Saturday, November 14, 2009
BMW have announced a limited edition version of the HP2 Sport – the HP2 Sport Motorsport – only 400 units of which will be built. The paintjob comes from BMW’s HP2 endurance racer, the boxer-twin churns out 133 horsepower and 115Nm of torque and the bike weighs 178 kilos dry. The bike will only be available in Europe, though prices haven’t been announced yet.
Friday, November 13, 2009
Swiss company Suter Racing is working on a two-stroke high-performance trackday special for those who want something more intense than an R1 and who are also rich enough to be able to afford such a machine.
Tentatively named the Suter SRT500, the bike will be powered by a 500cc two-stroke V4 engine that spits out 200 horsepower. Chassis will be from the Ilmor 2007 MotoGP bike and while the base model Suter will cost 50,000 euros, buyers will have the option to fit bits like carbonfibre wheels, race-spec suspension, titanium exhaust and assorted other exotica, taking the price up to 90,000 euros.
‘The bike will be powerful but easy enough for everyone to ride, until you try to squeeze the last few seconds of lap time out of it. If you have a nice torque curve and throttle connection you don’t need traction control – that’s for bikes with damaged torque curves, like highly-tuned four-strokes,’ says Eskil Suter, who heads Suter Racing.
Eskil also says that conventional four-stroke MotoGP bikes will feel like a tractor, compared to his two-stroke machine. ‘There was never really a proper 500cc V4 two-stroke that people could buy. I wanted to build a 500cc bike that anyone could buy,’ he says. Hmm… at 50,000-90,000 euros, we suppose Mr Suter’s definition of ‘anyone’ is certainly different from ours. But, still, we love the idea – the bike should be a phenomenal amount of fun for those who’re able to buy one. More information here
Thursday, November 12, 2009
If ever there were two motorcycles that completely represent the sensibilities of the countries they come from – and probably the men that build them – it’s the BMW F800R and Benelli TNT 899S. The first is all straightforward no-frills practicality and stern demeanour, while the second one is all lush curves, dramatic style and Latin passion. But how do the two stack up in the real world? Toff magazine conducted a shootout between the two and here are some excerpts:
It’s like comparing a pit bull with a sheep – one is a bit extreme, the other merely good-natured. The Benelli, with its shining metallic orange paintwork and aggressive stance, is typically Italian. In comparison, the BMW is barely noticeable and barely audible – almost like a scooter!
Indeed, the BMW does not deign to come down to other bikes’ levels of juvenility – it remains reserved and almost intellectual – it isn’t for the sausage eating crowd. The F800R’s 89bhp parallel twin feels lively and likes revving hard, but when the throttles are wrenched open, the 120bhp TNT 899S pulls away from the BMW without much effort. The BMW feels less powerful and more softly sprung, though its chassis works quite well and feels better than the Benelli on bad roads.
The F800R has the ergonomics of a proper sportsbike and you may be a bit disappointed if you expected the bike to be extremely comfortable. It is more relaxed than the fiery Benelli though, and the only real irritant was the heated grips, which are easy to switch on by accident and which then end up roasting your fingers.
With its upright seating position and wide handlebars, The TNT 899S’ ergonomics are somewhat similar to the F800R’s. Its three-cylinder engine sounds rough as a coffee grinder when idling, but once on the move, it smoothens out completely and revs fast and hard till it hits the limiter. The gearbox is also all right, though not as smooth as the BMW’s transmission. The Benelli’s brakes, too, require more pressure at the lever and aren’t really as easy to modulate as the BMW’s stoppers.
Pit bull vs sheep? Yes, but the two bikes are also strikingly similar in many ways. Maybe it’s time we put our prejudices – regarding what German and Italian bikes stand for – to rest.
For the original article, visit the Toff magazine website here
Benelli pics via Raptors & Rockets
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
For those who want a pure, honest sportsbike – something that’s lighter and simpler than a GSX-R600 or ZX-6R (even if it’s not as powerful as those bikes) – the new KTM 690 Duke R should be an interesting optiona. Fitted with a 690cc single-cylinder engine that pumps out 70 horsepower and 70Nm of torque, the 690 Duke R, which weighs only 148 kilos dry, should be a blast in the twisties.
The 690 Duke R gets a six-speed gearbox, steel tube trellis frame, WP suspension components (48mm USD fork, Pro-Lever monoshock), Brembo braks with radial-mount four-piston callipers at the front and 17-inch wheels shod with 120/70 (front) and 160/60 (rear) rubber. We also think the little KTM looks totally cool. We love it!
Update (16th Dec., 2009): Here's a riding impression of the 690 Duke R
Piaggio have unveiled their Urban Sport Bike (USB) concept at the ongoing EICMA Show in Italy. The prototype vehicle has been designed with multiple configurations in mind – single-seater, two-seater and with a top box for carrying stuff.
The USB’s series hybrid powerplant incorporates a small two-stroke IC engine and an electric motor that’s fed by lithium-polymer batteries. With total torque output of 200Nm (!!), the 130-kilo USB has a ‘cruising’ speed of 60km/h and a top speed of 100km/h. Range, in electric-only mode, is 50km.
Expect your local pizza delivery guy to start using one of these things in the next 2-3 years.
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
All three Moto Guzzi concept bikes are impressive, but which one will go into production? We like the red one the best. No, wait, maybe the white one...
It seems Moto Guzzi are hell bent on blowing every other bike manufacturer into the weeds at this year’s EICMA Show in Italy. After the superb V7 Clubman Racer, they’ve now taken the wraps off not one but three new concept bikes – the V12 Le Mans, V12 Strada and V12 X.
Co-designed by Miguel Galluzzi and Pierre Terblanche, all three concept bikes are fitted with Guzzi’s 1,200cc v-twin (the same engine which is fitted on the new Norge GT), and even though each bike has its own distinct persona, each is still very distinctly a Guzzi. ‘There is an impalpable, yet very real force in the history of Moto Guzzi. It lies in the ideas and in the unrelenting research work that led Moto Guzzi to build its tradition on innovation,’ says Miguel Galluzzi, who heads the Piaggio Group’s (which owns Moto Guzzi) styling centre.
‘Keep an eye on Moto Guzzi because this is just the first step. We are back to relying on ideas, and we have plenty of them. This is just the beginning,’ says Galluzzi, who, by the way, has also designed the Aprilia RSV4. Damn right, we admit we’re terribly impressed. Now let’s just wait and see which of these three bikes goes into production…
For many more pics of the three concept bikes, visit Motoblog here
The Moto Guzzi V7 Clubman Racer may be a bit down on power but looks totally cool
Moto Guzzi have relased details of the new V7 Clubman Racer, which they say is ‘the end result of extensive tuning inspired by the motorcycles that in the 1970s challenged each other in the modified production category.’ Er… yeah, well…
Moto Guzzi claim the V7 Clubman takes its design cues from the legendary 850 Le Mans, which makes it quite all right in our books – it certainly seems to have gotten that 1970s café-racer look down pat. Very cool.
The V7 Clubman is fitted with Guzzi’s 744cc v-twin, which makes 49 horsepower and 58Nm of torque. The bike’s steel tube chassis, five-speed gearbox, 40mm Marzocchi fork and twin Bitubo shock absorbers are as basic as things can get. The gearbox is a five-speed unit and braking duties are handled by a single 320mm disc at the front and 260mm disc at the back.
The Moto Guzzi V7 Clubman Racer rides on 18-inch (front) and 17-inch (rear) spoked wheels and dry weight is 182kg. There is no slipper clutch, ABS, traction control or on-board computer here, which is just fine really. Yes, this is one of those few Moto Guzzis that we like. A lot.
Moto Guzzi have announced the 2010-spec Norge GT 8V tourer, with its 1,200cc v-twin engine getting four-valve cylinder heads. ‘The Moto Guzzi Norge has been updated to consolidate its vocation of being an indefatigable GT, a tireless traveller and the acknowledged champion of reliability,’ claims a press release from Moto Guzzi.
In its new guise, the Norge GT packs 105bhp and 113Nm of torque. The suspension has been revised and the springs have been replaced for ‘sportier’ handling, which is just as well for a bike that weighs 251kg dry.
The new Norge GT also features a redesigned fairing for better weather protection for the rider and improved cooling for the engine. With its smooth-shifting six-speed gearbox, C.A.R.C. (Compact Reactive Shaft Drive) shaft drive, generous accommodation and comprehensive instrumentation including a trip computer, the Moto Guzzi Norge GT 8V certainly looks like a competent touring bike, though if were going long-distance touring, we'd probably take something like a ZZR1400... :-)
The new BMW Concept 6, fitted with a high-tech straight-six engine specially designed for bikes, is simply flat-out awesome...
BMW have released pics and specs of their new Concept 6 bike, which is fitted with a six-cylinder engine. The bike is now on display at the currently ongoing EICMA Show in Milan, Italy. BMW straight-six engines have a formidable reputation in the world of cars and it seems BMW are now all set to bring their six-cylinder power to motorcycles as well.
‘The new BMW straight-six will further expand the K-Series in the foreseeable future. The first model to be introduced will be an innovative and luxurious BMW touring machine,’ says a press release from BMW.
According to BMW, their new straight-six engine for the K-Series has been specially designed for motorcycles and will be only slightly wider than a conventional large-capacity four-cylinder engine. ‘The reduction in width is achieved in particular by the slightly over-square bore:stroke ratio with relatively long stroke and very small gaps between cylinders,’ says the BMW press release. ‘Designed and laid out as a straight-six, the engine also opens up new dimensions in motorcycling in terms of supremacy, power reserves, performance and running refinement,’ it adds.
The BMW straight-six for motorcycles will displace about 1.6-litres, will have a torque output of 130Nm and power that would be roughly equivalent to that of BMW’s 1.3-litre four-cylinder engines. ‘Fuel consumption of this six-cylinder engine is lower than that of a comparable four-cylinder engine under normal touring conditions. The use of ride-by-wire tech offers further potential for enhanced fuel economy and riding dynamics throughout a wide range of different riding modes and conditions,’ says the BMW press release.
According to BMW, the Concept 6 has been designed to look like a café-racer and features high-tech, cutting-edge chassis and suspension technologies – light alloy bridge frame and Duolever / Paralever arms holding and guiding the wheels front and rear. ‘Seventeen-inch forged wheels as well as the extra-large brake system with its six-piston fixed callipers emphasise the sporting look of the new machine and its high level of technology,’ claim BMW.
We must say BMW have come out with something of a shocker with their Concept 6, and the fact that it’s slated for production – rather than being a fanciful show bike – makes it even more amazing. Stay tuned for more details on this machine!
From left: The regular Speed Triple SE and the special edition built-for-the-EICMA-only Speed Triple look good...
The 2010 Speed Triple is mechanically similar to the 2009 bikes, but Triumph have built a show special for the EICMA, to announce their new collaboration with Öhlins. The Speed Triple you see here (above, right) features Öhlins forks, custom paintjob, Arrow exhaust, special wheels and PVM brakes. Production-spec 2010 bikes will get revised suspension settings and Öhlins suspension components for the bikes will be available at Triumph dealerships.