2014 Paris Motor Show highlights

Motorcycles

Extreme Electric Motocross Bike

September 23, 2006 The recreational vehicle industry and specifically trail bikes look to be set for a whole new range of possibilities in the near future as electric motorcycles become viable. Electric dirt bikes offer several compelling advantages over their current petrol-burning brethren, the most significant being they are completely silent. There is nothing more out of place in the forest than the bark of a four-stroke or the staccato rasp of a two-stroke – at complete odds with the tranquility of the wilderness and quite capable of spoiling the experience for those ten miles away, motorcycling without the noise is long overdue. For this reason, bikes are essentially banned from suburbia. Proof of just how far electric dirt bikes have come is the US$5,500 Drift XC bike from Electricross. Though it only develops 19 bhp, the linear, predictable power delivery has broad torque available from the very bottom of the rev range and is absolutely ideal power for loose surfaces. The trick is in the weight though as the Neal Saiki designed bike is ultra light – just 140 pounds ready for riding compared to 240 pounds plus for a petrol engined bike of similar output. There is no wet weight for an electric bike as there’s no petrol to burn, engine oil or even a gearbox. Saiki’s cross country bike designs have won numerous World Cup mountain bike titles and he recently landed Mountain Biking magazine’s 2006 X-Country Bike of the Year, so he knows his stuff . Before bikes he designed the first successful human powered helicopter (pictured), claiming one of the plumb aviation design firsts in history. Inspired by the potential of the electric motor, Saiki has spent the last couple of years designing and building an electric cross country bike. Saiki found that motorcycle parts are generally too heavy (without the vibration, an electric bike can be built lighter) and bicycle parts were too weak for the forces he wanted to direct. The frame parts are all made from American-produced aluminum. Accordingly, every part had to be uniquely developed using computer analysis to optimize every component, such as the patent pending double diamond design that is lighter and stiffer than conventional swingarms.  Read More

Triumph’s new Tiger gets a 1050cc motor and loses 17kg

September 19, 2006 Brand new for 2007, the Triumph Tiger 1050 is a completely new motorcycle compared with the current Tiger 955. The potent Speed Triple-derived engine has been tweaked to suit the Tiger’s unique temperament, delivering 115 bhp with its extra 100cc. Based on the same engine which appears in the Speed Triple and ST models, the overall Tiger weight has been cut from 215 kg to 198 kg at the same time as much fatter mid-range and a price which is yet to be announced but likely to be line-ball with the current model. A sophisticated engine management system offers twice as much memory as before, allowing a quicker start and improved fuel economy while multi-adjustable front and rear suspension keeps things firmly planted. Photo Gallery here. Specifications here.  Read More

Ducati Hypermotard spotted in testing on Italian AutoStrada

September 19, 2006 One of the most anticipated motorcycles of all time from Italian exotica manufacturer Ducati is Terblanche-designed Hypermotard which puts 130 horses on the ground and weighs just 175 kilograms. Since it was announced last November, it has been the focus of much media attention and in February was voted the best overall motorcycle design trophy winner for 2005 by the Motorcycle Design Association. Slated for production early in 2007, Motorcycle Blog Visordown managed a scoop on Sunday when Visordown regular John Hall was on his honeymoon in Italy and decided to visit the Ducati factory in Bologna for the factory tour. John tells the story: "We were driving back to Verona and stopped at an Autostrada stop just north of Modena at about 6pm. I saw these bikes pull up and couldn't believe my eyes. I'd seen the pictures of the prototype Hypermotard but never thought I'd see one in the flesh, let alone two! The test riders were not happy bunnies when they saw me taking photos, they jumped back on their bikes and shot off before I could get up close!"  Read More

Honda waves the wand over the 2007 CBR600RR

September 15, 2006 Honda doesn’t like getting beaten on the world stage and the success of Yamaha’s all-new 2006 600 supersport is biting into Honda’s success in competition (after four World Supersport titles in a row, it is likely to be beaten by Yamaha Germany’s Kevin Curtain for the 2006 title) and on the showroom floor. So, for 2007, Honda has done a complete makeover of every molecule of the CBR600RR and it promises the most advanced 600cc machine in the class for next year. The motor features two-stage fuel-injection system and ECU programming giving it more pull in the 7000-10,000 rev-range and an amazing 118bhp (nearly 200bhp/litre). Chassis-wise, the CBR600RR has shed a stunning eight kilograms for a dry weight of just 155 kilos! The new 2007 bike is also 22mm shorter than the older model and now features a new Honda Electronic Steering Damper (HESD) to keep the front-end of the bike securely planted on the road. An extensive article with lots of detailed pics inside on the CBR600 which celebrates its 20th birthday in 2007. No price has yet been fixed for this latest middleweight missile, but it will be available in March 2007.  Read More

Ducati shows Multistrada 1100 and 1100S

September 13, 2006 Ducati has revamped its popular Multistrada model, pumping the capacity to 1100cc for the 2007 model year and breaking the one litre capacity with its L-twin Desmo motor for the first time. For 2007, the Multistrada features a potent new 95 bhp (up from 92 bhp) engine with a capacity of 1078 cc (up from 992 cc) of the previous version and 10.5 Kgm (up from 8.5 Kgm) of torque at 4750 rpm (max torque was at 5000rpm on previous model). Apart from a fatter mid-range with 20% more grunt, the new engine has a quieter, more robust wet clutch, vibration-isolated handlebars, and a new maintenance program that reduces running costs by as much as 50%. The Multistrada will also be available in an S version with the same powerplant and fully-adjustable Ohlins suspension derived from the Ducati Superbikes. The changes to the Multistrada will make an incredibly versatile machine even more adaptable to any road condition. On mountain roads it offers impressive cornering performance by way of Superbike-grade suspension, world-class brakes and the renowned Ducati Trellis frame. For long journeys, the longer travel suspension smoothes the way, vibration isolated handlebars reduce fatigue and the relaxed riding position optimises comfort for both rider and passenger. In town the agile chassis, wide bars and broad power of the new 1100 engine make crossing busy city traffic an adventure to look forward to.  Read More

Ducati 800cc MotoGP bike tests

August 23, 2006 With the World MotoGP championship at its most exciting for more than a decade, progress is continuing behind the scenes for the radical restructuring of the class next year to an 800cc capacity limit. The day after his superb win at Brno on the weekend, Loris Capirossi made his track debut with the new 800cc Ducati Desmosedici and the Italian was immediately impressed right from the start. “The first impression was positive,” said Capirossi. “The bike's handling has improved a lot and that's important. This bike has to be ridden in a different way to the GP6, it's actually very enjoyable, a bit like a 250 machine and testing it now was interesting and useful so we can immediately start to work on it. The engine is different, obviously less powerful but it makes a great noise!”  Read More

The Ecorider runs on diesel or homemade biodiesel

August 23, 2006 The Ecorider is a motorcycle like no other – for starters it’s a diesel, and hence a rare breed indeed. We only know of two other production diesel motorcycles, the Dutch Star Twin sports tourer and the military-only HDT, and they both have quite different roles to the Ecorider. Finally, it's not a motorcycle, or at least it isn't classified as one - it is classed under European Legislation as an ATV (Agricultural Type Vehicle) and in most countries (please check), you do not need a motorcycle licence to ride this vehicle. With rising demands on the Earth's vulnerable and finite resources, environmental concerns and increasing fuel costs, the Ecorider makes a lot of sense. It will deliver 120 mpg economy running on home-made biodiesel, and it is also deeply respectful of the environment as the wide tires offer a contact patch with just 2 PSI – given this equates to half the weight per square inch of the average human footfall, the bike actually does less damage than a human in the wilderness. Accordingly, the Ecorider’s reduced environmental impact is ideal for use in protected wilderness reserves, gardens, golf courses and other areas where ground damage needs to be minimal. Apart from being green, it’s also an ideal agricultural workhorse with a high and low ratio gearbox and a reverse gear. Throw in loads of rear wheel traction and a torquey diesel motor and the Ecorider offers an ideal platform for towing. It’s also VERY easy to ride and extremely forgiving, so it can be entrusted to novices and in the hands of an expert will go just about anywhere thanks to the 11 inch wide balloon tires. Extensive image library for this story.  Read More

550 horsespower, 157 mph after 220 yards

August 17, 2006 When we saw the results from round six of the 2006 AMA Prostar Drag Racing Champs held at the weekend, we just had to mention them. Not that there’s anything technologically groundbreaking going on, just our continued amazement at what’s possible given a ten year-old engine, a turbocharger and a spot of engenuity. The Honda CBR 1100 XX started production in 1997 as the fastest street bike available at that time, and it still sells new for less than a Honda Jazz, despite the fact it produces 164 horsepower, will touch 180 mph on a long straight road with a tail wind, and cuts a quarter mile in 10.3 seconds. On the weekend, riding a modified CBR1100XX, Kent Stotz equalled the Pro Street ET record of 7.33 ET and set an official 1/8-mile top speed class record of 157.90 mph. For the jargon uninitiated, that means he was travelling at 157 mph after just 220 yards. How much power does the bike produce from its 1137 cc motor? More than 550-plus horsepower.  Read More

Motorcycle with two front wheels and speed-variable wheeltrack

August 3, 2006 This vehicle concept combines attributes of both two and four wheels together to enable a two wheeler that changes its wheel track according to its speed – at low speeds the two front wheels have a wide track which reduces with increased speed until the wheels are together. The idea behind the radical wheel arrangement is that it enables a motorcycle and rider to be fully enclosed and capable of supporting itself at standstill in order to create a low risk category vehicle. “Motorcycles are economic in terms of energy consumption, road usage and parking space,” says designer Haim Haleva from the College for Teachers of Technology in Tel Aviv. “The problem is that they are dangerous, because a small bump can become a severe accident. Every year throughout the world, thousands of two wheels riders pay a heavy price, sometimes losing their life because they have chosen an economical, fast and environmentally sound form of transport.” “If we could make two wheelers acceptably safe for the masses, we could solve many of the urban transport problems.” Extensive image library.  Read More

The Fhybrid front-wheel driven hydrogen-powered scooter

July 29, 2006 The Fhybrid scooter is a hydrogen electric hybrid two wheeler that has emerged as Crijn Bouman's graduation project at Delft University in Holland and it is a very different form of two wheeler than almost anything that has come before it. For starters, it’s the only front wheel drive two wheeler going around that we know of, has a reverse gear for parking (another first on a scooter), and a range equivalent to that of a normal scooter in that it can travel approximately 200 km on a full tank of hydrogen. Oh, and it doesn’t make any noise or produce harmful emissions and looks very different to normal scooter fare.  Read More

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