Saturday, November 22, 2008

Greenfly: LPG power comes to motorcycles


The LPG-powered, Yamaha XT500-based Greenfly

Pics: The Biker Gene / Motorrad Online

Dave Akhurst could have found a partial solution to dealing with the high prices of petrol. No, he hasn’t made a fuel-cell powered motorcycle. Instead, he’s converted his Yamaha XT500 to run on liquid petroleum gas (LPG).

LPG costs significantly less than petrol (mostly because it’s often sold at government subsidised prices…), can be less polluting than petrol and has a high octane rating. So why aren’t all bikes (and cars…) LPG-powered? Because LPG needs to be stored in an on-board pressurised tank, and in the event of an accident, it could blow you and your passenger(s) to kingdom come…

Coming back to Akhurst’s XT500 – it’s called the Greenfly – the 500cc single-cylinder engine makes around 30bhp and delivers a mileage of 30km/l. And… er, while that doesn’t sound terribly impressive, what’s more interesting is that the bike seems to have been heavily modified, with single-sided swingarm, single-side fork, belt drive, custom-built wheels and one-off bodywork.

If he can do so much with an ancient XT500, we wonder what Mr Akhurst would turn up with if he were let loose on a new R1…!

Also see:
Quantya: Electric bikes go mainstream in the US...
Alternative fuel: 200bhp, Nitrous-fed Suzuki B-King!
Honda working on next-generation V4...
Hydrogen-Petrol hybrid Kawasaki ZX-10R...
Gottlieb Daimler Reitwagen: Coming the full circle...
Air-powered bikes moving towards production reality...?
Rudy Kurth and the amazing 1976 Cat III...
Chinese company starts exporting hydrogen fuel-cell powered mopeds...!

Elsewhere today:
Picture gallery: MotoGP bikes over the years...
Slideshow: China's motorcycle nomads...


LPG-powered motorcycle not your style? Here's one that you can wear, then. Yeah, a wearable motorcycle. Pics and more details here

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Honda 2025 racer concept sketches...


...and you thought the V4 concept was outlandish!

Pics: LA Auto Show

If you thought the recently unveiled Honda V4 concept was a bit fanciful, well, here’s the Honda 2025 racer concept that takes things to a whole new level. Designed to participate in the (imaginary) Great Race of 2025, which will entail going around the world in all of 24 hours, the concept uses Honda’s expertise in automotive, marine, robotics, and jet technologies. Well, whatever. We’ll just take Mick Doohan’s NSR500, please...

Also see:
The Husqvarna V1000 GT concept...
Hydrogen-petrol hybrid Kawasaki ZX-10R...?
The very cool BMW Lo Rider concept unveiled in Milan...
1600km/h: The Bloodhound Project...!
The Suzuki Burgman 400 Sport concept...
The Peugeot HYmotion3 Compressor concept unveiled...
Husqvarna SMQ concept shown at the 2008 EICMA...

Ducati 1198S’ DTC system: Making gods out of men?


The Ducati 1198S' DTC system lets you really use that 168bhp...

Kevin Ash, at the Telegraph, got to test ride the new Ducati 1198S recently. And while he makes all the right noises about the 1098’s mid-life facelift, styling tweaks, MotoGP-derived this and homologation special that, what’s really interesting is what he has to say about the Ducati Traction Control (DTC) system fitted on the 1198S.

DTC, which was also fitted to the Ducati 1098R last year, could only be used in conjunction with the race exhaust on that bike. Things are different on the 1198S, where the system first reduces torque by retarding the ignition, and if that’s not enough to curb wheelspin, it works with the bike’s fuel injection system to reduce power. So, yes, the 1198S seems to be the first road bike to be fitted with a full race-spec traction control system. And the results, according to Mr Ash, are spectacular.

‘It is staggeringly effective. Set aside years of mental conditioning if you can (and believe me, it's not easy), lay the bike on its ear in a turn then crack the throttle wide open. Yes, against the stop if you dare,’ says Kevin. ‘Then, instead of being fired into a low earth orbit you're driven out of the corner with a thrust so ferocious you'd think twice about unleashing it with the bike bolt upright, let alone like this. In the lower gears your biggest problem is entirely new on a road bike: the 1198 S will actually wheelie while cranked right over,’ he adds.

‘DTC will elevate most road riders and plenty of pretty reasonable racers to a whole new level of performance, up there with names you've heard of, in how fast you can charge out of a turn. There is nothing else like it bar the 1098R, nothing on the roads at all, and I don't care what Japanese superbike is in your company, it won't be able to stay with you out of corners. The 1198S’ DTC is less intrusive than the 1098R's, too, working so subtly that all you'd notice if you were looking would be a flashing red light on the dash,’ says Kevin, who is clearly quite taken by the DTC thingie.

Of course, with 168bhp on tap and with a dry weight of around 169 kilos, the Ducati 1198S was always going to be impressive – the DTC system just makes it more rideable for ordinary mortals. Now all you have to do is find that US$22,500 and you’re all set to go…

For Kevin Ash’s full riding impression of the 2009 Ducati 1198S, see here

Also see:

Riding Troy Bayliss' 1098R racebike...
Insanity: 200bhp, nitrous-powered Suzuki B-King...
Moto Morini Scrambler 1200 to go on sale next year...
Benelli Due 756 shown at the 2008 EICMA...
KTM unleash the 2009 RC8 R...
Specs, pics and video: 2009 Ducati Streetfighter!
Nicky Hayden gets to grips with Ducati's MotoGP bike...

Elsewhere today:
The coolest Yamaha RD250LC ever...
Traction control, not your style? Try this 1998 Yamaha R1 then...!


Forget the Ferrari, we want this Hayabusa-powered Smart ForTwo!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Riding Troy Bayliss’ Ducati 1098R…


WSBK champ Troy Bayliss says the 2008 1098R is the best racebike he's ever ridden!

What motorcycle enthusiast wouldn’t want to have a go on World Superbikes champ Troy Bayliss’ Ducati 1098R? Bayliss, who has among other things ridden a 990cc Ducati MotoGP bike to victory in Valencia in 2006, says it’s the 1098R that’s the best racebike he’s ever ridden, and that’s saying a lot.

The guys at Motociclismo recently had the opportunity to ride Bayliss’ 1098R at the Algarve circuit in Portugal. Here are some excerpts from what they had to say about the bike:

Once you get aboard the bike, it feels no different from the standard 1098 – this could be any 1098R, ready to roll on the street, albeit one with a hugely expensive Öhlins fork that costs many thousands of euros, and Brembos that offer extreme braking. But what’s really different with Bayliss’ bike is the electronics, which make the racebike’s brutal 200+bhp controllable.

Power delivery, especially when exiting slow bends, is smooth and consistent, and traction remains constant, reducing the intimidation factor for those riding the bike for the first time. And yet, when you open that throttle fully, the power seems to have no end – the bike wants to wheelie even in fifth gear, at speeds of more than 220km/h...

With more than 200bhp at the rear wheel, the only way this Ducati 1098R stays controllable is via expensive electronics, including its very sophisticated traction control system. It’s also a big psychological factor – knowing that that electronic safety net is there – and it allows the rider to open the throttle that little bit earlier, and take the bike to its absolute limit every time.

On the track, the bike feels supremely stable and secure. It may not be as agile as some of the Japanese WSBK racers, but the Ducati 1098R’s stability in fast corners is simply unbelievable.

Crashing the bike is not an option and we couldn’t take the bike to the outer reaches of its – and our – limits for obvious reasons, but really, Bayliss’ 1098R is like a dream to ride. Sure, there’ll be the 1198S next year, but for now, the 1098R is the best Ducati ever…!

For the full story, visit Motociclismo here

Troy Bayliss’ 2008 Ducati 1098R specs:

Engine: 1,099cc, 8-valve, liquid-cooled, L-twin

Fuel injection: Magneti Marelli

Power: 200bhp+

Gearbox: Six-speed

Chassis: Tubular trellis-type, with single-side aluminium swingarm

Suspension: 43mm USD Öhlins fork with 120mm travel, Öhlins monoshock with 127mm travel, both ends fully adjustable

Brakes: Twin 330mm discs with Brembo Monoblock callipers (front), single 245mm disc with twin-piston callipers (rear)
Wheels and Tyres: 17-inch wheels, 120/70 (front), 190/55 (rear)

Also see:
Ducati Streetfighter wins 'most beautiful bike' poll at EICMA...
Ducati 999 vs 1098: Doug Polen decides!
Desmosedici RR: For the love of Ducati...
Classic: The Ducati Berliner Apollo...
One-off: Ducati 1098 Senna
Specs and first pics: Ducati Monster 1100, 1100S
Ducati 1098R takes on Bimota DB7...
The amazing, awesome 2009 Ducati Streetfighter!

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