Sunday, August 19, 2012

Up for Adventure: Stan Evans' 4,000-mile ride on a Triumph Speed Triple

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Stan Evans tells the story of his 4,000-mile journey on a Triumph Speed Triple. It's an adventure, and if you love to ride motorcycles, it's a story you must read...

Salt Lake City > Bryce Canyon > Colorado River > Grand Canyon > Route 66 > Lake Havasu > San Diego > Los Angeles > Santa Barbara > San Francisco > Salt Lake City

It's difficult to get lost these days, cellphones and GPS make it impossible lose my way and with Twitter, Facebook and Instagram I can take the world with me at will. I'm guilty of it but the roar of riding a motorcycle drowns out the voices of the technoverse. Answering phone calls at 100 miles per hour is not an option. The oncoming rush of the road and the freedom of escaping the box to see without blinders awaits.

Sure it’s dangerous. I’ve laid a few bikes down but what keeps me coming back is living in the present. I love that feeling so once a year I go on a pilgrimage to put myself out there(and hopefully make it back). This year, my loose plan was to ride a giant loop from Salt Lake City, San Diego Santa Barbara, San Francisco back to Salt Lake City. I’d always dreamed about riding Hwy1 on my motorcycle. Other than that my plan was pretty open. The day I was to set out, my morning departure turned afternoon. Outside of St. George I’m stopped by a herd of sheep crossing the road and soon, dark encompasses the landscape. A roadside ditch becomes accommodations for the evening.

Morning leads to unexpected surprises. I make decisions based on which road looks curvier. I ditch hwy 15 in favor of the 20 to the 89. I’ve never ridden either and an unexpected race with an Audi S4 brings the excitement up a notch. Barns and farm animals whisk by but occasionally a thrift store or abandoned car catches my eye and I stop to take a picture. Bryce Canyon blurs in the distance as the heat rises in my leathers. The shade of Kaibab Forest offers a perfect sanctuary for a nap but I moving on to the Colorado river. Raging across the plains I make it to the Grand Canyon by late afternoon. The light is amazing. Lines and shadows are slanted so much that it’s almost impossible to get a bad view but I blow it because it’s going to be dark soon and I don’t get to see as much as I want or really take enough photos to satisfy.

Williams is the next town on the map. It’s a good hour and half away and it’s already getting cold. I manage to make it and eventually realize I'm on Route 66. Conjured thoughts of James Dean enter my head but I’m freezing too much to really process them. My mind is focusing on finding a hotel room and a hot shower.

Friday, August 17, 2012

The Story of the Gyronaut X-1

Built in the mid-1960s by Bob Leppan, Alex Tremulis and Jim Bruflodt, the Gyronaut X-1 held the absolute Land Speed Record for motorcycles from 1966 to 1970

With Bob Leppan riding it, the Gyronaut X-1 land speed record setting motorcycle could hit speeds of more than 390km/h. The bike had been designed by noted automobile designer, Alex Tremulis (who's also worked for Auburn-Cord-Duesenberg, Tucker and Subaru, among others...) and is now in the hands of his his nephew, Steve, who has teamed up with Bob Leppan to restore the machine to its former glory.

Aprilia RSV4 Factory APRC Carbon Special Edition is insanely lustworthy

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The Aprilia RSV4 Factory APRC Carbon Special Edition has a very, very long name, an equally long list of exotic, race-spec parts and full carbon-kevlar bodywork. We love it!

The good folks at Aprilia Australia weren’t, apparently, too happy with the stock RSV4 Factory, so they’ve gone ahead and created this – the RSV4 Factory APRC Carbon Special Edition, which is absolutely dripping in the best bits from from companies like Akrapovic, Brembo, Ohlins and Pirelli.

The limited edition RSV4 is fitted with a host of billet aluminium parts (rearsets, brake and clutch levers, handlebars and weights, rear stand pick up knobs…), full carbon-kevlar bodywork, tinted screen, high-performance Akrapovic titanium exhaust system, Ohlins TTX rear shock, fully adjustable fork and steering damper, Brembo gold series brakes with four-piston monobloc calipers at the front, and Pirelli Supercorsa SP tyres.

With 185 horsepower from its 999cc 65-degree V4, APRC electronics package (which includes traction control, wheelie control, launch control and a quick shifter) and 169-kilo dry weight, the stock RSV4 Factory is already one of the most impressive superbikes on the planet. The Aussie Carbon Special Edition just turns everything up by a few notches. We’re certain we can’t afford one but if you’re interested, you can send them an enquiry here

Jay Leno's Garage: 1931 Henderson KJ Police Special

"This was the superbike of the 1930s," says Jay Leno, about his 1931 Henderson KJ Police Special. "It did 110mph, which in 1931 was really, really fast...," he adds

And here's another one...

Monday, August 13, 2012

Carlin Dunne, Ducati, win 2012 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb

Carlin Dunne, Ducati, win 2012 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb
Carlin Dunne, Ducati, win 2012 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb Carlin Dunne, Ducati, win 2012 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb Carlin Dunne, Ducati, win 2012 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb
If you think 320km/h in MotoGP is tough, try doing 230km/h at the Pikes Peak. Go off the mountain at those speeds and you know what's going to happen...

Carlin Dunne, riding a Ducati Multistrada 1200 S, won the 2012 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb today, setting a new course record for motorcycles in the process. Dunne’s win marks Ducati’s third straight victory at the historic ‘Race to the Clouds’ Pikes Peak hill climb event.

Both Dunne and the other Ducati rider, Greg Tracy, finished the race in less than 10 minutes, which is a first for any motorcycle in the race’s 90-year history. Dunne crossed the finish line at the 14,110-foot summit of Pikes Peak with a record-setting time of 9:52.819, while Tracy, who was less than six seconds behind, took second spot with his time of 9:58.262.

‘Today was an emotional day. Getting across the finish line in under 10 minutes is an achievement we’re very proud of. When we heard that we won and broke the record for the second time, I was speechless. The one-two finish proves the Ducati Multistrada 1200 S is the ultimate bike to conquer Pikes Peak,’ said Dunne. And, indeed, Dunne’s victory is no mean feat – the rider hit speeds of more than 230km/h on the mountain’s straights, and negotiated all of 156 turns, including hairpin, blind, decreasing radius and multi-apex turns, while consistently gaining elevation up the very technical 20km course.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Ducati Multistrada 1200 S, Audi RS5 have a go at the Pikes Peak

After you've enjoyed this footage of a Ducati Multistrada 1200 S and Audi RS5 speeding up the Pikes Peak, you may want to take a look at this contest which they've got going, where you stand a chance to experience these two machines for yourself...

Friday, August 10, 2012

Valentino Rossi back with the Yamaha Factory MotoGP team for 2013-14

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Two years ago, it was "Bye Bye Baby," and now Rossi is crawling back to Yamaha...

Valentino Rossi will leave Ducati at the end of this year and will rejoin the Yamaha Factory Racing MotoGP team for 2013 and 2014. The Doctor hasn’t been able to win a single race on the Ducati Desmosedici GP11 and GP12 bikes, though he did manage to take a second-place finish in France this year.

Rossi won four MotoGP world championships (2004, 2005, 2008 and 2009) and 46 races with Yamaha from 2004-2010, before joining the Ducati team in 2011. The Rossi-Ducati Italian dream team, along with Aussie mech Jeremy Burgess, was expected to deliver great results but that never happened. The partnership never seemed to get off the ground, race wins never came and Rossi went from making noises about development work to pronouncing the Ducati MotoGP bike unrideable.

Despite The Doctor’s public outbursts about how terrible the Ducati bike is, Ducati have maintained a dignified silence throughout, never ever implying that the lack of results may have been because of the rider rather than because of the bike. In the end, even though we’re huge fans of The Doctor, we have to admit this whole thing makes Rossi look pretty silly. Back in 2010, Burgess and Rossi announced their move to Ducati with much fanfare and blowing of their own trumpets and two years later, they have copious amounts of egg on their faces – they’re looking silly, they’re looking like fools.

So Rossi is crawling back to Yamaha now, with his tail firmly clenched between his legs. We think Yamaha are being pretty gracious in taking him back, given his lack of results over the last two years. Whether or not Valentino can start winning races again on the Yamaha is not really the point – he probably will, despite younger, hungrier riders out there who’re baying for his blood. But the ‘superhuman’ aura which The Doctor once had is no more.

We love Ducati and we hope they’ll be able to find a talented young rider who’ll be able to do what Rossi couldn’t – win races aboard Ducati’s MotoGP bike. We wish Ducati all the best for 2013 and 2014, and we hope some Ducati rider – be it Nicky Hayden or anyone else – beats Rossi and his Yamaha in a few races next year!

Thursday, August 09, 2012

Shelina Moreda, on the Brammo Empulse R

Based in California, Shelina Moreda is one hell of a fast girl - she races in the AMA Pro Road Racing National Series in the US. Here, she talks about what it's like to ride an electric motorcycle like the Brammo Empulse R...

2013 Victory Motorcycles: "American muscle never died, it just needed handlebars..."

The 2013 Victory Motorcycles line-up will be in showrooms soon. Here's the first promo video, which has one of the corniest lines ever; "American muscle never died, it just needed handlebars!" Really? Oh, well, we still like some of their bikes...

Monday, August 06, 2012

Sportsbikes for beginners: The 7 machines we like most

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The Aprilia RS4 is probably the coolest 125cc sportsbike in the world...!

As long-term readers might have noticed, we are obsessed with litre-class superbikes here at Faster and Faster. GSX-R1000s, R1s, Ninja 1000s, Fireblades, Panigales, RSV4s, F4 RRs, S1000RRs… we just can’t get enough of those 170-190bhp monsters! That said, we don’t believe size is the only thing that matters – smaller can be cool, too.We don’t claim to have put together any kind of a definitive must-have list of beginner bikes – whatever works for you is probably the bike you should get. This is just our list of the beginner bikes that we think are pretty damn cool…

Millepercento Alba: The Moto Guzzi Griso 8V’s hotter cousin steps out

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The Millepercento Alba certainly seems to be better in every which way than the Moto Guzzi Griso 8V that it's based on. Yes, we like this bike very much!

Until recently, Jessica was just about the only hot Alba we knew of, but the September issue of Motorcycle Sport & Leisure features an Italian twin that puts the Fantastic Four actress in the shadows. Alan Cathcart rides the Millepercento Alba for MS&L and says the bike is fast and pleasurable to ride hard, with crisp and linear pickup in revs from 4,000rpm upwards. ‘It’s noticeably quicker than any stock Moto Guzzi,’ he adds.

Powered by the SOHC twin-cylinder 1151cc engine from the Moto Guzzi Griso 8V, the Alba is produced by Millepercento, one of the biggest dealers of Moto Guzzi in Italy. The bike has been engineered by Guiseppe Ghezzi, the man responsible for the Guzzi MGS-01 racebike, and as an option, the Alba is also available with the 1420cc pushrod engine from the Guzzi-Millepercento BB1.

‘When I joined Millepercento to create the Alba, my first objective was to do what I’d been denied at Moto Guzzi, which was to create a streetlegal Guzzi sportbike, meeting all required noise and emissions norms,’ says Ghezzi. Well, with 108bhp and 121Nm of torque, and a dry weight of 206 kilos, the Alba isn’t exactly a threat to the Panigales, S1000RRs and RSV4s of this world, but as Cathcart found out, it’s still a pretty capable machine in its own right.

Saturday, August 04, 2012

Eddie Lawson: “I was timid, I wasn’t aggressive…”

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With his four 500cc world championships, 'Steady Eddie' was certainly one the greatest motorcycle grand prix roadracers in the 1980s. We're huge fans and always will be...

The second issue of Dainese Legends magazine features an interview with Eddie Lawson, one of the greatest motorcycle grand prix racers of the 1980s. Lawson, who won the 500cc GP roadracing world championship in 1984, 86, 88 and 89, took 31 race wins in the 500cc GPs in an era that was populated by racers like Wayne Rainey, Kevin Schwantz, Mick Doohan, Wayne Gardner and Randy Mamola.

Today, 23 years after Lawson won his last 500cc world championship, he is still regarded as one of the best motorcycle roadracers ever to emerge from the United States and what he has to say is still very, very interesting for those who have fond memories of the old 500cc two-stroke GP racing days. Here are some excerpts from Lawson had to say to Legends:

On how he got into motorcycle roadracing

“I came from a family of racers. My grandfather was one, and my father was as well – bikes, cars, everything. It was natural for me to be in a seat and racing, but I wasn’t fast right away. It took some time. I was timid, I wasn’t aggressive, and I wanted to understand how to go fast, and not just throw myself down the road. It got to the point where my grandfather once said, ‘The boy will never be fast’…”

Friday, August 03, 2012

BMW HP4 is the hottest S1000RR ever

The HP4 is BMW's greatest high-performance motorcycle ever, and the regular S1000RR will also get all of the HP4's goodies next year

BMW have officially confirmed the S1000RR-based HP4, which packs 193 horsepower and weighs 199kg (with ABS and a full tank of fuel). ‘The new BMW HP4 sees its world premiere in 2012 and is a continuation of BMW Motorrad's HP model series founded in 2005. After the Boxer models HP2 Enduro, HP2 Megamoto and HP2 Sport, the BMW HP4 is the first 4-cylinder motorcycle in the HP family,’ says a press note from BMW.

Built as a limited edition model, the BMW HP4 features upgraded brakes, revamped suspension and upgraded electronics – the race-ABS and traction control systems have been tweaked and refined in a big way – and BMW will homologate the machine for superbike and superstock racing. The HP4’s all-new dynamic damping control (DDC) system allows the bike’s suspension to adapt to changing road and track surfaces in real time, providing the best of grip and traction at all times. DDC is, of course, fully integrated with the HP4’s ABS and traction control systems.



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