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Motorcycles

Ever since designer John Barnard built the 1981 F1 McLaren MP4-1 chassis from carbon fibre, the world has become increasingly aware of this novel composite material that is very stiff, three times stronger and more than four times lighter than steel! Within a year or two, carbon fibre became the construction material of choice for F1 designers. Strangely, it has taken nearly three decades for a carbon fibre-framed motorcycle to take a race win at the highest level. The World MotoGP Championship kicked off this evening in Qatar, with Casey Stoner taking the first win on the carbon fibre-framed Ducati Desmosedici GP9. His emphatic win indicates yet another competitive-edge Ducati technology to back up its landmark desmodromic valve-train and traction control technologies. Read More
In today's peaceful, safe and buttoned-down Western world, people go to all sorts of lengths to get themselves the charge of adrenaline they crave so much - whether it's BASE jumping with a wingsuit instead of a parachute or strapping high-powered motors to things not normally associated with motors at all. We need to dice with death and danger, we say, in order to feel alive - and our creativity in coming up with new ways to scare and test ourselves is quite amazing. Take this odd contraption from Hungary - the Standbike SuperBikeBoard is a 250cc scooter with a custom-built rear section. It comes with a seat mounted on a pole, but that's entirely removable so you can take it to a tight track and ride it something like a motorized wakeboard, moving your body around the bike to balance, steer and stabilize it. You'd need thighs of steel to enjoy it for any length of time, because it looks like a very physical riding experience - and with a top speed over 140kmh, you'll want to keep your wits about you. Read More
Zero Motorcycles was a surprise hit in 2008, selling out its stock of 'X' battery-electric motocross bikes much faster than expected and proving in the process that customers are well and truly ready to slap down the dollars for a quality electric off-roader. Now the company has announced the Zero S - a street-legal electric supermotard capable of 60mph and with a 60-mile range off a full 4-hour battery charge. At under USD$10,000 - before you get your 10% Federal plug-in vehicle credit - the Zero S joins the Vectrix electric maxi-scooter in the list of truly practical electric bikes capable of freeway speeds. And with a power-to-weight ratio almost identical to Suzuki's DR-Z400SM, it should be a bag of laughs to ride. If consumers liked the X, we reckon they'll go crazy to be the first on the block to ride this street-legal, lean, green giggle machine. Read More
When the flag drops, the bullsh*t stops, as they say in racing, and few sectors in the auto market have as much to prove as electric motorcycles. The performance potential of electric bikes is almost unbounded, with massive advantages over petrol bikes in so many areas - and battery technology is starting to catch up with the market's needs - but until recently, there's been no international competitive showcase for the top level of electric motorcycles. Just this week, the FIM announced a zero-emissions TT Grand Prix on the Isle of Man in June - and paved the way for electric bikes to compete in the future against top-level petrol bikes. Now, off-road specialists Zero Motorcycles are gearing up for the world's first all-electric 24-hour endurance motocross race in California on April 4. The flag has dropped on electric racing. Time to see who's got the goods, and who's been telling porkies. Read More
In a landmark move, the world governing body for motorcycle sport, the FIM, is endorsing the upcoming TTXGP, the world’s first clean emissions motorcycle race which will be held on the Isle of Man on 12th June 2009. In making the announcement, FIM President, Vito Ippolito, said, “ FIM recognizes the importance of this area that is evolving very quickly. The future of the sport depends on our capacity as well as that of the manufacturers to innovate quickly. We are convinced that very shortly the motorcycle World Championships will be accessible to non-polluting engines.” For motorcycle manufacturers wishing for a place in history, this is now IT! Read More
Brazilian Honda subsidiary Moto Honda da Amazonia Ltda.(HDA) has begun sales of the , the first motorcycle in the world to be equipped with flexible-fuel technology. The 150cc motorcycle is equipped with a Mix Fuel Injection System, a newly developed fuel supply and fuel injection control system that enables consumers to use a flexible mixture of environmentally-responsible bio-ethanol and gasoline fuels, hence reducing CO2 emissions and fuel costs. Read More
Japan’s Nitro Noriyuki Haga and American newcomer Ben Spies were victorious in round one of the WSKB held today at Australia's Phillip Island Circuit in front of a record crowd of 63,250. Haga took the podium in race one after an enthralling battle with German Max Neukirchner which saw Haga's Ducati 1098R cross the line just 32/1000ths of a second ahead of the Suzuki. Read More
The 2009 World Superbikes season is off to a cracking start, with an action-packed qualifying stage and Superpole now decided. Boasting a huge grid of superstar riders, some ominous new faces, a raft of new bikes and brand new teams from BMW and Aprilia, we've tipped WSBK 2009 as the one to watch over MotoGP in our detailed season preview a few weeks ago. And what a start! Texan Ben Spies has taken an astonishing Superpole victory on his international debut for Yamaha, ahead of veteran Max Biaggi on the brand new Aprilia RSV4 and newcomer Jonny Rea on his Hannspree Honda CBR1000RR. The new Superpole format has proven itself to be pure cut-throat desperation and a great spectacle - and the races tomorrow should be absolutely stunning. Check TheBikerGene for full coverage of Round 1 of the 2009 World Superbike Championship. Read More
In more big news on the electric motorcycle front this week, KTM has started development for series production of a sports enduro with electric drive. The company has been testing a fully functional electric, zero local emissions enduro prototype motorcycle since mid 2008 and has now announced that mass production is set to begin in 2010. Read More
This looks like serious winter fun. What if you could ride your high-performance, lightweight dirtbike in the snow? Imagine throwing huge snowy rooster tails, wheelieing across snow-covered fields, carving corners through the powder and cranking your bike down to elbow-dragging lean angles - all the while knowing that if you overcook it, you'll fall into a nice soft pile of the white fluffy stuff. The US$4250 2moto snowbike kit is a bolt-on mod that takes about 2 hours to fit to a range of common dirtbikes. In place of the front wheel, you get a tough, flexible ski on the end of your forks. At the rear end, you swap your swingarm, wheel and suspension out for a thin paddle track drive unit - and voila! You've got half a snowmobile, except it leans over in the turns and looks like a helluva lot more fun. Read More
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