Thursday, July 31, 2008

Moriwaki MD250H riding impression


The Moriwaki MD250H. An exquisite little racer for those who can afford it...

Last year, American Honda and Moriwaki Engineering had announced the availability of a limited number of MD250H racebikes. The bike was meant for young racers who wanted to take part in the USGPRU roadracing series.

An exquisite piece of engineering, the Moriwaki MD250H is fitted with a four-stroke, liquid-cooled, single-cylinder 249cc engine from Honda. Also used in the Honda CRF250X, this engine is specially tuned and fettled by Moriwaki, for the MD250H.

The MD250H is a serious bit of equipment, a proper small-bore GP bike. Custom fabricated twin-spar aluminum chassis, radial-mount calipers for the front disc brake, USD fork, Honda’s Pro-Link rear suspension, lightweight wheels, race-spec tyres and works-style welded aluminum fuel tank – the MD250H is pure racer all the way.

At its list price of US$11,699 the bike isn’t cheap, but for young racers who’re rich enough to afford one, it’s probably the real deal all right. The guys at Motor Box recently got to ride an MD250H, and here are some excerpts from what they have to say about the Moriwaki machine:

The Moriwaki MD250H is the perfect ‘school’ for kids with motorcycle racing aspirations. The bike has a sophisticated chassis and the suspension is fully adjustable, and yet, there are none of the complications associated with running a two-stroke racebike here.


For teenagers who weigh not more than 50 kilos, and who can corner like Max Biaggi, the Moriwaki MD250H can probably provide a bagful of thrills...

The bike is very compact and the riding position is tight for anyone who’s used to bigger bikes. The MD250 weighs only 90 kilos and tyres are about as wide as those on a mountain bike. As you would expect, the bike is very agile, with very high cornering speeds. The brakes are also very good, very aggressive.

However, it’s the engine that’s really surprising. With about 40bhp at the rear wheel, the engine pushes hard from 8,000rpm onwards, singing all the way up to 13,000rpm. However, the gear ratios – the same as those used on the Honda CRF250X – are less than ideal on the MD250H. Sort that out, and you’ve got one hell of an interesting machine here…

Visit the USGPRU website here and the Moriwaki website here

Also see:
Memorable: The Moriwaki Dream Fighter...
Motorcycle Speedway: The bravest men, the maddest machines...
Roehr 1250sc: The supercharged, 180bhp made-in-America superbike...!
Ecosse ES1 engineer wins design award...
Aprilia on track for MotoGP comeback...
Suzuki Crosscage: Riding the future...
Orange Kwacker: One HOT ZX-10R Ninja....

External links:
An interview with 2007 MotoGP world champ, Casey Stoner
Ducati 1098 Dragster picture gallery...

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

MotoGP: Moriwaki start work on their 600cc racer for 2011!


The Moriwaki 600 racer for the 2011 MotoGP season...
Pic: Motor Box

Four-stroke 600cc machines will be replacing the two-stroke 250cc class in MotoGP in 2011, and Motor Box has a report on the first prototype 600 that’s now being developed by Japanese tuning specialists, Moriwaki.

Seen during the recent Suzuka 8-Hour endurance race, the Moriwaki 600 is said to use the Honda CBR600RR engine, but among others, the exhaust, suspension, chassis and swingarm are all bespoke items.

From what’s visible in the picture, the CBR600RR aluminium beam frame has been replaced with a steel-tube chassis and a heavily braced swingarm has replaced the stock item. Forks and shock are top-spec Ohlins units and the short, stubby exhaust looks like it could have been made by Moriwaki themselves.

It will certainly be a sad day if manufacturers like KTM and Aprilia – who’ve been opposing the move from two-stroke 250s to four-stroke 600s – decide to quit at the end of the 2010 season. But it’s reassuring to see that experts like Moriwaki might be interesting in going racing in the 600cc class. There may be no more 250s after 2010, but in 2011, we hope the action will be fast and furious as ever…

Also see:
Memorable: The Moriwaki Dream Fighter...
F1 tech in MotoGP: Aprilia RS3 Cube
Classic: The mid-1980s Honda VF1000R
Moto-art: The coolest motorcycle airbrush artist ever...
Precious Metal: 1964 Bianchi Bicilindrica 500cc GP racer
Two-strokes: The very cool Bimota V Due...

External links:
The Griffith Park sidecar rally...
2009 Honda CBR600RR: Is this what it'll look like?
V-Force Customs: The V-Force 1

Board track racing: 160km/h on wooden planks…


160km/h on board tracks, on those tyres. And no brakes...
Pic: Fast Dates

Modern-day MotoGP, with its 240bhp bikes and 340kmh top speeds, is certainly exciting. And, we’re sure, MotoGP riders are all terribly brave and talented. But back in the early parts of the 20th century, there was a breed of motorcycle racers in America that was possibly a wee bit braver, madder than the current lot…

We’re talking about board track motorcycle racing, which started getting popular in the US in sometime around 1910, and went on till the early-1930s. These races were conducted on oval circuits with wooden surfaces.

Board track racers got up to speeds of 160km/h, and often, the bikes would have no brakes. And as for traction and grip, you can probably imagine things for yourself when you take into account the tyres of that era, combined with a track that was made of wood!

The first board track was opened at the Los Angeles Coliseum Motordome in California, in 1910, and many other tracks quickly came up after that, all over the US. Most were up to 1.6km in length, with a banking of anywhere between 25 to 60 degrees.

Due to frequent accidents, serious injuries and many deaths, motorcycle board track racing was deemed too dangerous for competitors and spectators, and ultimately faded away by the early 1930s. The video below shows just how incredible those board track racers must have been…


Board track racing in the early part of the last century...

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Harley-Davidson XR1200 riding impression


XR1200 - the best looking Harley ever. And it's not so bad to ride either
Pics: Harley-Davidson
The Harley-Davidson XR1200 is, for us, the coolest Harley ever. Okay, its sporting capabilities may not be anywhere near a GSX-R1000, but on sheer style alone, the XR1200 flat out rocks! The guys at Motociclismo recently got to ride the XR1200, and here are some excerpts from what they had to say about the bike:

Those who are fortunate enough to have a Ferrari, Lamborghini or something similar, have something in common – that they tend to drive very slowly. No, they’re not being civil – it’s just that they want passers-by to envy them, and the women to look at them. Harley-Davidson XR1200 riders should be in the same league…

In some ways, the XR1200, with its 91bhp air-cooled v-twin, five-speed gearbox, double-cradle steel tube chassis and twin rear shock absorbers, is quite basic. Style-wise, the XR1200 pays homage to Harley’s XR750 flat-tracker, which was successfully raced by greats like Jay Springsteen and Scott Parker. But an imposing presence is not where it ends – it seems the XR1200 engineers eat at the same cafeteria as the Buell guys, and that is reflected in how the bike performs.

Open the throttle at low revs, and the XR1200 bellows – you love the way this bike sounds. And while it makes music, this ‘Lara Croft on two wheels’ also accelerates hard. Sure, the engine vibrates a bit when you rev it hard, but it never gets annoying…


91bhp doesn't sound like much? Open that throttle and listen to that engine bellow...

The XR’s riding position is sporty and aggressive, encouraging you to go out and play hard, and that fits in perfectly with the bike. The bike isn’t uncomfortable though, and the suspension works quite well. The conventional twin-shock setup at the rear is all right, though the 43mm USD fork at the front works better. The 18-inch front wheel takes a bit of getting used to, but no complaints about the Dunlop Qualifier rubber fitted on the bike.

Riding the XR1200 through the mountains of Madrid, we found that the bike has reasonable cornering clearance. Be careful in fast right-handers though – you may ground out the exhaust pipes hard enough to lever the front wheel off the ground, which could be dangerous! Acceleration out of corners is steady and builds up strongly – you enjoy riding this bike in the twisties.

Traction is good and the XR1200 is quite agile, changing direction quickly and without any fuss. The high centre-of-gravity, wide handlebars, the weight distribution and the riding position itself all combine to make the bike easy to maneouver at high speeds. Overall, performance is quite all right – the 152-kilo XR1200 accelerates from zero to 100km/h in 5.2 seconds, and hits a top speed of 193km/h.

The bike is available in black, gray and orange, and we’d take the last colour option. For 11,200 euros (about US$17,500), the XR1200 is just brilliant. Just remember to ride slowly to collect all those admiring glances!


Aussie stunt rider Kain Saul backflips an XR1200!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

2008 LA Calendar Motorcycle Show


The 17th Annual LA Calendar Motorcycle Show. The hot bikes, hot babes routine never fails


Pics: Fast Dates

Held earlier this month at Long Beach, California, the 17th Annual Los Angeles Calendar Motorcycle Show Weekend, presented by Performance Machine, was quite a success. More than 10,000 people are said to have attended the two-day event, and close to US$90,000 was given away in cash and awards.

Meant for customized bikes, the show has various categories for American v-twin, performance bikes, classic machines, bobber and choppers, and sportsbikes. And going by the pictures, we can say there is quite a bit of creativity and hard work that’s gone into the bikes displayed at the show.

Get the full story and picture gallery here, and check out the 2009 Fast Dates calendar here


The 2009 Fast Dates calendar. For pricing and availability, see here

Also see:
The 250 horsepower, V-Quad Intel chopper...
EZ Tuning: The school of cool...
Doug Polen not so impressed with the Ducati 1098...
2009 Indian Chief: Out by Christmas this year, prices start at US$31,000
The GG Quadster: Return of the Quadzilla
Bandito: Hannigan Motorsports’ Kawasaki ZX-14 sidecar...
The coolest trikes in the world...
2008 MotoGP hi-res wallpaper...
The amazing Travertson V-Rex...!

Ness Signature Series Victory Vision launched


It costs US$25,000 but the Ness Signature Series Victory Vision sure looks good!!

Pics: Victory

The Victory Vision, already one of the coolest touring motorcycles around, has now got a style update from Arlen Ness, and his son Cory. Launched at a time when Victory Motorcycles are celebrating their 10th Anniversary, the Ness Signature Series Victory Vision looks even cooler than the ‘normal’ Vision, though it does cost all of US$25,000.

The Ness Signature Series Victory Vision is still powered by Polaris’ fuel-injected, air-and-oil cooled, SOHC eight-valve 1731cc ‘Freedom’ V-twin, which produces 92 horsepower and 147Nm of torque. The gearbox is also the same six-speed unit and the fully adjustable suspension remains unchanged. However, the Ness Vision gets bits like custom-made billet wheels and leather seats, an adjustable electric windshield, a fancy radio/stereo and a special paintjob.

More details on the Victory website here


Polaris Industries, who’ve sold over 50,000 Victory motorcycles over the last 10 years, have also created this 10th Anniversary Special Edition Vision. We think it looks absolutely superb...

Also see:
Lazareth Motorcycles: Custom Cool...
Fight Machines: The gloves are off…
Memorable: The mighty Münch Mammut TTS-E!
Cracking Confederate: The F131 Hellcat Combat...
Iceman II: Hardcore chopper for F1 ace Kimi Raïkkönen...
The US$39,000 Pi X Bonneville racer edition...
Running Rich: The US$270,000 Ecosse Heretic Titanium!

External links:
2008 Victory Vision road test
2008 Suzuka eight-hour endurance race: Picture gallery

Friday, July 25, 2008

Suzuki GSX-R750 - the best sportsbike in the world...?


So, is the Suzuki GSX-R750 still the best sportsbike in the world, or has the game moved on? The guys at MCN have a go at finding out...

GSX-R World:
Suzuki GSX-R1100 vs Bimota SB6...
GSX-R250 and GSX-R125 coming in 2009?
250bhp, turbocharged GSX-R1000...
ShowYo Moto: GSX-R1100 ‘Alien’ streetfighter...
Suzuki GSX-R1100: Heron Suzuki GB Replica!
Streetfighter: Yoshimura Suzuki GSX-R 7/11
K7 model Yoshimura Suzuki GSX-R1000. It's HOT!
Kevin Schwantz talks about riding his old GSX-Rs...
"GSX-Rs are for moped riders!"
Sheene tribute, Vermeulen-replica GSX-R1000...

A CR&S Vun dedicated to Paton’s 50th anniversary


With the new special-edition Vun, CR&S are paying homage to Paton, the legendary motorcycle roadracing company that's now celebrating its 50th Anniversary
Pics: Motoblog

Founded by Joseph ‘Pep’ Pattoni, Paton is a legendary name in the world of 500cc motorcycle grand prix racing. Recently, the company celebrated its 50th anniversary, and the occasion was marked by CR&S building a special-edition Vun, painted in Paton’s classic 1960s colours – gold, green and yellow.

With chassis #050, the Paton 50th Anniversary edition Vun was shown at Chimay, in Belgium, in a roadracing meet for classic bikes. Roberto Pattoni, who now heads Paton, was present for the unveiling of the bike.

The CR&S Vun is powered by a liquid-cooled, four-valve, DOHC, 652cc, single-cylinder Bombardier-Rotax engine that makes 54 horsepower. The 135-kilo bike’s calling card, however, is said to be its handling. More details on the Vun here and you can visit the CR&S official website here

Also see:
Marco 'Crazy Horse' Lucchinelli: 1981 500cc motorcycle GP racing world champ...
Blast from the past: Silver Dream Racer
Memorable: The Bimota YB6 Tuatara...
The Freddie: Retro SBK’s Freddie Spencer tribute...
Marcus Walz: ‘Building bikes gives me satisfaction...'
Ducati PS1000 LE: Paul Smart rides again...
An Alfa Romeo motorcycle...

Benelli working on radical new 600cc supersport machine?


A high-tech 600cc supersports machine from Benelli next year? Yes, please!

According to one report on MotorBox, Benelli are working on a brand-new, 600cc sportsbike that could take on the Japanese brigade in 2009. Apart from the Gilera 600 there has been no other supersport 600 from Italy in recent times, but the Benelli could change that.

Taking a break from their traditional three-cylinder engines, Benelli are expected to use an inline-four for their 600cc sportsbike. Unlike Triumph, who’ve been quite successful with their three-cylinder Daytona 675, Benelli want to take the Japanese head-on, with a four-cylinder 600!

The 2009 Benelli 600 is expected to have a very high-tech, fuel-injected, liquid-cooled, DOHC, 16-valve, oversquare engine that produces around 125 horsepower. But where things get really radical is the chassis and suspension. Instead of an aluminium beam or steel tube trellis frame, the Benelli 600 is likely to have carbonfibre monocoque chassis, single-sided rear swingarm and front swingarm with Bimota Tesi-style hub-centre steering!

Pierluigi Marconi, who earlier worked at Bimota and who created the first Tesi’s radical front end, is now the technical director at Benelli, so indeed it wouldn’t be very surprising if the 2009 Benelli 600 packed a few surprises in the chassis and suspension department.

We hope to see a working prototype of this bike at the EICMA show in Milan later this year…!

Also see:
2008 Bimota Tesi 3D riding impression...
Japan-only Dream Honda Racing replica Fireblade...
Yamaha RD-engined Cagiva Mito...!
SHARP: Safer helmets for motorcyclists?
Bandito: Hannigan Motorsports’ Kawasaki ZX-14 sidecar...
Hot new V5-powered Honda VFR1000 coming out this year?!
New and improved: The 2009 BMW G650 XCountry
Memorable: The Laverda 750 Formula S

Smaller, lighter, faster Yamaha R1 in 2009!

Page updated with new pics on Sep 09, 2008. For the full 2009 Yamaha R1 launch report, pics and video, go here


The all-new 2009 Yamaha R1 gets a MotoGP-inspired 'big-bang' engine...


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The 2009 Yamaha R1 will take design cues from the current R6 and technology inputs from the M1 MotoGP machine. The result should be quite spectacular...!

Yamaha are expected to launch an all-new R1 next year, to take on the ZX-10R, Fireblade and GSX-R1000, all of which now make the current R1 look a bit dated. According to a report on Motociclismo, the 2009 Yamaha R1 is already under development, with extensive test sessions being conducted on various racing circuits in Europe.

According to Motociclismo, Yamaha are working on a super-lightweight R1, which will make extensive use of magnesium for many of its components. Also, the bike’s styling is expected to be an evolution of the current R6, with twin underseat exhausts finally making way for a single, short-and-stubby R6-style item.

Coming back to the ‘lightweight’ bit, the 2009 R1 could be as much as 10 kilos lighter than the current model, which would partly be possible due to the use of various magnesium bits. Magnesium can corrode quickly, so Yamaha will use a special electrolysis process that will protect the bike’s magnesium parts and also provide an excellent finish.

The 2009 R1’s chassis will be all-new and the bike’s extensively reworked (perhaps all-new) inline-four will use learnings from Yamaha’s M1 MotoGP bike. And finally, the bike is expected to have a traction-control system that’s more advanced and sophisticated than any other system currently available. Watch out for more details soon...

Update (09.09.2008): 2009 Yamaha R1: First pics, specs and video

Also see:
Face off: Yamaha OW01 FZR750RR vs Yamaha R1!
Fearsome: The 1975 Yamaha TZ750 dirt-tracker...
Yamaha Tesseract: Japanese, weird, cool...!
Yamaha XT660Z vs Honda Transalp XL700V...
Yamaha RD500-based MotoGP replica...
EDR Performance: Hotting up the R6...
2009 Yamaha V-Max takes on the Suzuki B-King!

Memorable: Peugeot-powered DJ 1200 Bol d’Or racer


The Peugeot-powered DJ 1200 Bol d'Or racer from 1979

There's an interesting article on Moto Caradisiac about the Peugeot DJ 1200, a one-off racebike designed for the Bol d’Or endurance races, made in 1979-80. Created by one Didier Jillet, the bike was fitted with an 1130cc inline-four from the Peugeot 204 saloon. Fed by twin 40mm Weber carbs, the lightened and tuned engine produced about 100 horsepower at 7500rpm.

Apart from the engine, the other notable thing about the DJ 1200 racebike was its front suspension – a single shock absorber mated to something that looks like a rear swingarm rotated upwards by about 80 degrees! The bike had a dry clutch and a six-speed gearbox. The bike rode on 18-inch wheels, shod with Michelin rubber. Fully fueled and with all fluids, the Peugeot-powered DJ 1200 weighed 261 kilos.

According to the MC report, the DJ 1200 was quick in tests, but Jillet’s financial constraints did not allow him to fully develop the bike. Makes you wonder how the bike might have done if its creator had a bit more money for development, and if the bike had been backed by one of the big endurance racing teams of that era…

Also see:
Laverda's V6-powered Bol d'Or racer from 1978...
Michel Guédon's Peugeot V6-powered motorcycle...
One-off: Martini Racing Ducati 1098S...
War of the Ninjas: Kawasaki ZZR1100 vs ZZR1400!
Cool Frog: Wakan 1640 racing cruiser...
Side-Bike: 2008 Celtik now available...
The world's best two-stroke sportsbikes...
Suzuki's MotoGP Bikes: Three decades of evolution...

Reality Check: Carlos Carrasco’s GPR Concept


The next Derbi streetbike just might use design cues from the GPR concept...
Pics: Daily Motos

Carlos Carrasco, a student of transport design at the Istituto Europeo di Design in Barcelona, has created this GPR concept, which uses the mechanical bits from a Derbi GPR 125 streetbike. ‘Designing a motorcycle is the most exciting thing you can do. All vehicles have a kind of soul that goes beyond the materials used to make them, but motorcycles are one step above,’ says Carrasco.

Derbi agreed to collaborate with Carrasco on this project, and supplied him with a GPR 125 on which to base the project. Carrasco says his concept bike’s exaggerated proportions pay homage to Derbi’s 50cc racebikes from the 1960s and 70s, with their elongated fuel tanks and extreme riding position.

Can this concept form the basis for a new Derbi streetbike? ‘I never thought it might become a street bike. I simply wanted to express my feeling for motorcycles in a project that has more sculpture than machine in it,’ says Carrasco. ‘As it is, the GPR concept is very aggressive and has extreme geometry. For a streetbike to be based on this, a lot of things would need to be changed,’ he adds.

Derbi are, it seems, ready to give Carrasco an opportunity to design a real-world streetbike for them. So you never really do know – if you’re a Spanish teenager, you just might be riding a Carrasco-designed Derbi 125 next year…!

Also see:
Nitin Design's 'Dacoit' gets set to roam the streets...
Ecosse ES1 engineer wins design award...
Michael Schumacher develops 'Schuberth Race' helmet for motorcyclists...
Istituto Europeo di Design: The World’s Most Beautiful Motorcycles...
Pierre Terblanche: “I thought that the 916 series needed to move on…”
Lamborghini Design 90: The bike that's all bull!
From France: The Enzyme Icare concept...

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