November 10, 2006 A world record price of almost GBP32,000 (US$61,000) has been paid for a Manx Norton at last Saturday’s (November 4) H&H auction
in the United Kingdom. It was the second consecutive world record for a Manx for H&H, with the previous auction having raised the ceiling for 350cc Manx Nortons to a tad under GBP24,750. The world record 500 Manx in question was a nicely presented 1961 example that had been restored some 15 years ago and sported an engine built by Manx maestro Ray Petty.
November 9, 2006 We’ve been drooling over the concept of three wheelers that tilt and carve for several years now, but in the main, they rarely see production. Machines such as Heikki Naulapaa's Magnet
, Tommy Forsgren's Hermes
, Dimitrios Scoutas' Skipee
, Mercedes-Benz F 300 Life-Jet concept
and Elisha Wetherhorn's electric RIDER
have not yet seen production, though they all hold remarkable promise. The only guaranteed production carving concept of recent times is Vespa's three wheeled scooter
, which is powered by a 250cc motor and isn't exactly as sporty as we'd hoped. Accordingly, we’re very thrilled to write about the coming of the Norwegian-designed Brudeli 625L, which delivers the thrill of a motorcycle with the control of a four-wheeled vehicle. The 625L uses a 625 cc KTM single cylinder motor, and will enter production in 2007, at which point you’ll be able to buy one and register it for use on the street for EUR 20,000 (US$25,000). It is intended both for on-road and off-road use, so it’s sort of like a three wheeled supermotard. Very exciting prospects for consumers indeed, and an opportunity for potential international distributors to get in on the ground floor
October 30, 2006 Yamaha showed a new fuel cell scooter at this week’s 22nd International Battery, Hybrid and Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle Symposium & Exposition (EVS22)
, in Yokohama, Japan. Though only a prototype, it shows things can go a long way in a year. Yamaha has been developing fuel cell technology for 20 years, and this time last year it was proudly showing it’s FC-ME
(wouldn’t you think such a clever company would get a Western-savvy marketing exec to vet their names), a lightweight machine powered by Yamaha’s Direct Methanol Fuel Cell (DMFC) system, and with the performance of a 50cc scooter. This year the FC-AQEL hydrogen fuel cell scooter prototype has 125cc class performance – though no power figures have been quoted, that’s at least a 100 percent increase over last year’s best and enough grunt to make the FC-AQEL viable in most global markets. Now all we need is a hydrogen infrastructure.
October 26, 2006 This time last year the motorcycling world was amazed to see Yamaha unveil a two wheeled limousine of extravagant proportions in the form of the Maxam 3000 prototype
). The 3000 in the model designation was there to signify the beastie was indeed 3000mm in length - almost 10 feet long! What wasn’t conveyed and hence wasn’t obvious to the rest of the world was the success the crossed tuning fork brand was having in its domestic market with the Yamaha Maxam 250 scooter – a similarly limousine-like scooter designed for two-up riding as a “weekend leisure cruiser.” The Maxam 250 is selling in droves in Japan and there’s a mmassive aftermarket and official Yamaha accessory listing of all manner of aesthetic and practical parts to complement the machine’s obvious strength of having loads of storage. Now it appears that Yamaha is to offer this limousine scooter to the rest of the world, beginning with a showing in Australia this week at the Sydney International Motor Show alongside its 189 bhp R1 sports machine. We can’t wait to throw a leg over this one – the seat height is so low that even the smallest of Japanese females (one of the target groups for the bike) can get both feet flat on the ground. Great image gallery
October 24, 2006 One of the skills necessary to master a motorcycle is to combine the use of the three brakes, the clutch, lights, horn, turn signals and throttle without taking your hands off the handlebars and maintaining full control. Ergonomics have improved over the last few decades but to think that we’ll still be using similar controls a few decades from now is ludicrous – they almost certainly will be different, we’re just not sure how yet. One promising new technology in controlling the array of electronics on the motorcycle is the a new motorcycle grip with electronic module which allows the rider to maintain control of the motorcycle while activating turn signals, headlights and accessories. Traditionally, you need to remove your thumb from the grip to activate motorcycle controls. Instead, Grip Ace puts the controls under your fingertips, keeping your thumb on the grip for safer riding. Four switches are embedded in the Grip Ace grip, offering seven functions in the left-hand. Grip Ace also turns your signals off for you, so other drivers on the road won’t misinterpret your intentions. Grip Ace works with your stock equipment, so you can always fall back on your stock equipment while learning to use the Grip Ace. No wires need to be cut to install the Grip Ace, and it should not affect your factory vehicle warranty. It can control nearly any electrical item: turn signals, headlights and any auxiliary function such as fog lamps, stereo, seat heater, or even nitrous-oxide. The product has many other possible applications, including vehicles with joysticks or control levers, such as light aircraft.
October 20, 2006 The goal was quite simply to finish the race for the first-time MotoGP team Ilmor SRT, but the Sultan of Slide, Garry McCoy, went one better putting in a consistent performance to bring the team its first Championship point. Given that it was the first 800cc capacity bike (built for 2007 regs), it suggests the 800cc MotoGP series next year might be even closer again. It’s a long way from challenging for the win, but such an impressive first up showing suggests the fledgling team will be a lot further up the field by the time the 2007 championship begins next year.
October 20, 2006 For most people high-speed car chases and action heroes are something that they only encounter when they go to the movies but for Jason Bishop (below, right) it’s all part of his job as a motorcycle police officer for South Wales Police in the UK. Police Constable Bishop’s company vehicle is a BMW R 1150 GS Adventure. As part of the Motorcycle Intercept team he uses it to help catch the criminals of south Wales. But Jason got a bit more than he bargained for when he was on routine patrol recently at a roadside checkpoint near Swansea. “I noticed a Volvo T5 turning off the motorway to avoid the checkpoint up ahead,” explained Jason. “It looked suspicious so I started to follow him, but when he realised I was a police officer he accelerated and tried to lose me.” What followed was a series of events that would usually be found in a Hollywood action movie. “I followed the fugitive down a narrow residential street with cars parked on both sides of the road,” PC Bishop explained. “At the end of the street another car was blocking the driver’s path, so the thief put his car into reverse and accelerated back towards me at high speed.” The car hit the Adventure on its front wheel and right-cylinder, knocking it and PC Bishop to the ground. “I really think the BMW’s cylinder configuration saved my life,” he explained. “I was being pushed along the floor trapped under my BMW. The only thing that stopped me being crushed was the fact that the car thief couldn’t drive over the exposed cylinder head of the bike.”
October 17, 2006 Yamaha’s all new 2007 YZF-R1 Supersport machine hits showrooms in a few weeks time and the new bike is bristling with innovative technology, including the world’s first variable air funnel intake on a motorcycle. The YCC-I (Yamaha Chip Controlled Intake) electronically varies intake length to maximise combustion efficiency at all rev levels and so produce a more linear power curve. The new R1 also sports ‘fly-by-wire’ throttle first used on Valentino Rossi’s world championship winning YZR-M1 race bike. The YCC-T system (Yamaha Chip Controlled Throttle) senses a rider’s accelerator operation and an ECU instantly calculates the optimal throttle opening to provide instant response and smooth power in every situation. These high tech features combine with a strong four-valve engine to produce an astonishing 189 bhp (139 kw) @ 12,500rpm with ram air effect. Power is transmitted to the tarmac via a race-style slipper clutch and once the power gets there, a pair of six piston radially mounted front brake calipers ensure the rider is always in control. A fifth generation ‘controlled flex’ aluminium chassis and swingarm further improves stability and handling, while futuristic styling incorporating advanced air management reduces air resistance while boosting intake for maximum performance.
October 13, 2006 The new Single-Cylinder BMW G 650 X Model Series. BMW Motorrad’s new range of single-cylinder models clearly show it is broadening its model line-up with a clear focus on additional target groups and proceeding from the same technical foundation, the Company has created three new motorcycles absolutely different in their features and characteristics: the G 650 Xchallenge Hard Enduro, G 650 Xmoto Street Moto, and the G 650 Xcountry Scrambler. With their outstanding product substance, their purist looks, and their exceptionally sporting riding characteristics, these single-cylinder models are filling attractive niches in the market. And through their low unladen weight of less than 160 kg or 353 lb according to the DIN standard, they offer dynamic performance for both the connoisseur and the sports-minded rider. The new G 650 X model series is planned for Q2, 2007.
October 13, 2006 BMW Motorrad was once a staid company that took few risks with its Blue Chip brand, but these days its difficult to guess just exactly what the company might do next, other than be absolutely sure that at least some of its thinking will be a long way “outside the square.” True to recent form, BMW announced five new motorcycles at INTERMOT 2006 in Cologne this week, and several of them were big surprises, with the most outrageous being the new Megamoto. Based on the 1200cc BMW HP2 Enduro machine, the unique Megamoto is a mega supermotard style motorcycle weighing less than 200 kilos in road trim, and with no claimed horsepower figure yet announced other than that it will offer “significantly more power and torque” than the 105 bhp HP2. Other motorcycles to be announced by BMW at INTERMOT include a sports version of the BMW K 1200 R, the K 1200 R Sport,
and an all-new single-cylinder model series including three brand-new motorcycles
quite different in their features and character – the G 650 Xcountry, the G 650 Xchallenge, and the G 650 Xmoto (another motard). Read on for all available details of the Megamoto.