Saturday, April 16, 2011
Buell is no more, long live Erik Buell Racing (EBR). You just can’t keep some people down for very long. Harley-Davidson, in their infinite wisdom, chose to shut down the Buell Motorcycle Company, pretty much the only American company that made sportsbikes. But within two years, Erik Buell is back and he’s back with a bike that looks like it has the potential to blow the mirrors off the competition.
We are, of course, talking about the EBR 1190RS Carbon Edition that you see here, which is fitted with a 1190cc liquid-cooled fuel-injected V-twin engine from Rotax, heavily modified by EBR. Titanium valves, cams from the erstwhile Buell 1125RR superbike, conrods forged from high quality steel, lightweight pistons and a new airbox with almost twice the capacity compared to a Buell 1125R. With a wet weight of about 180 kilos and a power output of around 170-180bhp, the EBR 1190RS has been built to kick arse.
The EBR 1190RS will be raced for the first time in the US next month in the AMA Superbikes series and the street version is expected to go on sale by the end of this year. The 1190RS Carbon Edition, only 100 units of which will be built, is expected to be priced at more than US$40,000 though Erik Buell might do a cheaper ‘regular’ version of the bike later, perhaps in 2012.
We love the EBR 1190RS. Regardless of whether or not it does well in AMA Superbikes (and there seems to be no reason why it shouldn't do very well indeed...), the bike is living, breathing proof of the fact that with perseverance and hard work, any dream can be made to come true. Bravo!
Thursday, April 14, 2011
Motocross has, in the past, helped shape the talents of many GP roadracing greats, though things seem to have changed in recent years...
We love MotoGP. All right, we practically live, dream, eat, sleep and breathe MotoGP. Motocross, on the other hand, umm… we don’t know. Must admit we never really gave it much thought and hence you hardly, if ever, read about the sport here on Faster and Faster. It’s properly spectacular all right, but somehow motorcross has never been our thing. That said, we quite liked ‘Changing Treads,’ a story that Adam Wheeler has done for the April 2011 issue of Cycle News. The story takes a look at the role of motocross in shaping the riding talents of some of the best motorcycle roadracing stars in the past, and how that role has changed and evolved over the years. It’s all quite fascinating really, and we present a few excerpts here, from what that stars have to say about motocross vs roadracing:
Former World Superbikes champ Colin Edwards has never won a race in MotoGP, but continues to be a mid-field contender in the sport. He knows his stuff alright
‘It is freedom, a release, an aggression. Motocross makes you smart on a bike. You are processing information all the time and making decisions. I think they [motocross and roadracing] tie-in together a lot. Something like dirt-track is about being over the rear end and finding traction. Roadracing right now is not so much about that. I have seen guys who are good road racers, but can’t hack it on a motocross bike. It is very foreign and they don’t understand it. You have to get used to the bike being a bit loose. It is very strange for me nowadays because I like the bike to be perfectly in line and smooth on a road race track.’
‘When a road racer takes his brain out then you don’t really see it that much. Maybe a little style change or he’s backing the bike into the turn a bit later than usual. With motocross it is much easier to tell when a rider has his nuts on the line because he has it pinned everywhere, feet flailing and just hanging on through the whoops. You understand that he is risking everything he has. I think we are all nuts to be honest with you, but motocross is a gnarly sport. If you crash and hit that dirt then you are gonna stop. Here we can slide, get up and dust ourselves off. People might think I am crazy to say that when you’re flying down the track at 150mph, but motocross hurts, every time.’ – Colin Edwards (Former World Superbikes Champion, currently riding in MotoGP)
Jean-Michel Bayle remains the only man who could actually switch over from motocross to world championship roadracing, with a moderate amount of success
‘They are very different. Motocross is maybe 80-85 percent technique: your position, style, precision, good lines. The rest is about your determination to win a race. In roadracing it is the opposite. There is a lot of technique involved, but if you want to go faster you have to push yourself more every time and have to have a lot of motivation to take risks. It is about finding balance, especially with the 800s, but in motocross when you charge into a rut you’ve also got to be balanced. Roadracing is not as much fun as motocross, but the feeling of being able to ride so fast and slide the bike at 200km/h is very special. To do everything right and get a pole position lap is so good.’ – Jean-Michel Bayle (Former World Motocross, AMA Motocross and Supercross Champion, who also made a moderately successful foray into 250cc and 500cc motorcycle GP racing in the 1990s)
‘When you are going fast you have to concentrate just as much as on a road race bike. There is so much more you can do in motocross whereas in roadracing it basically comes down to the different riding styles that separate us because we are all doing similar things. I guess it means the action can be better in motocross, but the overtaking in roadracing can be pretty fun to watch too because the margins are so close.’ – Ben Spies (Currently riding in MotoGP)
‘It is a show, especially to a kid. Roadracing looks so smooth and controlled it almost appears as if anyone could do it, whereas watching the speed and the size of the jumps makes motocross that much more exciting. I think a motocross race is as good as if not better than a road race. It will always win as a spectacle.’ – James Toseland (Former World Superbikes Champion, ex-MotoGP rider, currently riding for the BMW Motorrad Italia Team in World Superbikes)
Source: Cycle News
KTM want to build on their already strong presence in the European market – the Austrian company also wants a slice of lucrative emerging markets in Asia. Indian motorcycle company, Bajaj Auto now owns a 38% stake in KTM and the two companies have co-developed the new 125 Duke, which is likely to be launched in some Asian markets in the near future. KTM are also said to be developing 250-300cc Duke variants for various markets, including India.
The KTM 125 Duke is fitted with a fuel-injected liquid-cooled single-cylinder engine that produces 15 horsepower. And while that bhp number may not sound terribly exciting, the bike is also fitted with high-quality suspension components and a light, stiff chassis, which means the bike handles very well indeed. With its fat, sticky tyres, big brakes, firm suspension and funky styling, the baby Duke certainly looks like it can hold its own in the 125cc class.
Duke 125 evangelists now include 22-year-old Slovenian stunt rider, Rok Bagoroš, who has appeared in various stunt riding shows in France, Germany, Italy, Macedonia, Kosovo, Hungary and, of course, Slovenia. Rok, whose idol is stunt riding champ Chris Pfeiffer, thinks the KTM 125 Duke is pretty cool and the ideal bike for those who’re just starting off with motorcycle stunt riding. 'I love my new bike. Finally, I can develope my new style, which is agressive, fast and smooth all mixed together. Stop. Must jump on the Duke again. Now!' says Bagoroš.
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
All right, it's no RS250, but at least the GPR50 still gives kids a chance to experience the joys of two-stroke motorcycle engines. Rock on, Derbi!
Two-strokes. Those glorious smoke-spewing fire-spitting contraptions that have now been consigned to the annals of history. Gone, but not forgotten by those who grew up riding one. For anyone who’s ever ridden the nuts off a Yamaha RD350LC, Honda NSR250, Kawasaki KR-1S, Suzuki RGV250, Yamaha TZ250 or Aprilia RS250, two-strokes will probably live on forever in some corner of your heart.
Anyway, while they may live on in our hearts and minds, two-strokes are no more in the real world – they’re all gone. With the possible exception of tiny, 50cc two-stroke engines that somehow manage to cling on to life in some parts of Europe. Spanish manufacturer, Derbi, for example, recently announced their new GPR50, which is fitted with a liquid-cooled single-cylinder carburetted two-stroke engine, mated to a six-speed gearbox. Derbi claim the bike is the most advanced machine of its kind, in its segment.
And while today’s teenagers aren’t very likely to have heard of the likes of Kevin Schwantz and Wayne Rainey, they’d probably still think the Derbi GPR50 is pretty cool. The little tyke is, after all, fitted with bits like a twin-spar chassis made of die-cast aluminium, 17-inch light-alloy wheels, 41mm USD fork, Ollé monoshock and 300mm brake disc at the front, with radial mount callipers. With a kerb weight of just 110kg, we’re sure the little GPR50 will all but fly with a lightweight, 14-year-old rider aboard the machine.
All right, so all the great two-stroke motorcycles are gone forever, but thank god the Derbi GPR50 lives on – at least kids today can still get a glimpse of what two-stroke motorcycles used to be like.
Aprilia claim the Tuono V4R is ‘the fiercest naked ever seen,’ and that might well be true. The V4R is, after all, fitted with a 167-horsepower, 112Nm, 65-degree V4 engine and a highly sophisticated, fully adjustable chassis/suspension combo – it really is a full-on superbike with high handlebars. ‘It is in its element when accelerating and braking with unimaginable violence, eats up curves of any radius and swallows straights whole,’ say Aprilia about the Tuono V4R, so you know they haven’t exactly made it for pottering around.
The all-new Tuono V4R, which was recently launched in Valencia, Spain, gets a flaming yellow paintjob and those four alphabets which, when thrown together, create motorcycling magic – APRC (Aprilia Performance Ride Control). ‘APRC’ includes a traction control system with eight settings, wheelie control with three settings, launch control with three settings and a quick-shift system that allows you to shift gears very fast, without closing the throttle and without using the clutch.
Aprilia have made the V4R’s first three gear ratios shorter, for even more explosive acceleration. And that V4 engine will still rev to 12,300rpm in all gears, so you know how the bike is going to behave on the street. Other bits that we like on the new Tuono are its six-speed cassette-type gearbox, slipper clutch, ride-by-wire throttle system and self-calibrating traction control system that can actually adapt its functioning to whatever tyres you choose to fit on the bike.
There’s also the Brembo brakes – 320mm brake discs at the front with radial mount callipers, light and stiff aluminium wheels, fully adjustable 43mm Sachs USD fork, Sachs shock absorber with piggyback nitrogen canister and adjustable spring preload, compression and rebound damping. And finally, rear tyre options include 190/55, 200/55 and 190/50 sizes. With a kerb weight of 183 kilos, claimed top speed for the Tuono V4R is 270+km/h. Yeah, it’s proper badass this one. We sort of like it, though the RSV4 Factory APRC SE is still the one we really, really, really want… :-)