Friday, January 22, 2010

Quest Velomobile: Honda ANF125i streamliner hits 214mpg

The Quest Velomobile does 214mpg...

What’s the first thing you do if you have a Honda ANF125i motorcycle which, in stock form, is capable of delivering more than 100mpg (42.5km/l) of fuel efficiency? Why, you bung on a full set of streamliner-style bodywork of course, so that fuel-efficiency goes up to 214mpg (91km/l)!

No, seriously, fuel efficiency is important business these days. And the bike you see here – the Quest Velamobile, designed by Allert Jacobs, who’s based in the Netherlands – is just of the many possible ways that motorcycle manufacturers might look at, in the near future, in order to boost their bikes’ fuel efficiency.

‘As a designer and rider of faired recumbent bicycles, I have enjoyed the benefits of reduced air resistance. It makes cycling more energy efficient and allows you to travel faster over greater distances,’ says Jacobs. ‘A recumbent riding position is more comfortable, while adding a fairing can provide weather protection as well as speed. If one can decrease aerodynamic drag and at the same time improve comfort and energy efficiency of a bicycle, imagine what might be possible with a faster vehicle,’ he adds.

Manufacturers like NSU, Gilera, Norton, Moto Guzzi and others experimented with full-enclosed streamliner-type racing bikes before they were outlawed by the FIM in 1957. However, with their fully functional aerodynamics, such motorcycles definitely had a clear advantage in terms of being able to get up to higher top speeds. (In fact, such bikes were banned in the late-1950s because the brakes and tyres of that era couldn’t handle the higher speeds that these bikes were able to attain. And now, streamliner-type fairings may actually make a comeback on battery-powered electric racebikes in the TTXGP and other e-bike racing series…)

But coming back to the 214mpg Quest Velomobile, Jacobs wanted to use the advantages of fully-enclosed bodywork for boosting fuel-efficiency rather than outright performance, which is why he started with the Honda ANF125i that’s fitted with a single-cylinder 125cc four-stroke engine that only makes about nine horsepower.

Also, one limitation that such fully-enclosed streamlined two-wheelers have is that they can be potentially unsafe in very windy conditions. Strong winds can affect the balance of such machines, with potentially disastrous consequences. ‘Such a streamlined two-wheeler cannot be ridden in very windy conditions. I can accept this limitation as I will only use it occasionally,’ says Jacobs of his Velomobile.

For more details on how the Velomobile was built, visit Jacob’s website here

Via The Kneeslider

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Loris Capirossi: ‘MotoGP is for girls!’

Loris Capirossi says IoM racers are real men, while MotoGP racers are girls...

Loris Capirossi, who’ll be visiting the Isle of Man for the TT races in June this year, says that road racing is for real men and MotoGP is only for girls. ‘Compared to what you guys do, I am really a girl. You are the real men. I am 100% not thinking about ever going road racing,’ quipped Capirex, referring to those who race at the Isle of Man. ‘I hope to be in the Isle of Man during TT week to help celebrate Suzuki's 50 years in road racing, but I will be going round in a car,’ he added.

Hmmm… so who do you think would win if Valentino Rossi and John McGuinness ever came face to face on a racetrack…? :-)

Wayne Gardner turns 50

Wayne Gardner, the wild boy from Wollongong, is now 50 years old...

Wayne Gardner, who won the 500cc motorcycle GP racing world championship in 1987 (aboard a Honda NSR500), recently celebrated his 50th birthday. The Australian rider started competing in the 500cc class in 1983 and retired at the end of the 1992 season, after which he raced cars in the Australian V8 Supercar Championship and Japanese GT series.

Here are excerpts from what some of Gardner’s former associates and fellow racers have to say about him turning 50:

Michael Doohan (500cc motorcycle GP racing word champ from 1994 to 1998)
‘It's hard to realize that 20 years have passed since Wayne and I were on the Rothmans Honda team, in 1989. I have great memories of Gardner, especially of his determination as a racer. In this regard, I will never forget his never-say-die attitude. My earliest memories are of the mid-eighties, when I saw him in action for the first time, on the Surfers Paradise circuit and I was very impressed.’

‘Outside of racing, he was a funny guy especially if he’d had a couple of beers. We’ve shares many memorable moments that still make me laugh. Today, it’s great seeing him enjoying life with his young family.’

Wayne Rainey (500cc motorcycle GP racing word champ from 1990 to 1992)
‘When I came to 500cc GPs in 1988, Eddie Lawson told me about Wayne Gardner, who he said was his chief rival in his career. But I didn’t really notice Gardner until the 1989 Australian GP, where the race turned out to be great battle between him, Kevin Magee, Christian Sarron and me. Gardner won that race, I finished second. Gardner looked at me and said, ‘Today, I was good!’ We raced each other many other times in our career, but on that day, Wayne was not only good but also the best. I wish him a very happy birthday.’

'Wayne Gardner never raced to finish second,' says Kenny Roberts...

Kenny Roberts (500cc motorcycle GP racing word champ from 1978 to 1980)
‘Wayne Gardner never raced to finish second – he always raced to win. Even when he fell, he simply wouldn’t give up trying – he’d give it everything to win…’

Randy Mamola (Four-time runner-up in the 500cc motorcycle GP racing word championship)
‘My favorite memory of Gardner is on the Jarama circuit in the mid-1980s. Wayne went to see Dr Costa because he had been hurt, and as part of the treatment Costa gave him some suppositories. The next day, Costa came to him and asked him how he was. Gardner replied that he was better but he’d had a hard time swallowing the ‘pills’ prescribed. Until then, I had never heard of anyone who’d swallowed a suppository. By the way, he was also a great racer…’

Donna Kahlbetzer (Wayne Gardner’s first wife)
‘I remember the 1990 Australian GP. Wayne had a sore wrist, was riding a motorcycle that wasn’t working very well, and had the press all over him, piling on the pressure on him to win the race. Wayne looked at me and I saw fear in his eyes – something that I had not seen ever before. Suffering from the pain and the circumstances, he said ‘Donna, I don’t know whether I can do it.’ I never heard him doubt himself, but finally he did get the win despite everything. He was the hero of a nation, in the same way as he was always a hero for me.’

Kazuhiko Tsunoda (Chief Engineer, Honda R&D)
‘My best memories of Gardner are from the 1989 and 1990 seasons, both of the 500cc championship and the Suzukia 8 Hours. Those bikes were monstrous and not easy to ride. I can’t forget the 500cc race at Phillip Island in 1990, when after being nearly flung off the bike, Wayne picked up and still finished first in front of his home crowd. I'm glad to know that is happy and doing well at 50.’

Via Motociclismo

Charge: Mark Neale's film on the TTXGP story

This blog's name was inspired by Faster, a film made by Mark Neale back in 2003. Now, Neale is at it again with a new movie - Charge. While Faster was a behind-the-scenes look at the world of MotoGP, Charge is about the TTXGP and the fledgling electric motorcycle racing scene. The movie will be out later this year...

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Love, Speed and Loss: Remembering Kim Newcombe

Kim Newcombe finished second in the 1973 500cc motorcycle GP racing world championship, on a Konig motorcycle which he worked on himself...

Produced by Visionary Film and TV Ltd. and directed by Justin Pemberton, Love, Speed and Loss is a documentary about motorcycle racer Kim Newcombe, who raced a König motorcycle in the 500cc GPs in the 1970s. Newcombe was killed while racing in 1973, the same year which also claimed the lives of two other motorcycle racers – Renzo Pasolini and Jarno Saarinen. Newcombe finished second (posthumously) in that year's 500cc motorcycle GP racing world championship, which was won by Phil Read.

Born in 1944 in the town of Nelson, in New Zealand, Kim Newcombe moved to Australia in 1963 and subsequently to Europe in 1968. Along with fellow racer, John Dodds, he developed a racing motorcycle using a four-cylinder, two-stroke, liquid-cooled boat engine designed by Dieter König. The engine was mated to a Manx Norton’s gearbox and clutch.

Coming back to the film, Love, Speed and Loss is an in-depth look at Newcombe’s life and features racing footage, interviews with Newcombe’s wife Janeen and much more. It won the best documentary award at the 2007 Qantas TV Awards, and Air NZ Screen Awards for best documentary, directing, and editing.

This is a 75-minute documentary and you can watch the first part right here (see below). The other three parts can also be seen online, at the NZ On Screen website here

This is the first part of the four-part documentary, Love, Speed and Loss. The other three parts are also available online here

Pics: Ozebook, more details: Motorcycling Australia

Suzuki GB invites online reservations for 25th Anniversary GSX-R750

The limited edition 25th Anniversary Suzuki GSX-R750...

Following the unveiling of the limited edition 25th Anniversary Suzuki GSX-R750 in November last year, Suzuki GB has now announced a new online-only reservation process for the bike, which starts on the 23rd of this month.

With just 25 of these machines available, reservations will be handled exclusively through the GSX-R 25th Anniversary website from mid-day on the 23rd January and operated on a first come, first served basis. The reservation system will be open until all 25 machines have been reserved.

The 25th Anniversary GSX-R750 features a unique retro colour scheme (a tribute to the 1996 GSX-R750), a Yoshimura silencer and commemorative individually numbered top yoke plaque and certificate. The bike is priced at £10,099.

Monday, January 18, 2010

2010 BMW R1200GS riding impression

Is the 2010 BMW R1200GS necessarily a better bike than its immediate predecessor...?

With the HP2’s DOHC cylinder head transplanted on to the R1200GS, BMW have further improved their definitive ‘adventure touring’ motorcycle and made sure it doesn’t fall behind its competitors from KTM, Moto Guzzi and others. Motociclismo recently tested the 2010 BMW R1200GS, and here are some excerpts from what they have to say about the bike:

The first impression you get when you start the bike and hear the engine idling is that someone has forgotten to fit the silencer properly. Nothing’s broken however, and the reason for that noise seems to be the bike’s new electronically controlled exhaust valve, which regulates the output and pressure of the exhaust gas depending on engine load.

A quick look at the data sheet tells us that the new R1200GS, with its twin-cam cylinder heads from the HP2, packs 110 horsepower at 7,750rpm and 120Nm of torque at 6,000rpm. With the new exhaust valve and other electronics, the 1,170cc opposed-twin meets all emissions and noise regulations and yet retains its intense, deep boxer-engine roar.

Once you get on the bike, you immediately feel at home – the seat, handlebars and chassis all feel familiar. What has changed is the engine, which now feels even more responsive, making the bike accelerate harder than before at lower revs. The new engine feels particularly strong between 5,000-6,000rpm, allowing you to accelerate out of corners harder even with a passenger on board. Also, despite feeling more powerful than the older R1200GS engine, the new one does not consume more fuel and fuel efficiency remains unchanged, at 5.8 litres per 100km.

To sum up, despite the small advantages that the new bike offers, owners of the older R1200GS needn’t necessarily feel the need to upgrade. And that says a lot about how good the R1200GS already was, before BMW decided to ‘improve’ the bike…

2010 BMW R1200GS: Technical Specs

Engine: 1,170cc, DOHC, 8-valve, air-cooled, fuel-injected Boxer-twin
Power: 110bhp@7,750rpm
Torque: 120Nm@6,000rpm
Gearbox: Six-speed, with dry, single plate clutch
Chassis: Steel tube trellis
Suspensions: 41mm Telelever (front), single side Paralever (rear), both ends electronically adjustable
Brakes: Twin 305mm discs with four-piston callipers (front), single 265mm disc with twin-piston calliper (rear)
Wheels: 19-inch (front), 17-inch (rear)
Tyres: 110/80-19 (front), 150/70-17 (rear)
Top speed: 215km/h
Average fuel consumption: 5.8 liters per 100km
Wet weight: 246kg

For the full, original article, please visit the Motociclismo website here


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