Thursday, December 25, 2008

The BMW MeGa 1 Project


The 1972 BMW R75/5-based MeGa 1 cafe-racer

While looking around for some interesting old BMWs, we happened to come across the MotoEuro website, where we found this MeGa 1 café racer. Based on a 1972 BMW R75/5, the MeGa 1 was first shown two years ago at the AHRMA Vintage Weekend at Barber Motorsports, where it won the 1970s class in the European Concours d' Elegance.

The MeGa 1 features a modified fuel tank from a 1977 R100RS, custom-built seat and tail unit, and a handmade aluminium front fender. The front fork is off an R100RT, with 38mm Race Tech cartridge emulators modified to work with BMW internal components. The alloy wheels are from Morris, and the brakes are modified Brembo units with custom-built stainless steel brake lines.

At the back, the bike’s swingarm has been strengthened and braced, the one-off alloy-bodied reservoir shocks are from Works Performance and the stock BMW drum brakes have been replaced with Grimeca disc brakes.

The MeGa 1’s engine, which makes 85bhp, is based on an R100GS mill that’s been completely rebuilt – ported and polished heads, new valves, new cams, 38mm Mikuni carbs with velocity stacks, modified Luftmeister 2-into-1 header, Supertrapp muffler, high performance coils, ignition booster, electronic regulator and… a lot of other bits and pieces. The gearbox is a five-speed unit, and the dashboard is all-electronic, with LED displays and computer-controlled instrumentation!

The BMW MeGa 1, which weighs about 175kg, looks lean and lithe and we quite like the 1970s café racer styling. Should be good fun to ride…

More BMWs:
MAB's BMW K1200R Turbo...
AC Schnitzer-tuned BMW K1200R Sport...
The Canjamoto BMW R1200S Turbo...
The BMW HP2-based Wunderlich WR2...
The very cool BMW HP2 Sport...
The BMW R1150GS-based Beutler Boxer...
AC Schnitzer BMW F800GS...
BMW HP2 Sport takes on the Buell 1125R!
Face-off: BMW HP2 Sport vs KTM RC8...

Elsewhere today:
Bazzaz Performance's Z-Fi Traction Control system...

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

2009 Yamaha R1 vs early-1990s Yamaha 500cc GP racers


The 1992 Yamaha YZR500 GP racer had a bit more than 160bhp at the rear wheel. The 2009 Yamaha YZF-R1 has the same. If that isn't progress, what is...?!

According to a recent press release from Akrapovic, the 2009 Yamaha R1, in stock form, produces 161.6bhp at 12,430rpm, with the power being measured at the rear wheel. With an Akrapovic slip-on, the R1’s peak power goes up to 163.9bhp at 12,410rpm. The Akrapovic system also has the option to do away with the catalytic converter, boosting power to 164.2bhp at 12,410rpm and fattening the power delivery throughout the rev range.

But, for this story, we’re actually more interested in the stock R1 and the 161bhp it delivers at the back wheel. That really is a shocking amount of power on a streetbike with a kerb weight of 206 kilos. Yamaha’s two-stroke 500cc GP racing bikes were making that much power back in the early-1990s, and those required a huge amount of experience and talent to ride. Oh, well, that’s probably an understatement. You actually couldn’t ride a late-1980s/early-1990s Yamaha YZR500 unless you were in the same league as Wayne Rainey and Eddie Lawson…


You needed the talent of a Rainey or Lawson to be able to ride the YZR500. Thanks to its electronics, the R1 doesn't need you to be Rossi...

Yamaha started development work on the YZR500 GP racer in the early-1970s and the first of these bikes went racing in 1973. In those days, the YZR’s power output was around 80bhp, which had gone up to 180bhp by the late-1990s – an increase of 125% in a time span of 25 years. The R1 has not too badly either – the first 1998 model had around 130bhp at the rear wheel, which has grown to 164bhp in the space of 10 years – an increase of 26%.

Which brings us to just how important a modern sportsbike’s electronics are. You had to be a Rainey, Lawson, Mamola, Cadalora, Capirossi or Kocinski to ride one of those 160bhp early-1990s YZR500s, while just about any reasonably experienced motorcyclist can jump on a 164bhp 2009 R1, ride off and not be killed in the next five minutes. That, we suppose, is only made possible by the raft of electronics that do duty on new R1s.


2009 Yamaha R1, the equivalent of a 500cc Grand Prix racer for the street?

The 1992 Yamaha YZR500, on which Wayne Rainey won his last 500cc world championship, had an aluminium ‘Deltabox’ chassis, ‘Monocross’ rear suspension and USD fork, carburetted two-stroke engine, carbon brake discs, the Yamaha Power Valve System (YPVS) and… we can’t think of much else in the way of gizmos, electronics or path-breaking technologies.

The 2009 Yamaha R1, on the other hand, has terribly impressive sounding bits like Yamaha Chip Control Intake (YCC-I), Yamaha Chip Control Throttle (YCC-T) and D-Mode, which lets you modulate and optimise throttle response according to road and weather conditions. Rainey, with his Godly riding skill, didn’t need these bits to control his YZR's 160 rear-wheel horsepower. For most of, we’d be toast without the electronics on the R1.

The best part is, no matter how much money you have, you probably can’t a 1992 Yamaha YZR500. On the other hand, you can buy a brand-new R1 for a mere US$12,500. A bike that’s as powerful as Rainey’s 1992 YZR500, for the street, which you can actually just walk into a showroom and buy? You’ve got to love technology…

We'll never be able to ride like Rainey, Lawson or Rossi. But bikes like the R1 at least bring us closer to that 164bhp-at-the-rear-wheel experience, and thank god for that!

image host image host image host image host image host image host

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...

Share It