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Loz Blain

New middleweight adventure machines. Left: Honda Crossrunner. Right: Suzuki V-Strom 650 AB...

"Adventure" bikes are about as practical and unglamorous as motorcycling gets. They're fairly ugly to look at, they're often ridden hard and put away wet, they're taken to dirty places and they have dirty things done to them. Which to my mind has always made them a preserve of the hardcore rider - these are not ridden by Harley polishers or leather-clad latte sippers, they're ridden by folks that like to get out and throw motorcycles around out where it's tough. So it's encouraging to see that the adventure class is heating up more than ever in 2011 - and two new middleweight all-roaders from Suzuki and Honda now come into a mix that's becoming almost saturated with bikes like the Kawasaki Versys, the BMW F800GS, the Yamaha Tenere and Triumph's Tiger 800.  Read More

The Toyota FT-86 II sportscar concept

Perhaps fearing that the brand is losing touch with "passionate drivers", Toyota is developing a new "affordable" sports car to fill the gap it left when it dropped the Supra and MR2 from its lineup. The FT-86 II concept, built on a Subaru platform under a partnership agreement, is a rear wheel drive coupe with smart styling that's clearly aimed at younger drivers. Toyota showed off the car in Melbourne, ahead of this weekend's Australian International Motor Show - and took the opportunity to give the press an advance look at the Prius C concept, Prius V, 2012 Hilux and all-new Yaris as well. Pics inside.  Read More

The DTV Jackal, beefed up for military use.

We first wrote about the DTV Shredder late last year - a wild, go-anywhere cross between a Segway and a powerboard, with twin tank tracks and a steering/control column to hang on to as you blast through the underbrush at frightening speed. Well, it seems like many fun extreme sports ideas, the Shredder may end up being co-opted by the military. And to that end, DTV has designed the Jackal - a hybrid-drive, weather and waterproof, militarised version of the Shredder that's fitted with twin grenade launchers and a full remote control system that allows it to operate as an unmanned ground vehicle. The Jackal can sneak silently across contested areas in fully electric drive modeand lay an explosive smackdown on hidden enemies with no risk to live soldiers.  Read More

Video Road Test: Ducati Multistrada 1200 S Touring

We've been looking forward to this ride for a looooong time; this is a truly significant motorcycle. Ducati has stamped its authority on the Adventure bike segment in the only way it knows how. The new Multistrada 1200 S is vastly more powerful and exciting than anything else in the segment. In fact, it's more powerful and exciting than an awful lot of pure sportsbikes. What's more, with its traction control, ABS, fly-by-wire throttle mapping and electronic suspension adjustments it boasts the most technologically advanced computer system we've ever seen on a streetbike - while still being marvellously simple to ride. Loz Blain and Noel McKeegan strap the boots on for the latest in our HD Video Road Tests. Enjoy!  Read More

Scarpar's high speed, all-terrain powerboard set to launch within months

Two years ago, we had a look at the Scarpar - a twin-tracked, high speed all terrain powerboard that seemed like a promising power toy. Well, we've just spoken to Scarpar CEO Andrew Fern, who has confirmed that this unique vehicle is going into production later this year, and he's taking deposits as of now. Basically everything on the board has been changed since the last prototype we saw - it now runs an independent electric motor in each of the two articulating tracks, and the hand-held throttle and brake unit is now wireless. And as Fern describes after the jump, getting it to a production-ready point has been a herculean effort; his design team more or less had to create their own realm of engineering theory to deal with such an unprecedented set of vehicle dynamics. The following interview is a fascinating look into the development cycle of a new product. Most importantly though, the Scarpar still looks like extreme fun, and a remarkable way to launch yourself into the foliage.  Read More

The Lito Sora - big, bad, and battery powered.

Montreal's Lito has thrown its hat into the ring with a new electric motorcycle that makes some pretty outrageous claims. A full 12 kilowatt-hours' worth of onboard lithium polymer batteries gives the Sora a massive 300 km range – that's 185 miles between charges. Or you can choose to wrap the throttle on and scream up to a top speed of 200 km/h (125 mph). With chopper/fighter bad boy looks and some interesting and innovative features like in-dash touch screen GPS and electronically adjustable ergonomics, the Sora looks like an absolute animal of a machine. You can't help but think that if it had an accessible pricetag, it would look very tempting to the average biker.  Read More

The Zacuto Z-Finder EVF

HDSLR cameras are taking off in a big way as cheap video rigs with quality interchangeable glass – but the more you get into SLR filmmaking, the more obstacles you find yourself working around. One of those obstacles is that you can't stick your eye to a viewfinder – you have to watch an LCD screen. And in harsh sunlight or wide aperture conditions, that makes it very difficult to get a tight focus on the action. And that's exactly why Zacuto's Z-Finder EVF was built; it's an alternative plug-in LCD screen for your DSLR that can be mounted on a frame or held separate to the camera. It's got higher resolution than your camera's screen, it's got a rubber eyepiece to block out ambient light, and a bunch of other pro video-friendly features that help move your DSLR closer to a proper video camera form factor.  Read More

RigWheels

DSLR cameras have brought high-def video capture into the hands of vast numbers of people like myself – people who have now had a glimpse at the possibility of making pro-standard video but who don't have the cash for all the pricey accessories that you need to move to the next level. So a bunch of businesses are taking creative approaches to bring down the cost of moviemaking – and here's a neat example. RigWheels are a simple and compact way to build yourself a cheap camera dolly to liven up your footage with sliding shots – the visual effect is similar to what we got with a slightly more expensive Glidetrack-type slider rig on our recent Zero Electric Supermoto review video.  Read More

The Lensbaby Composer Pro - drop in an optic and tilt away to your creative heart's conten...

Lensbaby is an odd company making distinctly analogue products to suit modern digital SLR cameras. The Composer Pro is a lens body that features a tilting head which bends light and distorts the focal plane of whatever lens optic you drop into it, giving you a bunch of ways to creatively mess with your photography in-camera for some pretty striking and evocative effects. It feels like a strange thing to do, putting such low-fi and distorted lenses on your ultra-sharp DSLR – but then again, hey, if it feels good, do it! Click through to see some example photos.  Read More

The Zero S electric motorcycle

The latest in our series of video road tests is America's leading electric motorcycle: the Zero S, from California's Zero Motorcycles. Seventy-five miles per hour and 60 miles between charges are the big numbers here – but how does that translate to real life use? Also, since electricity costs so much less than petrol, can an electric motorcycle be viewed as an economical option? And what about the environment? When the carbon cost of electricity generation is taken into account, how green are electric vehicles? These questions and more, answered after the jump!  Read More

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