Saturday, February 26, 2011
Aprilia had a brilliant year in World Superbikes last year, with Max Biaggi winning the WSBK championship – the first Italian rider to do, and on an Italian motorcycle at that! Now, Aprilia Alitalia have unveiled their 2011 machine, with Biaggi’s bike carrying the much-vaunted #1 plate. ‘Our success in 2010 will certainly put us in everybody's cross-hairs, but we can't allow ourselves to be intimidated by the pressure. The right road is one of hard work and calm. The stakes are high. We have a great team, a beautiful bike, I am feeling great and I try not to be lacking in motivation,’ says Biaggi. ‘It's not by chance that the enthusiasts consider ours to be the most spectacular championship on two wheels. Brawling on the track and a relaxed, friendly atmosphere in the paddock, this is the right spirit,’ he adds.
‘After such a hard season and after having achieved such an important milestone, I think it was only right to stop for a moment and think, reflect. To see whether deep down there was still the motivation, the strength to face another season. I never have and I never will do things halfway, just for the sake of doing them. A championship like the one that awaits us must be taken on with absolute motivation and dedication. I needed to have my family close to me to understand what I needed to do. It was the right thing to do and now I have no doubts about the choice I made,’ says the 2010 World Superbikes champ.
‘The track is the best test bench ever for a super-sport bike. The stress caused by such a fiercely battled championship puts every single aspect of the bike to the test. The Aprilia RSV4 – in this case I'm talking about the factory street bike – is an extraordinary bike which immediately took its place on the market as a leader, in the opinion of specialised magazines and comparative tests. It can be defined, without any false modesty, as the most innovative in its segment. Riding it to victory in SBK guaranteed first and foremost an extremely important technological spillover, which improves and increases the value of the factory product, a fundamental process for a Group which competes in the global market,’ says Gigi Dall'Igna, technical and sport director of Aprilia Racing.
Aprilia RSV4 Factory SBK: Tech specs
Engine: 999cc, DOHC, 16-valve, 65° V4
Power: 220bhp at 15,000rpm
Fuel system: Variable-height intake ducts controlled by ECU, electronic injection with 8 injectors and latest-generation Ride-by-Wire technology
Gearbox: Six-speed cassette type
Clutch: Multiplate wet clutch with slipper system
Electronic management: Aprilia Racing ECU managing ignition, injection, variable-height intake duct control, Ride-by-Wire system and traction control
Chassis: Adjustable, aluminium dual beam with pressed and cast sheet elements
Monday, February 21, 2011
Yamaha have released pics of the 2011 M1, and it looks a bit... drab. No, really, The Doctor seems to have taken all the magic away with him. The machine may or may not still be as good to ride as it has been in the last three years – we’ll surely find out when the racing season kicks off next month – but somehow, the YZR-M1 doesn’t evoke any emotion in us anymore. There’s no logic there, we know, but what can we do – our loyalties are with Valentino Rossi and he’s now with Ducati.
Here are some high-res official pics of the 2011 Yamaha YZR-M1. Hope it doesn’t win too many races this year!
2011 Yamaha YZR-M1: Tech specs
Engine: Liquid-cooled crossplane-crankshaft inline-four
Top speed: In excess of 320km/h
Transmission: Six-speed cassette-type gearbox, with alternative gear ratios available
Chassis: Aluminium twin tube delta box, multi-adjustable steering geometry/wheelbase/ride height, aluminium swingarm
Suspension: Ohlins upside-down front forks and Ohlins rear shock, all adjustable for preload, high- and low-speed compression and rebound damping. Alternative rear suspension links available
Wheels: MFR forged Magnesium, 16.5-inches front and rear
Tyres: Bridgestone, 16.5-inches front and rear, available as slick, intermediate, wet and hand-cut
Brakes: Brembo, two 320mm carbon discs at front, two four-piston callipers, and single 220mm stainless steel disc at the back, with twin-piston calliper
Weight: 150kg, in accordance with FIM regulations
Can Ben Spies and Jorge Lorenzo on the YZR-M1 take on Valentino Rossi on the GP11 Ducati Desmosedici? Oh, well, we hope the Desmo kicks the M1's arse into orbit...
...and now that you've seen this dull blue-white-and-black Yamaha, you need to see the hottest 2011 MotoGP machine, here!
Wednesday, February 09, 2011
The new Zero S is interesting from a purely technological point of view, but when it comes to actually plonking down your hard-earned money for a motorcycle, we don't know if you'd want one
Zero Motorcycles have announced their new lineup of electric motorcycles for 2011. The Zero S, DS, X and MX models have all been tweaked and improved for 2011. Of these, we find the Zero S most interesting, so we’ll only talk about that. The bike is fitted with Zero’s proprietary ‘Z-Force’ powerpack, twin-spar aluminium alloy frame, a new, maintenance-free belt drive system and clutchless, single-speed transmission. Zero have also given the bike what they claim is a “complete systems upgrade,” which includes a quick-charge option that cuts charging time in half.
The Zero S’ powerpack includes a compact electric motor that produces enough juice to propel the bike to a top speed of 108km/h. Charging time for the S’ lithium-ion battery pack is four hours, though a 90% charge takes only two hours. Also, the batteries can be fully charged in just 2.3 hours using the optional quick charge feature. Maximum range, with the batteries fully charged, is 93km. Estimated life for the batteries is 112,000km.
The 2011 Zero S rides on 17-inch wheels shod with 110/70 (front) and 130/70 (rear) rubber. Disc brakes are fitted at both ends, with a 310mm disc at the front and 220mm disc at the back. The rear shock is adjustable for preload and the bike’s kerb weight is just 135 kilos.
Priced at US$10,000, the 2011 Zero S still isn’t for everybody. On a cost-versus-performance basis, the Zero S doesn’t have anything going for it. And while electric bikes don’t emit any noxious gasses (definitely a good thing for the planet), we believe the large-scale production of batteries and electric motors would still have a significant (and mostly negative) impact on the environment, and that impact remains to be studied and fully understood.
For more details of the complete Zero motorcycles lineup for 2011, including the DS, X and MX models, visit their website here
Sunday, February 06, 2011
Labels: Short Films
Friday, February 04, 2011
With a claimed 40-50% power hike, the A&A supercharger kit for the Kawasaki ZX-10R is serious stuff. In a straight line, you don't want to go up against this bike!
We suppose they aren’t the most practical thing in motorcycling, but there’s something about the sheer drama of a supercharger bolted on to a powerful motorcycle that we simply love. Now, one of our all-time favourite litre-class superbikes is the 2004-05 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R, which was a bit raw and wild and completely out there. So when someone decides to bolt on a supercharger to the Ninja, the result absolutely has to be featured here on Faster and Faster.
Based in the US, A&A Performance are supercharger specialists for bikes and they have developed a supercharger kit for the 2004-spec Kawasaki ZX-10R. The kit consists of a Rotrex C15-60 centrifugal supercharger that runs 8psi of boost, Gates PowerGrip GT2 synchronous belt, Walbro high-flow fuel pump, high-strength crankshaft interconnect, K&N filters, NGK Iridium sparkplugs and a custom fuel map for the fuel-injection system.
‘Without changing any major internals, you can have a bike that will significantly outpace the brand new crop of litre-bikes and pretty much anything else you come across, for around one-third the cost of a new machine. Best of all, you retain all the rideability you currently enjoy, but with way more oomph should you feel the urge,’ says the A&A website, and we’re quite inclined to believe them. All right, the supercharged 2004 Ninja might not be able to live with a stock 2011 ZX-10R on the racetrack, but on the street, in a straight line, the supercharged bike is likely to kick ass.
‘This kit is not some thrown together mess of parts; it is a thoroughly engineered, road tested and tuned system that will increase the power of your bike by a legitimate 40-50%,’ claim A&A. ‘While the power produced is remarkably controllable, the instant nature of the throttle response and the never-ending power supply means that beginner riders need not apply. And thanks to the vacuum operated bypass valve, part throttle cruising and light acceleration are unchanged from stock and mileage is only affected under heavy acceleration,’ they add.
The A&A supercharger kit for the ZX-10R is priced at a rather reasonable $4,300 and if you want to order one, you can get more details about it here
The supercharged Kawasaki Ninja sure sounds good!
Ducati have released some more details and tech specs as well as some new pics of the Diavel, which the Italian company claims is ‘the new shape of power and style.’ ‘Custom shop beauty, state-of-the-art technology, innovative design and extraordinary riding pleasure are masterfully blended into the Diavel, a motorcycle destined to shape the future, a motorcycle built by people who have earned the right to change the rules,’ say the PR men at Ducati.
The Diavel weighs 207 kilos, its high-tech L-twin (based on 1198’s Testastretta Evoluzione, but significantly modified for the Diavel...) produces 162 horsepower and 127Nm of torque, and its 240-section Pirelli rear tyre threatens to steamroll the bike’s detractors into submission. Ducati claim that their chassis technology ‘serves up mind-blowing handling and lean angles which defy the laws of physics,’ though we suppose the 1198SP shouldn’t have anything to fear just yet.
‘If the stance of a Streetfigher is that of ‘anger,’ the stance of the Diavel is that of readiness, dominance, and confidence bordering on superiority,’ says the Ducati press release. Hmmm..., we don’t really know what to make of the Diavel. We’d still have an 1198SP, but that’s just us. We’re sure there would also be a significant number of people who’d love the Diavel and who would be happy to ride this machine. And why not? The Diavel looks a chunk more comfortable than a 1198, you can ride 24,000km between each major service, and advanced electronics like ABS, ride-by-wire throttle control and DTC traction-control should make the bike safe and easy to ride.
There’s one more thing. Our no.1 motorcycling fantasy is still getting to ride a 1198SP (or S1000RR, or RSV4 Factory APRC SE or 2011 ZX-10R) flat out around a deserted high-speed circuit in some remote corner of the world. On a sunny Sunday morning. But if we were riding across Europe, with Rosie Huntington-Whiteley as our pillion seat passenger, we’d probably just want something like the VMAX or Diavel...
Would we take the Diavel over the 1198SP? If we had Ms Huntington-Whiteley riding with us on the back seat, then probably yes...!
Ducati Diavel: Tech specs
Engine: 1198cc, Testastretta 11° Desmodromic liquid-cooled L-Twin, 4 valves per cylinder
Power: 162bhp at 9,500rpm
Torque: 127.5Nm at 8,000rpm
Fuel injection: Mitsubishi electronic fuel injection system, Mikuni elliptical throttle bodies with Ride-by-Wire
Gearbox: Six speed
Clutch: Wet, multiplate clutch with hydraulic control, Selfservo action on drive, slipper action on over-run
Chassis: Tubular steel trellis frame
Front suspension: 50mm Marzocchi USD fork, fully adjustable
Rear suspension: Progressive linkage with fully adjustable Sachs monoshock, aluminium single-sided swingarm
Wheels: Forged and machined light alloy 17-inch Marchesini
Tyres: 120/70 ZR17 (front), 240/45 ZR17 (rear) Pirelli Diablo Rosso II
Front brake: 320mm semi-floating discs, radially mounted Monobloc Brembo callipers, 4-piston with ABS
Rear brake: 265mm disc, 2-piston floating calliper with ABS
Dry weight: 210kg
Warranty: 2 years unlimited mileage
MCN's Ducati Diavel riding impression...
All you ever wanted to see of the Ducati Diavel
Wednesday, February 02, 2011
The Doctor recently tested the GP11 Ducati Desmosedici at the Sepang circuit in Malaysia, and came away reasonably satisfied. 'I’m happy because I was able to ride again today. I did another 42 laps, which is reassuring. Even when I work my shoulder hard, I’m finding that it doesn’t get worse, and I don’t suffer too much,' said Rossi. 'We tested some new fairings, trying out the aerodynamics. There’s still a little vibration at the front that we weren’t able to eliminate, but we have some cards we can play tomorrow to address that. We have to get a little more experience to better understand the bike’s reactions when we change tyres, from soft to hard and vice versa. If the weather stays nice, the track conditions will continue to improve, and I think lap times could drop a bit. Naturally, beyond feeling increasingly comfortable on the bike, one of our goals is to be able to ride it more easily. We’re satisfied with the progress we’re making,' he concluded.
For us, the Rossi-Ducati combo is the best there is in MotoGP this year. We love Valentino Rossi. We love these photographs of him riding the Ducati. We hope he wins the 2011 MotoGP championship. Go...!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
As far as we're concerned, Rossi-Ducati is the best bike/rider combo in MotoGP this year! Even Hayden's bike (below...) doesn't look too bad, especially with that model next to it...
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