National Geographic's Megafactories visits Varese, Italy, to take a look inside the MV Agusta factory. A must-watch for all MV fans...
Sunday, December 23, 2012
Wednesday, December 19, 2012
it We’ve all seen our MotoGP and WSBK heroes ‘backing it in’ in fast bends, rear wheel skipping and sliding sideways, smoke coming off the rear tyre, exhaust spitting flames. Yes it looks spectacular and yes we all wish we could do the same on our own bikes. Most of the time, of course, it remains just that – a wish. Slinging a 180bhp motorcycle sideways, at very high speeds, is best left to riding gods – mere mortals would probably be well-advised to not try such things at all.
But apart from whether or not most riders have the talent to back it in, does it even work? Should you be trying to get sideways while approaching a fast bend? Richard ‘Badger’ Browne, of the California Superbike School (UK), has something to say about it in the January 2013 issue of Fast Bikes magazine:
“Backing it in is a result of several things; the rear wheel rotating at a slower speed than the front due to engine braking, hardly any weight on the back wheel and a small amount of steering input through the bars. It all sounds simple, but add to that the fact we’re approaching a corner, with all the distractions this has to offer, as well. When riding, we only have so much attention to share on everything we have to do,” says Browne. “How much attention would you give to the back of the bike when the rear wheel starts stepping out on the way into a corner? If you attention goes to the back wheel, some other part of your riding will suffer. Your turn point, for example, which would be compromised, and therefore the rest of the corner as well,” he adds.
Tuesday, December 18, 2012
With 193bhp from its supercharged 1131cc triple, this Benelli TNT should certainly be a handful. Low- and mid-range acceleration should be spectacular...!
Based in Italy, Evotech have prepared a supercharged Benelli TNT 1130, which has been fitted with a Rotrex C15-16 centrifugal-type compressor that spins up to 12,500rpm. With redesigned air-intake trumpets, a pressurized airbox made of carbonfibre and billet aluminium, high-pressure fuel pump from Yoshimura and Motec M84 ECU, the supercharged TNT’s 1131cc three-cylinder, 12-valve, DOHC engine now produces a massive 193 horsepower (the stock motor produces 141bhp) and 145Nm of torque. A new Motec digital instrument panel has been fitted to the bike and allows the rider to control various parameters of the supercharger/engine management system.
The bike uses the limited edition Benelli TNT Tornado’s chassis – a hybrid unit that’s a mix of chrome-molybdenum tubing and die-cast aluminium sections. Brakes are from Brembo, with twin 330mm discs and radial-mount calipers at the front, 17-inch magnesium wheels are from OZ, the rear monoshock is a fully adjustable AB1 Mupo unit and an adjustable Ohlins fork is used at the front.
Visit Evotech for more details
With 120bhp from its Ducati 1100 V-twin, fully adjustable chassis and suspension and 134kg weight, the Pierobon X60R is totally race-focused. You know you want one...
Headed by Riccardo Pierobon, Italian outfit Pierobon works closely with factory teams in World Superbikes and MotoGP. Last month, at the EICMA motorcycle show in Milan, Pierobon celebrated their 60 years in racebike chassis development and exhibited the X60R custom-built superbike. The bike is powered by a modified version of Ducati’s 1168cc air-cooled ‘Desmodue Evoluzione’ V-twin, which now produces 120bhp and 116Nm of torque (the stock engine makes 100bhp and 103Nm). On the X60R, the engine is cooled by a bigger radiator, and there are new air ducts that allow the engine to ‘breathe’ better by delivering a larger volume of air to the bike’s pressurized airbox.
Apart from the engine mods, the X60R also gets a custom-built trellis frame and a massive aluminium swingarm, fully adjustable Öhlins fork and shock, Brembo brakes with radial-mount calipers, a Termignoni exhaust system, OZ wheels, carbonfibre bodywork, digital instrumentation and a new ECU for the fuel-injection system. The best part is the weight – the X60R weighs just 134kg, dry. What a pity, then, that it's not street-legal...
Various permutations and combinations of the chassis, bodywork and exhaust system are available but prices start at around 27,300 euros for the complete bike, or 9,155 euros for the kit. Visit Pierobon for more details.
Monday, December 17, 2012
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.
Wednesday, December 12, 2012
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
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.
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
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
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
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.
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
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
This is the Suzuki
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…
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