Saturday, June 20, 2009
From Gooichi Motorsports / DucCutters, here’s a modded 2003 Ducati 749. ‘I can never leave anything stock, and one thing led to another. I wanted to do something different with the bike, something that would make Ducati purists cringe,’ says the Gooichi 749’s owner. So, of course, the bike was lowered, fitted with a stretched swingarm, custom-built exhaust, spoked wheels, aftermarket rear shock and… the list just goes on and on.
‘I wanted to go for an old school look, so we sprayed it hot rod black with solid red flake scallops, equipped with red and white pin stripes all around. I also designed a nice air ride kit for it, along with some carbon pieces and custom side-mount exhaust,’ says the bike’s owner. ‘For some this would be enough, but when things snowball around here, it never stops! I ended up making a one-off, 14 over aluminium tubular swingarm to house a custom fat spoked rim. We went with ‘Ride Wright Fat 50’ 18-inch wheels, with a 300 in the back, chrome spokes with black rims,’ he adds.
The Gooichi 749 isn’t, of course, for everybody but for those who like to get down long and low, it’s probably a slice of heaven…
Ducati North America have announced the first annual ‘Ducs Fly South’ trackday, which will be held on the 13th of July this year, at New Jersey Motorsports Park. The event is open to street riders of all levels and available to riders on any make of motorcycle.
Among other things, Larry Pegram, factory Ducati AMA Superbike rider, will be there for a Q&A session and will talk about his 1098R racebike. There will be a Ducati Hypermotard truck which will provide demo rides on Ducati Hypermotards and there will be product giveaways, a best bike contest, test rides and even a suspension seminar.
There’s no word on whether hot, bikini-clad chicks will be in attendance, but there will be a Ferrari vs Ducati showdown during the event. Universal Autosports will get three Ferraris down to the track and the fastest Ferrari driver will finally go head to head against the fastest Ducati rider on the track. And the eventual winner will take home… …bragging rights for life? Probably. Should be fun anyway…
Friday, June 19, 2009
Honda's chief designer, Mitsuyoshi Kohama. Among others, he's worked on the NS400R, VFR750F, NR750 and CBR900RR. He'll also be involved with the design of future Honda V4s
Honda are all set to launch a brand-new V4-engined motorcycle in 2010. Shigeru Takagi, President and MD of Honda Motor Europe has confirmed that the company will indeed introduce the new machine – which would be based on Honda’s V4 concept bike shown recently – during the first half of 2010, and other V4 bikes will also be launched over the next few years.
These new V4 machines will be designed by Honda’s 48-year-old chief designer, Mitsuyoshi Kohama, who’s been working with Honda for the last three decades. Among others, Kohama has worked on bikes like the NS400R, VFR750F, NR750, CBR900RR, RC211V and the CBR1000RR Fireblade.
‘With motorcycles, there is no difference between the interior and the outer skin. Parts that determine the outward visual appearance are internal functional units. For example, the petrol tank is a container for the fuel which simultaneously fulfills a function for knee contact. The design of a motorcycle requires that such functional units be shaped into a pleasant form,’ says Kohama, who’s obviously deeply passionate about motorcycle design.
‘Motorcycle design means shaping a vehicle as a whole – it encompasses all the components from A to Z, regardless of whether they are made of metal, plastic, rubber or leather. Even the layout of the wire harnesses is part of this. The only thing that designers do not touch is the inner life of the engine,’ says Kohama.
‘I think that the design of a motorcycle is very similar to that of a living being – the proportions must be right. Also, an important point in design is to be satisfied with the result oneself. If you do not like something, you can't let it go through. Honesty is necessary. I cannot offer the customer something that does not convince me,’ he adds.
‘I shall try in the future as well to design motorcycles that excel not only in functional design and beauty, but cause a stir around the world,’ concludes Kohama. Hmmm, so those new Honda V4s should be worth waiting for then…!
Via Honda V4
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
The Derbi Mulhacén Café 659 Angel Nieto LE isn't really all that fast, but it certainly looks way cooler than, say, a GSX-R600...
Derbi have launched the Mulhacén Café 659 Angel Nieto Limited Edition, only 50 units of which will be built. The bike is Derbi’s tribute to Spanish roadracing star Angel Nieto, who won all of 13 world championships between 1969 and 1986. We think the Mulhacén Café 659 LE looks totally cool and here are some excerpts from Motociclismo’s riding impression of this machine:
Despite the way it looks, the Mulhacén Café 659 Ángel Nieto LE has actually been developed as a middleweight sportsbike, hence bits like the 17-inch wheels (shod with 110mm (front) and 150mm (rear) Pirelli Diablo tyres), 43mm USD Marzocchi fork, fully adjustable ZF Sachs monoshock and high-spec Brembo brakes with radial-mount callipers at the front.
The engine is a liquid-cooled, fuel-injected, SOHC, four-valve, 659.7cc single-cylinder unit that’s built by Yamaha-Minarelli. It isn’t hugely powerful – there’s 47bhp and 55Nm of torque on tap – but it’s enough to propel the 170-kilo bike at an adequately brisk pace. Indeed, the Mulhacén Café goes from zero to 100km/h in 6.44 seconds, does the standing kilometre in 29.6 seconds and hits a top speed of 167km/h. Of course, as you might expect, the single-cylinder engines vibrates a fair bit at higher speeds…
The Mulhacén feels equally at home doodling along in urban traffic as well as slicing through twisting, winding country roads, where its amazing torque delivery at low revs makes it extremely manoeuvrable. Thanks to its electronic fuel injection, fuel consumption is always low, even at higher speeds and with a pillion passenger. The bike’s ergonomics have been carefully designed and with its soft-ish suspension, this is a comfortable machine for long-distance riding. The removable seat cowl, engraved with a logo celebrating the brand's 85 years of history, means the bike can be transformed from a single-seater into a two-seater when required.
The Mulhacén Café Angel Nieto Limited Edition is now available through Derbi’s European dealerships and for all those racing enthusiasts who might want to buy a chunk of history – albeit one that benefits from modern-day motorcycle technology – you had better place your orders right away, since only 50 of these gems will ever be made.
For the full road test, visit the Motociclismo website here
Shocker: A radical new battery-powered off-roader from PMW
Patmont Motor Werks (PMW) has unveiled a radical new off-road motorcycle prototype, which is fitted with the company’s patented Cantilevered Independent Dynamic Linkless Indispension (CDLI, whew!!) suspension system. This battery-powered electric bike – named 'Shocker' – has been designed to function as a ‘tri-sport’ machine (street, dirt, and freestyle) that emits very little noise and zero emissions.
The PMW Shocker weighs 98kg and is powered by lithium-polymer batteries and a sealed, liquid-cooled DC brushless motor. And yes, the single-side front and rear suspension does seem quite interesting. If the bike does go into production, it will be built at PMW’s facility in Nevada, in the US.
The Shocker in action. Very cool...!
While two-strokes will gradually be pushed out of GP racing, KTM say they will continue to work on quieter, more powerful and less polluting two-stroke engines...
With the creation of the ‘Moto2’ class in Grand Prix racing, two-stroke 250s will be replaced with 600cc four-strokes next year. This is not such a good move for smaller European manufacturers – two-stroke specialists like Aprilia, Derbi, Gilera and KTM – who will definitely not be able to race in Moto2.
However, according to a report on DealerNews, KTM won’t be giving up on developing new two-stroke engines. According to KTM’s CEO Stefan Pierer, the company will continue to work on quieter, more powerful and less polluting two-strokes which would be lighter and easier to work on compared to four-stroke engines. ‘At KTM, the two-stroke will continue to remain an integral part of the future model planning,’ says Pierer.
Alongside regular four-stroke engines, KTM sees a place for two-strokes as well as battery powerplants/electric bikes in its future line-up. Hmmm... so will KTM build a street-legal equivalent of the late, great Aprilia RS250 someday? We seriously doubt that, but hey, dreaming about it can't hurt... :-)
James Toseland, who's been less that successful in MotoGP in 2008 and 2009, will go back to World Superbikes next year, perhaps with Alstare Suzuki. Toseland won the world superbikes championship in 2007, with Honda, and in 2004, with Ducati
According to a report on Italian website MotoSprint, British rider James Toseland will be leaving MotoGP at the end of this year, moving back to World Superbikes with the Alstare Suzuki team. Toseland, who won the World Superbikes championship in 2004 (with Ducati) and 2007 (with Honda), moved to MotoGP last year with the Tech3 Yamaha team, but his performances have not been particularly exciting. Understandably, Tech3 Yamaha team boss Hervé Poncharal isn’t too keen on continuing with James next year…
‘The easy choice was to stay and be competitive in world superbikes. I could continue that, no problem, but I want to see where I line up against the best in the business,’ said James at the end of the 2007 WSBK season, before moving to MotoGP. ‘The seven years I've had in superbikes and being a two time world champion will prove that I can be competitive there. I'm quietly confident that I can be.’
‘I want to be the first British rider to be competitive in GPs since Barry Sheene. I never got to see any of his racing but you can't get away from the fact that he was the last true household name in British motorcycling. I've worked hard for the last ten years to be given this chance to emulate him,’ Toseland had said at that time. What a pity then that things didn’t exactly work out for him…
Monday, June 15, 2009
With its 200cc two-stroke supercharged engine, which makes 90 horsepower, the Scorpion Performance is the Cagiva Mito from hell...
Simone Barbagallo has given quite a makeover to the stylish little Cagiva Mito. It has taken four years of hard work and it has cost him more than US$55,000 (not including the cost of the original bike) to build his bike – which he’s named Scorpion Performance – but the results seem worth it.
Barbagallo started with a basic Mito, with a 125cc, two-stroke engine that only produced 15bhp. The engine capacity was then increased to 200cc and a supercharger and NOS system were fitted to the bike. The Scorpion Performance Mito now packs 90 horsepower, which should be absolutely awesome in a machine that still only weighs 100 kilos!
The Scorpion is loaded with various trick bits – a stiff and lightweight single-sided swingarm, 17-inch Marchesini forged magnesium wheels, a digital instrument panel, 50mm USD Marzocchi fork, uprated Brembo brakes, 40mm Keihin carb, carbonfibre bodywork, Pirelli Diablo slicks and… we could go on for another 5,000 words but you get the idea.
Why spend so much money on such a small sportsbike? Well, Barbagallo says he believes that sometimes, “an ant can defeat an elephant.” He says his bike is simply perfect and can take on many bigger sportsbikes, which are simply too big and too heavy for their full potential to be used on the street. Hmmm, that’s certainly some food for thought…