Saturday, February 20, 2010

Peraves E-Tracer gunning for Progressive Automotive X-Prize

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The new Peraves E-Tracer is powered by li-ion batteries and an electric motor...

After the MonoTracer, Swiss company Peraves are now ready with their new machine – the E-Tracer. While the E-Tracer is based on the MonoTracer and has the same styling, bodywork, chassis and suspension, it dumps the MonoT’s BMW engine in favour of lithium-ion batteries and a powerful electric motor that churns out 150 kilowatts (204 horsepower) and 215Nm of torque.

According to Peraves, the E-Tracer will accelerate from zero to 100km/h in less than four seconds and hit a top speed of 240km/h. With the batteries fully charged, range is 300km. The E-Tracer will be priced at around US$108,000 and deliveries are expected to start early next year. Later, there will also be a more powerful 268bhp ‘ultra sport’ version, which is also likely to be more expensive.

Peraves claim the E-Tracer is hugely energy efficient and will participate in the much hyped Progressive Automotive X-Prize competition with this vehicle.

Via Autoblog Green

Peraves MonoTracer ETracerPeraves MonoTracer ETracerPeraves MonoTracer ETracer
Peraves MonoTracer ETracerPeraves MonoTracer ETracerPeraves MonoTracer ETracer

Friday, February 19, 2010

Memorable: Krauser MKM1000

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Quintessential 1980s cool - the BMW R100S-based Krauser MKM1000...

The sportiest bike BMW had in their line-up back in late-1970s was the R100S, which was powered by an old 980cc Boxer-twin that made a paltry 70 horsepower. At that time, the German company was simply unable to meet the demands of enthusiasts who wanted a faster, more powerful and better handling BMW sportsbike. The first of BMW’s K-series bikes, with modern four-cylinder engines, wouldn’t be launched until 1983 and the stock R100S simply wasn’t adequate for the needs of many sportsbike enthusiasts.

With a background in motorcycle sidecar racing and a business built around motorcycle luggage and accessories, it was one Mike Krauser who took it upon himself to build a sportier BMW streetbike – the MKM1000 – which took the R100S to a whole new level. Mike, along with motorcycle development firm HPN, spent close to US$150,000 towards developing the MKM1000, which was ultimately homologated with the TUV for street use in Germany.

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The MKM1000 was based on the 1980 BMW R100S, with a lot of components (wheels, suspension parts, brakes, 40mm Bing carburettors, exhaust system, shaft drive and various other bits) taken from that machine.

With extensive work on the R100S’ air-cooled, two-valves-per-cylinder, 980cc OHV boxer-twin, power output was boosted from 70bhp to 82bhp. Also, the MKM1000 got a completely new tubular space frame that was light, compact and rigid, and increased the bike’s wheelbase by an inch, which led to significant improvements in the handling compared to the standard R100S.

The Krauser MKM also got redesigned bodywork made of fibreglass and styled by one Franz Wiedemann, who had earlier worked on designing fairings for the BMW R100RS and R100RT. The full fairing and one-piece tank/side panels/tail unit look clean and elegant even today, and certainly must have been cutting edge design back in 1980. The bike weighed in at around 218 kilos – reasonably light for its time.

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According to a road test conducted by American magazine Cycle Guide, the Krauser 1000 felt much more refined than the bike it was based on, with reduced engine vibrations, better controlled suspension, slick gearshifts, precise steering and improved high speed stability.

The road test report says the MKM wasn’t very comfortable below speeds of about 130km/h and the suspension was a bit too stiff, but the bike’s overall performance was still pretty impressive. The bike would accelerate from zero to 100km/h in 4.7 seconds (half a second better than a stock R100S), hit a top speed of about 205km/h and at 23.4km/l, even the fuel economy was not bad at all.

The exact number of units built isn’t very clear – probably somewhere between 200 and 240. And the Krauser MKM1000 cost US$16,000 back then, which means it definitely wasn’t very affordable. But we believe this is one of the coolest, rarest, most exclusive BMW specials ever built. We love this bike!

Read full road tests of the Krauser MKM1000 here and here

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Krauser MKM1000Krauser MKM1000Krauser MKM1000

A video of the Krauser MKM1000 in racing action...!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

From Japan: Honda CB750 Café Type Motorimoda

The perfect retro-styled cafe racer...

Straight from the streets of Japan, this Honda CB750 Café Type Motorimoda is our kind of retro-styled café racer, even if it does have a very long name. With styling borrowed from 1970s endurance racers, the Type Motorimoda, designed by one Shinichiro Arakawa, is fitted with a standard CB750’s carburetted, air-cooled, four-cylinder engine. With a replacement exhaust system and careful tuning, power output is a claimed 20bhp up on the stock CB, which means it’s probably around 85bhp now.

With its handmade aluminium fuel tank, custom fabricated 4-2-1 exhaust system and long list of carbonfibre parts, the CB750 Café Type Motorimoda weighs 220 kilos – 15kg less than a stock CB750. We think the bike looks totally cool, though at 2.7 million Yen (US$29,700), it’s certainly not cheap! More details on the Motorimoda website here

Via Rocket Garage

Yes, and we want one too...!

School’s Cool: Prototype bike with hubless rear wheel

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That hubless rear wheel looks totally fascinating...
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A bunch of mechanical engineering students at the Yale University have made the very cool bicycle you see here. It isn’t very well balanced and it isn’t very practical, but that hubless rear wheel sure makes it very, very cool indeed. In the past, people have experimented with using hubless wheels on motorcycles as well, though these experiments were probably less than successful.

Hubless wheels might not be the most practical thing for bicycles / motorcycles, but we still find them quite fascinating anyway. For more details on the bike you see here, visit its creators’ Reddit page here

Via TreeHugger

bicycle with hubless wheelfree image host

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

2010 Triumph Rocket III Roadster riding impression

With its 2.3-litre three-cylinder engine that produces 148 horsepower and 220Nm of torque, the Triumph Rocket III is a motorcycle that’s not to be trifled with. It may be one cylinder and 50bhp down on the Yamaha VMax, but for sheer ferocity and the ability to scare the pants off lesser machines, the British-built Rocket III is up there with the best of them.

Motociclismo recently had the opportunity to test the 2010 Rocket III Roadster and here are some excerpts from what they have to say about the bike:

We verified at our own technical centre that the Triumph Rocket III Roadster weighs no less than 353 kilos, which makes it one of the biggest, heaviest production motorcycles currently available anywhere. This is definitely not a bike for beginners. And even those who’ve used big touring bikes in the past need to be careful with the Triumph – if you don’t concentrate hard enough during low-speed maneouvers, you could end up in a very complicated situation indeed…

The initial heaviness gives way to a smooth and comfortable ride once the bike is on the move. The riding position is very good and allows you to control the heavy machine with ease. The seat is relatively close to the handlebars and is remarkably comfortable. The 24-litre fuel tank provides a reasonably long range, since the bike averages about 12.2km/l – about what you’d expect from that massive three-cylinder engine.

Triumph claim 148bhp for the Rocket III Roadster, though we got 126bhp at 5,790rpm when we tested the bike on our dyno. On the road, the engine seems smoother than before and there’s hardly any noticeable vibration. The shaft drive system works well, the gearbox is adequately slick and there’s always huge amounts of thrust available at low and medium revs, where the Roadster accelerates really hard.

The Rocket III Roadster is happy travelling at whatever speed you want, though around 140km/h feels just about perfect. On motorways, the tiny front fairing provides more wind protection than you’d probably imagine. However, as you’d expect for such a big, heavy bike, the Roadster can be a touch wobbly and you need to be extra careful with it in the corners. The suspension is soft and provides a comfortable ride, but isn’t up to the task of hustling the bike along quickly. That said, the rear shock is fairly progressive and effective. The Rocket’s brakes are powerful and work well and the standard ABS is perfectly adjusted and very useful indeed.

This isn’t really the bike for tight, twisty mountain roads – you need to plan all your manoeuvres well in advance. The bike reacts slowly and reminds you, if you insist on going too fast, that it isn’t really a streetfighter. However, with that big, powerful engine pumping away lustily, the new Rocket III Roadster can be a surprisingly enjoyable bike to ride at all times.

Yes, the Triumph V-Max Rocket III Roadster should be a blast to ride...

2010 Triumph Rocket III Roadster: Tech Specs

Engine: DOHC, 12-valve, fuel-injected, liquid-cooled, 2,294cc inline-three
Power: 148bhp at 5,750rpm
Torque: 220Nm at 2,750rpm
Transmission: 5-speed
Chassis: Tubular steel double cradle
Front suspension: Non-adjustable 43mm USD fork, 120mm travel
Rear suspension: Preload adjustable double spring shock, 105mm travel
Brakes: Twin 320mm discs with four-piston callipers (front), single 316mm disc with twin-piston calliper (rear), ABS standard
Wheels and tyres: 150/80-17 (front), 240/50-16 (rear)

For the original article, please visit Motociclismo

Bennetts Babes Search 2010: It’s on!

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Celebrity Big Brother's Nicola T has launched the Bennetts Babes Search 2010...
Nicola T Bennetts Babes Search 2010Nicola T Bennetts Babes Search 2010

Celebrity Big Brother’s Nicola T has now launched the Bennetts Babes Search 2010. Following in the footsteps of beauties like Lucy Pinder, Nicola McLean and Danielle Lloyd, Nicola T will be heading up the annual search that sees Britain’s sexiest babes compete for a place in one of the hottest modelling squads in the biking world.

‘The Bennetts Babes search really is a fantastic way for any aspiring models to break into the industry, so all budding beauties should give it a go and upload their pictures and statistics to I will be encouraging everyone to check out the website where you can vote for your favourite babe. I will also be keeping a weekly blog about the search, keeping fans up-to-date on the competition,’ says Nicola.

‘We are really excited to be launching the seventh Bennetts Babes search and this year there are even more opportunities for fans to get involved, as for the first time a male member of the public will be chosen to be part of the judging panel. And if the promise of a bevy of babes isn’t enough Bennetts is also offering bikers twelve months’ insurance cover for the price of nine until the end of April,’ says Hannah Squirrell, Marketing Director of Bennetts.

More details on the Bennetts website here

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"In your dreams, Buster..."
Nicola T Bennetts Babes Search 2010Nicola T Bennetts Babes Search 2010

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

In conversation with Oberdan Bezzi

Oberdan Bezzi (above, second from left), with a team of designers...

As a motorcycle designer, he’s worked with companies like Ducati, Cagiva, Aprilia, Benelli and Moto Guzzi. And you can tell by his sketches – which you are likely to have seen on various motorcycle websites – that he quite loves bikes. So, of course, we caught up with Oberdan Bezzi for a quick chat. Here are some excerpts from what he has to say:

On how he got started with motorcycle design

I was born with a passion for motorcycles. In the area of Italy where I live (North East), the love for motorcycles and cars is widespread. I attended technical schools and at the same time I honed my skills in design. Then I met with Massimo Tamburini and I started working with him. Afterwards, for many years I worked as a consultant and as an internal designer in various Style Centers for Italian and international companies.

On working with Ducati, Cagiva, Aprilia, Benelli and Moto Guzzi

Having worked with these companies as an external consultant, for contractual reasons, I cannot mention the models to which I contributed [but] I can say that some of those bikes went into regular production. In all these factories, I found a lot of passion and professionalism, and I got in touch with some of the best technicians in the world. It’s amazing how the best people in the field of two-wheelers are so kind and modest.

Oberdan aboard Randy Mamola's Cagiva 500 GP racer (above) two decades ago...

On his own favourite motorcycles

I like several bikes, but for me, some of the milestones in motorcycle design are the Manx Norton, Honda NR750, Honda RC211V and RC212V. I also like the first Honda CB750, the 1970s Kawasaki Mach 1, the Kawasaki GPZ and the Ducati 916.

On European vs Japanese motorcycle design

The approach to motorcycle design is very different, although in both cases it leads to excellent results. Europeans (especially Italians) follow the intuition of a single person who expresses his ideas, which then are shared by engineers to form the development team. The Japanese design is more ‘scientific,’ there is a thorough preliminary study in order to have a product that meets public expectations. It’s striking, however, that often the approach of the ‘heart’ and ‘head’ will lead to very close results...

On the future of hybrid and electric motorcycles

I believe in electric and hybrid two-wheelers, but the brands currently ignore aesthetics in favour of the technological aspect. This is not conducive to the spread of such vehicles. People buy a bike especially for the aesthetic pleasure. That it will also work fine is automatically implied.

On his own dream bike

The bike I would design would be an extreme sportsbike. Technology from a MotoGP bike, lighter, more powerful and very, very aggressive. It will be beautiful!

We thank Oberdan for his time and wish him all the best. And we definitely hope he gets to design that dream bike of his someday! To see more of Oberdan’s sketches, visit his website here