Friday, October 31, 2014

Mercedes-AMG to acquire 25% stake in MV Agusta

Could AMG's expertise with forced-induction engines mean a supercharged MV F4 RR in the near future? We hope so!

Mercedes-AMG and MV Agusta have announced a long-term partnership and have signed a cooperation agreement, whereby Mercedes-AMG GmbH will acquire a 25% stake in MV Agusta Motor S.p.A. No word yet on the price that Mercedes-AMG are paying to acquire this stake, but the two companies will work together in the areas of sales and marketing, and Mercedes-AMG will appoint one member of MV Agusta’s Board of Directors.

“MV Agusta and Mercedes-AMG are a perfect brand fit – two complementary companies that stand for design, high performance and excellence. Mercedes-AMG will help MV Agusta to further expand globally and to accelerate our growth. The uniqueness of MV Agusta will further enhance Mercedes-AMG’s leadership in the high-performance segment,” says Giovanni Castiglioni, President and CEO, MV Agusta Motor S.p.A. “In MV Agusta, we have found the perfect two-wheel partner for Mercedes-AMG. MV and Mercedes-AMG are connected not only by a long and successful racing history, but also by shared values and goals for the future. The partnership provides us with an entry into a world of additional high-performance enthusiasts,” added Tobias Moers, Chief Executive of Mercedes-AMG GmbH.

With this, each of the ‘Big Three’ German car manufacturers now have motorcycle operations as well – BMW have anyway been makes motorcycles for ages, Audi (part of the Volkswagen Group) owns Ducati, and now Mercedes-Benz will soon have a stake in MV Agusta. “The positioning of Mercedes-AMG as the performance brand in the Mercedes-Benz product portfolio will be further strengthened through the strategic partnership with MV Agusta. The strategic cooperation with MV Agusta will allow us to address high-performance enthusiasts with automobiles and with motorcycles. Through the cooperation in the area of marketing and sales, we will be able to attract new target groups for both companies all over the world,” says Wilko Stark, Vice President – Daimler Strategy and Mercedes-Benz Cars.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

2015 Bienville Legacy hits one out of the park

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The Bienville Legacy is powered by the 185bhp Motus V4. A 300bhp racing version will also be available

Bienville Studios, a design and engineering shop based in New Orleans, in the US, which specialises in motorcycle innovation, has unveiled its brand-new motorcycle – the Bienville Legacy – which was commissioned by the American Design and Master-Craft Initiative (ADMCi). “This work completes two years of active design and fabrication, on the heels of over eight years of planning and design exploration. The result is an entirely new vehicle, reinventing how motorcycles function from the ground up,” says a press note from Bienville.

Designed by JT Nesbitt (best known for his design work for the Confederate Wraith, and G2 Hellcat), the Bienville Legacy features styling cues that seem to come from the American Wild West, mixed with 1930s sci-fi. Yeah, well. The girder-type front fork works as the design’s centrepiece and all parts seem to be beautifully machined. “I’ve waited a long time to make a design statement like this and I’m proud to be doing it in partnership with ADMCi,” says Nesbitt. “As our first commission, it was crucial that the master-craftsman we engaged hit it out of the park,” adds Jim Jacoby, Founder and CEO, ADMCi.

The Bienville Legacy is powered by a V4 engine – the made-in-America Motus MV4R. While this engine produces 185 horsepower in stock, normally aspirated form, Bienville also plan to offer a “racing” version of the Legacy, which will get a supercharged, 300bhp version of the Motus V4. The chassis, made of chrome-molybdenum tubing, uses the V4 as a stressed member and the bike rides on 17-inch carbon composite wheels.

Monday, October 27, 2014

2015 MV Agusta Brutale 800 Dragster RR turns up the funky

Take a Brutale 800 RR, add a large dollop of Italian funk and you've got the new MV Agusta Dragster RR!

The 2015 MV Agusta Brutale 800 Dragster RR is fitted with the same 140bhp 798cc inline-three as the regular Brutale 800 RR, the chassis and suspension are the same, all the electronics remain unchanged and the bike even weighs the same – 168kg dry – but that’s where the similarities end. The Dragster RR rolls on wider rubber – a 200/50 rear tyre as compared to the regular Brutale’s weedy 180/55 number, the wire-spoked 17-inch wheels (with red anodized hubs!) look completely different from the regular Brutale’s 5-spoke alloy hoops, and the Dragster's truncated tail section is a bit weird and funky and cool all at once. The bike looks a bit lower and a bit longer compared to the regular Brutale, but it's actually not - both the regular Brutale 800 and the Dragster 800 RR have the same 1380mm wheelbase. Maybe it's the cut-off tail section that creates the illusion of extra length on the Dragster RR.

2015 MV Agusta Brutale 800 RR: Official high-res pics, specs, details

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It's an RR model, so it's the new top-of-the-line 800cc Brutale. Looks damn good, too.

Last week, MV Agusta released the first official pics of the 2015 Brutale 800 RR, which is powered by MV’s 798cc inline three-cylinder engine that produces 140bhp and 86Nm of torque. The new Brutale also gets an adjustable 8-level traction control system, which is part of the bike’s MVICS 2.0 (Motor and Vehicle Integrated Control System) setup. The tubular steel trellis / aluminium plate chassis and single-sided swingarm are carried over from the earlier Brutale. The suspension is comprised of an adjustable 43mm Marzocchi USD fork and adjustable Sachs monoshock, while the brakes are Brembo units, with radial-mount calipers for the twin 320mm discs at front. ABS is standard.

Other new bits on the 2015 Brutale 800 RR include red-painted cylinder heads, gold-anodized fork, reshaped seat for improved rider and passenger comfort, LED taillight with a new diffusion system (for improved visibility), EAS 2.0 quickshifter for the 6-speed gearbox, and restyled 5-spoke aluminium alloy wheels (shod with 120/70-ZR17 and 180/55-ZR17 Pirelli Diably Rosso II tyres). There’s also a new hydraulic chain tensioner, which, according to MV, reduces noise and enhances engine reliability. New colour combos for the bike include Rosso Shock Perlato / Bianco Ice Perlato, and Grigio Avio Metallizzato / Nero Carbonio Metallizzato. Claimed top speed is 245kph.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Cagiva C594 race-replica streetbike: What might have been...

1994 Cagiva C594
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Even after two decades, the 1994 Cagiva C594 still looks utterly beautiful!

Two decades ago, back in 1994, American rider John Kocinski was winning races and getting podium finishes on one of the most beautiful 500cc GP bikes of all time - the glorious, gorgeous Cagiva C594. Powered by a two-stroke 498cc V4 that produced 177bhp at 12,600rpm, the C594 was fitted with a hybrid carbonfibre/aluminium twin-spar chassis, had a carbonfibre swingarm and weighed just 122 kilos. It was a very high-tech machine, with programmable EPROM chips for variable ignition timing, a sophisticated fuel-injection system, electronically contolled semi-active suspension, and even an experimental traction control system, which could cut out one or two of the V4's cylinders in certain situations, to reduce wheelspin. All this, back in the early 1990s!

Back in January 2003, Cycle World magazine ran a story about Cagiva's announcement that they would build and sell 25 replicas of the C594 grand prix racer, which would be built in Varese, Italy, by the same team that had built the original, 1990s Cagiva 500 GP race bikes. Production was supposed to start in mid-2003 and prices for each of the GP replicas was expected to be in the region of US$100,000. Nothing came of these plans, unfortunately.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

2015 Yamaha YZF-R3 finally gatecrashes Kawasaki, Honda, KTM party

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The 2015 Yamaha YZF-R3 looks good, but can it take on the Ninja 300 and the KTM RC390...?

Yamaha have taken the wraps off their brand-new YZF-R3, which is powered by a new 321cc DOHC 4-valve parallel twin that uses forged aluminium pistons and carburized conrods, and produces 41 horsepower and 30Nm of torque. "The concept behind this was to create a supersports machine you can ride every day, and the architecture of the new powerplant is designed to ensure good rideability in the low to mid-speed range, together with a strong and responsive character at higher rpm," says a press note from Yamaha.

The new YZF-R3 gets a diamond-type tubular steel chassis which, according to Yamaha, has been developed using the latest structural analysis technology. Using the bike's engine as a stressed member, the chassis is supposed to offer predictable handling that's ideal for riders who might just be stepping up from the 125cc class. The Yamaha R3 weighs 169 kilos, features 50:50 front:rear weight distribution, rides on 17-inch alloy wheels (shod with 110/70 and 140/70 rubber), and gets 41mm front forks and 'monocross' rear suspension. Braking duties are handled by a single 298mm disc at the front and 220mm disc at the back, while ABS is standard.

Yamaha are actually late to the 250cc sportsbike category. Kawasaki, with the Ninja 250, and Honda, with the CBR250R, have already staked a claim in this segment for quite some time now. These two have already moved things forward with the Ninja 300 and the CBR300, while KTM have upped the ante in a very big way with the RC390. We have to admit, the new Yamaha R3 also looks quite good, but will it be able to take on the other three - especially the RC390 - remains to be seen. Expect to see the R3 in Yamaha showrooms worldwide, in April 2015.

Magni Storia takes the MV Brutale back to the 1970s

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The Magni Storia. Modern mechanicals, 1970s styling and colours. Perfect combination!

From 1950 until the late-1970s, Arturo Magni worked for MV Agusta's very successful motorcycle racing division. After MV Agusta's retirement from racing, Magni and his sons started building customised versions of production MVs. In the 1980s, Magni and sons also built Honda 900 Bol d'Or replicas, various boxer-engined BMWs and Moto Guzzis. Today, Magni continue to build some beautiful machines, which you can see on their website.

Here, we have the Magni Storia, a modern reinterpretation of the 1970s MV Agusta 750S. Based on the Brutale 1090, the Storia features a handcrafted aluminium fuel tank, a new rear subframe (made of chrome-molybdenum, TIG welded), leather seat, aluminium mudguard and side covers, Kineo wire-spoked wheels, handbuilt exhaust system and a bunch of carbonfibre bits.

The mechanicals are all carried over from the MV Agusta Brutale 1090 on which the Storia is based, and that's not at all a bad thing - a screaming 150 horsepower inline-four, an 8-level traction control system, hybrid chassis with tubular steel trellis-type and aluminum plate sections, single-sided swingarm, fully adjustable monoshock and 50mm USD fork, and powerful brakes with radial-mount calipers for the front discs.

Yes, we think the Magni Storia looks utterly beautiful!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Kevin Schwantz on the 2015 Suzuki GSX-RR: "I understand the bike, it's a very good machine!"

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Next year, Suzuki are back in MotoGP. Yes!!

Suzuki are all set to make a comeback to MotoGP in 2015, with riders Randy de Puniet and Nobuatsu Aoki and with Davide Brivio at the helm as team manager. Kevin Schwantz, who won the 1993 500cc motorcycle grand prix road racing world championship aboard his Suzuki RGV500, has also been helping out with development work on the new GP bike.

Last week, Schwantz and Franco Uncini (who won the 1982 500cc motorcycle grand prix road racing world championship aboard a Suzuki RG500) officially unveiled the 2015 Suzuki GSX-RR MotoGP bike at the Motegi circuit in Japan. Schwantz did a couple of demo laps on the new GSX-RR, while Uncini rode alongside him on a 2011 Suzuki GSV-R. "I understand the bike, it’s a very good machine, and I really enjoyed riding it," said Kevin. "Fantastic! It’s a great bike. I would like to say thank you to the Suzuki team for giving me the chance to ride the GSX-RR," added Franco.

We love the idea of Suzuki coming back to MotoGP, but we have to say, we don't know if we have a great deal of faith in their development riders. Nobuatsu Aoki, 42 years old now, has been a Suzuki test rider for the last six years, and last raced in MotoGP back in 2008. Randy de Puniet, 33, has been a test rider for the last two years and last raced in MotoGP in 2012, when he took 13th place in the championship. Still, Suzuki's two racer boys for 2015, Aleix Espargaro and Maverick Viñales, might be hungry for a win or two, and might produce some magic! We wish them all the best!

2015 Can-Am Spyder F3 unveiled

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The 2015 Can-Am Spyder F3 looks good for a bit of sports touring in proper three-wheeled comfort...

BRP have unveiled the 2015 Can-Am Spyder F3 roadster, a sports trike powered by a 1330cc three-cylinder Rotax engine, which produces 115 horsepower and 130Nm of torque. The engine is mated to a 6-speed manual transmission as standard, though riders can also opt for a semi-automatic setup on this machine. There's a host of electronics here, including ABS, traction control and stability control, most of it developed by Bosch.

"The Spyder F3 truly delivers a soul-stirring riding experience, combining a muscular design, a custom-fit cruising-riding position, and an advanced stability system, for one incredible ride. You have to ride it to believe it," says Chris Dawson, Vice-President for Can-Am's global sales and consumer experience division.

In addition to the new Spyder F3, 2015 Spyder RT, ST and RS models are also available - all with a 24-month limited warranty. Prices for the Can-Am Spyder F3 start at US$19,500. We quite like fast, sporty trikes, but if we were buying one, we'd much rather have the magnificent Campagna T-Rex 16S than the Spyder F3...

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Nick Sanders is now Yamaha Destination Adventure ambassador

Nick Sanders is now Yamaha Destination Adventure ambassador
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Yamaha hope that Nick Sanders' travels will inspire a whole new generation of motorcycle adventurers...

Nick Sanders, one of the world's most famous long-distance motorcycle adventure riders, who's ridden around the world no less than seven times (!), is now a global ambassador for Yamaha's Adventure bike range and is the inspiration for Yamaha's new 'Destination Adventure' program. With this program, Yamaha will support Nick’s incredible moto-adventures and, during 2015, also offer hosted motorcycle tours at a number of riding locations. These rides will be for those who wish to indulge in 'extreme motorcycle adventure' tours and some of these will be guided by Nick himself.

To celebrate Nick's legendary travels on board the rugged Yamaha Super Ténéré, the Japanese company has built a specially prepared 'Destination Adventure' model, which was shown at the Intermot in Germany last week. According to Yamaha, Nick's 2015 Yamaha XT1200ZE Super Ténéré was designed to inspire the next generation of adventure riders.

New and Improved: 2015 Moto Guzzi Stelvio 1200 8V NTX unveiled

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With various detail improvements, the 2015 Moto Guzzi Stelvio 1200 NTX is more capable than ever before

Moto Guzzi have unveiled the 2015 Stelvio 1200 8V NTX, their adventure-touring machine which once again aims to do battle with the BMW R1200GS, Aprilia Caponord 1200 Rally, KTM 1290 Super Adventure and Yamaha XT1200Z Super Ténéré etc. Indeed, with its 32-litre fuel tank, double headlamp assembly, adjustable windshield, spacious panniers for luggage, optional GPS navigation equipment, fully adjustable long-travel suspension and powerful, 105 horsepower / 113Nm V-twin engine, the Stelvio can take pretty much whatever you choose to throw at it. There's also ABS and traction control here, just to make sure your complete your mega journeys as safely as possible.

For 2015, new bits on the Guzzi Stelvio 1200 include a revised steel-tube chassis that's been strengthened further, to cope with the rigours of hard off-road use. Suspension (45mm USD Marzocchi fork, Sachs monoshock with a progresive, rising rate spring) settings have been revised, the engine gets improvements to its lubrication and cooling systems, and gets an updated new Marelli fuel injection system for improved throttle control and mid-range power delivery, as well as reduced fuel consumption, lower emission levels and reduced noise.

With 17-inch (rear) and 19-inch (front) wheels, shod with 150/70 and 110/90 tyres respectively, and with Guzzi's ATC traction control system, the Stelvio has been designed for on/off road use and despite its 270kg kerb weigh, remains manageable as a long-distance adventure tourer. It's probably not as high-tech as, say, the Yamaha Super Ténéré or the Aprilia Caponord Rally, but the Stelvio can still hold its own in most riding conditions.

Friday, October 10, 2014

2015 Moto Guzzi Griso 8V Special Edition unveiled

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The 2015 Moto Guzzi Griso 8V Special Edition. Beautiful!

Moto Guzzi have announced a new Special Edition Griso 8V, which gets a ‘Rosso Trophy’ paintjob and wire-spoked wheels that carry a red-painted Moto Guzzi logo. Looks really good, we think. The bike’s 90° Quattrovalvole V-twin, which produces 110bhp at 7500rpm and 108Nm of torque at 6400rpm, remains unchanged, as does the tubular steel chassis. “This is a veritable scalpel on two wheels, allowing the most discerning rider to carve perfect lines in the asphalt,” claims a press note from Guzzi. Ahem.

Other interesting bits on the Griso 8V SE include a taillamp that houses three high-intensity LED light units, black-painted chassis, racing footpegs, black instrument panel housing, revised ergonomics (the seat-handlebar-footpegs setup has been modified for improved long-distance comfort…) and revised suspension settings for sportier handling. The new Griso’s fully adjustable 43mm USD forks, adjustable Boge shock with progressive spring and Brembo brakes with wave-type discs all contribute to the bike’s ride and handling prowess, while the 230kph top speed should be satisfactory for most. Yes, we like this new Griso 8V SE…



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