Friday, July 10, 2009

Titilla II: Valentino Rossi buys $1.15 million boat…


Rossi recently bought this Pershing 56 luxury yacht for a bit more than a million dollars and will pay about $13,000 per year in parking charges for the boat. Oh, the spoils of success... :-)

Via Motoblog

One of the highest earning sportspersons in the world, Valentino Rossi also knows how to live the good life – the reigning MotoGP world champ recently bought a brand new yacht for US$1.15 million. While Rossi’s last boat was called Tatilla, he’s named the new one (a Pershing 56) Titilla II. The luxury yacht is 56 feet long, has six beds (very useful, we’re sure…), can take up to 14 people and is powered by two engines that together produce 1,300 horsepower.

To keep his Pershing 56 Titilla II docked in the tourist bay of Vallugola, in Pesaro, and to keep a reserved car parking slot there, Rossi has to pay about US$13,200 every year. Hmm… if we didn’t so worship The Doctor, we’d almost be jealous. Anyway, time to go back to dreaming about the day when we can afford a new R1… :-((

Honda V4-engined super-tourer coming in 2010, may be called Pan European 1200



The new Honda V4-engined touring bike - perhaps to be called the VFR1200T - is coming next year
Pics: MCN

According to a report on MCN, Honda are working on the using the VFR1200’s V4 engine in an all-new touring bike, which is likely to be launched early next year. This bike, which could be called the Pan European 1200 or the VFR1200T, will share its engine, chassis, shaft-drive, single-sided swingarm, ABS, traction control, some suspension components and suspension adjustability with the yet-to-be-launched VFR1200, but will have different bodywork and reworked, more touring-oriented ergonomics.

The Honda V4 touring bike is also likely to be fitted with a semi-automatic gearbox that could offer clutchless manual shifting and which may even have a CVT-type fully automatic mode. Like the VFR12, the new tourer will also feature cylinder deactivation, where the V4 engine will be able to function as a parallel-twin, when the rider chooses to deactivate two of the engine’s cylinders.

In a move aimed at boosting its bikes’ fuel-efficiency, Honda is quite likely to offer the cylinder deactivation feature on its bigger sports-tourers and full-dress touring machines. This technology, which allows the rider to effectively deactivate half the engine when the extra performance is not needed, helps cut down on fuel consumption. Of course, the system automatically activates all cylinders when it senses that the rider wants full power – shift down a gear or two and wrench the throttle open, and everything comes back on, and off you go…

We’ll admit that none of the above has been officially confirmed by Honda but we’re also willing to bet that most – if not all – of it will turn out to be true when Honda’s new V4 bikes are officially unveiled later this year. Stay tuned for news on this one!

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Randy Mamola rides BQR-Honda Moto2 bike, likes it


Randy Mamola says Moto2 bikes can be great fun...

Pics: Motociclismo

Randy Mamola, the former ‘Clown Prince’ of 500cc motorcycle grand prix racing, recently got to ride the BQR-Honda Moto2 bike and quite liked it. ‘I liked the idea of Moto2 from the beginning and now after having ridden the bike, I can confirm that Moto2 bikes are fun,’ said Mamola, speaking to Motociclismo. ‘The engine sounds like something from Formula 3 and it’s intoxicating.’

‘If you compare Moto2 bikes with 600cc supersports machines, I would say this is a real racing bike. I’ve been lucky to test many types of bikes and I can say that Moto2 cannot be compared to anything. The closest thing is a supersports machine, but the Moto2 bike’s level of performance and the way it works is completely different,’ says Randy.

‘A supersports racer is fast and goes well, but can be slow to respond on the track, as the chassis is essentially designed for street use. In Moto2, the chassis is designed for racing and the way it works – in terms of rigidity and being able to respond to the rider’s inputs – is completely Grand Prix,’ he adds.

So how does a Moto2 machine compare with a two-stroke 250 GP racer? ‘Compared with a 250, it’s much easier to ride – anyone who moves from two-stroke 250s to Moto2 will be surprised. Yes, 250s are incredibly responsive – more so than the Moto2 bike – and they are lighter and ‘racier.’ But it’s also easier to make mistakes on those bikes. The great thing about this is that Moto2 lets you get closer to the limit without being on the edge all the time,’ says Randy.

‘I think Moto2 will see some great battles. Just imagine a grid of over 30 bikes and the noise... this is going to be very good,’ says the man who’s probably ridden anything and everything with two wheels and a powerful engine. Hmmm… we’ll admit we haven’t been too happy with the idea of Moto2, its ‘control’ engines from Honda and many of its proposed rules and regulations, some of which seem completely outlandish to us. Still, we respect Mr Mamola’s opinions. Maybe Moto2 won’t be so bad after all? Next year, we’ll find out…


Mamola used to race fire-breathing two-stroke 500s, so we have to respect what he says about Moto2 machines. Contrary to what we first thought, maybe Moto2 will be more than just a bunch of tricked-out, heated-up CBR600s tearing around a track... :-))

BQR-Honda Moto2 race bike: Tech Specs

Engine: Liquid-cooled, fuel-injected, 16-valve, DOHC, 599cc inline-four
Power: 140bhp
Gearbox: Six-speed
Chassis: BQR-designed aluminium beam frame
Suspension: 43mm USD fork, monoshock
Brakes: Twin 300mm discs with four-piston radial-mount callipers (front), single 200mm disc (rear)
Wheels: 17-inch
Tyres: 125/80 (front), 190/55 (rear). Tyres will be supplied by Michelin or Dunlop.
Weight: 135-137kg

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Riding impression: Hyosung GT650R


Pics: Motomag

For those who may be looking for a budget-spec sports 600, the Korean-made Hyosung GT650R looks like a good bet. Well, at least it does on paper. But does it measure up in the real world? Here are some excerpts from Motomag’s riding impression of the bike:

On paper, the Korean bike provokes enthusiasm. But in the real world… things turn out to be a bit different. Close up, the bike looks and feels cheaply put together and lacks refinement. On the move, it quickly informs you of its dynamic limits. The suspension simply isn’t very good and the bike doesn’t feel stable in bends. Also, the engine’s fuel-injection system needs more work – throttle response is inconsistent and getting on and off the throttle at higher revs can be jerky.

The Hyosung GT650R isn’t exactly terrible, but it’s simply not in the same league as, say, a Suzuki SV650 or Kawasaki ER-6. To sum up, the bike, which is barely 100 euros cheaper than an SV650, isn’t worth it. This verdict may seem harsh, but in a market where competition is strong, the Hyosung simply doesn’t have any special talents to recommend its case.

Hyosung GT650R: Tech Specs

Engine: Liquid-cooled, 8-valve, DOHC, 90-degree, 647cc v-twin

Power and Torque: 82bhp at 9,000rpm, 61Nm at 7,600rpm

Transmission: Six-speed

Brakes: Twin 300mm discs (front), single 240mm disc (front)

Dry weight: 191kg

Price: € 5,490

Riding impression: Harley Davidson VRSCF V-Rod Muscle


The Harley-Davidson VRSCF V-Rod Muscle looks good, goes hard...

Our no.1 favourite Harley is definitely the XR1200, but the VRSCF V-Rod Muscle isn’t too far behind. Well, we’d still rather take a V-Max or B-King if we had the choice, but since we don’t… and since Solomoto have done this handy little riding impression of Mr Muscle, here are some excerpts:

They used a Harley-Davidson Fat Boy in the second Terminator movie, where that bike was used for all kinds of stunts. However, if the Terminator were to ride a Harley today, it would have to be the VRSCF V-Rod Muscle. The V-Rod has seen several versions being launched over the last few years and the engine capacity has been bumped up from the original 1200cc to 1254cc, but really, the Muscle is the first major ‘new’ model in the series.

Without detracting in any way from the traditional V-Rod styling ethic, the Muscle is now the most attractive and contemporary looking bike in the V-Rod series. With its huge 240mm rear tyre and side-mounted exhaust pipes, the bike looks an intimidating dragster… yes, people will be turning their heads to look at your machine and be prepared for the questions from passers-by when you finally stop to park the bike!

The Muscle’s instrumentation is more comprehensive than most other Harleys – in addition to the usual fuel gauge, you also get a speedometer and tachometer, which is useful. Around town, the Muscle can be less than ideal because of its weight, length and shape of it handlebars. Still, for a dragster-like bike with a 240mm rear tyre, the bike is at least reasonably agile. And then, without any doubt, you’ll be the King of traffic lights, which should be great fun. Indeed, the engine provides strong acceleration from above 2,000rpm and unlike most other slow-revving Harley engines, this one revs up pretty quickly.

The V-Rod Muscle's riding position makes you stretch your arms far ahead and air protection is nil, which isn’t very comfortable on the long haul. Fortunately, 60-degree V-twin doesn’t vibrate and the rider’s seat is wide and comfortable, which helps matters. On the flip side, the pillion seat is small and thin, the footpegs are not insulated with rubber and there are no grab handles, which, depending on who’s riding with you, may not be such a bad thing…

On the move, you have to muscle the Muscle into corners – with its long wheelbase and massive rear tyre, you need to plan for corners well in advance and use full body English to get the bike to turn. Do this, however, and it’s possible to corner quite hard on the bike. However, the suspension is a bit soft – especially the rear shocks – which can compromise the handling somewhat. Also, the low-ish footpegs can grind out on the tarmac pretty quickly, if you get too ambitious with your cornering speeds.

To sum up, this is a ‘different’ Harley, one that’s not aimed at the Sportster, Fat Boy or Road King buyer. No, the Muscle is for those who want a Harley but who will not sacrifice performance for spectacle. Yes indeed, the Harley-Davidson VRSCF V-Rod Muscle would be the ideal bike for the new Terminator...

Harley-Davidson V-Rod Muscle

2WD Yamaha R1: First ride video


The guys at MCN ride the only 2WD Yamaha R1 in existence. Very cool...!

Monday, July 06, 2009

Valentino Rossi in fifth place on the list of world’s top earning athletes


Rossi's will earn US$35 million this year. Not too bad for riding a bike around a couple of tracks for a few months in the year... ;-))

According to a recent list compiled by Sports Illustrated, Valentino Rossi’s earnings for the current year stand at around US$35 million, which puts him in fifth place in the list of top earning athletes in the world. According to SI, ‘the average earnings of the top 20 non-American sportsmen are at an all-time high $29.5 million.’

Brit David Beckham is on top of SI’s list, with an annual pay packet of $45.2 million, Finnish F1 driver Kimi Räikkönen is in second with $40.1 million, Philippino boxer Manny Pacquiao is in third with $40 million, Argentinian soccer player Lionel Messi in fourth with $39.9 million and Spanish F1 driver Fernando Alonso and MotoGP’s Valentino Rossi are in a tie for fifth place, at $35 million each.


2009 US MotoGP: Race results from Laguna Seca


Dani Pedrosa took a rather unexpected victory at Laguna Seca...

2009 US MotoGP: Race results from Laguna Seca


1. Dani Pedrosa Repsol Honda Team 44min 1.580 sec
2. Valentino Rossi Fiat Yamaha Team 44min 1.924 sec
3. Jorge Lorenzo Fiat Yamaha Team 44min 3.506 sec
4. Casey Stoner Ducati Marlboro Team 44min 14.012 sec
5. Nicky Hayden Ducati Marlboro Team 44min 23.243 sec
6. Toni Elias San Carlo Honda Gresini 44min 23.621 sec
7. Colin Edwards Monster Yamaha Tech 3 44min 31.781 sec
8. Chris Vermeulen Rizla Suzuki MotoGP 44min 34.437 sec
9. Randy de Puniet LCR Honda MotoGP 44min 41.905 sec
10. Marco Melandri Hayate Racing Team 44min 49.608 sec
11. Alex de Angelis San Carlo Honda Gresini 44min 50.390 sec
12. Niccolo Canepa Pramac Racing 45min 20.111 sec

DNF:
Gabor Talmacsi Scot Racing Team MotoGP
Loris Capirossi Rizla Suzuki MotoGP
Andrea Dovizioso Repsol Honda Team
Sete Gibernau Grupo Francisco Hernando

DSQ:
James Toseland Monster Yamaha Tech 3

Pics from the 2009 American MotoGP/qualifying at Laguna Seca

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