Tuesday, June 09, 2009

2010 Kawasaki 1400GTR may get night vision, HUD

The 2010 Kawasaki 1400GTR could get head-up display and infrared night vision!

According to a report on Gizmag, Kawasaki are all set to deploy a host of new technologies on the 2010 model 1400GTR. The current model already gets bits like variable valve timing, keyless ignition, tyre pressure sensors and ABS, but the next year’s bike could push things to a whole new level, with night vision and head-up display (HUD) technologies.

Taking their cues from some of the more expensive cars around, Kawasaki are said to have developed infrared night vision technology, which will let riders see beyond what a bike’s conventional headlamps can illuminate. The system works via a pair of infrared cameras mounted on the bike, which work together with the bike’s onboard computer. If these cameras ‘see’ anything (which may be beyond the headlamp’s illumination range and which the rider may not be able to see…) in the bike’s path, the system will issue audio/visual alerts to warn the rider. The cameras can ‘see’ objects that are 300m or even further ahead, in the dark, so these could be a very useful safety feature on a high speed motorcycle…

Another high-tech feature that Kawasaki are working on is a head-up display system, which would project information like the bike’s speed and revs right in front of the rider’s eyes. The system will probably work in accordance with a purpose-built helmet, which would allow this information to be projected ahead of the visor, so the rider doesn’t have to look down at the instrument cluster to access vital information.

These technologies are already reasonably commonplace on mainstream cars, so a 1400GTR with these high-tech bits may not actually be as far fetched as it sounds. Now let’s just wait and see what Kawasaki actually unveil at bike shows in Paris and Milan later this year…!

This Mercedes-Benz promo video shows why an infrared night vision system on high-speed motorcycles may be a good idea...

2010 Aprilia RSV1000 Factory: Transformed!

(Above) Megan Fox rides an Aprilia RS125 in the new Transformers movie and (below) the Transformers-edition RSV1000 Factory

Aprilia recently unveiled a special edition RSV1000 Factory, during the sixth round of the AMA Pro Daytona SportBike series at Road America, Elkhart Lake WI. The bike sports Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen livery and while we haven’t seen it yet, it seems Megan Fox rides an Aprilia RS125 in the movie. Killer robots, giant explosions and Megan Fox riding motorcycles - what more could anyone want from a movie... :-))

Sunday, June 07, 2009

KTM-engined Lambretta runs amok…

A Lambretta scooter with a 45bhp KTM engine. Whatever next?!
Pics: MCN

MCN has a report on what must be the world’s only KTM-powered Lambretta. The mad Lamby has been prepared by UK firm DAC-Tek, who’ve dumped the scooter’s stock 150cc, 9bhp engine and bolted on a 250cc, two-stroke KTM mill that makes 45 horsepower. They have also upgraded bits like the wheels and tyres and the brakes (there’s a disc brake at the front now), and modified the four-speed gearbox to suit the KTM engine’s power delivery. The chassis, however, stays stock.

‘Give it a bigger handful when you’ve got some space and the motor screams, lifting the front wheel in first and shooting forward at a rate enough to beat most cars and feels faster than it is. It stays on the boil as you shift through the four gears and the expansion chamber’s shriek makes pedestrians shake their head in disapproval,’ say MCN, who have ridden the scooter.

If you want one, DAC-Tek will sell you one for about £10,000 (US$16,000), which is indeed a lot of money for a scooter. Still, if you have pots of money and if you’re going completely mad with it…

Friday, June 05, 2009

MotoCzysz E1pc: Michael Czysz’s battery-powered superbike is ready to take on the IoM

The MotoCzysz E1pc 'digital superbike' shows the way ahead for high performance battery-powered motorcycles. Suddenly, the future doesn't look so bad after all...

The MotoCzysz E1pc is all set to race in the TTXGP, which is scheduled for the 12th of June, at the Isle of Man. ‘In less than 24 hours I leave to go to the biggest race of my life, not because it is the largest, not because it is the fastest but because it will be the first time a MotoCzysz motorcycle will compete in an FIM sanctioned event,’ says Michael Czysz on his blog.

With its lithium-ion battery packs and three electric motors, the MotoCzysz E1pc ‘digital superbike’ can accelerate from zero to 192km/h in around 7-8 seconds, which really is quite phenomenal. ‘A motorcycle that is unlike anything I have ever ridden. No gas, no oil, no clutch, no need to even warm up the engine – no engine. Gone is the age old ritual of rhythmical throttle blips that can audible seduce a motorcyclist into a pre ride trance – now your bike waits for you. Enter what may be the next big thing in motorcycles; invisible, nearly silent and magically linear power,’ says Mr Czysz.

We must say we are intrigued by the MotoCzysz E1pc. It looks good, goes fast and even sounds cool… in a different sort of way. ‘The digital superbike, like your computer, has ‘open architecture’ and can be upgraded and reconfigured. This is definitely an industry first and may be a major paradigm shift in the way people buy and own motorcycles,’ says Michael. Hmm… maybe the future of fast motorcycles is not going to be so bad after all…!

The MotoCzysz E1pc on test...

KTM to withdraw from the Dakar Rally!!

KTM have been penalised for winning the Dakar Rally too often...

The organisers of the Dakar Rally have announced that from 2010, only motorcycles of up to 450cc engine capacity would be allowed to compete. And the first outcome of this new ‘rule’ is that KTM – who’ve taken eight consecutive wins at the Dakar in recent years – have announced their immediate withdrawal from the Dakar Rally. Instead, KTM say they will now focus on the world rally championship…

The announcement regarding the 450cc engine limit being implemented from 2010 does seem a bit unfair for KTM, whose Dakar racebikes are fitted with 654cc single-cylinder engines. Various KTM teams and riders had already started preparing for the 2010 Dakar Rally (which is about six months away…) and the new rule would certainly mean that all their plans have now gone down the drain.

‘Every sport regulation needs changes and adjustments to new developments to retain an interest in it, but this also require the appropriate lead times. We have the entire material for the 690 Rally motorcycles for our factory team as well as that for 50 customers’ motorcycles in our storage facility ready to be constructed in June. Riders’ contracts have been finalised and all the team members have been engaged. The financial consequences that results from this decision are enormous. Quite apart from this, we are shocked by the organiser’s lack of loyalty, above all because of the huge efforts we made following the cancellation of the Dakar in 2008 by contributing to the new edition, even during a period of extreme economic crisis,’ says Heinz Kinigadner, KTM Motor Sport Advisor.

‘Rally sport serves to prove the efficiency and stability of our large volume series single cylinder. There is no question that we will remain active in rally sport! We will now fully concentrate on the World Rally Championship and we will seek out alternatives,’ says Winfried Kerschhaggl, KTM Motor Sport Director.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Tularis 800: Two-stroke Polaris-powered buzzbomb

Robin Tuluie with the Tularis 800
Pics: Motor Bike, via Motoblog

Robin Tuluie, who once used to work with Polaris and who’s now with the Renault F1 team, has come up with this unique motorcycle – the Tularis 800 – which two-stroke fanatics should love. The bike is fitted with a two-stroke, 772cc parallel-twin (taken off a Polaris snowmobile!) that produces a massive 183 horsepower at 8,700rpm. With a measured 161bhp at the rear wheel and a dry weight of 119 kilos, you can probably imagine what the performance is going to be like…

While the engine is from Polaris, the Tularis’ chassis is a custom-built unit that makes liberal use of materials like carbonfibre, magnesium and aluminium. Ohlins suspension components are used at both ends. With a better power-to-weight ratio than some 1990s 500cc GP racebikes, the Tularis 800 should certainly be an insane ride…

And here's what the Tularis 800 sounds like. You'd want to ride it, wouldn't you?

BMW Le Rider: Lo and behold!

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The BMW Le Rider, a one-off special from France...!
Pics: Moto Revue

Remember the BMW Lo Rider concept shown at the EICMA in Milan last year? We quite liked that edgy, funky machine and though BMW are not ready to put it into production just yet, that hasn’t stopped French outfit Panda Moto from building their own version of the bike.

Based on a BMW R1200R, this machine – called the Le Rider – is the work of one Jean-Luc Dupont, who heads Panda Moto. As you can see, the R1200R used to build the Le Rider has been extensively modified and changes have been made to the suspension, brakes, exhaust system, seat unit and the bodywork. The wheels are from an R1200GS and the wheelbase is adjustable, which allows you to fine-tune the Le Rider’s handling characteristics.

Fitted with the R1200R’s 1,170cc boxer-twin, the Le Rider, which weighs 217kg, packs 107 horsepower and can hit a top speed of 220km/h. Depending on the spec (you can opt for Öhlins suspension, Beringer brakes and other fancy bits), the bike will cost anywhere between 15,000 to 24,000 euro. Our verdict? Well, the Le Rider isn’t exactly as flat-out super-cool as the BMW Lo Rider concept, but as a one-off special it’s not too bad either…

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Firexpress BMW R1200RT: The heat is on…

The coolest firefighting vehicle ever...!
Pics: Firexpress, via Hell for Leather

Here’s one very interesting idea – a motorcycle for firefighters! Yes indeed, the Firexpress BMW R1200RT is meant to be an ‘immediate response’ vehicle that can get to the scene first, ahead of firefighting trucks and/or other, bigger vehicles. While bigger trucks may take more time to make their way through traffic and get to wherever help might be needed, a quicker, vastly more manoeuvrable motorcycle should certainly be able to get there much quicker…

The Firexpress system fitted to the BMW can carry up to 25 litres of water/foam and around seven kilos of compressed gas, which is sufficient for more than two minutes of constant spray. The system sprays micro-droplets of water in a controlled, low-speed stream that can reach up to 11 meters.

The Firexpress R1200RT, which can travel at speeds of up to 140km/h, isn’t, of course, a substitute for full-blown firefighting trucks, but as a first response vehicle, we suppose it could be quite handy. Plus, with its emergency lights and sirens, the Firexpress R1200RT looks way cooler than any fire truck we’ve ever seen. Full specs here and more pics here

Here's the Firexpress R1200RT in action...

2009 Italian MotoGP: Images from Mugello

It was a case of bad medicine for The Doctor as Stoner romped home in first place at the Italian MotoGP at mugello, followed by Lorenzo in second place and Rossi in third...



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