Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Yard Built Yamaha XV950 Pure Sports pays homage to the 1980s FZ750

The Yard Built XV950 Pure Sports looks damn cool!

Created by Italian moto-magazine LowRide, the Yard Built Yamaha XV950 Pure Sports features a paintjob that fans of 1980s sportsbikes will immediately recognize – the white-red-black colours could only come from the Yamaha FZ750. “LowRide has transformed the new Sport Heritage Yamaha XV950 into a unique street racer with an artisanal flavour, by altering the riding position and styling to really bring out the sports spirit,” says a blurb on the Yamaha Europe website.

The Yamaha XV950 Pure Sports remains in stock mechanical condition, but its half fairing and tail unit are inspired by the 1985 Yamaha FZ750 and have been fashioned out of sheet aluminium. Ergonomics have been made sportier, there’s a custom-built leather saddle and a custom-built 2-into-1 exhaust system.

“We had so much fun riding the new Yamaha XV950 on the winding roads up and down the hills of California during its international press launch. Once we got it on the tricky streets of Milan, we appreciated how well it handled and we literally made sparks fly climbing the Apennine Mountains,” says Giuseppe Roncen, Editor, LowRide. “We tried to unleash its sports soul, but without compromising the easy ride-ability, comfort and enviable balance. Without indulging in an exercise of style just for style's sake, our team designed the XV950 Pure Sports with absolutely no compromises on dynamics and functionality,” he adds.

Monday, April 28, 2014

2014 Moto Guzzi V7 range: New high-res pics released

High-res pics of the 2014 Moto Guzzi V7 range High-res pics of the 2014 Moto Guzzi V7 range High-res pics of the 2014 Moto Guzzi V7 range High-res pics of the 2014 Moto Guzzi V7 range High-res pics of the 2014 Moto Guzzi V7 range High-res pics of the 2014 Moto Guzzi V7 range
The 2014 Moto Guzzi V7 range, cool as ever...

Moto Guzzi, which unveiled the 2014-spec versions of its V7 Racer, V7 Special and V7 Stone motorcycles at the EICMA last year, have now released a bunch of new high-res pics of the bikes. As before, the V7 range is powered by Guzzi's 744 cc horizontally-opposed V-twin, which produces 48 horsepower and 60Nm of torque. A double-cradle steel tube chassis, 18-inch (front) and 17-inch (rear) wheels, 320mm brake disc at the front, 22-litre fuel tank and 179-kilo kerb weight complete the package.

Factory accessories available for the 2014 Moto Guzzi V7 range include a slip-on racing exhaust from Arrow, Bitubo rear shock absorbers kit, touring windshield kit, side panniers and luggage rack kit, gel comfort saddle and even a centrestand. Remember those? Yeah, the tribute to the 1970s is complete with these.

Yamaha to put electric sports bikes into production soon

Yamaha PES1 electric sportsbike Yamaha PED1 electric sportsbike
From left: The Yamaha PES1 and PED1 electric bikes are likely to go into production within the next two years...

In their 2013 Annual Report, Yamaha have indicated the possibility of launching a brand-new range of electric motorcycles in the near future. "We are making further advances in smart power technologies of motors, batteries and controls. With drive units and batteries that are among the smallest and lightest in their class, and service functions that link smartphones and vehicle information, we are opening new fields in the area of electric bikes," says the report.

"In sports motorcycles, we are working to create new value with EV sports motorcycles, which we aim to launch in the near future, with the development of the small, on-road sports PES1, as well as the PED1, which are being developed to expand the scope of electric vehicles to the off-road world. In addition to the advantages of being electrically powered, these motorcycles will offer the operability expected by existing motorcycle fans, together with a new riding experience," it adds.

In addition to the electric motorcycles mentioned above, Yamaha's Annual Report also mentions that Yamaha are exploring various other kind of "personal mobility devices," including tilting three-wheelers and four-wheelers that might offer unprecedented levels of safety, riding dynamics that conventional two-wheelers simply cannot match and performance that "revs your heart!"

Thursday, April 17, 2014

MV Agusta F3 800 Ago unveiled

MV Agusta F3 800 Ago MV Agusta F3 800 Ago MV Agusta F3 800 Ago MV Agusta F3 800 Ago
Only 300 units of the MV Agusta F3 800 Ago will be built, so if you have 24,000 euros in your bank account, get yours now!

It's almost a given that there has to be a limited edition 'Ago' variant of every superbike that MV Agusta build. So here we are - MV have announced the new F3 800 Ago - built in tribute to the great Giacomo 'Ago' Agostini and featuring all the right bits like a red-green-and-white paintjob, various gold-painted bits and a suitably outlandish price tag.

A long time ago (er, well...), Ago won many races and premier class motorcycle road racing world championships for MV Agusta. However, the last race he won with MV Agusta was the 500cc German Grand Prix at the Nürburgring circuit, back in 1976. That was Ago's 122nd and final victory in motorcycle GPs. Yeah, that was almost 40 years ago. So while Ago's greatness remains undisputed, we don't really know if modern day buyers would connect with his achievements on the track.

But coming back to the MV Agusta F3 800 Ago, it's a stunning little machine in its own right. The bike is powered by a 798cc inline three-cylinder engine that produces 148 horsepower and 88Nm of torque. And, there's a host of cutting-edge electronics here, including an 8-level traction control system, the MVICS (Motor & Vehicle Integrated Control System) package which includes a ride-by-wire throttle control system, Bosch 9MP anti-lock brakes with race mode, and a slipper clutch.

Ooi's Art: Classic racebikes from Singapore

Francis Ooi (above) creates some pretty cool classic racebikes (below). Not in a workshop, but on his MacBook Pro. Not bad!

Based in Singapore, Francis Ooi is an illustrator who loves classic motorcycles and who currently rides a 1994 Ducati 900SS and a 2010 MV Agusta F4. Ooi doesn’t just love riding, but also builds classic racebikes. Not in a conventional workshop or a garage, but on his MacBook Pro, which he refers to as his 12-inch garage.

Each of Ooi’s bikes is comprised of up to 800 individual compoents, created in multiple layers in the illustration software that he uses. The bikes are finally printed on thick, uncoated, textured paper – his first six machines are limited to 100 prints and you might want to take a look at those on his website.

We thought Ooi’s work is pretty cool, so we caught up with him for a quick chat. Here’s what the bike-mad illustrator has to say about his work and his love for motorcycles:

On his work and his love for bikes

During the day, I work as a creative director in an ad agency based in Singapore. At night, I turn into an illustrator working on my dreams. Cars are very expensive in Singapore, so the only transport that I could afford, when I started working in 1990, was a motorcycle.

Bikes give me a sense of freedom which cars don’t. My first bike was a Kawasaki KDX200, followed by many others, including a Yamaha TW200 and XT660Z Tenere, Honda Transalp 400, BMW 1100 RT, 1150 GS, K1300R and S1000RR, Ducati Monster 900 and 1098S Tricolore, Suzuki GSX-R750, Honda VFR800 and VTR1000 SP1, Kawasaki ZX-6R, Moto Guzzi V11 and MV Agusta F4.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

US Army to use 2WD electric-hybrid motorcycles for stealth operations

The US Army might soon be looking at modernizing its fleet of motorcycles. Battery power is the future!

According to a report on our favourite tech website, The Verge, the US military has approved funding for the development of a hybrid “stealth motorcycle,” which may be used by the Army’s special ops teams in the near future. According to the report, the
Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) will work with BRD Motorcycles (based in San Francisco, California) to develop a multiple fuel, hybrid-electric dual-purpose motorcycle, which will boast an extended riding range and near-zero noise levels.

The proposed military motorcycle’s hybrid-electric powerplant will, apparently, be built by Logos Technologies. “When fully matured, the technology will allow small, distributed military teams to move long distances quickly and stealthily across harsh enemy terrain. Developed in partnership with BRD, the platform will combine Logos Technologies’ quieted, multifuel hybrid-electric power system with a cutting-edge, off-road electric motorcycle platform. This initiative will be the first time that a two-wheel-drive, multifuel hybrid capability has been integrated into a full-size off-road motorcycle,” says a news release on the Logos website.

So, yes, this almost silent hybrid-electric 2WD bike may well be useful for the US Army. We wonder if Captain America would be interested…?

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

The Doctor meets Cafù, rides an R1 in Brazil

Valentino Rossi in Brazil Valentino Rossi in Brazil Valentino Rossi in Brazil Valentino Rossi in Brazil Valentino Rossi in Brazil Valentino Rossi in Brazil
Valentino Rossi, in the land of Samba

Valentino 'The Doctor' Rossi recently took a bit of MotoGP magic with him to Brazil, as he visited Sao Paulo for a day, where he did a quick interview with Playboy magazine (!) and rode a Yamaha YZF-R1 at the Fazenda Capuava racetrack alongside the legendary Brazilian footballer, Cafù. Rossi also had a chance to meet up with ex-MotoGP rider Alex Barros, before flying off to Austin, Texas, for the Grand Prix of the Americas.

"I really want to go to Austin. The season started well and getting a good result in Austin would mean a lot for me and for Yamaha. It would mean that the direction taken is the right one," said The Doctor.

Monday, April 07, 2014

Massimo Tamburini is no more

Massimo Tamburini passes away Massimo Tamburini passes away
A legend in his own lifetime, Massimo Tamburini passed away yesterday. A great loss for the world of motorcycling...

Co-founder of Bimota and designer of iconic motorcycles like the Ducati 916 and the MV Agusta F4, Massimo Tamburini has passed away. The 70-year-old Tamburini had been diagnosed with lung cancer last year and had been undergoing chemotherapy in a hospital near his home in San Marino.

Apart from the Ducati 916 and the MV Agusta F4, Tamburini had also designed the Bimota Tesi 1D, Bimota KB2, Bimota DB1, Ducati Paso 750, MV Agusta Brutale and the MV Agusta F3 675.

"Massimo Tamburini was one of the legends of the motorcycle industry. I want to remember his passion, enthusiasm and determination. He was a great designer, but above all he was truly passionate about motorcycles. He left our company a precious heritage and will always occupy a place of honour amongst motorcycle’s all time greats. His name will go down in history for his ingenious intuition and perfectionism applied to every small detail," says Giovanni Castiglioni, President of MV Agusta.

A brilliant designer, and a man who simply loved motorcycles - Massimo Tamburini will be deeply missed in the motorcycling world.

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Honda Mean Mower, the 109bhp grass cutter from hell, sets new Guinness World Record

Honda Mean Mower
Honda Mean Mower Honda Mean Mower Honda Mean Mower
With its top speed of 187km/h, the Honda Mean Mower is a grass cutter like no other on the planet...

The Honda Mean Mower, powered by a 109-horsepower VTR1000 Firestorm engine, recently hit a top speed of 187.60km/h, setting a new Guinness World Record for the World's Fastest Lawnmower! The record was set at the IDIADA Proving Ground in Tarragona, Spain, last month, by one fearless rider - Piers Ward - who works for BBC's TopGear Magazine.

The Honda Mean Mower's top speed was measured through a 100-metre speed trap and the two-way record setting run was overseen by Guinness' official timers. 'The original brief for the Mean Mower was to create the world’s fastest lawnmower, and now it officially is, by some distance! We are all delighted,' says Kate Saxton, Manager – European PR Communications for Honda Motor Europe.

The Honda Mean Mower was designed and built in the UK by Honda UK’s British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) partner, Team Dynamics. The team re-engineered a Honda HF2620 Lawn Tractor from the ground-up, adding an all-new fabricated chassis, custom-made from carbon-steel, a 1,000cc engine from a Honda VTR Firestorm and bespoke suspension and wheels from an ATV. In a neat little trick, the Meanie's 'grass bag' was designed in a way that it accommodates the fuel tank, oil cooler and a secondary water cooling radiator. And, oh, with its twin electric motors on the cutting deck, the Mean Mower can indeed cut grass while travelling at speeds of up to 24km/h.

With its 6-speed gearbox, custom-made Cobra sports seat, Scorpion exhaust system, and steering rack taken from a Morris Minor, the Honda Mean Mower weighs just 140 kilos, has a power-to-weight ratio of 532bhp/tonne and can go from zero to 100km/h in four seconds flat.



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