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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
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
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
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
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
May 10, 2006 One of the biggest problems facing motorsport is the engenuity of the engineers and the march of technology forever increasing speed and power, improving handling and aerodynamics and reducing laptimes. Formula One car racing reduced the capacity from 3.0 litres to 2.4 litres this year and already the lap times are trending back to last year’s. Next year the premier motorcycle racing MotoGP class will have the current 1000cc capacity limit reduced to 800cc and no doubt we’ll see a similar situation. Last week Ducati became the first of the teams to show its new 800cc powered prototype Desmosedici GP7 machine and already the signs are there that the lap time gap won’t be very large for very long. With a capacity of 800cc (81mm bore x 38.8mm stroke), Australian Motorcycle News is reporting that the new bike is already producing 169kW (226 bhp) compared to the current machine’s 190kW (255 bhp), a power drop of just 11 percent compared to a capacity drop of 20 percent. This has been achieved because the motor now spins to 18,200 rpm compared to the old 86mm x 42.6mm layout which redlined at 16,550 rpm. Whatsmore, the smaller motor will enable a much smaller bike with room to move the engine within the chassis to get the best balance for each circuit/rider – a smaller, more nimble and adaptable bike is expected to further reduce lap times so it’s not out of the question that by the time the 2007 season starts, times won’t have increased much. Read More
April 25, 2006 As television plays an ever greater role in the globalization and monetization of sport, sport is evolving. Once upon a time a time difference meant just delaying the telecast on the TV, but as the internet has hastened deadlines and live sport means “when it’s actually” happening, time-shifting events is now being considered. One such innovation on the horizon is night racing, a regular and ever more frequent autoracing fixture in recent years but until now not tried in the pinnacle sports of either car or motorcycle racing. Earlier this month the three permanent riders on the MotoGP Security Commission (Valentino Rossi, Kenny Roberts Junior and Loris Capirossi) tried out the Losail circuit in Qatar during full darkness to evaluate the feasibility of holding races at night. MotoGP points leader tried the circuit on a Ducati 999R, the headlamps of which proved to be indispensable for those parts of the track without the benefit of artificial lighting. Similarly, Rossi rode a Yamaha sports bike and Roberts rode a Honda CBR1000RR sports bike in their respective determinations. Read More
April 18, 2006 Limited edition everything is coming into vogue. As manufacturing becomes more intelligent and able to respond to an ever more discerning and directly available public, eventually we’ll see products made for very small markets that in many cases are a market of one. The MV Agusta F4 1000 Nero is just such a product – a limited edition of 21 all black F4 1000 motorcycles. The MV Agusta name is one of motorcycle legend. Started in 1945 in the village of Verghera by Count Domenico Agusta – a member of a powerful industrial family whose name is still worn today on some of the world’s most advanced helicopters. The Italian Meccanica Verghera (MV) Agusta company released its first 98cc model in 1945 and took to the race track to promote it. Within a decade the company developed multi-cylinder roadsters and fire engine red racers that came to own the world 500 and 350 titles for a decade before two-stroke machinery rendered four-stroke racers obsolete. Today, the marque no longer races in the MotoGP class but does produce a range of exquisite 1000cc sports motorcycles. The Nero Limited Edition is the brainchild of Australian MV Agusta distributor and former motorcycle champion Paul Feeney and will sell as a ready-made investment at AUD$32,990 (approx US$24,500) Read More
April 9, 2006 Camel Yamaha Team rider Valentino Rossi returned to the top step of the podium after a stunning ride in yesterday’s Grand Prix of Qatar. Rossi’s 54th career MotoGP victory was sealed with a perfectly timed run in the second half of the race, passing early leader Casey Stoner (Honda) on lap 10 of 22 and holding off a late attack from Nicky Hayden (Honda) and Loris Capirossi (Ducati), who completed the podium. The win brings Rossi’s premier-class tally level with that of Mick Doohan, with only the legendary Giacomo Agostini now ahead of him on 68 victories. Casey Stoner's pole position in only his second Grand Prix, followed by leading for the first ten laps indicates MotoGP has unearthed yet another potential star - though Stoner was eventually fifth, he already looks capable of winning a race when he gets some riding condition capable of sustaining his speed for an entire race. Read More
April 8, 2006 We wrote recently about a new form of motorsport known as drifting, the first four-wheeled motorsport in which speed is not the key factor. Instead of being the fastest, it’s about performing the best tricks and extreme manoeuvres. Motorcycling has two equivalents – one on tarmac, where stoppies, wheelies and all manner of trickery are performed on road bikes and Freestyle Motocross (FMX) which is performed over jumps using motocross bikes. Though all of these sports are in their infancy, FMX is already shaping up as a mainstream spectator sport thanks to being extremely spectacular. Red Bull is a name synonymous with Xtreme sports of all descriptions, having organized many competitions for fledgling Xtreme sports and supported many others. Red Bull is now developing the sport into a major arena sport as was evidenced last weekend when it filled the world's largest bull fighting arena, the Monumental Plaza de Toros in Mexico City for the Red Bull X-Fighters FMX. Still images don’t do Xtreme sports justice but we defy you not to be oggle the array of awesome pics in the image gallery of this story, or wonder at just what type of sports we may evolve in the future. The event was won by 23-year-old Swiss rider, Mat Rebeaud, who put on such a spectacular display that he forced odds-on favourite American "Wunderkind"Travis Pastrana to try a little too hard, crashing out of the final in spectacular fashion. Read More