Saturday, March 31, 2007

Gibbs Quadski: Baywatch…

This is the Gibbs Quadski. Can be ridden on land or water. No, really...

Alan Gibbs founded Gibbs Technologies in New Zealand in 1996, and if the Quadski is anything to go by, Mr Gibbs believes in having a bit of fun. After all, the company’s website says that Gibbs are ‘the world’s only High Speed Amphibian (HSA) technology specialists.’

The Quadski is a high-speed, amphibian, all-terrain-vehicle that can travel at speeds of up to 72km/h on land and on water, and converts from ATV to boat at the mere press of a button. Says Mr Gibbs, ‘The Quadski is both exciting and practical, with a multitude of uses.’ But of course…

Also see:
The Quadzilla: 2007 GG Quad
Snell vs ECE 22-05: Which helmet is safer?
Ducati 999-powered Fiat 500!
Bombardier Embrio: One-wheeled wonder!

Street Triple: Triumph's new naked coming soon

The 675cc Triumph Street Triple could look like this...

Last month, we had reported on Triumph’s new streetfighter, which would be powered by the Daytona 675’s three-cylinder engine. Well, Italian mag Motociclismo says work on this new naked – to be called the Triumph Street Triple – is almost complete, and the bike is expected to come out by July this year.

The Street Triple will be powered by a re-tuned version of the Daytona’s 675cc engine, and is expected to be priced competitively against Japanese 600cc unfaired machinery. Should be another winner for Triumph!

Also see:
2007 Triumph Tiger
2007 Aprilia Tuono R Factory
Turbo Hayabusa sets new speed record!
Insanity Express: Kawasaki 1400GTR
Hit Single: 2007 KTM 690SM

Down Memory Lane: Bimota YB11

The 1990s Bimota YB11. Sweet...

Some time ago, we’d written about ‘The Greatest 11s,’ where we spoke about the Suzuki GSX-R1100 and the Kawasaki ZZR1100. Well, we forgot to include one. The Bimota YB11, which, despite the 11 in its name, doesn’t have an 1100cc engine.

Launched in the late-1990s, the Bimota YB11 was fitted with a DOHC, 20-valve, 1000cc inline-four, taken from the mighty Yamaha YZF1000 Thunderace. This engine was tweaked by Bimota, and made 148 horsepower at 10,200rpm. Top speed was in the region of 275km/h.

The YB11 was beautifully styled, had racebike-extreme ergonomics, stiff Paioli suspension, Brembo brakes and a significant front-end weight bias. Dry weight was 183kg. Brand-new, the bike cost US$30,000 which was quite a bit for the late-1990s (of course, it’s quite a bit even now…!), but with its expensive, high-spec components, powerful engine, superb handling and gorgeous styling, perhaps the price was justified. At least for rich Bimota enthusiasts…

Go straight to the 7-minute mark in this video and see what Top Gear had to say about the Bimota YB11...

Friday, March 30, 2007

Track Riding for Newbies – Ron Haslam tells you how

That's 'Rocket' Ron Haslam, on a Honda NS500. The ex-GP racer can teach you a thing or two about going very, very fast on a motorcycle...
Rocket Ron Haslam Rocket Ron Haslam Rocket Ron Haslam

In this month’s issue of British magazine, BIKE, Ron ‘Rocket’ Haslam (500cc GP racer in the 1980s and 1990s) has written a brilliant article on ‘track riding for novices.’ It’s an extremely useful article because it takes a quick, succinct look at the mistakes that novices are likely to make, and suggests suitable remedies.

You’ll have to buy a copy of the magazine for the full story (and it really is a superb issue – the Honda VFR800 vs BMW F800ST, and Ducati 1098 vs Ducati 916 stories are very interesting…), but here’s a brief summary of some of Rocket Ron’s wisdom:

1. Use every inch of the track
For track novices, more conditioned to riding on the road and expecting traffic coming the other way, the most common failing is not using the full width of the track. So adjust your thinking for the track – there’s nothing coming around the other way. Use the full width of the track – go from kerb to apex to kerb – get a feel for racing lines.

2. Ignore everything behind you
Don’t worry about being slower than other riders and/or being overtaken by them. Don’t worry about what’s happening behind you – focus fully on what’s ahead. Concentrate!

3. Sort your riding position
Don’t be too stiff or too upright, and don’t be desperate to hang off too much – getting your knee down is not important. Avoid locking your arms, and try to relax. Your first movements for a corner should be with your upper body – make sure your inside arm is bent more than your outside arm. This will bring your head down, and get your knee out. It’ll also get your weight forward and help you through the corner.

4. Brake hard!
You rarely get to use your bike’s full braking potential on the road, but braking late and braking hard are important for going faster on the track. So practice braking hard in a straight line and aim at coming to a stop in shorter and shorter distances. Get used to how the weight transfer feels, under very hard braking. On the track, this will help minimize or eliminate the time you spend ‘coasting,’ where you’re neither hard on the brakes, nor twisting the throttle.

5. Use the engine
Too many riders change up too early, never getting their bike into the fat of its powerband. They also carry too high a gear through turns. To fix this, try riding with fewer gears for some time – perhaps only the first three. You’ll get used to hearing the bike at the rev-limiter, and to how the bike feels when revved higher in lower gears. You’ll learn to use the full rev-range of your bike’s engine and change up at the right time.

Like what you just read? Buy the March issue of BIKE for the full story. You’ll also get pointers from stunt-rider Martin Child, and advanced riding instructor, Simon Weir.

Visit Ron Haslam’s racing school website here

Ron's son, Leon Haslam ponders the mysteries of motorcycle racing...

Thursday, March 29, 2007

V-Roehr 1130: All-American superbike coming soon

No, not an Italian superbike. It's the all-American V-Roehr 1130

Some time ago, we had reported on the Fischer MRX which was being touted as the first American sportsbike. Now we have Roehr Motorcycles’ V-Roehr 1130, which the company says is ‘a new generation of American motorcycle.’

Shades of the erstwhile Ducati 999...?

For Roehr Motorcycles, the design goal was to produce the fastest, most powerful, and finest handling machine, using the best American engine available. The result is the V-Roehr 1130. It’s powered by a 1130cc, DOHC, v-twin (provided by Harley-Davidson) that makes 120 horsepower. And for those who want to take on R1s and GSX-Rs, Roehr say there’ll be engine kits available that boost power all the way up to 180bhp.

With an engine kit, it'll make 180 horsepower, so don't smirk just yet

The bike has a five-speed transmission, and in keeping with the sporty nature of the machine, final drive is by chain. The beam frame chassis is made of Chrome-Moly steel and aluminum composite, and is said to light and stiff. The bike is fitted with suspension components from Ohlins, brakes are by Brembo, wheels from Marchesini, and the bodywork is made of carbonfibre.

The bike will be priced at US$40,000 and production of the first 50 units is scheduled to begin in 2008. Visit the company website for more details.

Also see:
Fischer MRX: Riding impression
Shelby & Rucker's 150bhp chopper!
Team Cristofolini's 112bhp scooter!
Monowheeling in Michigan...

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Learning to live without bikes (just for a day…)

While we definitely cannot imagine a life without fast bikes, if we had to make do without our ZX-10R for a day or two, we suppose we’d have to settle for one of these things…

Cathay Pacific is supposed to have some of the best first class seats in the world

Fly first class!

These days, almost regardless of which airlines you choose, you can't lose if you're flying first class. Helicopter or limo ride to get to the airport, gourmet grub served by charming, good-looking women, and free-flowing champagne. Also, individual TV screens with a choice of music and movies, and lush seats that first give you a massage and then convert to a full-flat bed (silk pajamas are provided…).

The price for such indulgence? Hmm…, something like a round-trip New York to Hong Kong first class ticket would cost about US$15-17,000. Which is a bargain really, if you consider the fact that a Bimota SB8K Santamonica costs close to US$50,000 and they don't even give you a free pair of silk pajamas to go with that.

This site will let you find out which airline serves the best wines and who employs the best looking air-hostesses.

The Ferrari F355 - one of the best-looking Ferraris ever!

Experience an Italian V8

Come on, driving a car can't be that bad. And it's just for one day, remember? Deciding on a car is tricky though - we're tempted by assorted Honda Civic Type Rs, Mitsubishi Evos, Subaru Imprezas, Nissan Skyline GT-Rs, Pagani Zondas, Aston Martins, Lamborghinis and Porsches. But at the end of the day, it has to be a Ferrari.

And not just any Ferrari either. For us, it has to be a late-1990s, bright yellow (or red) 355 F1 Berlinetta, the last really beautiful car Ferrari made. Sure, a new F430 will accelerate harder, hit a higher top speed and handle better, but the F355's utterly and completely gorgeous styling makes it THE Ferrari to have.

With 380 horsepower from its 3.5-litre V8, the 355 accelerates from zero to 100km/h in 4.7 seconds and is capable of doing 270km/h, which should be enough for most people. But of course, driving a 355 is not just about performance - it's the noise, the spectacle, the drama and the sheer joy that comes from driving one of the most beautiful Italian supercars ever made.

Buying one is still expensive - a well-maintained 355 will cost around US$80,000. But try renting one for a day, and you'll never forget the experience. Otherwise, go here to download some Ferrari wallpaper.

The Yamaha Raptor 700R in full-on action

Get off the road on a Quad

The very cool-looking Yamaha Raptor 700R SE got the ATV Illustrated magazine's 'Sport ATV of the Year' award last year and for good reason. It's fitted with a single-cylinder, four-valve, 686cc fuel-injected engine and while Yamaha have not quoted any power figures, an independent report says this is their 'most powerful sport ATV ever, with big torque right off idle, transitioning into a fat midrange and monstrous top end.'

The Raptor 700R also gets high-spec suspension, with separate high- and low-speed compression damping adjustability. The stiff, lightweight chassis is made of steel and aluminum, and ergonomics are good enough to allow one full day of non-stop hard riding.

You can get your hands on one of these machines for about US$7,700. A Yamaha R6 costs almost twice as much, and unlike the Raptor, the R6 doesn't even have a reverse gear.

The maddest, fastest, wildest trike on earth - the Campagna T-Rex!

Go sideways on a trike

Trikes can't be beat for a bit of weird, off-kilter thrashing around. And while the Piaggio MP3, Gilera Fuoco 500, Brudeli 625L, Can-Am Spyder and Volkswagen GX3 are all very cool, the big daddy of 'em all has to be the Campagna T-Rex.

The Rex packs a 152 horsepower inline-four from the Kawasaki ZZR1200, accelerates from zero to 100km/h in 4.1 seconds and is capable of hitting a top speed of 240km/h. Plus, if you're Fifth Gear's Tiff Needell, you can get it more sideways than some WRC drivers manage in their 4WD rally cars.

At US$50,000 the T-Rex is more than twice as expensive as, say, a Kawasaki ZZR1400. But then, try going sideways on a ZZR1400…

With this Schwinn, you can pedal away into the sunset. Glory!

Power yourself down the street

The Schwinn Peloton LTD is one hell of a bike. It doesn't have a 180bhp engine - it doesn't have an engine in fact - but as long as you're prepared to provide the (pedal) power, the Schwinn rocks.

The Peloton LTD is fitted with a monocoque carbonfibre chassis and front fork, Shimano 10-speed gearbox, Truvativ Rouleur carbon crankset, Mavic Ksyrium wheels, Schwalbe Stelvio Evolution kevlar-bead tyres and other such impressive-sounding bits.

Acceleration depends on what you've had for breakfast, and top speed is a muscle-restricted 60km/h. (Since we've not ridden a bicycle for the last 20 years, that's a wild estimate…).

The Schwinn Peloton LTD costs US$3,999 which probably makes it a better option than a dull old Honda 125 commuter-special, which would cost the same. Sure, the Honda might be a bit faster going uphill, but it still wouldn't have the Peloton's carbon bits, so there.

Get one of these, and other road users will be afraid. Very afraid

Drive a truck, flatten other road users

For those days when you'd rather go over than around pedestrians, cyclists, and cars, a big, fat, American truck is hard to beat. Which is where the Dodge Ram 2500 comes in. For the piddly little sum of US$26,800 you get a 345-horsepower, 5.7-litre, HEMI V8 engine, and enough ground clearance to climb over most other road users.

You also get 4WD, 17-inch alloys, ABS, CD-player (with four speakers, no less!) and Vinyl seat-covers. Vinyl seat-covers, would you believe! What more could a man possibly ask for?

The Segway i2 Commuter. This is how we'll all travel someday

Commute to work on a Segway

The battery-powered Segway i2 Commuter is the shape of things to come. With its long-lasting lithium-ion batteries, and 'comfort mats' which the company claims 'alleviate fatigue and provide a smoother ride on longer journeys,' the i2 Commuter has to be your dream ride.

The i2 will do speeds of up to 20km/h, and will go up to 38km before you have to charge it again, but you can't weigh more than 118kg to be able to ride one…

Want to be one up on your neighbours? Get your very own hovercraft!

Lift off on a personal hovercraft

We didn't even know that there's actually something like a 'personal hovercraft,' but apparently there are many companies selling such things! We like Universal Hovercraft's 19XR Sport, which can carry up to six people, at speeds of up to 100km/h. This machine hovers at a height of 20cm above the ground, and range is 322km.

The 19XR Sport can traverse water of any depth, mud, grass, swamp, flat desert, ice and snow, which should come in handy. Its liquid-cooled, four-stroke, 135-horsepower engine is supposed to be extremely reliable, joystick-operated controls are simple, and the machine comes with its own GPS for easy navigation. Want to order one right away? Visit the company website for more details!

The R1 may not necessarily be Yamaha's sportiest machine. Meet the WaveRunner

Float your boat

While luxury yachts might be a bit boring, the Yamaha FX WaveRunner personal watercraft isn't. This boat is powered by Yamaha's MR-1 fuel-injected engine - a 1052cc, 160bhp, four-cylinder, four-stroke unit - which the company says 'delivers more power in a lighter package than any other full-size, four-stroke normally-aspirated watercraft in the industry.'

Flip this Yamaha while taking a corner too fast, and an electronic switch stops the engine and oil pumps immediately, protecting the motor from unwanted water ingestion. The hull is made of stiff, lightweight sheet molded compound (SMC) and the handling is said to be nimble. All this for a mere US$10,499 will make it a sweet deal. For some of us.

Maglev - the world's fastest train

Catch a train. This train!

The world's fastest train is not in Japan, Germany or France, but in… Shanghai, China! It's called the Maglev, and with a top speed of around 430km/h, it's the world's fastest, most high-tech, most futuristic passenger train in the world.

Maglev refers to 'magnetic levitation,' and powerful magnets lift the entire train about 10mm off the ground (there are no conventional 'tracks' here, just a 'guideway'…) before it flies off. In fact, magnets also provide propulsion and braking, and the Maglev's high speeds are partly due to very low levels of friction. Plus, the train is non-polluting and has very low noise levels.

The Maglev was put into operation at an investment of more than US$1.2 billion, and the Chinese government is unlikely to make much money on this project. But as a technology showcase, the Maglev rocks. You owe it to yourself to get to the Pudong International Airport, and take a ride on this train from the future.

Go here to know more about some very interesting train journeys.

After all the trains, planes and boats, this is what we want. An MV Agusta F4 CC

But what we'd still really want is…

…this! It's an MV Agusta F4 CC, CC being the initials of one Claudio Castiglioni, the man who owns MV Agusta. We think this bike is just mind-numbingly glorious. It's beyond words. It's beyond anything. And it's certainly way, way beyond the best trains, planes, cars, trucks, and boats in the world. Someday - some, day - we'll get our hands on one of these…

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Acabion GTBO 70: Mad Max lives!

That's the Acabion GTBO 70. Imagine blowing past your boss's Porsche in this!

If you thought your Hayabusa or ZZR1400 is the fastest thing around on two wheels, you probably wouldn’t want to meet the Acabion GTBO. This 300-kilo two-seater is powered by a turbocharged, DOHC, 16-valve, 1400cc inline-four (with twin intercoolers), which makes 700 horsepower. Yeah, that’s right, 700bhp. And that gives it a power-to-weight ratio of 2.3:1, while even the latest GSX-R1000 potters around with a humble 1:1.

"I wonder if there's steak for dinner today...?"

The GTBO 70’s top speed is in the region of 600km/h, which should come in handy if you’re ever running late for office. Then again, if the wife thinks that’s a bit too much, you can always tell her that the Acabion is limited to a really sensible 450km/h for road use. What the hell, you’d still blow the doors off your boss’s Lamborghini. Even a Bugatti Veyron would be toast if it went up against a GTBO 70 – the Acabion can do things like accelerate from 200km/h to 300km/h in less than 5 seconds…

With its 700bhp and 600km/h top speed, the Acabion is the 'bike' to have if you like riding fast...

Made in Switzerland of all places, the Acabion GTBO 70 has carbonfibre bodywork and chassis, sequential six-speed gearbox, and two Swiss-made MAXON electric engines for low-speed operation. Yes, it’s a hybrid! And its manufacturers claim that the Acabion is far more fuel efficient than any existing petrol or diesel car, and that it can do up to 40km/l.

Between 2007 and 2011, Acabion plan to build only 26 units of the GTBO. If you’re rich and/or mad enough to want one, visit the company website here for more details.

Update (9th October 2007): From January 2008 onwards, the Acabion GTBO will be fitted with the new Hayabusa's 1340cc engine, tuned to 750bhp. Yeah, that's right, seven hundred and fifty horsepower!

Also see:
MV Agusta F4 R312: The world's fastest production bike!
2007 Suzuki GSX-R1000: Riding impression
Bimota Tesi 3D: You ready for this?
"GSX-Rs are for moped riders!"

Friday, March 23, 2007

July 18: The 2007 Ride To Work Day

Park the car, get the bike out...

Whether you ride a GSX-R1000 or a Harley Fat Boy, motorcycles are definitely a good thing. Worldwide, traffic and parking congestion is a huge problem in most big cities these days, and motorcycles can and do help reduce this problem. So why just use your bike on Sunday mornings, why not ride your bike to work?

The 18th of July is the 2007 Ride to Work Day, and your participation will help demonstrate that bikes will play an increasingly important role in urban transportation systems, in the years to come.

Do support the 2007 RTWD and visit the official website here

Thursday, March 22, 2007

BMW may get into a JV with Husqvarna!

BMW may acquire a stake in Husqvarna!

According to some reports, BMW may either get into a joint-venture agreement with Husqvarna and perhaps acquire a stake in the company. To begin with, BMW may acquire one of Husqvarna’s factories in Italy, and development work on BMW’s high-performance off-road bikes may be done in cooperation with Husqvarna.

BMW’s motorcycle division, with its aggressive new lineup of sporty machines, was very successful last year (the company sold more than 100,000 bikes in 2006), and it seems the Bavarian Express will continue to steamroll the competition this year as well…

Update (20.07.2007): BMW buy Husqvarna from Claudio Castiglioni!

This video shows why it may be a good idea for BMW to co-develop their off-road bikes with Husqvarna!

Also see:
Turbo power: MAB BMW K1200R
AC Schnitzer BMW HP2: Awesome!
2007 BMW K1200R Sport: Cool!
BMW HP2 Megamoto: Mind-blowing!

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

MBI 2007 Awards announced

The BMW F800S has won MBI's 'Best new-in-2006 every day motorcycle' award

Faster and Faster is a member of the Motorcycle Bloggers International (MBI), and MBI have just announced the winners of their 2007 Riders Choice Awards. Nominees and winners are chosen by motorcycle riders around the world. And yes, thousands of riders – from as many as 88 countries – voted for these awards (a system of storing and analyzing IP addresses was put in place to minimize duplicate voting…), so the winners have to have something going for them!

Here’s a quick look at some of the MBI Riders Choice Star Awards

Best looking new-in-2006 motorcycle
Triumph Daytona 675

Best manufacturer’s website
BMW Motorrad

Best new-in-2006 every day motorcycle

Best new-in-2006 motor scooter
Piaggio MP3

Best new-in-2006 motorcycle

Object of lust
Ducati Desmosedici RR

Get the full list of awards here and visit the MBI homepage here

Also see:
Faster and Faster: Best of 2006 Awards
Valentino Rossi: Biggest earning star in MotoGP!
Moto Morini 91/2: The better half?
Victory Vision: The best luxury tourer ever?

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Ilmor MotoGP team shuts shop

You won't be seeing this bike in Spain next week... :-(

The Ilmor MotoGP team has ceased operations, possibly due to a lack of sponsorship money. The UK-based Ilmor, who've been in MotoGP since the 2006 Portuguese GP, have reportedly been losing large sums of money running their MotoGP outfit. With their exit, Ilmor riders Jeremy McWilliams and Andrew Pitt are left without a ride for the 2007 MotoGP season.

Mario Ilien, Ilmor team boss says, "Obviously it was an extremely difficult decision for us to make. However, once we went through all the options, we decided that the best course of action for the sake of the project as a whole, would be to put the racing side of things on hold."

Mario Illien, one of the founders of Ilmor Engineering, and of the most respected engineers in F1, reportedly spent anywhere between US$6-9 million of his own money on the Ilmor MotoGP project. Another UK-based automotive engineering company, Cosworth had worked with the Aprilia MotoGP team between 2002 to 2004, with little success. Last year, when asked about why he thought Ilmor may succeed where Cosworth-Aprilia had failed, Illien had said 'Other teams like Team Roberts, Aprilia and KTM have mistakenly used too much F1 technology on their bikes. We haven’t. We know that a successful four-stroke bike engine is all about driveability and bottom-end power.'

Well, the ways things are now, it looks like if sponsorship money comes in, Ilmor may continue developing their MotoGP racebike. If not, things look bleak for them. What a pity...

Also see:
Top Fuel Motorcycles: A lesson in acceleration!
Motoczysz C1: Motogp replica for the road
Bikes vs Cars: Settled!
Classic Bikes: The first Suzuki Katana

Suzuki announce limited edition 100th IoM TT GSX-Rs

The IoM TT Limited Edition Suzuki GSX-R1000

Suzuki recently announced their Isle of Man Centenary Special Edition GSX-R range, where all the models (GSX-R1000, 750 and 600) are being produced under licence from the Isle of Man government. Suzuki are building these bikes to celebrate 100 years of racing at the IoM. Unique colours, and graphics that incorporate the TT logo - on the fairing and the rear seat cowl - will distinguish these LE Gixxers, and each bike will be individually numbered. The bikes will also be fitted with the Yoshimura GP Evo exhaust system and a tinted screen. A total of 500 units will be made (including all three engine variants), and will cost US$19,300 for the GSX-R1000, US$15,900 for the GSX-R750 and US$13,900 for the GSX-R600.

Also see:
1988 Kawasaki Ninja ZX10 vs 2004 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R
Riding impression: 2007 Suzuki GSX-R1000
Funky trike: Can-Am Spyder
MAB Power: BMW K1200R Turbo!

DVD Watch: The World's Fastest Motorcycle

561km/h on a motorcycle? Er, yes...

The BUB Racing Team, and its pilots Denis Manning and Chris Carr notched a land speed record of 561.41km/h on the BUB Streamliner in September last year, at the Bonneville salt flats in the US. Now, their newly-released DVD, 'The The World's Fastest Motorcycle,' shows what went into making a motorcycle go that fast. For a mere US$24.95 you can watch the drama unfold in your very own living room. Go here for details on how you can order your copy.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Ducati Hypermotard inches closer to going into production

Radical, eh? Supermoto fans should love this Duke...

Back in September last year, we had reported on the Ducati Hypermotard having been spotted testing and production having been confirmed. Well, the bike is now very close to being put into production and final tests are being carried out.

Vittoriano Guareschi, official Ducati MotoGP Team test rider has been testing Hypermotard prototypes at the Mores circuit in Sardinia, Italy. Says Guareschi, ‘The bike is fantastic! It's so much fun to ride that you lose all track of time, and you never want to get off it. The bike's just perfect, well balanced, smooth and, above all, a true Ducati. These tests have allowed us to define the setup and make a few final modifications before the bike goes into production . Everything is on schedule.’ Sounds good. This should indeed be one bike to watch out for...

Update (16th May, 2007): So now that the Hypermotard is finally out, here are some pics and videos of SBK rider Ruben Xaus having a bit of fun on the thing.

Ruben Xaus shows how the Hypermotard is meant to be ridden!

Also see:
Alfa Romeo join forces with Ducati WSB
Wonder scooter: Gilera Fuoco 500
New bikes from Benelli this year?
Radical new sportsbikes from Aprilia

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Buell to do trackdays, enter off-road bikes market

Buell plan to do trackdays in the US and allow people to experience their bikes

Buell have just launched what they’re calling the ‘Inside Pass,’ essentially a trackday program which will allow American riders to experience some of the best racing circuits in the US. All motorcycle riders can participate (including those who do not own a Buell...), and they will also have the opportunity to test ride some of the newest Buell bikes on the track. More details on the Buell website.

On a different note, the innovative American company is also planning to launch an off-road motorcycle, which would be a closed-course competition model. But don’t rush off to your local Buell dealership just yet – this new machine is still about two years away from hitting showrooms...

Buell babes
Buell babes

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

The V-Rex: Sometimes, dreams do come true...

Should be just the thing for tootling down to the supermarket for a six-pack of beer...

Back in December 2003, Aussie designer Tim Cameron made a sketch of his dream cruiser and then made a 3D computer rendering of the bike. US-based Christian Travert, who had worked on the Y2K jet bike earlier, took it up from there and decided to actually build the bike. And it wasn’t just about building a one-off show bike – Christian wanted to put the bike into regular production.

Since then, Christian has set up Travertson Inc., in Fort Lauderdale in the US – a full-fledged factory where Cameron’s dream cruiser (now called the V-Rex) – would be made. And while the machine retains the far-out styling which Cameron dreamt up, it’s a fully functional real-world motorcycle. Guess dreams do come true sometimes!

For more details, go to the Travertson website

MV Agusta F4 312R: The fastest production motorcycle in the world!

Don't even think of racing your Hayabusa against this...

There’s a new MV Agusta F4 available now – the 312R – and guess what the ‘312’ in the name signifies? Yeah, the bike can hit a top speed of 312km/h – take that you ZZR1400 and Hayabusa owners!

Apart from the gorgeous styling, the new F4 312R also gets better suspension – 50mm Marzocchi forks (carbon-nitride treated, and featuring 13 compression and 22 rebound settings...) and a Sachs monoshock with double hydraulic compression settings (whatever that means...) It also gets very light, forged, Y-spoke aluminium Brembo wheels and brakes with radial mount calipers.

The F4 312R’s 1000cc inline-four makes more than 180 horsepower at 12,400rpm and is fully Euro 3 compliant. More important for many would be the fact that apart from new white and black paint schemes, the bike will also be available in the classic MV Agusta red/silver livery. Ooohhh... :-)

2007 Repsol-replica Honda Fireblade CBR1000RR

The 2007 Repsol-replica CBR1000RR. A must-have for Hayden fans...

To celebrate Nicky Hayden's 2006 MotoGP world championship, Honda are doing a limited edition Repsol-replica Fireblade CBR1000RR. The bike, which will be available in Europe and the US later this month, is the second Repsol-rep Fireblade – Honda did the first one back in 2005. Repsol first sponsored Honda’s motorcycle racing effort in 1995, with Mick Doohan riding the championship-winning NSR500 at that time.

The 2007 Repsol-rep Fireblade features PGM-DSFI dual sequential fuel injection (first seen on Honda’s RC211V MotoGP bike), a mass-centralised chassis, gravity die-cast aluminium frame, the Unit-Pro-Arm swingarm, radial-mount front brake callipers and an electronic steering damper. We don’t know how the bike stacks up to the 2007 GSX-R1000 or the latest R1 in terms of outright performance, but the Repsol livery alone should be worth an additional 2bhp at least, eh...?

Also see:
2007 BMW K1200R Sport
Limited edition MV Agusta F4 CC
Limited edition Moto Corse Ducati and MV Agusta bikes
Looking inside the 2007 Honda RC212V

Monday, March 12, 2007

The saga of the HRC Honda NSR500

The great American racer, Freddie Spencer, with his Honda NS500
Starting with 1985 and ending with the 2001 season, the Honda NSR500 won no less than ten 500cc motorcycle roadracing world championships. And that’s not counting the 1983 500cc world championship, which Freddie Spencer won on the NSR’s predecessor – the three-cylinder Honda NS500. Spencer later went on to win the 1985 500cc championship on the NSR500, and amazingly, also won the 250cc world championship that year, aboard a Honda NSR250!

Fiesty Australian, Wayne Gardner won the 1987 500c world championship aboard his Rothmans Honda NSR500
Aussie rider Wayne Gardner took the 1987 500cc crown riding his Rothmans Honda NSR500, and then American rider and multi-time world champ, Eddie Lawson won the 1989 500cc championship – again on a Honda NSR500.

American racing legend, Eddie Lawson won 500cc world championships with Yamaha in 1984, 1986 and 1988. He then moved to Honda for 1989 and won his last 500cc title aboard his Honda NSR500
From 1990 to 1992, Rainey picked up three world championships aboard his Yamaha YZR500, and Kevin Schwantz won the 1993 title on his Suzuki RGV500. But from then onwards, the Honda NSR500 ruled the 500cc class for six straight years, with the mighty Mick Doohan winning five world championships from 1994 to 1998, and Spanish rider Alex Criville taking the 1999 500cc title.

There was no beating Mick 'The Dominant' Doohan between 1994 and 1998. Mick's talent combined with NSR500 power meant five successive world championships for the Aussie rider
With the two-stroke era coming to an end, the NSR500 had its last outing in the hands of Valentino Rossi, who won the 2001 500cc championship aboard this bike. Of course, he went on to win another two MotoGP world championships aboard Honda machines – the five-cylinder RC211V – but even he agrees that the two-stroke NSR500 was much more exciting to ride.

Rossi won his first 500cc world title in 2001, aboard this NSR500. From 2002 onwards, it would be the four-stroke Honda RC211V...
Throughout its fifteen-year saga, the two-stroke, V4 Honda NSR500 was the very personification of raw, unbridled power, speed and acceleration. Eddie Lawson’s 1989 machine made 165bhp@12,000rpm and was capable of doing 300km/h. With its chassis struggling to cope with all that power, and with the mighty V4 making mincemeat of the bike’s tyres, the late-1980s NSR was a barely-contained wild animal, and needed the supreme riding talents of a man like Lawson for the bike to be able to win consistently. That, and the genius of HRC’s ace mechanic, the legendary Erv Kanemoto.

With five 500cc world championships won aboard the Honda NSR500, Mick Doohan was by far the most successful HRC rider in the 1990s. And going by this pic, his popularity has not diminished... :-)
By the early-1990s, the NSR500 had evolved into a friendlier machine. With computer-controlled engine management systems replacing carburetors, the NSR’s two-stroke V4 was making its 190-200 horsepower in a more controllable fashion. The ‘big bang’ engine debuted in 1992, where the firing order was such that the NSR’s V4 would behave more on the lines of a big single, rather than a vastly more frenzied four-cylinder unit. This made the bike more controllable and ultimately, reduced the chances of a highside.

Later, in the late-1990s, when other manufacturers also started building ‘big bang’ engines, Doohan actually went back to the earlier type of firing order to again get an edge over other riders! So yes, a large part of the NSR’s success was also due to rider skills and sheer talent, but that takes away nothing from the fact that the Honda 500cc GP bike was the very pinnacle of two-stroke racebike engineering. Pedrosa and the RC212V may be a great combo, but we still miss the sight of Doohan going sideways on his Repsol Honda NSR500…

Awesome video from the 1996 500cc motorcycle GP racing season. Honda NSR500 riders Mick Doohan and Alex Criville go hammer and tongs at each other. Superb!



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