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!”