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KTM

New names dominated the Dakar Rally from start-to-finish this year - MINI being the most obvious with a 1-2, but also Iveco broke the Eastern Block stranglehold on the truck section. Frenchman Stéphane Peterhansel won his tenth Dakar (six on motorcycles, four in cars) ahead of MINI teammate Nani Roma (a prior motorcycle winner). MINI's new owner BMW must be delighted to add the world's toughest race to its illustrious heritage, even if that MINI looks a tad bigger than your average Countryman. Read More
Pretty much every major motorcycle factory has hinted that they're working on battery-electric models, but Austria's KTM has just become the first to get e-rubber on the road. The Freeride E, just unveiled at EICMA, is a featherweight, electric off-roader reminiscent of the Zero MX. Geared towards big fun in short bursts, it should be comparable to a 125cc 2-stroke to ride - although with a much smoother throttle response and a bigger wallop of torque available. And while it's a baby step, it heralds the next wave of electrics that will hit the market soon - backed by big factory development dollars and ready to duke it out with the little guys in a tough market segment. Read More
The FIA, governing body of internal-combustion-engined motorsport, appears to have finally recognized the bleeding obvious (that electric vehicles will become mainstream) and is planning a high profile electric racing championship series beginning in 2013. The FIA Formula E Championship series has not been publicly framed as yet so it is not known if the series will be run at the same venues as the Formula One series but it can be expected to be held at a range of international venues and will logically serve as the first official championship for electric vehicles. Whether the series will have world championship status ... Read More
Austrian research company IAT21 has presented a new type of aircraft at the Paris Air Show which has the potential to become aviation's first disruptive technology since the jet engine. Neither fixed wing nor rotor craft, the D-Dalus uses four, mechanically-linked, contra-rotating, cylindrical turbines for its propulsion, and by altering the angle of the blades, it can launch vertically, hover perfectly still, move in any direction, and thrust upwards and hence "glue down" upon landing, which it can easily do on the deck of a ship, or even a moving vehicle. It's also almost silent, has the dynamic stability to enter buildings, handles rough weather with ease, flies very long distances very quickly and can lift very heavy loads. It's also so simple that it requires little maintenance and requires no more maintenance expertise than an auto mechanic. It accordingly holds immense promise as a platform for personal flight, for military usage, search and rescue, and much more. Read More
Faced with ever-increasing adventure touring competition from KTM, Yamaha, Ducati and Honda, BMW is ramping up new model development at subsidiary Husqvarna with a view to developing more dirt-orientated large capacity off-road and semi-off-road models that will not be in direct competition with its class-leading R1200GS. Several new models will be unveiled at EICMA in November, all based on the Rotax 800cc parallel twin engine used in the BMW F800R. The Rotax engine, for those not familiar with it is a pearler, with throttle response so acutely calibrated that it can be ridden like this, so the newly developed 900cc variant can be expected to be even better. Read More
The Arab world has a new sporting superstar following the success of Qatar's Nasser Saleh Al Attiyah in winning the 2011 Dakar Rally – the longest and toughest motor race in the world. Al Attiyah headed a 1-2-3 finish for Volkswagen’s TDI diesel Touareg 3 race cars, while the usual suspects fought a tooth-and-nail battle on KTMs for the laurels – Depres and Coma battled throughout the event on times with Coma besting last year's winner at the end. In the truck section, Kamaz's Vladimir Chagin repeated last year's win while Red Bull sponsored the three major category winners for the third year in a row – we're not sure what that means but it's quite some feat. Read More
The Austrian KTM eGnition was definitely one of the more interesting bicycles at last week's Eurobike show in Germany. It has the frame and components of a freeride mountain bike, but with a 1,000-watt Clean Mobile electric motor that delivers extra power when the rider is pedaling. The fact that the electric assist is only available when pedaling was a key factor in the design of the eGnition, as KTM wanted it to be clearly different than an electric motorbike. The folks who run Eurobike obviously approved, as it received their Design Award for this year’s event. Read More
The Ostoure super-naked motorcycle concept is Iranian designer Mohammad Reza Shojaie's take on the street muscle bike of the future. The concept draws inspiration from ancient Persian engravings, combining these with cutting-edge design elements and some high-tech trimmings such as two-wheel drive and an in-helmet heads-up display. Read More
The world's fastest road bike derivatives went to Italy last weekend for the latest round of the World Superbike Championships at Monza, AKA “the Cathedral of Speed.” Monza favors very fast motorcycles and the results echo what we'd already suspected after several rounds of the championship - there appears to be a changing of the guard underway and the addition of BMW and Aprilia to Europe's previously sole superbike contender, Ducati, appears to have tipped the balance of power away from the Japanese marques. A double-win to Aprilia and BMW's first podium in the superbikes were one indicator as was BMW's continuing superstock dominance. In a class that's an excellent guide to the sportiness of showroom road bikes, BMW's S1000 RR blew the competition into the weeds. Read More
We've long argued that electric motorbikes make sense - low-emissions, quiet operation, instant torque and hardly any maintenance compared with their gas-guzzling cousins. The sluggish reaction of the established industry players to this e-revolution has created an opportunity for names like Brammo, Vectrix and Zero to try their hand, and now a brand that dares to put the words "electric" and "superbike" in the same sentence. Launched last week in Las Vegas, the 130+ mph, GBP25,000 Mavizen TTX02 is based around a KTM RC8 frame, ships with two Agni motors and boasts a hot-swappable battery and drivetrain architecture. Born from, and bred for, the world's first electric GP, the bike is a "laptop on wheels" that runs on the Linux OS, comes with with integrated IP connectivity and a USB based system bus for open source engine management, and although it's not being sold as a street legal machine, TTXGP founder Azhar Hussain says the package can still provide a pathway from the racetrack to the road. Read More
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