Saturday, September 01, 2012

2013 Triumph Tiger Explorer XC announced

Exactly one month before BMW unveil the current R1200GS' successor, Triumph have announced the new Tiger Explorer 1200 XC. Touché!

Triumph have now announced the Tiger Explorer XC, their new adventure tourer which will go on sale in April 2013. With styling cues from the Tiger 800 XC, the Explorer XC is powered by Triumph’s 1215cc three-cylinder engine that produces 135 horsepower and 120Nm of torque.

In keeping with its off-road-oriented ‘adventure touring’ positioning, the new Triumph Tiger Explorer rides on 19-inch (front) and 17-inch (rear) aluminium-rimmed steel-wire-spoked wheels, shod with dual-purpose tubeless tyres. There are also all the other off-road accoutrements that you might expect – things like hand guards, 55w dual fog lights, an aluminium belly pan and steel tube engine bars.

A maintenance-free shaft drive (with single-side swingarm), cruise control, switchable ABS and traction control system make the Tiger Explorer XC very well suited to long-distance touring, with as much ‘adventure’ thrown in as you can handle. And 16,000km service intervals and a 2-year unlimited mileage warranty only makes things better.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Brown wings it, rides the 2012 Yamaha R1 around the Isle of Man

2012 Yamaha R1 test
2012 Yamaha R1 test 2012 Yamaha R1 test 2012 Yamaha R1 test 2012 Yamaha R1 test 2012 Yamaha R1 test 2012 Yamaha R1 test
The Yamaha R1 is no longer cutting-edge stuff - bikes like the Panigale and RSV4 have left it trailing in their wake. But The One can still just about hold its own...

Here at Faster and Faster, we quite like the Yamaha R1 and to be honest, we feel a bit sad that the bike has fallen behind its European competition in recent years. The Panigale, S1000RR and RSV4 have moved the litre-class superbike game to a different league, but is the R1 really a dinosaur? Umm… maybe not.

Bike journalist Roland Brown recently tested the 2012 Yamaha R1 around the Isle of Man – a daunting 60km of endlessly twisting mountain roads that are a serious challenge for even the best bikes and riders. Here are some excerpts from what he had to say about the R1:

Its riding position is roomy, with relatively high, flat clip-ons and plenty of legroom. Its fairing is wide and protective, its mirrors superbly clear, its suspension compliant and comfortable. Added to that was the unique growl and feel of the crossplane crankshaft – more like a V4 than an inline-four and enhanced in this bike’s case by a pair of gorgeous sounding Akrapovic exhaust cans.

I loved the Yamaha from the moment I set off. On the island, the R1 impressed with its character and all-around ability as much as its pure performance. That crossplane engine is gloriously grunty, firing out of turns from 6,000rpm or below. And with 180bhp to call on, it had heaps of top-end grunt too – easily enough to make it truly fast and scary when blasting up the mountain.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Franco Uncini: “I still enjoy motorcycle grand prix racing, I still enjoy it every day…”

Franco Uncini Franco Uncini
Franco Uncini Franco Uncini Franco Uncini
It's been 30 years since Franco Uncini won his 500cc motocycle grand prix racing world championship, but he's found a way to stay on in racing and still enjoys every bit of it

Today, Suzuki are no longer present in MotoGP, which is such a pity – especially so when you consider the fact that three decades ago, it was a Suzuki rider who won the 500cc roadracing world championship. Born in 1955 in the village of Recanati, in Italy, started racing motorcycles in 1974. The talented Italian moved up the ranks swiftly and reached the pinnacle of the sport when he won the 500cc title in 1982.

For their September/October 2012 issue, Classic Racer magazine have done a fabulous interview with Uncini, who’s a MotoGP riders safety representative these days, a position he’s held for the last two decades. Here are some excerpts from what Uncini had to say to Classic Racer:

On getting started with bikes

The first bike I had was a Peripoli Giulietta [and] after that I moved to a Honda twin-cylinder four-stroke 125cc. When I turned 18 and had four years of experience, I requested of my father that I buy a Laverda 750SFC. I liked very much this bike, the orange colour and the noise was fantastic. The funny thing is, the 750SFC was no longer in production – they were changing the model and told me they didn’t have any left. I was insistent I would have this bike. Finally I succeeded and they created this bike from spare parts at Laverda.

On getting started with motorcycle racing

After about six months [after he got his Laverda 750], I went to Misano, which was only about 120km from my village, just to do some laps. After about three or four times testing, I invited my father, who was not in favour of this. When he discovered that I was quite quick, we convinced him to go racing. My first race was a production race called the Moto di Serie Championship, in 1974, and I finished third with my Laverda.

Jay Leno's Garage: 1922 Megola Touring

This 1920s Megola Touring, with its front wheel mounted radial engine, looks pretty fascinating to us, even though Jay says he wouldn't want to ride one in LA traffic...

Monday, August 27, 2012

Richard Hammond on the aural pleasures of motorcycling

Basically, the Hamster loves motorcycle noise...

We quite like Top Gear and we adore the TG trio of Clarkson, May and Hammond. Over the years, Clarkson has gone from being irreverent, which was always good, to being a bit irrelevant… which is also all right we suppose, since Top Gear seems to be as popular as ever. We also support TG because James May and Richard Hammond love motorcycles, even though they don’t actually test bikes on the program. That’s actually quite a sad thing – TG would probably be a 100 times better if they also had motorcycles on the show…

Anyway, in the column which he’s written for TG’s September 2012 issue, Hammond talks about noise. The kind of noise we love. He starts with saying he likes the way cars like the Subaru Impreza, Porsche 911, Jaguar E-type and Ford Mustang V8 sound - here are some excellent car reviews by the way - but then moves on to bikes. “You are excluding yourself from a whole symphony or aural titillation easily the equivalent of what is on offer from the four-wheeled section of the same orchestra,” says the Hamster, to those who slag off bikes because they don’t like motorcycles and are, perhaps, too scared to ride one.

Enjoy the shrill sparkle of a high-revving Honda S2000 zinging along? “If you were but able to understand, the piece might have been enhanced for you by the superb solo of a well-ridden two-stroke twin, maybe an old KR1S, shrieking and yelping as the heroic rider keep the revs in the impossibly narrow powerband and wrings its neck,” says Hammond. “A large-capacity V-twin, bellowing through an aftermarket can before coming to idle with the clutch whirring noisily in its basket means there’s a big sports bike, probably a Ducati, rolling up, so there’ll almost certainly be another along soon,” he adds.

John McGuinness on a Honda Fireblade takes on the Stig in a McLaren MP4-12C GT

Honda vs McLaren
Honda vs McLaren Honda vs McLaren Honda vs McLaren
The bike weighs 165 kilos and packs 210 horsepower. The car weighs 1,235kg and has 513bhp. Can McGuinness on the Honda beat the Stig in the McLaren...?

For their July issue last year, Top Gear had gotten John McGuinness to drive a Ferrari 458 and McLaren MP4-12C for them at the Isle of Man. This year, for their September issue, TG have got McGuinness to come out and play with them again. Only, this time The Morecambe Missile is up against the infamous Stig. It’s McGuinness and his TT Legends Fireblade versus the Stig and a McLaren MP4-12C GT.

John’s TT Legends Honda Fireblade’s race-prepped engine kicks out 210bhp. The bike weighs 165kg, which means a power-to-weight ratio of 1.27:1. Top speed is 320km/h. The Stig’s machine is a McLaren MP4-12C GT, a car which is competing in this year’s FIA GT1 championship. It weighs 1,235kg and its 3.8-litre twin-turbo V8 produces 513 horsepower. The power-to-weight ratio is 0.415:1, barely a third of the bike’s number.

So how did it pan out? McGuinness did a best lap time of 1 minute and 17.4 seconds, which was soundly thrashed by the Stig, whose best lap time was 1 minute and 13.2 seconds. How did this happen? Well, the bike had potholes and uneven tarmac and slippery surfaces to contend with, while the car, with its full aero package (which boosts downforce…) and four fat and grippy tyres, simply steamrolled the circuit into submission.

Maybe this just shows that sometimes, even one of the fastest, most talented motorcycle roadracers in the world can’t beat the Stig in a fast car around a racetrack…

Source: Top Gear