Thursday, July 26, 2012
Monday, July 23, 2012
Cycle magazine's Phil Schilling wrote a beautiful story about the CBX, 30 years ago. Three decades on, it's a story that needs to be retold...
Powered by a 1,047cc, 105bhp six-cylinder engine, the late-1970s/early-1980s Honda CBX was an intriguing mix of superbike and sports-tourer. Back in July 1982, Phil Schilling wrote about the bike for Cycle magazine. It’s a beautifully written piece that tells the remarkable story of the CBX, a motorcycle we love so very much. Schilling’s story on the CBX was published exactly three decades ago, which means a lot of our readers probably never had the opportunity to read it. So if you love the CBX, here’s your chance to enjoy one of the best written articles about that magnificent machine:
Honda's CBX was a grabber from the start. In the desert darkness, along a deserted road, you hear again the rushed whisper that six cylinders and 24 valves make at 75mph, and you remember again the first time you rode a CBX. Strange, isn't it, how after tens and hundreds of test machines, you can recall how it was with the clarity and resolution of the day just past. Maybe it's the soft, backlit red glow from the instruments; the CBX had the dials first done in that motif, and this visual cue connects again and again with that first CBX.
Yet that could be only part of it. Because in so many ways the CBX is a memorable machine, and not necessarily in a functional way either. The CBX announces itself as an exotic – restrained but with an audacious self-confidence. See Me! Six cylinders! Twenty-four valves! Six carburetors! Presence. A motorcycle that you don't look through or past. See and look again. You can't say that about many Hondas.
Saturday, July 21, 2012
A BMW that can beat the Ducati Panigale at its 'massive power and spaceship-spec electronics' game? That would be the new BMW S1000RR HP4...
According to some reports on the web that seem fairly believable, BMW are all set to launch a new version of the S1000RR in September this year. This bike, the S1000RR HP4, will feature revised engine mapping, with power going up to 200-205bhp. With extensive use of carbonfibre, dry weight will be around 170 kilos.
The 2013 BMW S1000RR HP4 will also gets bits like an Akrapovic titanium exhaust system, race-ABS with upgraded Brembo monobloc brakes, forged alloy wheels (carbonfibre wheels might also be offered), updated electronics for the bike’s multi-stage traction control system, race-spec Ohlins electronically adjustable suspension and a new digital dashboard. Some modifications to the aluminium twin-spar chassis are also expected, to deal with the increased power output.
The S1000RR HP4 is expected to be launched in the first week of September this year, with a price tag of about 20,000 euros. We’ll post more information and official pictures as soon as possible.
Sunday, July 15, 2012
We only hope the 2012 Italian MotoGP at Mugello today turns out to be as interesting as Valentino Rossi's new helmet. We're hoping for a podium finish for The Doctor!
The Doctor might only be starting from 10th position on the grid, but at least he has a cool new helmet for the 2012 Italian MotoGP. The helmet features an image of Gianni Morandi, an Italian singer, actor and television host, surrounded by a bunch of flowers. There's also the phrase 'Restiamo Uniti,' which means 'let's stick together,' on the helmet.
Morandi is, apparently, a heavyweight in the world of Italian music, having sold more than 49 million records worldwide. 'Restiamo Uniti' is a phrase he made famous when he performed at the Sanremo Music Festival in February this year. Designed by Aldo Drudi, Valentino Rossi's new brain bucket looks pretty cool. We only hope The Doctor can actually make some music during the race today. Would a podium finish be too much to hope for...?
Thursday, July 12, 2012
The 2013 Husqvarna TR 650 Strada and TR 650 Terra look like they'd be fun to ride. The day we no longer want a Yoshimura Suzuki GSX-R1000, we'd take the 650 Strada...
After the Nuda 900R, which they unveiled last year, Husqvarna have now announced the new TR 650 Strada and TR 650 Terra, both of which are powered by a modified version of the single-cylinder 652cc engine that you’d find on the BMW G650GS range. The TR 650 Strada has been optimized for the street while the Terra is built for dual-purpose use and will take some light off-roading in its stride.
Husqvarna have taken BMW’s 652cc liquid-cooled fuel-injected DOHC single-cylinder engine and reworked it for the TR 650 duo – the engine now produces 58 horsepower and 60Nm of torque, which should be adequate since the TR 650 Strada weighs 168kg dry (166kg dry, for the Terra). For those are interested, modifications to the engine include a retuned fuel-injection system, altered camshafts, new pistons, increased compression ratio and changes to the piston and cylinder head geometries, all of which result in enhanced power delivery. The engine also benefits from an all-new stainless steel exhaust system and is now more fuel efficient and has reduced emissions.
Wednesday, July 11, 2012
Tuesday, July 10, 2012
The 2013 Kawasaki ZX-10R Ninja gets a new speed-sensitive electronic steering damper. And with a claimed 197bhp, the bike remains an exciting, aggressive superbike
Kawasaki have announced the new, 2013 ZX-10R Ninja, which is available with Sport-Kawasaki Traction Control (S-KRTC) and optional ABS. Fitted with Kawasaki’s liquid-cooled, DOHC, 16-valve, 998cc inline-four that produces a claimed 197 horsepower (at the crank, with ram air…?), the big Ninja remains one of the most impressive performers in the litre-class superbike segment.
The Kawasaki ZX-10R Ninja rolls on 17-inch alloy wheels shod with 120/70 (front) and 190/55 (rear) ZR-rated tyres and gets adjustable 43mm big piston inverted forks and a gas-charged rear monoshock that is adjustable for high- and low-speed compression damping, rebound damping and preload. There are twin 310mm brake discs at the front with 4-piston radial-mount calipers, and ABS is optional. Kerb weight is 199kg and colour options include green/black and white/black.
The 2013 ZX-10R Ninja also gets a new Öhlins electronic steering damper that is able to react to current speed as well as the rate of acceleration / deceleration, to provide the ideal amount of damping force at all times. Should certainly up the safety factor by a notch or two on the street. The bike is priced at US$15,299.
The 2013 Kawasaki Ninja 650 is now available with anti-lock brakes (ABS) as an option, which has to be a good thing on a beginner-friendly machine like this...
Kawasaki have released the specs and first official pictures of the new, 2013 Ninja 650, which is now available with anti-lock brakes (optional). Powered by a liquid-cooled, fuel-injected, DOHC, 649cc parallel-twin that produces 65 horsepower and 61Nm of torque, the Ninja 650 is priced at US$8,099 and is a reliable, low-maintenance, beginner-friendly machine.
With a kerb weight of 209kg, steel tube chassis, 6-speed gearbox, 41mm front forks, single rear shock (adjustable for preload), twin 300mm brake discs with 2-piston calipers at the front, ABS (optional), and 17-inch alloy wheels shod with 120/70 (front) and 160/60 (rear) Dunlop Roadsmart II tyres, the Ninja 650 is all-around capable and ideal for daily commuting duties as well as a bit of two-up sport-touring.
Kawasaki claim an estimated fuel economy figure of 50mpg/21kpl, which is not too bad for a 650cc bike. And the Ninja 650’s adjustable, 3-position windscreen, generous seat and optimized ergonomics should also be handy on longer trips.
Monday, July 09, 2012
John McGuinness can lap the 60km Isle of Man TT circuit at average speeds of 211km/h. Don't know about you, but for us, that makes him the God of motorcycle road racing...
With a very impressive 19 wins at the Isle of Man, 40-year-old John McGuinness is currently at the top of his game. One of the fastest, most talented motorcycle racers in the world, McGuinness – sometimes referred to as the Morecambe Missile – holds the outright lap record at the IoM, averaging 211.75km/h around the 60km TT circuit in 2009. If that doesn’t make him the God of motorcycle racing, we don’t know what would.
We’ve always been huge fans of the Isle of Man TT, even if we do think the risk factor is a bit too high – given the number of fatal accidents that happen there every year, it never ceases to amaze us that the race actually hasn’t yet been legislated out of existence. And, of course, we have nothing but respect and admiration for the talent and sheer bravery of the men who choose to race at the IoM despite all the dangers.
We recently had the opportunity to put some questions to John McGuinness, who’s been racing at the IoM for 17 years now, about what it’s really like to race at the Isle of Man, and here’s what he had to say:
Saturday, July 07, 2012
Raymond Roche (top, left) on the Ducati 851 and Valentino Rossi with the Panigale. Legends from two different eras. And, amazingly, the 851 is still up for a scrap...
Remember the Ducati 851? It came out in 1987 and blitzed the world of sportsbikes like few other machines have ever managed to. Desmoquattro V-Twin, liquid-cooling, fuel-injection, four-valve cylinder heads, 95bhp and a top speed of about 240km/h made the bike a bit special 25 years ago and that’s the way it remains today, despite the fact that it probably requires motorcycle breakdown cover more than the Panigale does!
The 851 and its various avatars (851 SP, 888 and 888 SP) were produced from 1987 to 1993 and the bike won three World Superbikes championships – with Raymond Roche in 1990 and with Doug Polen in 1991 and 1992. By 1993, the Ducati 888 had twin fuel injectors per cylinder, power was up to 125bhp and the bike had the best bits that companies like Termignoni, Brembo and Ohlins were making back then.
The Ducati 851 was pretty much the top dog of its time, the baddest boy on the block. And that makes you wonder how the bike would stack up against the modern day Ducati 1199 Panigale, a bike that has, in one fell swoop, made every other superbike on the planet look old and slow and outdated. For their August 2012 issue, Motorcycle Sport & Leisure magazine have ridden the 851 and 1199 back to back, and here are some brief excerpts from what they have to say about the two machines:
Friday, July 06, 2012
Of the two, we like the K1300R, though we do think it'll be even more awesome with the six-cylinder engine from the K1600GT. BMW, please build the K1600R for next year!
BMW have announced the 2013 K1300R and K1300S, which will be available in showrooms from August this year. The new K1300S gets a new sapphire black metallic/dark graphite metallic paintjob, while the K1300R will be available in racing red/sapphire black metallic and sapphire black metallic/black satin gloss paint finishes. ABS and sports wheels (previously available as an optional extra) are now standard.
A ‘Dynamic package’ is available for the 2013 K1300R, which includes heated grips, on-board trip computer, LED turn indicators, Sport windshield and electronic suspension adjustment (ESA II). Otherwise, both the BMW K1300R and K1300S remain unchanged for 2013, with the same 1293cc inline-four that produces 175 horsepower and 140Nm of torque, Duolever front suspension, Paralever rear suspension, CAN-bus electronics and optional stability control system.
Of the two, we like the K1300R better – it still looks awesome, even though we do think it’ll be even better with the K1600GT’s six-cylinder 1600cc engine. For 2014, we hope BMW will build the K1600R (with a turbocharger or a supercharger, perhaps? Heh heh!)
The 2013 BMW F800R is now available with ABS as standard. Dynamic and Touring packages are available as optional extras and add some useful bits to the bike...
BMW have announced the 2013 F800R, which is now available in metallic blue/Alpine white and metallic sapphire black paint finishes. A new ‘Dynamic package’ is now available for the F800R, which includes an engine spoiler, LED rear light, LED turn indicators and a pillion seat cover. Or, you could opt for the F800R touring package, which includes heated grips, an on-board trip computer, luggage rack, pannier holder and a centre stand.
The 2013 BMW F800R remains unchanged otherwise, with the same 798cc liquid-cooled parallel-twin that makes 87 horsepower and 86Nm of torque. The bike weighs 177 kilos dry and now gets ABS as standard. The 2013 F800R will be in showrooms by August this year.
No update to the 2013 BMW S1000RR's electronics package, but the bike remains powerful, fast and capable as ever. And you can now buy it in metallic grey...
BMW have announced the 2013 S1000RR, which is now available in metallic granite grey. It’s a bit disappointing to see that the bike has not been updated in any other way – after the Ducati Panigale came out, we were hoping BMW would update the S1000RR’s electronics package for 2013, but that hasn’t happened.
Of course, the S1000RR remains a massively powerful and very, very fast and capable motorcycle – its near-200bhp inline-four is clearly at the head of the pack of all litre-class superbikes. And with bits like Race-ABS, dynamic traction control (DTC), stiff and lightweight aluminum twin-spar chassis and fully adjustable high-spec suspension, this BMW is right up there with the best of the best from Europe and Japan.
The 2013 BMW S1000RR will be in showrooms by August this year and the bike will be available with optional extras like an HP titanium exhaust system and HP race data logger.
The 2013 BMW G650GS probably isn't the most exciting bike in the world, but remains a cheap and cheerful (and all-around capable) go-anywhere machine...
BMW have revealed the 2013 G650GS, which is now available with a ‘sunset yellow’ paintjob. Mechanically, the bike remains unchanged – it’s still powered by the same 652cc liquid-cooled fuel-injected DOHC single-cylinder engine that produces 48 horsepower and 60Nm of torque. It’s also quite economical, averaging up to 32km/l at a steady 90km/h. ‘The G650GS stands out clearly from its rivals in terms of quality, equipment, and comfort,’ claim BMW.
With its 5-speed gearbox, robust steel tube chassis and suspension that’s been optimized for off-road use, the 2013 BMW G650GS remains a simple, affordable, go-anywhere machine that can still hit a top speed of up to 170km/h on the street. The bike rides on 19-inch (front) and 17-inch (rear) wheels, ABS is now standard and the 14-litre fuel tank provides adequate range for longer journeys. The bike will be available from August this year.
BMW have announced the 2013 R1200R, which remains mechanically unchanged but gets new metallic paint finishes – blue and magnesium beige. The bike is fitted with BMW’s 1170cc ‘boxer’ twin that produces 110 horsepower and 119Nm of torque. The R1200R’s steel tube chassis (which uses the engine as a load bearing member) and Telelever (front) and Paralever (rear) suspension remain unchanged, and ABS is now standard.
The 2013 BMW R1200R is also available with electronic suspension adjustment (ESA II) and automatic stability control (ASC) as optional extras. The new bike will be available from August this year.
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