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...

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