Monday, December 17, 2012

Suzuki GT750: The kettle is still steaming

Suzuki GT750
Suzuki GT750 Suzuki GT750 Suzuki GT750
An original, stock, 1970s Suzuki GT750 (top) and heavily modified GT750s (above) with a Rizla paintjob and modern chassis, suspension, wheels, brakes and tyres. Awesome! 

We like the Suzuki GT750. A lot. A three-cylinder two-stroke 750 from the 1970s – a machine that was fairly prosaic when it was launched – the GT750 is now near-exotic. Or at least it would be, with a bit of tuning, chassis and suspension updates, and modern wheels and tyres. Like the Rizla GT750s you see here. Richard Lindoe and Kev Brooke, owners of these fabulous bikes, have done an excellent job in updating the GT750 – both the Rizla bikes look awesome, and we can only imagine what they’d look like, screaming down streets and, better still, around a racetrack.

“There can’t be many things that say 1970s louder than a three-cylinder, two-stroke motorcycle. The chrome, the paint, the noise and the cocky swagger put the GT somewhere between Ziggy Stardust and Confessions of a Window Cleaner. With all the derisive names (teapot, kettle, water buffalo etc.), it’s easy to forget how special this bike was in 1971,” says Steve Rose, in the November 2012 issue of Classic Bike Guide. “By the late-1960s, Suzuki had gained a lot of race experience with water-cooled strokers. A a beneficiary of Walter Kaaden’s two-stroke expertise when Ernst Degner defected, it had already built four-cylinder, 10-speed 125s and 14-speed twin-cylinder 50s. So a low-revving, lazy tourer was a piece of cake. And that’s what Suzuki built – the GT750 was never supposed to be a road rocket. It as built for cruising the American highways,” he adds.

Jay Leno rides a Royal Enfield Bullet sidecar

It's Jay Leno's Garage once more, and this time Mr Leno is talking about the made-in-India Royal Enfield Bullet, with a sidecar attached for good measure

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Agility Saietta R: Judge Dredd rides again

Agility Saietta R
Agility Saietta R Agility Saietta R Agility Saietta R
Yes, that's 1987 500cc MotoGP world champ, Wayne Gardner (on top) astride the Saietta. He finally knows how it feels to be Judge Dredd. No, really, this bike needs machine guns and laser beam shooters mounted on each side for maximum effect...

Based in London, Agility is led by Lawrence Marazzi, an aerospace engineer and ex-Royal Marine who’s now using his skills to build the Saietta (available in ‘R’ and ‘S’ versions), a cutting-edge electric motorcycle. The Saietta R is powered by a high-tech electric motor that produces 67kW (91bhp) and 127Nm of torque. The motor is fed by a 9.77kWh lithium-ion battery pack that takes 4-8 hours (depending on the power supply) for a full recharge. The Saietta R, which weighs a bit less than 200kg, can accelerate from zero to 100km/h in 4.1 seconds and depending on how you ride it, has a maximum range of 94-182km.

The Saietta R’s chassis seems to be particularly interesting – it’s a composite monocoque construction, rather than the usual steel tube trellis or aluminium beam frame. The front suspension is also similarly unusual – Agility have rejected the ubiquitous fork in favour of a double-wishbone setup, with variable steering geometry and adjustable damping and preload settings. At the back there is what the company calls a ‘Drive-Torque Geometry Control’ integrated transmission and suspension system, with adjustable damper and preload settings.

Brembo’s twin 320mm brake discs at the front, with radial-mount four-piston calipers and single 240mm disc at the back handle stopping duties and the Saietta R rolls on 17-inch alloy wheels shod with 100/70 (front) and 130/50 (rear) tyres. You also have the option of going for 120/70 (front) and 150/55 (rear) tyres. The instrument panel is a combination of classic analogue and digital LCD, and displays speed, odometer, energy consumption, battery status, estimated range and system status.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Michael Schumacher rides a Ducati Panigale

Michael Schumacher rides a Ducati 1199 Panigale
Michael Schumacher rides a Ducati 1199 Panigale Michael Schumacher rides a Ducati 1199 Panigale Michael Schumacher rides a Ducati 1199 Panigale
F1 legend, Michael Schumacher is also handy with fast bikes...

A legend in his own lifetime, seven-time F1 world champion, Michael Schumacher recently rode a Ducati 1199 Panigale at the Paul Ricard Circuit in the South of France. Alongside Michael, there was also 19-time Isle of Man TT race winner John McGuinness, riding a Honda Fireblade, and ex-500cc GP racer Randy Mamola (who has the ‘honour’ of having finished 2nd in the 500cc motorcycle grand prix road racing world championship no less than four times – in 1980, 1981, 1984 and 1987!), on a Yamaha R1.

“Riding with Michael was so good. What he’s achieved on four wheels makes him the Godfather of motorsport. I wasn’t expecting him to be anything less, but he’s fast! You can see his enthusiasm for motorcycles and it was a massive pleasure to spend the day with him,” said McGuinness. “Coming here today, I felt so proud to be able to turn my hand at riding a bike with guys I really admire. I can’t begin to explain how much fun it was to ride the track with the likes of John and Randy,” added Schumacher.

Ghezzi-Brian V-Twin Motard brings DDA to the game

Ghezzi-Brian V-Twin Motard Ghezzi-Brian V-Twin Motard
Ghezzi-Brian V-Twin Motard Ghezzi-Brian V-Twin Motard Ghezzi-Brian V-Twin Motard
The Ghezzi-Brian V-Twin Motard not only looks good, it's also more high-tech than you'd suspect. We'd certainly like to ride this bike on some twisty mountain roads in Italy...!

Unveiled at the EICMA last month, the Ghezzi-Brian V-Twin Motard is based on a Moto Guzzi Griso and actually has a bit more than fancy bodywork, windscreen and CNC-milled forged aluminium wheels. The bike has been fitted with a new ECU, a bigger airbox, higher-efficiency air-filter and a Titanium exhaust system, so its 1151cc 8-valve V-Twin now produces 115bhp and 111Nm of torque. With its 6-speed gearbox, fully adjustable 43mm fork, single-sided swingarm, electronically adjustable rear shock and radial-mount callipers for the twin 320mm front brake discs, the G-B V-Twin Motard is certainly a serious bit of kit. The bike rides on 17-inch wheels shod with 120/70 (front) and 180/55 (rear) tyres, fuel tank capacity is 17 litres and dry weight is 220 kilos.

But what is, perhaps, most notable about this Ghezzi-Brian creation is its ‘Dynamic Damping Action’ (DDA) system, which has been developed by Tractive Suspension. Like some other electronically-adjustable suspension systems that are currently available from BMW and Ducati, the Ghezzi-Brian Motoar’s DDA system allows riders to choose between comfort, road and sport modes, altering rear suspension behaviour accordingly, in real time. The smart sensor that controls this DDA system samples a host of variables at the rate of 25,000 samples per second, which means the system is able to continuously react to changes in riding conditions, without the rider actually noticing anything other than smooth, consistent suspension action at all times.

You can either buy the V-Twin Motard from Ghezzi-Brian or, if you have the skills, even get it in kit form and convert your own Griso. For more details, visit Ghezzi-Brian’s official website

Monday, December 10, 2012

Valentino Rossi: “Casey Stoner wasn’t man enough!”

Valentino Rossi vs Casey Stoner Valentino Rossi vs Casey Stoner
Valentino Rossi vs Casey Stoner Valentino Rossi vs Casey Stoner Valentino Rossi vs Casey Stoner
The gloves finally came off at Laguna Seca in 2008, and The Aussie bit the dust while The Italian went on to win. It should have ended there, but Casey never stopped bitching...

“There's a lot of adrenaline before the race, but it's a good feeling. But after the race starts, you are in another dimension. You get this high level of concentration and do what you have to do. Everything becomes clear,” says Valentino Rossi, in the December 2012 issue of Dainese’s magazine, Legends. Now 33 years old, the indomitable Italian rider dominated premier class motorcycle grand prix racings in the 2000s, winning no less than seven MotoGP world championships from 2001 to 2009. And with 105 race wins to date, he is second only to that other great Italian motorcycle racer, Giacomo Agostini, who won 122 races in his racing career.

Only Nicky Hayden, in 2006, and then Casey Stoner, in 2007, were able to stall The Doctor’s steamroller. And even then, Nicky’s 2006 MotoGP world championship win was possibly just a fluke, a freak happenstance, since the Kentucky Kid hasn’t been able to win a single race from 2007 onwards. But Stoner and Rossi have been going at it hammer and tongs for the last few years, each making no bones about the dislike they harbour for the other. In the end, Stoner decided to retire at the end of this year, having taken two MotoGP world championships (2007, with Ducati, and 2011, with Honda) in his career, while Rossi still seems to be in a different league altogether with his seven MotoGP world championships.

One race that MotoGP fans still remember is the 2008 race at Laguna Seca, where Stoner and Rossi had a ferocious battle, with the Italian finally winning the race and the Australian rider biting the dust. And as most followers of the sport already know, Casey could never stop whining about it. “Stoner started to hate me just because he lost. After that [the 2008 USGP at Laguna], he always seemed to talk about the past, this race, because he wasn't man enough to understand that at that time, he lost!” says Rossi.

Sunday, December 09, 2012

2013 KTM 990 Adventure Baja Edition is ready to travel to the ends of the Earth

2013 KTM 990 Adventure Baja Edition 2013 KTM 990 Adventure Baja Edition 2013 KTM 990 Adventure Baja Edition 2013 KTM 990 Adventure Baja Edition
If that doesn't inspire you to quit your day job and go off on the longest ride of your life, we don't know what will. Mr Baja is as hardcore as they come...

KTM have announced a new ‘Baja Edition’ 990 Adventure, which the Austrian company claims is “the most offroad-capable travel enduro in the world.” Built specifically for the North American market only, this limited edition model is, according to KTM, “a tribute to Baja, the land of the famous SCORE/Baja 1000 and also of multiple travel adventure rides and rallies.”

The 990 Adventure Baja Edition retains the regular bike’s 999cc, 113bhp liquid-cooled V-twin and six-speed gearbox, but gets special Baja graphics, an orange powder-coated frame, Dunlop 908 RR off-road tyres, orange crash guards, LED auxiliary lights, suede-style seat, aluminum radiator guard, GPS base mount and an aluminum-steel sprocket. There’s also a tank bag and rear waterproof luggage bag and fully adjustable front and rear WP suspension as standard equipment. Ground clearance is a suitably lofty 261mm, fuel tank capacity is 20 litres and the bike weighs 210kg, without fuel.

“We feel an obligation to motorcyclists around the world because they might rely on us to deliver something that they need. Our marketing, R&D and sales guys really have their eyes on the market and are riders themselves. We feel close to the community and we listen to what people say,” says KTM executive Hubert Trunkenpolz on the company blog. So, well, if you’ve always wanted a motorcycle with ‘Baja’ in its name, a bike on which it would perhaps be entirely appropriate to ride off into the sunset, KTM now have something for you. Or at least they do, if you live in the US… :-)

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

James Toseland still feels the need for speed, will try to break the motorcycle land speed record

After retiring from WSBK / MotoGP, James Toseland is now moving on to something that'll probably go a bit faster in a straight line. How does 400mph sound to you...?

Two-time World Superbikes champ and ex-MotoGP rider, James Toseland will now be a part of an attempt to break the official world motorcycle land speed record. For this, the British rider will attempt to hit a speed of at least 400mph (640km/h) at the Bonneville Salt Flats in the US. The current official Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme (FIM) record of 376.363mph (602.18km/h) is held by American rider, Rocky Robinson.

The effort that Toseland will be part of, is being led by former GP and TT sidecar racer, Alex Macfadzean, who is an engine development and dyno specialist and a former holder of the British bike land speed record. Toseland and Macfadzean will be working together for their record attempt, which will take place in September 2014 at the Bonneville Salt Flats. The project will also be supported by staff and students on the University of Derby’s Motorsports courses, supposedly among the best in the UK. Steve Hill, Programme Leader for FdEng and BEng (Hons) Motorsport Engineering, is leading a team that’s looking at design elements for the record attempting bike. For now, the technical specifications of the machine are being kept secret.

‘I am hugely excited about this record attempt but I’m under no illusions as to how difficult it will be. I’ve been racing motorcycles for most of my life but this means learning a completely new technique in order to pilot the motorcycle streamliner,’ says Toseland. ‘The team involved with the project are amazing and really know their stuff, so I know I’m in safe hands in terms of the development. We’ve been in discussions about this for several months, but today at the University of Derby’s workshops I sat in the cockpit of the machine for the first time, so it now all seems very real. If successful, this will be a fantastic personal achievement but also a great accolade to bring back to the UK,’ he adds.

2013 Yoshimura Limited Edition GSX-Rs unveiled

2013 Yoshimura GSX-R 2013 Yoshimura GSX-R
2013 Yoshimura GSX-R 2013 Yoshimura GSX-R 2013 Yoshimura GSX-R
Hmm... the 2013 Yoshimura GSX-R colours are not for us. Last year's colours were just brilliant and we hope Yoshimura will bring those back in 2014...

Yoshimura have announced their 2013 limited edition Suzuki GSX-R series, which is available through participating dealers in the US. According to the Japanese company, response to last year’s Yoshi GSX-Rs was ‘phenomenal’ and when the 2013 series was unveiled at the recent Suzuki Dealer show in Las Vegas, the response was again fantastic with many dealers committing to carrying the line.

The 2013 Yoshimura GSX-R series gets a new metalflake black/red paint scheme, with gold pin striping, Yoshimura logos liberally scattered all over the bike, a Yoshimura R-77 carbonfibre exhaust (EPA noise-compliant) and a host of CNC-machined aircraft-grade aluminum parts, including a fender eliminator kit, case savers, chassis protectors, axle adjuster blocks, race stand stoppers, bar ends, engine plug kit and oil filler plug kit. A solo seat cowl, Yoshimura radiator stencil and an individually numbered ‘Limited Edition’ badge is also part of the package.

The 2013 limited edition Yoshimura GSX-R series includes 1000, 750 and 600 versions. Visit the Yoshimura website for more details.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

In conversation with Leah Petersen, motorcycle stunt rider extraordinaire

Leah Petersen, motorcycle stunt rider
Leah Petersen, motorcycle stunt rider Leah Petersen, motorcycle stunt rider Leah Petersen, motorcycle stunt rider
You have to adore someone who looks like that (top) and who can also ride like this (above). Yes, the gorgeous Leah Petersen is the girl of our dreams...!

‘One day, I decided I should stunt my motorcycle fulltime, professionally. I quit my job and started a news site for the sport of stunting, then toured America in 2010 and all of Europe in 2011, competing and performing shows,’ says Leah Petersen on her website. ‘After two years of shooting in the dark developing a career as a female motorcycle stunting artist, I see where I fit into the world of extreme sports and have refined my goals, method and approach. I stunt full-sized sportbikes. I am also a tall, blond, American girl – people just like that combination I guess,’ she adds. Totally our kind of lady, then. So, of course, we caught up for a chat with her, and here’s what Lead had to say:

On how she got started with bikes and stunt riding

I got my first streetbike at 19, a GSX-R600. I rode streets in New York, Italy and Los Angeles. Finally, in Los Angeles I learned about the sport of stunt riding when I went to an XDL Show and I bought a stuntbike the next week! I had been stunting as a hobby for about four years when I thought it would be fun to ride full time. We my partner and I quit our jobs and started the site, to help more people have the opportunity to stunt. My family is quite supportive – they are accustomed to my big, wild dreams…

On how she fits in, in a sport that’s largely dominated by men

I would say the sport is certainly dominated by men. People react differently to a female rider. From my experience normally women are not as serious about bikes – they might ride a bit, but soon they leave the sport. For me it’s important to show by example that I am in the sport for the love of motorcycles – and I am here to stay. It’s all about confidence. Being in shape helps, being strong, flexible and agile is important when training.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Suzuki Virus 1000: 185bhp naked GSX-R1000 busts out from Switzerland

Suzuki Virus 1000, a naked GSX-R1000 from Switzerland
Suzuki Virus 1000, a naked GSX-R1000 from Switzerland Suzuki Virus 1000, a naked GSX-R1000 from Switzerland Suzuki Virus 1000, a naked GSX-R1000 from Switzerland
This is the Suzuki Tuono V4R Virus 1000, a 185bhp naked GSX-R1000 that Suzuki themselves forgot to build. Now all it needs is a Garrett turbocharger...

Some rue the fact that Suzuki have never done a naked version of the GSX-R1000. Even the declawed, entirely domesticated GSR750 isn’t really a naked GSX-R750, so for those looking for a super-naked/streetfighter from Suzuki, there are simply no options left after the recent demise of the B-King. So trust one of the most peaceful nations on the planet – Switzerland – to step in and create a bit of a ruckus. Witness the Suzuki Virus (yeah, well, who knew…), a Swiss-made GSX-R1000 sans most of its bodywork and with the added aggression of, say, an Aprilia Tuono V4R.

Created by Frankonia AG (Suzuki Switzerland) and Moto Virus AG, the Suzuki Virus uses the GSX-R1000 engine, chassis and suspension, a custom-built exhaust (two different options are available), custom fabricated side panels, the headlamp assembly from a GSR750 and, of course, high, wide aluminium handlebars to complete the ‘streetfighter’ package. In Switzerland, the bike costs CHF 19,990 and if you buy one, you have a large list of optional parts and accessories that you can choose from. We like the bike… kind of. Though unless they bolted on a Garrett turbocharger to this thing and boosted power to 220bhp, we’d just stick to a regular 2013 GSX-R1000 if it was our money…

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Commonwealth Games: Ducati Diavel Turbo is ready to play

Ducati Diavel Turbo
Ducati Diavel Turbo Ducati Diavel Turbo Ducati Diavel Turbo Ducati Diavel Turbo
A 236bhp turbo Diavel should be just the thing for a relaxed, lazy weekend...

Based in Louisville, Kentucky, in the US, Commonwealth Motorcycles have built something that nobody else in the world has – a turbocharged Ducati Diavel. With 162bhp and 127Nm of torque from its 1198cc ‘Testastretta’ L-Twin, it’s not like the stock Diavel really needs a turbo. So, why build one? ‘The folks at Commonwealth motorcycles wanted a winter project and, well, wouldn’t the Diavel be better with a turbocharger?’ says Chad Wells, service manager at Commonwealth. ‘And another reason to do a turbocharger conversion on the Diavel is because, to date, nobody else has,’ he adds.

‘I think the Diavel’s styling is gorgeous, the design and overall appearance for a sport cruiser is superb. The classic Ducati single-sided swingarm, machined wheels, matching machined rotors, etc. With the mufflers gone, we were able to open up the whole right hand side of the bike. You see the beefy swingarm and all of the killer-looking wheel now. It just showcases what Ducati had hidden behind humdrum mufflers,’ says Chad, talking about the turbocharged Diavel that Commonwealth have built.

With a Garret GT2860R turbo bolted on and running 8lb of boost, the Commonwealth turbo Diavel now packs 236 horsepower at 10,000rpm (measured at the rear wheel!) and 127Nm of torque at 8,000 revs. ‘We had been selling a few Diavels at the dealership and when I rode the bike, I fell in love, but I felt like there was something missing. With a long wheelbase and a big fat rear tyre, the Diavel is probably uniquely suited to handling even more power than the stock Testastretta engine kicks out since, unlike most other performance cruiser options, it has highly specialized suspension, wheels and brakes straight from the factory,’ says Chad. ‘I planned on being first one in the world to do this, and it looks like I am. I hope Ducati enthusiasts will enjoy it and be excited to see the finished product. I don’t think we will develop or sell kits, but you never know,’ he adds.

Hmm… so a 236bhp turbo Diavel? Oh, well, why the hell not… :-D

Friday, November 23, 2012

Bosch develops a more advanced lean-angle sensor for motorcycles

image host
image host image host image host
With Bosch's new lean-angle sensor working with the bike's traction control system, the new KTM 1190 Adventure should be pretty capable when pushing hard off-road...

Bosch have developed a new, more advanced lean-angle sensor – the SU-MM5.10 – for motorcycles, and the 2013 KTM 1190 Adventure and Adventure R models are the very first bikes to be fitted with this sensor. Weighing 230kg and powered by a 1195cc, 150bhp V-twin, the 1190 Adventure is also fitted with ABS and traction control systems developed by Bosch and the new lean angle sensor helps those system work better.

‘The SU-MM5.10 lean-angle sensor measures a number of physical values more than 100 times per second. These values include longitudinal, lateral, and vertical acceleration, as well as the motorcycle’s yaw and roll rates. An algorithm developed by Bosch uses these ‘5D’ inertial sensor values to determine the lean and pitch angles, and communicates them to the bike’s CAN bus,’ says Matthias Mörbe, who heads sensors and sensor systems at Bosch Engineering GmbH.

‘This data is needed for a range of safety functions on the motorcycle, such as traction control, cornering light function, launch control, and wheelie-limiting function. The sensor values will also be used in the future as the basis for functions such as corner ABS, fall detection, wheelie control, and semi-active suspension,’ he adds. The lean-angle sensor works with the bike’s traction control system and works out the maximum permissible drive power when the bike is leaning over while cornering.



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