Tuesday, March 22, 2016

The Top 10 bikes we'd like to see at EICMA this year

Motorcycling flights of fancy...

During an idle weekend, with no real motorcycles to ride (yeah, well, such is life...), fantasising about various 'dream bikes' is sometimes the only recourse. Of course, most motorcycle manufacturers already have a huge assortment of some magnificent high-performance machines in their line-up, but that doesn't stop us from letting our imagination run wild. So, here's a list of the Top 10 motorcycles that we'd love to see at the EICMA this year.

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Sometimes, 200bhp just isn't enough, right? So bring on the supercharged 290bhp ZX-14R in 2017

1. Supercharged Kawasaki ZX-14R
Sure, the Kawasaki ZX-14R already packs a 200bhp punch and isn't exactly slow. Still, a supercharged version with about 280-290bhp from its boosted inline-four should be even more fun to ride. We already love the 14R's all-around practicality, plush seat and all-day riding comfort (which the H2/H2R doesn't have), and a supercharger will just make it that much more exotic, fast and desirable. That, and a single-sided swingarm, matt-black paint, and the world's first laser headlamps on a production motorcycle should make it perfect!

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Time for a lighter, sharper, turbocharged Suzuki GSX-R1100 Hayabusa

2. Turbocharged Suzuki Hayabusa GSX-R1100 Turbo
Time for a major revamp for the Hayabusa, and we'd like the new one to be powered by an all-new 1100cc turbocharged inline six-cylinder engine. With modern electronics and a turbo, an 1100cc turbocharged inline-six should easily be able to produce more than 250bhp, which should be enough for most people. Plus, we'd like the current Hayabusa's bulbous, Zeppelin-type styling to be replaced with slim, sharp, modern lines. Keep it as light as possible (180kg or thereabouts would be perfect), give it fully adjustable active suspension and make it sound really, really good. Bring the dark side of Japan.

Wednesday, March 09, 2016

2016 Ducati Hypermotard 939: New high-res pics, details, tech specs, video

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If you do buy a Hypermotard 939 SP, you're morally obligated to ride it like this...

Ducati have released a fresh set of pics of the new, 2016-spec Hypermotard 939, which is also available in Hypermotard 939 SP and Hyperstrada 939 versions. All versions of the bike are powered by the same 937cc Testastretta V-twin that's Euro IV emissions compliant, and produces 113 horsepower and 98Nm of torque. With a kerb weight of 204-210kg (depending on the variant), the Hypermotard 939 is able to offer high levels of easily accessible performance for the experienced rider.

As with most modern Ducatis, the Hypermotard 939 gets the latest ABS, 8-level traction control and three riding modes. A 43mm Kayaba USD fork and adjustable Sachs monoshock, combined with the Hypermotard's steel-tube trellis frame and single-sided aluminium swingarm, provide excellent handling. The bike rides on 17-inch wheels, shod with Pirelli Diablo Rosso II tyres. The Hypermotard 939 SP gets a fully adjustable 48mm USD Öhlins fork and fully adjustable Öhlins shock, along with Pirelli Diablo Supercorsa SP rubber and a slightly increased ride height for more extreme racetrack-oriented performance.

The more touring-oriented Hyperstrada 939 gets all the standard equipment of the Hypermotard 939, with the addition of 50-litre semi-rigid removable bags and a centrestand. For increased comfort, the Hyperstrada 939 has handlebars raised by 20mm and a touring windshield. There are also two 12V power sockets, designed to power navigation instruments or thermal clothing. The Hyperstrada 939's wider saddle offers increased comfort over longer distances and comes with handy grab handles for the pillion seat passenger.

Saturday, March 05, 2016

2017 Kawasaki Z125 Pro is a goofy little ball of fun

The Kawasaki Z125 Pro is all set to take on the Honda MSX125

If Honda can do an MSX125, why not Kawasaki? So they have, of course, and the Kawasaki Z125 Pro is their all-new 'monkey bike,' which really does look like a funky little ball of fun. It weighs just 102 kilos, can seat two people, has a 7.5-litre fuel tank and a low, low seat height of 30.7 inches. The Z125 is powered by a fuel-injected 125cc air-cooled SOHC single-cylinder engine, which is mounted low and forward in the frame for optimum weight distribution and nimble handling. This engine is mated to a 4-speed transmission. Power and torque figures have not been quoted by Kawasaki, but we guess the little 125 probably makes something like 10-11bhp, which means it won't be threatening to run with your ZX-14R anytime soon.

The Z125 Pro features a steel-tube backbone-type chassis with a box-section steel swingarm, 30mm USD front fork at the front, preload-adjustable monoshock at the back, and rides on 12-inch cast-aluminium wheels shod with 100/90 (front) and 120/70 (rear) tyres. Stopping duties are handled by a single 200mm brake disc up front and a 184mm brake disc at the back, with single-piston Nissin calipers at both ends.

Other notable bits on the 2017 Kawasaki Z125 Pro include an LCD instrument panel with analog tachometer, multi-reflective headlamp and LED taillamp. Lime green and graphite gray are the two colours available, with prices starting at US$2,999 and standard 12-month warranty.

Thursday, March 03, 2016

Suzuki GSX-S1000F, GSX-S1000 Yoshimura special edition bikes announced in the UK

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We especially like the Yoshimura Suzuki GSX-S1000...

Suzuki UK have announced two new special edition bikes - the Yoshimura Suzuki GSX-S1000F and GSX-S1000, both of which get a host of Yoshimura components, an exclusive graphics kit and a selection of accessories. Yoshimura parts on both bikes include an R11 exhaust system, steering stem nut, timing plug, oil filler cap and bar ends. Cosmetic add-ons include wheel rim tape, tank pad, fuel cap trim, paddock stand bobbins, matt black levers and heel plate trim. A pillion seat cowl is standard with each bike while the standard pillion seat will also be supplied alongside. The pillion foot pegs will be fitted as standard on both bikes, though these can be removed. The bikes will be available in authorised Suzuki dealerships from March this year, with the GSX-S1000 priced at £9,799 and the GSX-S1000F at £10,699.

Wednesday, March 02, 2016

2016 Aprilia RS-GP makes its debut at Losail

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With an all-new V4 engine and completely updated chassis, suspension and electronics package, the 2016 Aprilia RS-GP just might be a force to reckon with. We're sure Aprilia riders Bautista and Bradl will give it their best this year

Aprilia, which already has 38 world titles in motorcycle grand prix racing (20 in the 125cc class and 18 in the 250s), now seems to be getting ready for a serious assault on the premier class in MotoGP. The 2016 Aprilia RS-GP MotoGP racebike made its debut today at the Losail Circuit, where it will participate in the final IRTA tests before the start of the 2016 MotoGP season.

"Aprilia Racing is the most advanced technological experimentation and development platform for the entire Piaggio Group from which all of our products and brands benefit. For this reason, from this 2016 season, the Piaggio Group logo stands out prominently on the bikes' livery. In fact, the technology developed for racing operations is not intended only for racing, but will also be applied to our streetbikes - from supersport bikes all the way to scooters - with the end goal of improving our products in terms of performance and safety," says Roberto Colaninno, CEO and Managing Director of the Piaggio Group.

Spaniard, Alvaro Bautista, and German rider, Stefan Bradl will be riding the 2016 Aprilia RS-GP this year. A former world champ in the 125cc class, Bautista is now in his sixth year in MotoGP and his second with Aprilia. Bradl won the Moto2 world championship in 2011 and came to MotoGP in 2012, where his best result has been a second place finish in the 2013 USGP. With new tyres and electronics, both riders understand that developing the new bike into a race winning contender will be tough, but they seem to be commited to doing whatever it takes to win.

With its new 'narrow' V4 engine that features counter-rotating crankshaft and pneumatic valves, more than 250bhp power output, new Magneti Marelli ECU, 6-speed seamless transmission, Ohlins suspension, Michelin tyres and Brembo brakes (twin 340mm carbon discs at front, single 255mm steel disc at the back), the 2016 RS-GP MotoGP machine looks pretty good. And we hope the new RS-GP will be as successful in MotoGP as the RSV4 has been in World Superbikes!

Maserati-engined Lazareth LM847 busts out at the Geneva Motor Show

This is the Maserati V8-powered Lazareth LM487, which was recently unveiled at the 2016 Geneva Motor Show. We're told that Batman and Darth Vader have both already ordered one

Trust the French to build the most outrageous, the most outlandish motorcycle in the world - the Lazareth LM847, which is powered by a 4.7-litre Maserati V8 that produces 470 horsepower and 620Nm of torque. With a kerb weight of 400kg, the LM847 still has a power-to-weight ratio of more than 1:1, so should be pretty intense to ride.

In addition to a fancy Italian V8 engine, the Lazareth LM847 also packs in groundbreaking technology in terms of its chassis, suspension and packaging. It employs four separate wheels (two at each end, mounted very closely), aluminium swingarms at the back and at the front, and hub-centre steering. Since each wheel seems to be independently sprung, the LM847 will lean in the corners like a proper motorcycle. And the thing also has monstrous stopping power, with two 420mm perimeter-type brake discs at the front, with Nissin 8-piston calipers, and twin 255mm brake discs at the back, with 4-piston calipers. The tail section is straight off a Ducati Panigale and is just about the only visible piece of bodyword on the LM847. What a machine!

Tuesday, March 01, 2016

Remembering a Classic: Nelson Hallgren's Kawasaki KZ1000

"This KZ1000 was built to be a combination of retro styling and modern upgrades. I built it over several years. Adding modern parts, better suspension, brakes, and a little more power make for a great ride," says Nelson

Nelson Hallgren, who's based in Northern California, is a KZ1000 owner-enthusiast and has owned Kawasaki KZs and GPZs since 1985. A lifelong motorcycle enthusiast, mechanic and occasional racer, he has rebuilt and modified countless Japanese and European motorcycles since he started riding at age 10! Nelson has owned the same 1978 Kawasaki KZ1000 for almost two decades and has written an ebook about how to restore and customize a KZ1000, which is available on his website. In this story, which he's written exclusively for Faster and Faster, he talks about his beloved KZ1000.

The 1978 Kawasaki KZ1000; a classic superbike to be sure. Honda's 1969 CB750 was a game changer but a lot of us older guys are stuck on the Kawasakis. The 900 Z1 started it all and eventually Kawasaki pumped it up to a 1000. These bikes have a long history in roadracing and drag racing. The motors are strong and they respond well to modifications. It's an air-cooled inline-four with dual overhead cams. The cam lobes push on shims and buckets to open the valves; much like many modern bikes do today.

What's it like to ride this thing? Well not quite like an old bike and certainly not like a new one either. I've owned modern sport bikes, and it would be silly to try to compare the performance of a 38 year old bike with the latest corner carvers. But even so, this bike is quick! Every time I gas it hard through the gears I still think to myself , "holy crap this thing is fast!"

The sound is incredible. The Vance and Hines 'Sidewinder' drag racing pipe is a 4-into-1 with no muffling and a wide-open megaphone. You might expect it to be really loud, but it's not. The two big valves in each cylinder make a throaty rumble you don't hear from the modern four valve machines. It's sounds a bit like a cross between a muscle car and an Indy racer.



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