Saturday, August 16, 2008

A three-wheeled Hayabusa...?


That's Nick Dagostino with his three-wheeled Hayabusa...

Pics: Super Streetbike

What would you do if all your mates had a Hayabusa, and you wanted yours to stand out in the crowd? Nick Dagostino decided to add a third wheel to his 2003 Hayabusa. Now, he says, he has no problems finding his bike – it’s the one with a crowd always gathered around it…

Speaking to Super Streetbike, Dagostino, a resident of Saratoga Springs, New York, says, ‘I did all the usual stuff. Chromed the gas tank, polished everything else, lowered the bike, stretched it seven inches… but everywhere I went out here, I saw 10 more that looked exactly like mine! I hate being in the mainstream – I always want to have something different from the rest. So I went home one night and, halfway into a 12-pack, I thought what the hell can I do that no one's ever done before. This is what I came up with.’

Dagostino’s 2003 Hayabusa has been fitted with a super-trick tandem swingarm, which allows the fitment of a third wheels on the bike. ‘I love it. It's so stealth. Coming at you straight on, it looks like any other ’Busa, but once guys see the third wheel, everything changes. It's so much fun to watch them do a double take and grab their buddies,’ says Dagostino.

The extra-long swingarm has been built by Myrtle West Cycle in Longs, South Carolina. It is more than four feet long and features extra underbracing to ensure strength and stability. Of course, only the centre wheel is driven – the rear wheel is fitted with a dummy sprocket with its teeth machined off. For now, Dagostino says driving both rear wheels would be too complex, though even that might happen in the future.

Surprisingly enough, Dagostino rides his three-wheeled Hayabusa regularly. ‘It tracks pretty well. The only place you really feel the extra wheel is on hard, 90-degree turns. The second wheel will scrub a little bit, but you know when this is going to happen so you can deal with it pretty easily,’ he says. Just as well then that the man makes his living driving a truck for the New York highway department, and has sufficient practice with tandem-wheeled vehicles…

Other trick bits on the Hayabusa include a five-inch LCD colour monitor – which is connected to a rear-view camera fitted below the tail-lamp – on top of the fuel tank, and an HMF high-mount dual-pipe exhaust system. We’re not too sure if we’d really want a three-wheeled Hayabusa, but for those who have trouble finding their bike in parking lots, something like Dagostino’s bike might just help.

More details on this bike on the Super Streetbike website here

Also see:
The coolest trikes in the world...
Hi-res wallpaper from the 2008 MotoGP season...
The amazing Yamaha Tesseract...
Memorable: The Morbidelli 850 V8
Face-off: Yamaha V-Max vs Suzuki B-King!
Bimota Tesi 3D riding impression...
Bandito: Hannigan Motorsports’ Kawasaki ZX-14 sidecar...

External links:
So you always wanted a 500cc GP racebike for the street...?
Classic: Husqvarna Automatic for Swedish army...
Some of the coolest toys ever...
A site for chopper fans...

Friday, August 15, 2008

Air-powered bikes inching towards production reality?


Jem Stansfield with his Puch moped, which has been converted to run on compressed air!
Pic: MCN

In June last year, we first wrote about the possibility of air-powered engines – which are already being used on cars – also being used on bikes. Now, merely a year later, people have already started working on air-powered bikes and scooters!

In April this year, MCN carried a report on one Jem Stansfield, an inventor who claims he’s developed the world’s first air-powered bike. Stansfield, an aeronautics graduate from the University of Bristol, converted his Puch moped to run on air. He fitted two high-pressure carbonfibre air cylinders on his bike, which power two rotary air engines, which deliver power to the rear wheel.

It must all be incredibly complex, we’re sure, and on top of that, Stansfield’s bike will do only 10km between air top-ups and has a top speed of about 28km/h. Still, it was a start. Now, two researchers – Yu-Ta Shen and Yean-Ren Hwang – from the National Central University in Taiwan have developed their version of the air-powered bike. Like Stansfield’s machine, the Taiwanese bike also uses energy from compressed air to drive the rear wheel.

There are limitations, of course. The way the prototype is right now, Shen’s and Hwang’s bike will do barely more than 1km before needing an air refill. But with bigger air tanks that can hold air at higher pressure, the researchers are confident of being able to increase range to around 35km in the near future. And when you need to refuel, just ride up to the nearest air compressor and tank up!

Right now, various companies are working on air engines which may be fitted on cars and three-wheelers. And while some experts feel that air power may not be viable for two-wheelers (because of the size of air tanks that would be needed to provide an adequate riding range before requiring a refill), you never really do know. Tomorrow, if some new technology comes along that allows smaller tanks to carry air at a much higher pressure, air-powered bikes may find their way to production reality after all…

For more details on air-powered engines, go here

Also see:
An Alfa-Romeo motorcycle...?!
Hubless wheels on motorcycles...
Pendolauto: Franco Sbarro’s four-wheeled motorcycle concept...
The absolutely amazing Peraves MonoTracer...
Lumeneo Smera: A car-motorcycle hybrid…!
Riding the Travertson V-Rex...
Apple juice-powered Triumph 675 Daytona does 254km/h!
Suzuki Crosscage: Riding the future...

External links:
Dream Cruise: The human-powered 'Dogsled' cycle
The coolest pedal-powered cargo carrier ever...!!
Deco Rides: A unique car-bike hybrid...
The Peugeot Bikester trike concept...


Which of these terrific twins would you choose? The KTM RC8 takes on the Ducati 1098 here, and the Buell 1125R joins the fray here!
Hmmm....

The quickest Kawasaki ZX-12R in the world!


With more than 600bhp at the rear wheel, this is one ZX-12R that reaches 322km/h over the quarter mile. Holy Kaw! And TBR is now working on their next bike, a ZZR1400

While it was supplanted by the ZZR1400 back in 2006, the erstwhile ZX-12R remains one of our favourite Kawasakis. And Tim Blakemore Racing’s Ninja ZX-12R just might be the quickest, hardest accelerating 12R ever.

Conceived and developed at the Tim Blakemore race shop in Bristol, in the UK, this ZX-12R makes more than 600 horsepower at the rear wheel. It accelerates from zero to 112km/h in less than a second and does the standing quarter-mile (400m) in 6.82 seconds, hitting a speed of 322km/h in that time. It was, according to TBR, the first UK-built drag bike to exceed 320km/h over the quarter-mile.

The basic engine is standard Kawasaki-issue 1200cc inline-four, with Carillo con rods and MTC Pistons. The transmission has been converted to a heavy-duty four-speed unit (from Weissman), and a Garrett GT35 turbo was bolted on to reach that 600bhp figure.

The bike, which runs on methanol (burning over four litres over the quarter-mile!), also gets a custom-built chrome-molybdenum chassis, designed by Webster Engineering for straight-line stability. The rear tyre is a 12-inch Goodyear Eagle, which lasts only 10-15 quarter-mile runs – that’s less than a minute of on-track usage! The bike is valued at over US$100,000.

Tim Blakemore Racing has now moved on to a Kawasaki ZZR1400, and we wonder what they’ll do with that 1400cc engine. We wouldn’t bet against 800bhp and six-second quarter-mile runs though…

Visit the Tim Blake Racing website here

Also see:
Top Fuel motorcycles: A lesson in acceleration!
NitroDuke: The World's Fastest KTM
TwinTrax: Harley-powered dragster for the street...
Ducati SuperSport Turbo dragbike...
Rapom V8: 1,000bhp supercharged monster-bike...

External links:
Are you the biggest biking family in Britain?


For those who love big Kawasakis, here's a turbocharged ZX-10R from Eye Candy Cycle Design

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Motociclismo: In conversation with Toni Elias


D'Antin Ducati rider Toni Elias hasn't been able to perform anywhere near the level which the team owners may have expected. What, exactly, went wrong...?

While Casey Stoner seems to be able to win MotoGP races effortlessly, other Ducati riders like Marco Melandri, Sylvain Guintoli and Toni Elias have been left floundering this season. Is there really a huge gap in talent/capability between Stoner and the others, or could there also be other factors that are responsible for creating this situation? Speaking to Motociclismo, here’s what Pramac D'Antin/Alice Ducati rider Toni Elias thinks:

On whether the Ducati is harder to ride than what he had expected

I did expect the motorcycle to be hard to master, but did not anticipate many of the problems which I have encountered during the season. Still, the first thing is to accept things the way they are, without getting discouraged.

On other Ducati’s other MotoGP riders, Melandri and Guintoli

I think the two are good riders, who’re in the same situation as I am. But that they are, like me, not doing well this year is no consolation for me. For us, the hardest thing has been to accept a situation we did not expect, and then to find out what’s going wrong and find a solution.

But the worst part is, when we did find out what’s wrong, Ducati said they would need four of five races to come up with the solution.

On what he has to say about Stoner’s comments (that other Ducati riders weren’t trying hard enough) and Livio Suppo’s opinion (that Elias’ problems were due to psychological rather than mechanical reasons)

‘I prefer not to go there. Each person will have their opinion and I respect it. But I knew, very clearly, what my problems were, which is why these things don’t make a dent in my confidence. I trust myself.

On what his problems were, with the bike

Not having enough feel and feedback from the tyres, especially the rear. There was not enough feedback while entering and exiting corners, and you don’t know what would happen if you open the throttle. Some of these concerns have been resolved by changing something in the chassis, but cannot relax – we must continue to improve. So the test we have after Brno will be crucial…

On the departure of Luis D'Antin

The truth is that I knew nothing and I was a bit surprised by all this. I don’t know why it’s happened, but then I am not affected by this.

On his goals for the rest of the season

I think in Laguna Seca I could have finished among the top five. My goal is to be constant in every training session and every race, although I don’t know whether it will be possible everywhere. But possible or not, we will work hard towards achieving this goal.

Also see:
Board track racing: 160km/h on tyres of that era, and no brakes!
2008 LA Calendar Motorcycle Show...
Triumph: 2009 Street Triple R announced...
A supercharged Yamaha R1...
Ness Signature Series Victory Vision: The coolest touring bike ever...
Kawasaki ZX-9R based MotoGP replica...
In conversation with 1999 500cc world champ, Alex Criville

External links:
Malcolm Smith's 8-speed 1970 Husqvarna 250...


Now you can go MotoGP racing on your PS3, Xbox or PC. More details on MotoGP 08 here

Brakes on MotoGP bikes: Stop THIS!


What goes at 330km/h must also stop. Hard!

With MotoGP bikes, braking performance is as important as power, acceleration and handling. In a sport where every thousandth of a second counts, how hard you can stop is just as crucial as how hard you can accelerate. Here we take a quick look at braking systems on 800cc, 250cc and 125cc bikes in MotoGP.

Because of their different weight, power and speed, the three categories require different kinds of braking systems. The 2008 Repsol Honda RC212V has two hard carbon 320mm Brembo discs up front, which are necessary to stop a bike that weighs just 148 kilos and that can hit speeds of more than 330km/h.

‘The most remarkable quality of the discs is that carbon brakes work better when they are hot. Iron brake discs lose efficiency as they heat up, which results in brake fade towards the end of a race, which can be dangerous,’ says Dani Pedrosa. In fact, since carbon discs only work well at temperatures above 300°C, MotoGP bikes run carbon-iron discs in wet races, which continue to work even after being cooled down by rainwater.

With the rear brake, riders have their own individual preferences, depending on how aggressively they use the rear brake. Dani Pedrosa, for example, runs a 200mm disc at the rear, while Nicky Hayden uses a 255mm disc.

This is, perhaps, a reflection of how the two riders have progressed through the ranks over the years. Pedrosa has come up from 125s and then 250s, while Hayden is used to American dirt track racing, where bikes don’t have brakes at the front wheel…!

Also see:
In conversation with Alice Ducati rider, Toni Elias
The AC Schnitzer BMW F800GS...
Big Bruiser: Kawasaki Z1300...
Moto Guzzi V7 Classic riding impression...
The coolest scooter rider ever...
Derbi Mulhacen Cafe 659 Angel Nieto LE launched...
Moriwaki start work on their 600cc MotoGP racer for 2011...

External links:
Patrick Isaaco, Michelin's tyre wizard talks about MotoGP rubber...
1977 Kawasaki Top Fuel Drag Bike...!

Suzuki Hayabusa GT: A 320km/h sports-tourer?


Suzuki Hayabusa GT, a 320km/h touring bike. Yes indeed...

This Hayabusa GT comes from Motociclismo, who’ve gone ahead and… well, imagined one! Well, since Kawasaki are already making their 1400 GTR sports-tourer, which uses the ZZR1400’s engine, one wonders why Suzuki haven’t gone down that route. Touring at 320km/h on a Hayabusa GT, anyone?

According to the Motociclismo mock-up, the Hayabusa GT would have a bigger fairing that offers more wind protection, height-adjustable windscreen, higher handlebars, lower footpegs, slightly bigger seat with more generous padding, anti-lock brakes and, of course, a set of saddlebags. Just add a wife (or girlfriend) and you’re ready to go…

Also see:
Acabion GTBO 70: The fastest touring bike in the world...?
Living without bikes for a day...
Old school cool: The Laverda 750 Formula S
KTM take care of their female customers...
Classic: The mighty M√ľnch Mammut TTS-E!
Piega 1000: The rebirth of Mondial...
Neander 1400 Turbodiesel: Yours for a mere US$140,000...

External links:
2008 Yamaha Morphous review...

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Superbike Planet: In conversation with Kevin Schwantz


Kevin Schwantz, 1993 500cc motorcycle GP racing world champ, speaks his mind...

Superbike Planet
recently spoke to 1993 500cc motorcycle GP racing world champ, Kevin Schwantz. Here are some excerpts from what no.34 had to say:

On Kenny Roberts

Somebody once asked me, ‘What if you'd ever ridden for Kenny Roberts?’ I said, ‘Probably one of the two of us wouldn't be around right now, because I'm not sure me and that guy could get along.’ He's a great man and he's done a lot for the sport of motorcycling, but man

I've beaten Wayne Rainey on a weekend, and I've seen Kenny go, ‘You dumbass! What were you thinking? What were you doing? Why'd you let him outbrake you in that turn?’ I'd have put up with that about that long.

But the knowledge that Kenny brought, to Wayne, to Eddie, the experience that was there, it was obviously a very first-class team the entire time. Had I had somebody like that to go back and ask questions of, instead of just some of my engineers who had worked in racing for a while, but never really did much racing themselves, it probably would've helped a little bit. Might have made my career span just a touch longer. But I enjoyed the way I did it. I had fun the way I did it. And I'd do it all over again exactly the same way if I was given the chance.

On whether he would have liked to come back to help with Suzuki’s MotoGP effort

After I quit racing at Suzuki, I took a few years, got away from motorcycles. Felt like I got an arm's length enough away, so that if I got back involved in racing, I could get back involved and not want to race. And with that, I've always told Suzuki, ‘My heart, my soul – any part of my career that ever really had much meaning to it – was in MotoGP. And absolutely, if you guys feel like I could assist you in getting Suzuki and their MotoGP team back to a world championship winning level, call me. You've got my number.’

On his priorities, after Suzuki told him that running a third bike in MotoGP would not be possible

Two years ago, they [Suzuki] said, ‘You know what? We're still planning on building that third bike, but hold off just a little bit.’ Then at the end of last year and the downturn in motorcycle sales – almost immediately at the start of this season – it was kind of said, ‘There's not really going to be a third bike. There's no way we can economically make it happen. The math just doesn't make out. We've got to focus more on sales. We've got to focus more on the two-bike factory team that we've got.’ With that, I have no idea what my position is there.

Once again, if my phone were to ring, I would probably have to tell Suzuki that, ‘You know what, I've got enough obligations here.’ I'm obligated to Red Bull and the KTM Rookies' Cup program for three years. So right now, I don't see it happening. I think Paul, the sponsors, and everything that's going on in MotoGP at Suzuki – I think they look to be doing okay. From a race-winning level, they're not where they need to be, but I don't think that's anybody’s fault in particular.

On the Suzuki GSV-R MotoGP bike

I've got all the respect in the world for Loris Capirossi and Chris Vermeulen. You watch Capirossi put the thing on the front row, qualifying at Mugello, one of the fastest racetracks there is out there. Yeah, he said, ‘I pushed really, really hard.’ Well, let me see that every lap then. Because until you find the ability and the want to push very, very hard every lap, it's just this – you can't go out there at 90 percent.

It's obvious the Suzuki's not quite there. But it's funny how, when those guys really get a spur in their side, and really want to prove a point, boom! Vermeulen riding through the pack to finish third at Laguna. It's not an easy place. The GSV-R is obviously a decent motorcycle. I think the results aren't quite indicative of what the bike is capable of, at least not consistently.

On what he would say to Suzuki’s current MotoGP riders

Well, the bike's never going to be perfect, and the bike's never going to be the best. It's going to be one of the best. It's going to be pretty close to the best. To make it the best, we've got to figure out what to do. We've got to hope that that extra bit can come from you...!

For the full interview, visit the Superbike Planet website here
Kevin Schwantz

Monday, August 11, 2008

Bimota DB7 Black Edition now available in Spain



The Bimota DB7 Black Edition. For very rich Spanish motorcyclists only...
Pics: ALV

Bimota are doing a limited run of the DB7 Black Edition, but only for the Spanish market. The bike has been created at the behest of ALV, the Bimota importer in Spain. Only five units of the DB7 Black Edition will be made, so the bike will be super-exclusive.

The DB7 Black Edition will have all-black bodywork (carbonfibre?), different fuel-injection mapping for a slight boost in power, a lighter, less restrictive exhaust system, and a different instrument panel, with a more advanced computer that will be able to collect even more telemetry data. More pics and details on the ALV website here

Also see:
Memorable Bimotas: YB11, YB6 Tuatara, DB2, V-Due and SB6
Orca's Red Bull Racing-replica KTM RC8...
2009 Harley-Davidson V-Rod Muscle...
2009 Buell 1125CR unveiled...
2008 LA Calendar Motorcycle Show...
Harley XR1200 riding impression...

External links:
Face-off: Suzuki GSX-R750 vs Ducati 848
The Siggraph BOXX contest: Win an Enertia electric bike!
The amazing Laverda V6...
Craig Vetter: Mileage is the new mantra...

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