Friday, October 29, 2010

Benelli to celebrate 100th Anniversary at the 2010 EICMA

Benelli 100th Anniversary Benelli 100th Anniversary
The legendary Benelli 750 Sei (top, left) from the 1970s, with its six-cylinder engine, and the special edition TNT Century Racer (top, right) that will be unveiled at the EICMA next month...
Benelli 100th Anniversary Benelli 100th Anniversary
Benelli 100th Anniversary Benelli 100th Anniversary Benelli 100th Anniversary

Legendary Italian motorcycle manufacturers, Benelli are celebrating their 100th Anniversary this year and the Pesaro-based company will showcase some new bikes (actually, tweaked versions of its current line-up...) at the EICMA Show next month.

Now owned by a Chinese company, QianJiang, Benelli are looking at developing new scooters and motorcycles, which they hope to put into production over the next two years. The company is also looking improving build quality and will work towards building renewed trust within its dealer network as well as with customers. QianJiang president, Lin Huazhong says 2011 will be a special year for Benelli and that they will celebrate the company’s 100th anniversary in suitable style.

Enthusiasts would definitely remember the 1970s Benelli 750 Sei, the first production streetbike to be fitted with a six-cylinder engine. The Italian company was also quite successful in grand prix racing until a few decades ago, with Dario Ambrosini winning the 250cc class world championship aboard a Benelli in 1950 and Kel Carruthers repeating the feat in 1969.

At the EICMA Show next month, Benelli will unveil special edition ‘Century Racer’ versions of the TNT 899 and TNT 1130, with uprated brakes and suspension, revised engine mapping and new paintjobs. The hard-core Benelli TNT R160 will also get more of the above.

We quite like love Benelli and we hope they’ll do well in the years to come. We wish them all the best. Now, where’s that modern-day equivalent of the 750 Sei, with a 999cc, 210bhp six-cylinder engine...

The 2011 Benelli line-up. Ladies shown in the pictures may not be part of the standard equipment
Benelli 100th Anniversary Benelli 100th Anniversary Benelli 100th Anniversary Benelli 100th Anniversary Benelli 100th Anniversary Benelli 100th Anniversary

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

2011 Honda CBR250R: First official pics, specs

2011 Honda CBR250R 2011 Honda CBR250R
You probably wouldn't love it, but it can't be too hard to like the 2011 Honda CBR250R
2011 Honda CBR250R 2011 Honda CBR250R 2011 Honda CBR250R

Honda have released the first official pics and specs for the 2011 CBR250R, an all-new contender in a segment that’s been rather sparsely populated for the last many years. With the demise of two-strokes and the disappearance of great little machines like the Aprilia RS250, Suzuki RGV250, Yamaha TZR250, Kawasaki KR-1 and Honda NSR250, the 250cc class was more or less finished. Only Kawasaki and Hyosung soldiered on, with the Ninja 250R and GTR250 respectively. But now, with the 2011 CBR250R, Honda look all set to bring some new vim and vigour to the 250cc sportsbike segment.

In terms of styling, the new CBR250R is a mini-VFR1200F and works surprisingly well. It’s compact, thoroughly modern, neat and unfussy – we think it’s not bad at all. The engine is a fuel-injected, liquid-cooled, 249cc single-cylinder unit with a four-valve DOHC cylinder head. It produces 26 horsepower and 23Nm of torque, which is not too bad at all. Claimed fuel economy is 27km per litre.

The new Honda comes with a six-speed gearbox and a twin-spar steel chassis with 37mm telescopic forks and Honda’s ‘Pro-Link’ monoshock rear suspension. Honda’s C-ABS anti-lock braking system is optional on the CBR250R, which is definitely a good thing, and the bike’s 166-kilo kerb weight should keep things manageable for those who are new to motorcycles and motorcycling.

The Honda CBR250R rides on 17-inch wheels wearing 110/70 (front) and 140/70 (rear) rubber. There’s a single 296mm brake disc up front, with dual-piston calliper, and 220mm rear disc with single-piston calliper. With the optional Combined-ABS, this should offer safe, effective braking in conditions.

Overall, we quite like the new CBR250R. We don’t suppose we’ll ever love it the way we loved the late, great Aprilia RS250 or the Suzuki RGV250, but as a thoroughly modern, contemporary take on the 250cc commuter-sportsbike, the 2011 CBR isn’t all that bad.

Details on pricing and availability coming soon.

Promo video for the 2011 Honda CBR250R
And this is the the early-1990s Honda CBR250RR. Compare this with the 2011 CBR250R. Progress? A sign of the changing times? A reflection of how things have changed in Japan? Or is it just that younger motorcyclists are getting soft...?!?

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Rage Designs: Casey Stoner replica Ducati Desmosedici RR

Rage Designs Stoner replica Ducati Desmosedici RR Rage Designs Stoner replica Ducati Desmosedici RR Rage Designs Stoner replica Ducati Desmosedici RR
That's Charlie Farley's bike - a Casey Stoner replica Ducati Desmosedici RR, as featured in the December 2010 issue of Fast Bikes magazine. Awesome machine!

What would you do after spending US$72,500/£40,000 on a brand-new Ducati Desmosedici RR, one of the mere 1,500 units ever made? With its 197-horsepower, 989cc V4 engine, full carbonfibre bodywork, Öhlins suspension, chrome-molybdenum trellis frame and dry weight of 171 kilos, the Desmosedici RR is one of the fastest, most powerful, most exotic production bikes ever. And yet, that isn’t necessarily sufficient for everyone…

Charlie Farley isn’t, apparently, the kind of guy who’d be happy with a stock MotoGP-replica, so he took his Desmo RR to Rage Designs for a special paintjob – a replica of the design that Casey Stoner used in the 2009 Australian MotoGP. And then, a few choice bolt-ons were added to the bike – a Termignoni GP exhaust, HM quickshifter and Dynojet Power Commander. The bikini-clad model, however, has been provided by Fast Bikes magazine, who’ve featured Charlie’s Desmosedici RR in their December 2010 issue. Awesome!

Fast Bikes have a great collection of wallpaper here

Casey Stoner in action during the 2009 Aussie MotoGP