Friday, January 29, 2010
Bosch, which has developed the world’s smallest, lightest anti-lock braking system (ABS) for motorcycles, has won the ‘Gelber Engel’ (yellow angel) award from Allgemeiner Deutscher Automobil-Club e.V. (ADAC), Europe’s largest automobile club and biggest motorcycle association in the world. The award has been given out in recognition of the system’s potential for improving road safety for motorcyclists.
Bosch’s ninth-generation ABS for motorcycles allows various levels of performance and can be optimised for different applications, including sportsbikes. At 0.7kg, this ABS variant weight about half as much as its immediate predecessor.
‘Our entry-level ABS is by far the most compact system in the market. Its cost-optimised design makes ABS affordable for all classes of motorcycle for the first time,’ says Dr Werner Struth, president of Bosch’s Chassis Systems Control division.
Bosch has been manufacturing brake control systems for motorcycles since 1994. And while earlier ABS modules were based on passenger car technology, engineers at the Bosch competence centre in Japan have now designed a new ABS specifically for motorcycles. This system went into production in November last year.
While ABS is widely recognised as one of the biggest, most important advances in motorcycle safety, only about 10% of new motorcycles currently manufactured in Europe are equipped with this life saving technology. Worldwide, the figure is still lower – a dismal 1%. By way of comparison, the figure for passenger cars fitted with ABS worldwide has now reached 80%.
In Europe, the risk of being involved in a fatal accident when riding a motorcycle is 20 times greater than when driving a car, for the same distance travelled. In this context, the use of ABS on motorcycles should be an absolute must.
Last year, Harley-Davidson decided to shut down Buell – a sad decision for most motorcycle enthusiasts, regardless of whether or not they actually owned a Buell. In the months that have passed, Erik Buell has gone on to set up Erik Buell Racing and… well, life goes on.
For Buell fans and enthusiasts, however, many questions remain unanswered. What happened? How was a motorcycle company – arguably the only American sportsbike manufacturer – that had been in existence for more than 25 years, suddenly shut down? What went wrong? Motorcycle USA recently caught up with Erik Buell for a chat, in order to get answers to some of those questions. While you can get the full interview on the M-USA website, here are some interesting excerpts from what Erik had to say about things:
On what, exactly, went wrong
‘Well, I think what went wrong was we had a heck of a recession, which was particularly tough on all the sportbike companies and that was basically it. Harley-Davidson needed to consolidate because they were having a tough time. It saw the sportbike industry doing a lot worse than their industry, which is already doing bad, and decided to get out.’
On whether he thinks Harley made the right decision in shutting down Buell
‘I don’t agree with the decision, but that is the decision they made. They believed that they needed to focus on their core industry when the times are hard, and they believed it would be a long recovery for the motorcycle industry. And they couldn’t be distracted. Like I said, the sportbike industry was in worse shape than theirs and they felt they needed to focus. I don’t agree with them, but that’s what they felt and that’s the leadership choice they made.’
On whether Harley would take over from where Buell left off, and build a performance-oriented sportsbike
‘Whenever they did any research, the answer was, one of Harley-Davidson’s greatest strengths is that it has a very unique identity and that it shouldn’t go into the marketplace where other brands are. It would devalue the brand. Their identity is extremely, extremely strong, which is a great value, and the last thing you want to do is to lose that.’
‘Basically, what it came down to is you might sell more, but you might not sell more. But you definitely would confuse the brand. And so that really was why we kept doing the Buell thing. Like I said, it was difficult, because it’s a big company and a small company trying to do something different. And it always was that the big company had much more important needs from a financial basis than Buell did.’
On why Harley did not sell Buell instead of shutting it down
‘Harley believed it was just too much of a part, too integrated into their business. They had dealers who were involved and they wanted to keep their dealers kind of focused. They wanted to control that. They had 137,000 Buell owners out there to sell parts to, and I think the parts business over the next 5-7 years will be a profitable business. And it was a great deal of complexity they felt in disconnecting Buell from Harley-Davidson.’
On whether Buell streetbikes might ever be built again
‘I’m certainly not done and, like I said, I still want to do that. I don’t want to have to be not competing in the same market. If nothing else we’re going to hopefully build a belief that American designs and concepts and American-made stuff is cool. What I do beyond that, time is going to tell…’
For the full interview, please visit Motorcycle USA
To be held on the 10th of March in Abu Dhabi, the capital city of the United Arab Emirates, the 2010 Laureus World Sports Awards will see two of the greatest athletes of our time facing off for the Laureus World Sportsman of the Year award. While others are also in the running, the two candidates that seem to have the biggest chance of winning the award are Jamaica’s Usain Bolt and Italy’s Valentino Rossi.
Usain Bolt, Time magazine’s 2009 Person of the Year, won the Laureus World Sportsman of the Year award last year and is said to be a strong contender for this year’s award as well. He is currently the world’s fastest runner, with a world record time of 9.58 seconds in the 100m sprint and 19.19 seconds in the 200m race.
Valentino ‘The Doctor’ Rossi is, of course, one of the greatest motorcycle racers of all time, with seven world championships in the MotoGP premier class – he’s the only man to have won world championships in the 500cc two-stroke and 990cc and 800cc four-stroke classes.
Other contenders for the 2010 Laureus World Sportsman of the Year award include four-time Laureus winner Roger Federer (Tennis), Hideki Matsui (Baseball), Kenenisa Bekele (long distance runner), Lionel Messi (Football), Alberto Contador (Cycling), Santonio Holmes (American Football), Mitchell Johnson (Cricket), Manny Pacquiao (Boxing), Michael Phelps (Swimming), Andreas Thorkildsen's (Javelin) and Craig Alexander (Triathlon).
‘This promises to be a tremendous fight for this year's Laureus Awards. I can rarely remember a year, outside of the Olympic Games year, when there has been such a strong line-up of potential nominees in the Laureus Sportsman of the Year category. I think the world's media will have a difficult job coming up with a list of just six from all the possible names and I think there is going to be quite a debate over the next few months about who should win,’ says double Olympic gold medallist Edwin Moses, Chairman of the Laureus World Sports Academy.
For us, there is no debate here – Valentino Rossi is the one who must win the award, period!
The ZXR750 / ZX-7R is one of our two all-time favourite Kawasaki motorcycles (the other being the ZX-11 / ZZR1100), and the bike you see here is a rather interesting take on the Green Meanie. The machine, which started life as a 1990 model ZX-7, has been fitted with a 1972 Kawasaki H2’s 750cc three-cylinder two-stroke engine, which produces 80 horsepower. And while 80bhp doesn't sound like much, we're sure the bike is loads of fun to ride. We'll try and get more details on the machine soon...
Via Speed Junkies, Kawasaki Triples Worldwide
Last year, the FIM decided to set up its own electric bike race series (e-Power) and now Azhar Hussain’s TTXGP has been dealt another body blow – this time by the Isle of Man government. While Hussain’s outfit conducted the first zero-emissions electric bike race at the IoM in 2009, this year’s race – named TT Zero – will be promoted by the Isle of Man’s Department of Tourism and Leisure (DTL).
The TT Zero will be a part of the core IoM TT programme and will be open to riders who may also be competing in other TT classes. The one-lap race will be open to zero emissions electric motorcycles and will take place on Wednesday, the 9th of June this year.
As with other TT races, TT Zero will be run by ACU Events Ltd., in compliance with the latest FIM regulations. In addition to the usual prize money available to teams and riders, the Isle of Man Government has also created a £10,000 prize fund for the TT Zero race team that first records a 100mph (160.93km/h) lap around the 37.73-mile course. Last year, Team Agni’s Rob Barber recorded a fastest lap time of 25 minutes 53.5 seconds (87.434mph) in the clean emissions race.
‘We have enjoyed a very successful partnership with TTXGP Ltd., and I would like to take this opportunity to thank them for their hard work last year. We look forward to welcoming many of the electric bike teams and riders back to the Isle of Man in 2010 as well as to seeing new challengers pitting their wits against the Mountain Course,’ says IoM’s Tourism and Leisure Minister, Martyn Quayle.
It would be interesting to see if Azhar Hussain’s outfit will still return to the IoM to compete in the electric bikes race this year...
Race footage from the 2009 TTXGP race at the Isle of Man
For those who seek ‘adventure’ on two wheels, the KTM 990 Adventure has always been a brilliant choice. For 2010, KTM have added an ‘R’ suffix to the machine, tweaked the suspension and tuned the engine, which now makes 10 more horsepower. Motociclismo recently tested the bike and here are some excerpts from what they say about the 990 Adventure R:
KTM have improved the 990 Adventure, and the R version has 115 horsepower compared to the 105bhp of the standard 990. Suspension travel has also been increased and the R has a seat height of 915mm, compared to the standard version’s 860mm.
Looking at things from a different angle, the 990 Adventure R could well take on bikes like the Pan European or K1300LT in terms of being ideally suited to travelling long distances. While most big GT bikes cost around 19,000 euros, the 990 R costs closer to 14,000 euros and offers a wider range of capabilities. The KTM will not only let you tour on road, but will also keep going rough terrain, where conventional GT bikes simply can’t go.
Once you’ve managed to clamber on, the 990 R’s riding position feels royal – the seat is very comfortable and the wide handlebars feel just right. On the move, the fuel-injected engine is incredibly smooth and the fairing offers very good wind protection. Also, the 20-litre fuel tank allows you to travel almost 400km before you need to re-fuel.
The 990 R’s instrumentation is quite comprehensive and this year, KTM have also included an anti-theft system with a specially coded key for each bike. The fully adjustable WP suspension has been re-tuned and now has more travel front and rear. It’s also softer and more sensitive in the first few millimetres of its movement, which helps while riding over gravel and minor bumps and breaks on tarmac.
The new bike’s engine is clearly more responsive than its predecessor’s unit, with the extra 10bhp making its presence felt between 8,000-9,500rpm. The Brembo brakes are very effective and grip, from the bike’s Pirelli Scorpion tyres, is never an issue. The bike rides on a 21-inch front wheel and weighs 207kg dry, but its handling belies the big KTM’s size and weight. On twisty, broken tarmac, the 990 Adventure R could outpace many sportsbikes…
As an adventure grand tourer, the KTM 990 Adventure R is a worthy competitor to the BMW R1200GS. With more capable suspension and more power from the engine, the new 990 is a true go-anywhere machine with a very wide range of capabilities. It’s not just about the Dakar Rally or a National Geographic story – the KTM really does encourage you to go out and look for ‘adventure’ any which way you want.
2010 KTM 990 Adventure R: Tech Specs
Engine: 999cc, DOHC, 8-valve, liquid-cooled, fuel-injected V-twin
Chassis: Steel tube trellis frame
Front suspension: 48mm USD fork, 265mm travel, three-way adjustable
Rear suspension: Three-way adjustable monoshock, 265mm travel
Brakes: Twin 300mm discs (front), single 240mm disc (rear)
Wheels: 21 inch (front), 17 inch (rear)
Tyres: 90/90-21 (front), 150/70-17 (rear)
Fuel tank capacity: 19.5l
Dry / wet weight: 207kg / 230 kg
Average fuel consumption: 6.4 litres/100km
0 to 100km/h: 4.2 seconds
0 to 1000m: 23 seconds
For the original article, please visit Motociclismo
Thursday, January 28, 2010
We first wrote about the Vyrus 987 C3 4V back in October last year, and yes, we were pretty damn excited about this very exotic motorcycle from Italy. Now, Vyrus have released the official specs for the machine – the C3 4V is fitted with the Ducati 1198’s L-twin engine that makes 184 horsepower, the bike weighs 155 kilos dry and top speed is 310km/h. Plus, of course, there’s that attention-grabbing front swingarm and hub-centre steering thing which might offer some advantages in the handling department…
Earlier reports indicated that there would also be a supercharged version of the Vyrus 987, though there is no official confirmation of that yet. Stay tuned for more updates.
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
If the stock MV Agusta Brutale is just not fancy enough for you, may we suggest that you take a look at the vastly more expensive and exclusive Tamburini T1...
‘The meticulous craft of perfecting what already seems perfect,’ says the Tamburini Corse website, probably referring to the motorcycle parts and accessories available there. Set up by Massimo Tamburini’s son, Andrea Tamburini, Tamburini Corse has its headquarters in San Marino and it does expensive, stylish and high-quality accessories for MV Agusta and Ducati motorcycles.
‘I hope all bike lovers will have the chance to try the new products. These will further improve the quality standard already reached by MV Agusta Corse, thanks to their exclusiveness, innovation and design,’ says Andrea. And going by the Tamburini T1 you see here, that may well be true. If you have an F4 or Brutale (we envy you…) and you’re looking at ways of spending a few thousand euros on making your bike look, feel and sound even more glorious, you could try visiting Tamburini Corse…
Via Moto Caradisiac
Two-time WSBK world champ James Toseland, who raced for the Yamaha Tech3 MotoGP team in 2008 and 2009, returns to World Superbikes this year aboard a Yamaha R1. With the 2010 WSBK season starting next month, the British rider is all set to try and win his third championship in the series, which seems to have gathered a lot of momentum in recent years.
‘Even in MotoGP, I always went out to win – that’s how I am programmed to be. There's nobody out there that I believe can do better on a bike than I can, and I think that any professional sportsman needs to have that self belief,’ said James recently, in an interview done by IoM Today. ‘Luckily, I have always retained those thoughts, even during the tough times. It makes me believe even harder in myself so I have got to keep pushing,’ he says.
Asked about what he thinks of MotoGP’s top two, however, James makes it clear that he dislikes Jorge Lorenzo’s arrogance. ‘On TV, Lorenzo annoys me like hell as he comes across really arrogant and cocky. I dislike arrogance and cockiness in people and he's got that coming out of ears when he's got his helmet on,’ says James. ‘But once the helmet is off, he's quite a shy, reserved kid and a nice bloke,’ he adds.
‘Rossi is a comical, fun character, as portrayed on TV – it’s not an act. Obviously, he does put a show on for the cameras but at the end of the day we are all showmen and I think MotoGP has really benefited from having a character like Valentino,’ says James, talking about The Doctor. ‘The nice thing is when he comes off the track he's really similar and a nice, genuine, bubbly guy. His record speaks for itself, a nine-time world champion; he's one of the best riders of all time,’ says James.
For the full interview, please visit IoM Today
MotoGP has benefited from having a guy like Valentino, says James...
...and while we definitely agree with James about Jorge coming across as a bit too arrogant and cocky at times, these pics of him aren't too bad. But that's only because of the hot chick, of course...
Lorenzo's pics: MotoGP