Saturday, November 17, 2012

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

2013 Triumph Daytona 675R
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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

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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
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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
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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

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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

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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

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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.

KTM 1290 Super Duke R concept bristles with aggression at the EICMA

KTM 1290 Super Duke R
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The KTM 1290 Super Duke R. It's The Hulk and it's very, very angry...

Still only a concept bike, albeit one that will definitely go into production before the end of 2013, the 1290 Super Duke R is definitely the maddest, wildest, most insanely aggressive motorcycle that KTM have ever built. Unveiled at the EICMA, in Milan, the 1290 Super Duke R gets a tubular steel trellis frame, single-sided swingarm, the best suspension components from WP, racing-spec wheels, brakes and tyres, a host of carbonfibre parts, top-notch electronics (including ABS and traction control, of course) and an updated version of the RC8 R’s V-twin. We wouldn’t be surprised if that engine is putting out somewhere close to 180-190bhp, which would translate into insane performance on the street.

We expect to see the KTM 1290 Super Duke R on the streets towards the end of 2013. Bring on the madness…!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

2013 Moto Guzzi California 1400: Official high-res pics, specs, details

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The 2013 Moto Guzzi California 1400, perhaps the coolest, most stylish luxury touring motorcycle in the world right now. This is one tourer we love, floorboards and all...

The 2013 Moto Guzzi California 1400 has finally been unveiled at the EICMA, in all its 1950s-style art deco glory. No, really, it’s a beautiful motorcycle, this Guzzi – almost makes us want one, floorboards and all. Hand-assembled at Guzzi’s Mandello del Lario plant in Italy, this is one luxury touring (not adventure touring, thank god!) bike that shows what the Japanese still can’t do.

Guzzi have been building touring bikes named ‘California’ since the early-1970s, with varying engine capacities – 750, 850, 1000 and 1100. Most of these have been, we’re sorry to say, more than a bit crappy, but all is forgiven with this new 1400 California. It’s not just utterly gorgeous to look at, it also seems to be, mechanically, quite capable. Mated to a six-speed gearbox, the bike’s 1380cc opposed-twin 8-valve engine produces 96bhp and 120Nm of torque at only 2750rpm, which should mean that low-rev performance should be damn good. There’s even ride-by-wire, traction control and selectable engine mapping (Turismo, Veloce and Pioggia, and who cares what they mean or do…) here. What are Guzzis coming to?!

The California 1400 also has a brand new double cradle steel tube chassis for improved riding dynamics, and a new cardan (shaft) final drive for smooth operation and low maintenance. The quality of paint and brightwork is the best in the business and the Guzzi even has LED daytime running lights. The bike rides on 16-inch (rear) and 18-inch (front) wheels, shod with 200/60 and 130/70 tyres. There’s a beefy 46mm fork up front and twin shocks at the back, Brembo brakes with twin 320mm discs at the front and, of course, ABS.

Since the California 1400 is a luxury tourer, it’s kitted out like one – large windshield, plush two-tone saddle, 35-litre side panniers and a factory accessories catalogue that you can spend days poring over. Honestly, we love this Moto Guzzi and we want one in our garage. Parked right next to our Ducati 1199 Panigale R, of course! ;-)

2013 Aprilia Caponord 1200: Specs, details, official high-res pics, video

2013 Aprilia Caponord 1200
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The 2013 Aprilia Caponord 1200, now showing at the EICMA, in Milan

If you’re into motorcycling, you can’t, it seems, escape adventure tourers these days. The damn things are everywhere, almost every single motorcycle manufacturer is producing at least one adventure touring motorcycle, which is now the SUV of the motorcycle world. So, of course, Aprilia have unveiled their all-new adventure tourer, the 2013 Caponord 1200, which is now being shown at the EICMA in Milan.

The Aprilia Caponord 1200 is powered by a 90-degree 1200cc liquid-cooled fuel-injected DOHC 8-valve V-twin that produces 128 horsepower and 116Nm of torque. As you’d expect, it’s packed with electronics – selectable engine mapping (sport, touring, raing) and ride-by-wire throttle for smooth, consistent power delivery. The engine is mated to a six-speed gearbox, operated via a hydraulic clutch.

The Caponord 1200’s chassis uses a mix of steel tubes and forged aluminium plates for lightness and strength, the ergonomics are optimized for long-distance riding over all kinds of terrain, the windshield is height-adjustable and the Capo’s 24-litre fuel tank means a range of more than 300km on one full tank of fuel. The bike also has 29-litre panniers that can be mounted at the back, on the sides, and according to Aprilia, these do not create any inconvenience for the rear seat passenger. And, oh, even the exhaust silencers are height-adjustable, so you can alter their height when you aren’t riding with panniers, making sure your bike looks… er, sportier and more aggressive. Ahem.

2013 BMW F800GT unveiled at the EICMA

2013 BMW F800GT
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The 2013 BMW F800GT, a relatively simple yet competent touring bike

BMW have released specs, details and first official pics of the 2013 F800GT (successor to the F800ST), which is now being shown at the EICMA in Milan. The F800GT is powered by an uprated iteration of BMW’s proven liquid-cooled 798cc parallel-twin, which now produces 90bhp, 5 horsepower more than what it used to make in the F800ST.

With a maintenance-free toothed belt transferring the engine’s power to the rear wheel and ergonomics that have been optimised for wind and weather protection, adequate luggage carrying capacity and electronics that include ABS, stability control and electronically adjustable suspension (the last two being optional), the new BMW F800GT definitely looks like a competent touring bike.

Husqvarna Concept Baja unveiled at the EICMA

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Stevel McQueen jumps a Husqvarna Cross 400 back in 1971 (top) and four decades on, the Husqvarna Concept Baja (above) pays tribute to the original

Husqvarna usually come with one really cool concept bike for the EICMA each year, and this year they have the Concept Baja, which, according to the BMW-owned Swedish company, represents “Seventies style and passion combined with the technology of today. It reflects the essence of what Husqvarna motorcycles stood for in the sixties and seventies.”

The Husqvarna Concept Baja pays tribute to, and is based on, the Husqvarna Cross 400, which was featured on the cover of the August 1971 issue of Sports Illustrated, with Steve McQueen riding the bike. “The McQueen-Husqvarna combination eventually became the idol of a whole generation of off-road fans, and the Husqvarna Cross 400 has been taken as the historical design role model for the Concept BAJA,” says a note from Husqvarna.

The Concept Baja is powered by a liquid-cooled single-cylinder engine, mated to a 5-speed gearbox. With its steel tube chassis, the bike rides on 19-inch (front) and 17-inch (rear) wire-spoke wheels and there’s a USD fork at the front and central spring strut hinged on a lever system at the back. The bike is, according to Husqvarna, ideal for light off-road use. We think McQueen would’ve been happy with this machine…