Saturday, April 10, 2010

BMW motorcycles: The carbonfibre yarn

One of the benefits of motorcycle evolution - carbonfibre parts for your motorcycle!

With its unique mix of strength, light weigh and exotic-cool factor, carbonfibre is increasingly being used by motorcycle manufacturers on their top-spec sportsbikes. For those looking to shed every superfluous kilogram from their motorcycle, carbonfibre has to be a good bet, since it offers a 50% weight reduction when compared to steel, and a 30% weight reduction compared to aluminium.

While carbonfibre has its advantages, using this material remains a complicated process. For bikes like the S1000RR and K1300R, BMW use high quality Polyacrylonitrile (PAN) based fibres in the spinning process to create the precursor monofilament yarn, which is then ‘carbonised’ under high temperature (above 1,000 degrees Celsius). This is done with the exclusion of oxygen, so that the fibre yarn carbonises rather than burns.

This precursor yarn is then passed through several ovens set at different temperatures and then runs through a ‘sizing bath,’ which assures the perfect fibre-matrix adhesion needed for the lamination process. The yarn is then wound onto carbonfibre spools for further textile processes such as weaving or multiaxial production. Yeah, well, producing something that’s lighter and stronger than steel wasn’t ever going to be simple…

Would you rather have carbonfibre parts or skimpily-clad women on your bike? Tough choice, eh?

In the end, carbonfibre is an incredibly strong, yet flexible and lightweight material that BMW use extensively on their sportscars and superbikes. Carbonfibre is also more customisable than either steel or aluminium – it can, for example, be engineered to remain flexible in one direction and very stiff in another.

BMW offer various carbonfibre parts for the S1000RR and K1300R, which come with a three-coat high-gloss paint finish, which is UV-resistant and offers outstanding impact resistance and protection against discolouration. ‘BMW Motorrad has several highly skilled experts for carbonfibre structures, who are involved in the development process right from the beginning of the design phase of the individual components. There is also a lot of synergy with the automotive division, which results in extremely high quality and engineering levels,’ says Johann Sievers-Paulsen, one of the BMW Group’s experts in the field of carbonfibre components development.

Half a century ago, motorcyclists had to make do with bits of steel tubing on their motorcycles. Modern-day bikers have machines like the S1000RR and carbonfibre parts to go with that!!


Jeremy Burgess: ‘Mick Doohan crushed his opposition before he got on the bike…’

Jeremy BurgessMick Doohan
Master tuner Jeremy Burgess talks about five-time 500cc motorcycle GP racing world champ and fellow Australian, Mick Doohan...
Mick DoohanMick DoohanMick Doohan

Jeremy Burgess, who’s been Valentino Rossi’s crew chief for the last 10 years, has pretty much seen it all when it comes to motorcycle racing. He has, in the past, worked with Randy Mamola, Freddie Spencer, Wayne Gardner and Mick Doohan, so we guess if there’s one man who knows a thing or two about MotoGP and about MotoGP riders, it’s Burgess.

Superbike Planet recently did an extensive interview with Jeremy, where the master tuner talks about his experiences with various top riders over the last three decades. While the whole thing is incredibly interesting, what really makes us smile is what Burgess has to say about one of our all-time favourite riders – Mick Doohan. Here are a few excerpts:

Mick Doohan had confidence, and he crushed his opposition before he even got on the bike. I mean, he didn't talk to them in the paddock. He was awesome in that respect. And he had to qualify pole position. It didn't matter that he went into the first corner in sixth place, he had to be in pole position. We used to tell him, ‘Mick, if you're on the front row, it'll be okay.’ That wasn't anywhere near good enough.’

‘With Wayne Gardner, you would have to go and tell him ‘You can beat those guys. You beat them last week. You can do it. You can do it. You can do it.’ If you said anything like that to Mick Doohan, he'd look at you, and he'd look down at you, and he'd say, ‘What, don't you think I can do it?!’ That was it. Wayne needed to be pumped up. You mention that to Mick, it was like a negative. It wasn't a positive. Polar opposites in that respect.’

‘Mick always wanted to be two seconds faster than his ability allowed, and that caused a few crashes. But a person like myself cannot teach any rider how to ride a motorcycle. They have to learn that from their fellow competitors. And for Mick, 1994 was where it started…’

See the full interview on Superbike Planet

Mick DoohanMick DoohanMick Doohan
Mick DoohanMick DoohanMick Doohan
Mick DoohanMick DoohanMick Doohan

Friday, April 09, 2010

AC Schnitzer S1000RR: Avoid Silence!

AC Schnitzer S1000RRAC Schnitzer S1000RR
The AC Schnitzer S1000RR is here...
AC Schnitzer S1000RRAC Schnitzer S1000RRAC Schnitzer S1000RRAC Schnitzer S1000RR

‘Avoid silence – the phrase perfectly describes the BMW S1000RR. With its loud roar, it has turned the superbike world inside out,’ says a blurb on the AC Schnitzer website. Umm… yeah, well, we love the S1000RR too! :-)

Anyway, the German tuning house has got its hands on BMW’s latest and the result is the AC Schnitzer S1000RR, which gets a Schnitzer exhaust system, black handlebars, new brake fluid reservoir, crash pads and Schnitzer brake and clutch levers (fully adjustable) that are made of aerospace-grade aluminium.

‘The S1000RR can also be fitted with adapters for larger mirrors to ensure good rearward visibility, but who would be coming from there?’ says Schnitzer. Who indeed… :-)

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Markus Hofmann: BMW S1000RR and the art of high fashion

BMW S1000RR Markus HofmannBMW S1000RR Markus Hofmann
As recently as a year or two ago, who would have imagined that a German motorcycle - a BMW - would emerge as the hottest, fastest and most fashionable street-legal superbike in the world...!
BMW S1000RR Markus HofmannBMW S1000RR Markus Hofmann

We recently carried an interview with Leslie Porterfield, who’s now a Guinness record holder for being the fastest female motorcyclist in the world. There, we also featured some of Leslie’s pics with a BMW S1000RR, which were clicked by Markus Hofmann, one of Germany’s top photographers. Well, it seems Hofmann quite likes the S1000RR himself and has earlier taken more pics of the bike with various models, some of which we’ve featured here.

The BMW S1000RR is the hottest, sportiest motorcycle to ever emerge from Germany and combining the bike with haute couture can’t be a bad idea. With the S1000RR, Hofmann wanted to create a look that showed beautiful women wearing clothes that are desirable, yet still obtainable and entirely real world relevant.

‘There are so many motorcycle manufacturers that combine motorcycles and women in an artless and sleazy way, that I thought there just had to be a better way of doing it,’ says Hofmann. ‘I had no intention of putting a naked woman on a bike, and it was very clear to me that the bike had to be the S1000RR superbike in the same colour that people have seen on the racetrack in 2009. I didn’t want the bike to fade into the background either – showing the name of the manufacturer was also very important for me, because it made the feeling of a pit stop and racetrack environment much more authentic,’ he adds.

BMW S1000RR Markus HofmannBMW S1000RR Markus Hofmann
BMW S1000RR Markus HofmannBMW S1000RR Markus Hofmann
BMW S1000RR Markus HofmannBMW S1000RR Markus Hofmann
BMW S1000RR Markus HofmannBMW S1000RR Markus Hofmann
BMW S1000RR Markus HofmannBMW S1000RR Markus Hofmann
BMW S1000RR Markus HofmannBMW S1000RR Markus Hofmann

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Andy Ibbot’s Performance Riding Techniques tells it like it is

Performance Riding TechniquesAndy Ibbot
Want to be able to ride faster? You could learn a thing or two from Andy Ibbot's book...

We wanted to be able to ride our 100cc Honda scooter a bit faster. So, of course, we got ourselves a copy of Performance Riding Techniques, written by Andy Ibbot. Billed as ‘the MotoGP manual of track riding skills,’ it’s definitely a useful book and an interesting read. We recommend you buy a copy now. In the meanwhile, here are some quick lessons from the book, as taught by the Gurus of MotoGP:

Dani PedrosaChris VermeulenCasey Stoner
Keith Code says there are only five kinds of errors that you can make while riding a motorcycle. And this is probably what happens when you make some of those errors...


‘The simplicity of it all is astounding. On a motorcycle we do the same things as our heroes do: change speed and direction with the controls. That’s all there is, no more and no less. When it goes right, speed and direction changes are precisely placed on the road and correctly metered, just the right amount. It’s the same with errors. There are only five possible errors: changing speed or direction or both at the wrong time or in the wrong amount. No more and no less.’ – Keith Code

Valentino RossiValentino RossiValentino Rossi
Thinking about what's for dinner tonight? Don't, says Rossi...


‘When you ride, you should try and forget everything else. Don’t think about the rest of your life or the rest of the world. Try to forget all that and think only of the road or the track and the bike. It's not always easy to stay focused on the bike. Sometimes you feel that one part of the brain rides the bike, thinks about the tyre, sees the road, but maybe the other part is thinking about a girl, a friend, a song...’ – Valentino Rossi

John HopkinsJohn HopkinsJohn Hopkins
Run, cycle, jog, go to the gym and ride motocross. Yeah, well, nobody said it was going to be easy!


‘Legs are the biggest part of training, for sure. I cycle maybe five days a week and do 30-40 miles per day, and two days of running 4-5 miles each week.’ – John Hopkins

‘You can only get bike-fit riding a bike. It doesn’t matter how much training you do over the winter – you end up knackered after the first test.’ – James Ellison

Valentino RossiValentino RossiValentino Rossi
Think ahead, plan for the next corner...


‘You need to stay 100% concentrated on what is going to happen next. You need to ride with your mind a little bit in front of the bike. On the track, I’m always thinking about the next corner.’ – Valentino Rossi

‘I try to spend at least an hour a day going through the track in my head. I try and think about all my lines throughout the whole circuit, going back and forth looking at braking markers and stuff like that, so when you show up, you are prepared and immediately you’re good on the bike.’ – John Hopkins


‘For sure, throttle control is the most important part of riding a bike. It’s difficult with a big bike, like a MotoGP bike or big streetbike, because you can spin the rear tyre even in the dry. The only way to learn throttle control is experience, riding as many bikes as possible in as many conditions as possible. Basically you need to make many kilometres because you need to understand the power delivery of the bike. When you understand how and when the power arrives, it becomes more easy with the throttle.’ – Valentino Rossi

Chris VermeulenChris VermeulenChris Vermeulen
Stop. Hard. And make it go where you really want it to go...


‘You want to run the bike in with as much speed as possible and use the brake to control the bike’s speed. Obviously, the more lean angle you’re carrying the less brake you use. While I’m braking, I use pressure on both the footpegs to help take the braking forces and to get my weight into my thighs and the tank.’ – Chris Vermeulen


‘Your bike’s handlebars, of course, play the big part in steering, but your footpegs help you steer the bike too.’ – Chris Vermeulen

Get on with it…

‘When racing a motorcycle, there shouldn’t be anywhere on the track where you aren’t either braking or on the throttle – there shouldn’t be any period in between. From the moment I let the brake off, I have some throttle to keep the bike stable and then accelerate as hard and as soon as I can.’ – Chris Vermeulen

Loris CapirossiLoris CapirossiLoris Capirossi
Some have sheer talent for riding a motorcycle very fast. And then there are MotoGP riders

…but remember, you’re not Loris Capirossi

‘Normally in the race you ride the bike at 95%. In the qualifying you ride the bike at 110%. You use everything, the whole track. You use the bike really over the limit. You lose the front, you lose the back, always you are over the limit. For me this is very good, because I like to ride the bike that way.’ – Loris Capirossi

These excerpts are taken from Andy Ibbot's excellent book, Performance Riding Techniques. Get your copy now, from Amazon, eBay or Barnes & Noble

Go ahead, ride like Rossi!



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