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.
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 12, 2006 The rumours regarding MV Agusta’s intentions to produce a limited edition motorcycle of immense power and cost have proven correct with information now beginning to escape the Italian factory regarding the New Limited Edition F4 100 and the first “spy shots” (pictured). The bike will be the most expensive production bike in the world at approximately EUR100,000 (US$125,000) and only 100 units will be produced. The all-new 1079cc motor will produce 190 bhp in Euro3 emmission-meeting mode and 200 bhp with open mufflers and will be electronically limited to 315 km/h. In keeping with a bike of such immense price, technologically advanced materials such as titanium, magnesium, and carbon fibre are used extensively and a special Brembo braking system has been produced just for the bike. Further proof that MV Agusta is positioning itself as the Ferrari of motorcycling (as if it’s needed) include the production of a special EUR1,500 (US$1,890) Versace jacket and a EUR15,000 (US$18,900) MV Agusta F4 100 wristwatch from a leading designer which will be sold only to owners of the bike, similar to the McLaren TAG Heuer.
October 11, 2006 A completely new MotoGP machine is set to be unveiled tomorrow and although it doesn’t have the name of a well known motorcycle manufacturer behind it, there’s some quiet money being wagered that the new team will make a significant mark. MotoGP’s newest team, Ilmor
, will unveil the X3 at the Estoril circuit in Portugal prior to the Portuguese MotoGP round at which the bike will compete for the first time. Though it is not expected to be competitive in its first race, the 800cc V4 with air valve springs is designed for the 2007 MotoGP rules, where it is expected to be highly competitive. The project is the brain child of the Swiss engineer Mario Illien (Ilmor) and Eskil Suter
. Illien is better known for his many four-wheeled achievements in Formula One and Indy racing, his engine designs have won two F1 championship titles with McLaren-Mercedes plus the Indy 500 race 11 times.
October 11, 2006 In an intriguing move, Harley-Davidson will use Europe’s premiere motorcycle show, Intermot in Germany, for the world premiere of the XR 1200 prototype motorcycle. As visually appealing as the bike may be, it is styled on an American-only racing motorcycle, the XR 750 dirt tracker, and is debuting in order to “gauge media and public reaction to a new kind of Harley-Davidson, with an emphasis on performance, handling and sporting style.” Though the XR 1200’s 85-90 bhp is hardly a “sporting” output (and would see it blown into the weeds by any self-respecting 600 class bike), the company is touting exceptional handling characteristics as its strength so we’ll reserve judgement for now. It will be interesting to see how Europeans respond to the decision to base the styling on a racing heritage that will mean nothing to most of them. Finally, amongst the PR for the XR1200 was the claim that the bike is based on “the most successful racing machine in the history of motorcycle sport.” It might be true in terms of outright wins (though nearly all of those wins were in homeland race series where the rules were sculpted), but if you’re going to make claims like that, don’t you need to back them up with numbers?
October 3, 2006 With five riders on three different brands of machinery still capable of winning the World MotoGP riders championship, it has gone almost unnoticed that Honda has taken its 17th Constructors’ Championship and eclipsed MV Agusta’s 16 Constructors’ titles. With 203 premier class victories since it first competed at the highest level in 1966, Honda now dominates the history of MotoGP by almost any measure. Astoundingly, at the Japanese GP, it called a press conference and in an unprecedented move it revealed the complete engine internals
of its RC211V, the bike which had won 47 (58.75%) of the 80 races since the 1000cc formula was introduced. Our image gallery for this story
contains imagery of many of the famous riders who have tasted World Championship success with Honda such as Hailwood
, plus the bikes they rode from the RC181 of the sixties
to the NSR500 V4 and high res imagery of the internals of the RC211V – clearly Honda feels that the internals of the V4 800 of next year with its hydraulically operated valves are so far removed from the V5 1000 that it has nothing to fear. But if you’re a lover of fine engineering, feast your eyeballs on the Honda’s internals
September 29, 2006 The Suzuki B-King, first shown as a concept bike five years ago and one of the most anticipated motorcycles in many years has finally surfaced as a production machine using the Hayabusa 1300cc motor, and without its original supercharger. In an announcement that also included an all-new 1250cc liquid-cooled Bandit and a completely overhauled GSX-R1000 supersport machine, the biggest news was the engine management system on the GSX-R which has four times the computing power of the current machine, and in an industry first, it has a user-selectable engine mapping system with the rider able to change on-the-fly between three different power delivery curves. Suzuki suggests it is possible for a rider to use one map for one section of a racetrack then switch to another map for a different segment of the track. Each engine map was developed using experience gained building racebike maps for rainy, mixed and dry conditions, and the possibilities for making a race or road bike more suited to different types of conditions are obvious.
September 26, 2006 Images of next year’s MotoGP bikes and reports on the new bikes began to filter in yesterday as the major factories returned to action at the Motegi circuit for an afternoon of testing the next generation of machinery following Sunday’s Grand Prix of Japan. Repsol Honda team riders Nicky Hayden and Dani Pedrosa were present with Hayden testing newly developed parts for his ‘New Generation’ RC211V while Pedrosa gave the newly announced V4 800cc MotoGP machine its first public viewing. At the same time Suzuki tested its 2007 V4 800cc machine with domestic test riders and Ducati rolled out the 800cc Desmosedici for both Capirossi and Gibernau to try. Pneumatic valves are likely to be run by all the machinery with realistic chances next year. The image agllery is a ripper, with detail pics of the Suzuki, Honda and Ducati machinery.
September 23, 2006 The recreational vehicle industry and specifically trail bikes look to be set for a whole new range of possibilities in the near future as electric motorcycles become viable. Electric dirt bikes offer several compelling advantages over their current petrol-burning brethren, the most significant being they are completely silent. There is nothing more out of place in the forest than the bark of a four-stroke or the staccato rasp of a two-stroke – at complete odds with the tranquility of the wilderness and quite capable of spoiling the experience for those ten miles away, motorcycling without the noise is long overdue. For this reason, bikes are essentially banned from suburbia. Proof of just how far electric dirt bikes have come is the US$5,500 Drift XC bike from Electricross
. Though it only develops 19 bhp, the linear, predictable power delivery has broad torque available from the very bottom of the rev range and is absolutely ideal power for loose surfaces. The trick is in the weight though as the Neal Saiki designed bike is ultra light – just 140 pounds ready for riding compared to 240 pounds plus for a petrol engined bike of similar output. There is no wet weight for an electric bike as there’s no petrol to burn, engine oil or even a gearbox. Saiki’s cross country bike designs have won numerous World Cup mountain bike titles and he recently landed Mountain Biking magazine’s 2006 X-Country Bike of the Year, so he knows his stuff . Before bikes he designed the first successful human powered helicopter
), claiming one of the plumb aviation design firsts in history. Inspired by the potential of the electric motor, Saiki has spent the last couple of years designing and building an electric cross country bike. Saiki found that motorcycle parts are generally too heavy (without the vibration, an electric bike can be built lighter) and bicycle parts were too weak for the forces he wanted to direct. The frame parts are all made from American-produced aluminum. Accordingly, every part had to be uniquely developed using computer analysis to optimize every component, such as the patent pending double diamond design that is lighter and stiffer than conventional swingarms.
September 19, 2006 One of the most anticipated motorcycles of all time from Italian exotica manufacturer Ducati is Terblanche-designed Hypermotard which puts 130 horses on the ground and weighs just 175 kilograms. Since it was announced last November
, it has been the focus of much media attention and in February was voted the best overall motorcycle design trophy winner
for 2005 by the Motorcycle Design Association. Slated for production early in 2007, Motorcycle Blog Visordown
managed a scoop on Sunday when Visordown regular John Hall was on his honeymoon in Italy and decided to visit the Ducati factory in Bologna for the factory tour. John tells the story: "We were driving back to Verona and stopped at an Autostrada stop just north of Modena at about 6pm. I saw these bikes pull up and couldn't believe my eyes. I'd seen the pictures of the prototype Hypermotard but never thought I'd see one in the flesh, let alone two! The test riders were not happy bunnies when they saw me taking photos, they jumped back on their bikes and shot off before I could get up close!"