Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Jay Leno drives the Aptera electric trike

Jay Leno refers to the Aptera as an 'electric car,' but since it has only three wheels, we'd say it's a trike and hence deserves to be here on this website. A battery-powered road-legal three-wheeler that looks like an airplane? Hell, yes, bring it on....!  :-D

Vilner Aprilia Stingray: RSV Tuono Untamed

Vilner Aprilia Stingray
Vilner Aprilia Stingray Vilner Aprilia Stingray Vilner Aprilia Stingray Vilner Aprilia Stingray
We're not too sure about the extended swingarm, but otherwise the Vilner Aprilia Stingray looks good. And with Ms Karolina Bratanova sat on the bike, hmmm...  :-)

What happens when Bulgaria-based custom shop, Vilner, get their hands on an Aprilia RSV Tuono? The bike gets a new front fender, a heavily modified headlamp unit and LED turn indicators, side-mounted spoilers/shrouds with air vents designed to keep the engine cool, reshaped fuel tank and bits of high-quality leather wrapping for some of the plastics. And lo! and behold, there you have it – the Vilner Aprilia Stingray, finished in a nice shade of metallic brown.

Apart from the mods mentioned above, the Aprilia Stingray also gets tinted taillamps, black-painted exhausts, an extended swingarm (15cm longer than the stock item) and matt black paint on the lower part of the chassis. The wheels have also been repainted and their silver colour goes quite well with the rest of the bike we think.

For more of Vilner’s work, visit their website

Monday, January 21, 2013

Galaxy Custom gets it right with their retro-style BMW R1200R

Galaxy Custom's retro-style BMW R1200R
Galaxy Custom's retro-style BMW R1200R Galaxy Custom's retro-style BMW R1200R image host Galaxy Custom's retro-style BMW R1200R
Galaxy Custom's retro-style BMW R1200R definitely looks fabulous!

“Our idea was to make a classic motorcycle, with a rather retro look, but blended with modern technology inside. For this, we used as a 2008 base model BMW R1200R. Completely redesigned the frame to change the centre of gravity and the angle of the front fork, in the process lowering the bike and improving its appearance. Used a classic adjustable fork at the front and BMW R71 fuel tank that’s been slightly modified,” says Ivaylo Trendafilov of Galaxy Custom, who has designed and built the bike.

“Made the handlebars more compact, while maintaining all of its components – even the heating. K&N filters have been used for their looks and also for the way they change the sound of the BMW’s engine. Exhaust pipes are reverse with thermal tape, with mini silencers to make them sound good. The spoked wheels that we’ve used are from Kineo, who’re based in Italy, and these are shod with Avon Supermoto Distanzia tyres. Other bits include large-diameter wave-type brake discs with radial-mount four-piston calipers at the front, a retro-style headlamp, custom-built seat and custom-built fenders that are made of aluminium. Finally, we also decided to go with a classic BMW paintjob – black, with white stripes. The bike was completed in six months,” says Trendafilov.

Well, what can we say – we think the bike looks fabulous. We hope to see more bikes form Galaxy Custom soon!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Road testers’ opinions of the 2013 MV Agusta F4, F4 R, F4 RR

2013 MV Agusta F4 R riding impressions
2013 MV Agusta F4 R riding impressions 2013 MV Agusta F4 R riding impressions 2013 MV Agusta F4 R riding impressions 2013 MV Agusta F4 R riding impressions
It may not be perfect, but the 2013 MV Agusta F4 range (including R and RR variants) looks gorgeous, has top-spec electronics and is an absolute blast to ride...

For as long as we can remember, the MV Agusta F4 hasn’t finished on top in the litre-class superbike shootouts that a lot of bike magazines and websites do every year. And the basic design, though updated three years ago, is now more than a decade old. The F4 still is, however, gorgeous looking and as deeply lustworthy as only a top-spec Italian superbike can be. So what do the experts have to say about how the 2013 F4 is, to ride? Here are excerpts from two road tester’s opinions:

“Both F4s are ferocious above 9000rpm, but the F4 RR is in a different league all together. Whilst there’s plenty of electronic brain within the fairings, it takes its toll from the rider to keep up with the sheer speed. Things happen so quickly above 10K rpm and acceleration is immense!”

“The F4s are not the most comfortable motorcycles in the world, and it’s a real struggle to escape the wind as I can’t push myself far enough backwards to get any protection from the windscreen. On the Valencia circuit, this didn’t really matter as the 201 ponies pushed big holes in the air like a hot knife through butter.”

“The standard F4 with its Marzocchi fork and Sachs rear shock also performs incredibly well, and you need to be a top-notch rider to really exploit the benefits of the F4 RR when lap times are concerned. In terms of engine power, the F4 feels plenty powerful enough and it’s only in the upper 3,000rpm I could really feel the difference. With the new traction control and the new set of Pirelli Diablo Supercorsa SPs featuring a 200/55 rear tyre, there was plenty of grip even with a low TC setting. Both F4s are fantastic superbikes and perfect track tools. Hardcore as few and faster than most, but they take time to get used to.”
- Tor Sagen, Motorcycle.com

Saturday, January 19, 2013

2013 Triumph Rocket III Roadster, Rocket III Touring: Ready to Intimidate

2013 Triumph Rocket III Roadster 2013 Triumph Rocket III Touring
2013 Triumph Rocket III Touring 2013 Triumph Rocket III Roadster
Triumph have revised the Rocket III Touring and Roadster for 2013

Triumph have announced the 2013 Rocket III Roadster and Rocket III Touring, both of which get a fair complement of revisions and updates. The bikes’ fuel-injection mapping and ECU have been revised so that their 2.3-litre three-cylinder engine now produces full, unrestricted power and torque (146bhp, 221Nm of torque) across the rev range. According to Triumph, the engines had been electronically restricted in the first three gears on earlier models to prevent “rider intimidation,” but these restrictions have now been removed, which presumably means that riding these bikes will now be a suitably intimidating experience... :-)

On the Rocket III Roadster, a lot of components (radiator cowls, ABS pulse rings, rear mudguard rails, airbox cover, fork protectors, headlight bowls and bezels, rear-view mirrors etc.) that used to be chromed earlier are now finished in black and Triumph claim that it makes this “the most brooding, hardest hitting Rocket III yet.” Ergonomics have been revised, the seating position is more upright, ABS is now standard and there’s also a new tank badge and new seat vinyl and stitching pattern on the 2013 Rocket III Roadster, which is now available in new colours – metallic black with twin red centre stripes, and matt black with twin white centre stripes.

The 2013 Triumph Rocket III Touring continues to share the Roadster’s 2.3-litre triple, but has some new bits and bobs that are in keeping with its ‘touring bike’ positioning – chrome engine dresser bars (which provide further scope for personalization, with optional highway pegs and additional lighting), a quick-release sissy bar with backrest for the rear seat passenger and quick-release Triumph luggage rack. Other features unique to the Touring include a gel passenger seat and a dual density layered foam seat for the rider, standard quick-release screen and 36-litre panniers. The new Rocket III Touring is available in new colours – black and red with single coach line, and black with twin gold coach lines.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Cool Custom: Roel Scheffers’ BMW K100RS-based RS09

Roel Scheffers' BMW RS09
Roel Scheffers' BMW RS09 Roel Scheffers' BMW RS09 Roel Scheffers' BMW RS09
For a bike that's about as old as the man who's put it together, this BMW RS09 looks pretty damn good! And we're sure that Termignoni can sounds awesome...

Roel Scheffers, 28 years old and a resident of Tilburg, in The Netherlands, is a CAD/CAE engineer who has a passion for building his own bikes. And going by the 1985 BMW K100RS you see here, he’s not too bad at it either. ‘I bought this ’85 BMW K100RS for 500 euro. It wasn't running – the starter was broken – but with a little push, it ran great and that’s after spending five years standing in a shed. I wanted to do something new, I wanted to do something with a bike that isn’t really known for its potential for customization,’ says Roel. ‘My dad had a K100RS like this when I was young and we did a lot of touring on that one, with me on the back holding on with all my might! So I've always had a feel for the K100RS since I was little. I think there were around 70,000km on this one when I bought it, and it was very well preserved. My dad told me to fix the minor fairing damage and earn some money by selling it. I told him I was going to chop it up,’ he laughs.

Roel has spent a considerable amount of time and money towards modifying his ’85 K100RS (which he’s named RS09, since it’s his 9th custom build), adding bigger injectors to the 1000cc engine, a homemade stainless-steel intake-plenum, K&N filter, adjustable injection pressure valve, and homemade stainless steel exhaust with Termignoni silencer, a self-made sub-frame and K1100 ‘sports’ rear shocks from Koni. He’s used thicker oil on the standard BMW front forks, and lowered ride height at the front by 4cm by moving the forks up through the triple yoke. Both front and rear fenders have been removed, the stock aluminium fuel tank has been modified and made narrower (fuel tank capacity is still 20-litres, so not bad at all…), the front fairing has been modified, the seat has been shortened, and a Danmoto digital dashboard and new aluminium clip-on handlebars have replaced the original items. The light pearl-white paintjob with candy-blue striping was done by Kustombart and Roel estimates the cost for putting the whole bike together was about 3,000 euro.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Miguel Galluzzi, on designing the new Moto Guzzi California and California Custom

2013 Moto Guzzi California Custom
2013 Moto Guzzi California Custom 2013 Moto Guzzi California Custom 2013 Moto Guzzi California Custom
The Moto Guzzi California Custom is the Touring version's leaner, meaner brother. And we'd like it even better if it had a supercharger strapped on to that V-twin engine...

The new Moto Guzzi California 1400 is one touring bike that we actually quite like. It’s smart, stylish and very contemporary, and has an air of decadent luxury about it which adds to the bike’s charm. We also like the ‘naked’ version – the California Custom – which does away with the windscreen and side panniers for a more stripped-down, bare-basics look that flat out works. “This was a big project, the first completely new Guzzi for many, many years. We were not just doing a new Moto Guzzi, we were doing a new California, which is an icon not just for Guzzi but for the whole of motorcycling. So, it was a lot of pressure,” says Miguel Galluzzi, who heads the Piaggio Group Advanced Design Centre in Pasadena, California, in the US.

“The California 1400 is a balancing point between tradition and the future. The design was intended to be reminiscent of the traditional California design, with the sleek lines of the fuel tank, the curved handlebar, the chromium passenger grab handle on the Touring and the long mudguards. At the same time the new 1400 was to be more modern, more comfortable, more hospitable, richer and more sumptuous than the previous model. So a style was born which tends, I believe in a balanced way, towards tradition, which we did not want to forget on one hand, and on the other to the innovative and advanced spirit that a modern day Moto Guzzi must have if it wants to aim for the top,” says Galluzzi.

“We wanted to exploit the lines of its engine – an engine which is the only one of its kind in the world deserved to be left as visible as possible. The engine, which is so typical of Moto Guzzi, became a true aspect of the California’s design, which explains the choice to trim back the tank side fairings, in order not to cover the cylinder heads. The most attractive view is from behind – the two cylinders can be seen emerging, no, exploding from the fuel tank. This is a clear representation of the bike's character – an ultra-modern cruiser, splendid to ride at low speeds, but also ready for a bit of fun at a moment's notice. On a design level, it catches the eye with its powerful engine, which bulges from under the fuel tank. With its refined details and the style of some of its solutions, such as the light assemblies and the instrument panel, the California 1400 is one of the few bikes that manage to convey the impression of construction quality and truly exceptional attention to detail,” he adds.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Andrea Forni: “A sportsbike is still the best for me…”

When he was younger, Andrea Forni rode around Europe on bikes like the Ducati Pantah and F1. And his love for sportsbikes hasn't diminished with age...

For their February 2013 issue, Fast Bikes magazine spoke to Ducati’s technical director, Andrea Forni, who has some interesting things to say about how he thinks motorcycle technology will evolve in the near future, and about his own love for fast bikes. Here are some excerpts from what Forni said:

On active suspension

“The semi-active suspension on the new Multistrada is only a step towards what we are doing for the future. Technology never stops. Suspension one day will be fully active. For sure, to change the spring-rate and the preload is the next step. It is not so complicated with software, but much more energy and force is required to actually change the spring preload and spring rate, and probably the way we use current actuators is to make them faster, or stronger, or something like this, to change the principal of adjusting stiffness. This is under investigation and something we will see in the future for sure. Eventually, all our models will have something like this.” [Forni also adds that both Ohlins and Marzocchi have semi-active/active suspension systems under development, as do most other major suspension manufacturers…]

On letting the rider stay in control

“We don’t want to give the ECU too much control. We are already at the point where the ECU can determine everything for suspension, but a rider wants to personalize his bike, he wants to have a bike that is compliant to his feeling. So even though the algorithim and ECU try to do its best setting in every situation, the rider does not always like what the ECU is doing. That’s why we leave the possibility to personalize the overall behaviour of the algorithm. The ECU can do everything but this is not what the rider wants. Customers still want to have a feeling that is good for themselves.”

Valentino Rossi stars in Bridgestone Battlax promo

The Doctor goes tyre testing for Bridgestone and says he approves of the Battlax T30. It's a bit funny to see him ride a Yamaha FZ1 though...   :-)

Friday, January 11, 2013

2013 Triumph Tiger Sport 1050 gets a host of updates, is now a better sports-tourer

2013 Triumph Tiger Sport 1050 2013 Triumph Tiger Sport 1050
The 2013 Triumph Tiger Sport certainly looks sharper than its predecessor

For 2013, Triumph have added ‘Sport’ to the Tiger 1050’s name, and due to some engine and exhaust mods, the bike’s 1050cc triple now makes 123bhp (a 9bhp hike over the old model) and 104Nm of torque. There’s a new single-side swingarm at the back, suspension has been revised at both ends, ABS software has been updated and body panels (tail unit, side panels and screen) are all new. Gearing has been revised for better acceleration and the Tiger Sport’s ergonomics have also been revised for improved long-distance comfort.

Triumph claim that the Tiger Sport 1050’s updated fuel-injection system results in a 7% improvement in fuel economy, the single-sided exhaust system makes for more space for bigger side panniers and the new exhaust system has been tuned for a sportier, more voluble note. The old Tiger’s projector headlamps have been replaced with four reflector-type headlights that substantially improving lighting performance, and the seat is now narrower at the front, and lower, which makes it more comfortable for a wider range of riders. The Tiger Sport’s handlebars are also lower and closer to the rider, the windscreen has been designed for improved wind protection and the revised switchgear now allows the rider to operate all dashboard functions with the left hand.

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

2013 Honda MSX125 revives the ‘Monkey bike’ of the 1960s

Honda MSX125 Honda MSX125
Honda MSX125 Honda MSX125
The new Honda MSX125. Good things do indeed come in small packages...

Honda have announced an all-new 125 for 2013 – the MSX125 (‘Mini Street X-treme 125’) – which, according to the company, “carries on the tradition of the original, small-wheeled leisure motorcycle, defined by Honda in 1963 with the iconic Monkey, and continued with the Dax and Ape.” Manufactured in Thailand, the Honda MSX125 is powered by a 125cc air-cooled single-cylinder fuel-injected 4-stroke engine that produces 9.6bhp and 11Nm of torque. “It is part mini-bike, part motorcycle, with engaging performance matched to confident handling and styling that combines a sense of fun with a tough, urban edge,” claim Honda.

The Honda MSX125 has a 4-speed gearbox, projector headlight, LED tail-lamp, LCD digital dash, mono-backbone steel tube chassis, 31mm USD fork at the front, monoshock at the back and rides on 12-inch cast-alloy wheels shod with 120/70 (front) and 130/70 (rear) tyres. A single 220mm disc with dual-piston caliper (front) and single 190mm disc with single-piston caliper (rear) handle braking duties on the tiny Honda, which weighs just 102 kilos. Fuel tank capacity is 5.5 litres and colour choices include black, white, red and yellow.

We actually quite like the little Honda MSX125 – it looks a bit quirky and is way cooler than, say, a Honda CBR500R. Pricing and availability details coming soon…

DJ Carl Cox: “I have just bought bikes 47, 48 and 49…”

Carl Cox talks bikes Carl Cox talks bikes
Carl Cox talks bikes Carl Cox talks bikes Carl Cox talks bikes
Rock out with your Cox out! Carl talks about his love for motorcycles...

House music DJ and producer, the UK-based Carl Cox is a man of many talents. And the one thing he loves, apart from making dance music of course, is motorcycles. The 50-year-old, who has his own record label in the UK, has had his own radio show for 10 years (with a listenership of more than 15 million people every week!) and who still DJs live all over the world, collects motorcycles, loves to ride and even sponsors a team in the Ducati 848 Challenge series in the UK.

LCR Honda’s Inspire magazine caught up with Cox for a chat for their September issue last year. Here are some excerpts:

“Ah, the bikes! Yeah, I can’t tell you how much I love them. I have just bought bikes 47, 48 and 49. I’m just waiting for my Ducati Diavel AMG. That will be my 50th bike and I can’t wait for it to turn up. It’s addictive. My first real superbike was a Honda, though I didn’t pick that up until 2007. That was the bike that changed it all for me, in the sense of riding and what a bike can actually do. But also, I like the power of them. I mean, everybody likes the power, the controllability, how easy it is to ride.”

“Your top riders who have initial skills beyond these bikes say that these bikes are so easy to ride that they get bored. I don’t know how you can get bored with 1,000cc worth of superbike! The way these go are enough for me in terms of adrenaline!”

Friday, January 04, 2013

Evel Knievel: “You can’t practice it. It’s a one-shot deal…”

Evel Knievel Evel Knievel Evel Knievel Evel Knievel
Evel Knievel, possibly the maddest motorcycle stunt rider ever, wasn't an energy drink-sponsored 'athlete.' He was a hard-drinking, wild-living, old school showman...

“The water is very important because you’ve got to get the maximum amount of pressure and the maximum amount of thrust for the jump. A steam rocket needs the best there is. I heat it at 500 degrees and let it drop off at 420. I open the valve, let the water from the heater into the rocket and when it drops from 500 to 420, the engineer, Bob Truax, points at me. I’m looking right up the ramp over the Canyon,” said Evel Knievel, talking to Overdrive magazine for their February 1973 issue. Evel was talking to them about preparing for his Snake River Canyon jump, which he went on to perform in September 1974, aboard his custom-built steam rocket-powered Skycycle X2.

“I go at 350 miles an hour in 8 seconds and hope like hell I get there. If I do, I drop down to both knees, grab a handful of dirt and thank God Almighty that I’m still alive. If I splat against the wall, I just get somewhere quicker where you’re going someday, and I’ll wait for you. Dying is part of living,” said Knievel back then, every bit the swaggering American motorcycle daredevil that he was. “You can’t practice it. It’s a one-shot deal. The Skycycle must go up 1,000 feet up at 350 miles an hour in eight seconds, or it’s all over for me,” he added.

Even in this day and age of various Red Bull-sponsored ‘athletes’ who pull off unbelievably spectacular stunts on an assortment of motorcycles, the late, great, Evel Knievel stands in a league of his own. In an era when motorcycles were still very simple and Photoshop and computer graphics hadn’t been invented, Evel jumped across cars and buses and Canyons on his bikes, often with little or no regard for his own personal well-being. Oh, sure, he earned big money and enjoyed spending it too. “I spend it all. I don’t believe in saving it. I’m risking my life for it and I’m going to blow every goddamn dime of it! You know, I love this life I lead. I play golf every day and I bet big money on it. I bet three or four thousand a day on a golf game. These guys I play with think that there’s a lot of pressure on me when I play a golf game because of the money. Hell, they don’t know what pressure is. They should see me face those 16 semis off of that takeoff ramp,” he said in that interview that he gave to Overdrive.

Thursday, January 03, 2013

Lucio Cecchinello: “In the middle of the night, I feel the desire to go mad for a while…”

Lucio Cecchinello rides a Honda Fireblade in Monte Carlo
Lucio Cecchinello rides a Honda Fireblade in Monte Carlo Lucio Cecchinello rides a Honda Fireblade in Monte Carlo Lucio Cecchinello rides a Honda Fireblade in Monte Carlo Lucio Cecchinello rides a Honda Fireblade in Monte Carlo
LCR Honda team owner Lucio Cecchinello takes his Honda Fireblade out for a midnight ride around the streets of Monte Carlo, during the F1 GP week...

Former 125cc GP racer, Lucio Cecchinello set up Team LCR back in 1996 and, of course, LCR Honda are in MotoGP today, with their talented rider Stefan Bradl finishing the 2012 season in 8th place aboard his LCR Honda RC213V. And while team boss Lucio, now 43 years old, doesn’t actually race anymore, he’s still pretty handy on a motorcycle. Last year, he rode a Honda Fireblade at the Circuit de Monaco on the night before the F1 race there. And as it were, a charismatic Italian race team owner riding a Fireblade around the streets of Monte Carlo in the dead of the night, during the F1 GP week, made for an interesting story. Cecchinello wrote about the experience for the July 2012 issue of Inspire magazine. Here are some excerpts:

“It’s a very particular atmosphere that you experience in Monte Carlo during the F1 Grand Prix. A unique event, full of history, great challenges, glamour, VIPs and many celebrations. A small city that in a few weeks becomes a majestic Colosseum. A racetrack of 3.5km made up of curves, chicanes, tunnels, down-hills, hairpins and straights where an F1 car can reach 300km/h amongst the footpaths, in between the buildings and the zebra crossings! The week before the GP, tens of mega yachts land at the port, thousands of tourists crowd the hotels, the restaurants are fully booked and the traffic is heavier than usual. I still feel a strong emotion, admiring all the arrangements that must be done to create such a great scenario… leaving aside the shivers that overrun your body every time you hear the sound of an F1 engine that peals in between the buildings.”

It's amazing, what you can do with a motorcycle

We don't suppose it can get any better than this!

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Yamaha R1 vs BMW M3, BMW S1000RR vs Porsche 911 GT3 RS

A good way to start 2013, right? Happy New Year indeed!

Monday, December 31, 2012

Jay Leno's Garage: 1981 Honda CBX

Jay Leno talks about the 1980s Honda CBX, one of our absolute all-time favourite motorcycles. Also see Cycle magazine's Phil Schilling's CBX review and read about what Shoichiro Irimajiri, the engineer primarily responsible for developing, has to say about this brilliant machine...

Friday, December 28, 2012

2013 Moto Guzzi V7 Racer vs Triumph Thruxton

It's British parallel-twin vs Italian V-twin in a battle of sporty retros. The Guzzi looks the part and has some really nice details, while the Triumph has the bigger engine and is a bit more powerful. Which one would you ride...?
Via Motorcycle.com

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Nicky Hayden: “Valentino didn’t take the easy way out…”

Nicky Hayden
Nicky Hayden Nicky Hayden Nicky Hayden
'Racing bikes beats working in a field,' says Nicky Hayden...

2006 MotoGP world champion, Nicky Hayden is a likeable man. He’s an old school racer who can, on a good day, hang with the best in the world, doesn’t believe in talking trash and generally steers clear of controversy. Nicky won the AMA Superbike Championship in 2002, when he was just 21 years old – making him the youngest ever champ in that US series. In a MotoGP career that now spans a decade, the Kentucky Kid has only taken 3 race wins (1 in 2005, 2 in 2006, both with the 990cc Honda RC211V), but does also have 28 podium finishes, 5 pole positions and 7 fastest laps to his name. We don’t think he’s going to win any more championships, but the American remains one of the most affable men in racing.

In a recent interview that he gave to Cycle World magazine, Nicky Hayden had some interesting things to say. Here are some excerpts from what the Kentucky Kid said:

On Ducati’s last two years in MotoGP

Ducati tried everything. They’ve rolled out new bikes, stuff that was unheard of last year. If anything, we’ve tried too many new parts. With the aluminium chassis, marketing went out the window. Once Rossi came to Ducati, it was ‘get results – do whatever it takes.’ Everybody’s done as much as they could. We just haven’t done enough.

On Valentino Rossi’s time with Ducati

Valentino Rossi gave a lot of effort. It was impressive to see how he stayed motivated. Valentino didn’t take the easy way out going back to Yamaha; he’s got a lot of pressure on him. It’s not going to be easy. Jorge Lorenzo hasn’t gotten any slower since the last time they were teammates, but Valentino doesn’t seem scared of the challenge. I’m not into making predictions [but] I’ve been really competitive with Valentino for the past two years, so I’m anxious to see how he does.



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