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Motorcycles

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

zumo navigation device for motorcycles

July 20, 2006 Just when we figured the established GPS navigation systems had given up against the Tom Tom juggernaut in the motorcycle market, Garmin has announced the debut of zumo, a new from-the-ground-up design that even at a distance has some commendable features that indicate it’s more than just a ruggedised automotive unit. Firstly, the oversized touchscreen buttons can be operated with gloved paws and secondly, the thing is designed so it can be used with the left hand while your right hand keeps the go-juice flowing. There’s also display which can be easily read in sunlight, a Bluetooth “hands-free-to-helmet” wireless technology capability, and a rugged, dependable locking mount. The Zumo is expected to be available in October 2006.  Read More

BMW to introduce new integral ABS and ASC

July 8, 2006 BMW’s announcement of its next generation Integral ABS this week could easily be overlooked as just another slightly better mousetrap, as anti-lock braking is not new. Indeed, in terms of function, the new ABS is not nearly as significant as the underlying technology and what it will mean for the future. The new Integral ABS incorporates the braking system into a fully networked system and provides the foundation for additional dynamic riding control systems. The first step in this direction will be known as BMW Motorrad ASC (Automatic Stability Control) and will be introduced on both K and R series motorcycles as an option next year. The idea behind ASC is to prevent the rear wheel from “spinning up” when accelerating on slippery surfaces or the front wheel from getting airborn under acceleration. ASC is the logical counterpart to ABS. The ABS wheel sensors determine the speed at which the wheels are turning. Registering any sudden change in the difference in speed front-to-rear, the electronic control unit is able to detect any risk of the rear wheel spinning. The immediate response is to interrupt the ignition to reduce engine power. If this is insufficient to restrict wheel slip, fuel injection is also interrupted. Of course the rider is able to deactivate the ACS at anytime, even on the move. Acting together, these two functions enhance riding stability and thus help to ensure a higher standard of safety on the road.  Read More

US$45,000 supercharged, Ducati-based 200 bhp Super Squalo

July 7, 2006 UPDATED IMAGE LIBRARY Shown for the first time at the recent Italian round of the World Superbike Championships was a motorcycle with an interesting heritage and incredibly impressive specifications – the US$44,995 195 kilogram (dripping wet and fully fueled) Super Squalo supercharged 998cc v-twin. The bike is loosely based on a Ducati 999, and uses the same Testastretta motor with modified internals, plus a Sprintex series 4-150 supercharger to deliver 200bhp matched by a strong and ultra-flat torque curve starting very low in the rev range. World renowned motorcycle designer John Keogh worked with Vee Two’s Brook Henry and Sprintex to design this unique machine of which only 99 will be manufactured, each an individually numbered, limited edition, hand-built machine with a dazzling array of the latest top shelf gear including a close ratio six speed gearbox, powershifter, ceramic coated dual exhaust system, Ohlins suspension front and rear, Marchesini wheels, digital race dashboard and a rear-facing camera and in-dash video screen for rearwards view. The Super Squalo will feature at this weekend's Goodwood Festival of Speed.  Read More

The Tire Ball prevents flat tyres

June 15, 2006 The pneumatic tire has been one of the stand-out commercially-successful inventions of history, with around 1.2 billion car and truck tires sold each year, and an indeterminate number of bicycle, motorcycle and RV tyres on top of that. Whatsmore, the better it works, the quicker it wears out, ensuring that there’ll be a market next year because 75% of the tires sold will be replacements. Quite remarkably, despite such ubiquitous usage, the pneumatic tire has a massive Achilles heel – lose the air and it stops the vehicle. The most-read story in the history of this fine publication is about Michelin’s Tweel, the first viable alternative to the pneumatic tire in more than a century with its greatest asset being that it doesn’t go flat. Now there’s another flat-proof inflation system based on individual balls or air cells that has evolved from motorcycle off-road racing, where to win, you need to be able to finish the race. Tire Ball not only offers virtual flat-proof characteristics but simultaneously improves traction and improves suspension performance. Right now it’s a technology that’s only commercially viable for off-road RV and motorcycle racing but materials technology promises to ultimately lead to highway applications for the product. In addition to racing, the Tire Ball is also a natural for agricultural, commercial and military applications where a flat might cost you a whole lot more than time.  Read More

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