Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Single again: Mivv exhaust systems for the 2007 Suzuki GSX-R1000

Suzuki GSX-R1000s must have single-side exhaust systems. The 2007 Gixxer K7 model doesn't. Enter Italian specialists, Mivv...

Not much to say here. We love GSX-R1000s, and while styling is a matter of personal opinion to some extent, we'd say the 2006 GSX-R1000 was the best looking ever. The 2007 model is... umm... all right. But the 2006 model was the best. Perhaps what really spoils the K7's styling for us are its twin exhaust pipes - they just don't look right on the GSX-R1000.

Now, Italian bike parts specialists Mivv have a solution - the single side exhaust system you see here. For more details, go to their website here.

Also see:
Lithium battery-powered Yamaha R1!
Is the Kawasaki Ninja ZX-RR MotoGP bike any good?
From Italy: The very stylish Honda Hornet Cup
Moto Tuning's streetfighter: Top Gun GSX-R
Kalex AV1: MotoGP-spec performance for the road?

2008 World Superbikes: FIM approve 1200cc engine capacity limit for twins

Bigger twins! The Ducati camp is obviously delighted...

Ducati Superbike racing program Director, Davide Tardozzi has told Speed TV that new FIM regulations pertaining to SBK 2008 have been agreed upon, and are likely to be announced on the coming Sunday, after the Italian MotoGP at Mugello. The FIM have, in principle, agreed to Ducati's demands, and the new rules will allow twin-cylinder engines to go up to 1200cc.

This revised engine capacity for twins in World Superbikes is likely to have a major effect on many manufacturers' plans – BMW, KTM and Aprilia are likely to enter the prestigious series in 2008. Japanese manufacturers, all of whom run 1000cc four-cylinder engines, are likely to be unhappy about this. Alstare Suzuki, for one, are already reported to be thinking about getting out of World Superbikes, and going to MotoGP.

Expect to see a 1098R in 2008, with a 1198cc, World Superbikes-spec engine. It'll be expensive...

On the subject of why Ducati have been pushing for the 1200cc engine capacity limit for twins, Tardozzi says it's because 'That capacity allows us to be on an almost equal level to the Japanese 1000cc four-cylinder machines on the road. The difference in horsepower is around twenty percent. In World Superbikes, the best Japanese fours have about 215bhp, while we have about 194.'

What about electronics though? Aren't Ducati already supposed to have the best electronics in SBK? Says Tardozzi, 'We have the best electronics, but electronics and traction control cannot help you make the rear wheel turn faster. It can control the rear wheel on acceleration, but when you are on a straight, it is only the engine that is making the rear wheel turn – electronics cannot make more horsepower!'

With the new engine capacity for twin-cylinder engines, KTM and BMW may also enter the SBK fray in 2008. Good for the series...

So with the engine capacity for twins going up to 1200cc, what does this mean for the Ducati 1098? Well, expect a homologation special – perhaps called the 1098R – which will actually have a 1198cc engine. As per the new rules, Ducati will have to make at least 1000 units of this bike and offer it for sale on the open market. Of course, despite being hugely expensive, we don't suppose Ducati would have any trouble selling all 1000 units of their World Superbikes-spec 1098. The only thing that remains to be seen is how Japanese manufacturers react to this change...

Also see:
Ducati Desmosedici RR: The most lust-worthy bike in the world!
Bikes: Are there any alternatives to motorcycling...?
Acabion GTBO 70: The world's fastest motorcycle!
V-Roehr 1130: All-American superbike
Sizzler: 2007 Rizla Suzuki GSX-R1000
War of the Ninjas: Original ZX-10 vs New ZX-10R
Angelina Jolie on top, Rossi settles for second place

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

MotoGP: Rossi vs Capirossi at Mugello!

Expect a Rossi vs Capirossi showdown during the Italian MotoGP at Mugello on the coming Sunday

Valentino Rossi has won the last five MotoGP races at Mugello, and will no doubt be going all out to make sure he gets his sixth consecutive win there on Sunday, the 2nd of June. Says Rossi, ‘I have a very special relationship with Mugello. I have won there many times, including the last three years with Yamaha, and I've had some of the greatest races of my life there. Even though I will have a second home race this year at Misano, Mugello is something incredible and the fans and atmosphere there are always unbelievable. It's a fantastic track but of course the straight is very long, and we know we're going to have a very hard battle on our hands. At least we can rely on the weather... I hope!’

The Doctor is now also The Editor...

Incidentally, Rossi is also on the cover of the June 2007 issue of Italian GQ. Il Dottore is also GQ’s Il Edittore for this special issue! But back to Mugello, and on to the man who could be Rossi’s biggest challenger this coming Sunday – Loris Capirossi. Loris won at Mugello in the 500cc class back in the year 2000, when he took his Honda Pons NSR500 to first place. This time around, Capirossi could be a strong contender for the win, and his chances might be helped by the fact that his Ducati Desmosedici GP7 is getting freshly tweaked electronics and fuel mapping, which are supposed to make the engine respond better to Capirossi’s riding style.

Says Loris, ‘Mugello is our track, and it’s an important race for us. In fact, it is a great event for all the Italians. Last year, Valentino and I had a great battle here for the win. This year, we are working hard to adapt the GP7 to my style of riding – I absolutely want to find my speed again!’ Now we’re sure Mugello will see an all-out Rossi vs Capirossi battle on the coming Sunday, and we can’t wait to see whether The Stormy Stoner will be able to throw a spanner in the Italian riders’ works…

Also see:
On the pace: Read before you ride
What your bike says about you...!
2007 BMW K1200R Sport
Wildlife: 2007 KTM 990 Super Duke R
Memorable: The Yamaha RD500LC
The Best of Faster and Faster!
Tiff Needell tests the Campagna T-Rex!
The amazing Benelli Tre-K Amazonas

Is the Kawasaki Ninja ZX-RR as good as any other current MotoGP machine?

Why are Kawasaki doing so poorly in MotoGP? Is it the riders?

We are big Kawasaki fans here at Faster and Faster, so we feel pretty sorry for the poor show they’ve put up in MotoGP this year. Is it the riders? With Shinya Nakano having left for Honda, can Olivier Jacque and Randy de Puniet really stand up against the likes of Stoner and Rossi? Or is it the bike? Have Kawasaki put in enough time and money in developing their MotoGP racer?

The Ducati seems to have a clear power and top speed advantage

Well, Kawasaki’s problem might not be their bike. Most MotoGP insiders seem to think the Ninja ZX-RR is not such a bad machine. Speaking to, Kawasaki Racing Team communications manager, Ian Wheeler says, ‘The development of the Ninja ZX-RR has been fairly rapid over the past few months. The bike we rolled out for pre-season testing was competitive from the off, because the fundamental design was good. However, it was pretty obvious straightaway that there was a top speed deficit when you compared our bike to the Yamaha and, especially, the Ducati.’

This year, the Rossi/Yamaha combo hasn't worked as well as expected

Sure enough, the Ducati’s speed and power has left all the Japanese teams stunned this year. But what are Kawasaki doing about dealing with the situation? Says Wheeler, ‘After Jerez, we tested some minor modifications to the fuel injection system and the electronics package, which gave us an increase in power of around six horsepower. The changes also allowed us to increase our rev limit by a significant amount, without impacting fuel consumption. At the Chinese Grand Prix, we tested some more modifications to the engine and fuel injection system that offered a further increase of six horsepower. The results could be clearly seen with the top speed figures at the end of the 1.2km straight in Shanghai, where Randy and Olivier were regularly in the top five through the speed trap.’

After a long, long break, Suzuki finally seem to be getting back on track in MotoGP

So despite Kawasaki riders de Puniet and Olivier being at the very back of the MotoGP pack right now, Wheeler believes the ZX-RR is as good as Yamaha, Honda, Suzuki and Ducati machines? He says, ‘At this point in time, I would say that our Ninja ZX-RR is on a par with the Yamaha and the Ducati, although the Ducati still has a significant advantage when it comes to top speed. The results might say otherwise at the moment, but I think we're currently ahead of both Honda and Suzuki.’

Up till now, Honda also haven't done very well this year. Why?

So all they need is a good rider then. With new riders – fast, aggressive, young riders – from the 250cc class coming to MotoGP in 2008, perhaps some of the old timers would be looking at other opportunities. How would the Ninja ZX-RR do, with Colin Edwards and/or Loris Capirossi riding the bike? If Max Biaggi also comes back to MotoGP with Alstare Suzuki, the oldies could be having one hell of a battle in 2008…

Also see:
Memorable: The Kawasaki ZXR750
Freddie Spencer: The Sultan of Slide
NitroDuke: The world's fastest KTM!
Bikes vs Cars: One more round...
Memorable: The Kawasaki Ninja ZX-12R
Cruiser gone bad: The Suzuki B-King!
Hyper-tourer: The Kawasaki 1400GTR

Monday, May 28, 2007

Ferrari chopper, anyone? Or a Kawasaki triple, perhaps...?

Found this on YouTube. Somebody's built a Ferrari chopper. Why?

We can understand if you didn't much care for the Ferrari chopper. So here's an infinitely more sensible two-stroke, three-cylinder, Kawasaki H2A Mach IV

You can read about the very memorable 1970s Kawasaki triples here and here.

Also see:
The 2007 World Stunt Riding championship
A special KTM for women...
Rapom V8: 1000bhp, supercharged megabike
New developments at Moto Morini...
It's coming: The Cannonball Bike Run
Memorable: The Laverda 750 Formula S

1948 Vintage: Ducati Cucciolo

Look carefully and you might just see where the 1098 takes some of its design influences from... :-)

In the mid-1940s, Ducati, who were making radios and miscellaneous electrical components at that time, partnered with an Italian company called SIATA, in order to start making motorcycles. And the Cucciolo (Italian for puppy…) was one of the first efforts of the fledgling company.

The 1948 Cucciolo T2 was the first motorcycle which Ducati designed on their own. It was powered by an air-cooled, 48cc, single-cylinder engine, which was mated to a two-speed gearbox. The engine only made 1.5 horsepower at 5500rpm, but there was a Sports version (!!!) for those who wanted more performance – 2.0 horsepower, and a claimed 60km/h top speed.

Today, the Cucciolo continues to attract female attention

The 1948 Cucciolo T2 led to the T3 in early-1949, which had a three-speed gearbox, stronger tubular chassis, rear suspension and grease lubricated valve gear enclosed in a case. As usual, Ducati also offered a Sports version, where the engine capacity upped to 65 cc, a swingarm fork was added, and two pairs of telescopic shock absorbers were bolted on. All heady stuff for those days! The bike was moderately successful in racing, and Ducati never looked back since then…

Here's the very interesting Ducati Virtual Museum - you'll want to visit all seven 'rooms' there.

Also see:
Ducati PS1000 LE: Paul Smart rides again!
Bike magazine readers: 'Carl Fogarty is an idiot!'
Memorable: The mighty Munch Mammut TTS-E
Racy reptile: The Bimota Tuatara
Blast from the past: Silver Dream Racer
Brough Superior: Rights to name on sale
Libero Liberati: 500cc motorcycle GP racing world champ in 1957...

WheelSurf Monowheel: Join the singles club…

That's the WheelSurf Monowheel. Practical transportation...
Monowheels are not exactly new – people have been working on these single-wheeled motorcycles (?) for the last 120 years. In fact, monowheels saw a fair bit of action in the early part of the last century, with interest in these weird machines fizzling out by the 1930s, by which time cars and motorcycles were firmly established as the future of motorized transport.

They thought they were on to the next big thing...
But there are still some who love the concept of traveling in a single-wheeled machine, which brings us to the WheelSurf. It has an engine and one wheel inside which the rider sits. The machine consists of an inner and an outer frame, with the inner frame being in contact with the outer, via three small wheels. Shod with a solid rubber tyre, the outer frame is the actual rotating wheel that comes in contact with the tarmac.

Single-wheeled military vehicle prototype from the 1930s
The rider sits inside the inner frame, on which the engine and propulsion mechanism are also mounted. The whole contraption weighs about 50 kilos, and powered by a two-stroke, single-cylinder, 55cc petrol engine, mated to a single-speed transmission with a centrifugal clutch.

A video of the WheelSurf monowheel in action
The WheelSurf can accelerate from zero to 40km/h (which is also its top speed) in around eight seconds. And yes, you need some time to practice – you can’t just fire it up and ride off in rush-hour traffic. Unless you’re Kerry McLean, that is. In which case you ride a fearsome, V8-powered monowheel – the Rocket Roadster.

That's McLean, with his Buick V8-powered Monowheel
McLean’s Rocket Roadster is powered by a Buick V8, and while it’s theoretically capable of doing 160km/h, it’s actually been clocked at 85km/h – no mean feat since monowheels are difficult to control at high speeds. Why ride a monowheel at all? Says McLean, ‘You may be hauling ass, but you feel like you're floating.’ Amen.

Doing 85km/h on this contraption probably takes more courage than doing 320km/h on a ZZR1400

Kerry McLean was crap at pulling wheelies, which is probably why he dreamt up this monowheel thing...
You can right-click and download this video, which shows McLean riding his Monowheel on the Bonneville Salt Flats. And for more information on WheelSurf, visit their website here.

More one-wheeled action...   :-)

Other crazy machines:
Life in the fast lane: The Peraves Monotracer
Pal V-One: The flying bike!
Allen Millyard's 2300cc, V12 Kawasaki!!
JRL Cycles' aircraft-engined chopper
Crazy Quad: The Polaris Revolver Sport
Fast and funky: The Carver One
Special KTMs for women...
Rapom V8: 1000bhp supercharged monster-bike
Acabion GTBO 70: The world's fastest bike!

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Casey Stoner gets an Alfa Romeo Brera!

Free cars. One of the advantages of being a top MotoGP rider...

...and here's some hi-res wallpaper for Stoner fans!

Update (24th Sept., 2007): Casey Stoner wins 2007 MotoGP world championship at Motegi!

We had earlier reported on Alfa Romeo having teamed up with Ducati Corse for the SBK Superbike World Championship series. Alfa Romeo are the official sponsor, official car and the safety car supplier for the 2007 World Superbikes series.

Alfa Romeo have also promised to ‘extend cooperation’ to Ducati’s MotoGP effort, and the first person to benefit from this ‘cooperation’ seems to be Casey Stoner. On the occasion of the first birthday of the Mirafiori Motor Village in Italy, Alfa Romeo gifted a Brera 3.2 to Stoner. The CEO of Alfa Romeo, Antonio Baravalle gave the car’s keys to a very happy Stoner, who said, ‘Alfa Romeo, as Ducati, is a prestigious Italian brand I have been fascinated with since I was a child. I'm looking forward to driving my new Brera.’

Alfa Romeo will also take part in the Fifth World Ducati Week, which will be held in the Romagna region of Northern Italy from the 28th of June to the 1st of July this year. And while they won’t give you a free Brera, if you fancy the car, you get can download some hi-res wallpaper here.

Also see:
More hi-res Casey Stoner wallpaper here, here, here and here
2007 MotoGP race reports, features, interviews and hi-res wallpaper...
Dorna to 'quantify' MotoGP television exposure
Retro SBK's Freddie Spencer tribute
2007 Superbike Smackdown!
Fifth Gear: Honda Fireblade vs Honda Civic Type R!
MV Agusta F4 R 312 wins 2007 Masterbike
Hi-res Valentino Rossi wallpaper

From Italy: The Honda Hornet Cup!

Leave it to the Italians to make bikes look good!
Here’s the rather immaculate looking Hornet Cup racer, from Italy. The regular Honda Hornet is a mildly interesting four-cylinder, 600cc sportsbike that offers the ultimate in reliability and practicality. Excitement is also available, but in moderation.

We think the white/red/green paint job looks totally cool!
The Italians have taken Honda’s girl-next-door to the gym, spa and the beauty salon, and transformed her into this confident, athletic charmer. With some help from parts and accessories specialist, Rosso Cromo. More details on the Hornet Cup on their website here.

The no.1 sticker seems to have been borrowed from Hayden's bike!

The wheels look a bit frumpy though...
Also see:
Ferrari chopper, anyone? Or a two-stroke Kawasaki triple?
Ducati working on all-new Monster!
Marcus Walz: "Building bikes gives me pleasure, not riding them..."
Spinning around: The Tailgunner rotary exhaust
Will the Cagiva Mito be an Indo-Korean 650?
MV Agusta 910R: The best loved naked in Italy!
Dainese invite European customers to test new helmet

Kalex AV1: All-out performance for the road

It weighs 155kg, the engine makes 140bhp. Fun!

The Kalex AV1 comes from Kalex Engineering, based in Germany. It’s the brainchild of two men – Alex Baumgartel and Klaus Hirsekorn – who’ve built this extreme sportsbike that offers all-out performance for the very committed.

The AV1, which weighs a mere 155kg dry, is fitted with a 60-degree, 998cc v-twin from Rotax, with a Motec M800 engine management system. This engine, the V990R (which also powers the Aprilia RSV1000), makes 140 horsepower at 9500rpm, and 107Nm of torque at 7750rpm, which makes for mind-blowing performance in the lightweight AV1. Just as well then, that the engine management system also incorporates an advanced form of traction control software.

Wonder how the AV1 would do against a stock R1...

The tubular steel trellis frame chassis is light and stiff, and the steering angle is 23.8 degrees, which lets the bike flick from side to side with minimal effort. WP RCMA 4800 USD forks are used at the front, and at the rear there is a WP 4618 monoshock, mated to a specially fabricated aluminum swingarm. Both suspension units are multi-adjustable. Brakes are top-spec Brembo units and the bike rides on 17-inch wheels, with 120/75 (front) and 190/65 (rear) tyres. Carbonfibre has been used extensively, for the bodywork.

Should be interesting to see how it does against a stock R1 or GSX-R1000, eh? Get more details on the Kalex AV1 on their official website here.

Also see:
Ducati PS1000LE: Paul Smart rides again!
Memorable: 1983 Suzuki XN85 Turbo
Quiet please: Put a lid on this...
The mighty Munch Mammut TTS-E
MV Agusta Brutale 910R: The best loved naked in Italy!
Tiff Needell: Honda Fireblade takes on Honda Civic

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Moto Tuning's streetfighter: Top Gun GSX-R1000

They say it's 'inspired' by the Benelli TNT...

Prepared by French custom bike builders, Moto Tuning, this Suzuki GSX-R1000 – named the Top Gun – is ‘inspired’ by the Benelli TNT. Apart from some body panels taken from Benelli and Bimota machines, the Top Gun features various carbonfibre and titanium bits, special turn indicators, and a modified exhaust system. We don’t know if the Top Gun performs better than a stock GSX-R, but to look, it’s certainly… er, distinctive!

More stylish than a stock Gixxer...?

A GSX-R1100 given the Moto Tuning treatment...

...and finally, the Moto Tuning Yamaha V-Max. Awesome!

More GSX-Rs:
20 years of the Suzuki GSX-R
The mid-1980s GSX-R750
The late-1980s GSX-R750
The mid-1990s GSX-R750
The mighty GSX-R1100
"GSX-Rs are for moped riders!"
2007 GSX-R1000 riding impression
2007 Rizla Suzuki GSX-R1000
Suzuki GSX-R1000 wins 2007 Le Mans 24 Hours race

MotoGP: Kurtis to ride for Team Roberts at Mugello

With Kenny Roberts Jr. not having been able to sort out technical issues, younger brother Kurtis is being brought in as development rider...

Back in March this year, Team Roberts got a fresh lease of life, with F1 MAX-X and MGM's Treasure Island Hotel and Casino coming in as new team sponsors, and bringing in some much-needed cash with them. However, while their bikes’ livery changed, their race fortunes have remained pretty much the same – Team Roberts is going nowhere.

Now, for the next weekend’s race in Mugello (and perhaps also for the one after that, in Barcelona…), Team Roberts have roped in Kenny Roberts Jr.’s younger brother, Kurtis, who’ll be helping the team as a development rider. That’s because Kenny Roberts Jr., 500cc world champ in the year 2000, has not been able to solve the team’s technical problems. This is largely due to his old-school dirt-tracker riding style, which doesn’t work with current 800cc machines.

Kenny Roberts jr., 500cc world champ in the year 2000, has seen little success in MotoGP for the last many years...

Kenny Roberts Jr. was able to put in a reasonably good performance last year, since the 990cc V5 KR211V was more compatible with his riding style. In 2006, he finished third twice (in Barcelona and Portugal), and got another five fifth-place finishes. This year has not been good for him up till now, but with Kurtis (who’s ridden in MotoGP occasionally with his father’s team in 2004 and 2005) coming in as a development rider, things just might improve for Team Roberts.

More MotoGP:
Rossi: Biggest earning star in MotoGP
Kenny Roberts announces new venture, KR Tuned
In-depth: 2007 MotoGP Kawasakis
Memorable: Cagiva's 500cc GP racer
The mighty Honda NSR500
Marco Lucchinelli: 1981 500cc motorcycle GP racing world champ
Nicky Hayden: "I'm not giving up..."
John Hopkins: "I'm better than Hayden!"
Blast from the past: Silver Dream Racer

Ducati working on an all-new Monster

This is what the new Monster may look like, when it's shown in Milan in November this year

Designed by Miguel Galluzzi, the first Ducati Monster came out way back in 1992, and has been a significant success story for Ducati since then. Over the years, there have been various iterations of the Monster, and the bike has been made available in various engine capacities.

Now, after so many years, the Italians are all set to launch an all-new Monster, which we suppose would be a considerably difficult task. Having sold more than 150,000 Monsters over the last 15 years, this is one bike with which Ducati probably can’t afford to take too many risks.

Until now, there’s only conjecture, speculation and computer-generated pics like the one you see here. The real 2008 Ducati Monster will be revealed at the Milan Motorcycle Show in November this year, so that’s another six months of waiting. Should be worth it though.

The Fiat Panda Monster. One for the wife...

In the meanwhile, for Monster fans who also own cars, there’s the Fiat Panda Monster – a limited edition model which Fiat have created in collaboration with Ducati. The Panda Monster will be fitted with a 1.3-litre common-rail, 70bhp diesel engine and will feature 4WD. Only 695 units of this car will be made, and you can order yours right here. Or you could take a look at this Fiat 500 that's powered by a Ducati 999 engine..!

Also see:
First official pic of the Triumph Street Triple 675
The Hyosung-engined Cagiva Mito 650
Ducati CEO Federico Minoli leaves the company
Scoop pics: Ducati's MotoGP bikes for the future
The very memorable Bimota YB6 Tuatara
The MV Agusta F4 R 312 wins MasterBike 2007

Friday, May 25, 2007

First official picture of the Triumph Street Triple 675

The Daytona 675 takes its clothes off, gets ready to brawl..

Yeah, you’ve read about it in dozens of places including here, and the first official picture is finally out. Triumph say they will launch the naked version of the Daytona 675 – the Street Triple 675 – by the end of next month!

Compared with the Daytona 675, the Street Triple will be fitted with different front suspension and brakes, and will have a completely different rear end, which will be on the lines of the bigger Speed Triple.

The gearing on the new bike has been revised, and as you’d expect, the Daytona’s 675cc three-cylinder engine has been ‘retuned,’ which means slightly more low- and mid-range torque, and slightly less peak power. Still, with around 105 – 110bhp on tap, the Street Triple should be anything but sluggish.

The Street Triple will make its debut at the end of June this year, at the Tridays Festival in Neukirchen, Germany. The bike is expected to cost about US$9,000 and you can register for more information at the Triumph website here.

Also see:
British is bigger, British is best...
Chris Pfeiffer wins Indoor Streetbike Freestyle World Championship
United Motors: Going forward with Hyosung
Custom streetfighter: The Mad Jack
MotoCzysz gets Robb Report Design Award
Harley-Davidson Nightster rumbles out...
Kenny Roberts announces KR Tuned

MotoGP rumours: Hayden may move to Ducati for 2008!

Hayden's not been too happy with his Honda this year, and HRC don't seem to be interested in doing much about it. Enter Ducati...

While the 2007 MotoGP season is just getting into stride, rumours about what’s going to happen in 2008 have already started doing the rounds. And chief among those is Nicky Hayden leaving Honda and moving to Ducati for the 2008 MotoGP season!

The Kentucky Kid was, apparently, seen dining with senior Ducati officials in a Bologna restaurant recently. While the ‘official reason’ for this has been quoted as Hayden wanting to order a Desmosedici RR for himself, the ‘real reason’ is said to be something else – Ducati may be looking at replacing Loris Capirossi, and Hayden might be the man who’ll replace the Italian.

Casey Stoner has made Capirossi look a bit old this year, but the Italian may yet be back next year - with Kawasaki!

While Loris Capirossi garnered some impressive wins for the Ducati MotoGP team in 2006, this year it’s Casey Stoner who’s charging ahead, and making Capirossi look… a bit old? Another rumour being floated is that Capirossi may move to the Kawasaki MotoGP team for 2008, replacing Olivier Jacque in the process. Not only that, there's a bigger surprise here - it's being said that Rizla Suzuki rider, John Hopkins has also been talking to Kawasaki and may move to the Kawasaki MotoGP team for 2008! Ah, well, all shall be revealed in the next few months… :-)

Also see:
Ducati 1098 wins Motorcycle Design Association’s 'Best Design Of 2006' award
Lazareth Motorcycles: Custom cool...
Troy Lee createst the Canyon Chaser
Ninja Nation: 1988 Kawasaki ZX-10 vs 2004 Kawasaki ZX-10R
Down memory lane: The Cagiva 500 GP racer
American Borders: Around the US on a Ural sidecar

Ducati PS1000 LE: Paul Smart rides again

The bike that started it all for Ducati back in 1972 - the 750 Imola

British racer Paul Smart created a bit of history in 1972, when he rode his Ducati 750 Imola racebike to victory at the inaugural Imola 200 endurance racing event. Ducati were not known for their v-twin racers back then, and most people thought that Smart riding the Ducati 750 at Imola was a bit of a joke. Of course, they weren’t laughing by the time Smart finished in first place.

To celebrate their win at Imola, Ducati released a road-going version of their Imola 750 racer – the 750 Super Sport – which came out in 1974. This was a proper race replica, with the 750’s desmodromic valve train, big carburetors, disc brakes all around, and the racer’s distinctive green-painted chassis.

The 1974 Ducati 750 Super Sport

Then, back in 2005, Ducati released the modern-day equivalent of the 1974 750 Super Sport – the limited edition Paul Smart 1000 – which took its rightful place at the top of Ducati’s SportClassic range. And last month, Motorcyclist magazine pulled off a coup by getting Paul Smart himself to ride all three bikes back to back, at the Willow Springs Raceway in the US. So what did Mr Smart have to say about the three bikes?
Smart, now 63 years old, first rode the 84 horsepower Imola 750, which he reckons was good for around 250km/h back in 1972. He says, ‘It’s incredibly torquey – it has big old carbs and basic ignition, but the thing works so well. And considering its age, it also handles – it behaves itself extremely well, doesn’t require a lot of rider input and the brakes are faultless.’

...and the absolutely gorgeous Ducati Paul Smart 1000LE

Moving on to the 1974 750 Super Sport, Smart says, ‘It’s amazing how well they steer – the chassis does feel very much the same as the racebike, and though the engine probably makes 20 horsepower less than the 750 Imola, it has the same wide torque spread.’ The only thing he wasn’t happy with was the brakes, saying that they felt ‘Leaden, sallow and unresponsive.’

Finally on to the modern PS1000 LE, and Smart says, ‘You get lots of feedback and it feels very planted in fast corners. The engine is not highly tuned, but it does make a lot of torque, so you don’t have to rev it. Overall, the modern tyres, suspension and brakes are what separate it from the old bikes.’

So of the three, which one would he choose to ride today? Says Smart, ‘I have to be honest, it’s the new bike. Everything works, and the machine is far better than the rider in my case now.’ For the Ducati Paul Smart 1000 LE, there really can be no better stamp of approval.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Sherco announce 2007 4.5i, 5.1i and Cabestany Replicas

The Sherco 2.9 Cabestany Replica

Started in 1998 by one Marc Teissier, Spanish motorcycle company Sherco make some excellent trials and enduro bikes today. The company recently announced the launch of its new bikes – the Sherco 2.9 Cabestany Replica and the Sherco 4.5i and 5.1i Factory Replicas.

The Sherco 2.9 Cabestany Replica incorporates technology used in Sherco’s trials bikes for the Spanish Indoor Championship, and is meant for the serious trials rider. Among other things, the bike has a digital programmable ignition system, which lets riders alter power delivery characteristics to suit different kinds of terrain.

The Sherco 4.5i Factory Replica

The Sherco 5.1i Factory Replica

The Sherco 4.5i and 5.1i Factory Replicas are for the hardcore off-road/enduro rider. The bikes are fitted with high-grade Öhlins suspension, and upgraded electrics and high performance exhaust system. More details on the Sherco website here.

Also see:
2007 Husaberg FS550e: Supermoto supreme...
Singular Power: 2007 KTM 690SM
2007 BMW G650 XMoto and XChallenge
BMW HP2 Megamoto. Awesome!
The radical new Brudeli 625L trike

Bike magazine readers: “Carl Fogarty is an idiot!”

Once hero, now zero. The shame...

Multi-time World Superbikes champ, Carl Fogarty has been voted as one of the biggest idiots in motorcycling, by the readers of Bike magazine. Carl, who’ll be handling MV Agusta’s racing efforts in World Superbikes in 2008, is known to sometimes ‘have his head up his arse.’ That’s how an ex-editor of a prominent UK-based motorcycling magazine once described him…

Coming back to Bike magazine’s Biggest Idiots, one reader says, ‘My joint vote goes to Carl Fogarty and his ego. Foggy was my hero when he was battling at the TT, and then on the Ducati in World Superbikes, but what’s happened since then?’ What, indeed. Another reader adds, ‘Carl Fogarty should have slipped away quietly after he stopped racing. He said he was going to be the saviour of WSB. Utter rubbish. He was an embarrassment!’

And here are some other reader nominations for the Biggest Idiots in motorcycling:

‘The wankers who don’t slow down for 30mph limits. Don’t these people understand that they are slowly killing the thing they love most – biking? Slow down, and the non-biking zealots will leave us alone to speed on the open roads.’

‘The bad sportsbike riders. Those who hug rear bumpers before overtaking, or overtake on blind bends, causing others to brake hard or swerve. No wonder bikers get a bad name.’

‘Those gobshites who ride bikes like Kawasaki ZX-10Rs, but really poorly. Slow in bends, 170mph on the dual carriageway, wheelies through rush hour traffic, stoppies next to soccer moms in their gas-guzzling SUVs…’

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

May the force feed you: 1983 Suzuki XN85 Turbo

The Suzuki XN85 Turbo. Cool!

Back in 1983, when the Suzuki XN85 Turbo was let loose upon an unsuspecting world, Motorcyclist magazine actually claimed, ‘Nothing works better in the corners than the Suzuki XN85.’ Ah, well, the first GSX-R was still two years away…

85 horsepower, 200km/h top speed. Not too bad for 1983

The early-1980s was when all the Japanese motorcycle manufacturers decided that turbocharging was the way forward. So, of course, Suzuki decided they must join in, and released the XN85 Turbo to go against the Honda CX500TC Turbo, the Yamaha XJ650LJ Turbo and the Kawasaki GPZ750 Turbo.

16-inch front wheel, fuel injection, anti-dive front suspension...

The XN85 was cutting-edge stuff for its time, with a 16-inch front wheel, low clip-ons, rearset foot pegs, Suzuki’s ‘Full Floater’ monoshock rear suspension, and anti-dive plumbing in the Kayaba front forks. The engine was an air-cooled, fuel-injected, turbocharged, eight-valve, 673cc inline-four, mated to a five-speed gearbox. Power output was a modest 85 horsepower at 7000rpm.

Look at this and imagine what a factory turbo Hayabusa would be like today...

The XN85 Turbo weighed in at about 247kg, and depending on who you believe, did the quarter mile (400m) in anything between 11.50 to 12.30 seconds. Claimed top speed was 209km/h. While the XN85 was reliable, performed well, and quickly garnered a dedicated fan following, it was only a moderate success and that too only for a short while. The normally aspirated Suzuki GS750ES, released shortly after the XN85, was lighter, quicker, cheaper and less complex.

For about US$5,000 you can still find one of these. If you look hard enough...

Back in 1983 when it was launched, the Suzuki XN85 Turbo cost about US$4,700. Suzuki only made 1,153 units of this bike, and today, finding one in very good condition is extremely difficult. Second-hand examples do come up for sale, and depending on their condition, go for anything between US$3,000 – US$7,000. It may not be the quickest, fastest or the best handling, but if you always wanted something exotic, the XN85 Turbo fits the bill like a dream.

The Suzuki GSX-R750 came along in 1985 and changed everything. But that's another story...

Other turbo bikes:
Kawasaki GPZ750 Turbo. Blow hard!
Turbo Hayabusa sets new streetbike speed record
MAB Power: BMW K1200R Turbo
Acabion GTBO 70: The world's fastest bike



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