BMW's S1000RR 1000cc superbike might not be making big waves in World Superbike competition just yet, but today's release of photos, specifications and a hugely detailed press pack leaves us in no doubt that the new Beemer flagship will be an absolute monster on the road. A massive 193 horsepower is just the beginning - the S1000RR packs a combined ABS that's lighter and smarter than Honda's, variable intake tracts and exhaust butterflies that outdo the Yamaha and MV Agusta systems, a 4-mode variable engine mapping system that seems a lot better thought-out than Suzuki's, and a very clever traction control system that's integrated into the mind-boggling fly-by-wire engine management system in a way that seems much more logical than Ducati's. Brand new in every way, this purpose-built German superbike is set to hit showroom floors well before the end of the year.
If the fun
we had aboard Piaggio's MP3
is any indication, motorcycles with more than two wheels have a big future ahead of them. The additional stability and traction you get from a tilting three-wheeler is quite an eye-opener, and they're still exceptionally fun to ride. If you want to take the concept one step further, though, an extra wheel at the back as well can actually make the entire bike narrower while delivering the sort of stability that can let you safely powerslide and drift all four wheels on an oily skidpan. Remember Yamaha's wild and wonderful Tesseract concept
from 2007? The company is keen to get one into production, but as it turns out, Yamaha has run into trouble with patents held by an ex-courier and motorcycle safety advocate from the UK who has been working on a road-ready tilting 4-wheeler for more than 20 years.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.