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Motorcycles

Honda’s US$35,000 Moto3 Grand Prix machine

Next year, the 125 class of motorcycle Grand Prix racing will be replaced by a new class of 250cc single cylinder four-stroke machines to be known as Moto3. This year’s final 125cc season is the last remaining category from the original classes which comprised the inaugural 1949 World Championship and it shows that even the tragically myopic FIM is capable of change. Yesterday Honda unveiled its production machine for the championship at the Gran Premi Aperol de Catalunya. The 84 kg, 35.5 kw, 13,000rpm NSF250R will cost EUR23,600 in Spain (with 18% VAT included) and will be sold worldwide from December 2011, no doubt becoming the mainstay of affordable racing as the RS125R has been until now.  Read More

First sketches of new Husqvarna 900 streetbike

Husqvarna has released sketches of what is to be the dirtbike manufacturers' first ever street machine. The naked streetfighter will use the recently announced 900cc parallel twin-cylinder engine developed by Husqvarna in conjunction with its owner BMW ... and if you like your streetfighter with strong lines and sharp angles, it looks like you're in for a treat.  Read More

Does this AJS Porcupine deserve to become the world's most expensive motorcycle?

It seems the world auction record for a motorcycle is expected to fall later this year when a 1954 AJS E95 Porcupine grand prix racer will go under the hammer. The only thing I can’t work out is “why all the fuss?” The 1949 E90 AJS Porcupine narrowly won the inaugural World 500cc championship, but by 1954 the design was obsolete and the subsequent unreliable E95 never won a race at world championship level in three seasons of trying. That’s not stopping Bonhams from talking it up (its claim that the bike is “arguably the most beautiful, graceful and innovative racing motorcycle ever built” is just plain ridiculous) and it is expecting a sale price in excess of US$750,000 which would put it on top of the list of the most expensive motorcycles sold at auction.  Read More

MV Agusta's 1000cc 148 kW, 200 mph, F4 RR

MV Agusta has announced a new 148 kw, 1000cc version of its F4 sports bike aimed at homologating a bike with the potential to push Ducati’s 1098S, BMW’s S1000RR and Kawasaki’s ZX10R off the superstock podium. Equipped with a new 13,700 rpm short stroke engine, the original F4 frame updated to enable steering-head angle adjustment via interchangeable inserts and new and better Öhlins suspension units and lightweight wheels, the new MV Agusta F4 RR is more than double the price of any of its aforementioned competitors, so let’s hope we see a few on the racetrack that can validate the EUR 22,900 (US$32,500) price tag.  Read More

Yamaha's Super Tenere

Faced with ever-increasing adventure touring competition from KTM, Yamaha, Ducati and Honda, BMW is ramping up new model development at subsidiary Husqvarna with a view to developing more dirt-orientated large capacity off-road and semi-off-road models that will not be in direct competition with its class-leading R1200GS. Several new models will be unveiled at EICMA in November, all based on the Rotax 800cc parallel twin engine used in the BMW F800R. The Rotax engine, for those not familiar with it is a pearler, with throttle response so acutely calibrated that it can be ridden like this, so the newly developed 900cc variant can be expected to be even better.  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

Historically significant motorcycles up for auction

The annual auction accompanying the International Classic MotorCycle Show (UK) next weekend will, as usual, see a number of historically significant motorcycles go under the hammer. Up for grabs, with estimates in brackets, include a genuine Factory Ducati 999 F03 superbike (GBP80,000) with 13 wins to its credit, Carl Fogarty's IOM Senior TT-winning 1989 Honda 750cc RC30 (GBP70,000), the sole factory prototype of the fully-enclosed 1955 Vincent 499cc Victor Series D single (GBP50,000), and the very last Norton Commando to come off the production line (GBP16,000).  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

Honda's RC212V took four of the top five finishing spots in the opening round of MotoGP 20...

The first MotoGP race of the year has been run and won, so we've got our first glimpse at what season 2011 is going to look like. And it seems it's going to look like the Honda Cup. Delivering on the promise the bike showed last year, Honda's RC212V took four of the top five finishing spots in Qatar, with only defending champion Jorge Lorenzo waving the flag for Yamaha in second place. Ben Spies rode to an encouraging sixth place for Yamaha, and the Rossi/Ducati combination started with a whimper, not a bang, in 7th. Smart money would have to be on Australian Casey Stoner for the title; after a brief dice with a wearied Dani Pedrosa, Stoner strolled away to a 3.5-second win.  Read More

The 2011 Zero XU

If you're going to be an early adopter and get yourself an electric motorcycle, one thing you'll need to get used to is charging the bike more or less whenever you're not riding it. If there's power outlets where you park, or the boss lets you bring the bike into the office, that's no problem – but if not, you might struggle to find an accessible spot to plug in. Which is where the latest addition to the Zero Motorcycles 2011 lineup could come in very handy; the Zero XU is the first Zero streetbike (and one of the only electric commuters we've seen) that allows you to quickly remove the battery and charge it away from the bike. Great idea, but we wonder how it will work in practice.  Read More

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