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Motorcycles

Cervical spine protection system for motorcyclists

October 27, 2005 As science advances at a rapid rate, most areas of road safety have improved markedly, with the motorcycle seemingly decades behind the automobile in terms of applied technology to reduce road trauma. For example, the motorcycle airbag recently developed by Honda is a full 25 years behind the first automotive airbag from Mercedes Benz. With motorcycle helmets now compulsory in most markets, the most vulnerable part of a motorcyclist is now the neck and spinal area. A new initiative announced this week betweeon KTM and BMW Motorrad plans to push ahead with the development of an adequate system of protection for this extremely sensitive area. The objective is to reduce the risk of injury to the neck, the cervical spine, the spinal cord and the collar bone in the event of a serious fall. The work builds on and supports the work of South African Dr. Chris Leatt from Leatt-Brace. Leatt-Brace manufactures Kevlar and carbon-fibre neck brace systems for both motorsport and motorcycle sports.  Read More

Yamaha V-Max 2005 and MT-OS concept bikes

October 25, 2005 One of the trends of the most recent motorcycle shows in Paris and Tokyo has been showing new concept motorcycles and being very vague with the information accompanying them. Yamaha has shown a raft of new and fascinating such motocycles at the Tokyo Show but we’re still very much in the dark on two of its concepts. The MT-OS was first shown at the 2005 Paris Motor Show and is a radically styled version of the 89 bhp 1670cc Yamaha MT-O1 – as if the MT-01 wasn’t radical enough. The other is also a reprise of the nearly 20 year old V-Max – Yamaha’s original muscle bike has been brought right up to date though we suspect that the new motor is going to have a much larger capacity. Like 1.8 litres, and 200BHP? Now that’d be worth the two decade wait. Extensive photo galleries inside.  Read More

Honda shows automatic 700 Sports motorcycle

October 24, 2005 One of the surprises of the 39th Tokyo Motor Show 2005 which opened on saturday was Honda's showing of a large-size sports motorcycle concept model dubbed the DN-01. The motorcycle is equipped with a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) and a water-cooled, 4-stroke, OHC, V-twin, 2-cylinder, 680cc engine. Most significantly, Honda stated that it "will continue the development of DN-01 with the goal of introducing it to the market in the near future." CVT has already been introduced into the market in a range of scooters with Suzuki's futuristic Burgman scooter the most obvious shining example. Honda's version of the CVt is being touted as different to other CVTs and is described as an hydraulic mechanical continuously variable HFT (Human Fitting Transmission) system featuring two automatic modes and a 6-speed manual mode which the rider operates through buttons on the handlebars.  Read More

Suzuki’s Stratosphere unveiled: 180bhp, 1100cc six-cylinder machine

October 20, 2005 Six cylinder motorcycles have been few and far between in the history of powered two-wheelers – Benelli’s Sei, Honda’s CBX and Goldwing, Kawasaki’s Z1300 and now Suzuki’s Stratosphere. The Suzuki Stratosphere is only a concept bike at this stage but vapourware is not in Suzuki’s vocabulary and the company has a strong track record for turning its concepts into reality. The raw figures are 1100cc, 24 valves, 180 horses and a motor reportedly turbine-like smooth. The motor is an engineering masterpiece akin to the miniaturized sophistication of a Swiss watch and the aluminium fairing, electrically-adjustable windscreen, LED headlights, adjustable handlebars, built-in GPS navigation just add to the high-tech cred. We’re not so sure about the orange seat, but love the Katanesque profile. See the photo gallery for details – a stunner and one that we sincerely hope will make it to the showroom floor  Read More

Honda to unveil key motorcycle safety initiatives: rider trainer and airbags

October 15, 2005 One of the sad facts about riding a motorcyle is that although it can accelerate quicker and stop faster than an automobile, the lack of a steel cage surrounding the occupants makes a motorcycle much more dangerous – you’re around seven times more likely to die on a motorcycle than a car for an equivalent distance traveled on public roads. So it’s not surprising that the World’s largest motorcycle manufacturer, Honda, is devoting a considerable share of its massive R&D budget to making motorcycles safer. Next week the company will make two significant technology announcements that will save countless lives in coming years – the world’s first motorcycle airbag, and (much) more importantly, the availability of affordable advanced rider simulation machines for every Honda dealership. Rider training is the key to survivability on a motorcycle and Honda’s groundbreaking development of an affordable rider training simulator is to be loudly applauded. In many countries the simulators will become available in every Honda dealership within 12 months, giving it a massive advantage over its competitors in attracting a greater share of new motorcycle riders.  Read More

Suzuki gets serious with a 107 cubic inch motorcycle

October 11, 2005 The Suzuki M109 is intended for the power cruiser marketplace – the market begun and dominated by Harley Davidson that has attracted competitors from Honda, Yamaha, Suzuki, Kawasaki and latterly, the only truly original contender in the field since the Harley itself, Triumph. In this market, brutal torque is the currency, so bigger is better when it comes to engine size and the original Harley V-twins which seemed ginormous at 1280cc have been trumped and countertrumped all the way to 1700cc by Yamaha, 1800cc by Honda and 2000cc by Kawasaki – the largest V-twin motorcycle engine in the world. Then there’s Triumph’s 2300cc Rocket III, but that’s another story entirely. Currently, the Suzuki is the runt of the pack with a capacity of 1.6 litres, but quite soon we’ll see a newer, meaner and much higher revving Suzuki contender – the M109 gets its name from the cubic inches it packs – 109 of them.  Read More

World Superbike Championships - Corser and Suzuki take the title

October 2, 2005 Troy Corser is the 2005 Superbike World Champion following the penultimate round of the series held at Imola, Italy here today. Corser finished a very close second to his nearest rival Chris Vermeulen (Honda) in the first race of the day, which took part on a drying track after earlier rain. But, just before the start of the second race, the heavens opened and deluged the 4.933 kilometre circuit. The riders and officials waited and inspected the aging circuit which still has the original racing surface in some places and decided it was too dangerous to hold the event under the conditions and decreed the race cancelled. The cancellation meant Corser’s points lead was unbeatable in the remaining races, giving him and Suzuki’s GSX1000R this year’s championship!  Read More

MotoGP Qatar: Rossi’s tenth victory secures team title for Gauloises Yamaha

October 2, 2005 Just six days after lifting the MotoGP title with Valentino Rossi in Malaysia, the Gauloises Yamaha Team were celebrating again today as Valentino Rossi’s record-breaking tenth victory of the season secured the Teams’ World Championship at the Qatar Grand Prix. Yamaha is likely to secure the trifecta by winning the constructor’s title at the Australian GP in a fortnight’s time. Once again, Spaniard Sete Gibernau was the front-runner for most of the race, relenting once more when the chequered flag grew near to finally finish fifth. Gibernau has led 111 (32%) of the 347 laps in this year’s 14 races compared to Rossi’s 87 laps (25%) yet Rossi has won ten Gps and a championship compared to Gibernau’s zip and eighth place in the standings. The Spaniard remains the most obviously capable rider other than Rossi and is reportedly negotiating a move from Honda to Ducati for next year.  Read More

BMW to introduce F800S parallel twin sports motorcycle

September 30, 2005 For several decades in the post war era, big British parallel twins ruled the motorcycle sports kingdom with names like Norton, Triumph, BSA and Royal Enfield. The late sixties though brought a wave of Japanese, German and Italian innovation which saw the demise of the English motorcycle industry and the banishing of the parallel twin from all but commuter machinery. Now, BMW Motorrad is to introduce a new generation of twin-cylinder middleweight parallel twin cylinder machines. The F800 S is the first of a series of agile, high torque, street machines from the BMW marque, starting in 2006.  Read More

Suzuki 2006 GSX-R1000 lands

September 26, 2005 The latest incarnation of Suzuki’s world-beating GSX-R1000 performance sportsbike has landed on Australian shores and is expected to become available in most major markets in the next few weeks. Distributors have reported that demand for the current 2005 model has been very strong, and with the new colour options, particularly a matt black version, Suzuki expects the new 2006-model to be even more popula. The model is identical to the 2005 model apart from paintwork, which can be expected given that the Suzuki GSX-R1000 has a stranglehold on the World Superbike Championship, has already won the American AMA Superbike Championship and three-time Australian Superbike Champion, Shawn Giles is on the verge of claiming a record fourth title in the premier road-racing class as he heads into the final round with a 10-point advantage.  Read More

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