viernes, 31 de mayo de 2013

Roland Sands On The BMW Concept Ninety

The BMW Concept Ninety — a modern intrepration of the original R90S — dropped jaws when it debuted at Villa d’Este last week. We caught up with Roland Sands, who built the bike for BMW and talked about what that was like.

RideApart: How’d RSD end up building a BMW concept bike?

Roland Sands: I met Ola from BMW Motorrad like 5 years ago. We hit it off and have always wanted to do a project together. When this one came around at BMW, he and Eddie had me in mind to make it happen. It was also a bike they wanted to be a runner and traditionally the concepts are mainly clay models, so it made sense for us to build it as we could get it built and running in a short amount of time. They also wanted the motor detailed out and that’s kind of my specialty.

RA: What was the design brief?

Roland: BMW had a direction for sure, and we worked as a team to get to what we wanted the final design to be. It was up to us to figure out all the connecting details to make it all work, but again we worked hand in hand with BMW and primarily Ola Stengard, who’s a really great guy. It was our relationship that made the project happen as quickly and correctly as it did.

RA: What was the design process like? Did you just pitch a sketch and then execute it, or was it more collaborative with BMW design?

Roland: BMW came with their initial sketches, we talked and gave our ideas and they continued to work through sketches and finally came up with something we all really liked. It was collaborative from start to finish which was really a great way to do it. Throughout the build I was daily on the phone with Ola in Germany passing back new sketches and solutions for every design detail. I think sometimes that could be a nightmare, but with the team we had it was seamless working from US to Germany. We both had our phones on at 2am. I was primarily responsible for all the billet goodies and everything under the body.

RA: What can you say about future plans for this bike?

Roland: I can’t say. It’s really up to BMW, but I see them moving in some really fun new directions.

RA: How’s it ride?

Roland: I dig it. It just feels right when you sit on it. Plenty of torque and the power is linear like a Boxer is supposed to be. It turns in nice and precise, stays on line. The tires are obviously sticky. Brakes work really well and the suspension, although not race tuned, is a great starting point. Geometry is really nice and it steers light without any headshake. Given some time to dial it in I think it would be a really fun track bike. I drug a foot peg, but not the heads so that was a plus.

RA: Can you tell us about the helmet in those photos?

Roland: That is a Bell Auto racing helmet. Skratch and I laid it out and painted it the night we finished the bike. They day before the final photo shoot. The paint still wasn’t dry in the photos.

RA: What was the biggest challenge in designing/building this thing?

Roland: Not being in total control of the design was a new experience, but it ended up not being not an issue because I really agreed with where we were going with the bike from the beginning. On the build side, I would say the biggest challenge was getting 20 billet machined products including wheels and master cylinders reverse engineered, designed and machined in 2 months.

RA: What does the Ninety achieve that other modern bikes don’t?

Roland: I hope it’s biggest achievement is that it gets BMW to push for more stylistic consumer bikes, which I think it will judging from the response. A solid traditional design that draws inspiration and brings attention to a bike like the original R90S is something that is needed for BMW as it’s so important for consumers to get some knowledge about where a lot of what they are riding today came from.

First bike with a fairing…that’s kind of a big deal. BMW brought a lot of firsts to our industry, telescopic fork, dual disc brakes, the list goes on. So it’s good to educate people to those facts. I think it also marks a return to traditional inspiration which in BMW’s case is a really good thing.

RA: It looks heinously uncomfortable. Flight of fancy or a realistic rider?

Roland: Looks can be deceiving Wes. Just look in the mirror…you’re much nicer than you look, sweetheart.

It’s actually comfortable for a Sportbike, Feels close to the S1000RR. That said, it’s no touring bike. I just got off a R1200, wow. That’s a comfortable bike that actually works really well. Rode the 1600 also, sounds like an Enzo.

RA: What was reception at Villa d’Este like?

Roland: For an auto event I think it got more than its share of attention. Dude’s were like.. fuck yea bro! That thing is hella sweet!! [REDACTED] But they said it in Italian so it sounded totally different. Don’t print that.

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2013 MotoCzysz E1pc: official photos and details

The wraps officially came off the 2013 MotoCzysz E1pc at the Isle of Man yesterday. Gone are much of the traits that made the bike unique — the whacky wings and weird forks — replaced with conventional running gear and more batter capacity.

“Once again, I am truly in awe,” says American rider Mark Miller. “For the past four years the MotoCzysz crew has consistently raised the bar, and this year is no exception. I can’t wait to climb on and tackle the mountain course! It’s going to be a bit different without Michael Czysz here but from the looks of things the Team have sorted the bikes and its now my turn to go to work.”

“2013 is as much about bike handling as it is about energy onboard,” explains the bike’s designer, Michael Czysz. “Adding range is simple, you add more batteries; but to achieve that without adding weight was an engineering feat.”

“The 2013 E1pc handling rivals any bike on the mountain, allowing Michael and Mark to easily carve the twisty mountain course faster than ever,” continues Czysz. This year’s bike weighs the same as last year’s, but packs 20% more energy in its battery packs.

That extra capacity appears to be held under the seat, which now features a large box right where the fuel tank on a MotoGP bike goes. Like fuel, batteries are heavy, so centralizing their mass is key to good handling.

Gone are MotoCzysz’s signature wing-section forks, which built in lateral flex. On Twitter, the company states that flex is now handled by the triple clamps. An area of the bike we haven’t yet seen much of, but plan to learn more about.

TT veteran Michael Rutter and fellow rider Mark Miller are going to have their work cut out for them this year. MotoCzysz’s chief rival is the Mugen Shinden Ni, piloted by John McGuinness. That bike is supported by the Honda factory itself and allegedly cost $4.5 million.

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Video Review: Ducati 1199 Panigale R

Sure, it’s the fastest way to lap a race track that you can buy from a showroom, but how’s the Ducati 1199 Panigale R perform in the real world? More importantly, how’s it look on video?

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Finally, a Mission motorcycle you can buy

$60,000, 160bhp, 120lb/ft. Remember the Mission R? It’s now called the Mission RS and it has a headlight. There’s plans for a cheaper, $30,000 model to follow. Wired has the scoop.

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Here’s a picture of Guy Martin jumping a GSX-R

Isle of Man TT, FTW. The racing starts Saturday.

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jueves, 30 de mayo de 2013

Shinya Kimura, Motorcycle Mechanic

Here’s a nice little video profile of acclaimed custom bike builder Shinya Kimura. Directed by Danielle Levitt, it shows Shinya riding his local haunt — Glendora Ridge Road — and visits him in his Azusa, CA shop.

Click here to view the embedded video.

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miércoles, 29 de mayo de 2013

What the latest NHTSA fatality statistics reveal about motorcycle safety

The Department of Transport has this month just issued its latest findings on motorcycles deaths and related injuries in the U.S. and all in all it makes pretty depressing reading.

Figures and research come from the DoT’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), which has been tracking this information since 1982 and its latest report for 2011 shows that 4,612 motorcyclists died that year in the U.S. This according to NHTSA is a 2% increase in rider fatalities over 2010.

That overall figure of 4,612 deaths also includes other types of bikes (scooters, three wheelers, mopeds, mini bikes, pocket bikes and off roaders) so the actual two-wheel motorcycle fatality number for 2011 is 4323.

What’s not clear in NHTSA’s findings is if the number of motorcycle riders actually grew too from 2010 to 2011. A total of 8,009,503 ‘motorcycles’ (including scooters, trikes etc) were registered in 2010 but this increased by nearly 5% in 2011 to 8,437,502.

The good news from the report, if you can call it that, was that injuries from crashes involving motorcycles were down in 2011 with 81,000 recorded compared to 82,000 the previous year.

Motorcycles apparently made up 3% of all registered road vehicles in the U.S. for 2011 with NHTSA including everything on two-wheels and three-wheels in this category. But 4,323 (94%) of 4,612 fatal bike crashes in 2011 were riders of two-wheeled motorcycles.

According to the findings 2,449 (49%) of all fatal motorcycle crashes were the result of a bike colliding with another vehicle. Only 6% of deaths in 2011 were due to a bike being hit from behind.

More than 42% (1,998) of motorcyclists in 2011 were killed in two vehicle accident and 38% (757) of these were the result of another vehicle turning left in front of the motorcycle that was either going straight, passing or overtaking another vehicle.

NHTSA claims that of all motorcycle deaths in 2011, 35% (1,614) were the direct result of the rider speeding. This according to its research and data is a substantially higher death toll than any other vehicle type on the roads – 22% for cars, 19 % for trucks and 8% for large trucks.

Plus, based upon the average number of miles traveled by every type of vehicle on the road, in 2011 as a rider you were 30 times more likely than a passenger car occupant to die in a motor vehicle traffic crash and five times more likely to be injured while out riding a motorcycle.

Riders of bikes with 501-1000cc engines accounted for 39% of all 2011 fatalities and also represented the highest increase of overall fatalities (25%) from when NHTSA first started recording this information in 2002.

Older motorcyclists (40 years and up) account for 75% of all motorcyclists’ deaths over this 10-year period with 42-years-old now the average age of a motorcycle rider killed on the U.S. roads in a traffic crash.

However, 22% of riders involved in fatal crashes in 2011 did not have a valid motorcycle license and were 1.4 times more likely than a car driver to have a previous license suspension or revocation.

The really scary part of all these statistics is that 42% of motorcycle riders who died in single vehicle crashes in the U.S. in 2011 had blood alcohol levels (BAC) of 0.8g/dL or higher. The 40-44 year-old age group accounted for 38% of these deaths, while the 45-49 and 35-39 age groups were each at 37%.

NHTSA figures also show that in 2011, motorcycles riders killed at night were nearly three times more likely to have BAC levels of 0.8 g/dL or higher than riders who were kill during the day.

Across the U.S. in 2011, Texas had the most motorcycle fatalities with 441 riders killed and 37% of these had 0.8g/Dl BAC readings or higher. Florida was second with 426 riders killed and 34% impaired by drinking and riding and California third with 386 of which 22% of riders who died were under the influence of alcohol.

Mississippi and Ohio may have had fewer rider deaths in 2011 at 53 and 157 respectively, but both states had the national highest percentage of alcohol-impaired deaths at 40% of all motorcycle fatalities. (Vermont was actually higher at 63% but with only eight riders killed in 2011).

NHTSA’s figures also show that in 2011 of the 4000 plus motorcycle riders killed on the roads in the U.S. 40% were not wearing a helmet. And based upon all 2011 motorcycle crash information NHTSA estimates that 1,617 lives of riders were saved by wearing a helmet and a further 703 may have survived if they had been wearing a helmet. This data makes no distinction between types of helmets (full or open face).

There can be no doubting the depth of NHTSA’s 2011 research on motorcycle deaths and injuries. Some of it can be a little confusing and there are a lot of numbers and percentages to wade through but if you are prepared to read through it you can eventually work out the most dangerous day to be riding a motorcycle in any state in the U.S.

However, the staggering number in all of NHTSA’s research is that of the 4,323 motorcyclists killed in 2011, 33% (1426) of the riders were under the influence of alcohol. That’s almost 1 in 3 fatal motorcycle accidents attributed to drinking and riding.

Ride safe people.

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2013 MotoCzysz E1pc revealed

The first photo of the 2013 MotoCzysz E1pc has been revealed on Twitter. Gone are last year’s zany wings in favor of an expanded battery pack. The bike should be turning wheels on the Isle of Man this week.

This image of the 2012 MotoCzysz E1pc shows those winglets and bizarre tail section that were said to better re-attach airflow, enhancing aerodynamic efficiency:

While the 2013 ditches those winglets in favor of a much-simplified tail section, it also appears to include a large box under the seat, where fuel is now stored on GP bikes. This likely makes room for additional battery capacity.

The new tail also appears to bring some functionality back from the 2011 MotoCzysz E1pc, which made room for a second “seat” at the rearmost portion of bike, allowing the rider to scoot very far to the rear to minimize drag on the Isle of Man’s long straights, then slide forward into a conventional riding position to control the bike in corners. The rest of the bike appears similar, at least in this photo, to last year’s machine with upgrades likely coming in both the battery and motor departments rather than in the chassis or overall platform.

MotoCzysz is fielding a four bike team at the TT Zero this year: Michael Rutter, Mark Miller, TTXGP star Shane Turpin and even MotoGP wildcard Steve Rapp.

“I’ve raced everything from Singles to Superbikes, but nothing as special as the MotoCzysz e1pc,” says Turpin.

“With two wins under my belt, I’d like to go for the hat-trick this year and with Team MotoCzysz providing the equipment, I think we can get it done,” states Rutter.

Absent from the race this year, however, will be Michael Czysz himself. He’s remaining in America to receive treatment for an unnamed medical ailment.

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Spy Photos: BMW S1000S

Rumors of a naked version of the BMW S1000RR have been swirling since the superbike’s debut in 2008. Now, the bike has been captured undergoing validation testing.

These photos and this video come from a reader of, who spotted the bike while out riding his scooter in Trento. While the bike’s time on screen is incredibly short, it does reveal some intriguing details.

First among those is this headlight/bikini fairing arrangement. In profile, that tiny screen appears to adopt a floating arrangement, leaving the exposed headlight binnacles to define the bike’s look.

From the front, those headlights appear to adopt a similar asymmetric arrangement to the S1000RR.

Much speculation exists around the final spec of the bike. Conventional wisdom suggests that BMW will follow established naked bike practice and re-tune the motor to move its power and torque peaks lower down the rev range, also reducing the engine’s outright performance in the process.

Looking at these photos, the bike seen here appears to adopt the same USD forks as the S1000RR and even the silver Brembo Monobloc calipers of the HP4. The base S1000RR uses gold non-Monobloc radial Brembos. This, plus word of a previous sighting of an S1000S fitted with an Akrapovic exhaust canister leads Motociclismo to speculate that the bike could be available in two spec levels or simply feature a nice list of optional extras.

As for the name? Well “F” model BMW’s use parallel-twins (ie F800GS), “R” models use boxers (ie R1200GS), less outright sport-focussed inline-fours use a “K” monicker (ie K1300S), leaving the S1000RR as the only bike with an “S” first. That’s led most to speculate that it will kick off a new family of “S” BMWs made up of out-and-out sport bikes. The S1000S will compete with bikes like the Aprilia Tuono V4 and upcoming KTM 1290 Super Duke.

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How much difference does 37cc make?

Motorcycle-USA just answered that question by putting the new, 636cc 2013 Kawasaki ZX-6R on the dyno next to the old, 599cc 2012 Kawasaki ZX-6R. The improvement is actually fairly impressive, and that’s before you factor in ABS and traction control.

As you can see, the differences don’t just come in marginal increases to peak torque and power, but throughout the engine’s mid-range, beginning at 6,000rpm. It’s between that and 12 or 13,000rpm where most riders will spend most of their time, even while going fast. Fatter curves there equal an easier time, less throttle lag and potentially even fewer shifts. Nicely done.

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