Saturday, August 02, 2008

Toyota Winglet: A motorcycle for the Segway set…


Toyota are working on three variants of the Winglet - L, M and S

Toyota, one of the world’s biggest and most influential carmakers, have unveiled the Winglet, which they say is ‘A personal transport assistance robot ridden in a standing position.’ And since the Winglet has two wheels – even if they are side by side rather than one behind the other – we’ll say it’s Toyota’s first motorcycle…

Still under development, the battery-powered Toyota Winglet has internal sensors that constantly monitor the user’s position and stabilize the vehicle automatically. Toyota say the Winglet’s parallel link mechanism allows the rider to go forward, backward and turn simply by shifting body weight – just like the Segway transporter.

Toyota are working on three Winglet variants – L, M and S – each of which, the company claims, has different handling characteristics, from practical to sporty! The Winglet will only do 6km/h however, so don’t get all set to trade in your GSX-R just yet. Consumer trials are expected to begin soon, and Toyota’s ‘motorcycle’ may go into production by 2010-11.


Here's a video of the Toyota Winglet in action...

Also see:
2008 LA Calendar Motorcycle Show...
Derbi: Carlos Carrasco’s GPR Concept...
The amazing Bat Pod...
Bandito: Hannigan Motorsports’ Kawasaki ZX-14 sidecar...
2008 Bimota Tesi 3D riding impression...
MotoMorphic JaFM#1: Built to be a bit different…
GG Quadster: Return of the Quadzilla!

External links:
Ducati Desmosedici RR picture gallery...

KMD K-007 Tron: A $1,400 Dodge Tomahawk rip-off!


From left: The US$550,000 Dodge Tomahawk and the US$1,400 KMD K-007 Tron

Back in 2005, Dodge actually sold 10 of its outrageous Tomahawk motorcycles. Powered by the Dodge Viper’s 8.3-litre, 500bhp V10, the Tomahawk could, in theory, accelerate from zero to 100km/h in 1.75 seconds and hit a top speed of 560km/h (or even 680km/h, depending on who you choose to believe!) Either way, it didn’t really matter, because at its price of US$550,000 it’s a wonder Dodge even sold 10 of these.

And if you’ve always wanted a Tomahawk but never had 550,000 bucks lying around in spare change, you now have a $1,400 Tomahawk rip-off from China. It’s called the KMD K-007 Tron and it’s fitted with a 150cc, 8bhp single-cylinder engine and CVT transmission from a scooter. It probably won’t do more than 75km/h, but if all you want to do is impress your girlfriend’s parents, rolling up on one of these should get it done…

For the full range of KMD scooters and motorcycles, visit their website here, and to buy a K-007 Tron, go here


For the front suspension alone, spending 1,400 bucks on one of these should be worth it!

Also see:
Harley-Davidson XR1200 riding impression...
Victory Vision: The coolest touring bike in the world!
Smaller, lighter, faster: MotoGP-inspired Yamaha R1 coming in 2009...
Radical new Benelli 600cc sportsbike in 2009?
2009 Buell 1125CR unveiled...
V8-powered Sabertooth WildCat launched...
2009 Harley-Davidson V-Rod Muscle...

Friday, August 01, 2008

Derbi Mulhacén Café 659 Ángel Nieto LE launched


The bike with the world's longest name is now on sale in Europe...

Unveiled at the EICMA show last year, the Derbi Mulhacén Café 659 Ángel Nieto Limited Edition has now gone on sale in Europe. The bike is Derbi’s tribute to Ángel Nieto, a roadracing great with 90 GP wins and 13 world championships (in the 50cc, 80cc and 125cc classes) to his name.

The Derbi Mulhacén Café 659 Ángel Nieto Limited Edition (all right, that’s got to be the longest motorcycle name ever, eh?) is fitted with a Yamaha-Minarelli four-stroke, liquid-cooled, fuel-injected, single-cylinder, four-valve 659cc engine, and the gearbox is a five-speed unit. The chassis is a steel tube unit, with a 43mm USD fork at the front and a monoshock with progressive linkage at the rear. The 164-kilo bike rides on 17-inch wheels, shod with 110/60 (front) and 160/60 (rear) rubber. The single front brake disc measures 320mm and the rear disc is 245mm.

Derbi say the bike, which is priced at 6,000 euros (about US$9,300), takes styling cues from their 1970s racebikes. Ummm… yeah, well, we also think it looks pretty cool. More details on the Derbi website here


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We're not too sure about that giant exhaust pipe, but the rest of the bike looks quite all right...

2009 Triumph Bonneville 50th Anniversary, SE models are coming…


Triumph will be celebrating the Bonneville's 50th Anniversary in 2009...

Triumph
will be celebrating the Bonneville’s 50th Anniversary in 2009 and three models of the bike will be offered – the Classic, the 50th Anniversary and the SE. While the bikes will have minor style variations, all three will be fitted with 17-inch wheels and the Classic and SE models will get exhausts taken from the Thruxton.

The 2009 Bonneville will still use the same 865cc parallel-twin, which makes 68bhp at 7500rpm. The riding position will be reworked, with slightly lowered seat height and higher handlebars. Triumph will only make 650 units of the 50th Anniversary Bonneville, and the bike will only be available in the orange-and-blue paint scheme you see here.

More information on 2009 Triumph motorcycles here


2009 Triumph Classics promo video...
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Triumph Bonneville

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!

Also see:
Pics from the 2008 LA Calendar Motorcycle Show...
Ness Signature Series Victory Vision launched...
Hot new Buell 1125CR unveiled...
2009 Harley-Davidson V-Rod Muscle...
Thunderbird 1600: The Triumph that wants to be a Harley...
V8-powered Sabertooth WildCat launched...

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