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Dainese tests electronically operated airbag system for motorcycle racing

More than 10 years in the making, the Dainese D-Air Racing system is a new type of rider protection technology that uses a series of accelerometers and electronically operated rate gyros to deploy an airbag mounted in the aerodynamic hump of a leather racing suit when things go wrong on the racetrack. Taking only 40 milliseconds to trigger, the system provides protection for the neck, shoulder and collarbone, cushioning the falling rider before they hit the ground. Airbags have recently appeared into the world of motorcycles with examples like Honda’s airbag-equipped Goldwing and ripcord-operated inflating jackets from Motoair and Hit-Air. The difference with the Dainese system - which is currently aimed specifically at the racing environment - is that it does not require any connection to the motorcycle, kicking-in during front low-side, back lowside or high-side falls.  Read More

Yamaha unveils Rossi’s 2008 YZR-M1 MotoGP machine

January 19, 2008 Yamaha unveiled its 2008 YZR-M1 MotoGP machine this week in a large event held in conjunction with sponsors Fiat in Turin, Italy. Last year the M1 was one of the slowest machines on the grid and played a major role in Valentino Rossi’s worst season for a decade, prompting Rossi to roundly criticise the machine publicly and Yamaha to test a V4 configuration and pneumatic valves in the hope of closing the horsepower gap to Ducati’s desmodromic valve system. With Honda employing a pneumatic valve system in its 2008 machine, Yamaha will be the only contender relying on traditional valve springs to close its valves this year. Despite this, Yamaha’s frightfully expensive throttle control system (Rossi) shares favouritism for the title with Ducati’s Casey Stoner (both 6/4).  Read More

Howards Killer Customs’ US$150,000 hubless Harley

January 18, 2008 Hubless wheel pioneers Osmos list an array of compelling advantages for their wheel, among them decreased unsprung weight, reduced structural stress, improved braking, and reduced vibration. But from a designer’s viewpoint, where the arresting visuals impact the brain like a sledgehammer, it’s that hole in the middle that counts the most. So if you want to make your custom motorcycle a genuine one-off and you have all the expertise in-house to build it, what else would you do? Inspired by a hubless motorcycle seen at Daytona, New Jersey-based Howards Killer Customs spent US$150,000 on this hubless custom to demonstrate its capabilities. We suspect it was money well spent.  Read More

Suzuki Bandit 1250 Grand Touring

January 16, 2008 Suzuki’s big bad bandit 1250 has been reincarnated as a sensible mile muncher. Suzuki has announced the final specification and pricing for the new Bandit 1250 Grand Touring which sports a roomy top-box and pannier system, additional fairing lowers and Suzuki's bespoke Garmin Zumo Sat Nav system.  Read More

Husaberg redesigns the four-stroke single

January 14, 2008 The development of the four-stroke single cylinder motor is exactly as old as the internal combustion engine, but the needs of the motorcycle are still being understood. Accordingly, Husaberg’s radical new design just might be a significant breakthrough. The engine has been reconfigured to put the crankshaft near the off-roader’s center-of-mass and the KTM-owned company claims a significant improvement in handling because of it.  Read More

Guareschi rides the Desmosedici onto the ice floor

Ducati this week unveiled its 2008 MotoGP machine at its annual Wrooom - MotoGP Press Ski Meeting at Madonna di Campiglio. The new GP8 Desmosedici is understandably based on the GP7 which won the 2007 MotoGP title, with small but important changes in the area of the frame, rear suspension geometry, motor and electronic system. The Desmosedici is equipped with exactly the same traction control system used on the new 1098 R road bike which swept all before it in motorcycle magazine awards around the world. No doubt Ducati’s test rider Vittoriano Guareschi was thankful for the traction control as he rode the new machine before the press for the first time – the ice floor he had to contend with could easily have caught out any rider.  Read More

XBRR Chronos custom racebike

January 11, 2008 Built as a tribute to Buell’s 25 years of innovation, the XBRR Chronos from Scandinavia’s Hillbilly motors is a 150kg, 150 horsepower custom racebike that matches the power to weight ratio of the latest japanese litre bikes and features some stunning innovations along the way.  Read More

Jordi Viladoms in the 2007 Dakar
 Photographer: Van Oers J.

January 5, 2008 For the first time in its 30-year history, the Dakar Rally has been canceled, the day before it was due to start, due to direct threats launched against the race by terrorist organizations based in the area. It appears the event may be moved to sub-Saharan Africa from 2009 onwards. We commiserate with race fans, organizers and the 550-odd competitors for many of whom this "Everest of off-road" event is a lifelong dream.  Read More

TriRod F3 Adrenaline 3-wheel motorcycle

We've encountered a raft of exciting three-wheeled motorcycle designs in recent years including the Can-Am Spyder, Brudeli's Three-Wheel Leanster, the VentureOne plug-in hybrid and the T-REX from Campagna. More recently, scooter manufacturers have embraced the wide-track stability, braking power and cornering prowess of the two at the front/one at the rear configuration with the release of models like the Piaggio MP3. While many designs are still in prototype phase, it seems certain that the three-wheeled footprint will become an increasingly familiar site on the road with the latest example to cross our desk - the striking tandem seat F3 Adrenaline from San Diego based TriRod Motorcycles - now accepting reservations ahead of a Q2 2008 release.  Read More

The Ecosse Titanium Series

December 11, 2007 If you’re the kinda person that drives a Reventon, won’t tap on a laptop unless it’s a Luvaglio, and only sails Mangusta, then boy have we got the motorcycle for you! It’s called the Ecosse Titanium Series - so called because it sports the world’s first all-titanium frame. And from the 200-horsepower, 2150cc polished billet aluminum v-twin engine, to the MotoGP-spec Ohlins suspension, to the radially-mounted 6-piston billet ISR front brake calipers - with an individual brake pad for each of the 12 pistons - every detail screams "you can't afford me!" At USD$275,000 it's not cheap - but it does come with a free watch.  Read More

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