Saturday, March 31, 2012

KTM 690 Duke Track is the spiritual successor to the early-1990s Ducati Supermono

KTM 690 Duke Track KTM 690 Duke Track
KTM 690 Duke Track KTM 690 Duke Track KTM 690 Duke Track KTM 690 Duke Track
It's the coolest track-only single-cylinder motorcycle in the world...

Last month, we’d written about the EJC-spec KTM 690 Duke , which will be raced in the European Junior Cup (EJC) series this year. We did say the bike looked very interesting and hoped KTM would do a street version or upgrade the regular 690 Duke to EJC spec. Right on cue, the Austrian company has announced they will produce a limited edition ‘Track’ version of the 690 Duke, which will be based on the EJC bike!

KTM will only produce 200 units of the 690 Duke Track and while it won’t be homologated for the street, it will be priced under 10,000 euros and will have the same spec as the EJC racebike. At 140kg, the 690 Duke Track will be 10 kilos lighter than the regular 690 and, thanks to a full titanium/carbon Akrapovic exhaust, modifications to the airbox and KTM PowerParts camshaft with a bespoke fuel map, will have 79 horsepower, 9bhp more than the stock machine.

Other changes on the 690 Duke Track include a KTM PowerParts seat that’s firmer, higher and that allows more room for the rider to change position on the bike, new rearset footpegs that increase ground clearance, lightweight Marchesini alloy wheels, narrower Renthal handlebars, and a thicker brake disc at the front, with new four-pad radial-mount Brembo caliper and master cylinder. Since this is meant to be a track-use-only machine, ABS is not available on the 690 Duke Track. And finally, the bike also gets new, higher-spec suspension – fully adjustable WP forks and monoshock.

We think the KTM 690 Duke Track is pretty interesting. This machine is, perhaps, the spiritual successor to the Ducati Supermono of the early-1990s!

Friday, March 30, 2012

Extreme Cornering and the Buell XB12R Firebolt

Buell XB12R Firebolt
Yes, you really could ride your pants off on the Buell XB12R!
Buell XB12R Firebolt Buell XB12R Firebolt Buell XB12R Firebolt

Back in 2005, the unthinkable happened. The Buell XB12R Firebolt – a little-known motorcycle from a small-volumes manufacturer – was declared the best bike in the world, for cornering. In the UK-based Bike magazine’s story on the Top 50 Cornering Bikes, the XB12R came out right on top, beating, among others, contenders like the Ducati 999R, Suzuki GSX-R1000, Triumph Speed Triple 1050, Aprilia RSV1000R, Honda RC30, KTM 990 Super Duke and Yamaha YZF750R. Which was pretty much everything, then.

So what exactly was the XB12R, again? Well, it was a sportsbike built Buell-style, powered by an air-cooled, fuel-injected 1203cc ‘Thunderstorm’ V-twin that produced 103bhp and 112Nm of torque. With a dry weight of 178 kilos, wheelbase of 52 inches and steering geometry which, according to Bike, was akin to that of a 250cc GP racer, the XB12R Firebolt was definitely not a conventional sportsbike. But with its fully adjustable Showa 43mm inverted forks and monoshock, sticky Pirelli Diablo Corsa III tyres and single-disc, four-pad, eight-piston ZTL2 front braking system, the machine was apparently built to go around corners better than anything else. So let’s then take a quick look at what Bike mag had to say about the XB12R back then:

Thursday, March 29, 2012

The Deep Freeze: Yamaha R1 vs Porsche 911 GT3 RS


250km/h on ice? Why the hell not!

This time, it's a 180bhp Yamaha YZF-R1 against a 450-horsepower Porsche 911 GT3 RS, both of which go head to head on an exact replica of the 5.8km Paul Ricard circuit, recreated on ice, in Lapland, in Finland. The temperature is -25 degrees and any grip available is only provided by the 2,320 spikes which the Porsche is wearing on its tyres, and the 470 spikes which the R1 is relying upon. And then, for good measure, a Mitsubishi Evo 9 and Yamaha 450WRF also decide to join in...

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

2013 Moto Guzzi V7 Racer, other variants, unveiled

2013 Moto Guzzi V7 Racer
With the new 'Record Kit,' the Moto Guzzi V7 Racer is cooler than ever before...
2013 Moto Guzzi V7 Racer 2013 Moto Guzzi V7 Racer 2013 Moto Guzzi V7 Racer

Moto Guzzi have released pics and details of their new, 2013-spec V7 range, which includes the Racer, Special and Stone versions. ‘We can say that the V7 is a completely new bike, more powerful, faster, thriftier, more ecological, better refined and more comfortable than the previous version, and yet still with a shaft-driven 90° transverse V-twin engine and double cradle frame,’ says a press release from Guzzi.

Changes on the 2013 V7 range include a revised engine with two oxygen sensors (for better fuel economy and lower emissions), redesigned cylinder heads, bigger air intake ducts, increased compression ratio (up from 9.2 to 10.2), redesigned cylinder fins (for better cooling) and a more refined five-speed gearbox. With a fuel economy figure of 23km/l, the Guzzi V7, with its 22-litre fuel tank, now has a range of more than 500km on one tank of fuel.

The 2013 V7 range also gets new wheels that are lighter than before – alloy hoops with five split spokes for the V7, spoked with new polished aluminium rims for the Special and anodised black with red hubs for the Racer. The bikes’ 40mm front forks have been recalibrated and the Racer gets Bitubo WMT gas shock absorbers equipped with an external reservoir. Braking duties are handled by a single 320mm disc at the front and 260mm disc at the back.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Ducati Desmosedici RR around the Mulholland Drive


One lucky owner takes his Desmosedici RR around the Mulholland Drive. It's not often that you'd see one of these MotoGP-replica machines being ridden flat-out on the street...
Ducati Desmosedici RR Ducati Desmosedici RR Ducati Desmosedici RR

Today, when all the headlines in Ducati world have been taken by the admittedly incredible 1199 Panigale, perhaps it’s also a good time to look back and, for a brief moment, think about the Desmosedici RR. The first and hitherto the only real MotoGP replica ever sold to the public, the Desmosedici RR was based on Ducati’s 2006 Desmosedici GP6 racebike. Unveiled in 2006, the RR was fitted with a 989cc 90-degree Desmodromic V4 that produced 197 horsepower at 13,800rpm and 116Nm of torque at 10,500rpm. The bike, which complied with Euro 3 emissions norms, cost US$72,500 and was fully street legal.

The Desmosedici RR had a 6-speed cassette-type gearbox, dry multi-plate hydraulically actuated slipper clutch, full carbonfibre bodywork, chrome-molybdenum-steel trellis frame, aluminium swingarm and fully adjustable Öhlins suspension – 43mm FG353 PFF USD forks and monoshock with hydraulic preload and low/high compression damping adjustment. The bike rolled on 17-inch forged and machined magnesium wheels from Marchesini, shod with 120/70 (front) and 200/55 (rear) ZR-rated Bridgestone Battlax BT-01 tyres.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Stephane Peterhansel rides a Yamaha R1 in the Moroccan desert

Yamaha R1, Stephane Peterhansel Yamaha R1, Stephane Peterhansel Yamaha R1, Stephane Peterhansel Yamaha R1, Stephane Peterhansel
Riding a 180bhp litre-class superbike in the sand must take some doing...!

Six-time Dakar Rally winner, Frenchman Stephane Peterhansel (now Editorial Director of the L’Integral magazine) recently took on an interesting challenge – to ride a Yamaha R1 on the sand dunes of Merzouga, in Morocco. And all it took for him to accomplish the feat was a set of hand-cut Michelin tyres and replacement handlebars. Going by the pics here, Peterhansel seems to have had fun surfing sand dunes aboard his 180bhp sportsbike. Cool!

Source: Yamaha Motor France

AGV PistaGP: “Like switching from TV to the cinema!”

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The all-new AGV PistaGP, perhaps the best helmet on the planet for motorcyclists
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Dainese and AGV have released details and pics of their latest top-of-the-line helmet for motorcyclists – the AGV PistaGP – which has actually been designed around Valentino Rossi’s head. ‘The new helmet is part of the AGV Standards project, which, in line with the qualities established by Gino Amisano [founder of AGV], revolutionizes the way helmets are designed, setting new records for protection and ergonomics that are clearly evident. The next generation helmets arising from this project are intended to place AGV, once again, in a leading market position with its technology,’ said Lino Dainese, President of Dainese and AGV.

Using advanced construction technologies, AGV have been able to minimize the PistaGP’s weight, resulting in a helmet that’s lighter and more compact than its predecessors, while still offering better protection and comfort. The PistaGP also offers increased visor window area, increased field of vision, reduced ‘lift’ at high speeds and vastly improved ventilation. ‘I am very happy with the PistaGP – it feels like I am not wearing a helmet. Its aerodynamics have increased, with excellent ventilation and exaggerated visibility, like switching from TV to the cinema,’ says The Doctor.


And as Mr Leno explains here, size is important when it comes to choosing your helmet...

Friday, March 23, 2012

2012 Streetfighter Shootout: Aprilia Tuono V4R vs MV Agusta Brutale R 1090 vs Triumph Speed Triple R


It's a streetfighters' brawl, as the Aprilia Tuono V4R APRC, MV Agusta Brutale R 1090 and Triumph Speed Triple R go head to head against each other...
Source: Motorcycle
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And here's Cycle World's take on a bunch of super nakeds - 2012 Aprilia Tuono V4R vs Ducati Streetfighter S vs MV Agusta Brutale 1090 RR vs Triumph Speed Triple R
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2012 Yamaha YZR-M1 unveiled: High-res pics, video

image host 2012 Yamaha YZR-M1
Jorge Lorenzo and Ben's Pies, ready for battle once again...
2012 Yamaha YZR-M1 image host 2012 Yamaha YZR-M1 2012 Yamaha YZR-M1

Yamaha have taken the wraps off their 2012 YZR-M1 MotoGP racebike. In accordance with the change in MotoGP regulations coming into effect from this year, the new M1 is powered by a 1,000cc (instead of last year’s 800cc) inline-four with crossplane crankshaft, with a power output of more than 240bhp.

The 2012 Yamaha YZR-M1 also gets an updated aluminium twin tube deltabox chassis with multi-adjustable steering geometry, adjustable aluminium swingarm, 6-speed cassette-type gearbox (with alternative gear ratios available), 16.5-inch forged magnesium wheels, Bridgeston tyres, fully adjustable Ohlins suspension and Brembo brakes – twin 320mm carbon discs at the front, with two 4-piston calipers and single rear disc with 2-piston caliper. As per FIM regulations, the bike weighs 157 kilos, dry.

‘I think that at the start of this year, the bikes will be closer in terms of absolute comparison performance compared to last year. Will it bring closer racing in general? I don’t know, we’ll have to see because the 1,000cc is different, the bikes are heavier, the power is stronger, the tyres are different,’ says Lin Jarvis, Managing Director, Yamaha Motor Racing Srl. ‘For me, there are two riders who have a ‘plus alpha’ at this moment and they are Casey Stoner and Jorge Lorenzo, so I have every confidence that Jorge, in terms of his capacity, is definitely able to win the MotoGP world championship again this year. I have no doubt. Let’s see how it works out with the bike and the competition. It’s a long season and many things can happen, but I expect Jorge to win many races this season,’ he adds.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Ducati 1199 Panigale: What lies beneath

Ducati 1199 Panigale uncovered
No steel tube trellis frame, no aluminium twin-spar chassis. The 1199 Panigale features aluminium monocoque construction, which has led to significant weight loss...
Ducati 1199 Panigale uncovered Ducati 1199 Panigale uncovered Ducati 1199 Panigale uncovered Ducati 1199 Panigale uncovered

Ducati have released the first official photographs of the ‘naked’ 1199 Panigale. No, not a Streetfighter version of their latest superbike – that’s probably still at least a year away. It’s two photographs and some CAD images of the Panigale without its bodywork and with its L-twin Superquadro engine on full display, in all its mighty, naked, densely-packed glory. A moving sight it is, too, for there is no visible ‘chassis’ as such – no steel tube trellis frame, no aluminium twin-spar thingie. Apparently, there’s just… nothing.

So how exactly does that Superquadro engine hang in there? Well, the engine is used as a stressed member of the short and strong monocoque chassis, which is made of die-cast aluminium. The monocoque attaches to the cylinder heads of the engine, protruding forward to house the steering head bearings and forming the airbox along the way, which is capped-off and sealed when the lightweight aluminium fuel tank is attached, using one component to the fulfill the roles of two.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Ernie Vigil has a go on the 2012 Triumph Scrambler 900


Ernie Vigil seems to be having fun on the Scrambler 900...

The Scrambler isn’t really our most favourite Triumph – that would be the Speed Triple. With its 865cc, 58bhp parallel-twin, 1960s styling, and suspension and tyres that are neither ideal for the street nor for the dirt, the Scrambler comes across as a bit confused. And we’re not too sure if too many modern day motorcycle riders want to look like Steve McQueen anyway.

Still, professional freestyle stunt rider Ernie Vigil seems to like the Triumph Scrambler and, apparently, has the skill to make the Scrambler do things we can’t. Enjoy the video!

2012 Triumph Scrambler 900 2012 Triumph Scrambler 900 2012 Triumph Scrambler 900 2012 Triumph Scrambler 900 2012 Triumph Scrambler 900 2012 Triumph Scrambler 900

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