Tuesday, November 20, 2012

In conversation with the sak_art design team, creators of the 2013 Bimota BB2, Bimota DB12 Btourist

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Top, left: The sak_art design team with the Bimota BB2 and (above) the Bimota DB12 Btourist. We think the BB2 is strikingly handsome - it looks totally awesome!!

Bimota had a shock or three in store for visitors at the EICMA this year. The company had a dozen new models on display, of which the DB11 VLX (powered by a supercharged version of the Ducati 1198’s L-twin, supposedly producing about 190bhp!) and the BB2 (powered by the 193bhp BMW S1000RR engine) were truly epic. We loved these new Bimotas, which look awesome and should be able to offer performance that’s in keeping with the styling.

Of the new bikes shown by Bimota in Milan, the BB2 superbike and the DB12 Btourist, the first touring bike Bimota have ever built, have been designed by sak_art design and we were able to catch up with them for a quick chat. Here’s what they had to say:

On sak_art and whether its team members actually ride bikes

sak_art design is a Tuscan firm born in 2010, involved in motorcycle and industrial design. The three members are Davide Sacchini, Nicola Sacchini and Fausto Colombini. Yes we’re all active motorcycle riders!

On sak_art’s association with Bimota

During 2011, we knew Luciano Brotto (Bimota General Manger), and started a collaboration for the design and creation of protoypes of two new models – the BB2 and DB12 – for EICMA 2012. Our collaboration with Bimota starts really for the stylistic diversification from other Italian brands. Bimota motorcycles are unique, bikes which allowed a strong change in design approach.

Jay Leno talks motorcycle sidecar racing


If you've ever wondered what these three-wheeled sidecar contraptions are all about, Jay Leno's here to show you around. And remember, these are GSX-R1000-powered sidecars that can do speeds of up to 275km/h, so they're definitely not slow!




Life @ 335km/h: In conversation with Valerie Thompson

Valerie Thompson, motorcycle land speed competitor
Valerie Thompson, motorcycle land speed competitor Valerie Thompson, motorcycle land speed competitor Valerie Thompson, motorcycle land speed competitor Valerie Thompson, motorcycle land speed competitor
Anyone who's ridden a BMW S1000RR at 335km/h has our respect!

Based in Scottsdale, Arizona, American rider Valerie Thompson is hellishly fast on a motorcycle. Riding her BMW S1000RR, the three-time land speed record holder has done 321.62km/h at the Bonneville Salt Flats in 2011. And this year, in June, she did 335.20km/h at the 2012 Mojave Magnum 1.5 Mile Speed Trials. With that, Valerie became a charter member of the event’s ‘200 MPH Club’ and her S1000RR is now officially the world’s fastest BMW production motorcycle in land speed racing.

We recently caught up with Valerie for a quick chat and she was gracious enough to take the time to answer our questions. Here are some excerpts from what she had to say to Faster and Faster:

On how she got started with bikes and the bikes she rides these days

I remember being so anxious to get my first bike. I made a deposit on a 1999 Harley-Davidson Sportster at the local dealership, but I had to get my motorcycle license before I could pick it up. It only took three months to decide I wanted a faster bike, so I bought a 2000 Harley-Davidson Fatboy, which I still own and ride. Recently I had the opportunity to present the American built Special Edition of the Viper Diamondback at a Mecum event earlier this year. It was quite a bike, but I did not have a lot of riding time with it. A very powerful machine, I wish I had a 3-day weekend to put it through its paces. The highlight of this year was breaking-in my 2012 BMW 1000RR Superbike at the beginning of the season to a 209.5mph personal top speed!

On what is it that makes her go out and ride bikes at 300km/h, and how she prepares for the inherent danger of riding a motorcycle at those speeds

The need for speed is truly my deepest passion! Some people like to observe, whiles other like to participate. I don’t like sitting on the sidelines, I love the heat of battle and competition. I’ve always been driven to succeed and accomplish my goals. You have to prepare both physically and mentally if you want to be successful. Physically, I stay in shape with a special workout regime, maintain a healthy diet, and get plenty of rest, especially right before big races like Bonneville Speed Week. Next is mental preparation. I take my dog, Reckon, to most events. I spend quiet time with him in my truck in the staging lanes, which allows me to relax and focus on making the next attempt on a new record. Once I reach the starting line on the bike, I focus my mind on visualizing everything I need to do during the run and relaxing with deep breathing.

Monday, November 19, 2012

2013 KTM 990 Super Duke R is still up for a drunken brawl

2013 KTM 990 Super Duke R
Felix Baumgartner rides a KTM 990 Super Duke R Felix Baumgartner rides a KTM 990 Super Duke R Felix Baumgartner rides a KTM 990 Super Duke R Felix Baumgartner rides a KTM 990 Super Duke R
2013 KTM 990 Super Duke R, the choice of champions! :-D

Last week, the 2013 KTM 990 Super Duke R was unveiled at the EICMA in Milan and though it was entirely overshadowed by the monstrous 1290 Super Duke R and the rather more learner-friendly 390 Duke, the 990 remains a very fast, capable machine in its own right. When F1 legend Michael Schumacher decided to try his hand at motorcycle racing a few years ago, the 990 Super Duke was the bike he chose to ride. And more recently, spacediver Felix Baumgartner also published some pics of himself on his blog, with him pulling wheelies and getting his knee down on a… you guessed it, a KTM 990 Super Duke R. ‘A 135bhp KTM 990 Super Duke R is my favoured mode of transport when I’m on terra firma,’ says Baumgartner.

The 2013 990 Super Duke R retains its predecessor’s 125-horsepower LC8 V-twin (we don’t know where Baumgartner’s bike gets its extra 10bhp from…) and stiff, lightweight chrome-molybdenum steel tube trellis frame with a bolt-on aluminium subframe. There’s also high-spec fully adjustable WP suspension components (48mm USD fork, monoshock), fully adjustable WP steering damper, Brembo brakes with radial-mount calipers at the front and machined, black-anodized triple clamps, radial brake and clutch levers. The bike has a fuel tank capacity of 18.5-litres and weighs 186kg dry.

It’s getting a bit old and next year it might be replaced by the 1290 Super Duke R (or KTM might choose to retain both bikes in their line-up?), but somehow we still quite like the 990 Super Duke R…

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Chicago Streetfighter gets parts’d out, looks good

bling'd out Ducati Streetfighter bling'd out Ducati Streetfighter
bling'd out Ducati Streetfighter bling'd out Ducati Streetfighter bling'd out Ducati Streetfighter bling'd out Ducati Streetfighter
Oh yes, its owner has thrown a few pennies at this Ducati Streetfighter...

We found this Ducati Streetfighter on Bellissi Moto and, apparently, it belongs to one Damian D. from Chicago, IL. The list of aftermarket parts is long and suitably expensive sounding – custom-painted carbonfibre bodywork, OZ forged aluminum wheels, Double Dog Moto's 135DD full Titanium exhaust, CNC-milled adjustable rearsets, CRG bar end mirrors, Rizoma fluid reservoirs, Bitubo steering damper, LLS Racing's ‘Feel’ pre-load adjusters, Lightech's keyless (full spin) gas cap, DucaBike EVO 3 levers, SpeedyMoto frame sliders, EVR's clutch cover, pressure plate and hardware kit. Not too bad…

You might also want to see our exclusive interview with Damien Basset, the Ducati Streetfighter's designer.




Saturday, November 17, 2012

2013 Triumph Daytona 675, 675R ready to carve up the middleweight supersports class

2013 Triumph Daytona 675R
2013 Triumph Daytona 675R 2013 Triumph Daytona 675R 2013 Triumph Daytona 675R
The 2013 Triumph Daytona 675 and Daytona 675R look beautiful and feature a dozen updates that should make the bikes quicker on the street and faster around the circuit...

Due to an inexplicable instance of brain-fade, we’re about four days late with this piece of news. But, still, here we go anyway – Triumph have released official pics and details of their new Daytona 675 and 675R, which feature a revised iteration of the company’s 675cc three-cylinder engine that now produces 126 horsepower and 75Nm of torque, and redlines at 14,400rpm. The chassis has been redesigned for reduced weight and revised weight distribution, the exhaust system has been improved and repositioned and the bikes get new switchable ABS with a track mode. A slip-assist clutch is standard and the 675R also gets a quickshifter.

Other significant changes on the 2013 Daytona 675 include mildly revised styling (and yes, the bike does look much better than its predecessor from 2012…), revised steering geometry that sharpen and quicken the bike’s handling, new fixed cartridge forks from KYB, new rear shock, a 10mm reduction in seat height, lighter 17-inch alloy wheels shod with Pirelli Supercorsa tyres, LCD multi-functional instrument panel (that incorporates a digital speedometer, fuel gauge, trip computer, analogue tachometer, lap timer, gear position indicator, programmable gear change lights and a clock) and an electronic immobilizer.

The 2013 Daytona 675R gets even more kit – Öhlins suspension (TTX rear shock and NIX30 inverted forks) for a wider range of adjustability and a firmer base set up, Brembo monobloc calipers with switchable ABS as standard, a quickshifter with revised software and carbonfibre cockpit infill panels and rear hugger. A wide range of accessories are available for both the 675 and the 675R, including various CNC-machined components (brake levers and reservoirs, coloured dipsticks and oil filler caps etc.), an Arrow silencer, LED indicators and even a set of soft luggage.

The new Triumph Daytona 675 and Daytona 675R are priced at £8,899 and £10,599 respectively, and will be available in Triumph showrooms early next year.

2013 KTM 390 Duke: First official high-res pics

2013 KTM 390 Duke 2013 KTM 390 Duke
2013 KTM 390 Duke 2013 KTM 390 Duke 2013 KTM 390 Duke
Until the 2014 KTM 390 Duke R comes along, the regular 390 should do just fine...

KTM have finally released the first official high-resolution photographs of the 390 Duke, which was unveiled at the EICMA motorcycle show in Milan earlier this week. This entry-level streetfighter/supermotard is powered by a 373cc fuel-injected liquid-cooled single-cylinder engine that pumps out a frantic 44 horsepower. The bike’s trellis frame is made of chrome-molybdenum steel, fork and shock are from WP and there’s a single 300mm brake disc up front, with a 4-piston caliper. Fuel tank capacity is 11 litres and the 390 Duke weighs 139 kilos dry.

We suppose the 390 Duke, which slots in between the 200 Duke and the 690 Duke, would be quite a weapon for tight, twisty mountain roads as well as in traffic-dense urban environments. But, of course, next year’s 390 Duke R should be even more interesting… :-D

Update (04.12.2012): According to a report on MoneyControl, KTM will also launch a fully-faired sportsbike and a touring-oriented bike based on the 390 Duke, probably by early-2014

Friday, November 16, 2012

Champions Moto’s hot-rod Triumph line-up revives 1960s style

custom-built retro-style Triumph
custom-built retro-style Triumph custom-built retro-style Triumph custom-built retro-style Triumph
From left, above: Champions Moto's SO-CAL Miler, Streetmaster and Brighton, all of which are powered by an 865cc, 78bhp parallel-twin from Triumph. We love the Streetmaster!

Based in Costa Mesa, California, Champions Moto recently unveiled a range of three retro-style bikes based on modified Triumph machines. ‘All three meld vintage 1960s style inspired by the British bikes ridden by Steve McQueen and James Dean, imbued with modern technology for maximum performance, handling and reliability,’ says a press release from the company.

Champions Moto use their own custom-built frames and body parts (fuel tanks, fenders etc.) along with contemporary Triumph engines and gearboxes to create their unique motorcycles. ‘As a British bike enthusiast, I wanted a motorcycle that looked like a flat track racer or café racer from the ’60s, but with the reliability of a modern superbike,’ says Champions Moto co-founder, Richard Varner. ‘We couldn’t find a turn-key motorcycle offering the type of performance and appearance we were looking for in a bike, so we decided to build our own. We set out to create a trio of completely different models that allows customers to order exactly what they want – a truly bespoke hand-built motorcycle,’ he adds.

Of the three new bikes that Champions Moto have built, first up is the SO-CAL Miler, which is fitted with the Triumph Bonneville’s 865cc twin-cylinder engine, with ported heads, lightened flywheel, high-lift cams, programmable ignition and 39mm carbs. With 78bhp and 74Nm of torque, the engine is well up to the task of propelling the Miler, which weighs 160kg. The bike rides on 19-inch wire-spoke wheels shod with Dunlop dirt track rubber and running gear includes Buell Cyclone M2 forks, Race Tech shocks and Brembo brakes. The chassis, swingarm, seat unit, fuel tank, clip-on handlebars and even the exhaust system are all custom-built by Champions Moto. Only 20 of these bikes will be built and you can have one for US$37,000.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Supercharged Bimota DB11 VLX unveiled at the EICMA

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From left: The 2013 Bimota DB11 VLX, which is supercharged and has more than 190bhp, and the regular DB11, which still packs about 165-ish horsepower. Yes!!

We have to admire Roberto Comini and his love for motorcycles. Comini, who apparently has major business ventures going in various parts of South America, just never seems to give up – he just keeps pouring money into Bimota, and the Italian company keeps building expensive, exotic, motorcycles that hardly anyone ever actually buys.

At the EICMA this year, Bimota have already unveiled the BMW S1000RR-engined BB2, which we think looks terrific. But that’s not all, the Rimini-based company had not just one but two other new superbikes in its 2013 line-up – the DB11, which is powered by the Testastretta L-twin from the Ducati 1198, with Bimota’s own engine management and exhaust systems, which results in power going up to 165bhp. And then there’s the DB11 VLX, with the same Ducati 1198 engine, but with a twin-screw supercharger bolted on for good measure, with power going up to 190bhp. What. The. F***!

BMW-powered Bimota BB2 unveiled at the EICMA

Bimota BB2
Bimota BB2 Bimota BB2 Bimota BB2 Bimota BB2
The very handsome Bimota BB2, powered by the 193bhp BMW S1000RR engine

Bimota have unveiled the all-new strikingly handsome BB2, which is fitted with the 193bhp engine from the BMW S1000RR, at the EICMA this year.We are trying to find out more details, but it seems Bimota are using their own chassis, suspension components and electronics package for the BB2 - these things have not been taken from the S1000RR.

In recent years, Bimota superbikes have been powered by Ducati engines, though the Italian company has also collaborated with BMW earlier, once. The 1995 Bimota BB1 Supermono was powered by the BMW F650's 48bhp single-cylinder engine. The BB1 Supermono weighed 167kg, had a top speed of 196km/h and Bimota built 376 units of this bike between 1995-1996.

Stay tuned for more photographs (high-res, we hope!) and more details of the BMW-engined Bimota BB2.





Pics: sak_art design

2013 Moto Morini Rebello 1200, Corsaro Veloce 1200, Scrambler 1200, Granpasso 1200 unveiled

2013 Moto Morini models 2013 Moto Morini models 2013 Moto Morini models 2013 Moto Morini models
Lo and behold! New Moto Morinis for 2013...!

Moto Morini have announced the launch of the 2013 Corsaro Veloce 1200, Scrambler 1200, Rebello 1200 and Granpasso 1200 - the official pics and videos you see here show the four bikes in all their shiny new glory. 'After 75 years of history, we still build extraordinary, beautiful and high performance motorcycles. If you are looking for an ordinary bike and many electronics, Moto Morini is not right for you,' says a message on the company website.

While the bikes are not exactly brand-new, the 2013 models do get new colours, an APTC slipper clutch and optional carbonfibre parts for the bodywork. The 137bhp Rebello 1200 is priced at 14,900 euros, the 120bhp Granpasso 1200 comes with a price tag of 12,500 euros, the 115bhp Scrambler 1200 costs 10,900 euros and the Corsaro Veloce 1200 is priced at 11,900 euros. On to the videos...

BMW showcase ‘90 Jahre BMW Motorrad’ special edition bikes at the EICMA

BMW R1200RT
BMW R1200RT BMW R1200GS BMW R1200R
Special edition R1200RT, GS and R bikes mark BMW's 90th anniversary

BMW Motorrad are celebrating their 90th anniversary (‘90 Jahre BMW Motorrad’) by showcasing a series of special edition bikes at the EICMA, in Milan. The bikes, which include the R1200GS Adventure, R1200RT and R1200R, remain mechanically unchanged but get an exclusive paintjob which differentiates these machines from the regular ones.

Stylishly cool Vespa 946 pays tribute to the 1940s MP6

Vespa 946 Vespa 946
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The Vespa 946, the coolest, most stylish scooter we've ever seen...

Just how cool can a 125cc scooter be? Very, if it’s the Vespa 946, which is now being shown at the EICMA in Milan. Really, much as this whole ‘Italian style’ thing is such a cliché, the Vespa 946 really is the epitome of Italian design flair, it’s a thing of absolute beauty. The 946 takes its design cues from the mid-1940s Vespa MP6 prototype, a machine that one Corradino D’Ascanio designed when Enrico Piaggio asked him to come up with a two-wheeler that was simple and tough, yet elegant. Lo and behold, the Vespa scooter was born!

With its steel/aluminium monocoque construction, 12-inch wheels, single-sided front and rear suspension, disc brakes (with ABS), full LED lights, LCD instrumentation, curvy bodywork and an all-new one-piece saddle that’s mounted on a hinged cast aluminium support, the Vespa 946 is a eclectic mix of the retro and the futuristic. It even has traction control, which we think is just plain silly, but what the heck, that’s Italian exuberance for you.

The Vespa 946 is powered by a 946cc twin-turbo three-cylinder engine that produces 94.6bhp. No, sorry, that came out all wrong. It’s actually a fuel-injected 3-valve 125cc four-stroke air-cooled engine that’s low on noise and emissions and is very fuel efficient – Piaggio claim that it’s capable of delivering a mileage figure of up to 55km/l. With an output of 11bhp and 11Nm of torque, the 946 won’t have you breaking too many speed limits. But, really, 11bhp is probably sufficient in bumper-to-bumper city traffic, where, sometimes, look cool is all you want to do.