Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Miroslav Felgr and the story of the FGR Midalu 2500 V6

The Midalu 2500 is fitted with a 2.5-litre V6 that produces 240bhp and 200Nm of torque. The bike will carry a price tag 80,000 euros when it goes on sale next year...

The Czech Republic isn’t exactly the first country that comes to mind when we think of high-performance motorcycles and yet that’s exactly where the V6-engined FGR Midalu 2500 is from. Based in the Czech Republic, Miroslav Felgr started thinking about building a motorcycle with the world’s biggest engine and the best components, back in 2001. A decade later, his dream has come true – the Midalu 2500 hyperbike is set to go into limited production by early-2013.

The Midalu 2500 is fitted with a 2442cc, liquid-cooled, 90-degree V6 – the biggest, most powerful normally-aspirated production-spec motorcycle engine in the world – which produces 240 horsepower and more than 200Nm of torque. We’re quite fascinated with this motorcycle and caught up with the man behind this machine – Miroslav Felgr – for a quick chat. Here’s what he had to say about the FGR Midalu 2500 V6:

On why he chose to build something like the Midalu

I wanted to build a bike that wasn’t just something new, but also offered the best in luxury with the best possible components. Our company was established 20 years ago and deals with the design and manufacture of special purpose machines for the automotive industry. Since 2003, we have raced motorcycles with our FGR 125 GP bike and starting with this year, we are now in the new Moto3 class. It is the best advertisement for us, especially for the FGR Midalu motorcycle. In Bohemia [old name for the Czech Republic] we always produced motorcycles that were among the best in the world, so we wanted to revive this tradition.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Rise Again: In tribute to Marco Simoncelli

Rise Again, a new single from The Rainband, in tribute to Marco Simoncelli

Created in tribute to Marco Simoncelli, Rise Again is a new single from The Rainband that will be released on iTunes on the 17th of this month, with all profits going to the Marco Simoncelli Foundation. The Foundation will use the money to build care homes across the world for the disabled, a cause that was close to Marco's heart.

Rise Again has been filmed in Marco Simoncelli's hometown of Coriano, in Rimini, Italy, and features Marco's home video footage that's never been publicly shown before. The video has been put together with inputs from Marco's father Paolo and fiancée Kate, who wanted the world to see Marco the person as well as Marco the fearless MotoGP rider. Also, James Toseland has played the piano for this track.

Monday, June 11, 2012

James Hunt, Barry Sheene: When Playboys Ruled the World

'In my day, when the race was done we went off and chased girls. Now they go and say thanks to Vodafone,' says Sir Stirling Moss...

Produced by ITV Sport, When Playboys Ruled the World is a documentary that takes a look at the lives of 1970s legends Barry Sheene and James Hunt. First aired back in 2010, the documentary mixes period race footage, original interviews with Hunt and Sheene and conversations with friends and family. People like Stephanie Sheene, David Hunt, Sir Stirling Moss, Max Mosley, Murray Walker, Max Clifford and Kelvin MacKenzie provide an interesting perspective on how things were back then. If you haven't seen it already, get some cold beers and get ready to be transported back into a time that was magical...

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Michael Rutter does first ever 100mph electric bike lap at the IoM TT on his MotoCzysz E1pc

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Michael Rutter does first ever 100mph lap on an electric motorcycle at the Isle of Man TT, winning the 2012 SES TT Zero race and a £10,000 prize from the IoM Government!

Back in 1957, Scottish rider Bob McIntyre became the first man ever to achieve an average speed of 100mph (160km/h) at the Isle of Man TT races. This year, Michael Rutter has repeated the feat. On his Team Segway Racing MotoCzysz electric motorcycle. Yes, Rutter, who’s won the 2012 SES TT Zero race, is the first man ever to do a 100mph lap at the IoM TT on an electric bike.

Rutter finished ahead of John McGuinness , who took second place in the SES TT Zero race on his Team Mugen Shinden machine, while MotoCzysz’s second rider, Mark Miller took the final podium position. All three broke the 100mph average speed mark during the single-lap TT Zero race, with Rutter doing 104mph, McGuinness, 102mph, and Miller, 101mph (average speeds) around the around the 37¾ mile mountain course at the Isle of Man. Rutter also won a £10,000 prize from the IoM Government for his efforts.

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

The Downshift: Cafe Racers

Why cafe racers? They're better than cellphones and reality TV. And chicks dig 'em. On this episode of The Downshift, a quick look at the cool, stylish world of cafe racers...

Sunday, June 03, 2012

John McGuinness on his 18th TT win: “I got a bit emotional…”

John McGuinness, 2012 Isle of Man TT John McGuinness, 2012 Isle of Man TT John McGuinness, 2012 Isle of Man TT
John McGuinness, possibly the bravest, fastest, most talented motorcycle road racer in the world, now has 18 TT victories to his name. The Morecambe Missile rocks!
John McGuinness, 2012 Isle of Man TT John McGuinness, 2012 Isle of Man TT John McGuinness, 2012 Isle of Man TT

John McGuinness has become something of a legend at the Isle of Man TT races. Despite his massive talent and significant accomplishments in racing, McGuinness remains humble and very down-to-earth, a trait that’s impossible to find in, say, MotoGP.

Yesterday, McGuinness took his 18th TT victory, winning the 2012 Superbike race on his Honda Legends CBR1000RR Fireblade. The Morecambe Missile, as he’s sometimes called (McGuinness lives in Morecambe, in the UK) put in the fastest lap of the day at an average speed of 209km/h and won the Superbike race by 14.86 seconds.

Saturday, June 02, 2012

Jay Leno rides the Mission R electric superbike

We first wrote about the Mission R electric racebike back in December 2010 and now there's a one-off street-legal version, which Jay Leno gets to ride! And we have to say, the bike looks pretty awesome. It's by far the best looking electric bike we've ever seen and with a 0-100km/h time of 3 seconds and a 260km/h top speed, it has the performance to match its sportsbike styling. The future of electric motorcycles is beginning to look quite hot...!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Performance Bikes: Honda RVF750R RC45 vs Aprilia RSV4

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It's a battle of the ages as the Honda RC45 goes head to head against the Aprilia RSV4. It's 1990s Japanese racebike engineering against modern-day Italian exotica...

We have to admit, we have a freakish obsession with 1980s/1990s Honda V4s – we think the VFR750R RC30 and RVF750R RC45 are simply two of the coolest bikes ever made on the planet. And if ever had to choose between the two, it would have to be the RC45.

Launched in 1994, the RC45 wasn’t massively powerful – in stock form, its 750cc liquid-cooled fuel-injected DOHC V4 only produced about 118bhp. But it’s the bike’s sheer raciness, its single-minded performance intent, the resolutely purposeful 1990s styling that has us lusting after the Honda even now, almost two decades after it was launched.

Despite having a great heritage of high-performance V4-engined sportsbikes, Honda don’t seem to be interested in building a successor to the RC45. The current V4s in the Honda line-up – the VFR1200F and the Crossdresser Crossrunner – may be undeniably refined, capable and competent etc., but they are just so… dull!

The best modern-day V4-engined superbike is, of course, the Aprilia RSV4 Factory APRC. It is, perhaps, the bike that Honda could have, should have, built. But they did not. And Aprilia seem to have taken up things from where Honda left off when they stopped producing the RC45 in 1999. The RSV4 is fabulous bike – in terms of styling, handling and engine performance, it’s second to none. So you have to wonder, how would an RSV4 stack up against an RC45? The UK-based Performance Bikes magazine did a story some time ago, where they compared a race-kitted RC45 with a new RSV4. The bikes were ridden by PB’s Matt Wildee and Kar Lee, and here are some excerpts from what they had to say about the match-up:

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Memorable: The 1986 Suzuki GSX-R750 Limited Edition

1986 Suzuki GSX-R750 Limited Edition
The 1986 Suzuki GSX-R750 Limited Edition, 1980s Japanese sportsbike exotica at its best. The bike weighed 176kg dry, had about 99bhp and cost $6,500 back then...!
1986 Suzuki GSX-R750 Limited Edition 1986 Suzuki GSX-R750 Limited Edition 1986 Suzuki GSX-R750 Limited Edition

When the Suzuki GSX-R750 was launched in 1985, it was the lightest, quickest, most advanced sportsbike available to the public. ‘This pure supersports model was our first 750cc bike featuring an aluminum frame of unprecedented light weight and superb torsional rigidity. We had no real competitors in the market, other than factory racing machines,’ says Hiroshi Fujiwara, the Japanese engineer who headed the development of the first GSX-R back in the 1980s.

With 99 horsepower from its carbureted, oil-cooled, inline-four and with a dry weight of about 179 kilos, the mid-1980s GSX-R750 offered performance that was unrivalled in its time. ‘We knew that reaching our goal of the world's best power-to-weight ratio – required to realize overpowering performance – would be an enormous challenge,’ says Isamu Okamoto, the man responsible for designing the first GSX-R750’s engine.

And yet, Suzuki not only took on that challenge with the 1985 GSX-R750 but also upped the ante in 1986 with the GSX-R750 Limited Edition. At US$6,500 the LE cost $2,000 more than the standard GSX-R750 and was the most expensive Japanese sportsbike of its time. It featured bits like a gold-plated chain, high-performance radial tyres, single seat, tail section made of hand-laid fiberglass, dry clutch, 41mm ‘NEAS’ front forks (with an electrically activated anti-dive mechanism), three-point steering damper and twin 310mm brake discs up front. And at 176kg dry, the LE was also 3kg lighter than the standard GSX-R750. These things may not sound special today, but added up to a pretty trick sportsbike back in 1986.

2012 Brammo Empulse R launched, priced at $18,995

2012 Brammo Empulse R 2012 Brammo Empulse R 2012 Brammo Empulse R 2012 Brammo Empulse R

Brammo recently revealed pricing and production plans for the Empulse R, which they claim is the world’s fastest electric motorcycle in production. With a range of 160km on one full charge and a top speed of 160km/h, the battery-powered Empulse R certainly seems interesting, though at US$18,995 it’s certainly not cheap. The base model Empulse, at US$16,995 is a bit cheaper, though it will only be available in 2013.

The Brammo Empulse R has plastic bodywork, tubular steel chassis, fully adjustable suspension (43mm Marzocchi fork, Sachs monoshock), Brembo brakes, some carbonfibre bits (headlight shroud, front and rear fenders and the rear light housing) and is powered by a 40kW (54bhp) electric motor that produces 63Nm of torque. Chain final drive is used and power is transmitted to the rear wheel via a 6-speed gearbox. The bike rolls on 17-inch Marchesini alloy wheels, shod with 120/70 (front) and 180/55 (rear) Avon tyres.

The Empulse R’s electric motor is fed by a lithium-ion battery pack that has a maximum capacity of 10.2kWh. Charging time is 8 hours and the batteries are good for 1,500 charging cycles. Depending on the type of usage, range on a full charge can vary between 90-195km.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Nicky Hayden: “It’s hard for me to be a good boy!”

Nicky Hayden
2006 MotoGP world champ, Nicky Hayden is one of the last few old school racers who're still racing in MotoGP. We hope he wins a few more races before he retires...
Nicky Hayden Nicky Hayden Nicky Hayden

To mark their 40th anniversary, Dainese will produce four digital magazines this year, one each of which will look at the people, events and products from the 1970s, 80s, 90s and 00s that have helped create the Dainese legend. In the first issue (which you can download from here), they have, among other things, carried an interesting interview with 2006 MotoGP world champion, Nicky Hayden. Here are some excerpts from what Nicky says:

On whether experience helps in MotoGP

Experience is a big help. As the years go on, you pick up little tricks here and there that help you on race day. They don’t necessarily help you to do one good lap but you so realise what helps you go the distance.

On the races he enjoys most

I enjoy racing all the tracks but of course I like racing the American rounds. Those are really special; Laguna Seca for the track and Indy is my home race. I also like the Italian races as they are home races for Ducati. Mugello is a great track and Misano has awesome atmosphere.

Shootout: 2012 Ducati 1199 Panigale S vs Aprilia RSV4 Factory APRC vs BMW S1000RR

The Motorcycle.com team pitches the 2012 Ducati 1199 Panigale S against the Aprilia RSV4 R Factory APRC and the BMW S1000RR. Also read their full review here

And here's Motorcyclist magazine's take on the RSV4 vs S1000RR vs Panigale shootout, with the 2012 MV Agusta F4R also thrown into the mix. Enjoy!
Hit the jump for high-res photographs of the Panigale, RSV4 and S1000RR



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