Friday, January 09, 2009

2009 Yamaha XJ6 riding impression


The 2009 Yamaha XJ6, a good beginners bike that's not just for the ladies...

For those who don’t want an R1 or even an R6, Yamaha have the do-it-all XJ6. It won’t knock your socks off in terms of styling or performance, but it’s easy to ride, low on maintenance and even provides a reasonable amount of fun as long as you remember it’s an XJ6 and not the YZR-M1. The guys at Motociclismo recently tested the bike, and here are some excerpts from what they have to say about the new XJ6:

Right away, the Yamaha’s ergonomics work for most people. It’s a small, short bike that feels light and narrow, and offers a decent amount of legroom for the rider and the pillion seat passenger. The seat is comfortable, the suspension is soft-ish and the handlebar feels just right.

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Who says you can't have fun with 78 horsepower...?

The XJ6’s 600cc inline-four produces 78bhp and with its decent low-rpm torque delivery, it’s quite usable in town. Out on the highway, the Yamaha engine continues to impress – it’s low on vibration and does a mileage of about 16.4km/l, which, given the bike’s 17.3-litre fuel tank, means a range of around 285km.

The brakes work well, offering adequate stopping power even in streaming wet conditions. And things should be even better with the optional ABS installed. Even with its basic suspension – 41mm fork and monoshock (with adjustable preload) – and tubular steel chassis, the XJ6 offers good cornering stability. As you gain confidence in the bike’s abilities, you can safely increase your cornering speeds without any problem. Overall, it’s a good bike, especially for beginners. If you’re just starting off on two wheels, you definitely want to take a good look at this one!

Full riding impression on the Motociclismo website here

 
A video of the XJ6 on the move...

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Naked Truth: BMW K1300R vs Buell 1125CR


The BMW is more powerful and looks more aggressive. But which, really, is the better bike?

This isn’t, perhaps, the most awaited sportsbike shootout ever. We doubt if too many BMW loyalists would ever leave their beloved Bavarian machines and switch over to Buell, while fans of the all-American Buell aren’t very likely to ever defect to the BMW camp. Still, Motociclismo recently had the opportunity to pit the K1300R against the 1125CR, and here’s what they have to say about how the two bikes stack up against each other:

The technology that’s gone into these two bikes is as unconventional as their styling. The 176bhp K1300R uses shaft drive, the 146bhp 1125CR uses belt drive. The BMW uses Duolever front suspension, which you won’t find on any other bike, while the Buell’s perimeter disc braking system at the front wheel entails the use of a single disc – unlike all other large-displacement sportsbikes, which use twin disc set-ups at the front.


Both bikes use unconventional chassis, suspension and braking systems...

The BMW is the better bike for riding in the city, thanks to its anti-lock brakes (ABS) and optional traction control – things which provide a lot of reassurance during hard braking and acceleration. The riding position is pretty comfortable too, though your shin will often hit the BMW’s engine casing on the right hand side, when you put your feet down while coming to a complete stop.

Riding the Buell in the city gets tiring within a few kilometres – the high footpegs, and the shape and the positioning of the handlebar sees to that. But while it affects low speed comfort, the 1125CR’s sports-oriented riding position is perfect for high speed cornering.

Another thing that goes against the Buell is its brakes, which work in a rather abrupt fashion. Initially, the brakes don’t seem powerful enough at all and then, when they suddenly bite, they can upset the bike somewhat.


What do you want - stable, or nimble? With these two bikes, you can't have both!

Developed by Rotax, the Buell’s v-twin is one of the most pleasant twin-cylinder engines current available in the market. Low-rpm torque delivery makes the bike very rideable at low speeds and the linear power delivery means the bike picks up speed smoothly and consistently.

The BMW’s four-cylinder engine is also much improved over its predecessor – it feels significantly more powerful, the roughness has disappeared and power delivery has been smoothened out very well. On the highway, the K1300R offers better wind protection than the 1125CR and feels more planted, more stable, while the Buell feels more nimble and responsive.


More than anything else, we suppose it's the 'image' you want that'll decide what bike you choose...

When it comes to high speed cornering, the Buell outshines the BMW. The K1300R isn’t bad – in fact it’s quite good considering it’s size and weight – but the Buell is in a different league. The Buell’s braking characteristics and suspension set-up are just more conducive to letting the rider push harder in the corners, and the bike is more supple and responsive in the bends than the BMW.

So there you are – most of the important questions regarding the two bikes’ behaviour have been answered. But, somehow, we doubt if too many BMW or Buell buyers were actually waiting for this shoot-out in order to decide which bike they want. No, they've made up their minds already...

For the full, original story, visit the Motociclismo website here

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A Yamaha R1 that's not scared of the Ducati 1098S


With 176bhp at the back wheel, this R1 can probably take on any Ducati it meets...
Pic: MCN

The interesting bit about this 2005 Yamaha R1 (with 2007-spec bodywork at the front) is that its owner has built the bike with the aim of making it better and more powerful than a 1098S, but without it costing more than the Ducati.

The R1’s engine has been tuned to produce 176.6bhp and 115Nm of torque. Aftermarket parts include a Graves exhaust, Dynojet Power Commander, Dynojet Quickshift, ACTIVE Quick action throttle, BORA BSB/WSB spec race radiator, Ohlins fork and shock, Ohlins steering damper, BST carbonfibre wheels, Brembo monobloc brakes with ceramic discs, STM slipper clutch… …and the list just goes on and on.

According to the owner, the bike does 300km/h without any trouble and is well up to the task of taking on any Ducati 1098S. Hmmm… so what’s next, then? The Yamaha man is now probably preparing to take on the 1198S

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Back on track: The Campagna T-Rex 1400R


The 200bhp Campagna T-Rex. Possibly one of the best ways to spend US$50,000...

Pics: Flickr

According to a report on Dealer News, Campagna have resumed production of the T-Rex 1400R. Powered by the 200bhp Kawasaki ZZR1400 engine, the Campagna T-Rex is the coolest, fastest, wildest three-wheeler currently in production, though the fact that it’s priced at US$50,000 is a bit of a dampener.

Merged with Cirbin last year, Campagna have now moved into their new headquarters in Montreal, Canada. The company has, reportedly, signed seven new dealers in the US and 16 in Japan, and is also looking at setting up dealerships in Europe and the Middle East.

Originally created by Daniel Campagna (an ex-F1 mechanic) in the mid-1990s, the T-Rex has evolved over the years and is now one of the best performance-oriented trikes in the market today. With more than 200bhp and 154Nm of torque on tap, it accelerates from zero to 100km/h in 3.9 seconds and is capable of hitting a top speed of around 220km/h.


Zero to 100km/h takes less than 4 seconds, top speed is 220km/h!


With its tubular steel chassis, fibreglass body panels, and carbonfibre windscreens and headrests, the T-Rex weighs 455 kilos dry and rides on 16-inch aluminium wheels, shod with 205/45 ZR16 tyres. Suspension is comprised of unequal opposed triangular arms with shock absorbers and roll bar at the front, and dual, adjustable shock absorbers at the back. And the gearbox is a sequential six-speed (plus one reverse gear) manual, with a foot-operated clutch.

For those who may be worried about its practicality, the T-Rex is available with optional luggage bags (removable, lockable and waterproof) that can be mounted at the trike’s sides, at the back. The ’Rex can seat two people and comes with seatbelts and a roll-cage, so it’s not only loads of fun, but also quite safe...


For more details, visit the Campagna Motors website here

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Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Repsol KTM 690 Rally: What lies beneath…


Repsol KTM 690 Rally, currently the best off-road racing motorcycle in the world

With Marc Coma and other KTM riders doing so well – and consistently so over the years – at the Dakar Rally, you’d sometimes wonder what is it about their machines that keeps them winning. Those riders’ grit, determination and talent is, of course, unquestionable, but the bike must be pretty good too, eh?

Taking a quick look at KTM’s Dakar-winning 690 Rally machine, it’s fitted with the company’s 654cc single-cylinder liquid-cooled LC4 engine. In production trim, this engine makes 65bhp, but here it’s been tuned to produce 70bhp at 7,500rpm and 70Nm of torque at 6,000 revs. The engine, which is mated to a six-speed gearbox, features a Keihin FCR 41 carburetor – no fuel-injection here!

The wet, multi-disc clutch is hydraulically operated, the chassis is made of tubular chromium-molybdenum alloy and WP suspension components are used at both ends. At front, the WP-USD 52 MA fork has 300mm of travel, the rear monoshock has 310mm of travel, and both ends are fully adjustable.

The Repsol KTM 690 Rally has to stop as hard as it goes, so it’s fitted with a 300mm disc brake at front, and a 220mm disc at the back. The front wheel is a 21-incher while the rear hoop measures 18-inches. The bike rides on 90/90-21 (front) and 140/90-18 (rear) off-road rubber. Ground clearance is 320mm – handy when you are travelling across 6,000km of rough terrain in Africa…

The 690 Rally carries about 36 litres of fuel, weighs 162 kilos and in the right hands, wins the toughest off-road rally-raids in the world. Unfortunately enough, you can’t buy one just yet. While KTM have various 690-series bikes in their line-up, they’re yet to do a full-blown 690 Adventure. A Repsol-replica Marc Coma special edition KTM 690 Adventure for the street? Later this year, perhaps!

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Monday, January 05, 2009

BMW K1300S riding impression


The 2009 BMW K1300S is, according to InfoMotori, much better than its predecessor...


Among current BMWs, our no.1 favourite is the naked, funky-looking K1300R. But we do suppose the fully faired K1300S would be a more sensible choice for long-distance touring. InfoMotori recently had the chance to ride the new-for-2009 K1300S, and here are some excerpts from what they have to say about the bike:

With its bigger engine (about 150cc up on the old K1200S unit), the K1300S has an 8bhp and 10Nm advantage over its predecessor. Other changes on the new bike include a modified shaft drive, lightened Duolever suspension, mildly reworked bodywork, improved gearshift mechanism and revised instrumentation for better visibility.

BMW have also fitted with K1300S with the all-new ESA2 electronic suspension, which is easy to fiddle with, but which doesn’t ‘remember’ your chosen settings when you switch the bike off. What’s really surprising on the new bike is how quiet the engine is – much, much quieter than the old 1200. All the mechanical noise seems to have been removed from that big, four-cylinder engine.


With 175bhp and 140Nm of torque, the K1300S should be quite all right on the street...

Unlike the K1200S, the K1300S offers smooth, seamless power delivery, with the engine and transmission working in perfect harmony at all times. The brakes are more powerful and effective than ever before, with two fingers on the front brake lever being quite sufficient to haul up the bike very quickly. The ABS system, which comes as standard equipment on this bike, also works admirably well, though we’re not as sure about the ASC traction control system, which is supposed to prevent wheelspin. We wish BMW had provided the option to switch the bike’s ASC system off…

As you might expect, the K1300S feels nimbler and handles better than its predecessor, though without losing its trademark high-speed stability. The bike’s quickshifter lets you change gears faster, without using the clutch or having to roll back the throttle, though it does work better at higher revs and is more useful on the highway rather than in urban use, in slow traffic.

Overall, the big BMW is much improved compared to the K1200S, though it still isn’t perfect. Then again, which bike is?

For the full test report, visit the InfoMotori website here


A video of the BMW K1300S in action...

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Sunday, January 04, 2009

Hawk: Honda RC51-powered trike concept


It's only a concept, but the Hawk does look rather cool...

Pics: AutoblogGreen

Based in New Zealand, 22-year-old industrial designer Alex Hodge has come up with this rather interesting three-wheeled concept – the Hawk. Hodge has designed the Hawk around the Honda RC51’s 999cc v-twin and with 120 horsepower at the back wheel, the trike’s theoretical top speed is 230km/h.

The Hawk runs on lightweight, 19-inch alloy wheels, is fitted with large disc brakes all around and features a fibreglass outer shell and alloy chassis. The aim was to achieve the outright performance of a sportsbike, combined with the comfort and weather protection of a car. Hmm… while it’ll never replace an R1, if it had at least two seats and some space for luggage, the Hawk could have possibly been a substitute for that VW Polo, which you shouldn’t be driving anyway

Also see:
Tiff Needell tests the Campagna T-Rex...
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Done with riding for the day? Now get these...

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