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Mission Motors do not quote any acceleration figures for the Mission R, but we do think those could well be very impressive.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.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Valentino Rossi slips to 7th place on SI’s list of highest-paid athletes


With an annual pay packet of US$35 million, Valentino Rossi is at 7th place on the list of the world's highest paid non-US athletes. So maybe he should pay for the next round of beers then, eh?

Last year, The Doctor stood at fifth place on Sports Illustrated magazine’s list of the world’s highest-paid (non-US)athletes. In 2009, Valentino Rossi earned about US$35 million and took joint fifth place on the list, along with F1 driver Fernando Alonso.

In 2010, The Doctor still took home $35 million but that is now only good for 7th place on the SI list of the world's highest-paid non-US athletes (Rossi is in 13th spot if US athletes are also included). On top is Golfer Tiger Woods, with an annual pay packet of $90.5 million, followed by Tennis player Roger Federer ($62 million) and prize fighter Floyd Mayweather ($60 million) in second and third places respectively.

However, Rossi still earned more money this year than NASCAR’s Dale Earnhardt Jr. ($26 million), Tennis hottie Maria Sharapova ($20 million) and F1 driver Lewis Hamilton ($16.5 million). He also made more money than the publishers of Faster and Faster, who probably made all of $0.006 million in 2010. Here’s looking at 2011 now...

Via Sports Illustrated

Team Cycle World Attack Performance Yoshimura Suzuki GSX-R1000: What lies beneath

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Team Cycle World's GSX-R1000 wears a Drudi Performance-designed red-white-and-black livery, which we think looks pretty good! Maybe Suzuki should do an official replica...?

The AMA claim that their Pro Racing American Superbike rules are aimed at reducing costs and establishing a level playing field for all racers. Cycle World magazine decided to go racing in the series this year, with Eric Bostrom riding a GSX-R1000, to see if privateers really stand a chance of taking podium finishes and even, perhaps, winning a race or two.

American Suzuki supplied a 2009 GSX-R1000, and Team Cycle World Attack Performance Yoshimura Suzuki decided they would participate in four rounds of the AMA Superbikes series in the US. As things turned out, Eric did not win any races during the year aboard the Cycle World GSX-R – a seventh-place finish was the best he could manage. Still, we thought it would be interesting to take a quick look at what exactly goes into a privateer’s AMA Superbikes racebike, and what some of these components cost. So here we go:

EMPro engine-management system (tech support for this comes from Yoshimura Racing, via its engine lease program, which costs $1,400 per race weekend), series-spec Sunoco fuel, Dunlop tyres and Brembo brakes, with billet monobloc radial-mount four-piston callipers at the front, which cost $2,605 each. HPK 320mm stainless steel brake discs at the front, which cost $660 each, and billet two-piston rear brake calliper that costs $1,876.

Two types of wheels are used on this racing GSX-R; five-spoke forged aluminium wheels from Piega, which cost $2,146 per set, and six-spoke forged magnesium wheels (that weigh a kilo less compared with the aluminium wheels) from Cattiva, which cost $4,125 per set. In 2010, most AMA Superbikes used gas cartridge fork kits (that fit inside the stock fork), which cost about $3,800 and race-spec rear shocks that cost about $5,500. Team Cycle World’s GSX-R1000 was fitted with Ohlins NIX cartridge kits that cost $1,320 each and Ohlins TTX36 rear shock, which costs $1,403 per unit.

So now you know what kind of stuff goes into an AMA Superbikes racer and approximately how expensive it is to go racing in a series like American Superbikes. Don’t know about you, but it makes us wonder what it would cost to campaign a machine in World Superbikes. And let’s not even think about MotoGP...!

The ready-to-race Team Cycle World Attack Performance Yoshimura Suzuki AMA Pro American superbike will soon be auctioned off, with all proceeds going to the Cycle World Joseph C. Parkhurst Education Fund to benefit the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation's scholarship program for brain-tumor survivors.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Atsushi Ueshima: ‘The BMW S1000RR is our main target!’

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Atsushi Ueshima (top, right) says that Kawasaki started developing the new ZX-10R Ninja before the arrival of the S1000RR, but admits that the BMW is now the bike to beat... 
2011 Kawasaki ZX-10R Ninja 2011 Kawasaki ZX-10R Ninja

Moto Revue recently caught up with Atsushi Ueshima, project leader for the 2011 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R, and asked him a few questions about Kawi’s newest heavy hitter in the litre-class superbikes segment. Here are a few excerpts from what Atsushi San had to say:

On what was the primary brief for the new ZX-10R project

To be the fastest! That is always the no.1 target in the development of our sportsbikes. But we must also, of course, adapt the bikes’ performance for everyday use on the road. We wanted to make the new ZX-10R easy to control, especially in terms of its power, and to make the chassis very communicative. The traction control makes this possible, but even when disconnected, the engine’s linear power delivery remains very effective and allows the rider to keep the bike under control even at very high speeds.

On what were some of the most challenging aspects of the bike’s development process

The engine, and more precisely the power management system, which makes the engine’s power very accessible. Also, the development of the chassis – we focused on mass centralization and on putting more weight on the front, which provides a better ‘feel’ to the rider. We also worked hard on weight reduction, without compromising on the rigidity of the chassis.

On competition from European sportsbikes

We needed three full years to develop this new ZX-10R. Back in late-2007, there was no BMW S1000RR, so it isn’t as if Kawasaki have developed this new bike to take on the BMW. But yes, today the BMW is our main target!

On whether the ZX-10R’s 200bhp was one of the primary goals

No, we simply sought to improve performance as best as we could. That the bike ended up with 200 horsepower is just that much better!

On whether Kawasaki might return to MotoGP in the 1,000cc era

Yes, of course. This is a very important goal for the coming years.

On whether there will be an all-new ZX-6R, on the lines of the new ZX-10R

Maybe!


The new ZX-10R in action!

Via Moto Revue

EU Commission recommends mandatory ABS for motorcycles

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Regardless of the kind of bike that you may be riding, the EU proposal wants you riding with ABS. Which is just as well, we suppose, since ABS really does boost safety in a very big way...

The EU Commission has presented a proposal for new framework regulation for motorcycles in Europe, whereby anti-lock brakes (ABS) will be mandatory for 125cc and above motorcycles, from 2017. The proposal is currently passing through the EU legislative procedure and will likely be adopted next year. This year, only 16% of all new bikes sold in the EU were equipped with ABS.

By making ABS mandatory for motorcycles, the EU commission hopes to boost safety for motorcyclists. While a lot of bigger bikes have been fitted with ABS for some time now, the new EU proposal is looking to extend this safety feature to smaller bikes as well. German automotive components manufacturer, Bosch is likely to be a key player in this segment, since the company has developed an ABS system specifically for smaller bikes.

‘The ABS 9 systems for motorcycles are the world’s smallest. This is our way of encouraging manufacturers to install this life-saving safety system in all motorcycles equipped with hydraulic brakes,’ says Dr Werner Struth, President of the Bosch Chassis Systems Control division. Bosch began producing the new motorcycle ABS in late 2009.

In 2008, 5,520 motorcyclists were involved in fatal accidents in the European Union, representing 14% of all road deaths in the EU. Unfortunately enough, this figure hasn’t changed much for approximately the last 15 years, while the number of fatal accidents for car drivers has declined by a significant 49%. In fact, according to the European Transport Safety Council (ETSC), the risk of suffering a fatal accident is 18 times greater for motorcyclists than for car drivers in Europe, assuming that the distance travelled is the same for both.

With a view to reducing cost, weight and complexity on motorcycle ABS systems, Bosch’s engineering centre in Japan has designed the ‘ABS 9,’ which is supposed to be the lightest, most compact ABS system for motorcycles anywhere in the world. Bosch, who’ve been making motorcycle ABS systems since the mid-1990s, claim that this is also the most cost-effective motorcycle ABS system available anywhere.

According to a study carried out by the EU, making ABS mandatory for motorcycles could cut down the incidence of fatal crashes for motorcyclists by almost 50%. Since ABS allows motorcyclists to brake very hard – without the fear of the bike’s wheels locking up and the bike sliding uncontrollably and crashing – even on wet and slippery tarmac, the safety factor definitely gets a major boost. Here’s hoping that manufacturers won’t wait for mandatory fitment laws and take it upon themselves to fit ABS on all new motorcycles as soon as possible!

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