Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Backing it in: Should you even try?

backing it in
backing it in backing it in backing it in
Spectacular. Very impressive. But does it help you go faster?

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

Supercharged, 193bhp Benelli TNT Tornado 1130 blows us away

supercharged Benelli TNT Tornado 1130
supercharged Benelli TNT Tornado 1130 supercharged Benelli TNT Tornado 1130 supercharged Benelli TNT Tornado 1130
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

Pierobon X60R is pure-bred Italian exotica

Pierobon X60R
Pierobon X60R Pierobon X60R Pierobon X60R
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.

Jay Leno's Garage: 1971 Velocette Thruxton


Mr Leno talks about his 1971 Velocette Thruxton, a bike that's still inexplicably cool, despite (or maybe because of?) its single-cylinder 500cc engine and 45 horsepower

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

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