Monday, December 22, 2008

RetroSBK’s GSX-R1000-based Yoshimura Suzuki GS1000 tribute


From left: The 1979 GS1000S and the GSX-R1000-based machine that RetroSBK have build in tribute to the original. Very, very cool...
Original GS1000 pic: Motorcycle USA

Remember Wes Cooley and the Yoshimura Suzuki GS1000 on which he won the AMA Superbike Championship in 1979 and 1980? While the GS1000 was first made in 1977, Suzuki later produced a special model – the GS1000S – in tribute to Cooley’s race wins aboard the Yoshimura-fettled GS.

With around 87 horsepower, tuner-friendliness, reasonable handling and a generous helping of reliability, the Suzuki GS1000 was the seminal sportsbike of the 1970s. By the standards of that era, the GS’ air-assisted forks, steel tube chassis and twin brake discs at the front worked very well indeed. And Cooley’s spectacular racing style, coupled with all those race wins, made the big GS lust-worthy for most sportsbike fans in those days.

More than thirty years have passed since the GS1000 first came out, but the bike hasn’t been completely forgotten just yet. Take William Kenefick, of RetroSBK, who’s built the modern-day equivalent of a GS1000 that you see here. Based on a 2008 GSX-R1000, the bike has, according to the RetroSBK website, been built in tribute to Hideo ‘Pops’ Yoshimura’s contribution to production-based roadracing in the United States.


In spirit, RetroSBK's tribute remains faithful to the original

Unfortunately, the RetroSBK website doesn’t seem to have William Kenefick’s email ID, so we couldn’t write to him and ask for more details. But according to whatever little information we could glean from various bike forums, the GSX-R1000-based GS-tribute took over 400 man-hours to make! The tail unit, fuel tank and chassis are stock GSX-R items, a full Yoshimura exhaust system has been installed, various carbonfibre bits have been bolted on, and then of course there’s that custom-built 1970s-style fairing.

There’s also a new Ohlins shock at the back, the front fork’s internals have been reworked by RetroSBK, the Brembo brakes have been uprated to race-spec components and power output is a claimed 178bhp at the rear wheel. Amazing stuff, eh? Oh yes, we love this bike…!

Also see:
Heron Suzuki GB Replica GSX-R1100...
The Bruiser Brothers: Suzuki GSX-R1100 and Bimota SB6...
Classic: The rotary-engined Suzuki RE-5...
Barry Sheene-tribute: Chris Vermeulen replica GSX-R1000...
200-horsepower, NOS'd Suzuki B-King...
Two-stroke glory: The Suzuki RGV250...
Memorable: The 1983 Suzuki XN85 Turbo!

Elsewhere today:
The Carberry Enfield 1000 is ready to roll...

Friday, December 19, 2008

Honda in tie-up with GS Yuasa Corporation, will be ready with first electric bike by 2010


Soichiro Honda himself is no more, but the spirit of innovation and invention continues at Honda. After 60 years of making motorcycles powered by the IC engine, Honda will start making electric bikes in 2010. Bring on the next 60 years, and the battery-powered Fireblade...!

With dozens of small-scale manufacturers already building electric bikes all over the world, the big companies had to get in on the action sooner or later. And in the case of Honda, it’s going to happen by 2010.

‘Honda is currently developing a battery-powered electric motorcycle which emits no CO2 during operation. The company is aiming to introduce this electric motorcycle to the market about in two years from now,’ says Takeo Fukui, Chairman and CEO – Honda Motor Co. ‘History shows that motorcycles remain strong in a difficult market environment and have always supported Honda in difficult times,’ he adds.

Honda have, in fact, tied up with GS Yuasa Corp. for the development of high-performance lithium-ion batteries for its electric motorcycles. The two companies will jointly set up a research and development centre, and a battery manufacturing facility, near Kyoto in Japan.

The Honda-GS Yuasa joint venture company is being set up at an investment of around US$ 18.5 million, with Honda holding a 49% stake in the company, and the rest being held by GS Yuasa.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Gurney Alligator Instigator: Make it snappy!


The all-new Gurney Alligator Instigator. Conventional, it certainly isn't...

Dan Gurney, founder of Dan Gurney Alligator Motorcycles, Inc. is at it again. One of our readers, Bill Kniegge has sent us some information and pics of the latest Gurney project – the Alligator Instigator – which has been developed by Dan and his son Justin.

While the earlier Alligator was powered by a 670cc, single-cylinder Honda engine, the Instigator is fitted with a 2032cc S&S V-twin, which is much bigger and more powerful than any engine previously used on Alligator motorcycles. The feet-forward design, however, is the same as before and the very low seat height provides a very low centre of gravity, which is said to help handling in a very big way.

Other bits on the Alligator Instigator include a Baker six-speed gearbox, custom-built exhaust system, a chassis made of chrome-moly 4030 tubing, machined-from-billet aluminium swingarm, USD fork, Penske monoshock, Dymag forged alloy wheels and Beringer brakes. The bodywork is made of carbonfibre and instrumentation is from Motec.

‘Conventional sportbikes are tall, with short wheelbases to make them turn quickly. This limits their acceleration and braking by making them prone to wheelies and stoppies. Gurney's concept has some extra wheelbase that may slow steering somewhat, but its centre of gravity – another important aspect of swift turning – is so low that the Alligator flicks into corners very quickly,’ said the legendary Kevin Cameron, when he rode a Gurney Alligator bike back in 2000, for Cycle World magazine. ‘Under acceleration and braking, the Alligator's lower centre of gravity and longer wheelbase allow it to generate higher peak values without lifting its wheels. And why not? Orthodoxy is not destiny,’ said Cameron.

Hmmm… the Gurneys plans to build around 50 units of the Instigator, so if you want one, you’d better hurry up already. Visit the Alligator Motorcycle website here for more details.

Also see:
The amazing Carver One...
Classic: The Bimota YB6 Tuatara...
An Alfa Romeo motorcycle...?!
The motorcycle that's not afraid of SUVs...
Face-off: 125cc KTM vs litre-class Suzuki...
Looking back: Old motorcycle advertisements...
Dannii Minogue likes motorcycles...
The fastest, most expensive Honda ever...

Classic: The 1970s Laverda 750SF


The 1970s Laverda 750SF. Looks remarkably cool even today...


Laverda have made some pretty remarkable bikes over the years, our favourites being the V6 Bol d'Or racer, the Jota 1000 and the rather more recent 750 Formula S. Another Laverda that we think is pretty cool is the 750SF, which the company made from 1970-1976.

In the mid-1960s, on the recommendation of his son, Francesco Laverda (the company’s founder) decided to build a bigger, more powerful motorcyclew, which would be capable of touring longer distances than was the norm in Europe. Yes, the new bike would be designed primarily for the American market…

By the end of 1966, Laverda were ready with a prototype machine that was fitted with a 650cc parallel-twin. However, the bike took two more years of development time before it could be put into production. And by the time it did go into production, the engine had been enlarged to 744cc (though a very few 650s were also built…), and thus the Laverda 750 was born.

Initially, the Laverda 750 was sold in the US under the ‘American Eagle’ brand, which was promoted by one Jack McCormack – the man responsible for the ‘You meet the nicest people on a Honda’ ad campaign of the early 1960s. However, American Eagle went bust by around 1970, and the 750 then went on sale in the US under Laverda’s own brand name.


Between 1970-76, around 16,000 units of the 750SF were built

In 1970, the 750 also became the Laverda 750SF (Super Freni, or ‘Super Brakes’), with bigger, better brakes, redesigned chassis and a five-speed gearbox. The 750SF weighed around 230 kilos, and with its 744cc, SOHC, air-cooled parallel-twin producing 60 horsepower at 6,600rpm, the bike was capable of hitting a top speed of 165km/h.

Over the next few years, the 750SF got improved instrumentation (with Nippon Denso bits replacing the earlier Smiths units), a redesigned exhaust system and disc brakes instead of the earlier drums. By the 1975, the big Laverda’s gear shift pedal had been moved to the left, and the rear brake pedal to the right, but only for the US models.

The bike’s final iteration – the SF3, which came out in 1976 – got a few styling tweaks, cast alloy wheels, disc brakes at the rear and a new seat with a fibreglass cowl. Although the bike was available brand new in 1977, actual production stopped in 1976, with Laverda having produced around 16,000 units of the bike from 1970-76.

According to some road tests of the 1970s, the Laverda 750SF was reliable and well built, but the suspension was excessively stiff, the clutch was weak, gears were hard to shift, and thanks to its exhaust system, the bike was a bit too loud. Hmmm… who cares, really? We think the 750SF was totally cool back in the 1970s, and it’s just as cool today…


A restored Laverda 750SF in action...!

Also see:
Ducati Berliner Apollo: The 1960s V-Max!
Memorable: The mid-1980s Honda VF1000R...
Gilera SP01 and SP02: Good things come in small packages...
Icy cool: The 1970s/80s Moto Guzzi 850 Le Mans...
The late-1970s Peugeot-powered DJ 1200 Bol d’Or racer...
The amazing Münch Mammut TTS-E...
Memorable: The Bimota DB2...

Elsewhere today:
Memorable: The rotary-engined Hercules W2000...


Bayliss vs Rossi would be the greatest race ever, but is it going to happen? Ducati are ok with Bayliss coming out of retirement for this one, but would Yamaha allow this race to happen? Dennis Noyes at Speed TV has the story here!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Riding impression: Regis Laconi’s WSBK Kawasaki ZX-10R


According to Motociclismo, riding the ZX-10R is like riding a runaway horse...

After Troy Bayliss’ 1098R, Noriyuki Haga’s YZF-R1 and Carlos Checa’s Fireblade, Motociclismo have now ridden Regis Laconi’s Kawasaki ZX-10R racebike. Here are some excerpts from what they have to say about the green-meanie:

Despite the redoubtable talents of Team PSG-1 riders, Regis Laconi and Makoto Tamada, the ZX-10R wasn’t very successful in the 2008 World Superbikes season. The 2008 ZX-10R is actually smaller and much more manageable than its predecessor. The Kawasaki now feels more like its other Japanese rivals, though the ergonomics are still not as well sorted…

To ride, this 2008 ZX-10R is less physical than the 2007 bike – changing direction is now easier, the pressurized Öhlins fork is not too harsh, and the overall suspension/chassis package lets the bike make full use of the Pirelli tyres’ grip. Yes, this bike is quicker and much more effective than the one with which Fonsi Nieto struggled last year.

The problems start when you really open the throttle – you feel like you’re astride a runaway horse. Power delivery is abrupt and difficult to modulate, which makes life difficult for the rear suspension and the rear tyre. The bike moves around quite a bit and feels a bit unstable at full chat, and the traction control system has to work hard to keep it all under control.


The power is all there, Kawasaki just need to make it more manageable!

It seems the Kawasaki needs significant improvement in the area of electronics, so that power delivery is made more controllable. Compared with the other Japanese bikes, the Kawasaki is much more demanding to ride – the chassis and suspension still need more work.

With the declared 208bhp at the back wheel, the ZX-10R has adequate horsepower – it just needs to be smoothened out a bit, and the peaks and troughs in the power delivery need to be ironed out. The acceleration is actually quite impressive, with the bike wanting to lift the front wheel everywhere. It just needs to be made a bit more controllable. Perhaps in 2009…?

For the full riding impression, see the Motociclismo website here

World Superbikes PSG-1 Kawasaki ZX-10R: Tech specs

Engine: DOHC, 16-valve, 998cc inline-four, with Magneti Marelli electronic fuel injection
Maximum torque: 117Nm at 11,000rpm
Maximum power: >208bhp
Transmission: Six-speed
Chassis: Aluminium twin-spar
Front suspension: 43mm pressurized USD Öhlins TTX25 fork, 135mm travel, multi-adjustable
Rear suspension: Öhlins KA5511 monoshock, 140mm travel, multi-adjustable
Front brakes: Brembo, twin 320mm discs
Wheels and tyres: 120/65 ZR 16.5 (front), 190/65 ZR 16.5 (rear)
Declared dry weight: 162kg

Also see:
Sheene Tribute: Vermeulen-replica GSX-R1000...
Airbrush magic for motorcycles...
A diesel-powered Kawasaki, anyone...?
Franco Sbarro does a four-wheeled motorcycle concept...
Singularly sexy: The Ducati Supermono!
Nanotech: Smart helmets could save lives...
Memorable: The Moriwaki Dream Fighter...
1992-2008: Evolution of the Honda Fireblade...
Riding the Buell 1125R...

Elsewhere today:
A Taiwanese-made, fuel-cell-powered scooter...!
Do the smart thing, get a scooter...


...and here's the 2009 ZX-6R being tested at the Autopolis circuit in Japan

Mad Kaw: Turbo ZX-10R from Japan


Isao Yoshioka's turbocharged, 230bhp, 2004-model Kawasaki ZX-10R...

Sometimes, it’s a bit hard to believe the stock Kawasaki ZX-10R isn’t actually wild enough for some people. Take, for example, Isao Yoshioka san, who’s sent us this picture of his ZX-10R Ninja, which is loaded with aftermarket parts – MTC pistons, Crower rods, Muzzy clutch, T3 turbocharger, SARD wastegate and a handmade exhaust system. Also, the wheels have been changed to lightweight forged alloy Marchesini units, and the brakes are special BRR units.

Yoshioka san reckons that Kawasaki engine is making around 230 horsepower, and since he’s not satisfied with that (of course he isn’t, who would?), he plans to run more boost, add NOS, change the cams and use a longer, handmade swingarm.

Yoshioka says he likes Faster and Faster and that he finds Japanese motorcycle websites uninteresting. He also says he wants to go to the US because he likes drag racing and custom bike shows. Ah, well, we wish you all the best, Isao! And if we ever come down to Japan, can we take that ZX-10R of yours for a spin…?

Also see:
John Hopkins MotoGP-replica ZX-10R...
From Japan: The coolest, maddest, wildest scooter ever...
Yacouba Galle's Brutale-based Bestiale...
The world's first supercharged KTM RC8...
Bimota unleash the DB7 Oronero...
Hydrogen-petrol hybrid Kawasaki ZX-10R...
200bhp, NOS'd Suzuki B-King. We want one!!!
Ducati 1198S' DTC system: Now you can also be a riding God...
Women love big, noisy engines...
Team Nescafe Can replica Yamaha YZF750SP

Elsewhere today:
First ride: 2009 Bimota DB7...


Old school cool: Graeme Crosby talks about his Kawasakis here

Saturday, December 13, 2008

In conversation with Leslie Porterfield, the fastest woman in the US, on two wheels


Leslie Porterfield, the fastest woman in the world on a motorcycle!


The 32-year-old Leslie Porterfield has been riding bikes for 16 years, and if you ever meet her at a stoplight, you’d best not try to beat her off the line. That’s because Leslie uses a much-modified Suzuki Hayabusa, which she recently rode at the BUB Motorcycle Speed Trials, hitting an impressive 234.197mph (374.715km/h). Yes indeed, Ms Porterfield is now officially the fastest female motorcyclist in the US.

Leslie, who’s broken various land speed records and who’s actually the first woman to enter the Bonneville 200mph Club on a conventional motorcycle (rather than one of those purpose-built land speed streamliners…), also won the 2008 AMA Racing Female Rider of the Year Award.

‘I’m hopelessly hooked on motorcycles – I truly love motorcycles and the people involved in motorcycling,’ says Leslie, who’s also an entrepreneur and owns High Five Cycles, a used motorcycles dealership in Dallas.

Suitably impressed with her motorcycling accomplishments, we sent her an email with some questions, and she was nice enough to respond. Here’s what she had to say:


"I try to keep my high speed on the salt at Bonneville," says Leslie...

On her 234mph Hayabusa

My racebike started out as a 2002 Hayabusa. It is now heavily modified, thanks to Scott Horner of Head's Up Performance and Rhys Griffiths of Apex Speed Technologies. The bike is turbocharged, with Airtech bodywork, a lock-up clutch and a really trick ECU from Apex. I have two motors for the bike built by Scott – one to run the 1350cc class, and a stroker motor for the 2000cc class.

On her 192mph Honda CBR1000RR

This year I also rode a CBR1000 in the production class. It had few modifications because of the limitations for the class. We re-geared it and put a Bazzaz tuner on it, and I was able to get the world record at 192mph! We had very little time to prepare it. I was drilling bolts for safety wire at Bonneville during Speedweek. I had some stiff competition against Rosey Lackey on the MV Agusta, but I ended up with the record.

On whether she actually works on her own bikes

I do work on my bikes, but Scott does almost everything to my Turbo bike. I'm learning more and more about the electronics thanks to Rhys. I am amazed at the amount of data that the ECU logs. It logs with GPS, throttle position, boost, fuel pressure, water temp, wheel speed and much more.

I help with minor repairs and maintenance, and an occasional motor swap. I own a used motorcycle dealership in Dallas that offers service, parts, and sales of used bikes. It's not uncommon to find me in my service department doing oil changes, cleaning carburettors, swapping chains and sprockets, or dismantling something we're sending to the painter. I've done a lot of car repairs, too - everything from changing starters to rebuilding an automatic transmission, to swapping rear ends. Most of my nine personal bikes are late model, and don't need much more than maintenance lately.

On how she got into motorcycle land speed racing

I started Land Speed Racing in 2007. Going to Bonneville was always a dream of mine – I have read about it for a long time. It is the only place on earth to find such a wide array of machinery, and the people who put on the events and other racers are some of the nicest people I've ever met. I started riding when I was 16 years old, when I bought a motorcycle for transportation. Took a road race school at age 19, and I was hooked. I road raced off and on for a while…

I also hold an SCCA car road racing license and I’ve pre-ridden the Baja 1000 – would love to participate in the race sometime soon. Got the opportunity to make a few passes on a pro stock drag bike last year, and I hope to get back out on the dragstrip again. I also tried motocross several years ago, and while I found it quite enjoyable, I'm terrible at it. I am not programmed to fly through the air on a bike!

On her everyday street rides

I have several bikes. Most of the time I ride my 2008 CBR1000, or my Ducati 998. I also have a CRF450 motard bike that I zip through town on. It's such a hooligan bike! I try to keep my high speed on the salt at Bonneville. I will say that I've had a few too many speeding tickets, and maybe one or two in the triple digits. But that was a long time ago!

On MotoGP

I love MotoGP. I have watched races in Motegi, Valencia, Laguna Seca, and Indy. They are all amazing riders on some of the most sophisticated machines. I love wandering through the pits looking at the bikes. I admire all of the riders.

On how she prepares for the races

I prepare myself before every run by mentally going through everything I have to do from the starting line. I make mental notes of body position and try to improve it every time. Aerodynamics are extremely important in this sport, so having as much of my body as I can out of the wind is important.

My first pass down the salt this year made me a little bit nervous. I looked down the track from the starting line and thought about the last time I was there. Last year I ended up coming off of the bike at over 100mph, and breaking seven ribs, puncturing a lung, and had a concussion. I was helicoptered from Bonneville to the hospital in Salt Lake City. Luckily, I was only in the hospital overnight. After a long drive home, I went back to work the next day, although I was moving pretty slow. Slept sitting up for a month and a half.

I had to put those thoughts out of my head this year. After my first pass down the salt, I was back into the groove and ready to break some records. In all competitive sports, there are risks, and I try to minimize mine as best I can. I made a pass at 231mph to qualify for the record, and on my return run I was at around 240mph when I threw a rod through the cases. I was lucky and thankful that nothing locked up. I still managed to average 234mph on that run, which put my new world record at 232mph. It also earned me the title of the fastest woman in the world on a motorcycle. I was thrilled, even though I had a gaping hole in my motor!

On her all-time favourites

Bike: the CBR1000, my souped up CRF50

Car: I like my BMW Z4 M coupe! I think I'm going to try to find a mid-60's Lincoln Continental with suicide doors next. I've always wanted one

Racing hero/heroine: Of course every other Land Speed Racer out there. And I have sooo many heros... and heroines... all of the fast women in motorsport

Food: Pepperoni Pizza

Drink: Water, an occasional vodka and cranberry

Music: I love everything from rock to blues, jazz, classical

Movie: I love old Audrey Hepburn movies - Breakfast at Tiffany's, Roman Holiday (yes, I am a girlie-girl sometimes). And of course motorcycle movies - On Any Sunday, World's Fastest Indian

Holiday destination: I'm in Costa Rica right now, and I like it! I have a house in Colorado and love to ski, also. I love to travel, anywhere new excites me...

Thank you, Leslie, for speaking to Faster and Faster.
We also thank Ed Kuhlenkamp (President, Build Momentum) for having arranged the email interview


Also see:
In conversation with KTM designer, Gerald Kiska...
Riding impression: Troy Bayliss' Ducati 1098R...
Project Bloodhound: The quest for 1,600km/h...
And the maddest, wildest ever scooter is...?
Brad Pitt wants to be Valentino Rossi...!
Marisa Miller does the Harley-Davidson V-Rod Muscle...
Born in the USA: Riding the Roehr 1250sc...

Friday, December 12, 2008

Riding impression: Moto Guzzi Millepercento BB1


With 50% more power than the standard Griso 1100, the Millepercento BB1 is looking good

Pics: Motociclismo

First shown earlier this year, the Millepercento BB1 features a bored-out, liquid-cooled, 1420cc version of the air-cooled 1100cc opposed-twin used on the Moto Guzzi Griso 1100. A different fuel-injection system, Ohlins suspension and Brembo brakes complete the package, and we think the bike actually looks very cool – in a lean, mean, old-fashioned way...

Motociclismo recently had the opportunity to ride the bike at the Monza circuit, in Italy, and here are some excerpts from what they have to say about the BB1:

When you see the Millepercento BB1 for the first time, the first thing you’re likely to notice is the radiator, apart from which the bike looks quite similar to the standard Moto Guzzi Griso 1100. The radiator is masked by strips of carbonfibre and doesn’t harm the aesthetics at all.

The BB1’s 1420cc liquid-cooled engine, which has two spark plugs per cylinder and titanium valves, is a perfect fit for the stock Moto Guzzi chassis, which remains unchanged. The increase in power, over the standard Griso 1100, is incredible. With 117bhp in place of the stock bike’s 77bhp, the BB1’s 1420cc engine is about 50% more powerful than the air-cooled Guzzi mill.


It's long, low and heavy, but the BB1 has its own charm. Probably...

The BB1 feels roomier than the stock bike, and is more stable at higher speeds. The new fuel injection system made cold starts a bit difficult, and this needs to be changed. On the move, the bike feels heavy, though its low centre of gravity keeps things manageable.

Power delivery is not really linear, or very consistent – the throttle is more like an on/off switch. Even when you try to accelerate gently, the power comes in all at once – the amount of power that goes to the rear wheel is just not proportional to how much you turn the throttle. This makes it difficult to control the bike, especially in slower corners, where it becomes impossible to feed in the power gradually.

On long straights and fast corners, however, the power delivery seems impressive. The BB1 is stable at high speeds, and though turn-in isn’t very quick, once you pick a line through a corner, the bike pretty much sticks to it. The brakes feel excellent, very powerful. And finally, yes, the bike still vibrates, though no more than the standard Griso.

The Millepercento BB1 will be available in Moto Guzzi dealerships from February 2009 onwards, at a price of around US$32,000.

For the full article, visit the Motociclismo website here

Also see:
First pics: 2009 Moto Guzzi Stelvio 1200...
Confederate Fighter: The most expensive Christmas present ever...
The 420bhp MTT Turbine Streetfighter...
If you've always wanted a Ferrari motorcycle...
Sheer Muscle: The Kawabusa II...
The Wakan 100 Roadster hits the... road
2009 Ducati Streetfighter wins beauty award...

Elsewhere today:
2009 Aprilia RS125: A 16-year-old's wet dream...

Moto2: 600cc four-stroke class regulations announced


Oh no, we've posted the wrong picture! But wait, who cares. Moto2 bikes should be just about this fast, and as for the racing... ho-hum...

The FIM has announced regulations for the 600cc four-stroke class, which will replace the current 250cc world championship series in 2011. To be called ‘Moto2,’ the new category will have bikes fitted with normally-aspirated 600cc, four-stroke engines, with the rev limit being 16,000rpm for four-cylinder engines, 15,500rpm for three-cylinder engines and 15,000rpm for twins.

In a move aimed at keeping costs low, Moto2 rules will only allow for data loggers, ECU and timing transponders supplied by the organisers. These will not cost more than US$900, and no other electronics will be permitted.

Moto2 bikes’ chassis will not be restricted in any way and manufacturers will be completely free to develop their own chassis and swingarm. Carbon brake discs and carbon composite wheels will not be allowed, and the FIM will also issue a list of other materials and manufacturing methods which won’t be permitted in Moto2.

Each rider in the Moto2 series will be limited to one bike only, with a maximum of two complete engines for each race. And here’s the clincher – the engines used in any given race will be available for purchase by rival competitors, for the fixed price of US$26,700, within one hour of a Moto2 Grand Prix race being completed.

The bikes will need to weigh a minimum of 135kg (in case of four-cylinder engines), 130kg (for bikes with three-cylinder engines) and 125kg (for bikes with two-cylinder engines.)

Hmmm… we don’t really know what to say, but on the whole, this whole Moto2 thing sounds dumb. Low cost racing is all fine – at the club level. But when it comes to top-level Grand Prix racing, we’re not too sure about the use of severely restricted engines.

Also, at this level, rules like competitors being allowed to buy each others’ engines seems just plain stupid. If anything, it seems like a recipe for one-make-only racing, and the 250cc replacement class should certainly not be that! Anyway, all should be revealed in 2010, when these Moto2 four-stroke 600s will first come out and race alongside the current two-stroke 250s. (That will be the last year for 250s before the 600s take over in 2011. ) We'll be happy if we're proved wrong, but for now, we do believe 250s will make mincemeat of the new-age 600s in 2010...

Also see:
The biggest ever collection of 2008 MotoGP wallpaper...!
Three Spree: The coolest trikes in the world...
Memorable: Graeme Crosby and his bikes...
Riding Noriyuki Haga's Yamaha R1...
Norton to return to the Isle of Man races in 2009...
The man even Valentino Rossi can't beat...
Face-off: Jason Crump vs Tiff Needell!
The coolest ever Kawasaki ZX-10R Ninja...

Elsewhere today:
Beautiful old classic bikes: Here and here

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Motorcycle Buyers: The ones that got away


Hmmm..., so why didn't everybody just buy one of these?

According to the J.D. Power and Associates 2008 Motorcycle Escaped Shopper Study, which analyzes the reasons shoppers consider a particular motorcycle brand but ultimately purchase a different brand, finds that 51% of new motorcycle shoppers cite dealer-related issues as a reason for rejecting a motorcycle brand.

According to this inaugural study, which is based on responses from 3,022 new motorcycle buyers, one of the primary dealer-related issues for rejecting a brand is the inability to test ride a bike, which was mentioned by one-fourth of shoppers as a reason for rejection.


Some people shouldn't have too much trouble getting test rides, but for the rest of us...

Motorcyclists want to try before they buy

Seven% of shoppers indicate that the inability to test ride was the most influential reason for not purchasing a particular motorcycle brand. In addition, 18% of shoppers rejected a motorcycle because it was not available at the dealership, while the perception of being able to receive better service at another dealership is mentioned by 15% of shoppers as a reason for rejection.

‘To avoid losing customers due to dealer-related issues, it’s important for dealers to better manage customer expectations,’ says Tim Fox, research manager of the powersports practice at J.D. Power and Associates. ‘For example, making customers aware before they arrive at the dealership why they can or cannot test ride a particular motorcycle may help brands convert more shopper visits into sales,’ he adds.


Prices and financing, reasons why more people buy GSX-Rs than Desmosedici RRs

Prices and financing are important concerns

The study also finds that price and financing are cited most often as the reason for rejecting a motorcycle brand, with 57% of shoppers mentioning price-related issues as a reason for rejection. Overall, price is cited by 41% of shoppers as a reason for rejection, and 28% name price as the most influential reason for rejection.

Similarly, 16% of shoppers mention the lack of low-interest financing, rebates or other incentives as a rejection reason, while 23% of shoppers mention high maintenance costs.

‘It is important for dealers to understand that for many of these lost sales, there was a legitimate chance of closing the sale during the shopping process,’ says Fox. ‘Eighty-four% of shoppers indicate they ‘seriously’ considered the brand they rejected, while 41% indicate they considered the brand ‘very seriously.’ While price is often a major reason for rejection, 51% of shoppers end up spending the same or more on the brand they purchased compared with the brand they considered but rejected.’


Bikers are getting more Web-savvy, Faster and Faster is getting more popular... :-)

More motorcyclists are using the Internet

A vast majority of customers – 81% – report having used the Internet to research motorcycles when shopping, 73% say they read magazine reviews, and 28% say they attended a trade show or motorcycle event, according to the study. And 78% of motorcycle buyers indicated they contacted or visited a dealership for information before purchasing.

‘More than 75% of customers report interacting with a dealership to find more information on a particular motorcycle, so manufacturers have a great opportunity to win or lose customers at this point in the shopping process,’ says Fox.


That's US$500 worth of fuel gone up in smoke. Where's the battery-powered KillaCycle...?

Motorcyclists are riding less because of higher petrol prices

The study, which also examines the impact of petrol prices on motorcycle riding habits, finds that 29% of motorcycle riders report that they changed their driving habits during late September and early October 2008, when petrol were the highest.

Among those riders who changed their habits, 75% report using their motorcycle more often for commuting to work or school, and 41% say they use their motorcycle more often when driving around town. Additionally, 31% report doing less cruising, and 30% say they did less extended travelling.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Happy Birthday: Angelina to give a Ducati Monster 1100 to Brad!


A wife who looks like that, who also gives you new Ducatis on your birthday? Hmmm...

What’s better than just having Angelina Jolie for your wife? Having Angelina Jolie also sponsor your motorcycle habit, that’s what. According to In Touch magazine, old man Brad will soon be turning 45 and to celebrate, Angie is giving him a Ducati Monster 1100 as a birthday present. Brad, who already has a Desmosedici RR, is a big motorcycle buff and even says he wants to be like Valentino Rossi.

Hmmm… how very nice. We sincerely hope Mr Pitt gets to enjoy his new Monster 1100, hopefully on some sunny, twisty roads in Italy. And now if you’ll excuse us, we need to go and check our mailbox. Who knows, someone might have sent us a new baseball hat or a new pair of socks for Christmas…

Also see:
Brad Pitt: "I want to be like Rossi!"
UK bikers want to ride with Angelina Jolie...
Women love big, noisy engines...
Desmosedici RR: For the love of Ducati!
Exclusive, one-off Ferrari bike coming up for sale...
An airbag helmet for motorcyclists...
In conversation with KTM designer, Gerald Kiska...
The 200bhp, NOS'd Suzuki B-King everyone should ride...

Elsewhere today:
Bayliss-special Ducati Monster 696...
In conversation with James Toseland...
MotoGP, the Edelweiss way...


A battery-powered tilting trike? See the Persu Hybrid here

Riding impression: Carlos Checa’s WSBK Honda CBR1000RR


According to Motociclismo, Checa's Honda Fireblade feels neutral and has superb electronics...

The guys at Motociclismo are one seriously lucky bunch. In the last few weeks, they’ve already ridden Troy Bayliss’ World Superbikes Ducati 1098R and Noriyuki Haga’s Yamaha R1. And now, they’ve got their hands on Carlos Checa’s Honda Fireblade, which they rode on the Portimao circuit in Portugal. Here are some excerpts from what Randy Mamola, who tested the bike on behalf of Motociclismo, has to say about the bike:

The TenKate team has, clearly, done an impressive job – they’ve managed to make the Fireblade easier to ‘understand,’ and evened out all the rough edges, making the bike more cohesive, more consistent all around. Perhaps more than ever before, the Blade is a very powerful, effective track tool…

On the move, the first that draws your attention is that the riding position is quite comfortable and easy to live with. Some other WSBK bikes, like Troy Bayliss’ Ducati, make you feel more ‘squeezed.’ The Honda’s handlebars are also more ‘open’ and let you move around on the bike, which, it seems, is what Checa likes.

The sounds that the Honda’s four-cylinder engine makes are simply intoxicating. Its power delivery is tamed only be the bike’s on-board electronics, which work very well indeed – perhaps better than most other WSBK bikes.

Open the throttle and you’ll feel there’s a direct link between your right hand and the engine’s fuel injection system – response is instant, immediate. Remember, this engine is making more than 215 horsepower, in a bike that weighs around 162 kilos. At least there Pirelli tyres grip very well, and there’s traction control to get you out of trouble if you gas the bike a bit too hard…

Checa likes his engines to feel similar to the two-strokes of yore hence the Fireblade is electronically programmed to deliver it best at high revs. Yes, you need to really rev this engine to get the best out of it.

In terms of handling, the TenKate Fireblade feels completely neutral. It isn’t as easily flickable or intuitive as the Yamaha, but it goes exactly where you want, and feels very well controlled at all times. Mid-corner stability is excellent, and the Showa suspension flat out works. On the flip side, the CBR’s Nissin brakes don’t feel as strong as the Brembo units of its rivals.

Overall, the Ducati 1098R feels more sorted, more consistent, and the Yamaha R1 feels more manageable and a bit more exciting to ride. However, the Honda is more neutral, the engine feels very powerful and the electronics are, perhaps, the best. Now all that remains is to see just how well Regis Laconi’s Kawasaki works…

TenKate Honda Fireblade CBR1000RR: Tech Specs

Engine: Liquid-cooled, DOHC, 16-valve, 999.8cc inline-four
Power: In excess of 215bhp
Transmission: 6-speed
Clutch: Multi STM in oil bath, with anti-lock system
Chassis: Aluminium twin-spar
Front suspension: 43mm WP USD fork (RCA 4800), fully adjustable
Rear Suspension: WP 4618 monoshock, fully adjustable
Brakes: Twin 320mm discs (front), single 220mm disc (rear)
Wheels and tyres: 120/65 ZR 16.5 (front), 190/65 ZR 16.5 (rear)

For the full riding impression, visit the Motociclismo website here

Random Ramblings