Friday, May 30, 2014

Steve McQueen Tribute: Husqvarna 400-inspired 1200 Cross Sportster

Husqvarna 400-inspired 1200 Cross Sportster
Husqvarna 400-inspired 1200 Cross SportsterHusqvarna 400-inspired 1200 Cross SportsterHusqvarna 400-inspired 1200 Cross SportsterHusqvarna 400-inspired 1200 Cross SportsterHusqvarna 400-inspired 1200 Cross SportsterHusqvarna 400-inspired 1200 Cross Sportster
A custom Harley that looks like an iconic Husqvarna? That's got to be the first time we've ever seen something like this!

Built by Shaw Speed & Custom, the 1200 Cross Sportster you see here was inspired by two machines – Steve McQueen’s 1964 Triumph TR6 and his 1971 Husqvarna 400 Cross. The design brief was to keep the bike minimalist and competition-like, hence it has a daytime-only MOT and there’s no headlamp or turn-indicators.

The 1200 Cross Sportster has a host of custom parts, including an aluminium housing for the speedo, Honda-replica drum brakes and billet aluminium brake stays, engine guards, vintage motocross 7/8th handlebars with Magura levers and vintage-style handlebar grips, stainless steel exhaust system, number boards, Ohlins rear shock, and hand-built seat unit. Apart from all these special bits, we also think the Husqvarna 400-inspired paintjob is simply rocking!

Ducati 1199 Panigale wins Compasso d'Oro Design Award

Yes, it really is a bit of a looker, isn't it...!

Presented once every three years by the Associazione per il Disegno Industriale (ADI), the Compasso d'Oro Design Awards felicitate excellence in Italian design and are recognized by the Italian Ministry of Cultural Heritage & Activities as being “of exceptional artistic and historical interest.” And now, the Ducati 1199 Panigale has gained the distinction of becoming the very first motorcycle in the world to win the Compasso d'Oro.

Hosted in Milan earlier this week, the Compasso d'Oro awards ceremony saw over 270 products being entered as contenders. “The Ducati 1199 Panigale won the Compasso d’Oro for having transferred competition-level performance to an elegant mass-production model that is still consistent with the brand’s traditional image,” said the ADI judges who gave this prestigious design award to the Ducati.

With this, the Panigale is now the only motorcycle in the world that’s entered the Compasso d'Oro Collection. With only about 300 of these awards having been given out over the last 60 years, this really is quite an achievement for the 1199, though we do think the current MV Agusta F4 is also equally good looking and also deserves to win a Compasso d'Oro award!

Bell & Ross B-Rocket, a motorcycle for those who really want a 1960s jet aircraft

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Always wanted to park a 1960s jet plane in your driveway? With the Bell & Ross B-Rocket, you can! Well, almost...

Based on a Harley-Davidson Softail Blackline FXS, the Bell & Ross B-Rocket is the result of a collaboration between French luxury watchmakers, Bell & Ross, and the UK-based Shaw Speed & Custom. With its design ethos inspired by the 1960s and the first jet aircraft of that era, the B-Rocket is a retro-futuristic mix of aviation and land-speed record-setting motorcycle streamliners from the Bonneville Salt Flats.

The Bell & Ross B-Rocket’s design is optimized for aircraft-style aerodynamics, because of which the bike has a low-slung riding position and 21-inch solid aluminium wheels, which conceal the bike’s brake discs and minimize turbulence at high speeds. The bike also features an assortment of aircraft-inspired styling elements – a jet-style conical nose at the front, two adjustable fins on either side of the front forks and a hand-crafter rear section that’s been built to resemble an aircraft cabin from the 1960s.

To complete the jet-aircraft-as-motorcycle analogy, the Bell & Ross B-Rocket even features two side-mounted turbines, one of which functions as an elaborate air-intake system, while the other works as an oil-cooler for the bike’s 1584cc Harley-Davidson V-twin engine. According to Bell & Ross, the B-Rocket weighs about 350 kilos and has a top speed of 200km/h. Of course, with this kind of a motorcycle, the numbers aren’t really important. What matters is the sheer cool of having a 1960s jet aircraft – albeit one that rides on two wheels – parked in your driveway. With this, Sunday morning rides will never be the same again…

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

In conversation with Steve Willis of Shaw Speed & Custom

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The impressively handsome XR1200TT. We love this bike!

Based near Brighton, in the UK, Shaw Speed & Custom (SS&C) create some of the best Harley-Davidson custom bikes in the world. Led by Steve Willis, SS&C have already created more than 90 amazing machines, which have been sold to customers in the US, Australia and practically all over Europe.

The best Harley custom bikes in the world? Yes, that’s correct. Just take one look at their latest machine, the stunning, beautifully-made XR1200TT, which is SS&C’s interpretation of Cal Rayborn’s 1960s Harley XR750 TT. The SS&C XR1200TT features a heavily modified version of a fairing used on a land speed record-setting streamliner, front fender from a Suzuki MotoGP bike (!), aftermarket headlamp, custom-built rear seat unit with flush-fitted taillamp and indicator lights, 17-inch Dymag wheels, Ohlins suspension at both ends, Brembo brakes with radial-mount calipers at the front, and a custom-built exhaust system with Akrapovic carbon end cans from a BMW X6.

With fuel-injection mapping taken from XR1200 Cup racebikes, the SS&C XR1200TT already has 100 horsepower at the rear wheel, and the engine might be tuned further for even more power in the near future. The stock XR’s belt-drive has been replaced with a chain and sprocket system, which is in keeping with the XR1200TT’s sporting intent.

We were so impressed with the XR1200TT, as well as with other Shaw Speed & Custom motorcycles (many of which you can see below...), we decided to catch up with SS&C’s owner, Steve Willis, for a quick chat. Here are some excerpts from what Steve had to say to us:

New Ducati Monster 821 unveiled

The Monster 821 follows the same basic template as the Monster 1200, though the 821 doesn't get a single-sided swingarm
Use the 'gear' icon in the Imgur box above to view and download high-res images

The Monster 1200 now has a smaller sibling, the brand-new Monster 821, which is powered by Ducati’s proven 821 Testastretta 11° engine that produces 112 horsepower and 89Nm of torque. The bike weighs 180 kilos, dry. “This stylish mix of minimalism and performance paves the way back to the original essence of the Monster concept, where less-is-more and made-in-Italy combine to create a motorcycle lifestyle,” says an enthusiastic press note from Ducati.

The new Monster 821 also gets high-spec brakes and adjustable suspension, adjustable seat height, 8-level traction control, 3-level ABS and 3-level riding modes via a ride-by-wire throttle. “The Monster 821 uses next generation technologies to create an enhanced rider/motorcycle relationship, delivering a high-adrenaline experience while constantly reassuring with the feeling of complete control and ergonomic integration,” claim Ducati.

The new Monster 821 will be available in Ducati dealerships from July this year, and will also be available in a ‘Dark’ version, with black frame and black wheels, while the regular Monster 821 comes with red bodywork with red frame and black wheels, or white bodywork with with red frame and red wheels. The Monster 821 is priced at £8,995.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

KTM 1290 Super Duke R takes on the Caterham 620R

Bike vs car again, with the KTM 1290 Super Duke R taking on the Caterham 620R. Make sure you watch the video till the very end, to find out who really wins this one!

Saturday, May 24, 2014

BMW Concept Roadster unveiled at the 2014 Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este

BMW Concept Roadster BMW Concept Roadster
BMW Concept Roadster BMW Concept Roadster
BMW Concept Roadster BMW Concept Roadster
The new BMW Concept Roadster struts its stuff...

After last year's Concept Ninety, BMW have now let loose with the new Boxer-engined Concept Roadster, which has been unveiled at the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este. The bike is powered by BMW's 1170cc Boxer-twin, which produces 125 horsepower and 125Nm of torque. A tubular steel space frame and single-sided swingarm with integrated cardan shaft drive completes the package. "The BMW Concept Roadster is exciting to look and is at least as exciting to ride," says Ola Stenegard, Head of Vehicle Design, BMW Motorrad.

With its squat, aggressive proportions, full LED headlamp, milled aluminium fuel tank and tail section, and integrated single seat clad in perforated Alcantara leather, the BMW Concept Roadster looks really cool. But it's built to do more than just look cool. "A protection pad on the valve covers indicates that the BMW Concept Roadster can and should be taken around bends at extreme banking angles. Inspired by the knee pads of a racing suit, it gives the BMW Concept Roadster a touch of racing flair," says the press note from BMW. Hell, yes!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Battery-powered Lightning LS-218 is now the world's fastest production motorcycle

Yes, the styling is rather nondescript and you probably haven't heard of Lightning Motors. But the Lightning LS-218 can hit a top speed of 350km/h!

What's the world's fastest production motorcycle? If you said the Suzuki Hayabusa, Kawasaki ZX-14R, BMW HP4 or Ducati Panigale 1199 Superleggera, you'd be wrong. Believe it or not, it's the battery-powered Lightning LS-218, which was recently unveiled at the Quail Motorsport Gathering held in Carmel, California, that's the world's fastest production motorcycle in the world right now.

"To have broad acceptance from the motorcyclist community,we need to provide design, performance and value that competes head to head with the best gasoline motorcycles on the market. Lightning’s R&D team has developed electric vehicle technology through years of competition at racing events around the world. We believe that the LS-218 offers consumers the best of design, performance and value in today’s market," says Richard Hatfield, CEO, Lightning Motorcycle.

The Lightning LS-218's liquid-cooled electric motor, which can spin at up to 10,500rpm, produces more than 200 horsepower and 228Nm of torque. One a full charge, range is more than 240km, while top speed is a barely believable 350km/h!

Monday, May 19, 2014

Honda NM4 Vultus to make European debut at ComicCon London

Honda Vultus at the London ComicCon Honda Vultus at the London ComicCon
Honda Vultus at the London ComicCon Honda Vultus at the London ComicCon
Given its styling, its only right that the Honda Vultus should make its European debut at the London ComicCon!

The Japanese Manga-inspired Honda NM4 Vultus will make its public debut at Europe’s biggest comic convention – London ComicCon – later this week. With more than 80,000 people expected to attend, the Vultus should certainly attract its fair share of attention, and its designers will also be present at the venue to meet visitors and to explain the concept behind the futuristic-looking machine.

"With the NM4 Vultus, we are offering customers a motorcycle with a unique identity and riding experience. Its futuristic look has been influenced by Japanese animation and manga, which makes ComicCon a natural environment to display it to the public for the first time," says Dave Hancock, Head of Product Planning and Business Development at Honda Motor Europe. "The Vultus is simple to ride, thanks to our twist-and-go Dual Clutch Transmission (DCT), has unusual features like the multi-coloured instrument panel and flip-up back-rest, and we truly believe it can help us reach a new audience in a way no other bike can," he adds.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

New Bultaco Rapitan, Rapitan Sport unveiled, production to start in 2015

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From top left: Francisco 'Paco' Bulto, the five co-founders of the revived Bultaco and the new Bultaco Rapitan and Rapitan Sport electric motorcycle prototypes

Spanish motorcycle manufacturer, Bultaco, which was set up in 1958 by Francisco 'Paco' Bulto, and which was shut down in 1983, will soon start making motorcycle again. Bultaco Motors is being revived by a group of five men - Gerald Pollmann (Chairman and co-founder), Juan Manuel Vinos (CEO and co-founder), Jorge Bonilla (Secretary General and co-founder), Jose German Perez (R&D Manager and co-founder) and Paul Perez (Head of Prototypes and co-founder).

"Bultaco’s values today are the same as when it was founded - innovation, passion and competition. The first [new] models will have an advanced electrical propulsion system. The product range was envisioned for people who appreciate the sensations of a motorcycle and who are seeking a new kind of mobility," says a press release from the Company, which will have its manufacturing facility in Barcelona and an innovation centre in Madrid.

The revived Bultaco will, according to its co-founders, offer motorcycles that feature "advanced technological solutions" and "disruptive technology," so you can expect to see the use of hybrid/electrical powertrains and ultra-light materials.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

2015 Piaggio MP3 500: Official high-res pics, specs, details

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If you've always wanted traction control on a three-wheeled scooter, the 2015 Piaggio MP3 500 has you covered...

Piaggio have unveiled the latest iteration of their amazing three-wheeled scooter, the MP3, which first came out back in 2006. With more than 150,000 units having been sold over the last seven years, Piaggio haven't stopped improving their nifty little trike and the latest, 2015-spec MP3 500 gets anti-lock brakes, traction control and revised styling. Oh, and the 500cc single-cylinder engine is also new, and gets ride-by-wire throttle control for optimised power delivery and, with revised CVT settings, reduced fuel consumption. With 40 horsepower and 45Nm of torque, the new MP3 500 is never going to be a rocket, but performance should certainly be adequate for most people.

Available in 'Sport' and 'Business' variants, the 2015 Piaggio MP3 500 is, according to Piaggio, the best MP3 scooter they've ever made, and benefits from improved ergonomics, increased underseat storage area (which can now accommodate two full-face helmets), height-adjustable windshield, LED DRLs, new 13-inch alloy wheels and updated digital instrumentation.



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