Monday, April 07, 2008

2008 Ducati Monster 696: More pics and details

Lighter, sleeker and optimised for sporty riding - the 2008 Ducati Monster 696

Ducati released the first official pics of the 2008 Monster 696 in November last year. The all-new Monster wasn’t as radical as we’d been hoping for, but we still liked the bike anyway. The motorcycle press worldwide was recently given a chance to ride the 696, and more details on the bike are now available.

Designed for the city and for twisty mountain roads, the Monster 696 features improved ergonomics, a low seat height (770mm), and fully digital instrumentation, which among other things, also has a built-in lap-timer and is compatible with Ducati’s DDA (Ducati Data Analyser) system.

The Monster 696’s air-cooled L-twin engine only makes a modest 80bhp and 69Nm of torque, but given that the bike only weighs 152 kilos dry, performance should be at least reasonably sprightly. Ducati also say the Monster 696’s steel-tube trellis frame is stiffer than ever before, and along with the new aluminium swingarm, the whole package has been optimized for high-speed stability.

Looks all right we suppose, though we do wish Ducati had been a bit braver with the 696's styling...

The suspension comprises of a 43mm Showa USD front fork, and a preload-adjustable Sachs monoshock. The bike rides on 17-inch wheels, shod with 120/60 (front) and 160/60 (rear) ZR-rated rubber. Other bits include Ducati’s APTC slipper clutch, six-speed gearbox, twin 320mm brake discs (Brembo) with radial-mount four-piston calipers at the front, and 245mm rear brake disc.

MCN’s Adam Child, who recently rode the 696 in Barcelona, says, ‘On first impressions it kind of feels like the old Monster – there is a lot of character and feel of the old machine – like the position of the tank and the trellis frame. But the new bike is way, way better. The Monster now handles a lot better than the old one. The old Monster had a tendency to understeer, but the 696 handles beautifully with really sharp steering.’

‘Brembo brakes and no weight amount to great stopping power, and it comes with a slipper clutch as standard, so there is no worry for new riders about the engine braking from the v-twin. But the thing that really impressed about the monster is just how good the gearbox and fuelling is,’ says Child.

For those who want a bit more style and exclusivity, Ducati have also released the Monster 696+ which is a specially customized variant of the regular Monster. The 696+ is fitted with a small front fairing and a removable rear seat cowl. But that’s not all – a very wide range of accessories is being made available for the 696. The list of optional fancy bits includes titanium silencers (supplied with a new ECU and air-filter), carbon racing exhaust system, a special touring seat made of high-density foam, LED turn indicators, shorter tail guard, and many carbonfibre bits and pieces.

For pricing and other details, visit the Ducati Monster 696 website here.

The official Ducati Monster 696 promo video

Also see:
Ducati get off to a flying start in WSBK...
One-off: Giordano Loi’s Ducati Desmo Infinito
Noré Sébastien: Airbrush magician for your bike!
Ducati 1098-powered Bimota DB7...
Steffano Motorcycles’ Ducati 999-based Café9
Radical Ducati unveil the RAD 02 Corsa...
Face-off: Ducati 848 vs 1098!
Singularly Sexy: The amazing Ducati Supermono!

External links:
The coolest Ducati Monster 696 ever...!
Motorcycle USA: 2008 Ducati Monster 696 riding impression
Excelsior-Henderson revival in the works...
Someone's selling a few bikes, worth a few bucks...
Philippe Starck comes out of the closet!

And here are another few of our favourite Ducatis...

MDM’s scrambler-style HP2 Megamoto

This is what the HP2 Megamoto would look like if the bike were being made by Italians!

Pics: Moto Caradisiac

This BMW HP2 Megamoto has been worked upon by Italian customisers, MDM. This rather outlandish looking bike has been fitted with a Marzocchi fork, fully-adjustable Öhlins shock, four-piston Brembo brakes, and 17-inch wire-spoke wheels shod with off-road rubber. The headlamps are twin optical diodes and the orange-and-white paintjob is as over the top as the rest of the machine. The result is supposed to be a scrambler-style motorcycle. We’d prefer the rather more understated original though…

Also see:
Harley-powered trike: The Cirbin V13R...
KTM to launch adventure variant of the RC8!
Right up front: Ferruccio Codutti’s Monster S4...
Kalex AV1: Pushing the performance envelope...
The amazing Peraves MonoTracer...
Faster and Faster: The hottest trikes in the world!

External links:
HOT bikes + babes, on Flickr!
Craig Vetter: The man in the eye of the Hurricane...
Download the Bennetts Babes screensaver here (Zip file), and here's Bennetts Babe Kayleigh Pearson's picture gallery!

Face-off: KTM RC8 vs Yamaha R1

The KTM RC8 vs the Yamaha R1? Bring it on!!

Pics: Motorevue

In their latest issue, French magazine Motorevue would be doing a full-blown shootout between the hot new KTM 1190 RC8 and the mighty Yamaha R1. Pitting French-spec (?) 100bhp versions of the two machines against each other, Motorevue came to the conclusion that while the R1 remains unbeaten for top speed, the RC8 holds many advantages over the Japanese bike. According to MR, the RC8 has less demanding ergonomics, is more stable at high speeds, offers more cornering precision, and that its wonderfully unconventional styling has more ‘character.’

Here are Motorevue's figures for the two bikes:

KTM 1190 RC8
Top speed: >230km/h
Power: 104.9bhp (measured at the crank)
Dry weight: 188kg
Price: 16,250 euros

Yamaha YZF R1
Top speed: >230km/h
Power: 114bhp (measured at the crank)
Dry weight: 172kg
Price: 13,590 euros

So it does look like Italy & Japan Inc had better watch out – the RC8 will soon be kicking some arse…!

Also see:
Yamaha R1 vs Yamaha FZR750RR OW01!
Ducati 1098 vs Lamborghini Gallardo...
1974 MV Agusta 500 vs 2007 Ducati GP7!
2007 vs 2008 Kawasaki ZZR1400
2008 Kawasaki ZX-10R vs Yamaha R1!
BMW R1200GS Adventure vs KTM 990 Adventure...
The world's fastest bike vs the world's fastest man!

External links:
Here's why we like the Segway all over again...
The biggest, most awesome bike collection in the world!!!
Bored with bikes? Here's how you can still have fun! (NSFW)

Konica Minolta Honda CBR600RR SE

For a million yen, you can buy this too. But only if you live in Japan...

Shinya Nakano fans can now buy this Special Edition CBR600RR, which wears the 2007 Konica Minolta RC212V’s MotoGP livery. We think the blue-and-white Nakano-replica looks really hot, but it’s only available in Japan, and is priced at 1.17 million yen.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Spanish MotoGP: Dani Pedrosa wins at Jerez!

The tiny Mr Pedrosa was unstoppable at the Jerez circuit, winning the race ahead of Rossi. But, still, it was celebration time for The Doctor - this was his 100th podium finish...!

Race Results:
1. Dani Pedrosa SPA Repsol Honda Team (M) 45min 35.121 secs
2. Valentino Rossi ITA Fiat Yamaha Team (B) 45min 38.004 secs
3. Jorge Lorenzo SPA Fiat Yamaha Team (M) 45min 39.460 secs
4. Nicky Hayden USA Repsol Honda Team (M) 45min 45.263 secs
5. Loris Capirossi ITA Rizla Suzuki MotoGP (B) 46min 2.645 secs
6. James Toseland GBR Yamaha Tech 3 (M) 46min 2.929 secs
7. John Hopkins USA Kawasaki Racing Team (B) 46min 3.417 secs
8. Andrea Dovizioso ITA JiR Scot Team (M) 46min 3.570 secs
9. Shinya Nakano JPN San Carlo Honda Gresini (B) 46min 7.690 secs
10. Chris Vermeulen AUS Rizla Suzuki MotoGP (B) 46min 10.212 secs
11. Casey Stoner AUS Ducati Marlboro Team (B) 46min 17.344 secs
12. Marco Melandri ITA Ducati Marlboro Team (B) 46min 19.619 secs
13. Anthony West AUS Kawasaki Racing Team (B) 46min 20.928 secs
14. Alex de Angelis RSM San Carlo Honda Gresini (B) 46min 20.992 secs
15. Toni Elias SPA Alice Team (B) 46min 44.679 secs
16. Sylvain Guintoli FRA Alice Team (B) 46min 49.563 secs

Colin Edwards USA Yamaha Tech 3 (M)
Randy de Puniet FRA LCR Honda MotoGP (M)

Detailed race report here

Loris Capirossi, one of our all-time favourite riders, took fifth place at Jerez. And yes, Rizla Suzuki are back in top shape - in more ways than one!

More MotoGP:
Hi-res MotoGP wallpaper: Here and here
Memorable: 1964 Bianchi Bicilindrica 500cc GP racer...
Aprilia RS3 Cube: F1 tech in MotoGP?
Two of the coolest GP-replicas ever: Here and here
Two of the best 500cc racers from the two-stroke era: Here and here
Kevin Schwantz interviews Valentino Rossi!

External links:
Road Racer X: In conversation with Valentino Rossi...
Motorcycle USA: 2008 Superbike Smackdown!
Benelli TnT 899 image gallery...
Download 2008 Superbike magazine PDFs here and here (You'll need a BitTorrent client to download the files)

From Kevin Schwantz to Loris Capirossi, all the fast guys seem to love Suzuki GSX-Rs! No.34 talks about mid-1980s Gixxers here!

Friday, March 28, 2008

Ducati 1098R to take part in the 2008 Le Mans 24 Hours race

After MotoGP and WSBK, can Ducati also do well in Endurance racing?

Set up by two Ducati dealers – Zone Rouge 18 and Ducati Chambourcy – Team DERT (Ducati Endurance Racing Team), in partnership with Gulf, will be fielding a Ducati 1098R in at least three endurance racing world championship races. Ridden by Aurélien Bantigny, Jérémie Rasting and Thierry Mulot, the 1098R will race in the open category at the 24 Hours Le Mans, 6 Hours Albacete and the Bol d’Or endurance racing events.

When the 24 Hours Le Mans race kicks off on the 19th of April this year, Team DERT’s Ducati 1098R is likely to be the only Italian twin-cylinder motorcycle on the grid. The 1098R-based 1098 F08 racer has already gotten off to a good start in WSBK, so we hope the 1098R will also do well in Le Mans and other endurance races!

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