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Motorcycles

The first commercially-available diesel motorcycle

November 20, 2006 The sudden realization after several decades of evidence that the world is drowning in burned fossil fuels has catalyzed a lot of initiatives to reduce consumption and emissions, but few are as tantalizing as the prospect of diesel motorcycles which further enhance the already economical motorcycle to new levels of fuel efficiency and offer astounding torque and drivability. Though we have written about several production motorcycles such as the HDT military-only JP/8 and the Dutch-built Star Twin ThunderStar 1200 TDI diesel motorcycle, none have been available to the public in any quantity until this week’s news that a new diesel motorcycle from Holland has achieved production status and 500 will be built over the next two years. The Track T-800CDI is being produced by E.V.A. Products BV Holland and uses the 800cc three cylinder Daimler Chrysler diesel engine used in the smart fortwo diesel, military UAVs and marine applications, matching it with a CVT, frame, driveshaft, running gear and ECU produced in-house. The engine uses a turbocharged intercooled Commonrail direct injection engine and produces a whopping 150Nm of torque. It comes with three pre-programmed ECU settings enabling it to be switched to run on 100% Pure Plant Oil (such as sunflower oil) or into a highly efficient but lower power diesel economy mode. E.V.A. CEO Erik Vegt describes the bike as a “BMW GS killer with KTM LC8 drivability and Suzuki Hayabusa-like torque.” “It’s the ultimate long distance and long life motorcycle that can run on diesel fuel or 100% pure plant oil,” says Vegt.  Read More

100 bhp Buell Lightning Super TT XB12STT debuts at EICMA

November 16, 2006 The Harley Davidson brand name is associated with attitude – serious attitude. It cultivates a brand loyalty second to NONE – how many other consumer groups tattoo their chests, biceps and girlfriends with a company logo? The HD brand is associated with a cruising style of motorcycle though, so Erik Buell’s decision to take Harley motors and do wickedly clever and decidedly different things with them was a perfect opportunity for a brand extension. Harley’s purchase of Buell coincided with the rise of a new form of motorcycle – the naked, raw, streetfighter – designed for getting from point A to point B reaaally quickly. The latest incarnation of the muscular yet lean Buell breed is the Lightning Super TT XB12STT, which made its worldwide debut at the EICMA International Motorcycle Show in Milan, Italy, this week. The Lightning Super TT boldly reflects the rebellious and aggressive spirit of the parent brand.  Read More

Ducati unveils the 1098 - the fastest Ducati ever

UPDATED IMAGE LIBRARY November 15, 2006 In announcing the new Ducati 1098 at EICMA, the Italian company emphasised that performance was THE priority in every step of the bike’s development. Every system, every detail and every component has been studied and pared down to its essence and performance increased to the maximum. If it didn’t make the 1098 lighter, faster or deliver quicker lap times, it wasn’t considered. This latest incarnation of the Ducati V-twin which has dominated superbike racing for two decades produces 160hp and 12.5kgm of torque on the road. The 1098 (it’s actually 1099cc, so maybe there’s another iteration yet to unfold), will be the most powerful naturally-aspirated roadgoing twin-cylinder motorcycle available with the highest torque-to-weight ratio of any sport bike. The 381 pound weight makes it the lightest of any of the superbikes in roadgoing form and with a styling reminiscent of the 916, here’s hoping it fronts the grid in 2008. Borrowing heavily from the company’s MotoGP and Superbike technology , the 1098 is quite simply the lightest, best stopping and fastest Ducati in history. Full details inside.  Read More

MV Agusta F4CC unveiled – 100,000 euro, 195 mph, 100 only

November 14, 2006 “I decided to put my name to this bike as I originally dreamed of it for myself”. This is how Claudio Castiglioni, the Managing Director referred to the new F4 that now carries his initials “CC”. The boss of MV did what any of us might well have done and gave in to his inner instincts, gave in to the temptation to create a motorbike, not just to meet strategic market needs, but to create something really special, something truly magnificent - just for the sake of it. To create the F4CC project, he obviously utilised everything at his disposal; exclusive materials and the latest technology to attain the utmost in performance. The new F4 CC was released overnight in Milan at EICMA and as predicted several weeks ago, it will be the most exclusive and fastest production motorcycle on the planet, fittingly restoring the name MV Agusta to the pinnacle of roadbike technology. Only 100 units of the hand-built MV F4 CC will be produced and price will be in the region of 100,000 euros. The unit will come with superb accessories including a Trussardi leather jacket and a Girard Perregaux watch made exclusively for the 100 proud owners. The figures for the new MV speak for themselves: the top speed of this Italian sculpture is 315 kph (195 mph), auto-limited by MV Agusta in deference to the lack of available tyres for speeds beyond that.  Read More

The world record-setting Manx

November 10, 2006 A world record price of almost GBP32,000 (US$61,000) has been paid for a Manx Norton at last Saturday’s (November 4) H&H auction in the United Kingdom. It was the second consecutive world record for a Manx for H&H, with the previous auction having raised the ceiling for 350cc Manx Nortons to a tad under GBP24,750. The world record 500 Manx in question was a nicely presented 1961 example that had been restored some 15 years ago and sported an engine built by Manx maestro Ray Petty.  Read More

The Brudeli 625L Leanster - image by Rune Baashus

November 9, 2006 We’ve been drooling over the concept of three wheelers that tilt and carve for several years now, but in the main, they rarely see production. Machines such as Heikki Naulapaa's Magnet, Tommy Forsgren's Hermes, Dimitrios Scoutas' Skipee, Mercedes-Benz F 300 Life-Jet concept and Elisha Wetherhorn's electric RIDER have not yet seen production, though they all hold remarkable promise. The only guaranteed production carving concept of recent times is Vespa's three wheeled scooter, which is powered by a 250cc motor and isn't exactly as sporty as we'd hoped. Accordingly, we’re very thrilled to write about the coming of the Norwegian-designed Brudeli 625L, which delivers the thrill of a motorcycle with the control of a four-wheeled vehicle. The 625L uses a 625 cc KTM single cylinder motor, and will enter production in 2007, at which point you’ll be able to buy one and register it for use on the street for EUR 20,000 (US$25,000). It is intended both for on-road and off-road use, so it’s sort of like a three wheeled supermotard. Very exciting prospects for consumers indeed, and an opportunity for potential international distributors to get in on the ground floor.  Read More

Yamaha's FC-AQEL

October 30, 2006 Yamaha showed a new fuel cell scooter at this week’s 22nd International Battery, Hybrid and Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle Symposium & Exposition (EVS22), in Yokohama, Japan. Though only a prototype, it shows things can go a long way in a year. Yamaha has been developing fuel cell technology for 20 years, and this time last year it was proudly showing it’s FC-ME (wouldn’t you think such a clever company would get a Western-savvy marketing exec to vet their names), a lightweight machine powered by Yamaha’s Direct Methanol Fuel Cell (DMFC) system, and with the performance of a 50cc scooter. This year the FC-AQEL hydrogen fuel cell scooter prototype has 125cc class performance – though no power figures have been quoted, that’s at least a 100 percent increase over last year’s best and enough grunt to make the FC-AQEL viable in most global markets. Now all we need is a hydrogen infrastructure.  Read More

Yamaha’s Maxam scooter bound for overseas markets

October 26, 2006 This time last year the motorcycling world was amazed to see Yamaha unveil a two wheeled limousine of extravagant proportions in the form of the Maxam 3000 prototype (image gallery). The 3000 in the model designation was there to signify the beastie was indeed 3000mm in length - almost 10 feet long! What wasn’t conveyed and hence wasn’t obvious to the rest of the world was the success the crossed tuning fork brand was having in its domestic market with the Yamaha Maxam 250 scooter – a similarly limousine-like scooter designed for two-up riding as a “weekend leisure cruiser.” The Maxam 250 is selling in droves in Japan and there’s a mmassive aftermarket and official Yamaha accessory listing of all manner of aesthetic and practical parts to complement the machine’s obvious strength of having loads of storage. Now it appears that Yamaha is to offer this limousine scooter to the rest of the world, beginning with a showing in Australia this week at the Sydney International Motor Show alongside its 189 bhp R1 sports machine. We can’t wait to throw a leg over this one – the seat height is so low that even the smallest of Japanese females (one of the target groups for the bike) can get both feet flat on the ground. Great image gallery.  Read More

The Motorcycle Grip Ace with electronic controls embedded

October 24, 2006 One of the skills necessary to master a motorcycle is to combine the use of the three brakes, the clutch, lights, horn, turn signals and throttle without taking your hands off the handlebars and maintaining full control. Ergonomics have improved over the last few decades but to think that we’ll still be using similar controls a few decades from now is ludicrous – they almost certainly will be different, we’re just not sure how yet. One promising new technology in controlling the array of electronics on the motorcycle is the a new motorcycle grip with electronic module which allows the rider to maintain control of the motorcycle while activating turn signals, headlights and accessories. Traditionally, you need to remove your thumb from the grip to activate motorcycle controls. Instead, Grip Ace puts the controls under your fingertips, keeping your thumb on the grip for safer riding. Four switches are embedded in the Grip Ace grip, offering seven functions in the left-hand. Grip Ace also turns your signals off for you, so other drivers on the road won’t misinterpret your intentions. Grip Ace works with your stock equipment, so you can always fall back on your stock equipment while learning to use the Grip Ace. No wires need to be cut to install the Grip Ace, and it should not affect your factory vehicle warranty. It can control nearly any electrical item: turn signals, headlights and any auxiliary function such as fog lamps, stereo, seat heater, or even nitrous-oxide. The product has many other possible applications, including vehicles with joysticks or control levers, such as light aircraft.  Read More

Ilmor 800 snares MotoGP championship point

October 20, 2006 The goal was quite simply to finish the race for the first-time MotoGP team Ilmor SRT, but the Sultan of Slide, Garry McCoy, went one better putting in a consistent performance to bring the team its first Championship point. Given that it was the first 800cc capacity bike (built for 2007 regs), it suggests the 800cc MotoGP series next year might be even closer again. It’s a long way from challenging for the win, but such an impressive first up showing suggests the fledgling team will be a lot further up the field by the time the 2007 championship begins next year.  Read More

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