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Mike Hanlon

The Yamaha Y125 concept

Yamaha's press conference at the Tokyo Motor Show today was a genuine sign of the times. Four brand new world premiers were shown. The largest internal combustion engine amongst them was a 250cc model with fat tires designed to go anywhere – the SUV of motorcycles was the claim. There was also a three-wheeled electric commuter, a fold-up electric pedal-assist bicycle and, wait for it, an 80 km/l (226 mpg Imperial or 188 U.S. miles/gallon) retro 125cc commuter that's somewhere between a bicycle and motorcycle – it weighs just 80 kg and it is beautiful.  Read More

Aprilia's SRV850

The scooter and motorcycle are morphing into a new class of two-wheeled machine, with the power, acceleration, braking and roadholding of the motorcycle, and carrying capacity, weather protection, comfort, safety and ease-of-use of the scooter. The SRV 850 is Aprilia's performance version of the Gilera GP800, which was already the world's fastest and most powerful scooter. It is now a red-blooded Italian V-twin sports bike with a CVT (no gears) and the acceleration to smoke a Bugatti Veyron at legal speeds. With Honda's Integra due to be unveiled in Tokyo, and new entries from BMW, the superscooter class is burgeoning in response to the need for this new class of super commuter.  Read More

Toyota's GT 86

Toyota will be officially showing its GT 86 sports car in Tokyo, after several years of concept cars and redesigns and extensive collaboration with Subaru, which will sell an almost identical car. The compact 2+2 sports car is an incredibly important release from the world's largest auto manufacturer, which is hoping to bolster its reputation by creating a superb handling, driver-focused, low center of gravity, beautifully balanced with excellent power-to-weight ratio. The front-mounted 197bhp Subaru 2.0-litre flat-four has rear wheel drive, goes on sale mid-2012 and is expected to sell below GBP30,000 in the UK to "those for whom driving is a passion, not a necessity."  Read More

U.S. deploys the Switchblade Kamikaze Drone

The Switchblade is a new form of miniature unmanned aerial system (UAS) which is man-packable and offers a loitering, silent, almost invisible, over-the-horizon aerial presence for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance duties. It also carries a warhead, so if a target of opportunity presents itself, the Switchblade has imaging sensors capable of identifying, tracking and guiding itself right to that person before exploding - with the aim of causing minimal collateral damage. The UAS is currently being readied for initial deployment by U.S.Forces in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Read More

The Iguana 29 Amphibious (Photo: Eric Sander)

The Iguana 29 is a new take on amphibious vehicles, using retractable caterpillar tracks to deliver surefooted drive across extreme terrain at up to 8 km/h while on water it is quick to plane and has 35 knot speed. Most impressive of all is that the hybrid version of the Iguana can run in electric only mode in nature's most delicate areas. The Iguana 29 and its retractable caterpillar design looks to address an important need for boats capable of entering and exiting the water in complete independence. The Iguana has enough carrying capacity to be very versatile and could serve as tender, to land anywhere, as a leisure craft offering freedom from marinas, berths and other constraints, or for transporting goods and equipment. Larger versions of the currently ten-seater amphibian are planned.  Read More

The clear strip of fibreglass on the tank enabled instant assessment of fuel on board

Just four decades ago, Ducati was known for its outdated desmodromic singles and little else. On April 23, 1972, Paul Smart and Bruno Spaggiari debuted Ducati's new desmodromic 750 v-twin with a 1-2 victory at the Imola 200 Mile Race. They beat Giacomo Agostini's MV Agusta, plus the best that Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki, Triumph, BSA, Laverda and Moto Guzzi could offer. The famous victory set Ducati on a course that saw its big desmo V-twins dominating superbike racing for four decades. The official factory reserve bike from Ducatis most famous moment is coming up for auction, with bidding expected to finish beyond EUR150,000.  Read More

The 2011 Laureates represent the most remarkable examples of bespoke technology ever assem...

With two thirds of the world's population now carrying a mobile phone, the only functional aspect of the wristwatch is redundant. The appreciation of fine bespoke mechanical computers however, is stronger than ever - more than US$46 billion this year - three times the tablet computer marketplace. Last Saturday evening, the timepeice industry gathered for the Grand Prix de l'Horlogerie de Genève, where the industry awards the best timepeices in a dozen categories. The "Aiguille d'Or" was awarded to the US$87,000 De Bethune DB28. Another leaureate keeps time to one thousandth of a second and another keeps the true length of the day, both achieved mechanically. They cost more than a Ferrari, and are equally as complex. Showing this story to a loved one might cost you a lot of money.  Read More

Toyota finally appears ready to play its hand in the autonomous vehicle revolution

Toyota is to show an autonomous (self-driving) Prius at Tokyo Motor Show. Dubbed the Toyota AVOS (Automatic Vehicle Operation System), the car will be available for members of the public to take "back seat" rides at the show, demonstrating first hand how the Prius can avoid obstacles, be summoned from a parking garage and park itself. There will also be a demonstration of communications-linked electric cars, scooters and electric-assisted bicycles including what is expected to be Yamaha's first production electric scooter.  Read More

An artist's impression of the GBU-57A/B

Military technology has created some fearsome weapons, such as the 5,000 lb GBU-28 Deep Throat bunker buster, 15,000 lb BLU-82 Daisycutter, 15,650 lb Russian ATBIP (Aviation Thermobaric Bomb of Increased Power), 22,000 lb Grand Slam earthquake bomb, and the 22,600 lb GBU-43 MOAB (Massive Ordnance Air Blast), but if you were hiding under 50 meters of hardened concrete, none of them were going to bother you. Not any more! The U.S. Air Force has just taken delivery of the first GBU-57A/B (Massive Ordnance Penetrator). It weighs 30,000 lb and will penetrate 200 ft of hardened concrete BEFORE it goes off. If you are reading this from an underground nuclear facility in Iran or North Korea, might we suggest some extended sick leave is (or soon will be) in order.  Read More

Another glimpse of the Infiniti sports EV - based on the two angles we've seen, it seems t...

As the luxury brand of the most aggressive electric major automotive producer (Nissan-Renault), Infiniti has been hinting for some time that it would go beyond its hybrid offerings and develop an all-electric sedan and more specifically, an all-electric sports car. With its successful ties with Formula One Champions Red Bull Racing, and F1 Drivers Champion Sebastian Vettel as its Global Brand Ambassador, it was really only a matter of time. Today, we had the first glimpse of the new sports EV.  Read More

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