August 6, 2007 Buell has announced the upcoming release of the 1125R – its first litre-class motorcycle built on an all-new Buell platform including a freshly developed liquid-Cooled V-Twin engine described as the most-powerful street-legal engine ever offered by the company. Just about every aspect of the bike has been changed from previous models – new chassis, fairing, front-brake, muffler, clutch… and on it goes, but the biggest news is the 1125cc DOHC V-Twin Helicon power plant developed in a collaboration between Buell and BRP-Rotax that aims to combine superbike power with the smooth torque characteristics of a V-Twin. The engine redlines at 10500 rpm, produces its 146 crankshaft horsepower at 9800 rpm and 82ft/lbs of peak torque at 8000 rpm. The Buell 1125R is expected to arrive in Buell dealerships in at the end of 2007. Read More
Italian manufacturer Piaggio, the maker of Vespa, is set to become the first company to release a hybrid drive scooter following an announcement that it is developing hybrid versions of its Vespa LX, Piaggio X8 and Vespa MP3 (the carving three-wheeler) models. The new hybrid system, which has a working title of HyS (Hybrid Scooter), can operate in full electric mode with a range of around 20 kilometres as well as hybrid mode - whenever the rider needs to accelerate more aggressively, the electric motor kicks in, providing about 85 per cent extra performance. Piaggio’s HyS system is a parallel hybrid in which a combustion engine and an electric motor incorporated into the gearbox casing are mechanically and electronically linked and simultaneously supply power to the rear wheel. The system uses drive-by-wire and the in-built electronic management combines the two engines to offer not only better acceleration but also a significant reduction in fuel consumption (up to 170 mpg or 1.67 liters/100 km) and in CO2 emissions, only 40 g/km (using 65% the hybrid modes and 35% the electric one). Perhaps the most exciting prospect is the hybrid MP3 which enjoyed such success as a 250cc it has since been developed as a 400cc version and was recently shown as a stylish 500cc Gilera – a sportier hybrid version of the 500 would enjoy exceptional performance. Read More
August 1, 2007 Those who choose to ride motorcycles, including many of us in the Gizmag team, choose to accept a higher level of risk in our daily transport than a car driver. We mitigate this risk through higher levels of attention, roadcraft and dedicated development of riding skills than are typically displayed by drivers – and rider licensing and advanced training courses are a critical part of most riders’ development as safe, confident road users. Still, rider training and testing typically focuses on fairly nebulous goals and results that give the rider very little concrete feedback on their progress or areas of weakness, so Australia’s DVExperts have come up with a device that brings a new level of hard science to the process. Their Motorcycle Operator Training Assessor (MOTA) unit is a set of sensors the size of a deck of cards that can be attached to a bike to record reaction times, acceleration, braking forces, swerving forces and lean angles to provide a very clear readout of a student’s performance in each testing or training exercise along with their levels of improvement after a day’s training. This means license testing can be brought to a new level of consistency and accountability and we suspect the MOTA’s also going to be a fun piece of equipment for the trainers themselves to play with after hours. Read More
July 31, 2007 Motorcycles offer a boundless sense of freedom to their owners – and they’re also seen as boundlessly free by bike thieves who know it only takes two men to lift a parked bike into a van and nick-off with it. But a bike that can always be traced back to its original owner is difficult for thieves to make a dollar from and Yamaha is taking advantage of this fact on behalf of its customers. Since February this year, every new Yamaha motorcycle, scooter and ATV sold in Australia has been sprayed with DataDotDNA theft protection – microscopic dots that carry identifying information linking every part on the bike back to its original frame number and making stolen bikes extremely difficult to on-sell or part out. DataDotDNA are doing these sorts of deals across the world with a number of different manufacturers now, and becoming a worldwide standard in vehicle identification. Read More
July 14, 2007 The world’s fastest production motorcycle mantle is about to change hands again, returning to Suzuki due to the 2008 Hayabusa’s just announced specifications which should see it push past Kawasaki's ZX-14. The new 1340cc motor is 41cc bigger, and the three-ring, aluminum alloy forged slipper pistons have a compression ratio of 12.5:1, an increase over the current Hayabusa’s11.5:1 and is expected to deliver 12 percent more power, giving the Busa a rear wheel output of 175 to 180 bhp. The motor comes in two different bikes – the speed king Hayabusa and the hyper muscular B-King. Read More
July 14, 2007 One of the more interesting new motorcycles of recent times is BMW’s HP2 Megamoto which will be arriving in Motorrad showrooms in July. As motard motorcycles have grown in importance and market share, some manufacturers such as Ducati, have developed 1000cc plus uber motards, and now here comes the the most uncompromising and single-minded street bike BMW Motorrad has ever produced. The iconic Boxer-twin powerplant pumps out an impressive 113 bhp with a whopping 115Nm of torque. Built with some remarkably exotic composite and metallurgical materials for a street bike, the Megamoto weighs in at just 179kg, thus giving the bike a mightily impressive, arm-wrenching power to weight ratio. Read More
July 11, 2007 World Ducati Week is a strange phenomena – thousands of Ducatisti, members of the Ducati tribe, travel from all over the world for a week of entertainment and experiences based around Ducati’s values, lifestyle and products. Ducati rewards its most faithful regularly at these events, with unique experiences and first-to-see opportunities that are generally reserved for ballrooms and press only occasions by its competitors. This week the 200 bhp Ducati Desmosedici RR, the world’s first MotoGP replica roadster made its first ever public appearance in action at the event held at Misano racetrack in Italy. Over 170 people from 19 countries who have already placed orders for the Desmosedici RR travelled to WDW2007 to witness the public track debut of the bike that was first announced at the same event back in 2004. Back then it was a promising machine struggling to assert itself against the far larger and established MotoGP teams of Honda and Yamaha. This time the bike it emulates is leading the world title – the company even went as far as showing the prototype 1200 superbike it will run next season - amazing scenes at WDW2007. Read More
The era of the electric roadgoing motorcycle is upon us and it’s ironic that it should come from a company that looked set to make its mark in automotive history in the supercar stakes with the Brammo GT, an American-designed and built V12 Supercar. That Craig Bramscher has since become one of the foremost evangelists of light weight performance motoring via the Ariel Atom might have foretold the direction, but the Enertia is a perfect commuter machine built with the same philosophy as the Atom. Using a rigid light weight carbon fibre chassis to contain the battery pack (and most of the weight), a small electric motor is all that’s required to see the Enertia accelerate harder than any automobile to its 50 mph top speed – all that’s needed around town. Most significantly in terms of its credibility as a motorcycle, the Enertia could best be described as an electric motard, and comes with impeccable handling credentials - fat tyres, disk brakes front and rear, quality suspension and a very compact centre of gravity – a trait that we’ve seen before in bikes with exceptional flickability and precise handling such as the Aprilia 250 and Buell. The Enertia’s secret is its weight -at just 275 pounds ready to roll, it’s 100 pounds lighter than the featherweight Aprilia Grand Prix Replica . With the carbon footprint of a few lightglobes, and sports motorcycling capabilities to medium speeds this looks like the first viable electric motorcycle to us –the US$15,000 limited edition "carbon" model will be snapped up as collectors items no doubt because it is a landmark machine in personal transportation. At US$12,000, the standard machine is only pricey until you consider how much it costs to run. You plug this sucker into any powerpoint and it'll be ready to go a few hours later for another 45 miles. If the transport authorities encourage responsible road usage as seems likely, ownership costs could be minimal. The Enertia is a landmark motorcycle and its coming heralds the dawn of a new era of electric motorcycles. Read More
July 5, 2007 Triumph officially unveiled the new 675cc Street Triple to over 5,000 Triumph owners last week at the Triumph Tridays in Neukirchen, Austria. With the first bike to use this motor – the Daytona 675 - winning a string of awards, the "naked" version looks to have the works - comfortable riding position, more upright, balanced, light, powerful, superb handling… it could be the modern version of what the Triumph 650 Bonneville once was when it was king of the road half a century ago. Read More
July 4, 2007 Solar-powered cars and boats are all very well; they've got a lot of surface area to exploit with photovoltaic panels. When it comes to developing a solar-powered motorcycle, though, Spain's sunRED had to get a little more creative. Sliding panels on this soon-to-be-built prototype roll back to give the rider access to the seat, and form a complete cocoon around the bike when it's parked. Featuring some other interesting innovations, the sunRED prototype could make a practical short-range commuter, with a range of 13 miles and a top speed around 30mph. It's interesting to look at too, in a "Tron meets an armadillo" sort of way - but I'd hate to see the damage bill if it falls over. Read More