Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Face-off: BMW K1 vs K1300S

In 1989, the BMW K1 was probably the most radical sportstourer around...
Pics: 2Ri.de

First unveiled in September 1988 and launched in early 1989, the BMW K1 was a pretty radical machine. The bike weighed almost 280 kilos, but its 987cc liquid-cooled fuel-injected inline-four, which produced 100bhp and 100Nm of torque, could still push the K1 to a top speed of 230km/h. But, of course, it was the K1’s styling and technology that made it stand out from the crowd…

Between 1989 and 1993, BMW produced close to 7,000 units of the K1. The bike was expensive, costing US$12,990 back in 1990. But then this was a high-tech machine, with bits like Bosch fuel-injection, Brembo brakes with four-piston callipers (with optional ABS) and Paralever shaft-drive system.

Then there was the K1’s ‘love it or hate it but you can’t ignore it’ styling. Its wind-tunnel-tested full fairing, semi-enclosed front wheel and side panniers integrated into the tail unit made the K1 quite aerodynamic, giving it a coefficient-of-drag figure of just 0.34 – the lowest ever for any production motorcycle made in those days. However, the rather bulbous bodywork with its solid red / solid blue paintjob and bright yellow graphics was not to everybody’s taste.

The K1's engine made 100bhp, but the bike weighed 280kg wet, so performance was only moderate...

According to some magazine road tests of the late-1980s and early-1990s, the K1 actually handled well. Or at least it handled well for a motorcycle that weighed almost 280 kilos wet. It wasn’t exactly a tool for carving up mountain roads but the K1 was calm and stable at triple-digit speeds on those German Autobahns and would happily cruise all day at 200km/h.

Of course, the K1 was not without its foibles. The engine was buzzy in its low to medium rev range and the way the bodywork was designed meant that the great deal of heat pouring out from the BMW engine slow-roasted the rider’s legs.

While the K1 wasn’t exactly a big success for BMW, it certainly is one of their most memorable bikes. With the K1, BMW finally proved that they could do much more than just doddering old touring bikes – they had what it takes to make a full-on sportsbike.

The BMW K1300S is certainly competent, if not as unique as the K1

Moving on to the 2009 BMW K1300S, the bike is in some ways quite similar to its 1989 predecessor. Like the K1, the K1300S is fitted with a liquid-cooled, fuel-injected, 16-valve, DOHC four-cylinder engine. However, at 1,293cc engine capacity, 175 horsepower and 140Nm of torque, the K1300S packs considerably more brawn than the K1.

Instead of the K1’s steel tube chassis, the K1300S gets an aluminium beam frame, which uses the engine as a load-bearing member. The single-sided Paralever swingarm with shaft drive is still there at the rear, while at the front, the K1’s conventional telescopic fork has made for BMW’s Duolever suspension on the 1300S.

Braking and electronics are two areas where the new K1300S is in a completely different world compared to the two-decade-old K1. With its twin 320mm brake discs with four piston callipers (front) and 265mm single disc at the back, with integral ABS, the K1300S offers stopping power that was unimaginable in the K1’s era. And with bits like ASC traction control, optional ESA II electronic suspension adjustment and a Quickshift system with clutchless, push-button gearshifts, the K1300S simply overwhelms the K1 with new-age motorcycle technology. And at 228kg dry, the 1300S is also quite a bit lighter than the K1.

So while the K1300S is, of course, technologically and dynamically superior to the K1, which is the more memorable machine? In our opinion, it’s definitely the K1. The 1300S is a very competent sportstourer, but it simply isn’t as unique, as radically different from everything else on the market as the K1 was in ’89.

Let’s put it like this: If we were riding a motorcycle across 5,000km, we’d take the K1300S. But when it comes to putting a motorcycle poster on our bedroom walls, it’ll still be the K1… :-)

Peugeot RD: Electric three-wheeler concept unveiled at the Shanghai Motor Show

According to Peugeot, electric three-wheelers could be the future of urban mobility...

Pics: Autoblog

Right now, Peugeot seem to be big on battery-powered three-wheelers. The French company had shown the HYmotion3 Compressor concept at the Paris Motor Show in October last year. And now, it’s the RD electric three-wheeler concept, which was recently unveiled at the ongoing Shanghai Motor Show.

The RD, which won the 5th Peugeot Design Competition (from among 2,500 projects submitted by candidates from 95 countries), has been designed by one Carlos Arturo Torres Tovar, a 27 year old Colombian who grew up in the small industrial town of Tunja.

According to a press release from Peugeot, ‘The main operating feature of the Peugeot RD concept car is its ingenious system of articulation that provides irreproachable road holding allied with the ability the easily thread its way through urban traffic.’

The single-seater RD concept is powered by electric motors and has high-tech bits like a voice-message driver-assistance system and a heads-up display system. The vehicle is designed to provide the weather protection of a car, combined with the manoeuvrability and ease of use of a scooter.

For more details on the Peugeot Design Competition, visit their official website here

Saturday, April 18, 2009

2009 MotoGP: Pedrosa beats Biaggi’s top speed record on the Losail circuit in Qatar

It's taken five years, but Dani Pedrosa's 800cc Honda has finally beaten the Losail top speed record set by Max Biaggi's 990cc Camel Honda in 2004

Back in 2004, Max Biaggi clocked a top speed of 334.4km/h on his 990cc Camel Honda, during the inaugural MotoGP event at the Losail circuit in Qatar. That top speed record then remained unbroken during the 990cc era and in 2007, the first year when 800cc bikes replaced the 990s.

In 2008, Marco Melandri’s Ducati matched Biaggi’s top speed, hitting exactly 334.4km/h during the race in Qatar. This year, however, Biaggi’s record was finally broken, with Dani Pedrosa hitting a top speed of 338.6km/h at the Losail circuit, while qualifying for the Qatar MotoGP and then again hitting that speed during the race.

The Pedrobot’s Repsol Honda wasn’t the only bike that broke Max’s Qatar speed record though. In qualifying, Mika Kallio's Pramac Ducati hit 338.0km/h, Casey Stoner’s Marlboro Ducati did 337.2km/h and Jorge Lorenzo's Fiat Yamaha did 337.0km/h.

The main reason behind implementing fuel restrictions and reducing engine size from 990cc to 800cc in MotoGP was to reduce top speeds. So what’s next? Will MotoGP see engine size being reduced to 600cc in the next 2-3 years…? But, oh no, that's Moto2 already... :-)

Qatar Top Speed 2004-2009:

2004: Max Biaggi Camel Honda 334.4km/h (990cc)
2005: Carlos Checa Ducati Marlboro 328.7km/h (990cc)
2006: Dani Pedrosa Repsol Honda 330.2km/h (990cc)
2007: Casey Stoner Ducati Marlboro 324.7km/h (800cc)
2008: Marco Melandri Ducati Marlboro 334.4 km/h (800cc)
2009: Dani Pedrosa Repsol Honda 338.6km/h (800cc)

Via Crash.net

Friday, April 17, 2009

Yamaha may launch T-Max 750 in 2010

Yamaha T-Max 750? Yes, bring in on!

According to a report on Motociclismo, Yamaha are working on brand-new three-cylinder, 750cc engine and the first recipient of this new engine may be a 750cc version of the T-Max 500 scooter. A mad, pumped-up super-scooter sounds good to us. While they’re at it, we hope Yamaha equip the new 750cc inline-triple with some R1-style electro-trickery. Sticky rubber, fully adjustable Ohlins fork and shock and ABS should then complete the package… :-)

A hotter T-Max? Yes, please!

BMW ConnectedRide: Motorcycle rider safety project

Look at the picture on the left, then the one on the right. That's the kind of accident which BMW's ConnectedRide system may be able to prevent...
Pics: Motoblog

BMW Motorrad are working on boosting motorcycle rider safety with their ‘ConnectedRide’ research project, which aims to utilise vehicle-to-vehicle communication technology to lessen the possibility of collisions, especially on traffic intersections.

According to some European studies, right-of-way violations on busy intersections and traffic junctions are the biggest cause of accidents where motorcycles are involved. Many car and SUV drivers simply assume that bikers have to give way because in a car-motorcycle collision, it’s always the biker who ends up getting severely injured.

BMW’s ConnectedRide system essentially works as a well networked safety assistant. Via a WiFi connection, this system process inputs from a GPS navigation system and from other similarly equipped cars and motorcycles. Then, it matches vehicle speed with traffic intersections on the way and constantly computes the probability of a collision with other vehicles in the vicinity.

When the ConnectedRide system foresees a collision happening, it issues audio-visual warnings to the motorcyclist(s) (and/or driver(s) with ConnectDrive equipped cars). The system also automatically increases headlamp intensity, activates additional LED warning lights and even activates the horn. The system sounds promising – at least for certain types of riders and drivers, who usually aren’t attentive enough on the road. However, the ConnectedRide system is still in the testing phase and may not be ready for use on production motorcycles and cars for another year or two.

This video shows what BMW's ConnectedRide system is meant to accomplish. The talky bits are all in German but still, you get a fair idea of how the system might work...

BMW S1000RR to be priced competitively, will take on the Japanese Big Four

With the S1000RR, BMW want to take on the R1, GSX-R1000, ZX-10R and CBR1000RR and the German company will price their bike accordingly...

According to a report on Dealernews, BMW Motorrad USA plans to show the S1000RR superbike in the United States for the first time on Memorial Day weekend at the Miller Motorsports Park World Superbike round. The bike will hit US dealerships by January next year.

Pieter de Waal, Vice President, BMW Motorrad USA, tells Dealernews that BMW intends to position the S1000RR against litre-class superbikes from Japan. ‘We intend to take the four Japanese head-on. We did not intend to build a motorcycle like Ducati does or KTM does. We wanted to build a mainstream motorcycle,’ says de Waal.

‘It’s going to be very different than what people might expect from BMW. It won’t be a 1098 or RC8 kind of price, but much, much closer to where the Japanese are. We’re going right for the fat part of the market with this, and I think it’s going to change a lot of people’s opinions about the brand,’ adds Todd Anderson, head of marketing at BMW Motorrad.

‘For BMW worldwide, we see the USA as the country where our future growth will come from, since Europe is largely saturated. So this is where we think things will happen, and this is where our worldwide focus is at the moment,’ says de Waal, speaking to Guido Ebert of Dealernews.

BMW is also targeting younger buyers with its new lot of bikes. ‘It is critically important for us to get younger people on BMWs. It’s not the fact that the average BMW rider is old – because old people are affluent, and there’s nothing wrong with that – but it is that they are getting older. So you have to bring new blood in. We’ve addressed it with the sport enduro, the new 650 and 800 twin series, and we feel the Superbike must do that in a big way,’ says de Waal.

For the full report, visit the Dealernews website here

Parajet Skycar: Yamaha R1-engined flying car to be production-ready by 2010!

The Parajet Skycar is powered by an engine from the Yamaha R1

Via AutoblogGreen

Yeah, okay, we know this sounds a bit fanciful. Only crackpots and the severely eccentric talk about ‘flying cars,’ right? Maybe. However, the Skycar – Parajet’s flying car – can actually transform from a ground-bound ‘car’ into a small aircraft in just three minutes. And yes, it really does fly – the Skycar is undergoing extensive testing and is slated to fly from London to Timbuktu later this year, in the so-called Parajet Skycar Expedition.

The Skycar’s creators, Parajet International Ltd. have reportedly tied up with Rage Motorsport Ltd. to put the Skycar in limited production in 2010. This two-seater flying car will be fitted with the Yamaha R1’s inline-four, modified to run on biofuel. The Skycar will be able to take off from a field or airstrip, requiring less than 200 metres of ‘runway,’ and according to its creators, it will be quite safe and reasonably easy to fly.

The R1-engined Parajet Skycar will have a top speed of 110km/h in the air and a range of 300km. It will be able to fly at a maximum altitude of 15,000ft though it will normally cruise at 2,000-3,000ft. In ‘road mode,’ the Skycar will be able to hit speeds of up to 180km/h and will have a range of up to 400km.

For more details, visit the Parajet website here
A video of the Parajet Skycar in action...!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Riding Impression: MV Agusta Brutale 1078RR

It was first seen a decade ago and the Brutale still manages to look fresh and contemporary today

Pics: Flickr, Motomag

Before the Ducati Streetfighter came along and knocked the MV off its perch, the Brutale 1078RR was pretty much the hottest Italian naked around. Even now, with its 1078cc inline-four, which produces 154 horsepower and 117Nm of torque, the Brutale 1078RR is a force to reckon with. The guys are Motociclismo recently tested the bike and here are some excerpts from what they have to say about this very beautiful machine:

The Brutale 1078RR is the fourth iteration of a bike that was launched in the year 2000. Engine has grown – from the original 750 to the 910 to the 989 and now the 1078 – but in terms of the styling, the Brutale remains unchanged. Then again, the Tamburini magic still works and the bike quite retains its appeal. In fact, the Brutale’s design is often imitated by other manufacturers for their naked sportsbikes…

Coming to its dimensions, the Brutale 1078RR is very compact and features robust, high-spec components. The 1078cc engine is simply marvellous – it produces enough power to propel this bike to a top speed of 252km/h, which is not bad at all for a naked. The acceleration feels incredible and it’s virtually impossible to avoid pulling big wheelies in first and second gear. Also, the mid-range if very strong. To give you an idea of how strong, the Brutale 1078RR accelerates from 60km/h to 160km/h in 7.6 seconds, which a Yamaha R1 does in 9.2 seconds.

Yes, the MV’s throttle can be a bit hard to modulate – you need to be careful while accelerating hard in the first two gears and/or while exiting fast corners. However, the gearbox is outstandingly accurate and works very well with the bike’s slipper clutch.

The Brutale feels extremely rigid – there isn’t a hint of flex on this bike. The 50mm Marzocchi fork and steel tube trellis frame impart a rock-solid feeling to the 1078RR. The steering is very quick – the front wheel moves in accordance with the slightest movement of the handlebars, so you need to be careful with your steering inputs.

Strong, rigid, compact and very well equipped, the MV Agusta Brutale 1078RR is a terrific naked sportsbike. It certainly isn’t for beginners and can be a bit hard to master, but its beauty, performance and unique character make it worthwhile. At 20,000 euros (US$26,500), it’s not cheap, but then there is no other bike that’s quite like the 1078RR.

Hot Italian naked, loves being ridden hard...

MV Agusta Brutale 1078RR: Tech Specs
Engine: 1078cc, DOHC, 16-valve inline-four
Power: 154bhp@10,700rpm
Torque: 117Nm@8,100rpm
Chassis: Tubular steel trellis-type, with single-side aluminium swingarm
Front suspension: 50mm USD Marzocchi fork, adjustable for preload and compression and rebound damping
Rear suspension: Sachs monoshock, adjustable for preload, high/low-speed compression and rebound damping
Brakes: Brembo, twin 320mm discs (front) with four-piston radial-mount callipers, single 210mm disc (rear)
Gearbox: Six-speed
Fuel tank capacity: 19 litres
Dry weight: 195kg
Wheels and tyres: 17-inch wheels, 120/70 (front) and 190/50 Pirelli Dragon Supercorsa tyres

Zero to 100km/h: 3.9 seconds
Standing kilometre: 20.9 seconds
Average fuel consumption: 9.0 litres/100km

MCN's riding impression of the Brutale 1078RR



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