburgring and Brands Hatch. He’s won the Superbike IDM series in 2003 and 2005, and has put in impressive performances in 24-hour and 8-hour endurance races at Le Mans and Suzuka. KTM say they are confident that Nebel, as a test rider, will be able to work with the company’s R&D division to further develop and refine the RC8.

More KTMs:
Brudeli 625L, a KTM-based trike!
KTM working on 2WD system for bikes...
A KTM only for women!
KTM 125cc GP racer vs litre-class superbike!
KTM's 2008 off-road range...
KTM's 2008 690 Duke, 690 SMC, 690 SMR and 690 Enduro!
The radical new KTM 690 Stunt prototype...
KTM 990 Adventure vs BMW R1200GS Adventure!

External links:
Washing your motorcycle is serious business...!!!
One more reason to love KTMs...


Here's the next Chris Pfeiffer (without helmet and leathers too!)
From: Motoblog

New Moto Morini 1200 Sport and Scrambler shown


The new Moto Morini 1200 Sport...

We don’t know how many bikes they sell (probably not too many…) every year, but for a small Italian company, Moto Morini keep showing new bikes on a fairly regular basis. After the dual-purpose (?) Granpasso, which Moto Morini showed last year, the latest bikes to be added to the company’s lineup are the 1200 Sport and the Scrambler, both of which are based on the earlier 91/2.


...and the MM 1200 Scrambler!

The two bikes were first shown at the Padova Motorcycle Show last week, and we must say, they look quite all right. Both bikes are fitted with Moto Morini’s 1187cc v-twin, which makes about 117 horsepower. The chassis is from the 91/2, front forks are Marzocchi units, and 17-inch wheels (the Scrambler uses a 19-inch front) are from Excel. The 1200 Sport is fitted with sport-touring rubber, while the Scrambler rides on off-road tyres.

In our opinion, both the bikes look good – the 1200 Sport’s blue and orange paintjob is reminiscent of Ford’s classic GT40 racecar, while the Scrambler’s more subdued black and white paintscheme looks good in a restrained, low-key way. Prices for the two bikes are yet to be announced, though production is expected to begin in March this year.

Update (9.11.2008):
Moto Morini Scrambler shown at the EICMA, to go on sale in Europe in February 2009

Also see:
2008 Buell Ulysses XB12XT launched...
Supermanx: One of the best cafe-racers we've seen...
HKC's US$150,000 hubless-wheeled cruiser!
In XESS: Honda CB1000R-based streetfighter from Italy...
Steffano Motorcycles’ Ducati 999-based Café9!
2008 KTM 990 Supermoto unveiled...
The very cool Benelli 899...
2008 Aprilia SMV750 Dorsoduro and FV2 concept!

Friday, January 25, 2008

Can Honda work the CB1100R magic once more?


On the left is the original 1980s CB1100R, and on the right is the AWESOME CB1100R concept, which we hope Honda will build next year. Come on Honda, do it!

Yes, we like the RC30, and we absolutely adore the RC45, which we think is the most desirable Honda ever made. But going back in time a bit further – the early-1980s – there’s another Honda that’s pretty special. Yes, we are talking about the CB1100R, which was first seen in various bike shows at the end of 1980. Honda sold this machine only so they could homologate it for racing, and between 1981 and 1983, only 4,050 units of this bike were produced.

The CB1100R was an evolution of the CB900F Bol d’Or, but the 1100R was fitted with a 1062cc inline-four, which made 115bhp at 9000rpm – not bad at all, eh? Outright performance is said to have been quite impressive, despite the 1100R weighing all of 253 kilos...


The homologation-special CB1100R was a bit special, and that's the way it remains even today...
Pics: PB mag forum

In keeping with the CB1100R’s racing pedigree, Honda fitted the bike with high-spec parts – upgraded suspension (front forks were air-assisted, though without the anti-dive plumbing that was in vogue in those days…), more powerful brakes (this was the first Honda with twin-piston calipers at the front), a 26-litre aluminium fuel tank, and handmade bodywork!

Compared with the 900F, the CB1100R engine used hotter cams and forged pistons, the bike was fitted with an upgraded close-ratio gearbox, and higher quality steel was used for fabricating the tubular chassis. On the flip side, this was still the early-1980s, and the 1100R had to make do with a box-section swingarm made of steel, and dual shock setup at the rear.


If Honda could do this CB1100R more than 25 years ago, why can't the CB1100R concept become production reality today? Because it uses parts that are too expensive, some say. Yeah, right!

Honda made two versions of the CB1100R – one with a full fairing and the other with only the top half. Most bikes were fitted with single seats, though a few also came with dual seats. With its gold-painted Comstar magnesium alloy wheels and distinctive red, blue and white paintjob, the CB1100R remains instantly recognizable even today. In fact, when Honda unveiled the CB1100R concept – which takes all its styling cues from the 1980s 1100R – last year, we thought it was one of the most stylish, best-looking, most lust-worthy concept bikes to ever come out of Japan.

Will Honda make the CB1100R again? Will the concept bike shown last year, translate into reality? We don’t know. There have been some reports saying that the new CB1100R will be too expensive for Honda to produce, that there won’t be enough takers, and it won’t make financial sense for Honda to build the bike. Well, how we hope all those reports are wrong! Come on Honda, you know you can work the CB1100R magic again. Just build it…

Blasts from the past:
Back to the '80s: The GSX-R saga begins...
Freddie Spencer: The Sultan of Slide!
Six Fix: The amazing Honda CBX1000...
Kawasaki GPZ750 Turbo: Blow Hard!
Memorable: The Norton F1 rotary-engined superbike...
Your game's oval: The amazing Honda NR750!
Memorable: The Suzuki Katana...
Three decades of Suzuki MotoGP bikes...
The story of the mighty Honda NSR500...
Memorable: The Yamaha YZR500!
Britten V1000: The GREATEST motorcycle ever made...
Performance Bikes: The BEST two-stroke sportsbikes ever made!

External links:
More on the 1980s Honda CB1100R...
Faster and Faster, on Flickr!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Ariel motorcycles: Revival on the cards?


(Above) Renderings of how future Ariel bikes might look and (below, from left) the 1958 Ariel Leader, 1959 Ariel Huntmaster 650 and 1962 Ariel Arrow Super Sports

Based in Birmingham (and later, Coventry…) in the UK, Ariel used to make bicycles, motorcycles and cars. The company was actually formed way back in 1847 but went through some bust-revival-bust-again cycles. They made their first powered tricycle in the year 1898, and started making motorcycles in 1901, the first being fitted with a 211cc single-cylinder Minerva engine.

While Ariel did go on to make many other motorcycles – the Ariel Square Four, Red Hunter, Arrow, Fieldmaster and Huntmaster are some of their better-known models – it seems the company never really managed to do very well, and finally went closed shop for good in 1967. For those who are interested, the Ariel saga is on Wikipedia here. But what could be interesting for some Brit bike fans is that the Ariel name might actually be revived in some time.

According to a report on MCN, Ariel may be looking at making a comeback under the guidance of Simon Saunders, the man responsible for the Ariel Atom sportscar. Mr Saunders is thinking of reviving the Ariel name with a naked/streetfighter-style bike that may be powered by the Honda Fireblade engine, and which would feature Ariel’s own chassis and styling. Other possibilities include a battery-powered electric sportsbike and a lightweight machine that would be powered by a supercharged single-cylinder engine.

We don’t know about the Fireblade-powered streetfighter and the electric bike, but the supercharged single-cylinder sportsbike idea seems appealing to us. Do it, Mr Saunders!

Also see:
Konica Minolta-replica Honda FireBlade!
Rapom V8: Supercharged, 1000bhp megabike...
Fearsome: Supercharged Triumph Rocket III video!
NSU 500 Kompressor: 200mph, back in 1956!
Piega 1000: The rebirth of Mondial...
British is bigger, British is best...!!

External links:
Ariel motorcycles picture gallery...
Faster and Faster, on Flickr!
Ten days with a 1975 Kawasaki S3 Mach II...
Dainese test airbags for motorcycle racers...
Ducati 900 MHe image gallery


Think superbikes vs police helicopters is a bit far-fetched? See this!

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...? :-)

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