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

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Jorge Lorenzo and Ben's Pies, ready for battle once again...
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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!

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Monday, March 19, 2012

Ducati Desmosedici GP12: First official high-res pics, tech specs released

Ducati Desmosedici GP12
The Ducati Desmosedici GP12 is here. The battle begins in three weeks from now...
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It is the fastest, most powerful and most high-tech motorcycle Ducati have ever made. Yes, it’s the Desmosedici GP12 racebike, which Valentino Rossi and Nicky Hayden will ride in MotoGP this year. With new tech regulations coming in this year, the GP12 is powered by a 90-degree, Desmodromic, 1,000cc DOHC V4 that produces 230 horsepower. With a dry weight of 157 kilos, the Desmosedici GP12 can hit a top speed of more than 330km/h.

All-new bits on the GP12 include Ducati Seamless Transmission (DST), on which we hope to get more details soon, and aluminium twin-spar chassis in place of last year’s carbonfibre monocoque frame. The bike’s Magneti Marelli electronic fuel injection operates via four throttle bodies and the throttle is operated and controlled via Ducati’s new EVO TCF (Throttle Control and Feedback) system.

A 48mm inverted fork at the front and and single shock absorber at the back, both Öhlins units, handle suspension duties and are fully adjustable for preload, compression and rebound damping. The Ducati GP12 rides on 16.5-inch wheels shod with Bridgestone rubber and braking duties are taken care of by twin 320mm Brembo carbon brake discs at front, with four-piston calipers, and single stainless steel disc at the back, with a two-piston caliper.

KTM 200 Duke: “Why? Because it is intense…”

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The lean, mean, KTM 200 Duke likes to rev hard and fast...
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In January this year, KTM launched the 200 Duke in India, the world’s second largest market for motorcycles. Developed in collaboration with Indian company Bajaj Auto – which holds a 40% stake in KTM – the 200 Duke is part of KTM’s new global strategy and will be available in all countries where KTM motorcycles are sold.

The KTM 200 Duke is a refreshingly new take on the quarter-litre class, which has small-bore sportsbikes like the Kawasaki Ninja 250R, Honda CBR250R and Hyosung GT250R, and regular, commuter-spec machines like the Yamaha Fazer 250 and Suzuki Inazuma 250. Of course, the 200 Duke has a slightly smaller engine than the aforementioned bikes, but in terms of real-world performance, it just might be on top.

The 200 Duke is powered by a single-cylinder, liquid-cooled, fuel-injected 200cc engine that produces 25 horsepower. The bike has a light, stiff, tubular steel space frame, USD fork and monoshock from WP, single 300mm brake disc at the front with two-piston caliper, 230mm disc at the back, six-speed gearbox and a 10.5-litre fuel tank. Dry weight is about 125kg.

We think the 200 Duke is a pretty interesting bike, not just in the context of the Indian market but also in terms of its prospects worldwide. It’s small, stylish, edgy and funky – should be quite a tool in the city. Our friend rearset, a lifelong motorcycle enthusiast who also writes about bikes, recently bought one of these little orange wonders, and we thought his take on the 200 Duke sums the bike up very well indeed. So, here’s what rearset has to say about the 200 Duke:

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Battle of the V4s: Honda VFR750R RC30 vs Aprilia RSV4 Factory APRC

Honda RC30 vs Aprilia RSV4 Honda RC30 vs Aprilia RSV4
The late-1980s Honda VFR750R RC30 and the current Aprilia RSV4 are both iconic machines, from different generations. But how do the two compare against each other?

What can we say about the Honda RC30 that hasn’t already been said before. Yes, we’re among the vast number of fans which the 750cc V4-engined VFR750R still has more than two decades after it was launched. A mere 3,000 units of this bike were produced between 1987-1990 and even back then, it cost a massive US$15,000. The RC30’s claimed dry weight was 185 kilos and according to some magazine road tests of the era, the bike weighed as much as 215kg with all fluids and a full tank of fuel. And by modern standards, the 750cc V4’s power output was rather ordinary – 112bhp at 12,000rpm, which went up to a more respectable 133bhp with the HRC race kit that was available from Honda.

If the RC30 wasn’t all that powerful and was a bit heavy, what’s the fuss all about? More than 20 years on, why is the world still so taken with the VFR750R? Perhaps there is no logical answer to this question. Maybe it’s the image we have in our minds, of watching men like Joey Dunlop and Steve Hislop and Carl Fogarty racing the RC30 around the Isle of Man. Maybe it’s the bike’s sheer beauty, its racy stance, its single-minded racing focus and the fact that it was designed by HRC that makes it so attractive. Or perhaps it’s the bits inside that Honda V4 – titanium conrods, 360-degree one-piece crank, gear driven camshafts – that make the bike exotic and desirable.

Based on Honda’s RVF750 world endurance and TTF1 racebikes, the VFR750R RC30 was essentially a ‘homologation special,’ built to satisfy the requirements of the World Superbikes series which started in 1988. The first batch of 1,000 bikes was released in Japan in 1987 and sold out quickly, despite a price tag of 1.5 million Yen. The RC30 came to Europe in 1988 and to the US in 1990, by which time it had already won the first two WSBK titles – Fred Merkel won the 1988 and 1989 World Superbikes championships aboard the VFR750R. Apart from WSBK, the RC30 was also very successful at the Isle of Man TT races in the hands of riders like Steve Hislop, Joey Dunlop and Carl Fogarty.

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