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

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...