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Motorcycles


— Motorcycles

2009 World Superbike Championship: season preview and predictions

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

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

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

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

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
— Motorcycles

The 2WD Track diesel motorcycle with CVT

December 30, 2008 The Dutch E.V.A. company has been working on both a diesel motorcycle and a 2WD system for several years and the two have finally come together, with the release of the EUR 17,500 Track Diesel Motorcycle with adjustable front wheel hydraulic drive system as an optional extra. The 50 bhp in-line three cylinder diesel is both turbocharged and intercooled and offers a whopping 130Nm of torque from 1800 rpm upwards. The CVT (Constantly Variable Transmission) helps the motorcycle keep its revs low and it hence uses very little fuel – 2.1 l/100km at 90 kmh – and is to be marketed as a go-anywhere adventure machine with an appetite for almost any fuel available (it’ll run on PPO), a full aluminium luggage travel system, and a desert-sand lifting device for lone adventurers. Read More
— Motorcycles

Honda to market electric motorcycle by 2010

Honda has been quick to signal some radical changes in direction to enable it to endure the tough times expected in 2009. Following news that it is cancelling all F1 racing involvement and development, and likewise with the successor to the NSX sports car, the company has announced it intends to pursue ever cleaner automotive technologies and the most exciting of its announcements is that it will have an electric motorcycle on the market before the end of 2010. Honda’s original core product was the motorcycle and history shows that motorcycle sales remain strong in difficult times – the Honda announcement of an electric motorcycle is likely to spur rivals Yamaha and Suzuki into action, with both having shown fantastic electric bikes already, and both afraid to give Honda a head start in what will surely be a massive market. Read More
— Motorcycles

Single-sided front swingarm could steer the way to better motorcycle handling

December 2, 2008 If center-hub steering like that found on the Bimota TESI 3D isn't radical enough for you, perhaps this'll do the trick: Tier Motorsports have released a set of concept illustrations featuring a Yamaha R1 that's been modified with a single-sided front swingarm. The aim of the design is to provide a completely vertical steering axis for the front wheel, making for a much more direct and responsive steering effect than is possible with angled forks - and the idea also opens up the possibility of virtually frameless bikes, in which both the front and rear swingarms mount directly from the engine and no heavy steering stem/headstock is needed. Fascinating stuff. Read More
— Motorcycles

The GBP20,000 TTX01 - 86 BHP, Electric 2WD Motorcycle

UPDATED It’s the first electric superbike and though its range is considerably less than the first modern four-stroke superbike, the 1969 Honda CB750, its top speed of 125 mph (200 km/h) is almost identical. Yesterday the first prototype of the TTX01 Electric Superbike was showcased at a press conference for the 2008 NEC Bike Show. Built to demonstrate the potential of electric sports motorcycles for the first emissions-free Grand Prix, the initial prototype is based on a Suzuki GSX750 frame and running gear and runs two 43 bhp Agni Lynch Electric motors arranged in line with the frame. Together, the motors produce 125 Newton Metres of torque and both have been modified to withstand high RPM using Kevlar-reinforced armatures. The vision is to create a lightweight, carbon fiber framed 2WD TTX02 with "hot swappable", 20 kilowatt hour battery packs, regenerative braking and a production run of 50 machines in 2010 with a target price of GBP20,000. Read More
— Motorcycles

Bimota's DB7 Oronero: a sportsbike symphony in carbon fiber

In its past reincarnation, Italian motorcycle company Bimota built a reputation around its ability to take the great Japanese and Italian engines of the time and put them into a chassis package that would actually handle - but when the brand relaunched in 2003, many wondered what relevance Bimota would have in an era when the vast majority of modern sportsbikes handle brilliantly straight out of the crate. But it seems there's still room at the top end of the market for bespoke chassis designers, which is a good thing because otherwise we'd never see revolutionary designs like the center-hub steered TESI 3D or the magnificent DB7 Oronero, which boasts one of the first all-carbon fiber frame, subframe and swingarm packages ever to grace a production bike. A truly pornographic piece of motorcycle art, the Oronero also promises breathtaking performance with a weight of just 164 kilograms being propelled by the 164-horsepower Ducati 1098 powerplant. Read More
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