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Loz Blain

Loz Blain
Loz has been one of Gizmag's most versatile contributors since 2007. Joining the team as a motorcycle specialist, he has since covered everything from medical and military technology to aeronautics, music gear and historical artefacts. Since 2010 he's branched out into photography, video and audio production, and he remains the only Gizmag contributor willing to put his name to a sex toy review. A singer by night, he's often on the road with his a cappella band Suade.

After taking a look at the Jet Blade hydroplaning watercraft last week, we thought it was worth highlighting another senior design project from Calvin College, Michigan. A different group of students has designed and prototyped a device they're calling the Theratryke, a handcycle for paraplegics. Like other handcycles, it gives paralyzed riders a fun way to get outdoors and get some exercise, but in this case it's also designed to move the lower body around and exercise legs that would otherwise spend most of their time motionless.

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KTM's marketing team scared us a bit with its buildup for the 1290 Super Duke R, nicknaming it "The Beast" and pointing at a truly frightening spec sheet: 1,301 cc, 180 raging horsepower, 144 throbbing Newton-meters of torque, in a low-geared streetbike with a nasty attitude. Everything about it screamed "widowmaker," the next in a long line of motorcycles that were too big, too bad and too damn much for a normal rider to handle. But a funny thing happened when I took it out to test it – it didn't kill me. In fact, despite its tarmac-ripping torque and insane power levels, it proved to be a friendly, even encouraging, bike to ride, even when you switch the traction control and ABS off. What kind of black magic is this?

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A team from Calvin College, Michigan, is trying to put the "ski" back in "jet ski" with a unique kind of personal watercraft (PWC) that features three skis, a tilting front suspension system and a 650cc engine. Inspired by the dual-ski Wetbike of the 1970s and 80s, and perhaps a little by the bizarre Watercross racing movement, the Jet Blade team has completed prototyping and preliminary water testing.

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Aussie petrolheads love their V8 engines. And with production winding down on the last of the great V8 Commodores and Falcons that have been a staple of Australian roads since the late 1960s, one small team has decided to keep the tradition alive by creating the PGM V8 motorcycle that is fit to tear up tarmac like the best of Brocky's supercars.

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London's ecoLogicStudio has demonstrated a full-scale prototype of its urban algae canopy at the "Feeding the Planet" expo in Milan. This "bio-digital" structure sees fluid filled with microalgae organisms pumped around an otherwise transparent shelter to produce dynamic shade, energy in the form of biomass, and an impressive amount of oxygen, while responding to the presence of visitors to produce interesting visual effects.

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Royal Enfield is going from strength to strength in 2015, overtaking Harley-Davidson in sales and growing at a remarkable rate both in India, where the brand is a revered and well-loved icon, and abroad, where Enfield's classic looks and simple, rootsy approach to motorcycling is finding favour with old-school riders and younger fashionistas alike. The Continental GT cafe racer is the fastest, lightest and most powerful Royal Enfield ever built, but it's definitely not fast, light or powerful. What it's got in spades is character. Enjoy our full review and a very tongue-in-cheek video below.

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When we visited Australia's Blue Mountains earlier this year to feature this extraordinary clifftop cave, we had no idea that the cave itself might not be the most amazing piece of architecture on the property. Almost as an afterthought, Wollemi Cabins owner and master builder Lionel Buckett invited us down to yet another secluded pocket of the gigantic wilderness area to discover another gem: his treehouse cabin. Built around a turpentine tree and fireproofed against the harsh Australian bushfire season, it's a magical space with profoundly stunning views.

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I wouldn't normally pay too much attention to such a seemingly minor thing as eyeglass hinges, but Spine Optic's extraordinary 3D video animation caught my imagination. The company's range of frames feature a nifty self-closing hinge inspired by the human backbone that holds the glasses firmly in place on your face and offers extra flexibility to fit different sized heads.

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Benelli's new Chinese ownership group QianJiang knows a thing or two about manufacturing. It makes more than 1.5 million bikes a year and this production muscle has enabled Benelli to put together an entry-level machine that delivers impressive specs and great looks at a price that undercuts even the Japanese competition. A 300cc parallel twin with twin disc brakes and adjustable suspension, the Benelli BN302 should make a nice "exotic" alternative for new riders.

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You've read about the awesome Lightning LS-218 in our feature earlier this year, now you can see it in action. You might think electric vehicles are there to be clean and green and a little bit sensible, but the Lightning bike shows that battery power can deliver absolutely ridiculous levels of performance too. With 200 horsepower and a monstrous 168 lb.ft (228 Nm) of torque, this is the fastest accelerating vehicle I've ever experienced, it turned me into jelly. Riding the BMW S1000RR afterwards felt absolutely civilized in comparison, and that thing is seriously quick. Enjoy our video review! Read More
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