Saturday, November 29, 2008

Duel in hell: BMW HP2 Sport vs KTM RC8


BMW HP2 Sport takes on the KTM 1190 RC8. But which one is the best?

The Nurburgring, called the Nordschleife since 1983, is probably the toughest, most challenging race circuit in the world. Often called the ‘Green Hell,’ the Nordschleife is all of 20.83km long, with 33 left and 40 right turns. It runs through picturesque valleys and mountains, but on the track, most people are going much too fast to have any time to admire the view.

Töff magazine recently had the opportunity to pit a KTM RC8 against a BMW HP2 Sport, with their test rider Helmut Dähne thrashing both bikes around the Nordschleife. Some people have all the luck in the world, eh? Anyway, here are some excerpts from what Töff and Dähne have to say about the two bikes:

For what it’s worth, the KTM attracts more attention than the BMW, with people stopping to take pictures and ask about the bike. Also, the RC8’s seating position is surprisingly comfortable – riding it 500km on the highway is effortless. It even lets you easily carry some luggage with you. KTM engineers seem to have thought of everything. BMW, the touring specialists, are not even offering any luggage options on the HP2 Sport. It’s a twisted world…


The RC8 has the better engine, the BMW has the better chassis...

The BMW HP2 Sport – the strongest, most athletic Boxer ever promises to deliver pure sportsbike-spec riding dynamics, as does the KTM RC8. So, the Green Hell is the right place to be testing these bikes, as it would the maximum amount of strain on the chassis, gearbox and brakes.

And speaking of the chassis, the BMW’s is clearly better. It offers very precise handling, always letting you stick to the chosen line. The KTM feels a bit more… nervous. In fast bends, it’s not always easy for the KTM rider to stick to his chosen line. You must often make frequent corrections to the steering and it takes some time before you can really settle in with this bike. In terms of sheer handling prowess, the BMW clearly has an advantage with its chassis.


Riding these bikes at the limit is hard work. Much harder than, say, a Fireblade

Where the Boxer suffers is low-rev torque – there simply isn’t enough. There’s no getting away from it – the KTM engine is much better. Sure, it vibrates more than the BMW, but the power delivery is linear, more consistent. The HP2’s engine isn’t as soft, gentle as a Japanese inline-four, but it certainly feels more pleasant than the KTM engine, which vibrates enough to shake the ends of the bike’s handlebars.

Overall, neither bike is suitable for amateurs. Both, the BMW and the KTM, are much harder to get the best out of than, say, a new Fireblade. However, we must say the BMW is the more consistent of the two.

For the full shootout, visit the Töff website here

Specs: BMW HP2 Sport

Engine: Four-valves-per-cylinder, DOHC, 1170cc boxer-twin

Power: 133bhp at 8,750rpm, 115Nm at 6,000rpm

Chassis and suspension: Steel tube frame, Telelever front fork with Öhlins spring, Single-sided Paralever with Öhlins spring at the back, both ends fully adjustable

Brakes: Twin 320mm discs with four-piston callipers at the front, single 265mm disc at the back

Wheels and tyres: 17-inch forged alloy wheels, showd with 120/70 (front) and 190/55 (rear) tyres

Weight: 199kg with fuel

Specs: KTM 1190 RC8

Engine: Four-valves-per-cylinder, DOHC, 1148cc v-twin

Power: 154bhp at 10,000rpm, 120Nm at 8,000rpm

Chassis and suspension: Steel tube frame, WP 43mm USD forks, WP monoshock, both ends fully adjustable

Brakes: Twin 320mm discs with four-piston callipers at front, single 220mm disc at the back

Wheels and tyres: 17-inch alloy wheels, shod with 120/70 (front) and 190/55 (rear) tyres

Weight: 198kg with fuel

Also see:
Face-off: KTM RC8 vs Yamaha R1...!
Bimota DB7 first ride...
The world's first supercharged KTM RC8...
Battle of the Twins: Ducati 1098 vs KTM 1190 RC8
The Husqvarna V1000 GT concept...
Pics and specs: The amazing Ducati Streetfighter...
The very cool BMW Lo-Rider concept...
Moto Morini Scrambler 1200 to go on sale next year...
The 200bhp Suzuki B-King. WE WANT ONE!!!

Elsewhere today:
If you really want to drink and ride, get a can of this...

Friday, November 28, 2008

TTX01: The 86bhp, 200km/h electric sportsbike is here…


The TTX01 - a battery-powered bike that can do up to 200km/h...!
Pics: Gizmag

Commissioned by TTX GP founder Azhar Hussain, the TTX01 – a prototype electric sportsbike – is now ready, and was recently unveiled at the NEC Bike Show in the UK. The bike, which is built around an old GSX-R chassis, suspension and bodywork, is fitted with two electric motors that produce a total of 86 horsepower and 125Nm of torque.

Currently, the TTX01 is geared for a top speed of 176km/h, and will accelerate from zero to 96km/h in 3.5 seconds. With different gearing, the bike will do up to 200km/h, though at the expense of low-speed acceleration.

According to Hussain, the aim is to build around 50 units of the TTX02 by 2010. An evolution of the TTX01, the 02 will have two-wheel-drive, carbonfibre chassis, hot-swappable 20KW battery packs and a price tag of around US$30,000.

For more details on the TTX GP, visit their official website here


Here's a video of the bike in action...

Also see:
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SAM: A battery-powered trike from Switzerland...
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Norton to return to the Isle of Man TT in 2009


Norton will be racing at the Isle of Man TT in 2009, with this rotary-engined NRV588, which is actually based on the early-1990s F1
Pic: Performance Bikes

Back in October this year, Norton had been revived once more, with UK businessman Stuart Garner buying the rights to the Norton brand and setting up a new factory and office complex for Norton near Donington Park.

The company is now supposed to be working on all-new streetbike – probably to be called Commando – which will be launched in 2009. In the meanwhile, Norton have also announced they’re coming back to race at the Isle of Man next year. Robert Dunlop’s son, 20-year-old Michael Dunlop will race a Norton NRV588 rotary-engined bike at the IoM TT in 2009.

‘This is a fantastic opportunity to make history with Norton's return to one of the world's most famous races. It means a lot to me as I will be following in my father's tracks, as he finished third on his JPS Norton when he competed in 1990,’ says Michael.

Steve Hislop won the Senior TT on a rotary-engined Norton F1 back in 1992, and Norton have been absent from the Isle of Man ever since. The NRV588, which Michael will be racing, is actually an evolution of the old F1 and has been developed by Brian Crighton and the Spondon team. More about the NRV588 here

Also see:
Would you ride an LPG-powered motorcycle...?
200bhp, NOS'd Suzuki B-King...
Ducati 1198S' DTC system: Now you can also ride like Stoner...!
Waiting for Honda's all-new V4...
KTM X-Bow Race: Sometimes, four wheels are not so bad...
1885 Gottlieb Daimler replica: Back to where it all started...
Brad Pitt wants to be like Valentino Rossi...

Elsewhere today:
Good riddance: Motorcycling's ten turkeys...
SHARP announces new safety ratings for flip-front helmets...

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

UK study says women are sexually aroused by the sound of big, revving engines…


If a revving Maserati can get women sexually aroused, how bad can a Desmosedici RR be?

Right, if there ever was a reason to fear the oncoming age of electric bikes and fuel cells etc., it’s the results of this study that was recently conducted in the UK. And while the study was actually about cars, we think it may be equally relevant for bikes…

Psychologist David Moxon studied the responses of 40 people, measuring their testosterone levels before and after they heard the sound of Ferrari, Maserati, Lamborghini, and Volkswagen engines revving. Testosterone levels rose dramatically in all the women after hearing the Maserati, while T-levels in all the women dropped after their heard the VW Polo. The men seemed to prefer the Lamborghini, with T-levels rising in 60% of the men after hearing the Lambo.

‘We saw significant peaks in the amount of testosterone in the body, particularly in women. Testosterone is indicative of positive arousal in the human body, so we can confidently conclude from the results that the roar of an engine actually does cause a primeval physiological response in females,’ says Moxon. This was true even for those female participants who weren’t particularly interested in cars at all, he added.

Hmmm… so a couple of things then. Whatever you do, don’t drive a VW Polo – try getting an MV Agusta F4 CC or Ducati Streetfighter instead. And then, to make sure your screaming inline-four or booming v-twin is doing its job properly, start visiting your local Yoshimura / Akrapovic / Muzzy / Termignoni / Vance & Hines / Arrow dealer outlets now

The best bikes for pulling:
The mighty Yamaha V-Max...
The all-Italian Ducati Desmosedici RR...
The Dark Knight's BatPod...
The buffed-up Harley-Davidson V-Rod Muscle...
The dark, individualistic Buell 1125CR...
The cool, stylish Moto Guzzi V7 Classic...
The awesome MV Agusta F4 1078RR...
The street-brawler BMW K1300R...

Elsewhere today:
Sex on wheels: What your bike says about you...
Nicky Hayden is in Vogue...
Make your own Ducati 1098 streetfighter...!


Is the old RD250LC one of the best two-stroke sportsbikes ever? Find out here
Pic: Fast Bikes

In conversation with Gerald Kiska


Gerald Kiska has some interesting opinions to express, and he doesn't mince words!
Pics: Motociclismo

Based in Austria, Gerald Kiska has a Bachelor’s degree in Industrial design, has worked with various design agencies in Austria and Germany and is the founder-owner of Kiska, an industrial design company.

Gerald has worked with bike manufacturers like KTM, Aprilia, Piaggio and Moto Guzzi and is generally well respected in the two-wheeler world for his designing capabilities. Motociclismo recently had the opportunity to do an interview with him in Milan. Here are some excerpts from what Gerald had to say:

On the ‘sharp’ designs he uses for KTM

"That is a choice designed especially for KTM, to somehow express the marque’s soul and heart. I find it perfect KTM’s hard-edged machines, and we’ll continue to develop this design language for them. The rest also seem to believe this idea has been successful. Honda, Yamaha, Kawasaki and Aprilia designs have gained more edges over the last few years – just compare the first RSV to the current model."

On working in groups

"Yes, there are people behind the curtains. Certainly, I work in groups, but I also work a lot in the group. There are at least 15 other people who work on KTM designs, though the results must always be kept consistent. Personally, I am a fan of the traditional way of doing things – with clay. I want to touch the motorcycles I sculpt…"

On design being brought in-house by motorcycle companies

"Claudio Castiglioni was the first to hire professionals - Galluzzi and Terblanche - and bring design within his company. Before that, most companies relied on consulting firms like mine."

On how he managed to succeed

"People. My people are carefully selected and they work hard. Quality is everything. Design is a difficult environment, a bit like being in Formula One. Everyone wants to win, and for that, apart from being good, you must also have the right car…!"

On working for KTM

"Yes, they were my first customers. We have always done everything for them – their bikes’ styling, the KTM apparel, advertising campaigns… The SuperDuke was a major turning point, the first bike for which our design was really acknowledged and appreciated."

On his favourite motorcycles

"The Ducati 916 is a unique, timeless masterpiece. Then, I also like the Benelli TNT."

On Ducati designs

"After Terblanche, Ducati is getting consistent. It’s interesting that three designers created three different bikes, but consistent with each other – the Monster (Galluzzi), the 916 (Tamburini) and Supermoto (Terblanche). But the first rule of industrial design is that it’s the company that should count, not you. You respect historical continuity. Terblanche was too self-centred."

On future KTMs

"We are still considering various options. For example, we’re still not sure if a naked 160bhp bike is the right thing to do. In the future, I believe the market will be divided into two – one for more or less utilitarian machines that would be used for commuting, and the other for sportsbikes for people who really want to ride. For the latter, we’ll need to see what can be the best solution for our customers…"

On the KTM RC8’s styling

"We were inspired by the Stealth Fighter, the most technically advanced aircraft in the world. We started with lines in the middle, the top was much less important and the tail is painted black to make it 'disappear'. With KTM, we can make a niche product – there is no need to please everybody."

On working with Chinese two-wheeler manufacturers

"In China, at the moment, I do not see any style or any brand emerging. Chinese culture seems to be completely different to the Japanese – it’s not about improving the product, but only about selling more units and making money."

Also see:
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When Lamborghini decided to build a motorcycle...
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Pendolauto: Franco Sbarro's four-wheeled motorcycle concept...
Pierre Terblanche leaves Ducati... to do boats!
Blast from the past: The mighty Britten V1000
Giordano Loi’s Ducati Desmo Infinito...

Elsewhere today:
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Harley-Davidson XR1200 launched in the US...
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Monday, November 24, 2008

Wakan Roadster 100 hits the road


The Wakan Roadster 100. Cool, in its own French way...


After the recent S&S 50th Anniversary Special, Wakan are ready with their next bike – the Roadster 100. The bike is fitted with the same 1,640cc, 45-degree v-twin as all other Wakan machines, and it makes 115bhp at 6,250rpm and 156Nm of torque at 4,250rpm.

The Wakan Roadster 100’s tubular backbone chassis is made of chrome-molybdenum and uses the engine as a stressed member. The front fork is a 46mm USD Ceriani number, the rear shock is a ZF Sachs unit, the wheels are forged aluminium Marchesinis and the meaty swingarm is made of aluminium alloy. The bike weighs 177kg dry and claimed top speed is 250km/h.

The Roadster 100 is fitted with a single 340mm brake disc at the front, with six-piston AJP callipers, and the rear disc is 220mm. The bike rides on 17-inch wheels, shod with 180/55 (rear) and 120/70 Michelin Pilot Power rubber. The Wakan looks charming all right, thought at around US$41,500 it’s a bit expensive…

More pics and details on the Wakan website here

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Ah, happiness...

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