Saturday, October 31, 2009

US Government agrees to extend loans to manufacturers of ‘high efficiency’ two- and three-wheelers

The US government wants to encourage manufacturers to build more fuel-efficient vehicles, regardless of whether these have four, three or two wheels!

US President Barack Obama recently signed legislation which makes high-efficiency two- and three-wheeled vehicles eligible for loans under the US Department of Energy’s Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing (ATVM) loan program. Earlier, only conventional four-wheeled cars were eligible to apply for loans under this program. Now, however, various companies that are in the process of developing hybrid and/or electric three-wheelers and two-wheelers will also be able to get loans.

As much as US$25 billion has been allocated to the DOE for its ATVM loan program, which is designed to provide cheap capital for retooling old factories to produce vehicles that are at least 25% more fuel-efficient than the average 2005-model car. With the new legislation having been signed, all fully enclosed vehicles (including three-wheelers and two-wheelers) that are capable of carrying two adults and achieving at least 75mpg (32km/l) in terms of fuel efficiency, are eligible for getting loans from the DOE.

With loans becoming available, it should be interesting to see whether more manufactures will start development work on new, more fuel-efficient three- and two-wheeled vehicles in the US. Also, it remains to be seen whether these vehicles will be commercially viable in the short- to mid-term future.
This video shows why we love three-wheelers so much! :-D

MotoGP: Vittorio Guareschi to be promoted to team manager at Ducati Marlboro

Vittorio Guareschi, who'll be team manager at the Ducati Marlboro MotoGP team from 2010, believes he can also help riders with testing and development of the racebike

Vittorio Guareschi, who’s been a test rider at Ducati since 2001, will be promoted to the position of team manager at the Ducati Marlboro MotoGP team, for 2010 and beyond. ‘I'm going to fill a void, in the sense that a team manager role hasn't existed in the team before. I will be the link between the riders and Filippo Preziosi, who will continue in his role as technical director. I'll be an advisor to the riders and I will also manage work in the garage,’ says Guareschi, who’ll also continue with his test rider role at Ducati.

The 38-year-old Guareschi, who’s been a part of the development team for Ducati’s Desmosedici MotoGP bikes since 2002, believes he can still help Ducati riders with testing and development. ‘I don't think I will do it for much longer, though. I'm 38, so I will have to quit in a couple of years time,’ he says.

V12 Honda CBX redefines ‘awesome’

A V12-engined Honda CBX is just the thing you need to show those Yamaha VMax and Triumph Rocket III guys a thing or two...

We’ve said this often in the past and we’ll say it again – we absolutely love the Honda CBX 1000. With its elegant lines and screaming six-cylinder engine, the CBX was, and remains to this day, an incredibly special machine.

We suppose it would take incredible talent to ‘improve’ on a standard CBX. Or, in the case of Andreas Georgeades, make it twice as outrageous and mechanically over the top as a regular CBX. Twice as outrageous? Yes, that’s precisely what Andreas’ V12-engined CBX is.

In his mid-60s now, Andreas was a fairly successful motorcycle racer in the 1960s, having raced against the likes of Mike Hailwood and Giacomo Agostini. Later, when he retired from racing, he took up building his own custom specials, which include no less than three Ferrari-engined motorcycles – two of those with six-cylinder engines from the Ferrari Dino (one of which even features a supercharger), and one with a V8 from the Ferrari 308!

Of course, Andreas didn’t stop there – after building six- and eight-cylinder motorcycles, how could he not build a V12-engined machine? So he started with two six-cylinder CBX engines, welding them together to create a 2,000cc V12. And as these pictures show, it must have been a diabolically difficult task.

Unfortunately enough, we don’t have more details on the machine – we don’t know how much power that V12 makes and we don’t have any acceleration or top speed numbers. Still, we’re hugely impressed with Andreas’ V12 CBX. Watch the video below to see Andreas fire up the machine, warm it up and take it for a ride down the street. Awesome!!

The V12 Honda CBX in action. The engine sounds amazing...

Via DucCutters, Flickr

Also see: Cycle magazine's
test of the 1978 Honda CBX, Motorcycle Classics' story on the CBX, and a shootout between the CBX, Benelli Sei 900 and Kawasaki Z1300

Friday, October 30, 2009

Shinya Nakano retires from racing, might continue as a development rider

Shinya Nakano has announced his retirement from motorcycle racing

Japanese rider Shinya Nakano has announced his retirement from professional motorcycle racing. Nakano, 32 years old now, raced in World Superbikes with Aprilia this year and has earlier raced in the GPs in the 250cc, 500cc, 990cc and 800cc classes, with Yamaha, Honda and Kawasaki.

‘I’ve concentrated on treatment after breaking my collarbone during Round 3 in Spain and straining my neck in Round 11 in Germany. By missing a few races, I’ve been a burden to my team as well as to others involved,’ said Nakano while announcing his retirement. ‘I feel that as a professional rider, it’s time to stop racing if I’m not in a perfect condition to do so. I’ve given this a lot of thought the past few weeks, and I’ve come to this decision through my own will,’ he added.

‘Because of your support, I’ve been able to ride professionally for 13 years and participate in the world championships for 11 years, and I have had many precious experiences. From now on, if I can use such experiences to good use, I would like to keep contributing to the motorcycle world. I am looking forward to seeing you all in racing circuits in the near future, under different circumstances from now on,’ said Nakano, hinting at the fact that he might still be involved with the sport, perhaps as a development rider or in some other capacity.

We wish you all the best, Shinya!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

V8-engined Cosmos 4RWF, 2RWF from Brazil

475kg dry weight, 350bhp V8 engine, four wheels and hub-centre steering: The Cosmos 4RWF can't be for the faint of heart

Brazilian motorcycle nut Amadeu Ferreira Junior probably isn’t the kind of man who’d be happy with a stock Yamaha VMax or Triumph Rocket III – he’d want a bigger motor, with a bit more power. So, of course, he’s built his own V8-engined bikes, one of which actually has four wheels!

Ferreira’s (yes, the name sounds suitably close to Ferrari’s) bikes – the Cosmos 4RWF and 2RWF are fitted with 5.7-litre Chevrolet V8 engines that produce 350 horsepower at 5,250rpm. Which is just as well because the 4RWF weighs an almighty 475 kilos dry, while the 2RWF is a relative lightweight at just 420kg.

Apart from the massive engines, the Cosmos 4RWF is also fitted with four wheels – two each at the front and back – with hub-centre steering. If you want one of these, be prepared to shell out about US$93,000. And if that’s a bit too much, there’s the cheaper 2RWF for only $82,000. Visit the Cosmos website for more details.

The rather more conventional 2RWF is also $10,000 cheaper than the 4RWF. That side-stand could be a problem though...

Monday, October 26, 2009

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Valentino Rossi: The winner takes it all…

"The old chicken has laid another egg...," says Valentino

With his third place finish in today’s Malaysian MotoGP at Sepang, Valentino Rossi also won the 2009 MotoGP world championship – his seventh premier class world title and ninth world title including his wins in the 125cc and 250cc classes! ‘Nine world championships is a great achievement, I'm so happy! I need to thank everyone, especially Jeremy. I couldn't have done it without Jeremy and he is like my motorcycle father. I also have to thank my family and friends. In order to stay at this level through a whole season, you have to be calm and have the right people around you and this is what I have. We've stayed concentrated and focused even in the bad moments, so we can congratulate ourselves with this ninth title,’ says The Doctor.

‘The T-shirt and the celebration is called the ‘Gallina Vecchia!’ In Italian we say that the old chicken makes good soup but it's no use for laying eggs. I am old now – 30 – but this old hen has made another egg today, and now we have nine! As usual I thought it up at home in Tavullia, together with my fan club, and we had great fun designing the T-shirt and the helmet,’ says the man who is the greatest motorcycle racer of our times.

‘I still feel just as motivated as ever. I still have a great passion to ride better and better, to be on my bike and to win. I enjoy always trying to improve and to work with my team to do this. I am 30, but I still feel great emotion and great satisfaction from success. My passion for motorcycles is what keeps me enjoying every race and helps me to keep pushing even though I am the oldest of these first top guys. I have to train harder and work harder to stay focused now, but I still enjoy the challenge as much as ever,’ says Rossi, making it clear that he isn’t going to stop racing motorcycles anytime soon.

‘I think next year will be very, very hard. We're all on the same bikes and I think it will be between me, Lorenzo, Stoner and Pedrosa again. On Tuesday in Valencia we will try the new model and I am looking forward to working on the new M1, but I have the greatest rival in my team so it won't be easy,’ says Rossi. ‘Every championship is special for different reasons, it's unforgettable every time and this day is no different. I'm World Champion once again and now I want to go and party…!’

Here are some statistics with which you can thrill and amaze (or not…) your mates down at the pub:

Rossi has now matched Mike Hailwood and Carlo Ubbiali with nine titles in all classes. Only Giacomo Agostini, with 15, has more world titles.

Rossi's win in Assen this season made him only the second rider in history to take 100 wins in all classes. Rossi now has 103, 19 less than Agostini's all-time record of 122.

Rossi holds the all-time premier class victories record, having beaten Agostini's tally at Indianapolis in 2008. He now a premier-class win tally of 77.

Rossi's win this season in Brno saw him take the all-time podium record with his 160th podium in all classes. He is also the only rider to have stood on the podium in the premier-class more than 100 times. Today's podium was his 163rd in all classes.

With 44 wins from 102 races since he joined the Japanese factory in 2004, Rossi is the most successful Yamaha rider of all time. He has 21 more wins than Kenny Roberts, Yamaha's next most successful rider.

Today's title means he has now won more titles for Yamaha than for any of the other manufacturers he has ridden for in his career.

His win at Misano, Italy, this year was his 11th win in all classes on home soil.

Rossi is the only rider in history to have won at least one GP in 14 successive seasons.

In 1997, at the age of 18, Rossi became the second youngest ever 125cc World Champion after scoring 321 points and eleven wins.

Two years later, at the age of 20, he became the youngest ever 250cc World Champion with nine wins.

In 2001 Rossi joined Phil Read as one of only two riders ever to win the 125cc, 250cc and 500cc titles.

Rossi's debut victory for Yamaha at the opening race of 2004 in South Africa made him the first rider in history to take back-to-back wins for different manufacturers.

After winning the MotoGP World Championship three times with Honda, Rossi took his fourth premier-class title with Yamaha in 2004 and became the only rider other than Eddie Lawson to win consecutive premier-class titles for different manufacturers.

Rossi remains the only rider to win the premier-class title on four different types of motorcycle: 500cc 4-cylinder two-stroke, 990cc 5-cylinder four-stroke, 990cc 4-cylinder four-stroke and 800cc 4-cylinder four-stroke.

Rossi has never missed a GP since his 125cc debut in 1996. He has started 226 successive races in all classes, 166 of which have been in the premier class. Both of these are records.

We wish The Doctor all the very best - we're sure that for as long as he chooses to race, he will continue to win!