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.
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
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.
Honda has released images of several new eco-friendly two-wheelers it will present at the Tokyo Motor Show later this month, including the EV-Cub electric motorcycle, the EVE-neo electric scooter and its previously-announced PCX global scooter, the first two-wheeler to employ an 'idling stop system'. The most interesting of the new eco-bikes is without doubt the EV-Cub, which employs what appears to be car2car and car2driver communications dubbed HELLO! (Honda ELectric mobility LOop) and a LOOP portable communication tool that fits in the palm of one’s hand and “allows people and mobility devices to communicate with each other.” The EV-Cub also appears to have electric motors in both front and rear wheels, indicating that it is almost certainly a two-wheel-drive (2WD) motorcycle. 2WD motorcycles are expected to become commonplace in the future as, like their 4WD automotive cousins, they offer traction advantages on loose surfaces and wet roads and improve rider safety, especially for learners.
In more big news on the electric motorcycle front this week, KTM has started development for series production of a sports enduro with electric drive. The company has been testing a fully functional electric, zero local emissions enduro prototype motorcycle since mid 2008 and has now announced that mass production is set to begin in 2010.
November 7, 2008 Looking something like an off-road version of the KTM X-Bow
, this little green bug has attracted plenty of attention since rendered images first appeared a couple of weeks back. Aptly called the Bugster, Fiat's cute two-seater is more than green in color, featuring body panels made of renewable natural fibers and an all-electric power-train.
March 20, 2008 World Superbike racing is about to get a serious shake-up in 2009, as new heavyweight contenders step into the ring from BMW, Aprilia
. MV Agusta is ramping up its superbike racing in domestic competitions worldwide, and you'd have to suspect Triumph is cooking a three-cylinder litrebike up as well, after the runaway success of the 675 triple
. In WSBK 2008, it seems the Ducati 1098S
, the fastest Ducati ever with Australia's Troy Bayliss on board, is already standing out the bike to beat - and that's exactly the way KTM have approached the development of their 1148cc v-twin RC8 superbike, which weighs in, on both the scales and the dyno, as an absolute equal to the slippery Ducati.
February 18, 2008 Just six weeks after the last minute cancellation of the 2008 event due to threats of terrorist attacks, organizers have announced that the 2009 Dakar will take place in Argentina and Chile. The planned 9000 km loop starting and finishing in Buenos Aires from the 3rd to the 18th of January is the first to be held outside of Africa. As well as the name, organizers aim to retain the spectacular and varied topography, demanding competition and the spirit of the legendary 30 year old race.
February 12, 2008 In more news ahead of the 78th International Geneva Motor Show, KTM
has announced it will show the special edition “X-Bow
Dallara” for the first time in all its final technical details.
January 3, 2008 Following on from its recent appearance at Bologna, KTM
will show its high-performance X-Bow
sportscar at the Autosport International Racing Car Show this month where UK audiences will see the car without the company's trademark orange finish for the first time. The "gleaming white" bodywork of the showcar is a new option for the lightweight, carbon fiber two-seater which is slated to enter production in the first half of this year. The motorcycle manufacturer has also confirmed that it will mark its move into the four-wheeled market with a limited run of 100 sequentially numbered "Dallara Series" models (all of which are sold) featuring premium equipment designed to bolster the track performance potential of the vehicle followed by production runs of 1000 units per-year at the company's new assembly plant
October 4, 2007 What is it about KTM motorcycles
; does the factory fill the front tyre with helium? Many KTM riders treat their front wheels like ornaments, waving them at the sky at every opportunity. KTM must have realized this – and the factory’s clearly decided “why fight it?” Along with a very tasty range of bikes based on the tasty LC4 engine for 2008, they’ve released teaser pics of a dedicated stunt-riding model with some very stunt-specific gear integrated as standard.