Friday, October 29, 2010

Benelli to celebrate 100th Anniversary at the 2010 EICMA

Benelli 100th Anniversary Benelli 100th Anniversary
The legendary Benelli 750 Sei (top, left) from the 1970s, with its six-cylinder engine, and the special edition TNT Century Racer (top, right) that will be unveiled at the EICMA next month...
Benelli 100th Anniversary Benelli 100th Anniversary
Benelli 100th Anniversary Benelli 100th Anniversary Benelli 100th Anniversary

Legendary Italian motorcycle manufacturers, Benelli are celebrating their 100th Anniversary this year and the Pesaro-based company will showcase some new bikes (actually, tweaked versions of its current line-up...) at the EICMA Show next month.

Now owned by a Chinese company, QianJiang, Benelli are looking at developing new scooters and motorcycles, which they hope to put into production over the next two years. The company is also looking improving build quality and will work towards building renewed trust within its dealer network as well as with customers. QianJiang president, Lin Huazhong says 2011 will be a special year for Benelli and that they will celebrate the company’s 100th anniversary in suitable style.

Enthusiasts would definitely remember the 1970s Benelli 750 Sei, the first production streetbike to be fitted with a six-cylinder engine. The Italian company was also quite successful in grand prix racing until a few decades ago, with Dario Ambrosini winning the 250cc class world championship aboard a Benelli in 1950 and Kel Carruthers repeating the feat in 1969.

At the EICMA Show next month, Benelli will unveil special edition ‘Century Racer’ versions of the TNT 899 and TNT 1130, with uprated brakes and suspension, revised engine mapping and new paintjobs. The hard-core Benelli TNT R160 will also get more of the above.

We quite like love Benelli and we hope they’ll do well in the years to come. We wish them all the best. Now, where’s that modern-day equivalent of the 750 Sei, with a 999cc, 210bhp six-cylinder engine...

The 2011 Benelli line-up. Ladies shown in the pictures may not be part of the standard equipment
Benelli 100th Anniversary Benelli 100th Anniversary Benelli 100th Anniversary Benelli 100th Anniversary Benelli 100th Anniversary Benelli 100th Anniversary

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

2011 Honda CBR250R: First official pics, specs

2011 Honda CBR250R 2011 Honda CBR250R
You probably wouldn't love it, but it can't be too hard to like the 2011 Honda CBR250R
2011 Honda CBR250R 2011 Honda CBR250R 2011 Honda CBR250R

Honda have released the first official pics and specs for the 2011 CBR250R, an all-new contender in a segment that’s been rather sparsely populated for the last many years. With the demise of two-strokes and the disappearance of great little machines like the Aprilia RS250, Suzuki RGV250, Yamaha TZR250, Kawasaki KR-1 and Honda NSR250, the 250cc class was more or less finished. Only Kawasaki and Hyosung soldiered on, with the Ninja 250R and GTR250 respectively. But now, with the 2011 CBR250R, Honda look all set to bring some new vim and vigour to the 250cc sportsbike segment.

In terms of styling, the new CBR250R is a mini-VFR1200F and works surprisingly well. It’s compact, thoroughly modern, neat and unfussy – we think it’s not bad at all. The engine is a fuel-injected, liquid-cooled, 249cc single-cylinder unit with a four-valve DOHC cylinder head. It produces 26 horsepower and 23Nm of torque, which is not too bad at all. Claimed fuel economy is 27km per litre.

The new Honda comes with a six-speed gearbox and a twin-spar steel chassis with 37mm telescopic forks and Honda’s ‘Pro-Link’ monoshock rear suspension. Honda’s C-ABS anti-lock braking system is optional on the CBR250R, which is definitely a good thing, and the bike’s 166-kilo kerb weight should keep things manageable for those who are new to motorcycles and motorcycling.

The Honda CBR250R rides on 17-inch wheels wearing 110/70 (front) and 140/70 (rear) rubber. There’s a single 296mm brake disc up front, with dual-piston calliper, and 220mm rear disc with single-piston calliper. With the optional Combined-ABS, this should offer safe, effective braking in conditions.

Overall, we quite like the new CBR250R. We don’t suppose we’ll ever love it the way we loved the late, great Aprilia RS250 or the Suzuki RGV250, but as a thoroughly modern, contemporary take on the 250cc commuter-sportsbike, the 2011 CBR isn’t all that bad.

Details on pricing and availability coming soon.

Promo video for the 2011 Honda CBR250R
And this is the the early-1990s Honda CBR250RR. Compare this with the 2011 CBR250R. Progress? A sign of the changing times? A reflection of how things have changed in Japan? Or is it just that younger motorcyclists are getting soft...?!?

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Rage Designs: Casey Stoner replica Ducati Desmosedici RR

Rage Designs Stoner replica Ducati Desmosedici RR Rage Designs Stoner replica Ducati Desmosedici RR Rage Designs Stoner replica Ducati Desmosedici RR
That's Charlie Farley's bike - a Casey Stoner replica Ducati Desmosedici RR, as featured in the December 2010 issue of Fast Bikes magazine. Awesome machine!

What would you do after spending US$72,500/£40,000 on a brand-new Ducati Desmosedici RR, one of the mere 1,500 units ever made? With its 197-horsepower, 989cc V4 engine, full carbonfibre bodywork, Öhlins suspension, chrome-molybdenum trellis frame and dry weight of 171 kilos, the Desmosedici RR is one of the fastest, most powerful, most exotic production bikes ever. And yet, that isn’t necessarily sufficient for everyone…

Charlie Farley isn’t, apparently, the kind of guy who’d be happy with a stock MotoGP-replica, so he took his Desmo RR to Rage Designs for a special paintjob – a replica of the design that Casey Stoner used in the 2009 Australian MotoGP. And then, a few choice bolt-ons were added to the bike – a Termignoni GP exhaust, HM quickshifter and Dynojet Power Commander. The bikini-clad model, however, has been provided by Fast Bikes magazine, who’ve featured Charlie’s Desmosedici RR in their December 2010 issue. Awesome!

Fast Bikes have a great collection of wallpaper here

Casey Stoner in action during the 2009 Aussie MotoGP

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Ducati 9½: A tribute to Ducati’s racing singles

Ducati 9½: Ducati 9½: Ducati 9½:
The Ducati 9½ sure looks good...
Ducati 9½: Ducati 9½: Ducati 9½: Ducati 9½:

Built as a ‘tribute’ to Ducati’s single-cylinder racebikes of yore, this ST2-based Ducati 9½ looks pretty cool. It has a host of mods that include a chassis, fork and front wheel from a Monster 900, rear wheel and electrical wiring from a 916, Laser exhaust, RAD 02 Cafe Racer solo seat and clip-ons and front mudguard made of lightweight aluminium. The ST2 engine has been tuned for improved power delivery.

As you might expect, outright performance from a bike like this isn’t likely to be outstandingly brilliant. But at least in terms of styling, we think this Ducati 9½ works very well indeed.

Via Radical Ducati

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Wunderlich F800GS Light, optimised for off-road use

Wunderlich F800GS Light Wunderlich F800GS Light
The lighter, more powerful Wunderlich F800GS Light...
Wunderlich F800GS Light Wunderlich F800GS Light

‘Never lacking in bite,’ say Wunderlich about their new F800GS Light. ‘Reduced weight, improved power characteristics and previously undreamt-of riding characteristics, opening up new dimensions to the more ambitious rider,’ they add.

Dismissing the stock BMW F800GS as ‘meek and mild,’ Wunderlich have made a number of changes to the bike – an optimised engine management system for improved power delivery and better acceleration, 30kg weight reduction, Xenon headlamps, high-performance exhaust system and custom-built bodywork made of plastic and Kevlar.

The Wunderlich F800GS does away with ABS (because it was deemed ‘completely incompatible with sports use’) and gets an Öhlins rear shock and ‘Intermediate’ off-road sports tyres from Continental. For the committed off-road rider, the bike may indeed make more sense than the stock GS. More details on the Wunderlich website

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Rochelle Gilmore: Lotto Honda rider wins gold medal at 2010 Commonwealth Games

rochelle gilmore 2010 commonwealth games new delhi india rochelle gilmore 2010 commonwealth games new delhi india
Aussie rider Rochelle Gilmore is no stranger to high speeds on two wheels...
rochelle gilmore 2010 commonwealth games new delhi india rochelle gilmore 2010 commonwealth games new delhi india rochelle gilmore 2010 commonwealth games new delhi india

No, there are no motorcycles here. But it is about Honda and speed on two wheels, so we can probably get away with giving it a mention on Faster and Faster. Rochelle Gilmore, team leader of the Lotto Honda Ladies Team, isn’t really as fast as Leslie Porterfield or Trillium Muir, but the spunky 29-year-old from Australia has won a gold medal in the 112km cycle road race at the 2010 Commonwealth Games held in New Delhi, India. ‘I'm thrilled to have won a Commonwealth Games gold medal. It's been a long, tough season and I'm delighted that all the hard work and dedication has paid off,’ says Rochelle.

‘Cycling and the Honda brand have many parallels. Cycling provides green mobility and Honda is a world leader in low emission vehicles,’ says Satoshi Matsuzawa, Honda Australia’s Managing Director and CEO. ‘The technological advancements in cycling mirror the technology breakthroughs we have achieved over the years. Honda started with the humble bicycle, when Mr Soichiro Honda bolted engines to bicycle frames to create our first motorcycle. The rest they say is history. Today, cycle racing quenches our thirst for competition and continues our racing heritage,’ he adds.

Now, we wonder if Rochelle might be contemplating stepping up to a different Honda – a Fireblade or even a CBR600RR – sometime in the near future. If she does, the cycling champ might just end up providing some high-speed competition to Ms Porterfield and Ms Muir...!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

2011 Ducati Diavel: First official photograph

2011 Ducati Diavel 2011 Ducati Diavel
The 2011 Ducati Diavel. "Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil..."

Ducati have released the first official photograph of the new Diavel, which will be unveiled at the EICMA Show in Milan in November this year. Ducati claim the bike is ‘evil, like the devil,’ though we aren’t entirely convinced. Lardy, slow-handling cruisers aren’t Ducati’s thing…

In any case, the 2011 Ducati Diavel, which weighs 207 kilos, is fitted with the Bolognese company’s superbike-derived Testastretta L-Twin, ABS and traction control. At around 150-160 horsepower, the Diavel probably wouldn't accelerate as hard as a Yamaha VMAX, but we suppose if you always wanted an Italian-built muscle-cruiser, your wish might come true very soon. We’ll stick with the 1198SP though, thanks very much.

Update: For high-res official pics of the Diavel, see here

Monday, October 11, 2010

2010 INTERMOT photo gallery

2010 Intermot 2010 Intermot
Glimpses of the 2010 INTERMOT motorcycle show held in Cologne, Germany
2010 Intermot 2010 Intermot 2010 Intermot

Do you love INTERMOT? We do. We weren’t there, unfortunately, but we sure wish we could have visited Germany to attend this year’s INTERMOT motorcycle show in Cologne. More than 200,000 bike enthusiasts from 108 countries around the world visited the show this year. More than 1,100 manufacturers, from 40 countries, attended the show and represented no less than 1,596 brands.

For those who couldn’t visit Cologne, here’s a photo gallery from the 2010 INTERMOT. Enjoy.

2010 Intermot 2010 Intermot 2010 Intermot
2010 Intermot 2010 Intermot 2010 Intermot
2010 Intermot 2010 Intermot 2010 Intermot
2010 Intermot 2010 Intermot 2010 Intermot
2010 Intermot 2010 Intermot 2010 Intermot
2010 Intermot 2010 Intermot 2010 Intermot
2010 Intermot 2010 Intermot 2010 Intermot
2010 Intermot 2010 Intermot 2010 Intermot
2010 Intermot 2010 Intermot 2010 Intermot
2010 Intermot 2010 Intermot 2010 Intermot
2010 Intermot 2010 Intermot 2010 Intermot

Images: INTERMOT Cologne



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