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Yamaha's Ben Spies stuns with pole position on World Superbike debut

By - February 27, 2009 16 Pictures
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
— Motorcycles

Winter wheelies: bolt-on kit turns your dirtbike into a powder-carving snowbike

By - February 5, 2009 5 Pictures
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
— Motorcycles

Mission One unveils 150mph Electric Sportbike

By - February 4, 2009 6 Pictures
February 4, 2009 Mission Motors emerged from stealth start-up mode at TED2009 today, unveiling a truly landmark motorcycle and one which will no doubt be creating rumblings through every motorcycle manufacturer in the world as you read this. The Mission One is almost certainly the world's fastest production all-electric motorcycle, but at the same time catapults electric motorcycles into contention as genuine sports motorcycles. With a top speed of 150 MPH and a range of 150 miles, the Mission One rivals existing sportbikes, but it's the torque of the electric motor which will make ALL the difference - 100 lb-ft from 0 rpm all the way to 6500 rpm – by comparison, a 2009 Yamaha YZF-R1 produces 85 lb-ft at 10,000 rpm and the torquiest motorcycle on the market, the 2.3 litre Triumph Rocket III, produces 147 lb-ft. Read More
— Motorcycles

AutoMoto tilting three-wheeler: cheap, practical commuting fun

By - February 3, 2009 1 Picture
There was lots of interest last year when we wrote about Sidam's Xnovo, which essentially looked like a 500cc micro-minivan on three wheels. But the Xnovo hasn't materialized on the market yet, and its USD$10,000 projected price robs it of any practical claim to economy. The California-built AutoMoto, however, achieves many of the Xnovo's aims for less than half the price. It's got a roof, a windshield, wipers, an MP3 stereo, CVT, two seats and a large, lockable storage trunk - and it has three wheels, with two at the rear, which attach to a platform that allows the body to tilt when cornering. Its 150cc engine gets 83mpg in daily use - 30mpg better than the Toyota Prius - and it's much easier to park. It can squeeze through traffic like any other scoot, but it doesn't require a motorcycle license or helmet in many US states. The AutoMoto should prove itself to be a practical and fun way to get around and it looks like a bargain too, at only USD$3800. Read More
— Motorcycles

2009 World Superbike Championship: season preview and predictions

By - February 2, 2009 32 Pictures
The global financial crisis has clearly hammered the highest echelons of prototype racing, with established teams like Honda and Kawasaki pulling out of F1 and MotoGP respectively in the last couple of months. But for the production-based (and much cheaper) World Superbike series, things have never looked better than they do at the start of 2009. Despite the retirement of beloved champion Troy Bayliss, the 2009 WSBK grid will field a record 32 bikes from a record 7 manufacturers as BMW and Aprilia join the fray with exotic new machinery. There's also an influx of phenomenally talented riders - including AMA champ Ben Spies, BSB champ and ex-GP god Shakey Byrne, and precocious youngsters Tom Sykes and Leon Haslam to do battle with battle-hardened veterans like Nitro Nori Haga, Biaggi, Corser and Kagayama. The first pre-season test has been run, giving us a glimpse at who's fast and who's faster, so it's time for a WSBK season preview, looking at the class, the teams, the bikes and the personalities that make SBK the race series to watch in 2009. Read More
— Motorcycles

Ducati 1198S wraps 8-stage traction control into a bargain package

By - January 28, 2009 2 Pictures
MotoGP fans can argue all they like about whether Casey Stoner's 2007 World Championship was a triumph of Ducati electronics over rider skill - but the fact remains that traction control technology is certainly relevant to us lesser riders, particularly in an age where half the price of a family car can buy you a 180-horsepower, featherlight superbike missile at any dealership. Ducati's 2009 1198S packs a 170-horsepower, 97lb-ft L-twin, top-rate Öhlins suspension front and rear, 7-spoke Marsechini wheels, an upgraded data acquisition and downloading system - and the same 8-stage traction control system you'd find on Stoner's GP8 or Bayliss's 1098R. Oh, and if you paid USD$40K for the 1098R last year, you might be annoyed to find out that this year's 1198S, a virtually identical bike with just 10 less horsepower in stock trim, is going to sell for less than USD$22K. Ouch. Read More
— Motorcycles

The Fury - Honda builds a chopper

By - January 16, 2009 51 Pictures
January 16, 2009 Honda finally released the fine detail and first photos on its 2010 Fury motorcycle today at the New York International Motorcycle Show, and the rumors we’ve been hearing have at last been confirmed – Honda is to build a full-on chopper, styled far more radically than anything Harley has ever put into production. Though no-one outside Honda has ridden it yet, we’d suggest that it will be the best handling, sweetest running, most comfortable, most reliable and affordable chopper the world has yet seen, lacking just one thing – a Harley Davidson badge. Read More
— Motorcycles

Xtreme Green’s US$8000 65 mph Electric Motorcycle set for launch

By - January 12, 2009 11 Pictures
January 13, 2009 Start-up Xtreme Green is set to release several new and highly desirable electricity-powered machines in 2009, including a 4kW (5.4 bhp) motorcycle, a 3kW (4 bhp) scooter, a 250 pound Jetboard for watersport enthusiasts with a top speed of 35 mph, and three-wheeled Police Mobility Vehicle (see image gallery). The 266 pound lightweight motorcycle is the one that appears most likely to succeed in the marketplace in the short term, with a top speed of 65 mph, 2-3 hour plug-in charge time for the built-in battery charger, and a range of nearly 100 miles. Pricing has just been announced at US$7000 and with that much power and negligible running costs, we suspect the new company has lucked out in delivering the right product at the right time. Read More
— Motorcycles

The Royal Enfield Bullet – the world’s longest running production motorcycle

By - January 12, 2009 20 Pictures
January 13, 2009 The Royal Enfield Bullet has the longest production run of any motorcycle in history, having remained continuously in production since 1948, and with roots back to the1932 Bullet which was one of the fastest bikes on the road at the time – the Bullet has just been completely redesigned, and as the Bullet Classic, has all the hallmark design cues of its 75 year heritage, plus electronic fuel injection, a “unit construction” (one-piece), all-alloy engine/gearbox and a range of dress-up kits to turn it into a café racer or classic scrambler. It also makes more power than any previous Bullet, though with its modest 20.3 kW (27.3 bhp) output, it’s still regarded as a learner motorcycle in most countries. Most importantly, it’s cheap as chips, and returns better than 80 mpg. Read More
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