Friday, November 12, 2010

Wunderlich S1000RR Curare: Poison Arrow

Wunderlich BMW S1000RR Curare Wunderlich BMW S1000RR Curare Wunderlich BMW S1000RR Curare Wunderlich BMW S1000RR Curare
With 190bhp, a host of high-tech electronics and sprinkling of well-chosen aftermarket bits, the Wunderlich S1000RR is as 'Curare' as it gets. Oh yes, we like it!

The S1000RR Curare (‘Curare’ is some kind of a poison that was once used by South American natives) is the latest from German tuning house Wunderlich, who’ve implemented their own particular brand of makeover artistry to the fastest, most powerful, most exciting BMW motorcycle ever made. Wunderlich claim that the changes they’ve made to the bike improve its aerodynamics and make for more relaxed ergonomics. And with the use of various parts made of titanium and carbonfibre, the S1000RR has lost a good amount of weight as well.

The list of aftermarket parts on the S1000RR Curare includes Sportego handlebars and seat, double bubble screen, adjustable brake and clutch levers, Leo Vince GP Pro exhaust system, remapped ECU and new system controller. With electronics being such a key part of the BMW S1000RR’s performance, we don’t know what effect the new controller/ECU will have on the bike’s performance, but since Wunderlich have established credentials, we suppose it’d all be good. And the bike looks quite all right – that blue/orange paint works for us.

More details on the Wunderlich website here

Wunderlich BMW S1000RR Curare Wunderlich BMW S1000RR Curare
Wunderlich BMW S1000RR Curare Wunderlich BMW S1000RR Curare
Wunderlich BMW S1000RR Curare Wunderlich BMW S1000RR Curare
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Thursday, November 11, 2010

Wayne Gardner: ‘Expect a V4 Fireblade very soon!’

Wayne Gardner Wayne Gardner
One of the toughest men in motorcycle grand prix racing in his day, 1987 500cc world champ Wayne Gardner says Honda will launch an all-new V4-engined Fireblade very soon...
Wayne Gardner Wayne Gardner Wayne Gardner Wayne Gardner

Most Honda enthusiasts – and that definitely includes us – have been a bit disappointed with Honda’s return to V4 engines. Those with fond memories of machines like the VF1000R, VFR750R (RC30) and RVF750R (RC45) were less than enthused with the current VFR1200F, an ugly, porky, complicated motorcycle that doesn’t seem to be particularly good at anything. Sure, Ron Haslam says it isn’t all that bad, but we’re not convinced. And for whatever little it’s worth, we don’t think much of the V4-engined Crossrunner and Crosstourer either, so there.

However, there might still be hope for those who’ve been dreaming of a modern-day equivalent of the erstwhile RC30 and RC45. If 1987 500cc motorcycle grand prix road racing world champion Wayne Gardner can be believed, Honda are likely to launch an all-new V4-engined Fireblade soon. The bike is likely to be announced towards the end of 2011 and could go on sale in early-2012. ‘While I was in Europe, I got talking to some Honda officials who confirmed to me that they are really looking forward to the new 1,000cc MotoGP category. They also said they’ll be building sportsbikes in the future with V4 engines, so they can compete in MotoGP with a similar V4 1,000,’ says Gardner, on his website.

‘Expect your CBR Fireblade to turn into a V4 very soon. Also expect something very similar to the new V4 CBR powerplant to be utilised in Honda’s MotoGP bikes when the new regulations come into force. Honda are no strangers to building V4 four-strokes and they have been working on experimental V4s since way back in the early-1980s. You can bet whatever they come up with this time around will be something special,’ says Gardner. Well, we’d definitely like to believe that Honda are planning to launch an all-new V4-engined Fireblade in 2012 and coming as it does from a man who won a 500cc GP racing world championship aboard a Honda, it’s quite likely to be true.

If you thought the above was an exciting piece of news, wait, Mr Gardner has more to say. ‘It was also confirmed to me by Honda representatives that Aprilia and BMW will definitely be participating in MotoGP from 2012. It already looks like the regulation changes have brought about the desired effect – more bikes on the MotoGP grip,’ says Gardner. Now, we just hope he isn’t fibbing and that all of what he’s said will come true in 2012, which should then be a firecracker of a season for MotoGP. Bring it on!

Via Wayne Gardner Approved

Elf Honda Fireblade. So beautiful..!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Ducati 1198 vs Ferrari 458

Another Ducati vs Ferrari shootout? Yawn...?  :-D
Ferrari 458 vs Ducati 1198 Ferrari 458 vs Ducati 1198 Ferrari 458 vs Ducati 1198

With their more or less predictable outcomes, car vs bike shootouts have become a bit boring over the years. Still, for sheer visual appeal, a Ducati 1198 vs Ferrari 458 battle would be hard to beat. And that’s exactly what French magazine Option Auto have done for their November 2010 issue – they’ve pitted a 458 against a 1198.

So let’s take a quick look at the numbers. First, the Ducati 1198. Zero to 100km/h in 2.3 seconds, zero to 200km/h in 7 seconds, 300km/h top speed, 170 horsepower and a price tag of about 26,500 euros. On to the Ferrari 458. Zero to 100km/h in 3.1 seconds, zero to 200km/h in 9.9 seconds, 330km/h top speed, 623 horsepower and a price tag of about 245,000 euros. And you can come to your own conclusion regarding who ‘wins’ the battle. We’d take the Ducati, of course. Though we’d still keep the Ferrari parked in the garage for days when it’s raining and when the wife and kid also want to come along to the local supermarket. Heh.

More pics of the Ferrari vs Ducati shootout here

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

MV Agusta F3 voted ‘best bike’ at the 2010 EICMA

The MV Agusta F3 was voted the 'best bike' at the 2010 EICMA
2011 MV Agusta F3 2011 MV Agusta F3 2011 MV Agusta F3

MV Agusta’s brand-new middleweight sportsbike, the 675cc three-cylinder F3, was recently voted the ‘best bike’ at the 2010 EICMA Show. In a poll conducted by Motociclismo, where 12,000 people who attended the EICMA participated, a massive 38.5% voted for the MV F3, followed by 20.6% for the Ducati Diavel, 8.5% for the new Kawasaki ZX-10R, 5.2% for the Aprilia Dorsoduro 1200, 4.8% for the Triumph Tiger 800XC, 4.5% for the BMW K1600GT, 3.4% for the Moto Guzzi V7 Racer, 3.3% for the Yamaha Super Ténéré XT1200Z, 3.2% for the Honda Crossrunner, 3.0% for the Harley-Davidson Forty-Eight, 2.5% for the Husqvarna TE449, 2.1% for the Suzuki GSR750 and 0.4% for the Derbi GPR 125.

If we had to choose the ‘best’ bike from the ones shown at this year’s EICMA in Milan, it would have to be the Aprilia RSV4 Factory APRC SE, followed by the new ZX-10R. But had BMW done a naked K1600R instead of that GT, things might have been different...! :-)

2011 MV Agusta F3 2011 MV Agusta F3 2011 MV Agusta F3 2011 MV Agusta F3 2011 MV Agusta F3 2011 MV Agusta F3

Moto3: 250s are back in 2012!

The birth of Moto3: Single-cylinder four-stroke 250s will replace two-stroke 125s from 2012

The arrival of four-stroke Honda-powered 600cc Moto2 machines meant the demise of the much-loved two-stroke 250cc class. However, 250s will be back after all, in 2012. No, those old two-stroke 250s are history. This time around, it will be single-cylinder four-stroke 250s in the new Moto3 class, which will replace 125cc two-strokes in 2012. And with that, two-strokes will be well and truly dead – the world will only be left with four-stroke motorcycle engines. More or less.

The FIM recently released final specs for the Moto3 class, which will take off in 2012. The rules say that Moto3 machines will all be fitted with normally-aspirated (no turbos, no superchargers) single-cylinder 250cc engines that can rev to a maximum of 14,000rpm. No oval pistons, a maximum bore size of 81mm, a maximum of four valves (pneumatic and/or hydraulic valve systems not permitted, variable valve timing not permitted) and a price not exceeding 12,000 euros for each engine.

Unlike Moto2, where only Honda supply engines to all teams, Moto3 teams will be able to source their engines from various manufacturers, though each Moto3 engine manufacturer would be required to be able to supply sufficient engines and spare parts to a minimum of 15 riders per season, if requested. The gearbox can’t have more than six speeds and electro-mechanical or electro-hydraulic clutch actuating systems are not permitted. Also, for the engine, only the ignition/fuel-injection control units (ECU) approved by the series organiser will be allowed.

As is the case with Moto2, Moto3 teams will be able to use a ‘prototype’ chassis, the design and construction of which will be free (within the specified constraints of the FIM Grand Prix technical regulations), and minimum total weight for each motorcycle + rider is 148kg. There are various other constraints for the bikes – no carbon brakes, no carbon wheels, no active or semi-active suspension, only a certain number of tyres per race and use of iron and cast aluminium alloys for most engine parts. And the number of engines that a rider can use up during a season is limited to eight.

The above isn’t a comprehensive listing of Moto3 rules and regulations, but should still provide a fair idea of what the machines will be like. According to some estimates, Moto3 engines will produce around 45-50bhp, which should be interesting since minimum weight for bike + rider is 148 kilos. Of course, in terms of outright speed and acceleration, Moto3 bikes definitely wouldn’t be comparable to the late, great two-stroke 250cc GP racers. Still, we suppose the new Moto3 class does make more sense than 125cc two-strokes and will have hordes of teams signing up for the 2012 season.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Vespa in the Movies: The exhibition opens

Vespa Vespa Vespa Vespa Vespa Vespa
The Vespa scooter, having featured in prominent roles in dozens of movies over the last half century, is a full-blown movie star in its own right...

‘The Vespa and the Movies’ exhibition is now open at the Piaggio Museum in Pontedera, in Italy. An initiative of the Piaggio Foundation, organised jointly with the Cinema Multimedia Centre and Viareggio EuropaCinema, the exhibition celebrates the links between cinema and the world’s most famous scooter. ‘Today, after more than sixty years, the Vespa is the worldwide symbol of Italian creativity and a unique example of ‘immortality’ in the history of industrial design,’ says Piaggio Group Chairman and CEO, Roberto Colaninno, in the introduction to the exhibition catalogue. ‘The Vespa is no longer just a product of the world of transport, it is the story of a phenomenon-symbol of global mores, and the images exhibited at the Piaggio Museum offer a fascinating journey through films, advertisements, photographs and posters, in the company of a legend without equals,’ he adds.

Entry to the exhibition in the Piaggio Museum is free. It will be open to the public until 15 January 2011, retracing the origins and development of the Vespa-Cinema binomial through a large selection of material including a collection of more than 150 posters of cult movies starring the Vespa and an assortment of styles, colours and moods synthesised by the exhibition poster, designed by painter and sculptor Ugo Nespolo.

The Vespa made its movie debut back in 1950, four years after its market launch, in the Italian film ‘Sunday in August’ and became an iconic symbol worldwide after the 1953 movie ‘Roman Holiday,’ which featured the celebrated sequence where Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck weave their way through traffic in the city of Rome, on a Vespa 125. Other stars who’ve ridden a Vespa in their movies include Jude Law, Nicole Kidman, Raquel Welch, Ursula Andress, Milla Jovovich, Charlton Heston, John Wayne, Henry Fonda, Gary Cooper, Antonio Banderas, Matt Damon, Gérard Depardieu, Eddie Murphy, Owen Wilson and many others.

For more information, visit the official La Vespa e il Cinema website here and for even more Vespas in even more movies, go here

Vespa Vespa Vespa Vespa Vespa Vespa

The Vespa is still going strong in 2011. More about that here

Valentino Rossi to his Yamaha YZR-M1: “Bye Bye Baby!”

Valentino Rossi Yamaha YZR-M1 Valencia 2010 Valentino Rossi Yamaha YZR-M1 Valencia 2010 Valentino Rossi Yamaha YZR-M1 Valencia 2010
The Valentino Rossi-Yamaha YZR-M1 story comes to an end...

After seven years with Yamaha, during which he won four MotoGP world championships aboard the YZR-M1, Valentino ‘The Doctor’ Rossi has said goodbye to the Japanese team, as he prepared to move to Ducati in 2011. ‘Arriving on the podium was my way to say thank you to my bike, to Yamaha and to all the people who have worked with me in these seven seasons,’ said Rossi after the Grand Prix of Valencia yesterday. ‘It's been a great experience and I have enjoyed it so much. 46 is a great number of wins. Of course, I wanted more, but I think I can be happy with what I have done here. It's been a wonderful seven years, great fun, with a special atmosphere, many fantastic victories and four world championships. I stopped with my bike after the race today, just like I did at Welkom when this story began. It was the right way to say goodbye to ‘her.’ Thank you to everyone, we have wonderful memories,’ The Doctor added.

‘In 2004, Valentino was the only one who could win on the YZR-M1 so he contributed a lot to developing the bike. This year, not only Valentino but also three other riders were fast, so it's clear that our YZR-M1 is a pretty good bike. This is mainly because of Valentino's contributions over the years so I really appreciate that and I want to wish him all the best in the future,’ added Masao Furusawa.

‘We are very, very grateful because Valentino's arrival really turned things around for Yamaha and we came back to victorious ways. We are incredibly thankful and grateful to him for that. We've had so many exciting and enjoyable moments with him and with the crew that he brought with him, who are great guys. Today we will be saying goodbye to a great number of people including Davide Brivio, Jerry Burgess and the whole crew. We've had a super time, it's been a really excellent team and we will miss them tomorrow, it will be a strange day,’ said Lin Jarvis.

Next year, for The Doctor, it will be 2004 all over again, as he gets to grips with a new bike at Ducati. This time around, though, he’ll be all of seven years older and he’ll have younger, hungrier competition to deal with. Can Rossi do it all over again? Can he win yet another MotoGP world championship, this time with Ducati? We’re sure he can. We’re sure he will. And we wish him all the best!

The Doctor talks about the evolution of the YZR-M1...
Video via Les Misanthropes Deux

Special liveries that The Doctor used on his YZR-M1 over the years...