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Motorcycles

Kawasaki preparing revolutionary new engine

August 28, 2008 Just when you figured that the incremental development of the Universal Japanese Motorcycle was all you’d ever see comes news that Kawasaki is about to release a bombshell on the motorcycling world with the release of a radically different engine. Spanish Motorcycle Magazine SoloMoto has details of the new motor revealed in an exclusive interview with a Kawasaki executive and plans to print the details in its September 16 issue. Most significantly, the preview interview, (here in Spanish), indicates that it will feature similar technologies to those employed in the KTM-owned Husaberg 450 we wrote about earlier this year. The radical Husaberg engine has been reconfigured to put the crankshaft near the motorcycle’s center-of-mass and results in a significant improvement in handling. Kawasaki’s patents predate the Husaberg design by several years and the technologies will be applied to motors with different numbers of cylinders and extending to KHI’s four-wheelers as well.  Read More

The unnamed 110cc prototype

August 8, 2008 Fuel injection arrived on two wheels with the release of Honda’s CX500 Turbo a quarter of a century ago, and Honda has been developing smarter and more intricate computer controlled fuel injection systems for its two wheelers ever since. These days its advanced PGM-FI (Programmed Fuel Injection) technology is fitted across the range from 50cc scooters through its MotoGP race machinery, offering broader and smoother power, better throttle response and vastly reduced fuel consumption and emissions. A prototype being quietly shown around Asia suggests that it might also lead to some lightning fast scooters in the near future.  Read More

TomTom Rider 2nd edition

August 6, 2008 Now in its second generation, TomTom's navigation solution for motorbikes features a ruggedized waterproof housing, a 3.5" touchscreen with large, "glove friendly" icons, a secure universal mounting system and comes bundled with a Cardo scala-rider® Bluetooth® headset for in-helmet spoken instructions and hands-free phone calls.  Read More

The world's lightest four-stroke 250 single engine

Four stroke dirt bikes were once overweight and underpowered, but that’s changing fast. Specialist off-road motorcycle manufacturer Husqvarna has disclosed details of a new 250 four-stroke engine it is testing that weighs just 22 kilograms. Though the motor may be small, there has been no significant saving in weight as the new bike, which is likely to be available in limited quantities by the end of the year, comes in at 92 kilos dry – the same as the Yamaha YZ250R and Suzuki RMZ250.  Read More

The Toyotron Hunter

REVISED July 31, 2008 Given the reluctance of the big four Japanese motorcycle manufacturers to sacrifice their existing markets by introducing electric motorcycles, the window of opportunity for small and innovative manufacturers to work with the Chinese manufacturing powerhouse to create pollution-free motorcycles that run at negligible cost is wide open. A new electric-only motorcycle manufacturer hit the scene this month in Thailand, moving the country ahead of many first world countries in the quest for sustainable transport. It borrows quite a bit from what has been before, but it looks the goods.  Read More

Triumph's Street Triple R

July 22, 2008 Triumph's 675cc Street Triple has decimated the middleweight naked roadbike class in the short time it's been out, embarrassing Honda's Hornet, Yamaha's FZ6 and Suzuki's GSR600 with its superb handling, exciting 110-horsepower 3-cyclinder engine and excellent ride comfort. It's frequently said to be more fun to ride than its big brother, the 1050cc Speed Triple, and is in such high demand that waiting lists for the 'Striple' run into several months all around the world. And now Triumph are releasing a higher-spec 'R' version using the suspension and brakes from the Daytona 675 which is causing a similar commotion in the Supersport class.  Read More

Harley buys MV Agusta

July 14, 2008 Harley-Davidson has swooped in with around 70 million Euros to rescue the MV Agusta group from its finicial difficulties. Although Harley and MV might look like strange bedfellows, both are premium, no-expenses-spared brands with huge cultural significance. H-D expect to reap strong financial rewards when MV releases uber-designer Massimo Tamburini's next masterpiece - the 675cc inline triple MV Agusta F3 supersports bike.  Read More

Honda's outrageous DN-01

From its sports-scooter meets future-cruiser styling to its dual-mode auto/sports-shift infinitely variable transmission, the 680cc DN-01 destroys Honda's conservative, staid reputation in a flurry of raised eyebrows and shaking heads. It couldn't possibly be a Honda - yet it is, and it's going on sale in the UK from August 1 to see if the market's ready for a truly progressive, niche-busting two-wheeler.  Read More

BMW's f800-engined 2WD hillclimb special.

The all-wheel-drive revolution that has swept the off-road car racing world continues to gather strength in the vastly more conservative motorcycle market. Yamaha's 2-Trac and Christini's aftermarket AWD system are well established as proof that 2-wheel-drive is an effective and significant advantage to off-road motorcycle racers, and now BMW is using a two-wheel drive system in one of the toughest arenas of all - the European Hill Climb Championships, where despite star rider Christian Pfeiffer bowing out due to injury, a 2WD F800-powered hill climb bike took fourth place in its first competition outing.  Read More

 Holy Cow – the Batcycle becomes the Batpod

Comic book hero Batman has been with us for 70 years next year, becoming one of the most popular fictional characters of all time. Along the way, Batman became more technologically savvy, using wondrous gadgets such as the bat-car, bat-computer, bat-cave, bat-signal, bat-radar, bat-camera and bat-cycle to fight an array of adversaries such as the Joker, Catwoman, the Penguin, Two-Face, the Riddler, and Scarecrow. With the latest celluloid interpretation of the Batman character set for global release next week (The Dark Knight), we’re about to see another interpretation of the Bat-cycle – the Batpod.  Read More

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