Wednesday, September 18, 2013

BMW HP4, Chaz Davies take on BMW M135i, Vicki Butler-Henderson

The S1000RR-based BMW HP4, possibly the greatest litre-class superbike currently in production, goes head to head against the BMW M135i hot hatch. The bike is ridden by Chaz Davies, the car is driven by Fifth Gear's Vicki Butler-henderson. Who do you think is going to win this one? Our money is on the bike, of course...  ;-)

Friday, September 13, 2013

2014 Triumph Speed Triple R unveiled

The 2014 Triumph Speed Triple R, in all its 133bhp glory!

Triumph have released the first official pics of the 2014 Speed Triple R, which now gets a new matt-finish ‘crystal white’ paintjob. And for those who just won’t ride a white bike, the current “brooding Phantom black” will still be available in 2014.

Along with the new white paintjob, the 2014 Triumph Speed Triple R also gets radiator covers painted in ‘diablo red,’ wheels with red pinstripes, colour matched fly screen, belly pan and seat cowl, black exhaust heat shield and clear cover for the taillamp.

The Speed Triple R’s 1050cc inline-triple remains unchanged and still kicks out a not-too-bad 133 horsepower, and the new Brembo brakes with monobloc calipers, Ohlins suspension at both ends and switchable ABS make the deal a bit sweeter. All this, for a mere £10,999 in the UK.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

2014 Ducati 899 Panigale: High-res pics, specs, details, video

The 899 Minigale's not too bad, really, but why did they leave out the single-sided swingarm? Apart from that, 148bhp should be enough to get things done...

Ducati CEO, Claudio Domenicali recently unveiled the new 899 Panigale at VW Group Night on the eve of the IAA Motor Show in Frankfurt. The Minigale’s new ‘Superquadro’ engine produces 148bhp at 10,750rpm and 99Nm of torque at 9,000rpm. And that, combined with the bike’s 169-kilo dry weight figure, should mean that the 1199’s mini-me brother would be plenty fast for most people.

As with the 1199, the 899 Panigale gets a monocoque chassis that uses the L-Twin engine as a fully stressed member. At the front, the 899 gets 43mm Showa BPF USD forks (adjustable for preload and compression/rebound damping), while a fully adjustable Sachs monoshock takes care of the rear. There’s also a fully complement of electronics here – Ducati Quick Shift (DQS), ride-by-wire, 3-stage ABS (engineered by Bosch), 8-level traction control system (DTC) and Engine Brake Control (EBC). What a pity then, that the single-side swingarm didn't make it to the 899's party...

The Minigale’s front brakes get radial-mount 4-piston Brembo monobloc calipers that chomp twin 320mm discs, while a single 245mm disc is gripped by a solitary Brembo caliper at the back. The bike rolls on 17-inch 10-spoke wheels that are shod with 120/70 ZR17 (front) and 180/60 ZR17 (rear) Pirelli Diablo Rosso Corsa tyres.

The Ducati 899 Panigale is priced at US$15,000 and will be available in showrooms from late October this year. Colour options include red with black wheels and white with red wheels.

Honestly, we like the 899, but we love the 1199 so much, we’d rather have that. And while we’re at it, we’d take the R version, naturally. Well, at least that’s the dream...

Videos and a big bunch of high-res pics after the jump

Sunday, September 08, 2013

2014 Kawasaki ZX-14R unveiled

If there was just one Kawasaki that we could have, it would be this, the 2014 ZX-14R. We'd take the one in black with ride stripes...

Kawasaki have released the first official pics and details of the 2014 ZX-14R (known as the ZZR1400 in Europe) and what you really need to know about this 200-horsepower hyperbike is that it’s still the fastest production motorcycle in the world. The 1441cc inline-four is the star here, everything else is merely incidental.

Yes, there’s a slipper clutch here, and KTRC traction control and ABS and an aluminium monocoque chassis. The 2014 model’s 10-spoke alloy wheels are 3lbs lighter than the ones on the 2013 model, suspension settings have been tweaked for better ride quality, and the levels of fit and finish have been improved further. But all that really matters is, in a straight line, there’s no other production motorcycle in the world that can keep up with a ZX-14R. That, and the bike’s quad-projector headlamps, which make it look properly badass.

Damn, we so want to buy one of these ourselves...

2014 Kawasaki ZX-10R Ninja unveiled

The 2014 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R remains hard-edged, exciting as ever

Kawasaki have released details and pics of the new, 2014-spec Ninja ZX-10R and, like with the recently unveiled 2014 Yamaha R1, the bike seems more or less similar to the 2013 model. Sure looks like the Japanese really have given up on trying to take on the European superbikes brigade – the Ducati Panigale R, Aprilia RSV4 APRC Factory and BMW S1000RR HP4 have nothing to be afraid of.

Notable bits on the 2014 ZX-10R Ninja include ‘intelligent’ ABS, a speed- and acceleration-sensitive Öhlins steering damper, one of the best traction control systems in the business, LCD instrument panel, bar-graph LED tachometer, slipper clutch, big-piston fork (BPF) at the front, cassette-type 6-speed gearbox, a ram-air system with 9-litre airbox, Titanium-header exhaust system with hydroformed header pipes, aluminium alloy chassis and swingarm, and dual catalyzers that help the bike meet Euro III exhaust emissions standards.

According to Kawasaki, the 2014 ZX-10R’s “32-inch seat height makes it easy for the rider’s feet to reach the ground, the bike’s fuel tank shape offers a comfortable ergonomic fit with the rider’s forearms and inner thighs when riding and adjustable footpegs can be lowered an additional 15mm when the bike is being ridden on the street.”

We’re sure the 2014 Kawasaki ZX-10R remains competent as ever but, really, we wish the worldwide economic environment would get back to the days when the Japanese would, with every new model year, unleash proper fireworks in the litre-bike segment…

Saturday, September 07, 2013

2014 Yamaha FJR1300 gets electronically adjustable suspension

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The 2014 Yamaha FJR1300, now with electronically adjustable suspension...

For 2014, the Yamaha FJR1300ES gets electronically adjustable suspension to add to its already impressive suite of electronics – ride-by-wire, multi-map D-mode, cruise control, traction control, linked brakes with ABS, and electrically adjustable windscreen. There’s also height adjustable rider seat and adjustable handlebars, which should mean a perfect riding position for riders of all sizes.

The new electronically adjustable suspension has four settings for preload and three levels of damping adjustment for each preload setting. And the bike’s powerful 1298cc engine and 6.6-gallon fuel tank make it eminently suitable for long-distance touring. Available from November this year, the 2014 Yamaha FJR1300 is priced at US$16,890.

2014 Yamaha YZF-R1 unveiled

Yamaha R1

The 2014 Yamaha YZF-R1 is here

Yamaha have released specs and official pics of the 2014 YZF-R1, which, except for some new paint schemes, remains pretty much unchanged compared with the 2013 model. Of course, it’s still a very capable, very high-tech motorcycle – ride-by-wire throttle, 7-level traction control system, fully adjustable suspension at both ends, crossplane crank inline-four with forged aluminium pistons and titanium intake valves, slipper clutch etc. That, and about 180 horsepower ensure that the new R1 would still be plenty exciting for most, unless you already have an S1000RR or RSV4 Factory or Panigale R in your garage.

Available from later this month, the 2014 Yamaha R1 is priced at US$14,500.

2014 Kawasaki Z1000SX unveiled

The 2014 Kawasaki Z1000SX, with new panniers, traction control, revised suspension, updated brakes and... a louder intake howl while accelerating!

Kawasaki have “further refined” the Z1000SX sports-tourer for 2014, with new colour-coded panniers (each of which can hold a full-face helmet) that can be locked and unlocked with the same key that’s used to operate the ignition. Apart from the panniers, the 2014 Z1000SX also gets 3-mode KTRC traction control system, two rider selectable power modes, revised 41mm front fork, remote adjustable rear shock and updated brakes with a radial-mount master cylinder.

But what we like best about the new Z1000SX is the revised air box and air intake system, which Kawasaki claim results in a louder howl while accelerating. Yes, brother! “With such a wide appeal, the Z1000SX has already gained many fans from both supersports and touring backgrounds. With so many additional features for the coming season, we are sure it will retain its commanding position in the sports/touring market,” says Yasushi Kawakami, Managing Director of Kawasaki Motors Europe.



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