Saturday, May 03, 2008

James Toseland can afford to buy whatever he wants

With £8 million in his bank account, buying a new bike shouldn't be too much of a problem for this man...
Ex-WSB champ and current Yamaha Tech3 MotoGP rider, James Toseland has made it to the Sunday Times Rich List. With £8 million in his bank, Toseland is at no.65 on the '100 Richest Young People' roster.

Toseland lives in Ramsey, on the Isle of Man, where the maximum amount of income tax payable by anyone, in one year, is £100,000. Standard rate of income tax on the Isle of Man is 10 percent, with a maximum rate of 18 percent, with the amount payable subject to a ceiling of £100,000.

Given that James is probably earning in excess of a million pounds, even after paying off his £100,000 he can still afford to buy a Desmosedici RR, an MV Agusta F4 CC and a Ducati 1098R, all on the same day…

Friday, May 02, 2008

Motorcycle Speedway Racing: Just how brave are you?

Four riders keep turning left over four laps of an oval track, and each race is over in less than a minute. How hard can it be? Very, very hard, apparently. Speedway riders are brave and talented, and the racing is frenetic – an absolute blur of non-stop action. It isn’t very high-tech though – speedway bikes are mostly Czech-made Jawa machines, fitted with 500cc air-cooled SOHC single-cylinder carbureted engines, which burn 100% pure methanol and make about 85 horsepower.

While 85bhp may not sound like much, the bikes themselves weigh only about 80 kilos, so there you are – better power to weight ratios than your 2008 R1, ZX-10R, Fireblade or GSX-R1000! A speedway motorcycle accelerates from zero to 100km/h in less than three seconds, and those who’ve ridden these bikes say it’s the most intense motorcycling experience ever. Just imagine riding your R1 at full pelt, sideways, with no brakes, on a racing circuit that’s not more than 450 meters long, and has a loose surface made of shale, granite or brick granules…

With single-speed gearboxes, tyres no wider than 100mm, and no brakes – that’s right, no brakes at all – speedway bikes are vicious little things that’ll spit you off in an instant and grind you into the track unless you’ve got your riding technique spot on.

Speaking of speedway riding technique, you first need to forget everything you know about riding bikes on the street. Speedway bikes are meant to be ridden around oval dirt tracks, and the machines are meant to be power-steered via the rear wheel, going sideways to go forward. At loony speeds. Chicken out and ease off the throttle, and the rear tyre will stop spinning. And the minute the rear tyre stops spinning and finds grip – when the bike is leant over at high speeds – the machine highsides you into the dirt.

Since there are no brakes, speedway riders slow down by easing off the throttle in a straight line, and there’s an ignition cut-out switch for emergency stops. Speedway bikes haven’t changed much over the last many decades. Engines used to be mounted vertically till the 1990s, and are now mounted horizontally, for a lower centre of gravity. Earlier total loss oiling systems have made way for more conventional oiling, though the oil still has to be changed after every two or three heats in a race.

Suspension has also been improved on modern speedway bikes. No, you don’t get 46mm USD front forks and rear monoshock, with separate adjustments for low- and high-speed damping. What you get is a slightly adjustable leading-link front fork, and yes, that is an improvement over what was available earlier!

Companies that have, at some point, made speedway bikes include JAP, Weslake, Godden, ESO, Datzmann and some others. But the only two companies that still continue to make speedway bikes are Czech Republic-based Jawa, and GM, of Italy.

Speedway racing is popular in parts of Europe, including, among others, Sweden, Poland, Denmark and the UK. On a smaller scale, speedway racing also happens in Argentina, Australia, Czech Republic, Italy, Russia, Slovenia and the US. There are no fancy MotoGP-style motorhomes in speedway and the riders don’t earn much. But for sheer spectacle, we suppose speedway racing is hard to beat. For more details, visit these websites: Speedway World, Speedway Bikes, and Xtreme Sport.

Also see:
Fearsome: The 1975 Yamaha TZ750 dirt-tracker!
Wild rides: MotoGP vs Bullfighting...
"GSX-Rs are for moped riders..."
MAB Power: BMW K1200R Turbo
The MotoGP-powered KRV5 boardtracker...
Significant firsts in motorcycling...
Hot Singles: Dirtbike-based 450cc road racers
Kawasaki ZZR1400 Turbo: The quest for 320km/h and more!

External links:
Photo Gallery: Lakeside Hammers vs Ipswitch Witches Speedway

MV Agusta: Special plans for Legend Of The Motorcycle Concours D'Elegance

Expect to see some of the best MV Agusta bikes - past as well as present - at this year's Legend of the Motorcycle Concours D'Elegance event!

MV Agusta will be an ‘honoured marque’ at this year’s Legend of the Motorcycle Concours D’Elegance, and to celebrate, MV are planning to put up a big show at the event. Visitors can expect to see beautifully restored vintage and classic MV Agusta motorcycles, as well as new machines like the F4 RR 312 1078 and the Brutale 1078 RR. MV Agusta watches, made by renowned watchmaker JeanRichard, will also be on display. And fifteen-time motorcycle grand prix racing world champion, Giacomo Agostini will be there to collect a special lifetime achievement award.

In addition to the F4 RR 312 1078 and the Brutale 1078 RR, MV Agusta will also show the handmade F4 CC, the Claudio Castiglioni special-edition bike that costs US$120,000. With only 99 examples ever made, the F4 CC is pretty much the most expensive, most exclusive, most desirable Italian superbike ever.

The 3rd annual Legend of the Motorcycle Concours event will be held at the Ritz-Carlton in Half Moon Bay, California, on Saturday, the 5th of May. The event will be held from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. For more information, please visit the official website here.

Also see:
Noré Sébastien: Airbrush magician for your MV Agusta!
KTM RC8 riding impression...
1098R-based Ducati 1098 F08: Can anyone stop this bike from winning?
Precious Metal: 1964 Bianchi Bicilindrica 500cc GP racer...
Singularly Sexy: The amazing Ducati Supermono
Memorable: The Moto Guzzi 850 Le Mans
World War III: The BMW S1000RR prepares to take on the world...

External links:
BMW F800GS riding impression...

Some pics from the 2008 Legend of the Motorcycle Concours d'Elegance event. See more here and here
Pics © Basem Wasef

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Voxan and Sidam part ways

Voxan - on the road to recovery?

According to a report on Motorevue, French motorcycle manufacturer Voxan has taken over the distribution of its motorcycles, terminating the agreement made with Sidam in 2006. According to Eric Terrace, the new president of Voxan, having entrusted the distribution of Voxan machines to Sidam in France and elsewhere in Europe just did not work.

Pierre Laurent-Chauvet, of Sidam, says the decision to part ways was made by mutual agreement. He also implied that Voxan did not have even a basic knowledge of motorcycle distribution. In any case, with only 54 Voxan bikes having been registered in France last year, something, somewhere, was going wrong, and this Voxan-Sidam divorce had already been anticipated by some.

On another note, Eric Terrace says he regrets that the GTV 1200 sports-tourer prototype was unveiled when the actual motorcycle was still in the development stages. ‘If I’m boss, I will not show a motorcycle unless I can deliver it the next day,’ he said.

Earlier mistakes notwithstanding, Voxan may finally be on the comeback trail. The company will now deal directly with its dealers in France and elsewhere in Europe, which could help clean up its operations. Also, after their IPO, and a fresh capital injection of 2.1 million euros in February this year, Voxan motorcycle just might be ready to go places…

Also see:
Tata Group to pick up stake in MV Agusta?
Around the world, Sanders-style...
Memorable: The Moriwaki Dream Fighter!
Tokyo Joe's MotoGP-replica GSX-R1000. Awesome!
Two-stroke Malaguti MR250: Will they, or won't they make it?
Ducati SuperSport Turbo and other Ducati dragbikes...
The Fireblade-powered Rage R180RT
Wild Rides: MotoGP vs Professional Bullfighting!
BMW R1200GS Adventure vs KTM 990 Adventure...

External links:
Scooter Lifestyle: Inside the World of the Modern Mod
First rides: 2008 Triumph Tiger, Sprint ST, Daytona 675 and Speed Triple

Some pics from the London Bikers' trackday, at Brands Hatch. More pics here

Pics: London Bikers

Guzzi-powered trike: The Blackjack Zero

The Moto Guzzi-powered Blackjack Zero
Pics: Blackjack

Involved in the design, development and production of trikes since 1995, Blackjack are now ready with their latest creation – the Zero – which is fitted with a v-twin engine from Moto Guzzi. (On their website, Blackjack have not specified which Guzzi engine, but we think it'll be the 1200cc v-twin.) Designed by Richard Oakes, the Zero, according to its creators, “delivers the excitement of a bike, with greater comfort, more sociability and a reverse gear.’ Er, more sociability? Oh, well, anyway…

The front-wheel-drive Zero’s bodywork comprises of a fibreglass tub with reinforced bulkheads, and the chassis is made of tubular steel. Rack-and-pinion steering, wishbones and adjustable coil-over-damper shocks at the front, and a trailing swingarm and monoshock complete the package. The Zero rides on 17-inch wheels, shod with 215/40 ZR-rated tyres and the 450-kilo trike can seat two people in comfort.

For more details, visit the Blackjack website here.

Also see:
More trikes on Faster and Faster
Ducati 1098 vs KTM RC8 1190!
Tjitze Tjoelker’s homemade Honda V8...
Memorable: The Gilera SP01 and SP02
Lamborghini Design 90: It's all bull!
Classic: The mid-1980s Honda VF1000R
The world's fastest man vs the world's fastest bike!

2008 Moto Guzzi V7 Classic goes on sale in Europe

Only 50bhp, but bucketloads of style...

Pics: Motoblog

The 2008 Moto Guzzi V7 Classic has been shown to the European motorcycle press and will soon go on sale in Europe. The original Guzzi V7, fitted with a 703cc v-twin, was born back in 1967. Styled on the lines of its predecessor, the new V7 Classic packs a Euro-III compliant 744cc v-twin. With its Weber Marelli fuel-injection, the engine makes about 50 horsepower and 54.7Nm of torque.

The V7 Classic certainly isn’t very powerful, but you know the deal – it’s been designed to look good loping along at medium pace, with rider and hot Italian girlfriend sitting comfortably, wearing large sunglasses, open-face helmets and smart leather jackets. For some, the V7 Classic would probably be the ideal motorcycle for lazy Sunday mornings…

The bike to be on, if you want to look good wearing those sunglasses...

With its round headlamp, chrome-plated exhaust pipes, twin rear shocks, spoked wheels, flat seat and black-and-white paintjob, we think the V7 Classic looks good in an old-fashioned way. The rear shocks offer 118mm of suspension travel and are preload adjustable, while the 40mm Marzocchi front fork offers 130mm of travel. The chassis is a dual-cradle steel tube number, wheels are 18-inch front and 17-inch rear, and brakes are single 320mm disc at front and 260mm disc at the back.

The Moto Guzzi V7 Classic is priced at 7,990 euros (about US$12,350), is available in Europe now, and is likely to go on sale in the US in the next few months.

Here's a video of the Moto Guzzi V7 Classic blasting up and down some twisties...

Also see:
Memorable: The 1950s Moto Guzzi V8 racer!
Limited Edition MV Agusta F4 CC: The HOTTEST motorcycle in the world?
Moto Corse: The US$90,000 MV Agusta F4 Platino...
The US$80,000 NCR Ducati Millona!
Memorable: The Cagiva 500 GP racebike...
Classic: The Laverda 750 Formula S
Racy reptile: The Bimota YB6 Tuatara...
Memorable: The Moto Guzzi 850 Le Mans

External links:
Chinese bikes: The shape of things to come?

Here are some more pics for Moto Guzzi fans...

Pics: Moto Guzzi

Monday, April 28, 2008

Fast Fruit: Apple-derived bioethanol-powered Triumph hits 254km/h!

Would you believe this Triumph runs on apple juice...?!

Bike magazine’s ‘Project Fast Fruit,’ which entailed converting and running a high-performance motorcycle on bioethanol, is a success. A Triumph Daytona 675, running on bioethanol produced in a school chemistry lab, hit a top speed of 254km/h on the Bruntingthorpe proving ground.

While the bike used for the run was provided by Triumph, the biofuel was produced from apples – yes, apples – by A-level students from a school in Northamptonshire in the UK. The students crushed and fermented 6,000 apples to produce the fuel, while Bike magazine carried out the necessary technical modifications to allow the Triumph engine to run on apple juice. In fact, very few mods were needed – only the Daytona’s fuel-injection had to be remapped for apple-derived bioethanol…

‘We believe that achieving a speed of 254km/h sets a record for a production bike on home-brewed fuel. Although they are still questionable from an environmental point of view, biofuels are here to stay, and this experiment was all about exploring how much power we could extract from them, as well as having some fun,’ said Rupert Paul of Bike magazine.

Also see:
Neander 1400 Turbodiesel: Yours for US$140,000!
One racy trike: The SUB G1...
Trackday tool: The CR&S Vun Racing
Tecno Bike’s custom V-Rod...
Steffano Motorcycles’ Ducati 999-based Café9
Howard's Killer Customs’ US$150,000 hubless-wheeled chopper...

Some pics from the International Custom Bike Show 2008. See more picture galleries from the Show on London Bikers here and here
Pics: London Bikers

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Suzuki GSX-R1100: Heron Suzuki GB Replica

The HMR-made Heron Suzuki GP replica...
Pics: HMR

This Graham Crosby Heron Suzuki GB Replica GSX-R1100 has been put together by HMR, custom bike builders who specialize in period racer replicas. The Suzuki GSX-R1100 engine has been extensively modified – port flowed cylinder head, big-bore kit, 40mm carbs, custom-made airbox, Barnett kelvar clutch, heavy duty clutch springs, and undercut gears etc.

The bike’s exhaust system is also custom-made by HMR, with Formula 1 header pipes. The suspension has been resprung and revalved to keep things tight and taut, and the bodywork is a mix of GSX-R750 fuel tank and RG500 tailpiece. Custom rearsets and an HMR-made period gauge set have also been fitted. Overall, we think the bike looks neat.

See more HMR bikes on their website here.

Also see:
Memorable: The Moriwaki Dream Fighter
Battle of the Twins: KTM RC8 vs Ducati 1098!
Yamaha RD500-based MotoGP-replica...
The HOTTEST NSR500-replica in the world!!
From dream to disaster: The Morbidelli 850 V8
Raging Buell: The supercharged Lazareth XB12S...
The hottest Aussie motorcyclist ever (and no, it isn't Casey Stoner...)

External links:
America's early in-line fours...

The Uno: Parallel wheels and gyros…

Instead of one behind the other, the Uno has two wheels mounted side by side...

Pics: Motorcycle Mojo

First shown at the 2008 National Motorcycle Show in Toronto last month, the Uno is the work of 18-year-old Ben J. Poss Gulak. Ben has been tinkering with stuff and participating in science fairs ever since he was a kid, wants to get into engineering and has inherited his grandfather’s machine shop where he comes up with a lot of “cool stuff.”

Ben created the Uno using SketchUp, a free piece of software from Google. When it was time to translate computer renderings into reality, he used a Yamaha R1 chassis and homemade bodywork which he designed himself. The Uno uses two wheels mounted side by side and the bike stays upright due to its digital gyros. Ben programmed the gyros himself, with some guidance from Trevor Blackwell, a California-based robotics and gyro expert.

The Uno is actually fitted with two gyros – one for making the bike go forward and back, and the other for making it turn. The 54-kilo bike is easy to operate – there is just on/off switch, and once it’s switched on, you lean forward to make the bike move ahead, and lean back to slow it down and/or go backwards.

The juice comes from twin electric motors – one for each of the Uno’s two wheels. The more you lean forward, the harder the Uno accelerates, with the gyros telling the electric motors how much current to deliver to the wheels. Of course, the Uno probably isn’t the most practical thing in the world, but as an example of ingenuity and engineering skill, we think it’s very cool…

Also see:
WheelSurf Monowheel: Join the singles club…
Air-powered bikes in the near future...?
Acabion GTBO 70: The FASTEST bike in the world!
PAL-V One: The bike that’ll fly...
The amazing Carver One...
Get ready for the Peraves MonoTracer!
Trike Strike: Some very interesting three-wheelers...

External links:
Yamaha: Reliving the Past...
Here's something for all those who love hot, green motorcycles...