Friday, December 31, 2010

Solomoto’s Motoczysz E1pc riding impression

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The Motoczysz E1pc just might be the future of high-performance motorcycles...
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‘I've got this thing I do to relax. I imagine I'm on my bike, and I just shift gears in my head. I did it just this morning in the shower. Then I caught myself – my bike doesn't do that anymore! It doesn't have gears. It doesn't even make noise. So I'm not dreaming in electric yet. I'm still dreaming in gas,’ said Michael Czysz, speaking to Motorcyclist magazine, when they interviewed Czysz for their November issue this year.

About five years ago, Czysz was working on the C1-990, a 990cc MotoGP prototype, which ultimately didn’t get a chance to get off the ground given MotoGP’s move to 800cc machines in 2007. The move also happened to coincide with a gradual, but steady, build-up of interest in electric bikes and electric bike racing. And Czysz decided to change tracks and build an electric racebike – the E1pc. ‘The change to electric was more about inevitability than opportunity. I realized almost immediately that everything we were trying to accomplish with the C1 project, we could do better with an electric bike,’ says Czysz, in the Motorcyclist magazine interview.

And indeed, Motoczysz did do very well with their electric racebike, with the E1pc winning the 2010 TTXGP at the Isle of Man. The Motoczysz E1pc is an impressive motorcycle all right. It is fitted with a DC, brushless, oil-cooled electric motor from Remy, which is fed by a pack of five lithium-polymer batteries and which produces 125 horsepower and a constant 343Nm of torque. The chassis is made of carbonfibre and the suspension comprises of a fully adjustable Öhlins shock at the rear and Czysz’s proprietary ‘6X Flex’ fork at the front. The bike rides on magnesium wheels made by Marchesini and the top-notch race-spec Brembo brakes (with monobloc radial-mount callipers at the front) provide impressive stopping performance – important for a bike that weighs 238kg, that can hit a top speed that’s in excess of 260km/h, and the price for which is estimated to be more than US$250,000.

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You want fast? The Motoczysz is fast. The battery-powered bike hit a top speed of 261.82km/h at the Bonneville Salt Flats in August this year...!

Spanish magazine Solomoto recently had the opportunity to test ride the E1pc, and here are some brief excerpts from what they have to say about this digital racer.

Visually, the E1Pc looks like a shark, with a genetic code that’s deeply rooted in racing. In the place where you’d normally find an engine, there’s the bike’s removable D1g1tal Dr1ve battery pack. You have to get used to switching it on. There’s no noise or vibration – just a green light on the digital instrumentation that tells you the bike is ready to go. Twist the throttle and the E1pc lunges forward like a compact 600cc supersports machine. The riding position is very sporty, with high footpegs and low bars. Just like a proper racebike, of course.

On the move, the E1pc’s power delivery is straightforward, clean and uninterrupted. Acceleration is similar to that of a 600cc supersports bike’s, and spinning at 16,000rpm, the E1pc’s electric motor makes a Star Wars-esque whistling noise that’s strangely pleasant. However, the bike’s weight – all of 238 kilos – makes it a bit awkward and saps the rider’s confidence at high speeds. The bike has tight, aggressive steering geometry, but the weight – most of which is due to the batteries – stops the E1pc from being very agile.

Electric propulsion has some undeniable advantages – it allows you to concentrate fully on your lines and lets you open the throttle while exiting corners, without the added complications of having to worry about shifting gears. Just open the throttle and go!

Michael Czysz is now working on the 2011 E1pc, which will be lighter and more powerful than the 2010 version, and will also have better software controlling the bike’s D1g1tal powertrain. As it exists now, the E1pc is a bit heavy, very expensive and as yet unapproved for street use. It’s also very quiet, smooth, does not require any maintenance, does not pollute and offers performance that’s actually very impressive.

Coming back to the Motorcyclist magazine interview, ‘The work I'm doing with this motorcycle might someday actually make the world a better place,’ says Michael Czysz. Hmm..., you know what, it just might!

For the full feature, please visit Solomoto
Pics: Motorcyclist
Watch videos of the E1pc in action here

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Bang or Scream: Nicky Hayden speaks his mind

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"The screamer has its strong points," says Nicky. Umm... we agree!

2006 MotoGP world champ, Nicky Hayden recently spoke to Road Racer X about the 2011 Ducati Desmosedici GP11 machine. Here are some interesting excerpts from what the Kentucky Kid had to say:

On Ducati's ‘banger’ vs ‘screamer’ engines

The screamer has its strong points – it hits a bit harder and probably on top it has a bit more speed, but you’ve got to find the right package for eighteen races. Eighteen tracks and eighteen different conditions. That’s where the big bang is a benefit – the dirty tracks, slippery conditions, tight places – it definitely has a broader powerband and it’s easier to manage over a whole race distance.

I’d say right now we’re leaning toward the big bang, but we have to keep our options open. Maybe we’ll try the screamer again and make a final decision. They both have strong points and weak points, but it’s just a compromise of what’s going to work the best for all conditions for the whole season.

On 1000s coming back to MotoGP in 2012

Growing up riding superbikes and dirt track, I like the idea of the 1000s – I think those suit my style a little bit better. I didn’t come from the 250s, but I think with the electronics now, it’s not going to be like it was before when we were backing it in and spinning and sliding. I don’t think the 800s are as exciting as the bigger bikes were, but we’ll see. This is the last year on 800s [and] I certainly want to make it my best year – that’s where my focus is.

On whether the new-age electronics in MotoGP have affected his riding style

Well, a lot. You don’t really go against the electronics – you’ve got to use them, and it certainly helps to ride the bike smoother. People seem to think that if I could just turn them off, I could ride the bike faster, but that’s not the case. You’ve got to find the right balance, and they definitely help. They’re the reason you see all those guys standing around with computers, hitting buttons, because when they get them dialled in, they work. There are so many variables that go into it that you have to use those guys and let them help you.



Please go to Road Racer X for the full interview

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Nembo Super 32: Inverted engine, anyone?

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As an engineering showcase, the Nembo Super 32 is simply fascinating...
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Why would you build a motorcycle that’s fitted with a 2000cc three-cylinder engine that’s fitted upside down? Yes, that’s right – an inverted engine, with the cylinder heads facing the asphalt. ‘I’ve chosen this particular engine architecture for both functional and aesthetic reasons,’ says Daniele ‘Titus’ Sabatini, owner, project leader and chief designer of the Nembo Super 32. ‘In current naked sportbikes, the engine is often hidden and in the case of liquid-cooled engines, practically soulless. It pains me to see the engine smothered under frames and plastic components. So, I thought that a good way to use an updated air-cooled engine in a contemporary naked sportbike would be to invert the engine!’ he adds.

Sabatini tells us that ‘inverted’ engines aren’t new and that they were used in various combat aircraft in WWII. However, the challenge was to use such an engine in a motorcycle, in a way that would combine form and function and that would keep things interesting.

‘I wanted to build a high-performance big-bore motorcycle, which would look ‘new’ but which would still have a classic and timeless beauty. The bike would have to be built with high quality metal and carbonfibre components and would be very light,’ says Sabatini, adding that he wanted to create a bike that looked like a proper motorcycle and not like a manga robot. Ahem.

‘Inverting the engine allowed me to achieve these results. The Super 32 is built around the engine, where the engine, by means of a super-compact crankcase that’s placed over the cylinders and the heads, works as the chassis, while the heads and cylinders do not participate in structural functions in any way,’ he says.

Sabatini claims his naturally aspirated inverted engine – the Super 32 Rovescio – complies with Euro 3 emissions norms and can be built in displacements ranging from 1850cc to 2100cc, with power outputs between 160-250bhp. The engine works as a fully stressed member, but the Super 32 also utilizes steel tube trellis frame components at the front, while the swingarm is made of carbonfibre. The bike’s dry weight ranges between 140-155kg, depending on the materials used and options chosen.

‘The Nembo Super 32 is at its early stages of development. The first two 1814cc prototypes are scheduled to be track tested in February 2011, after which I’ll start producing a small series of Super 32s, fitted with a 1925cc inverted engine,’ says Sabatini. ‘The bike is handcrafted in Italy by a highly specialized Italian crew and only a fifth of its components (wheels, brakes, forks and tyres) are bits that haven’t been designed and built by Nembo,’ he adds.

According to its builder, the Super 32 is the only bike in the world fitted with an inverted engine. ‘The bike’s architecture achieves our main goals of mass centralization, chassis elimination, extreme lightness (considering the use of a large displacement engine), great handling, and beauty,’ he says. And why not. We quite agree with most of what Sabatini says, and we think his machine is quite beautiful – not just to look at, but also as in terms of sheer innovation and engineering.


Nembo Super 32: Tech Specs

Front Suspension: 50mm USD fork with dual-rate springs, adjustable preload, rebound and compression damping

Rear Suspension: Air suspension system with adjustable preload and rebound and compression damping

Brakes: Brembo, 320mm discs, four-piston radial-mount calipers (front), single 220mm disc, two-piston caliper (rear)

Engine (prototype): Four-stroke, air/oil-cooled, three-cylinder, 1814cc, SUHC, 2-valves-per-cylinder, 160bhp at 7,000rpm

Engine (production): Four-stroke, air/oil-cooled, three-cylinder, 1925cc/2097cc, SUHC, 2-valves-per-cylinder, 200bhp/250bhp at 7,500rpm/8,000rpm

Transmission: Six-speed

Visit the Nembo website here

Monday, December 20, 2010

Rocket II: Supercharged 1000bhp Hemi V8-engined trike rocks our world

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The 1,000-horsepower Hemi V8-engined Rocket II is the most impressive trike we've ever seen!

Tim 'Frogman' Cotterill, metal sculptor, stonemason and landscape gardener by trade, has always had a thing for trikes. He first trike, which he made himself in his hometown (Knighton, Leicestershire in the UK), was fitted with a six-cylinder engine taken off a Honda CBX1000. That was more than 30 years ago, sometime during which period Cotterill migrated from the UK to the US. And for all those years, he kept thinking about what his next trike would be.

Finally, back in 2006, Cotterill found someone who’d be able to translate his dream trike into reality. This was the Blastolene Brothers – Randy Grubb and Michael Leeds – who’d already made a name for themselves in the US for creating some pretty outlandish cars. Cotterill would bankroll it and the Brothers B went on to build the Rocket II, the most gobsmackingly amazing trike we’ve ever seen.

Everything about the Rocket II is quite over the top, but we’ll start with the engine. It’s a 7.0-litre Hemi V8, with a BDS 8-71 supercharger bolted on for good measure, which boosts power output to 1,000 horsepower. Then there’s that hub-centre steering setup at the front, machined-from-billet front wheel, and a front swingarm that’s fabricated from ¼-inch steel plate and which features fully adjustable rosejoints that allow easy adjustment of wheel castor and camber.

The 1,000bhp Hemi V8 drives the Rocket II’s rear wheels via a three-speed automatic transmission. It’s an unapologetically loud and fast trike that can hit triple-digit speeds in seconds and get up to a top speed of more than 260km/h. With a rider on board, the Rocket II weighs in excess of 1,200 kilos and fuel economy is less than stellar – a stunning 1.2km/l. Then again, you wouldn’t build a 1,000-horsepower supercharged V8-engined trike for fuel economy. You’d build one as an ode to sheer excess. And as such, the Rocket II is just brilliant. We love it.



Sunday, December 19, 2010

Paris Hilton launches SuperMartXé VIP 125cc motorcycle racing team

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Motorcycle grand prix racing has a new ambassadress – Paris Hilton

After perfumes, clothing and accessories, it’s motorcycle racing for 30-year-old Paris Hilton, who launched her own motorcycle racing team in Madrid yesterday. The ‘SuperMartXé VIP by Paris Hilton’ team will compete in the 125cc motorcycle grand prix racing world championship in 2011 and, no, Paris is not going to be riding the bikes herself. Sergio Gadea and Maverick Viñales, of the Barcelona-based By Queroseno Racing (BQR) team will be riding the bikes, while Christian Lundberg and Rossano Brazzi will handle the technical side of things.

Ms Hilton, who is part-owner of the SuperMartXé VIP racing team, is contractually obliged to attend at least five grand prix races in 2011, which gives motorcycle racing fans something to look forward to next year. Or not.

Pics: EyePrime

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If she likes motorcycles and motorcycle racing enough to buy her own racing team, Paris Hilton can't be all that bad. We hope her team does well in the 2011 season!

Mike’s Bikes: 330 Pro-Street

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We'd take any excuse, including the bike you see here, to feature that model - Tiffany - on this website. That lady is smoking hot!!

Based in California, 45-year-old Mike has been customising motorcycles for the last three decades. When he was 15, he started riding in the 250cc and then 500cc motocross and also developed a passion for customising cars and motorcycles. Mike, whose work has been featured in various magazines, likes to call his creations “ladytamer” choppers. He says his designs remind him of a beautiful woman's body, full of great lines, curves, long legs and packed with attitude. Ahem.

The machine you see here is the 330 Pro-Street and we think it doesn’t look too bad. Especially with that hot model – Tiffany – draped all over the bike. Actually, if we're honest, custom cruisers don't really work for us, but Tiffany sure does... :-)

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Mike calls his bikes "ladytamer" choppers. Er... yeah, well...

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Mission R electric racebike announced

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The Mission R features an impressive powerpack and is fitted with high-spec chassis, suspension and braking components. But there is no mention of range or battery charging time...

Mission Motors have unveiled their new electric racebike, the Mission R, which they claim is the ‘most advanced electric racing motorcycle in the world.’ The bike has been designed by Tim Prentice of Motonium Design and features race-spec components from manufacturers like Öhlins, Brembo and Marchesini.

The Mission R’s powerplant consists of a liquid-cooled three-phase AC induction motor that pumps out 141 horsepower and 156Nm of torque from zero to 6,400rpm! Now that’s definitely something no conventional motorcycle can match.

Mission Motors' press material goes on to describe some things that we don’t really understand – things like MissionEVT battery modules with an integrated battery management system, carbonfibre casing with dielectric liner, swappable architecture, 14.4 kW•h of total energy storage and MissionEVT 100kW controller with integrated vehicle management system, but we suppose it’s all very impressive... in a slightly mysterious sort of way.

The Mission R also features adjustable throttle mapping, regenerative braking, WiFi and 3G data connectivity (whoever would have thought you’d want that on a motorcycle!) and single-speed transmission. The RADD-designed chassis is made of billet aluminium and chrome-molybdenum and uses the powerpack as a fully stressed member.

Up front is an Öhlins FGR-000 TTX25 gas-charged fork that’s adjustable for preload, ride height, and high- and low-speed compression and rebound damping. Rear suspension is via fully adjustable Öhlins TTX36 monoshock and linkage system, and the single-sided billet aluminium swingarm allows linear wheelbase and chain adjustment. Brakes are races-spec Brembo units and the bike rides on 17-inch forged magnesium wheels from Marchesini.

Mission Motors do not quote any acceleration figures for the Mission R, but we do think those could well be very impressive. Claimed top speed is in excess of 260km/h. Since there is no mention of range or battery charging time, we guess the technology isn’t ready to go mainstream yet. In addition to power, speed and acceleration, things like range, charging time and price would also be important factors for regular sportsbike buyers, and Mission Motors might still be 2 – 3 years away from being ready with a street-legal machine that can be a viable alternative to a ZX-10R, GSX-R1000 or S1000RR. But that the street-legal electric superbike’s time will come, now looks increasingly inevitable.

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