Saturday, May 30, 2009

2009 MotoGP wallpaper

As we wait for the Italian MotoGP to kick off at Mugello tomorrow, here are some pics - wallpaper for your PC's desktop - from the 2009 MotoGP season...

Friday, May 29, 2009

Valentino Rossi vs Wayne Rainey vs Eddie Lawson vs Kenny Roberts at Laguna Seca

Lawson, Roberts, Rainey and Rossi will be racing against each other in 250cc karts at Laguna Seca, three days before the USGP in July this year!

Rossi, against Rainey, Lawson and Roberts – who wouldn’t want to watch that race?! And yes, the four greats are indeed going to race against each other in July this year, just before the USGP at Laguna Seca. Well, no, they won’t be going head to head on motorcycles – that simply isn’t possible – but they’ll be racing against each other in specially prepared karts, fitted with two-stroke engines from the Yamaha TZ250 racebike.

The four multi-time world champs will race at on Thursday afternoon, three days before the American MotoGP event at Laguna. Both Lawson and Rainey have raced karts competitively since retiring from motorcycle racing. ‘I'm quite fast but I don't know if I am at the same level as Eddie. I have some good experience with karts so I'm confident to be competitive. I think the karts in America will be 250, which are very fast. I use a 125cc two-stroke…,’ says Rossi.

We have some great memories of watching Rainey, Lawon and Schwantz slugging it out on their 500cc two-stroke GP bikes. We don’t want to sound like doddering old men who’re always talking about the good old days, but really, those were the days!! And Rainey vs Lawson vs Roberts vs Rossi is one race – even one that’s on karts rather than bikes – we certainly wouldn’t want to miss…!


BMW S1000RR: What lies beneath...

A useful video that provides an in-depth look at the BMW S1000RR's bits and pieces. It all looks and sounds pretty impressive, but the only thing is, can this BMW take on bikes like the Aprilia RSV4, Ducati 1198S and the 2009 R1? Hmm... we suppose we'll find out over the next few months!
Here's a riding impression of the S1000RR...
 image host

Moto Guzzi Stelvio 1200 4V NTX unveiled

For those who are really, really serious about their off-road adventure touring...
Pics: Motoblog

Moto Guzzi are going after the BMW R1200GS Adventure in a big way. To lure buyers away from the big-bruiser-Beemer, Guzzi are all set to launch a new version of the Stelvio – the Stelvio 1200 4V NTX – which seems to be a bit more off-road-oriented than the standard bike.

The NTX’s engine remains unchanged but the bike gets various new accessories as standard kit. These include side panniers, various guards for the shaft drive and the engine, additional lights and off-road tyres. After all, if you’re going the long way around, you might as well look the part… :-)

A road test video of the 2009 Moto Guzzi Stelvio 1200 4V

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Mac Motorcycles: New British brand announces plans for a range of bikes

Pining for simple, sporty, lightweight, air-cooled British singles - the kind Triumph and Norton once used to make? Mac Motorcycles might soon bring some joy to your life...

The UK-based Xenophya Design, in collaboration with one Ellis Pitt, are setting up a new motorcycle company, which has been named Mac Motorcycles. To begin with, this company may build a range of light, sporty and not-too-complicated motorcycles, which would be powered by an air-cooled, single-cylinder 500cc Buell engine.

‘Between us we’d designed, modified, built and ridden all sorts of motorcycles over the last 30 years and thought it was time to produce a motorcycle that reflected our philosophy. Our influences have been diverse and we’ve made unusual connections between genres of motorcycles such as choppers, Italian singles from the 1950s, flat-trackers and competition specials. What underpins Mac Motorcycles’ philosophy though is the belief that the riding experience and the stories that go with motorcycle journeys seem to have been hijacked by technology and plastic,’ says Ellis.

For the past few months, Mac Motorcycles have been working on four motorcycle designs, with the bikes named Spud, Ruby, Peashooter and Roarer. The company, based in the small English town of Upton-Upon-Severn in Worcestershire, plans build a few hundred of these bikes, in small batches, increasing production as and when required. Apart from selling these bikes in the UK, they plan to market Mac motorcycles in various other counties, including North America, Japan and Australia. Prices are likely to be in the region of £8,000-10,000.

We had earlier interviewed Mark Wells and Ian Wride of Xenophya, which you can see here, and visit Mac Motorcycles on their new website here

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Arai, Shoei and Icon helmets bag top three spots in JD Power study

Arai helmets have taken the no.1 spot in J.D. Power and Associates 2009 Motorcycle Helmet Satisfaction Study, followed by Shoei in second place and Icon in third

Motorcycle helmet manufacturer Arai ranks highest in satisfying helmet owners, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2009 Motorcycle Helmet Satisfaction Study. Arai has come out on top in this study for the 11th consecutive year.

The study measures the overall satisfaction of motorcyclists with their new helmet in three key factors – ventilation, face shield, and design and styling. These three factors are marked in 11 attributes – quietness, ventilation/air flow, de-fogging, the face shield’s ability to keep the wind out, the face shield’s ability to resist scratching, ease of replacing the face shield, scratch resistance of the shell, colour/graphic design, weight, ease of fastening the strap, and fit and comfort.

With a score of 830 on a 1,000-point scale, Arai ranked highest and performed particularly well in the ventilation and design and styling factors. Shoei followed in second place with a score of 815 and performed well in the face shield parameters. Icon ranked third overall, with a score of 806.

‘Arai continues to improve in the areas critical to customer satisfaction, which has further differentiated it from other manufacturers,’ says Tim Fox, research manager of the powersports practice at J.D. Power and Associates. ‘Arai’s focus on fit and comfort – the most important consideration when purchasing a motorcycle helmet – and its ability to cater to different types of riders have given the manufacturer a consistent edge in satisfying customers.’

Overall satisfaction with motorcycle helmets has increased to an average of 766 in 2009 – up 5 points from 2008 – the highest level since the study’s inception in 1999. The study finds that while the percentage of helmet owners who conducted research online before buying has remained relatively steady from 2008 at 36 percent, the proportion of helmet owners who purchased their helmet online has increased – up to 17 percent in 2009 from 14 percent in 2008. Additionally, those who purchased more expensive helmets ($200 or more) are more likely to both research and purchase their helmet online. More than 50 percent of these helmet owners researched online, prior to their purchase, and 22 percent of them made their purchase online.

The 2009 Motorcycle Helmet Satisfaction Study is based on responses from more than 4,600 purchasers of new 2008 model-year motorcycles who provided information about their most recent helmet purchase experience and helmet use. The study was fielded in September and October 2008. More information about J.D. Power and Associates here

Miguel Galluzzi talks about the Aprilia RSV4

Miguell Galluzzi talks about the Aprilia RSV4's design...
Via MotoFlash

When we first saw pictures of the Aprilia RSV4, we have to admit we didn’t right away fall in love with the way it looks. Sure, it looked interesting in bits and pieces but it was nowhere near as gorgeous looking as, say, a Ducati 1198. However, over the weeks that followed, the RSV4’s styling grew on us and now we quite love the bike. In fact, we tried very hard to do an interview with Miguel Galluzzi, who heads Aprilia’s design centre and who’s responsible for designing the RSV4. We spoke to people in Aprilia’s press/PR division but somehow the interview never happened.

Anyway, we now found this video on MotoFlash, where Miguel speaks about the RSV4. Some of it does sound suspiciously PR-ish, but... oh, well. ‘The concept of a blade was definitely the first idea for the RSV4. The idea was to build a minimalist, no-frills bike. A racing bike. A bike that would set the standard for all Aprilia racing bikes. The extreme idea of fitting a narrow 1000cc V4 engine into one of our sportsbikes was so exciting that it kept us awake at night,’ says Miguel.

‘The focus was on building a very compact bike, not over designing, and putting a lot of effort into simplifying components. We also wanted a minimal fairing to show the heart of the bike – the V4 engine – as much as possible. Once we achieved the design objectives, it was the details that made the difference. The headlamps, for example, are small and aggressive – as if suspended in the air. The fairing, the exhaust duct developed in the wind tunnel, the fully visible engine, an aluminium chassis that brings out the wealth of this material, the welding inspired by racing bikes. And coming to the fuel tank area, a dug-in seat so the rider is practically inside the bike for total control over the machine,’ says Miguel.

‘We did think about making a bike without a tail but it wasn’t feasible. In the end, we designed an extremely small tail, compact, like the rest of the bike. And very different from all other bikes. For Aprilia, the RSV4 is not the finishing line, it’s the start of a whole new race. We have an exciting future ahead, so stay tuned, there’s more to come,’ he concludes.

This isn’t, of course, a substitute for an interview with Galluzzi, but till the time we’re able to convince the great man to spend some time answering our questions, we guess this would have to do...!

Miguell Galluzzi, the Aprilia RSV4's designer