Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Brown wings it, rides the 2012 Yamaha R1 around the Isle of Man

2012 Yamaha R1 test
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The Yamaha R1 is no longer cutting-edge stuff - bikes like the Panigale and RSV4 have left it trailing in their wake. But The One can still just about hold its own...

Here at Faster and Faster, we quite like the Yamaha R1 and to be honest, we feel a bit sad that the bike has fallen behind its European competition in recent years. The Panigale, S1000RR and RSV4 have moved the litre-class superbike game to a different league, but is the R1 really a dinosaur? Umm… maybe not.

Bike journalist Roland Brown recently tested the 2012 Yamaha R1 around the Isle of Man – a daunting 60km of endlessly twisting mountain roads that are a serious challenge for even the best bikes and riders. Here are some excerpts from what he had to say about the R1:

Its riding position is roomy, with relatively high, flat clip-ons and plenty of legroom. Its fairing is wide and protective, its mirrors superbly clear, its suspension compliant and comfortable. Added to that was the unique growl and feel of the crossplane crankshaft – more like a V4 than an inline-four and enhanced in this bike’s case by a pair of gorgeous sounding Akrapovic exhaust cans.

I loved the Yamaha from the moment I set off. On the island, the R1 impressed with its character and all-around ability as much as its pure performance. That crossplane engine is gloriously grunty, firing out of turns from 6,000rpm or below. And with 180bhp to call on, it had heaps of top-end grunt too – easily enough to make it truly fast and scary when blasting up the mountain.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Franco Uncini: “I still enjoy motorcycle grand prix racing, I still enjoy it every day…”

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It's been 30 years since Franco Uncini won his 500cc motocycle grand prix racing world championship, but he's found a way to stay on in racing and still enjoys every bit of it

Today, Suzuki are no longer present in MotoGP, which is such a pity – especially so when you consider the fact that three decades ago, it was a Suzuki rider who won the 500cc roadracing world championship. Born in 1955 in the village of Recanati, in Italy, started racing motorcycles in 1974. The talented Italian moved up the ranks swiftly and reached the pinnacle of the sport when he won the 500cc title in 1982.

For their September/October 2012 issue, Classic Racer magazine have done a fabulous interview with Uncini, who’s a MotoGP riders safety representative these days, a position he’s held for the last two decades. Here are some excerpts from what Uncini had to say to Classic Racer:

On getting started with bikes

The first bike I had was a Peripoli Giulietta [and] after that I moved to a Honda twin-cylinder four-stroke 125cc. When I turned 18 and had four years of experience, I requested of my father that I buy a Laverda 750SFC. I liked very much this bike, the orange colour and the noise was fantastic. The funny thing is, the 750SFC was no longer in production – they were changing the model and told me they didn’t have any left. I was insistent I would have this bike. Finally I succeeded and they created this bike from spare parts at Laverda.

On getting started with motorcycle racing

After about six months [after he got his Laverda 750], I went to Misano, which was only about 120km from my village, just to do some laps. After about three or four times testing, I invited my father, who was not in favour of this. When he discovered that I was quite quick, we convinced him to go racing. My first race was a production race called the Moto di Serie Championship, in 1974, and I finished third with my Laverda.

Jay Leno's Garage: 1922 Megola Touring

This 1920s Megola Touring, with its front wheel mounted radial engine, looks pretty fascinating to us, even though Jay says he wouldn't want to ride one in LA traffic...

Monday, August 27, 2012

Richard Hammond on the aural pleasures of motorcycling

Basically, the Hamster loves motorcycle noise...

We quite like Top Gear and we adore the TG trio of Clarkson, May and Hammond. Over the years, Clarkson has gone from being irreverent, which was always good, to being a bit irrelevant… which is also all right we suppose, since Top Gear seems to be as popular as ever. We also support TG because James May and Richard Hammond love motorcycles, even though they don’t actually test bikes on the program. That’s actually quite a sad thing – TG would probably be a 100 times better if they also had motorcycles on the show…

Anyway, in the column which he’s written for TG’s September 2012 issue, Hammond talks about noise. The kind of noise we love. He starts with saying he likes the way cars like the Subaru Impreza, Porsche 911, Jaguar E-type and Ford Mustang V8 sound - here are some excellent car reviews by the way - but then moves on to bikes. “You are excluding yourself from a whole symphony or aural titillation easily the equivalent of what is on offer from the four-wheeled section of the same orchestra,” says the Hamster, to those who slag off bikes because they don’t like motorcycles and are, perhaps, too scared to ride one.

Enjoy the shrill sparkle of a high-revving Honda S2000 zinging along? “If you were but able to understand, the piece might have been enhanced for you by the superb solo of a well-ridden two-stroke twin, maybe an old KR1S, shrieking and yelping as the heroic rider keep the revs in the impossibly narrow powerband and wrings its neck,” says Hammond. “A large-capacity V-twin, bellowing through an aftermarket can before coming to idle with the clutch whirring noisily in its basket means there’s a big sports bike, probably a Ducati, rolling up, so there’ll almost certainly be another along soon,” he adds.

John McGuinness on a Honda Fireblade takes on the Stig in a McLaren MP4-12C GT

Honda vs McLaren
Honda vs McLaren Honda vs McLaren Honda vs McLaren
The bike weighs 165 kilos and packs 210 horsepower. The car weighs 1,235kg and has 513bhp. Can McGuinness on the Honda beat the Stig in the McLaren...?

For their July issue last year, Top Gear had gotten John McGuinness to drive a Ferrari 458 and McLaren MP4-12C for them at the Isle of Man. This year, for their September issue, TG have got McGuinness to come out and play with them again. Only, this time The Morecambe Missile is up against the infamous Stig. It’s McGuinness and his TT Legends Fireblade versus the Stig and a McLaren MP4-12C GT.

John’s TT Legends Honda Fireblade’s race-prepped engine kicks out 210bhp. The bike weighs 165kg, which means a power-to-weight ratio of 1.27:1. Top speed is 320km/h. The Stig’s machine is a McLaren MP4-12C GT, a car which is competing in this year’s FIA GT1 championship. It weighs 1,235kg and its 3.8-litre twin-turbo V8 produces 513 horsepower. The power-to-weight ratio is 0.415:1, barely a third of the bike’s number.

So how did it pan out? McGuinness did a best lap time of 1 minute and 17.4 seconds, which was soundly thrashed by the Stig, whose best lap time was 1 minute and 13.2 seconds. How did this happen? Well, the bike had potholes and uneven tarmac and slippery surfaces to contend with, while the car, with its full aero package (which boosts downforce…) and four fat and grippy tyres, simply steamrolled the circuit into submission.

Maybe this just shows that sometimes, even one of the fastest, most talented motorcycle roadracers in the world can’t beat the Stig in a fast car around a racetrack…

Source: Top Gear

Friday, August 24, 2012

Captain America rides again... and this time, he has a sword and a leather jacket

"The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men. Blessed is he who, in the name of charity and good will, shepherds the weak through the valley of darkness, for he is truly his brother's keeper and the finder of lost children. And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger those who would attempt to poison and destroy my brothers. And you will know my name is the Lord when I lay my vengeance upon thee."


Asphalt Adventurers: Multistrada vs Stelvio vs Explorer vs Ténéré

In this Cycle World shootout, it's the Ducati Multistrada S Touring vs Moto Guzzi Stelvio 1200 NTX vs Triumph Tiger Explorer vs Yamaha Super Ténéré

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Up for Adventure: Stan Evans' 4,000-mile ride on a Triumph Speed Triple

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Stan Evans tells the story of his 4,000-mile journey on a Triumph Speed Triple. It's an adventure, and if you love to ride motorcycles, it's a story you must read...

Salt Lake City > Bryce Canyon > Colorado River > Grand Canyon > Route 66 > Lake Havasu > San Diego > Los Angeles > Santa Barbara > San Francisco > Salt Lake City

It's difficult to get lost these days, cellphones and GPS make it impossible lose my way and with Twitter, Facebook and Instagram I can take the world with me at will. I'm guilty of it but the roar of riding a motorcycle drowns out the voices of the technoverse. Answering phone calls at 100 miles per hour is not an option. The oncoming rush of the road and the freedom of escaping the box to see without blinders awaits.

Sure it’s dangerous. I’ve laid a few bikes down but what keeps me coming back is living in the present. I love that feeling so once a year I go on a pilgrimage to put myself out there(and hopefully make it back). This year, my loose plan was to ride a giant loop from Salt Lake City, San Diego Santa Barbara, San Francisco back to Salt Lake City. I’d always dreamed about riding Hwy1 on my motorcycle. Other than that my plan was pretty open. The day I was to set out, my morning departure turned afternoon. Outside of St. George I’m stopped by a herd of sheep crossing the road and soon, dark encompasses the landscape. A roadside ditch becomes accommodations for the evening.

Morning leads to unexpected surprises. I make decisions based on which road looks curvier. I ditch hwy 15 in favor of the 20 to the 89. I’ve never ridden either and an unexpected race with an Audi S4 brings the excitement up a notch. Barns and farm animals whisk by but occasionally a thrift store or abandoned car catches my eye and I stop to take a picture. Bryce Canyon blurs in the distance as the heat rises in my leathers. The shade of Kaibab Forest offers a perfect sanctuary for a nap but I moving on to the Colorado river. Raging across the plains I make it to the Grand Canyon by late afternoon. The light is amazing. Lines and shadows are slanted so much that it’s almost impossible to get a bad view but I blow it because it’s going to be dark soon and I don’t get to see as much as I want or really take enough photos to satisfy.

Williams is the next town on the map. It’s a good hour and half away and it’s already getting cold. I manage to make it and eventually realize I'm on Route 66. Conjured thoughts of James Dean enter my head but I’m freezing too much to really process them. My mind is focusing on finding a hotel room and a hot shower.

Friday, August 17, 2012

The Story of the Gyronaut X-1

Built in the mid-1960s by Bob Leppan, Alex Tremulis and Jim Bruflodt, the Gyronaut X-1 held the absolute Land Speed Record for motorcycles from 1966 to 1970

With Bob Leppan riding it, the Gyronaut X-1 land speed record setting motorcycle could hit speeds of more than 390km/h. The bike had been designed by noted automobile designer, Alex Tremulis (who's also worked for Auburn-Cord-Duesenberg, Tucker and Subaru, among others...) and is now in the hands of his his nephew, Steve, who has teamed up with Bob Leppan to restore the machine to its former glory.

Aprilia RSV4 Factory APRC Carbon Special Edition is insanely lustworthy

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The Aprilia RSV4 Factory APRC Carbon Special Edition has a very, very long name, an equally long list of exotic, race-spec parts and full carbon-kevlar bodywork. We love it!

The good folks at Aprilia Australia weren’t, apparently, too happy with the stock RSV4 Factory, so they’ve gone ahead and created this – the RSV4 Factory APRC Carbon Special Edition, which is absolutely dripping in the best bits from from companies like Akrapovic, Brembo, Ohlins and Pirelli.

The limited edition RSV4 is fitted with a host of billet aluminium parts (rearsets, brake and clutch levers, handlebars and weights, rear stand pick up knobs…), full carbon-kevlar bodywork, tinted screen, high-performance Akrapovic titanium exhaust system, Ohlins TTX rear shock, fully adjustable fork and steering damper, Brembo gold series brakes with four-piston monobloc calipers at the front, and Pirelli Supercorsa SP tyres.

With 185 horsepower from its 999cc 65-degree V4, APRC electronics package (which includes traction control, wheelie control, launch control and a quick shifter) and 169-kilo dry weight, the stock RSV4 Factory is already one of the most impressive superbikes on the planet. The Aussie Carbon Special Edition just turns everything up by a few notches. We’re certain we can’t afford one but if you’re interested, you can send them an enquiry here

Jay Leno's Garage: 1931 Henderson KJ Police Special

"This was the superbike of the 1930s," says Jay Leno, about his 1931 Henderson KJ Police Special. "It did 110mph, which in 1931 was really, really fast...," he adds

And here's another one...

Monday, August 13, 2012

Carlin Dunne, Ducati, win 2012 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb

Carlin Dunne, Ducati, win 2012 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb
Carlin Dunne, Ducati, win 2012 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb Carlin Dunne, Ducati, win 2012 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb Carlin Dunne, Ducati, win 2012 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb
If you think 320km/h in MotoGP is tough, try doing 230km/h at the Pikes Peak. Go off the mountain at those speeds and you know what's going to happen...

Carlin Dunne, riding a Ducati Multistrada 1200 S, won the 2012 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb today, setting a new course record for motorcycles in the process. Dunne’s win marks Ducati’s third straight victory at the historic ‘Race to the Clouds’ Pikes Peak hill climb event.

Both Dunne and the other Ducati rider, Greg Tracy, finished the race in less than 10 minutes, which is a first for any motorcycle in the race’s 90-year history. Dunne crossed the finish line at the 14,110-foot summit of Pikes Peak with a record-setting time of 9:52.819, while Tracy, who was less than six seconds behind, took second spot with his time of 9:58.262.

‘Today was an emotional day. Getting across the finish line in under 10 minutes is an achievement we’re very proud of. When we heard that we won and broke the record for the second time, I was speechless. The one-two finish proves the Ducati Multistrada 1200 S is the ultimate bike to conquer Pikes Peak,’ said Dunne. And, indeed, Dunne’s victory is no mean feat – the rider hit speeds of more than 230km/h on the mountain’s straights, and negotiated all of 156 turns, including hairpin, blind, decreasing radius and multi-apex turns, while consistently gaining elevation up the very technical 20km course.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Ducati Multistrada 1200 S, Audi RS5 have a go at the Pikes Peak

After you've enjoyed this footage of a Ducati Multistrada 1200 S and Audi RS5 speeding up the Pikes Peak, you may want to take a look at this contest which they've got going, where you stand a chance to experience these two machines for yourself...

Friday, August 10, 2012

Valentino Rossi back with the Yamaha Factory MotoGP team for 2013-14

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Two years ago, it was "Bye Bye Baby," and now Rossi is crawling back to Yamaha...

Valentino Rossi will leave Ducati at the end of this year and will rejoin the Yamaha Factory Racing MotoGP team for 2013 and 2014. The Doctor hasn’t been able to win a single race on the Ducati Desmosedici GP11 and GP12 bikes, though he did manage to take a second-place finish in France this year.

Rossi won four MotoGP world championships (2004, 2005, 2008 and 2009) and 46 races with Yamaha from 2004-2010, before joining the Ducati team in 2011. The Rossi-Ducati Italian dream team, along with Aussie mech Jeremy Burgess, was expected to deliver great results but that never happened. The partnership never seemed to get off the ground, race wins never came and Rossi went from making noises about development work to pronouncing the Ducati MotoGP bike unrideable.

Despite The Doctor’s public outbursts about how terrible the Ducati bike is, Ducati have maintained a dignified silence throughout, never ever implying that the lack of results may have been because of the rider rather than because of the bike. In the end, even though we’re huge fans of The Doctor, we have to admit this whole thing makes Rossi look pretty silly. Back in 2010, Burgess and Rossi announced their move to Ducati with much fanfare and blowing of their own trumpets and two years later, they have copious amounts of egg on their faces – they’re looking silly, they’re looking like fools.

So Rossi is crawling back to Yamaha now, with his tail firmly clenched between his legs. We think Yamaha are being pretty gracious in taking him back, given his lack of results over the last two years. Whether or not Valentino can start winning races again on the Yamaha is not really the point – he probably will, despite younger, hungrier riders out there who’re baying for his blood. But the ‘superhuman’ aura which The Doctor once had is no more.

We love Ducati and we hope they’ll be able to find a talented young rider who’ll be able to do what Rossi couldn’t – win races aboard Ducati’s MotoGP bike. We wish Ducati all the best for 2013 and 2014, and we hope some Ducati rider – be it Nicky Hayden or anyone else – beats Rossi and his Yamaha in a few races next year!



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