Saturday, October 09, 2010
Based in the US, Icon are purveyors of some pretty cool stuff for bikers – helmets, apparel, customised motorcycles and more. They also have a rebellious streak in them, claiming that they are ‘The bastards of motorcycling,’ and that ‘Whether it's rashed up Gixxers or ladies with questionable morals, Icon has been undeniable.’ Ahem.
In any case, some of the bikes featured on their website are pretty cool and that includes the Ducati 1198 ‘Carbon Lifeform’ here. Built by AFG Moto, the 1198 features various aftermarkets bits from Marchesini, Brembo and Pirelli, the engine has been worked upon by MotoStretta Japan and the custom exhaust is from J-Mac. We like it...!
Friday, October 08, 2010
For those who want a German naked with a bit more bite than the BMW K1300R, Wunderlich have built the one-off S1000RR-based Piranha. ‘True to the maxim that less is more, the Wunderlich Piranha is a more aggressive predator with extra speed and bite [and sets] new standards in handling and performance,’ claims their website. Yes, that’s hyperbole and, yes, the Piranha is little more than an S1000RR with the stock fairing replaced with a skimpier one and a few fancy bits bolted on. And yet, until the time BMW build the inline-six-powered K1600R, the Piranha should do.
Designed by Wunderlich’s Nicolas Petite, the S1000RR Piranha gets a carbonfibre mini-fairing, Xenon headlamps, aftermarket exhaust, tubular handlebar, adjustable footrests and brake/clutch levers, six-spoke PVM wheels and an Öhlins steering damper. The bike is 8kg lighter than a regular S1000RR, which should do no harm to the already impressive power-to-weight ratio.
We’d much rather wait for BMW to build a K1600R, but for those who can’t wait to get the kit off their S1000RR, you can get more details on the Piranha here
Thursday, October 07, 2010
A supercharged V6-engined motorcycle? Yes, we'd take the Horex VR6 over the BMW K1600GT. It could well be the modern-day, German-made equivalent of the magnificent Honda CBX1000!
Set up way back in the early 1920s, Horex was one of the first motorcycle brands to be established in Germany (and, for that matter, in Europe...). The company was set up by one Fritz Kleemann, who was all of 24 years old when he set up Horex. Horex produced a fair number of bikes for the next three decades, but went into decline by the mid-1950s. The company was finally bought over by Daimler-Benz in 1960 and stopped producing motorcycles.
Those who may be interested in Horex’s past can read the German company’s story on their official website. The future, however, begins right here, for Horex is making a comeback of sorts. Under new management, they have built an all-new V6-engined motorcycle that will be launched in Germany, Austria and Switzerland in 2011. The bike, which could be priced at about €20,000, is fitted with a 1,200cc supercharged V6 that produces more than 200 horsepower and 150Nm of torque.
The Rotrex radial supercharger fitted to the Horex VR6 engine is driven via a toothed belt connected to the bike’s crankshaft. ‘This enables the supercharger to instantly build up charge pressure, without a trace of turbo lag,’ according to the press material available on the Horex website. ‘Combining a compact, high-output VR engine with a crankshaft-driven supercharger gives the new Horex a level of raw performance that is unmatched in today's motorcycle world,’ it adds.
In terms of its styling, we think the new Horex looks quite all right, and the spec sheet is not too bad either – six-speed gearbox, belt drive, aluminium bridge frame, 50mm USD fork, single-sided swingarm with adjustable monoshock and radial-mount four-piston callipers for the front brake discs. The bike weighs about 240 kilos, which should be all right if the claimed power output figure is correct.
A 200bhp supercharged musclebike that can take on the Yamaha VMAX and Suzuki B-King? Yes, why not. We like it. We like the new Horex – it’s kind of cool. And we want a whiff of whatever it is that those Germans have been smoking.
A video of the Horex VR6 being unveiled at the 2010 INTERMOT motorcycle show in Cologne
With its 180bhp V-twin, adjustable chassis and suspension and stripped-out, lightweight raciness, the 2011 KTM 1190 RC8R Track really is ready to race...
It isn’t street legal, but the stripped-out, hopped-up KTM 1190 RC8R Track sure makes us wish it was. With sharp, angular styling, the RC8 sure looks good but the first superbike from Austria hasn’t really been able to keep up with its competition from Germany, Italy and Japan.
Now, while KTM aren’t really doing anything much about taking the RC8 to a level where it can compete with the likes of the S1000RR, RSV4 Factory or the 2011 ZX-10R, they’re making it easier for punters to go racing with this bike. The RC8R Track, which doesn’t come with headlamps, turn-indicators and other street paraphernalia, gets a new white/orange paintjob, Akrapovic EVO 4 exhaust, new fuel-injection mapping, Dunlop slicks, Brembo monobloc brake callipers, uprated WP suspension components with more adjustability and adjustable subframe, handlebars and footpegs. Oh, and to remind you that this is the racing-only version, it also has a thinner seat.
The KTM 1190 RC8R Track was unveiled recently at the INTERMOT motorcycle show in Cologne, in Germany, by KTM factory racers Martin Bauer and Stefan Nebel, who won the Manufacturers Title in the German Superbike championship (IDM) this year, on their 1190 RC8R machines. For aspiring racers who want a ready-to-race 180bhp V-twin-engined superbike, the RC8R Track could represent good value at about €17,000.
Of course, KTM haven’t forgotten street riders – the V-twin-engined RC8R superbike is back for 2011, with a few mods and new white/orange and black/orange paint schemes (see pics below). Packing 175 horsepower, the 2011 RC8R is no slouch and can roll with the best that Europe and Japan have to offer. Compared with the newer, faster and more high-tech Aprilia RSV4 Factory and BMW S1000RR, the KTM is now beginning to look a bit old, but for fans of the Austrian motorcycle marquee, the RC8R’s style and handling prowess should still be compelling enough reasons to warrant a visit to their nearest KTM showroom...
Wednesday, October 06, 2010
Top, left: The 2011 Aprilia RSV4 Factory APRC Special Edition is based on Max Biaggi's World Superbikes championship winning machine and, yes, we want one now!
After Maxi Biaggi recently won the 2010 World Superbikes championship, there’s no stopping Aprilia. While it’s the BMW S1000RR that came out on top in most litre-class superbike shootouts conducted by dozens of magazines and websites worldwide, on the racetrack, it’s the Aprilia RSV4 that has won the battle. To commemorate this special occasion, Aprilia have unveiled the RSV4 Factory APRC Special Edition at this year’s INTERMOT motorcycle show in Cologne, Germany.
The special edition RSV4 packs all the best bits of the Factory version – 65° V4 engine, ride-by-wire throttle control, multi-map engine management, fully adjustable Öhlins suspension, forged aluminium wheels and a chassis that Aprilia claim is ‘worthy of a 250 GP bike.’ And if you were wondering about what extras this bike, it’s not just the new paintjob and new exhaust system, the APRC machine also gets adjustable traction control. Indeed, APRC is an acronym for ‘Aprilia Performance Ride Control,’ which refers to the host of electronics on the bike, including the new traction control system.
Speaking of electronics, the RSV4 APRC Special Edition bike has Aprilia Traction Control (ATC, with 8 settings, selectable via a joystick mounted on the left handlebar!), Aprilia Wheelie Control (AWC, with three settings), Aprilia Launch Control (ALC, with three settings) and Aprilia Quick Shift (AQS, which allows the rider to shift gears without using the clutch and without closing the throttle...). The new bike also gets a lighter exhaust system that boosts performance, revised gear ratios, improved engine lubrication and a new 200/55 dual blend rear tyre.
We know we want one of these. We want one of these so much that if we had to choose between going out on a date with Megan Fox and getting our hands on an RSV4 APRC SE, we’d take the Aprilia. We love this bike so much...
ZX-10R too extreme for you? Z1000 not comfortable enough for longer journeys? For 2011, Kawasaki are introducing something that’s in between those two machines – the Z1000SX. This new bike, which weighs 231 kilos (with the optional ABS) is fitted with a 1,043cc inline-four that kicks out 138 horsepower and 110Nm of torque.
Full fairing, a dual seat that looks very comfortable, six-speed gearbox, chain drive, adjustable 41mm USD fork, adjustable rear shock and twin 300mm brake discs (front) with radial-mount four-piston callipers. Sounds good? It does, to us. Looks like performance that we can use every day, without having to sacrifice on things like style, comfort and practicality. Oh, we’ll still take the 2011 ZX-10R, for now, but for when we’re a bit older, the Z1000SX should be all the motorcycle we’d want...
The 2011 Kawasaki ZX-10R should be able to take on the best that Europe has to offer in the litre-class superbike segment. It'll give the S1000RR and RSV4, something to think about next year!
As would be evident from a lot of posts here on Faster and Faster, we quite love Kawasaki – especially some of their older machines. Of the more recent lot, we loved the 2004 ZX-10R, which was raw and raucous and hugely exciting. But from 2006 onwards, the big Ninja seemed to have lost the plot.
After four straight years of getting thrashed in the litre-class superbike segment, Kawasaki have finally decided to do something about it. Enter the 2011 Ninja ZX-10R, which isn’t afraid of machines like the BMW S1000RR or the Aprilia RSV4 Factory. With ram-air assistance, the new ZX-10R’s heavily revised inline-four produces a mighty 207 horsepower (and a still respectable 197bhp without ram-air...!), and since the bike weighs in at 198kg those numbers make a very impressive power-to-weight ratio.
Apart from the 207bhp engine, the 2011 ZX-10R gets an all-new aluminium beam chassis, Showa Big Piston USD forks, horizontally mounted rear shock, Ohlins steering damper, slipper clutch, radial-mount calipers for the front brakes, adjustable foot pegs and wild, manga comic book styling.
The new Ninja also gets what Kawasaki claim is a MotoGP-derived traction control system (S-KTRC), which monitors front and rear wheel speeds, gear selection, engine rpm, throttle position and banking angle to determine when and by how much to reduce the power that’s being fed to the rear wheel. This tri-mode system is widely expected to be at least as good – and perhaps better – than the traction control system on any other production sportsbike, including the S1000RR.
The 2011 ZX-10R has one more trick up its sleeve – KIBS. That is the ‘Kawasaki Intelligent Anti-Lock Braking’ system, which also monitors various factors and operates in a manner that’s more subtle than earlier motorcycle ABS setups. Developed by Bosch, this just might be the best performing ABS rig on any production motorcycle in 2011.
This year, we wouldn’t bet against Kawasaki walking away with top-spot honours in the litre-class superbike shootouts that are sure to follow in the next few months...