Thursday, October 31, 2013

2014 Suzuki GSX-R1000 unveiled, gets high-grip leather seat, adjustable footpegs!

The 2014 Suzuki GSX-R1000 soldiers on unchanged...

Suzuki have released the first official photographs and tech specs of the 2014 GSX-R1000 and mechanically, the bike remains unchanged compared to its predecessor. The new GSX-R1000 is still powered by the same 999cc inline-four that produces about 175bhp, and with a kerb weight of 203 kilos, we suppose that would be pretty much sufficient excitement for most riders.

The 2014 Suzuki GSX-R1000 gets new paint schemes – yet another variation of the age-old blue-black-white Gixxer theme, and a new black-gray option – though neither of the two new colur schemes looks anywhere near as good as the 'Commemorative Edition' 2013 GSX-R1000, which is one of our most favourite GSX-Rs of recent times.

The really amazing bit is, the 2014 GSX-R1000 still doesn’t any electronic rider aids – there’s still no ABS or traction control here, though Suzuki do claim that the bike’s forged pistons are designed with the “Finite Element Method (FEM) and fatigue analysis technology” and that its “optimized camshaft profiles was developed using proven MotoGP racing technology.” They also say that the new GSX-R1000’s 4-2-1 exhaust system, carrying a Suzuki Exhaust Tuning (SET) valve, maximizes torque and improves throttle response and that its large, efficient, trapezoidal-shaped radiator and a trapezoidal engine oil cooler, developed on factory team racebikes, help reduce drag.

As with GSX-R1000s from the last couple of years, the 2014 model also has a drive mode selector which allows riders to choose between three different fuel injection and ignition maps. Also, all the other basics are there – close-ratio 6-speed gearbox, slipper clutch, aluminium twin-spar chassis, 43mm Showa big-piston forks, fully adjustable rear monoshock, electronically controlled steering damper, Brembo brakes with monobloc calipers at the front, adjustable footpegs and even a “high grip leather seat” that, according to Suzuki, “features outstanding holding properties, providing the rider with a greater sense of stability when accelerating.”

So there you have it – while BMW, Aprilia and Ducati are mucking around with electronic stability systems on their superbikes, it’s actually Suzuki who’ve really nailed it. A high grip leather seat that provides stability during hard acceleration, eh? Who would’ve thought…

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

2014 Ducati Panigale 1199 Superleggera: High-res pics, specs, details, video

Yes, the 2014 Ducati 1199 Superleggera is here...

After the 1199 R and the 1199 Senna, Ducati have let loose with an even mightier Panigale – the 1199 Superleggera. The bike’s ‘Superquadro’ L-twin produces more than 200 horsepower and with extensive use of materials like titanium, magnesium and carbonfibre, the 1199 Superleggera weighs in at just 155 kilos dry! The Panigale Superleggera is a limited edition motorcycle and only 500 units of this bike will be produced.

For those who get all excited by motorcycle spec sheets (yeah, well, that’s us…) the 1199 Superleggera has a pretty impressive one – monocoque chassis made of magnesium, forged magnesium wheels from Marchesini, full titanium Akrapovič exhaust system, carbonfibre rear subframe and bodywork and even a lithium-ion battery, all in the interests of reduced weight. Even the engine gets lightweight internals – conrods, exhaust valves and inlet valves are all titanium, twin-ring pistons are used and a lightened crankshaft, precision balanced using dense tungsten inserts, all help in allowing the engine to rev harder and faster.

Also, as you’d expect, suspension and brake components on the Superleggera are simply the best money can buy – fully adjustable Öhlins fork, Öhlins TTX36 rear monoshock (with titanium spring), and Brembo M50 brakes with radial-mount monobloc calipers. These bits, combined with the 1199’s formidable array of electronics – wheelie control, traction control and ride-by-wire throttle etc – should ensure that the bike handles like a proper racebike at the absolute limits of its dynamic performance. It costs about US$65,000 but for those of us who do have that kind of money, the Superleggera has to be a brilliant buy...   :-)

Monday, October 21, 2013

Jay Leno's Garage: 2014 Mission RS on test

Mr Leno tests the 163bhp, 2014-spec Mission RS, the best looking, most powerful, fastest battery-powered electric motorcycle currently in production

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Brian Crighton: “We plan to make a range of rotary-engine road bikes”

Crighton CR700P Crighton CR700P
Crighton CR700P Crighton CR700P
The incredible Crighton CR700P, powered by a 200bhp rotary engine, weighs just 136 kilos. No current production superbike can match its performance...

It seems we aren’t the only ones who are deeply fascinated by rotary-engined motorcycles – mainly the Norton F1 (see here, here, here and here) but also the Suzuki RE-5. While it’s not clear whether Norton themselves will produce a modern rotary-engined motorcycle ever again, Brian Crighton certainly might.

An engineer by profession, Crighton worked with Norton R&D in the 1980s and studied the rotary engine extensively during his time with the iconic British bike manufacturer. In fact, he worked on Norton’s 588cc rotary engine of that time and even managed to boost its output from 85bhp to 120bhp.

While Norton eventually gave up on the rotary engine and later proceeded to go bust, Crighton never gave up and managed to scrape together enough money to keep racing rotary-engined machines right up until the end of 1994, when rotary-engined motorcycles were banned from competition.

You can read the details of Brian’s 1990s racing efforts on his website here. What we want to talk about in this story is the new Crighton CR700P, which is fitted with a twin-rotor, pressurised gas-cooled 700cc engine that produces 200 horsepower at 11,000rpm and 135Nm of torque at 9,500 revs. With its custom-built aluminium twin-spar chassis, 6-speed sequential transmission (with slipper clutch) and fully adjustable racing-spec Bitubo suspension, the Crighton CR700P weighs in at just 136 kilos, so you can probably image the kind of performance it would offer.

We think the Crighton CR700P is absolutely fascinating, so we caught up with Brian Crighton for a quick chat. Here are some excerpts from what Brian had to say about his love for rotary engines and about the incredible rotary-engined bike which he’s built:

Thursday, October 17, 2013

2014 EBR 1190RX unveiled

The new EBR 1190RX is here...!

Erik Buell Racing (EBR) have just unveiled their new sportsbike, the 1190RX. The bike is, according to EBR, “A direct descendant of EBR’s race-bred limited edition 1190RS superbike.” Indeed, the 1190RX shares its liquid-cooled, fuel-injected 1190cc V-twin with the 1190RS and packs the same (and very impressive…) 185 horsepower and 138Nm of torque.

“This is the culmination of decades of dedication, innovation and teamwork. We have been working to create a pure rider’s machine and a true world brand. From the heartland and the heart of America, these are extraordinary motorcycles that discerning riders everywhere will be passionate to own,” says EBR founder, Erik Buell.

The new EBR 1190RS rides on 17-inch alloy wheels, shod with 120/70 (front) and 190/55 (rear) Pirelli Diablo Rosso Corsa tyres. The chassis and swingarm are made of light, stiff aluminium and the bike weighs 190kg without fuel. High-spec Showa suspension components are used here – USD big piston forks at the front and adjustable monoshock at the back. As with earlier Buell motorcycles, the front brake is ‘perimeter’ type, with a single 386mm disc and 8-piston caliper. A 220mm disc with twin-piston caliper handles stopping duties at the back.

The 2014 EBR 1190RX is priced at US$18,995 and is available in yellow, black and red.

Also see our exclusive interview with Erik Buell

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

BMW R nineT unveiled

Created to mark BMW Motorrad's 90th birthday, the R nineT gets retro roadster styling cues, a 110bhp boxer twin engine and modern suspension and brakes...

BMW really are taking their 90th birthday very, very seriously. After the Concept Ninety (a tribute to the 1970s R90S), which was unveiled back in May this year, BMW have now released details and first official pics of the R nineT, a minimalist, retro-style roadster that has been created to mark 90 years of BMW Motorrad.

The BMW R nineT is powered by an 1170cc air/oil-cooled boxer twin that produces 110 horsepower and 119Nm of torque. The engine is mated to a tubular steel chassis that used the boxer twin as a load-bearing element. In stock form, the bike can carry two people, though a removable rear subframe allows the nineT to be set up for just one solo rider. Those who can’t be bothered to remove the pillion section entirely still have the option of going in for an aluminium tail cover (available as an accessory) for the retro café racer look. Even the titanium Akrapović exhaust system is adjustable for length and position – surely, that has to be a first for a production motorcycle!

Unlike other boxer-twin BMWs, which are fitted with the German company’s telelever front suspension, the R nineT gets a USD telescopic fork – it’s the same high-spec unit that also does duty on the BMW S1000RR. A paralever single-sided swingarm (which incorporates the bike’s fully enclosed shaft-drive system), with central spring strut, handles suspension duties at the rear.

In keeping with its retro roadster theme, the BMW R nineT is fitted with wire-spoke wheels with black anodised alloy, non-flanged rims, black aluminium hubs and stainless steel spokes. The brakes, however, are a bit more contemporary – twin 320mm discs at the front, with radial-mount 4-piston monoblock callipers and, of course, ABS. The bike’s 18-litre aluminium fuel tank and black metallic paint make the R nineT rakishly good looking. Yes, we’d have one ourselves!

Also see our exclusive interview with Edgar Heinrich, BMW Motorrad's head of design

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Frog 750 designer, Hartmut Esslinger talks future tech trends

Visionary designer Hartmut Esslinger talks about future tech trends in the context of smart devices, but these trends may well also be relevant for motorcycles

Remember the Frog 750, the Yamaha FZ750-based concept bike which ‘inspired’ the production-spec Honda Hurricane CBR600F? Hartmut Esslinger, the man responsible for the Frog 750, is a hotshot designer who’s also done some significant work for the likes of Sony, Apple and Louis Vuitton. Here at Faster and Faster, we like and respect Esslinger’s work, even though he hasn’t really tried his hand at designing motorcycles after the mid-1980s Frog 750 concept bike.

In a recent story on Wired, Esslinger talks about looming tech trends which he says will soon change the way we interact with devices like tablets and smartphones etc. Currently an industrial design instructor at the DeTao Masters Academy in Shanghai, Esslinger advises his students to work in the context of tomorrow. “Today is what’s thought about long ago. Now today we have to project, think, experiment and prototype the future,” he says. “The future is accelerating, we know that. Look back 40-50 years and make a model of what happened from then, until today. That’s what compresses into the next 10 years. Then, you know what to expect,” he adds.

In the story on Wired, Esslinger goes on to explain the four big trends in technology which he thinks will shape our smart devices – and the way we interact with those – in the near future. While he talks about computers and smart devices, we think some of these trends might also be applicable to motorcycles. So, let’s take a quick look at what the man has to say.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Meriden-inspired special edition Triumph Bonneville unveiled

The special edition Triumph Bonneville pays homage to the last bike that rolled off the production line at Meriden, where the company produced bikes for four decades

Triumph have unveiled a new special edition Bonneville, which is inspired by the last bike that rolled off the production line at its old manufacturing facility at Meriden, in the UK, where the company produced bikes from 1942 to 1982. The Meriden-inspired special edition Bonneville features a jet-black and silver colour scheme, the same as used on the last bike produced at Meriden, a 1982 Triumph T140w TSS.

Apart from the black/silver paintjob, the Meriden Bonneville also gets machined detailing on the cooling fins, solid black oil cooler lines, chrome grab rail, black mirrors, and a brushed metal clutch, sprocket and alternator cover to complete the retro look. Yours, for a mere £7,499 in the UK.

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

The Brazilian: 2014 Ducati 1199 Panigale S Senna unveiled

senna 1senna 2senna 3senna 4senna 5
The 2014 Ducati 1199 Panigale S Senna, a tribute to the late Ayrton Senna, one of the greatest Formula 1 world champions in the history of the sport. Great man, beautiful bike

Ducati fans probably still remember the 916 Senna, with its distinctive gray bodywork and red wheels, which was produced from 1995-1998. And now, there’s another one – the 2014 Ducati 1199 Panigale S Senna, which is Ducati’s tribute to Ayrton Senna, three-time F1 world champion who passed away in a tragic racing accident at the 1994 San Marino F1 grand prix.

Ducati, in close agreement with the Senna Foundation and wishing to contribute to the charitable and educational goals the Foundation pursues, decided to pay homage once again, expressing its passionate respect for one of the most prestigious ‘Ducatisti’ ever, with the 1199 Panigale S Senna,” says a press note from the Bologna-based company.

The Ducati 1199 Panigale S Senna was presented yesterday at the Sao Paulo Motorcycle Show. Production of this limited-edition bike will start in June 2014, only 161 units will be built (Ayrton Senna raced in 161 Formula 1 GPs) and the bike will only be available in Brazil.

First official high-res pics of the 2014 Honda CRF450 Rally

For serious Dakar Rallyists, this - the 2014 Honda CRF450 Rally - might well be the most formidable piece of racing machinery in existence...

Honda have released the first official pics of the new, 2014-spec CRF450 Rally, which Team HRC will race at the Dakar Rally in January next year. Team HRC returned to the Dakar earlier this year, after a gap of 24 years, with the first iteration of the CRF450 Rally, which is actually based on the CRF450X enduro racer. The company claims to have learned a lot from the data it gathered during this year’s Dakar Rally and in terms of engine output, durability, maintenance requirements and overall performance, the 2014 CRF450 Rally is likely to be a much improved machine.

While Team HRC will race the new CRF450 Rally next year, the bike will also be provided to other rally teams as a production competition machine during 2014. We suppose KTM just might be a bit worried… :-)

Monday, October 07, 2013

2014 BMW R1200GS Adventure: High-res pics, specs, details
The 2014 BMW R1200GS, still the best bike on the planet for long-distance adventure touring. It's a bit porky, yes, but with 125bhp on tap...

BMW have released the first official pics and details of the 2014 R1200GS, the one motorcycle that continues to set new benchmarks for the adventure-touring segment. The latest iteration of the “Long Way ’Round” bike is powered by a 1170cc liquid-cooled Boxer-twin that produces 125 horsepower at 7,750rpm. The engine is mated to a 6-speed gearbox and power is transferred to the rear wheel via a low-maintenance cardan-shaft drive system that operates via a single-sided swingarm.

The new BMW R1200GS Adventure features a tubular steel spaceframe, 30-litre fuel tank (10 litres more than the standard GS!) and a full complement of electronics – anti-lock brakes (ABS), automatic stability control (ASC), and two selectable riding modes – rain and road. Enduro ABS, Enduro ASC and semi-active suspension with dynamic electronic suspension adjustment are all optional.

Along with its revised styling, the 2014 BMW R1200GS Adventure gets increased ground clearance, an added 20mm of spring travel, larger windshield with hand-wheel adjustment, additional air flaps and hand protectors, wider endure-spec footrests, adjustable and reinforced foot-operated levers. A wide range of accessories is available for the bike, which make it even more suited to long-distance on/off-road long-distance riding.

We’d still much rather have a brand-new BMW HP4 but for dedicated long-distance touring types, the new R1200GS is probably the best motorcycle on the planet.

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

2014 KTM Super Duke R: First official pics, specs, details, video

The all-new KTM 1290 Super Duke R, probably a bit more intense than a nuclear bomb going off in your face. We love it!

Here’s what you really need to know about the 2014 KTM 1290 Super Duke R – that it’s powered by a 1.3-litre 75-degree V-Twin that produces 180 horsepower and 144Nm of torque, that the bike weighs 189 kilos dry and that it can accelerate from zero to 200km/h in 7.2 seconds flat. Yes, we’re sure KTM have managed to get your attention all right.

So, yeah, “The Beast” has finally been unleashed and life might never be the same again for the likes of the Ducati Streetfighter, Aprilia Tuono V4R and MV Agusta Brutale 1090. The new KTM 1290 Super Duke R should be a wild ride in every way imaginable. Apart from the insanely powerful engine, there’s the high-spec Brembo brakes with twin 320mm discs at the front and Bosch ABS, Keihin ride-by-wire throttle that’s been optimised for maximised response (while still preventing you from flipping the bike over during hard acceleration…), an advanced traction control system, chrome-molybdenum tubular space frame, a single-sided swingarm, and low-pressure die-cast alloy wheels shod with super-grippy Dunlop Sportsmart² tyres.

While the Super Duke R offers immense performance, it won’t murder your back, knees and wrists the way many race-replica superbikes will. KTM claim the bike offers excellent ergonomics that have been designed for riders of all shapes and sizes. And just in case you were wondering, service intervals are set at 15,000km. Impressive? Most certainly, yes!



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