Wednesday, October 17, 2012
While we’d always prefer a GSX-R to a Harley, we have to admit we rather like the Night Rod and the V-ROD Muscle. These are the only two Harleys (apart from the XR1200X, which no longer seems to be in production…) that we’d be happy riding and the 2013 models feature some minor updates which only make the bikes better.
First up is the 2013 Harley-Davidson VRSCDX Night Rod Special, which now gets lighter, black-painted aluminium wheels (19-inch front, 18-inch rear), a tapered tail section with flush-mounted LED taillamp, a swept-back handlebar that brings the bike’s controls closer to the rider, reduced reach forward-mounted rider footpegs, 43mm USD forks, preload-adjustable rear shocks, a stylized ‘speed screen’ visor, straight-shot exhaust with brushed-aluminium finish dual mufflers, racing stripe on airbox and tail section, sporty front fender with painted brace supports, Michelin Scorcher 240mm rear tyre, and black powder-coated engine with black covers and blacked-out frame, handlebar, front fork and triple clamps.
The 2013 Night Rod has a hydroformed steel perimeter chassis and a cast-aluminium swingarm, and its rubber-mounted, liquid-cooled, fuel-injected, DOHC, 8-valve, 1250cc ‘Revolution’ V-twin thumps out 125bhp and 115Nm of torque. The engine is mated to a 5-speed gearbox and according to Harley, the bike’s slipper clutch makes for low-effort downshifts. A low-maintenance carbonfibre belt transfers the engine’s power to the rear wheels, a high-performance Brembo braking system (with optional ABS) handles stopping duties and Harley also offers a proximity-based ‘smart security system’ that includes a hands-free key fob. The bike weighs 302kg (wet weight) and is priced at US$15,800.
Monday, October 15, 2012
Here's a video of Al Lamb's recent 424km/h run at the Bonneville Salt Flats aboard his heavily modified, turbocharged Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade. Lamb's average speed during the run was 420.8km/h, which is apparently a new land speed record for 'sit-on' motorcycles. Impressive, eh?
Sunday, October 14, 2012
Sheer talent, an inimitable riding style and the unbending will to win - Kevin Schwantz was one of the best in the 500cc two-stroke era. We still miss seeing him in action...
For their October 2012 issue of Legends, Dainese managed to catch up with 1993 500cc motorcycle grand prix racing world champion, the legendary Kevin Schwantz, for a quick chat. Here are some excerpts from what The Texas Tornado had to say:
On his unique style in GP racing, aboard his Suzuki RGV500
“When you can’t develop new technologies at the drop of a hat like the big factory teams of Honda and Yamaha, you have to be able to ride around problems in your setup. My style developed into whatever it took to go quickly. But it developed over the seasons and between races. I had to adapt to get the best out of the bike.”
On operating at the absolute limit all the time
“You have to be able to visually accommodate the speed because you’re operating at the limits of what is physically possible. The moment your vision starts to drop, you lose the ability to deal with all that fast-flowing information. I think ninety percent of motorbike racing is between the ears.”
On his retirement from motorcycle GP racing
“Up until the 1994 season, I was invincible. Nothing was going to stop me, nothing was going to kill me. But it was Wayne’s horrific injuries [in 1993, at the Italian GP in Misano] that kind of changed that view overnight. The only thing that got me back on to the grid in 1994 was the fact that I had broken my arm in pre-season training on my mountain bike. That gave me something on which to focus. Otherwise, there was no way I could have competed again.”
On what he wants to do next
“Now I just hope to give something back, to help change perceptions of bikes and bikers themselves…”