Sunday, December 04, 2011

Marco Lucchinelli on motorcycle racing: ‘Now there is nothing, no drink, no fuck…’

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Marco 'Crazy Horse' Lucchinelli, 500cc motorcycle grand prix racing world champ in 1981 and one of the wildest, most colourful personalities in the paddock at that time...

For their January 2012 issue, the UK-based Fast Bikes magazine have done an interview with Marco Lucchinelli, who won the 500cc motorcycle grand prix racing world championship in 1981, aboard a Roberto Gallina-backed Suzuki. Nicknamed ‘Crazy Horse’ for his wild riding style, Lucchinelli rode in the 500cc class from 1976 to 1985. He got to ride with pretty much every manufacturer present in 500cc GP racing at the time – Suzuki, Yamaha, Honda and Cagiva.

In the Fast Bikes interview, Lucchinelli has some interesting things to say about the current state of MotoGP, World Superbikes and front wheel burnouts. Here are a few excerpts from what he says:

Saturday, December 03, 2011

High-res motorcycle pics from the 42nd Tokyo Motor Show 2011

Here's a bunch of high-res pics of bikes and scooters being shown by Honda, Yamaha, Suzuki, Kawasaki and KTM, at the 2011 Tokyo Motor Show. This, the 42nd edition of the Tokyo Motor Show, starts today and will end on the 11th of this month
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Thursday, December 01, 2011

Ducati, Mercedes-AMG to show special edition Streetfighter 848, SLK55 at Bologna Motor Show

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Painted in 'Streetfighter Yellow,' the special edition Streetfighter 848 and SLK55 AMG will be shown at the Bologna Motor Show this month...

To showcase their collaboration, Mercedes-AMG and Ducati will stage joint appearances at the Bologna Motor Show, which will take place from the 3rd to the 11th of this month. The new Mercedes-Benz SLK55 AMG and Ducati Streetfighter 848, both painted in ‘Streetfighter Yellow,’ will be displayed at the north Italian motor show. This, according to the two companies, is “a move set to underscore the importance of the cooperation entered into by Mercedes-AMG and Ducati one year ago.”

The cooperation agreement between Mercedes-AMG and Ducati, which was signed at the Los Angeles Motor Show in November 2010, includes various marketing activities and joint appearances at shows and customer events. The first result of the exchange of ideas between designers and engineers from Affalterbach and Bologna was the joint presentation of the Mercedes-Benz CLS63 AMG and the Ducati Diavel AMG Special Edition, at the 64th International Motor Show in Frankfurt earlier this year.

AMG has been the Official Car Partner of the Ducati MotoGP team this year and AMG logo appears not only on the motorcycles and racing overalls of Ducati riders Nicky Hayden and Valentino Rossi, but also on the official teamwear and in the Ducati Lounge. However, we do hope this collaboration between AMG and Ducati will, someday in the near future, extend beyond marketing- and PR-driven activities. An AMG-fettled Ducati 1199R Panigale? Now that would be something!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Husqvarna Concept Strada shown at 2011 Salon de la Moto

Husqvarna Concept Strada
The Husqvarna Concept Strada is fitted with BMW's single-cylinder 650cc engine...
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Husqvarna have unveiled the Concept Strada at the currently ongoing Salon de la Moto motorcycle show in Paris. ‘Like the Nuda 900 R [which went on sale earlier this month], the Concept Strada is targeted at youthful on-road motorcyclists who will appreciate its sharp styling, fun handling and great road manners. With a low weight, a punchy 650cc single-cylinder engine and quality components throughout, the Concept Strada is designed to provide a thrilling ride, whatever the distance,’ says a press note from Husqvarna.

The Husqvarna Concept Strada is fitted with BMW’s single-cylinder 650cc engine – the same unit that’s fitted to the BMW G650GS. However, it’s been tuned for improved power delivery and, accordingly to Husqvarna, the upgrade has resulted in an ‘extremely lively machine which, at less than 170kg dry, will put a smile back on the face of even the weariest commuter.’

The Husqvarna Strada will be launched in 2012 and, according to the company, it is further evidence of their commitment to expanding their model portfolio and providing fans of the legendary brand with a new series of streetbikes.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Piaggio Museum to showcase Corradino D’Ascanio’s work

Corradino D’Ascanio
The Piaggio Museum in Pontedera, Italy, is now hosting an exhibition that showcases the life and times of Corradino D’Ascanio, the man who 'invented' the Vespa scooter...
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From now until the end of January 2012, the Piaggio Museum in Pontedera, Italy, will host an exhibition aimed at showcasing the life and work of Corradino D’Ascanio, the man who ‘invented’ the Vespa scooter. The exhibition takes visitors through four sections – The Man, The Genius, The Magician and The Legend – which show an extensive selection of projects, original drawings, documents and contemporary publications, as well as the oldest Vespa models from the Piaggio Museum collection.

An aeronautical engineer by education, Corradino D’Ascanio obtained a patent on the design of the original Vespa scooter back in April 1946. The first Vespa was fitted with a 98cc two-stroke engine and since then, more than 17 million Vespa scooters have been sold worldwide. In fact, since 2006, Piaggio have been selling more than 100,000 units of the Vespa scooter every year and sales in 2011 are expected to cross the 150,000 units mark.

BMW S1000RR in MotoGP: It’s a long road

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Electronics may be one of the major limiting factors for production-based machines in MotoGP, says Colin Edwards, who will be riding a CRT Suter BMW in 2012...

The 2012 BMW S1000RR is pretty much one of the most advanced high-performance superbikes in the world – on the street, its 193 horsepower provides ample encouragement for the production of wild, adrenaline-fuelled rushes of sheer acceleration and speed. Weighing in at 206 kilos and fitted with advanced electronics – Race ABS and Dynamic Traction Control – the S1000RR is a motorcycle enthusiasts’ wet dream, the stuff that lurid fantasies are made of.

A stock S1000RR certainly offers far more flat-out performance than what most people can ever use on the street. And yet, for those who might have wondered at some point, it still isn’t, apparently, anywhere near a proper MotoGP bike. In 2012, claiming rule teams (CRT) will run bikes with highly-tuned production-based engines and bespoke chassis, in MotoGP. And Colin Edwards, who will be riding one such S1000RR-engined Forward Racing Suter-BMW machine next year, and who recently tested the bike in Jerez, says the bike will need major, significant improvements in order to be competitive in MotoGP.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Keanu Reeves: The Diavel’s Advocate

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Keanu used to race bikes in the night, with the headlight switched off. And he doesn't like laws that make it compulsory for motorcycle riders to wear a helmet. Ahem.

For their November 2011 issue, GQ magazine have got Keanu Reeves to talk about motorcycles. ‘I started when I was 22. I was working in Munich and met this girl who had a bike and I asked her if I could ride it. She said ‘sure,’ then I told her I didn’t know how to ride. So she showed me where everything was, and I just started riding around the studio. I just got into it,’ says KR, who’s starred in some of our favourite movies – The Matrix series, The Devil’s Advocate and Point Break.

Keanu loves Norton bikes and owns three, but has also owned Harleys and Suzuki GSX-Rs over the last two decades. Now 47, Keanu admits that at one time, he used to race his bike at night, with the headlight switched off. ‘That was back in the day. I think we deal with our emotions differently when we are older, and I think the demon rides were a way for me to blow off steam when I was younger,’ he says. ‘Now, when I get those feelings, I think maybe I’ll just handcuff myself to the bed. Wait for the Sun to come up,’ he adds.

2012 Yamaha R1: Finding traction once again

2012 Yamaha R1
Eddie Lawson may or may not need traction control on a 178bhp superbike. You and I will, however, definitely be better off with the 2012 R1's six-mode TCS
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Following the example set by the BMW S1000RR, Aprilia RSV4 Factory APRC and Kawasaki ZX-10R Ninja, Yamaha have fitted traction control to the 2012 YZF-R1. It is a proper six-mode system with a full range of settings – mode six will let you twist the throttle to the max, regardless of road surface and lean angle and the computers will sort everything out for you. The system gets progressively more lenient through modes five, four, three, two and one, with the rider being pretty much on his/her own in mode one.

Yamaha have taken their time in getting TC tech to the R1 but they seem to have gotten it right the first time around. According to Bruce Wilson, who’s tested the 2012 Yamaha R1 for Motorcycle Sport & Leisure’s December issue this year, the new R1’s traction control “most certainly doesn’t feel as intrusive as the BMW S1000RR’s system, which feels more like a tap that’s been turned on and off as it mops up excess power in a crude by effective manner, nor like the Kawasaki ZX-10R’s system, which stutters and starts in an erratic spasm.” Bruce goes on to say that mode four, which permits wheelies and small slides, while still keeping you out of trouble, is perhaps the best mode in the Yam’s traction control system.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

2012 KTM 450 Rally: What it takes to do the Dakar

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The 2012 KTM 450 Rally, perhaps the best off-road endurance racebike in the world...

The KTM 450 Rally, which is fitted with a carburetted single-cylinder engine and which costs an eye-watering 25,000 euros (not including VAT), is probably one of the most amazing competition motorcycles you can buy.

Developed with inputs from Dakar Rally legends like Marc Coma and Cyril Despres, the 2012 KTM 450 Rally is built with single-minded focus – to win the Dakar. The bike is fitted with a chrome-molybdenum chassis, 48mm USD fork and fully adjustable monoshock from WP, five-speed gearbox, multi-disc hydraulically operated wet clutch, 300mm (front) and 250mm (rear) brake discs, 12-litre fuel tank that’s made of plastic, and 21-inch (front) and 18-inch (rear) wheels. Without fuel, the little KTM weighs about 145kg.

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