Thursday, November 29, 2012

In conversation with Leah Petersen, motorcycle stunt rider extraordinaire

Leah Petersen, motorcycle stunt rider
Leah Petersen, motorcycle stunt rider Leah Petersen, motorcycle stunt rider Leah Petersen, motorcycle stunt rider
You have to adore someone who looks like that (top) and who can also ride like this (above). Yes, the gorgeous Leah Petersen is the girl of our dreams...!

‘One day, I decided I should stunt my motorcycle fulltime, professionally. I quit my job and started a news site for the sport of stunting, then toured America in 2010 and all of Europe in 2011, competing and performing shows,’ says Leah Petersen on her website. ‘After two years of shooting in the dark developing a career as a female motorcycle stunting artist, I see where I fit into the world of extreme sports and have refined my goals, method and approach. I stunt full-sized sportbikes. I am also a tall, blond, American girl – people just like that combination I guess,’ she adds. Totally our kind of lady, then. So, of course, we caught up for a chat with her, and here’s what Lead had to say:

On how she got started with bikes and stunt riding

I got my first streetbike at 19, a GSX-R600. I rode streets in New York, Italy and Los Angeles. Finally, in Los Angeles I learned about the sport of stunt riding when I went to an XDL Show and I bought a stuntbike the next week! I had been stunting as a hobby for about four years when I thought it would be fun to ride full time. We my partner and I quit our jobs and started the site, to help more people have the opportunity to stunt. My family is quite supportive – they are accustomed to my big, wild dreams…

On how she fits in, in a sport that’s largely dominated by men

I would say the sport is certainly dominated by men. People react differently to a female rider. From my experience normally women are not as serious about bikes – they might ride a bit, but soon they leave the sport. For me it’s important to show by example that I am in the sport for the love of motorcycles – and I am here to stay. It’s all about confidence. Being in shape helps, being strong, flexible and agile is important when training.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Suzuki Virus 1000: 185bhp naked GSX-R1000 busts out from Switzerland

Suzuki Virus 1000, a naked GSX-R1000 from Switzerland
Suzuki Virus 1000, a naked GSX-R1000 from Switzerland Suzuki Virus 1000, a naked GSX-R1000 from Switzerland Suzuki Virus 1000, a naked GSX-R1000 from Switzerland
This is the Suzuki Tuono V4R Virus 1000, a 185bhp naked GSX-R1000 that Suzuki themselves forgot to build. Now all it needs is a Garrett turbocharger...

Some rue the fact that Suzuki have never done a naked version of the GSX-R1000. Even the declawed, entirely domesticated GSR750 isn’t really a naked GSX-R750, so for those looking for a super-naked/streetfighter from Suzuki, there are simply no options left after the recent demise of the B-King. So trust one of the most peaceful nations on the planet – Switzerland – to step in and create a bit of a ruckus. Witness the Suzuki Virus (yeah, well, who knew…), a Swiss-made GSX-R1000 sans most of its bodywork and with the added aggression of, say, an Aprilia Tuono V4R.

Created by Frankonia AG (Suzuki Switzerland) and Moto Virus AG, the Suzuki Virus uses the GSX-R1000 engine, chassis and suspension, a custom-built exhaust (two different options are available), custom fabricated side panels, the headlamp assembly from a GSR750 and, of course, high, wide aluminium handlebars to complete the ‘streetfighter’ package. In Switzerland, the bike costs CHF 19,990 and if you buy one, you have a large list of optional parts and accessories that you can choose from. We like the bike… kind of. Though unless they bolted on a Garrett turbocharger to this thing and boosted power to 220bhp, we’d just stick to a regular 2013 GSX-R1000 if it was our money…

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Commonwealth Games: Ducati Diavel Turbo is ready to play

Ducati Diavel Turbo
Ducati Diavel Turbo Ducati Diavel Turbo Ducati Diavel Turbo Ducati Diavel Turbo
A 236bhp turbo Diavel should be just the thing for a relaxed, lazy weekend...

Based in Louisville, Kentucky, in the US, Commonwealth Motorcycles have built something that nobody else in the world has – a turbocharged Ducati Diavel. With 162bhp and 127Nm of torque from its 1198cc ‘Testastretta’ L-Twin, it’s not like the stock Diavel really needs a turbo. So, why build one? ‘The folks at Commonwealth motorcycles wanted a winter project and, well, wouldn’t the Diavel be better with a turbocharger?’ says Chad Wells, service manager at Commonwealth. ‘And another reason to do a turbocharger conversion on the Diavel is because, to date, nobody else has,’ he adds.

‘I think the Diavel’s styling is gorgeous, the design and overall appearance for a sport cruiser is superb. The classic Ducati single-sided swingarm, machined wheels, matching machined rotors, etc. With the mufflers gone, we were able to open up the whole right hand side of the bike. You see the beefy swingarm and all of the killer-looking wheel now. It just showcases what Ducati had hidden behind humdrum mufflers,’ says Chad, talking about the turbocharged Diavel that Commonwealth have built.

With a Garret GT2860R turbo bolted on and running 8lb of boost, the Commonwealth turbo Diavel now packs 236 horsepower at 10,000rpm (measured at the rear wheel!) and 127Nm of torque at 8,000 revs. ‘We had been selling a few Diavels at the dealership and when I rode the bike, I fell in love, but I felt like there was something missing. With a long wheelbase and a big fat rear tyre, the Diavel is probably uniquely suited to handling even more power than the stock Testastretta engine kicks out since, unlike most other performance cruiser options, it has highly specialized suspension, wheels and brakes straight from the factory,’ says Chad. ‘I planned on being first one in the world to do this, and it looks like I am. I hope Ducati enthusiasts will enjoy it and be excited to see the finished product. I don’t think we will develop or sell kits, but you never know,’ he adds.

Hmm… so a 236bhp turbo Diavel? Oh, well, why the hell not… :-D

Friday, November 23, 2012

Bosch develops a more advanced lean-angle sensor for motorcycles

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With Bosch's new lean-angle sensor working with the bike's traction control system, the new KTM 1190 Adventure should be pretty capable when pushing hard off-road...

Bosch have developed a new, more advanced lean-angle sensor – the SU-MM5.10 – for motorcycles, and the 2013 KTM 1190 Adventure and Adventure R models are the very first bikes to be fitted with this sensor. Weighing 230kg and powered by a 1195cc, 150bhp V-twin, the 1190 Adventure is also fitted with ABS and traction control systems developed by Bosch and the new lean angle sensor helps those system work better.

‘The SU-MM5.10 lean-angle sensor measures a number of physical values more than 100 times per second. These values include longitudinal, lateral, and vertical acceleration, as well as the motorcycle’s yaw and roll rates. An algorithm developed by Bosch uses these ‘5D’ inertial sensor values to determine the lean and pitch angles, and communicates them to the bike’s CAN bus,’ says Matthias Mörbe, who heads sensors and sensor systems at Bosch Engineering GmbH.

‘This data is needed for a range of safety functions on the motorcycle, such as traction control, cornering light function, launch control, and wheelie-limiting function. The sensor values will also be used in the future as the basis for functions such as corner ABS, fall detection, wheelie control, and semi-active suspension,’ he adds. The lean-angle sensor works with the bike’s traction control system and works out the maximum permissible drive power when the bike is leaning over while cornering.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

EBR working with Hero MotoCorp to develop a 250cc sportsbike

The Karizma ZMR, with a 225cc single-cylinder engine, is currently Hero MotoCorp's biggest, sportiest bike. Which is not saying much. But things will change in 2014

When we spoke to Erik Buell earlier this year, one of the questions we asked him was about his company’s association with India’s Hero MotoCorp Ltd., but Erik declined to say anything much about it. That’s understandable, of course, given the contractual obligations he might be under. But now, according to a report in The Economic Times, EBR and Hero MotoCorp engineers are working jointly to develop an all-new 250cc sportsbike, which is likely to be launched in India – and perhaps in the US as well – by mid-2014.

Most people might not know that India’s Hero MotoCorp, which had a tie-up with Honda until about two years ago, is the largest two-wheeler manufacturer in the world, with sales of more than 500,000 scooters and motorcycles every month. Yes, that’s right – the company sells more than six million bikes per annum. Of course, given the way the Indian motorcycle market is right now, most of these bikes are small-capacity, cheap-and-cheerful, commuter-type machines. However, the Indian market is evolving gradually and the demand for bigger, sportier bikes is picking up. The Honda CBR250R, Kawasaki Ninja 250R and the KTM 200 Duke are all already on sale in India and Hero, in association with EBR, intends to take a slice of this segment with its new 250cc machine.

2013 Energica electric streetbike prototype shown at the EICMA

2013 Energica electric streetbike prototype
2013 Energica electric streetbike prototype 2013 Energica electric streetbike prototype 2013 Energica electric streetbike prototype 2013 Energica electric streetbike prototype
The Energica electric streetbike prototype, at this years EICMA in Milan

Based in Modena, Italy, the CRP Group displayed the latest iteration of its electric streetbike prototype, the Energica. A zero-emissions vehicle, the Energica is fitted with a lithium-polymer battery pack that feeds the bike’s PMAC oil-cooled synchronous electric motor, which produces 100kW and 160Nm of torque. With the battery fully charged, the Energica has a range of 150km and a top speed of 220km/h.

Apart from its unconventional powertrain, the Energica is pretty much a standard-spec sportsbike – fully adjustable 43mm USD Marzocchi fork, fully adjustable Sachs monoshock, Sachs steering damper, 17-inch Marchesini alloys shod with 120/70 and 180/55 Pirelli Diablo Rosso II tyres, Brembo brakes (twin 310mm discs at the front with radial-mount 4-piston calipers), multi-function LCD digital instrument panel and full LED headlamps. The bike is expected to go into production in 2014 and we think it looks good…

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

2013 CR&S Duu Alegher, Nottenebia, Sbirluscenta shown at the EICMA

2013 CR&s Duu line-up 2013 CR&s Duu line-up
2013 CR&s Duu line-up 2013 CR&s Duu line-up 2013 CR&s Duu line-up
Beautifully built but pricey, the 2013 CR&S Duu range is not for everyone...

Roberto Crepaldi set up CR&S (acronym for Café Racers and Superbikes) in 1992 and two decades later, the company seems to be holding its own – they had no less than three new variants of the Duu musclebike on display at the EICMA motorcycle show in Milan this year. Their hard-to-pronounce names notwithstanding, the CR&S Duu Alegher, Duu Nottenbia and Duu Sbirluscenta are handsome machines and all three are powered by the same S&S ‘X-Wedge’ air-cooled OHV 1916cc American-made V-twin that produces 91bhp at 5100rpm and 148Nm of torque at 2,500-4,700rpm.

All three Duu bikes also share the same chassis – a compound structure made of one large-section stainless steel tube (which serves as the ‘backbone’ for the frame and also works, partially, as the fuel tank) and other smaller parts that are also made of stainless steel and connected to each other by light alloy components. The single-sided swingarm is also made of stainless steel tube and, according to CR&S, this chassis is built to stay free of rust and corrosion for the bike’s entire lifecycle.

The Duu trio rides on 17-inch machined-alloy wheels shod with 190/55 (rear) and 120/70 (front) tyres. There’s a 48mm USD fork at the front, adjustable for rebound damping and spring preload, and a fully adjustable monoshock at the back. Twin 320mm brake discs, with radial-mount 4-piston calipers (front) and single 260mm disc with 2-piston caliper (rear) handle the braking duties and the bikes weigh about 245kg, dry. Fuel tank capacity is 15.5 litres and according to CR&S, the Duu is capable of hitting a top speed of more than 200km/h.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

In conversation with the sak_art design team, creators of the 2013 Bimota BB2, Bimota DB12 Btourist

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Top, left: The sak_art design team with the Bimota BB2 and (above) the Bimota DB12 Btourist. We think the BB2 is strikingly handsome - it looks totally awesome!!

Bimota had a shock or three in store for visitors at the EICMA this year. The company had a dozen new models on display, of which the DB11 VLX (powered by a supercharged version of the Ducati 1198’s L-twin, supposedly producing about 190bhp!) and the BB2 (powered by the 193bhp BMW S1000RR engine) were truly epic. We loved these new Bimotas, which look awesome and should be able to offer performance that’s in keeping with the styling.

Of the new bikes shown by Bimota in Milan, the BB2 superbike and the DB12 Btourist, the first touring bike Bimota have ever built, have been designed by sak_art design and we were able to catch up with them for a quick chat. Here’s what they had to say:

On sak_art and whether its team members actually ride bikes

sak_art design is a Tuscan firm born in 2010, involved in motorcycle and industrial design. The three members are Davide Sacchini, Nicola Sacchini and Fausto Colombini. Yes we’re all active motorcycle riders!

On sak_art’s association with Bimota

During 2011, we knew Luciano Brotto (Bimota General Manger), and started a collaboration for the design and creation of protoypes of two new models – the BB2 and DB12 – for EICMA 2012. Our collaboration with Bimota starts really for the stylistic diversification from other Italian brands. Bimota motorcycles are unique, bikes which allowed a strong change in design approach.

Jay Leno talks motorcycle sidecar racing

If you've ever wondered what these three-wheeled sidecar contraptions are all about, Jay Leno's here to show you around. And remember, these are GSX-R1000-powered sidecars that can do speeds of up to 275km/h, so they're definitely not slow!

Life @ 335km/h: In conversation with Valerie Thompson

Valerie Thompson, motorcycle land speed competitor
Valerie Thompson, motorcycle land speed competitor Valerie Thompson, motorcycle land speed competitor Valerie Thompson, motorcycle land speed competitor Valerie Thompson, motorcycle land speed competitor
Anyone who's ridden a BMW S1000RR at 335km/h has our respect!

Based in Scottsdale, Arizona, American rider Valerie Thompson is hellishly fast on a motorcycle. Riding her BMW S1000RR, the three-time land speed record holder has done 321.62km/h at the Bonneville Salt Flats in 2011. And this year, in June, she did 335.20km/h at the 2012 Mojave Magnum 1.5 Mile Speed Trials. With that, Valerie became a charter member of the event’s ‘200 MPH Club’ and her S1000RR is now officially the world’s fastest BMW production motorcycle in land speed racing.

We recently caught up with Valerie for a quick chat and she was gracious enough to take the time to answer our questions. Here are some excerpts from what she had to say to Faster and Faster:

On how she got started with bikes and the bikes she rides these days

I remember being so anxious to get my first bike. I made a deposit on a 1999 Harley-Davidson Sportster at the local dealership, but I had to get my motorcycle license before I could pick it up. It only took three months to decide I wanted a faster bike, so I bought a 2000 Harley-Davidson Fatboy, which I still own and ride. Recently I had the opportunity to present the American built Special Edition of the Viper Diamondback at a Mecum event earlier this year. It was quite a bike, but I did not have a lot of riding time with it. A very powerful machine, I wish I had a 3-day weekend to put it through its paces. The highlight of this year was breaking-in my 2012 BMW 1000RR Superbike at the beginning of the season to a 209.5mph personal top speed!

On what is it that makes her go out and ride bikes at 300km/h, and how she prepares for the inherent danger of riding a motorcycle at those speeds

The need for speed is truly my deepest passion! Some people like to observe, whiles other like to participate. I don’t like sitting on the sidelines, I love the heat of battle and competition. I’ve always been driven to succeed and accomplish my goals. You have to prepare both physically and mentally if you want to be successful. Physically, I stay in shape with a special workout regime, maintain a healthy diet, and get plenty of rest, especially right before big races like Bonneville Speed Week. Next is mental preparation. I take my dog, Reckon, to most events. I spend quiet time with him in my truck in the staging lanes, which allows me to relax and focus on making the next attempt on a new record. Once I reach the starting line on the bike, I focus my mind on visualizing everything I need to do during the run and relaxing with deep breathing.

Monday, November 19, 2012

2013 KTM 990 Super Duke R is still up for a drunken brawl

2013 KTM 990 Super Duke R
Felix Baumgartner rides a KTM 990 Super Duke R Felix Baumgartner rides a KTM 990 Super Duke R Felix Baumgartner rides a KTM 990 Super Duke R Felix Baumgartner rides a KTM 990 Super Duke R
2013 KTM 990 Super Duke R, the choice of champions! :-D

Last week, the 2013 KTM 990 Super Duke R was unveiled at the EICMA in Milan and though it was entirely overshadowed by the monstrous 1290 Super Duke R and the rather more learner-friendly 390 Duke, the 990 remains a very fast, capable machine in its own right. When F1 legend Michael Schumacher decided to try his hand at motorcycle racing a few years ago, the 990 Super Duke was the bike he chose to ride. And more recently, spacediver Felix Baumgartner also published some pics of himself on his blog, with him pulling wheelies and getting his knee down on a… you guessed it, a KTM 990 Super Duke R. ‘A 135bhp KTM 990 Super Duke R is my favoured mode of transport when I’m on terra firma,’ says Baumgartner.

The 2013 990 Super Duke R retains its predecessor’s 125-horsepower LC8 V-twin (we don’t know where Baumgartner’s bike gets its extra 10bhp from…) and stiff, lightweight chrome-molybdenum steel tube trellis frame with a bolt-on aluminium subframe. There’s also high-spec fully adjustable WP suspension components (48mm USD fork, monoshock), fully adjustable WP steering damper, Brembo brakes with radial-mount calipers at the front and machined, black-anodized triple clamps, radial brake and clutch levers. The bike has a fuel tank capacity of 18.5-litres and weighs 186kg dry.

It’s getting a bit old and next year it might be replaced by the 1290 Super Duke R (or KTM might choose to retain both bikes in their line-up?), but somehow we still quite like the 990 Super Duke R…

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Chicago Streetfighter gets parts’d out, looks good

bling'd out Ducati Streetfighter bling'd out Ducati Streetfighter
bling'd out Ducati Streetfighter bling'd out Ducati Streetfighter bling'd out Ducati Streetfighter bling'd out Ducati Streetfighter
Oh yes, its owner has thrown a few pennies at this Ducati Streetfighter...

We found this Ducati Streetfighter on Bellissi Moto and, apparently, it belongs to one Damian D. from Chicago, IL. The list of aftermarket parts is long and suitably expensive sounding – custom-painted carbonfibre bodywork, OZ forged aluminum wheels, Double Dog Moto's 135DD full Titanium exhaust, CNC-milled adjustable rearsets, CRG bar end mirrors, Rizoma fluid reservoirs, Bitubo steering damper, LLS Racing's ‘Feel’ pre-load adjusters, Lightech's keyless (full spin) gas cap, DucaBike EVO 3 levers, SpeedyMoto frame sliders, EVR's clutch cover, pressure plate and hardware kit. Not too bad…

You might also want to see our exclusive interview with Damien Basset, the Ducati Streetfighter's designer.



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