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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

Ducati to auction 2005 MotoGP-winning bike

June 10, 2006 In an extraordinary move, Ducati has released one of its 2005 MotoGP-winning race bikes for sale by public auction. The Desmosedici GP5 with which Loris Capirossi won the Grand Prix of Malaysia last September will go to auction in Monterey during the weekend of the US GP at Laguna Seca. One wonders just exactly who might roll up with a chequebook on the day given that the Ducati was the horsepower king of MotoGP in 2005 and both Honda and Yamaha would no doubt love the chance to have a look inside the 190kW (255 bhp) Desmosedici which redlined at 16,550 rpm and regularly topped the best they could build by several km/h at the speedtraps. We are unaware of any precedent for the auction. See the image gallery for images of the actual bike to be auctioned.  Read More

Jim Redman’s Ex-Works Honda 250cc RC164 Grand Prix motorcycle for sale

June 8, 2006 Every now and again, a special piece of machinery becomes available via auction and we always like to hear when that happens so we can tell the world. In this case the machine is a four cylinder RC164-1 Honda 250 Grand Prix racer. The bike was ridden by Jim Redman for most of the 1964 World Championship season before he switched to the new six-cylinder version for the final two races. Redman finished second to the Yamaha 250 two-stroke of Phil Read in one of the most hotly contested championships in history. Redman won the Isle of Man TT and the Dutch TT at Assen on the machine, on the latter occasion becoming the first man ever to win three Grand Prix classes in the same day. A further five second places, plus another win and a third place on the ‘six’ saw Jim finish with 58 points to Read’s 50, the latter taking the title by 46 points to 42 under the ‘best six results only’ system operating that year. Offered for sale by multiple World Championship winner Jim Redman, this machine (excellent detail pics in the image library) represents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for serious collectors to acquire a genuine, ex-works, 1960s Grand Prix-winning Honda possessing impeccable provenance. Auctioneers Bonhams expect the bike to fetch in excess of UKP375,000 and might even make the highest price ever for a motorcycle sold at auction  Read More

Harley-Davidson kicks off construction of Its museum

June 5, 2006 There are few (we actually can’t think of any) companies on the planet which engender greater customer loyalty than Harley-Davidson. How many other company logos do you see tattooed on the customer's arms, chests and girlfriend’s bottoms? So there's likely to be a new "Mecca" for Harley enthusiasts in the near future as Harley officially launched construction of the Harley-Davidson Museum in Milwaukee this week with a groundbreaking ceremony that kicked up more than just a little dirt. Held on the future Museum grounds, the groundbreaking was accomplished in a truly unique Harley-Davidson style: by setting aside the traditional golden shovel and instead, literally "breaking the ground" with a Harley-Davidson motorcycle. At the designated moment, legendary Harley-Davidson dirt track racer Scott Parker dropped the clutch of an XL 883R Sportster performing a burnout and sending the dirt flying off the spinning rear tire. Transport museums have featured several times recently with Porsche, Mercedes and Ferrari all creating masterpieces in which to house their finest. Harley, with more than 100 years of such rich and colourful history, the museum will no doubt draw visitors locally and from throughout the world to experience the people, products, culture and history of Harley-Davidson.  Read More

Ducati's US$70,000 Desmosedici RR MotoGP replica for the road

Ducati became the first manufacturer to release a roadgoing version of a MotoGP race machine yesterday, when it showed the prototype version of the Desmosedici RR which will go on sale as an extremely limited edition next year – only 400 machines a year will be built and the price will be around US$70,000. Ducati chose the magical atmosphere of the Italian Grand Prix at Mugello to launch the RR production prototype and it was a fitting venue at which to show the first-ever road-going MotoGP motorcycle. You can put your name on the list to own one here and it should be noted that if you own a Ducati 999R, you get priority. Unlike the V-twin bikes which have made the Ducati name famous, the Desmosedici RR uses an L-four layout. That’s the replica and the original racer together. Full details and extensive photo gallery inside.  Read More

The two-wheeled TowTruck

June 1, 2006 In the world of tow trucks, the early bird gets the business, so getting to the scene of an accident faster than all the other towtrucks is vitally important. One thing that might not be obvious to people who have never driven a towtruck is that the accident the towtruck is trying to reach often causes a traffic jam, rendering the towtruck just as helpless as all the other four wheelers. Which is why a Swedish company has modified a Honda Goldwing into a fully-fledged towing machine – the Retreiver. Motorcycles are immune to traffic jams, and the exceptional manoeuvrability and power of the Retriever gets it to the scene quicker than any other tow truck plus cover a wider area. The Retriever’s towing device remains folded on to the back of the motorcycle allowing for normal motorcycle operation (the towing device is just 95 cm wide when folded) and is unfolded just prior to towing. Fearful that the GoldWing might not have enough grunt for the job? Fear not – at 1800cc, the bike isn’t short on pulling power as can be seen from these videos (here, here and here)  Read More

Two wheeled audio system

May 18, 2006 The recent Melbourne Autosalon saw the usual mass array of customised autos with every conceivable feature, though there was one that really caught our eye. Honda provided an NSS250 Forza scooter to Fusion Audio which in turn promised to come up with the most impressive two-wheeled audio system possible, and they did not fail to deliver. The resultant scooter is fitted with an FCD-100m Marine CD Tuner with Aux In, FCM-525 5.25" Component Front Speakers, FSM-5 5.25" Coaxial Rear Speakers, FM-402 Marine 2 Channel Under Seat Amplifiers and a FWM-10 Marine 10" Subwoofer. We are reliably informed that it can be heard from the moon.  Read More

The Ugliest New Motorcycle Award – the Boss Hoss BHC-3 502

May 15, 2006 A new organization of independent internet writers has banded together as Motorcycle Bloggers International (MBI) and created the Motorcycling Star awards. The first annual awards were announced last week and like most blogs, the informal approach is refreshing and knowledge factor high, so the awards have cred in our not usually very humble opinion. The Motorcycling Star awards are for noteworthy achievements ("Stars") and lapses of judgment ("Fallen Stars") in the motorcycle industry. Any new motorcycle or related product, service, event or action by an individual or organization is eligible for an award and amongst the gongs are such original awards as the ugliest new motorcycle (Boss Hoss), the Object of Lust (MV Agusta Tamborini), the Wish We'd Thought of That Award (SportVue MC2 Heads Up Display ) and the Best New Everyday Motorcycle (Triumph Scrambler).  Read More

Snoxcycle – US$3000 motorcycle conversion for the snow

May 11, 2006 Riding a motorcycle on snow is a thrilling experience because you can’t see what the front wheel is about run into under the blanket of snow. Accordingly, when snow falls, so do dirt bikes, and the end result is that they get parked in the shed and in some climates, that accounts for roughly half of the year or more, and accounts for enormous wastage … or enormous opportunity. When Tim Jordan moved to Idaho, he missed his dirt bike during the winter months and seven years ago, began a quest to build a conversion for a motorcycle that enabled it to be ridden in the snow. The conversion is now fully developed and will turn a dirt bike into a snoxcycle for US$2895 inside 90 minutes and back again in an hour. The great news is that it handles just like a normal dirt bike, so there’s no learning curve for the average motorcycle rider.  Read More

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