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Yamaha

Valentino Rossi testing Ferrari F1 on January 21, 2010

It is interesting to note that the three biggest stories in Formula One right now concern a driver who competed in 2010 but not in 2009 (the Michael Schumacher comeback), a driver who competed in 2009 but not 2010 (Raikkonen loses his drive and goes WRC) and a driver who has never competed in F1 and quite possibly never will – Valentino Rossi. Indeed, Rossi has only ever driven an F1 car six times, but his status as one of motorcycling’s all-time greats and one of the most popular and media-savvy sportspeople of all time make the possibility an incredibly enticing prospect. For Ferrari, Rossi brings a global army of fans and the possibility of a rare Italian driver-car title combination that hasn’t happened since Alberto Ascari in 1953, despite 15 drivers titles and 16 constructors titles for the marque since then. This week Rossi tested in a Ferrari F1 car again, and was so fast that the possibility might now be approaching a probability.  Read More

The Yamaha 1200 Super Tenere twin

The 2009 Tokyo Motor Show last October saw some bizarre non-debuts as there had been an accord between the Japanese manufacturers that all would cut back their expenditure on the show in deference to the retrenchments resultant from the GFC. We mentioned this with our coverage of the Yamaha stand's Super Tenere “Art installation” at Tokyo. Here was a somehow fully formed motorcycle that was not really on show. Well the mystique has been maintained, because no images have been released yet, but we now know a lot more about the bike's fine details – the 1200cc parallel twin will have a 270 degree crank (for a v-twin feel), and will use Yamaha's YCC-T ride-by-wire throttle, have switchable engine-mapping, traction control, three-position anti-lock braking, a Unified Braking System that links the front and rear brakes, …  Read More

Dakar Rally: the usual suspects in the lead at the half way mark

After seven of the 14 legs of the 2010 Dakar Rally, the usual suspects have found their way to the fore once more. With Mitsubishi withdrawing from the event in deference to the GFC, it was predictable that Volkswagen would dominate the event and on the mid-point rest day, three factory race VW TDI Touaregs hold the first three spots, all more than 150 minutes clear of the field. In the bikes, where restrictors have been added to the inlets of machinery larger than 450cc machinery, KTM’s 690s have nevertheless dominated almost as much usual, holding first and six of the top 10 places, with two-time winner Cyril Depres an hour and 20 minutes clear of a close battle for second.  Read More

Nissan's LandGlider

Since Nicholas Negroponte first came up with his landmark teething ring visualization of the coming together of communication, computing and content, the term convergence has become the uber buzzword. Now there’s convergence going on in the personal transport industry, with the car and the motorcycle morphing as car makers attempt to downsize their vehicles to make them better suited to the world’s increasingly crowded roads. This article begins with Nissan’s tandem two-seat, half width tilting car, the Landglider, and examines all the other work being done around the world as narrow track vehicles seriously begin to make their case.  Read More

Yamaha Super Tenere

Tenere is a desert region in the south central Sahara - a place where, in 1977, Frenchman Thierry Sabine famously got lost on his motorbike for three days during the Abidjan-Nice Rally. The rest as they say is history - Sabine returned to France to create the Paris-Dakar rally and Yamaha's two wheeled namesake dominated the event in the 90s. The Yamaha Tenere made a comeback in recent times in with the new XTZ660, but the brand has bigger things in store with a twin-cylinder "Super Tenere" in the pipeline which will compete against the BMW R1200GS. Yamaha gave some hints as to the makeup of the new adventure bike at the Tokyo Motor Show with its eye-catchingly bizarre mock-up - which was appropriately wrapped in desert garb - sporting a shaft drive and side mounted radiators.  Read More

The side view of the EV-Cub electric motorcycle

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.  Read More

Yamaha set to launch hybrid production motorcycle for 2010

Back in 2005, Yamaha showed the wacky 2005 Gen-Ryu hybrid concept bike at the Tokyo Motor Show amidst a raft of other very non-conventional two wheelers such as the aptly named FC-Me fuel cell bike, the ingenious Deinonychus elec tric reconfigurable motorcycle, the Chivicker, Passol and the Maxam two-wheeled limousine. Now it appears certain the bike will become a showroom model in 2010. A series of patent applications detail the new motorcycle which uses the YZF-R6 600cc engine to turn a generator which in turn powers the rear wheel. History shows that every Yamaha styling patent published over the last 20 years has resulted in a full production machine, so there's little doubt this one is also heading for a showroom near you in the very near future. You can expect to see it in the flesh for the first time at the Tokyo Motor Show later this year.  Read More

Green guitars: Babusa (left), Flax (top) and MADA (bottom right)

We live in environmentally enlightened times. Familiar products have been repackaged and now proudly push their green credentials right in your face. So when looking through the racks of the local guitar shop, why is it that the now familiar “environmentally-friendly” claims are conspicuous by their absence? Given the market advantage that being green seems to offer manufacturers, could it be that no-one in the music industry gives a hoot? Perhaps the world of green awareness hasn't yet reached the world of guitars? Or maybe the kings and queens of tone and resonance are just being a bit less obvious about it? Paul Ridden cuts through the distortion to find out more.  Read More

Nick Shotter's tilting 4-wheeler 4MC prototype

If the fun we had aboard Piaggio's MP3 is any indication, motorcycles with more than two wheels have a big future ahead of them. The additional stability and traction you get from a tilting three-wheeler is quite an eye-opener, and they're still exceptionally fun to ride. If you want to take the concept one step further, though, an extra wheel at the back as well can actually make the entire bike narrower while delivering the sort of stability that can let you safely powerslide and drift all four wheels on an oily skidpan. Remember Yamaha's wild and wonderful Tesseract concept from 2007? The company is keen to get one into production, but as it turns out, Yamaha has run into trouble with patents held by an ex-courier and motorcycle safety advocate from the UK who has been working on a road-ready tilting 4-wheeler for more than 20 years.  Read More

Yamaha's methane powered golf cart

We've all heard of vehicles that run on the smell of an oily rag, but what about one that runs on the smell of cow dung? A new prototype golf cart developed by Yamaha does just that - sort of - by running on the methane. The golf cart was tested with the assistance of the Osaka Gas Co. which provided methane at low cost to Yamaha for the vehicle tests as part of efforts to promote the use of cow dung biomass as a fuel.  Read More

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