Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Honda dual clutch transmission for bigger sportsbikes announced

Honda's dual clutch transmission will first be used on the 2010 VFR1200

Honda are claiming a ‘world first’ with their new dual clutch transmission for large displacement sportsbikes. ‘The new transmission provides riders with a sporty riding experience, combined with easy operation and superior transmission efficiency, which delivers fuel economy equal to or better than a conventional manual transmission,’ says a press release from Honda.

The first bike to be equipped with this new dual clutch transmission will be the 2010 Honda VFR1200, which will first be offered in Europe and North America, followed by Japan.

Honda’s dual clutch transmission can be used with existing engines without substantial layout modification. The transmission is equipped with three operating modes, including two full-auto modes (D-mode for regular operation and S-mode for sporty riding), and a six-speed manual mode, which delivers the same shift feel as a manual transmission.

Apart from the VFR1200, Honda also plans to gradually expand the deployment of the new transmission to more of its large-displacement motorcycles, particularly sportsbikes. So does that mean the 2011 Fireblade will be equipped with a dual clutch transmission? Probably, yes!

Honda's new CV-Matic transmission, for scooters and small bikes

Moving on to smaller bikes, Honda have also announced the CV-Matic, a new automatic transmission for Cub-style scooters and other small bikes. ‘This new fully automatic transmission further enhances the practicality and convenience of Cub-type models. The new system will be available with Cub-style scooters to be released in the ASEAN region starting in 2010,’ says a Honda press release.

‘The CV-Matic features a new cooling system developed on the basis of Honda's small-motorcycle automatic transmission technology, which protects the drive belt from the high temperatures it is subjected to. This enhances the durability of the drive belt and allows for the more compact design with a shorter distance between pulleys. Thanks to this development, the positioning of the engine does not need to be significantly altered, optimizing layout design freedom,’ says the press release.

Honda test rider Dave Hancock talks about the new VFR1200...

2010 Can-Am Spyder Roadster line-up announced

The 2010 Can-Am Spyder RT and RT-S are now available in the US

BRP announced the 2010 Can-Am Spyder Roadster line-up last week, which includes the regular Spyder RS and the more touring-oriented Spyder RT and RT-S trikes.

The all-new Can-Am Spyder RT is powered by a 998cc Rotax v-twin and features Bosch-engineered bits like a vehicle stability system, ABS, traction control and stability control. An optional trailer, which provides 622 litres of storage space, is also available and is compatible with the vehicle’s stability system.

Can-Am Spyder RT/RT-S/RS: Tech specs

Engine: 998cc, DOHC, 8-valve, fuel-injected, liquid-cooled v-twin
Power: 100bhp@7,500rpm (106bhp@8,500rpm for Spyder RS)
Torque: 104Nm@5500rpm (104.3Nm@6,250rpm for Spyder RS)
Gearbox: Five-speed manual, with electronic reverse (five-speed semi-automatic optional)
Final drive: Kevlar-reinforced drive belt
Front suspension: Double A-arm with anti-roll bar, gas shocks with five-position cam adjustment
Rear suspension: Swing-arm with monoshock, adjustable preload
Brakes: Foot-actuated, fully integrated hydraulic three-wheel disc braking system, with ABS and EBD
Dry weight: 421kg (317kg for Spyder RS)

The 2010 Can-Am Spyder RS starts at US$16,500 and the RT is priced at US$21,000. More details on the BRP website here

The Spyder RS is lighter and a bit more powerful than the RT...

Saturday, September 05, 2009

2010 Honda CB1000R announced

Metallic beige paint and C-ABS. What more could you possibly ask for?

The 2010-spec Honda CB1000R remains unchanged mechanically – apart from new colours, there are no other changes on this bike. If you’ve always wanted a bike with C-ABS and metallic beige paint, you can have one now. The bike looks good as ever and for an all-around blend of practicality and performance, the big CB would be hard to beat.

Pricing and availability details coming soon.

It hasn't changed, but the 2010 Honda CB1000R still looks good

2010 Honda CBR600RR announced

The 2010 Honda CBR600RR gets a new 'special edition' paintjob (above), but there no other cosmetic or mechanical changes have been made to the bike

The 2010 Honda CBR600RR continues as before, with no mechanical or cosmetic changes. C-ABS is still available as an option (an absolute must-have, in our opinion) and a new paint scheme is available, that incorporates a woman’s face in a stylised, high-contrast pattern. We’d much rather stick to the very cool red-white-and-blue or all-black paintjobs though, thanks very much.

Available accessories for the 2010 CBR600RR include a black-tinted windscreen, colour-matched seat cowl, colour-coordinated racing stickers, lots of carbonfibre parts and a special ECU calibrated for C-ABS circuit usage.

Pricing and availability details for the new Honda CBR600RR to be added here soon.

The red-white-blue and all-black paint schemes look best on the 600RR

2010 Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade announced

The 2010 Honda Fireblade only gets minor mods...

For 2010, the Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade gets a few new paint schemes and a few (barely discernable?) styling mods, including a modified tail unit with new clear lens taillamp and an aluminium muffler cover

According to the details given on Honda’s press website, ‘Innovations have been made to absorb fluctuations in engine torque and improve throttle control. The ACG flywheels have been made bigger and crankshaft rigidity has been enhanced to fit the flywheel size, increasing crankshaft inertia mass by 6.87%. This enables generation of optimal crankshaft inertia mass during racing, improving throttle control and racing potential. This has been achieved without any increase in weight through the use of lightweight components including an aluminium cylinder head sealing bolt, thin-walled flange section for the exhaust pipe and a smaller fan motor.’

‘Our oxygen-sensing HECS3 (Honda Evolutional Catalysing System) constantly monitors emissions, reducing any harmful gases and tailoring fuelling for the most efficient combustion mixture,’ says a press release from Honda.

As with last year’s model, Honda’s excellent C-ABS is an option on the Fireblade and is an absolute must-have in our opinion. Accessories available for the 2010 ’Blade include carbonfibre rear wheel hugger, front mudguard and crankcase covers, carbon-fibre-look tank pad and fuel lid covers, colour-matched rear seat cowl, taller windscreen (black-tinted or clear), replacement rider’s seat based on elastomer mesh technology, seat bag, tank bag, anti-theft kit, tubular steel paddock stand and a special ECU for C-ABS circuit usage.

Will the 'Blade still be one of the best all-around sportsbikes in 2010? Time and developments from Suzuki/Kawasaki/Yamaha will tell...!

Thursday, September 03, 2009

ION: Battery-powered prototype sportsbike looks good

Tom Miceli's lithium-ion battery-powered sportsbike, the ION

Tom Miceli, who has a BS degree in Industrial Design from the Appalachian State University in the US, has designed an electric sportsbike – ION – and a fully functional prototype is now ready. Tom, who designed and constructed the ION in a single semester, has used an 84-volt lithium-ion battery on the bike, which powers a three-phase AC motor that produces 34kW and 142Nm of torque.

The ION has a range of 100km and a top speed of 130km/h. A full recharge takes six hours. Seems like a neat piece of work to us.

The ION in action...

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

King Kenny rides the Yamaha TZ750. Again

Would you ride a two-stroke, 750cc, 125-horsepower dirt-tracker around the Indy Mile at 57 years of age? Flat-out, sideways, full throttle, no mercy. King Kenny would. He did. Some things never change...

Kenny Roberts, who won 500cc motorcycle GP racing world championships with Yamaha in 1978, 1979 and 1980, was back in action last weekend, during the USGP at Indianapolis. No, not aboard an old YZR500, but on something that’s probably a bit scarier. Roberts rode his old Yamaha TZ750 dirt-tracker, turning in a few fast laps at the Indy Mile AMA dirt track race on Saturday.

Roberts, who rode the ‘evil’ TZ750 to victory at the Indy Mile back in 1975, showed that at 57 years of age he still has what it takes to ride a 125bhp (and no front brakes, remember!) brute on a dirt track. And get this – he did not do a single practice lap. No, the man just turned up and went flat out on a bike that was (is?) considered almost impossible to ride. The Grandpa from hell? Damn right. Respect is due...

Here, take a look at what it takes to ride this thing...

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Kevin Schwantz on the 1993 Suzuki RGV500: “Everything about it was awesome!”

Kevin 'Revvin' Schwantz and his two-stroke 500cc Suzuki RGV500 were an unbeatable combo in 1993, when Schwantz won the 500cc world title

Kevin Schwantz rode a few demo laps around the Indianapolis circuit, just before the MotoGP event there on Sunday. Schwantz rode the same two-stroke 500cc V4-engined Suzuki RGV500 which he rode in 1993, the year when he won the 500cc motorcycle grand prix road racing world championship.

‘Any time you get to get up on something that is that fast, even though the new modern stuff is a little more refined, to get on something that has got that raw power and that light weight with the acceleration and the stopping, everything about it was awesome,’ said Schwantz, who rode Suzuki’s 500cc two-stroke GP bike for the first time since his retirement in 1995.

‘This bike was the championship-winning bike in 1993, so it's been in mothballs since. This is the first public outing on any track of any significance, for sure. I was piling down the straightaway and doing things that fast. It was awesome,’ said Schwantz.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

MotoGP 3D: For those who really like to watch…!

All good? Now imagine watching this in 3D...!
Via MotoGP

Very soon, you may have The Doctor and his MotoGP squad literally jumping out at you from your TV screens at home. All right, not really, but Dorna and 3D digital video specialists, PACE, conducted a successful trial of the latest high definition 3D Fusion camera systems, during the US MotoGP event at Laguna Seca last month.

Vince Pace (Founder – PACE) and his team shot some track footage at Laguna this year, with what’s essentially the same 3D camera technology that’s been used to shoot James Cameron's forthcoming sci-fi movie, Avatar. The 3D Fusion system relies on a dual lens system to capture left- and right-eye imagery separately, allowing the recreation of field perception depth during post-production. The system uses two HD camera bodies and a special acquisition rig to shoot 3D video.

Produced only for evaluation, a three-minute 3D video clip from Laguna was recently shown to Dani Pedrosa, Jorge Lorenzo and a few others at Indianapolis and feedback is said to have been ‘overwhelmingly positive.’

‘It was amazing. I saw a brief demonstration in Laguna, but this was more detailed today. When you see the images it's really impressive; it's like actually being there at the racetrack,’ says Pedrosa. ‘I saw MotoGP and I knew that this was the sport that would showcase our 3D technology to best effect,’ says VFX specialist John Bruno, who planned the 3D trial shoot at Laguna Seca.

‘Everyone at Pace is looking forward to working with Dorna in the future, to bring this unique 3D experience to MotoGP viewers worldwide,’ says Vince Pace. ‘It's imperative that, as the leading two-wheeled motorsports championship in the world, we keep abreast of all emerging video technologies, and see how they may be used to enhance the service we provide to our broadcast partners,’ adds Manel Arroyo, MD, Dorna.

We don’t suppose we’ll be watching MotoGP in 3D glory on our television screens for at least another few years, but when it finally happens, it’ll probably just be mind-blowing!!

For those who may be interested in knowing more about this 3D technology, visit the Broadcast Engineering website here

Friday, August 28, 2009

BMW F800R Chris Pfeiffer replica announced

Even if you can't ride like him, you can now have a bike that looks just like his


BMW have launched their limited edition (only 68 units will be built) Chris Pfeiffer replica F800R. Chris is a multi-time world and European stunt riding champ who uses BMW motorcycles for his stunts.

The Chris Pfeiffer replica F800R will come with a blue/white/red paintjob and a sticker kit which you fit yourself. The wheels are painted black (rear) and white (front), which is how it is on Pfeiffer’s own stunt bike. The headlamp mini fairing has been dropped for a stripped-out look, an Akrapovic street legal end-can is fitted as standard as indicators are LED items.

The bike will be available in Europe from early-2010 though prices are yet to be announced.

Here's Mr Pfeiffer doing what he does best...



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