Dodge Tomahawk Replica

Dodge Tomahawk replica

Dodge Tomahawk replicaDoing my usual ebay cruise, this caught my eye, hey, it would catch yours, too, if you saw a Dodge Tomahawk listed. I started thinking Chrysler put their concept bike out there for sale but then I looked a little closer and saw the word replica. What we have here is a half scale Dodge Tomahawk replica, that’s right, half scale. So how did he fit the V10 in there? He didn’t, he went a little smaller, it’s 249cc.

OK, before you roll your eyes, take a look at this. The builder is obviously a big fan of the four wheeled monster concept bike Chrysler built a few years back and lacking the funds or V10 engine to go full size, he came up with this scaled replica that looks kinda cool. It’s not street legal and only goes 75mph but look at the steering and everything else he had to come up with. It’s actually pretty neat.

He doesn’t show the bike without the bodywork so who knows what it looks like underneath but I give this guy credit for committment to an idea. Very interesting

Roland Sands KRV5 Tracker

Roland Sands' KRV5 Tracker

The KRV5 Tracker by Roland Sands took 9th place in the 2006 World Championship Of Custom Bike Building held at Sturgis this year. As we noted previously, this bike is powered by a Kenny Roberts V5 MotoGP engine. The front end is a modified GSXR1000 unit with Performance Machine wheels all around and the PM brakes, emulating the original board trackers, are at the rear only!

Nice looking and very interesting, but after building the very functional No Regrets and RSD Grunt, don’t you think a 200hp V5 MotoGP engine would really go well in a more functional custom?

Honda CBR600RR

2007 Honda CBR600RR

Honda introduced their new 2007 CBR600RR yesterday. Looks like they’ve done some work, though I don’t follow every feature of every bike, for those of you who do, I’ve listed the changes below.

From Honda:

The CBR600’s most radical redesign since the introduction of the RR in 2003 is highlighted by a whole new engine, frame and bodywork that results in a smaller, lighter, more-powerful CBR600RR with a class-leading power-to-weight ratio and unparalleled performance.

Features & Benefits

New for 2007

- Class-leading power-to-weight ratio for outstanding acceleration and handling.

- Smaller, lighter, more compact inline four-cylinder engine.

- Improved midrange performance and enhanced peak power.

- Significant weight reduction in engine and chassis.

- Repositioned transmission shafts within crankcase allow for shorter engine.

- New lightweight, forged-aluminum pistons incorporate special shot peening for added toughness.

- Lightweight magnesium head cover.

- New, single exhaust valve-springs.

- Smaller, lighter neodium magnet ACG.

- New transmission gear ratios.

- Smaller, lighter clutch.

- New front-brake vertical-piston master-cylinder system.

- Lighter weight stainless steel four-into-one exhaust features new inline-exhaust valve to control exhaust pressure for maximum performance.

- New intake-air control valve (IACV) minimizes torque reaction and smoothes response to small throttle changes through gradual reductions of air and fuel intake when the throttle is opened and closed.

- New non-resonance knock sensor maintains optimum spark advance while constantly monitoring combustion performance during mid- to high-speed operation.

- New nose-mounted ram-air induction directs fresh, cool air to a higher-volume airbox.

- New smaller and lighter Honda Electronic Steering Damper (HESD).

- Newly designed Fine Die-Cast (FDC) frame uses four large castings for lighter weight.

- Improved mass centralization.

- Redesigned radiator with compact dimensions improves cooling capacity.

- All-new bodywork enhances handling and performance.

- Handlebars raised 10mm for improved rider comfort.

- Center of gravity revised for more neutral response and easier side-to-side flickability.

- New, compact instrument design.

- Exciting new colors–Pearl White/Silver and Ultra Blue Metallic/Silver–join Red/Black and Black as color options.


Model: CBR600RR

Engine Type: 599cc liquid-cooled inline four-cylinder

Bore and Stroke: 67mm x 42.5mm

Compression Ratio: 12.2:1

Valve Train: DOHC; four valves per cylinder

Carburetion: Stage Fuel Injection (DSFI)

Ignition: Computer-controlled digital transistorized with three-dimensional mapping

Transmission: Close-ratio six-speed

Final Drive: #525 O-ring–sealed chain

Front: 41mm inverted HMAS cartridge fork with spring preload, rebound and compression damping adjustability; 4.7 inches travel
Rear: Unit Pro-Link HMAS single shock with spring preload, rebound and compression damping adjustability; 5.1 inches travel

Front: Dual radial-mounted four-piston calipers with 310mm discs
Rear: Single 220mm disc

Front: 120/70ZR-17 radial
Rear: 180/55ZR-17 radial

Wheelbase: TBD

Rake (Caster Angle): 23.7°

Trail: 96.3mm (3.8 inches)

Seat Height: 32.3 inches

Dry Weight: TBD

Fuel Capacity: 4.8 gallons, including 0.9-gallon reserve

Colors: Pearl White/Silver, Ultra Blue Metallic/Silver, Red/Black, Black

TwinTech V Twin Motorcycle Powered car

TwinTech V-Twin powered car

Here’s another very nice example of V-Twin motorcycle power in a purpose built car, called the TwinTech, it’s powered by an S&S 124 engine with 125 hp and 125 foot pounds of torque. It’s the brainchild of Dave Piontek who many years ago built the Sportech, a kevlar bodied car powered by an 1100cc inline 4.

The TwinTech story goes that Dave was watching American Chopper when he decided one of those V-Twins should be dropped into a space frame chassis. Dave formerly worked for Ford and he shared the idea with a couple of engineering buddies, Jay Novak and Kip Ewing. Together, the three of them came up with the prototype seen here.

Specs are 1120 pounds, 50/50 weight distribution, 0-60mph in 4.5 seconds and 1.1g on the skid pad. Dave says, a bigger engine and supercharging may be available for 200+hp if 125 isn’t enough.

They didn’t scrimp when sourcing components and the finished car will go for somewhere around $50,000. After a while, expect kits to be available as well. This looks very well done, I like it and I bet it sounds great!

TwinTech V-Twin powered car

TwinTech V-Twin powered car

TwinTech V-Twin powered car

Crossbow Kawasaki Powered Trike

Crossbow motorcycle powered 3 wheeler

Our friends up north are building a trike and thought you might like to take a peek at what they have so far. Mike Sabatino of Jesler Enterprises in Peterborough, Ontario sent us these photos of the Crossbow. The prototype for this three wheeler, shown here, is powered by an 1100cc 140hp Kawasaki engine but Mike says that may change with final engine selection currently in progress.

The Crossbow is built on a tube frame and covered with a fiberglass body. The engine sits up front and drives a reversing gearbox. The rear wheel is currently belt driven but they may go with a chain depending on testing. A single 20×10 wheel in the back carries a BF Goodrich radial, front wheels are 17×7 also running BFG tires.

The transmission is the standard 6 speed and all controls are in the standard motorcycle configuration with twist throttle, left hand clutch and foot shift.

They were careful to follow both Canadian and U.S. regulations for a 3 wheeled vehicle to make registration as easy as possible.

The whole unit weighs just 980 pounds and two months of road and track testing show 0-60 in 4.43 sec., quarter mile in 12.57 sec. They’re pretty happy with how everything works and handles but want to do a bit of restyling before launching the final product. They anticipate a launch sometime next year with price somewhere around $30,000 USD.

Crossbow motorcycle powered 3 wheeler

Crossbow motorcycle powered 3 wheeler

Hayabusa Powered DP1 First Drive

Dennis Palatov's Hayabusa powered DP1

It lives! Dennis Palatov dropped us a note to let us know the amazing Hayabusa powered DP1 prototype he’s been building over the past 4 years has fired up and moved under power. If you’ve followed the build process over the past months you already know what a jaw dropping piece he’s put together.

Dennis notes that although the prototype is currently running the stock Hayabusa powerplant, after a bit more testing and development, he’ll be reengineering the car with the Hayabusa V8 plus a carbon fiber chassis for production.

The photos give you an idea of how small this car really is, the size of a large go kart, albeit with ridiculous power output. The first trip to the track with the engine running in anger should be quite the experience. I like this a lot.

Motorcycle Builders - Bottpower

Bott 1000 Morlaco by the Bottpower Project

The Bottpower Project is so named because the builders liked the concept of the Battle of the Twins race series from some years back. The BOTT 1000 Morlaco, their current project, is powered by a Honda 954cc Fireblade engine and incorporates a Hossack-style front suspension mounted on a trellis type frame.

Hugo Van Waaijen, industrial designer on the project and in charge of designing some of the technical pieces, dropped us a note to show us what they had done so far. The project is headed by David Sanchez who does much of the design and actual construction. They’re assisted by Ernesto Arnaez who is the resident IT expert and web designer for their company.

The bike is in the final stages of the build process, they estimate another 8 months or so before things are complete and I think it looks very well done.

They have a number of other interesting designs on their site, including a hybrid motorcycle and an earlier design, the BOTT 250 H7, powered by a Yamaha TZ250 engine. The team is trying to gain a bit of exposure through their individual projects with plans for bigger things in the future.

This is a great example of one of those motorcycle builders we just don’t run across every day, a small team working away and doing what appears to be excellent work. Keep your eye on these guys, there may be a lot more coming in the near future.

This is the first of what we project as a long series of posts covering motorcycle builders who are creating their own ideas of what a motorcycle should be. If you are a builder and would like to see your project highlighted here, let us know. If you have a website where your work is on display, send us the link and we’ll have a look. We can’t put everyone’s work up but we’ll try to show as many as we can.

Bott 1000 Morlaco by the Bottpower Project

Bott 1000 Morlaco by the Bottpower Project

Riwi Products Single Side Front Fork

Riwi Products single side front end

While digging around looking for interesting motorcyce parts I came across Riwi Products in Innsbruck, Austria. It looks as though they make a few different things like wheels and forks but the part they seem to be promoting the most is their single sided front fork (or front arm, can’t be a fork with one side, I guess). Anyway, it looks interesting and shows one more variation on the old tried and true front fork we’re all familiar with.

It doesn’t look too bad on the Speed Triple, they also have a Vmax version which I don’t think looks as good. Looking at all of the associated hardware makes me wonder how much this weighs. I also wonder how it works on the street. Whatever the case, it’s an interesting attempt to come up with another option.

Riwi Products single side front end

Motorcycle Builders - MotoCreations

MotoCreations DesmoDevil

Mark Savory took a rather circuitous route to where he is today. An early interest in design then studies in engineering and computer science, a bit of IMSA racing, restoring a classic Ferrari, working in the computer field and then following all this with a dot com startup company that finally got it right (after two that didn’t), meant Mark was able to relax just a bit. Playing around with some design ideas based around a Ducati for a friend of his, the resulting Photoshop creation quickly raced around the Internet with everyone asking when it was going to be built or where they could get parts to build their own. Mark figured that sounded like an opportunity and a prototype was built and displayed at the Los Angeles Calendar Motorcycle Show, this prototype became the DesmoDevil, a Ducati transformed.

We’ve pointed to MotoCreations and Mark’s work before but haven’t kept up with the goings on over there. Mark is a busy guy!

Mark sent us an update telling us he’s currently working on several customer projects plus making sure he completes delivery of three more DesmoDevils before Christmas. He says customers often take delivery in bare metal so they can have a local painter finish the bike to their specific taste. These Desmos travel to customers throughout the U.S. and Europe.

He says the DesmoDevil weighs in at 360 pounds and 92 horsepower but customer bikes often weigh less because of carbon fiber wheels and the like. A few have even been taken out on the track which surprises the heck out of onlookers, it doesn’t look like a racer.

You really should stop over at Mark’s site for an idea of where his design ideas are going, from some that appear to be mild refinements to a few that are just gorgeous redesigns. I’ve included a photo below of his upcoming MotoCafe which I like a lot.

This once again points out the varied routes many follow into the motorcycle building field and it’s encouraging to those readers of The Kneeslider who I know are working on some impressive Photoshop ideas of their own. Keep it up, you never know where it may lead.

As always, builders, let us know what you’re working on, we will feature what we can or if you happen to know of a builder that should be shown here, let us know. We’ll take a look.

Motorcycle Builders - ARC Fabrication

Motorcycle frame by ARC fabrication

Twisted exhaust by ARC FabricationARC Fabrication is a small business run by Doug Cook with the assistance of his wife Sharon, another of those builders we don’t often hear about but turning out frames and motorcycle parts for riders who happen to hear about their work. Doug is an ex-racer and his enthusiasm for motorcycles resulted in this business that centers around custom motorcycles and fabrication. He can build up a complete custom frame for your motorcycle or a one off exhaust system, some of which are pretty unique.

Doug says he can work with most any engines and wrap a frame around it or build you an exhaust, though he has some standard setups ready to go. If you dig around his site for a while you’ll see he’s willing to try new things and he’s done some nice work, quite a few Ducati powered variations on display.

ARC Fabrications is an example of someone turning out nice work because that’s his passion. He took the same skills he used while welding tubing on rocket engines and now uses it to weld motorcycle frames and exhausts, a rather interesting transition. Sometimes there is so much publicity given to the guys building chopper frames you get the impression that sportbike frames are just too complex for a small builder to attempt. Doug doesn’t think so and maybe a few more builders should try it, too.

Currently, Doug is located in New Hampshire, where he shares a bit of space at BCM Motorsports, but before long he plans to move a bit further south and locate somewhere close to the Blue Ridge Parkway, he’s looking forward to a little longer riding season and some very nice mountan roads. Nice work, Doug.

If you’re a builder and would like your bikes featured here, let us know, we’ll take a look. If you know of a builder that should be featured here, let us know that, too.

Motorcycle Builders - JVB Moto - Ducati Custom

Flat Red by JvB Moto

This one is nice, really nice. JvB Moto, operating out of Cologne, Germany, won the Ducati Design contest in 2004 with his creation called Flat Red. All wiring is hidden for a clean look and he relocated the battery, electrics and the oil cooler to free up space for a redesigned fuel tank and airbox.

Overall, this is one good looking Ducati. My only small quibble would be the seat which might need a slight lip on the back to keep you planted a bit more securely, but other than that, this is great.

He also has a Suzuki XF 650cc single cylinder custom utilizing a Kawasaki GPX 600 chassis. It is an earlier work and some of the design elements have carried over into the Ducati.

Very nice work showing a little different direction from the standard Ducati powered sportbikes.

Flat Red by JvB Moto

New Kawasaki Concours - 2008 Concours 14

2008 Kawasaki Concours 14

2008 Kawasaki Concours 14The Kawasaki Concours has a couple of things in common with the Yamaha Vmax, it’s been around essentially unchanged almost forever (introduced in 1986) and it has a very dedicated following of owners who absolutely love it. This year, though, Kawasaki finally decided to bring the bike into the 21st century and they are introducing the Concours 14 and Concours 14 ABS as 2008 models that will show up in dealers early in 2007. They just happened to have a superb platform as a starting point, the new ZX14, which was modified a bit for touring duty to produce what should be one lightning quick cross country machine.

It’s no secret that a lot of the hypersport machines like the venerable ZX11 and the Suzuki Hayabusa, were and still are purchased for long distance road use. If you’ve never put any miles on one of these machines, you can’t appreciate how well suited for touring duty they really are. But anyone who wants to do that needs to add decent bags of some sort, a better windshield and a few other odds and ends to tweak the machine to better serve the owner’s intentions. Kawasaki did all of the work up front with the new Concours 14 and I can see it swinging a few purchasers away from the big Z as well as pulling a lot of old Concours owners back into the dealers.

The Concours has shaft drive, an electrically adjustable windshield plus different aerodynamics than the ZX14, designed to protect a rider and passenger from the wind as opposed to maximizing top speed. There are heated grips, an accessory power outlet and of course, detachable hard bags. But the really sweet part is the engine, which is the big ZX14 engine in a slightly different state of tune but certainly a helluva lot more engine than any other touring rig you’ll run across.

If Kawasaki is true to form, what you see here is probably the Concours you’ll see for many years to come and I can’t argue with their reasoning, I don’t see any reason they would want to change it again any time soon. I like this.

Kawasaki Press release and more photos below:

Supersport performance with long-distance touring comfort

The new Concours 14 and Concours 14 ABS combine breathtaking engine performance, impeccable handling and a comfortable riding position with clean, convenient shaft drive, locking hard luggage, an electrically adjustable windscreen and a host of other features to create the most impressive long-distance, high-speed machine on the market today.

An aluminum monocoque chassis, radial-mount brake calipers, inverted fork, and ram air induction are all features riders expect to find on top-of-the-line supersport machines. However, instead of riding a high-strung racetrack missile, they can enjoy these high-performance features on Kawasaki’s new Concours 14 sport touring motorcycles. They are the first representatives of an entirely new genre of high-performance motorcycle: the Transcontinental Supersport.

Because it’s a Kawasaki, the Concours 14 is naturally designed to do much more than just take a rider from point A to point B. Thanks to its sporting heritage, the new Concours 14 is not only an awe-inspiring road burner, it can also carve up mountain roads like a true supersport bike. For those riders who cross state lines the way others cross town, this machine offers more excitement than anything else in its category.

The Concours 14 may be a physically impressive machine, but as soon as riders flip the side stand up, they’ll be astonished at the bike’s lightweight feel. The confidence-enhancing ABS brake system (Concours 14 ABS) features radial-mount front calipers operated by a radial-pump master cylinder, for the superb control and powerful, reliable braking performance that continent-crossing sport riders expect. Belying its tourer-like appearance, the Concours 14’s phenomenally responsive handling characteristics make the other bikes in its category seem like transports by comparison. This provides the Concours 14 rider with a feeling of complete control for spirited, confident journeys.

In addition to an incredible level of sporting performance, the new Concours 14 has the functional touches of a Grand Touring machine. Features include KI-PASS (Kawasaki’s Intelligent Proximity Activation Start System), the first smart key ignition system in its class, and an accessory power outlet located near the cockpit for powering portable electronics, grip heaters and other accessories. There’s also an electrically adjustable windscreen, shaft drive and detachable, locking side cases, so the Concours 14 is always ready for a high-speed ride to the local hangout or that favorite spot… fifteen hundred miles away.

The Concours 14 is much more than a sportbike with tacked-on touring features; it’s an integrated high-speed touring system. Wind protection for rider and passenger is based on a supersport-style design philosophy, aerodynamically curving wind around the riders to reduce buffeting that occurs when wind curls around screens that simply block the wind. Additionally, maintenance chores on long-distance trips are minimized thanks to quiet and reliable shaft drive. Featuring a special four-link design, the Tetra-Lever shaft drive system significantly reduces driveline lash during sport riding and helps ensure smooth acceleration when exploiting the engine’s incredible power output. In fact, power delivery to the rear wheel is so smooth and so direct that it gives the same natural ride quality as a chain.

The Concours 14’s touring prowess doesn’t stop there. The included hard luggage features a slim, integrated design which mounts the cases closer to the machine’s centerline for excellent mass centralization. Sensors in the front and rear wheels monitor tire pressure and display this information on the instrument panel, giving riders peace of mind during two-up high-speed riding or when carving up a mountain road.

With all the equipment needed for safe and exciting long-distance riding mated to a decidedly supersport core, the new Concours 14 amplifies all the best riding features that motorcycling has to offer. Motorcyclists carry a driver’s license, but Concours 14 riders should bring their passports, too.

2008 Kawasaki Concours 14

2008 Kawasaki Concours 14

New Harley Davidson XR1200

Harley Davidson XR1200

Harley Davidson held a press conference at Intermot over in Cologne, Germany and showed their new XR1200 Sportster. The boys over at Raptors and Rockets linked to some pics which show a very flat track style Sporty with enough ground clearance to lean over quite a ways without dragging and grinding anything. According to HD, it has downdraft fuel injection, electronically controlled active air intake system and produces about 85 to 90 horsepower with 75 foot pounds of torque.

With all of the references we’ve been making to flat track style motorcycles like the Storz XR1200 and the Street Tracker, you might think HD agrees it’s a good idea. Now if you take this one step further and add that rumored liquid cooled twin, you’ve really got something! Should be a good base to work from no matter what. I wonder if Harley has any competitive ideas for this?

Harley Davidson XR1200t

Harley Davidson XR1200

Harley Davidson XR1200

Team MOMBA Swap Meet Superbike

Team MOMBA swap meet superbike

Building a racing motorcycle can be a great way to spend a lot of money, sometimes with little to show for it in the end if you’re not careful and that’s why it was interesting to see the Team MOMBA (Mid Ohio Motorcycle Build Attempt) project. I had heard of this quite a few months ago and forgot about it until the November issue of Motorcyclist magazine came out with a feature story. The idea, (crazy as it may seem but in a cool sort of way) was to build and race a motorcycle at Mid Ohio built entirely from motorcycles and parts purchased at the Vintage Motorcycle Days swap meet.

For those of you who have never been to Mid Ohio for Vintage Days, let me tell you, the swap meet is huge. It takes over a large portion of the space normally used for parking and if you take your time, you can find almost anything. Similar thoughts must have gone through the minds of a dozen odd bikers and builders from the Milwaukee area because they figured they could find everything they needed right there, where they would buy and transform some lowly swap meet reject into a race bike. A challenge, to be sure.

A lot of thought went into what they were looking for but when they arrived the pickings were a bit slimmer than they had anticipated and after deciding to race in the Vintage Superbike class, the closest bike they could find as a base to work from was an early ’80s Kawasaki 550 LTD, a middleweight cruiser, purchased for the princely sum of $400 and running on only two of its four cylinders.

I won’t go into all of the challenges encountered and overcome by the team but in the end they saw an 8th place finish after all of their work and that is a big win in my book. Congratulations! Job well done.

Suzuki B-King Coming to US

Suzuki B-King

Suzuki recently announced the long awaited B-King would be going into production as a 2007 model. As with so many recent announcements, it had the qualifier “not for the U.S.” added to the news release. With that in mind, I just decided to ignore the whole thing, it’s a story that gets old and reporting on bikes for everyone but us is frustrating.

This bike, if you’re not familiar with it, was first called the Boost King because as a concept way back in 2001, it was fitted with a turbocharger and produced around 250 horsepower. As it gradually moved closer to production, it lost the turbo so now it’s a Hayabusa powered naked bike. Hmm … why call it the B-King? What does the “B” stand for?

Styling for the production bike is pretty close to the concept and opinions are mixed but nevertheless, a 1300cc Hayabusa powered naked bike does have a certain charm.

Well, one of our readers just sent us a link to a B-King article over at Cycle World where we missed the small update at the bottom:

News from the U.S. Suzuki dealer show in Las Vegas indicates that the B-King is indeed coming to America, sometime in 2007 as an early-release ‘08 model.

Now we’re talkin’. I’m glad Suzuki started thinking about their decision to cordon off the U.S. A lot of frustrated Yamaha Vmax owners are looking for a powerful naked bike and if Yamaha doesn’t get in gear with the new Vmax pretty soon, the B-King will grab some of their potential customers before they get a crack at them and might set a pretty high bar for the Vmax to hurdle.

I can’t help but think the stunt crowd will snap up these bikes like crazy, after all, a sit up naked bike with Hayabusa power is what they want anyway, now they don’t have to strip off the bodywork, and just think of the aftermarket this will spawn plus it will probably be able to use much of the Hayabusa add ons already out there. Neat.

Exile Cycles Builds the RX-Streetfighter

Exile Cycles RX-Streetfighter

Here’s one more example of a chopper builder recognizing the move toward bikes that work and building something you can actually ride on the street. Russ Mitchell’s Exile Cycles has produced the RX-Streetfighter, powered by a Jims 120 inch twin cam with a 6 speed and loaded with carbon fiber. The exhaust is slung under the engine like a Buell and the bike has geometry and a wheelbase much like a real and functional motorcycle.

I’m not crazy about the design but it’s interesting that he built this at all. I’m curious whether the customers looking for a bike from Exile will warm up to this change of direction but it’s a smart move for him to test the waters a bit. I wonder what some of the other chopper shops are working on. Can you imagine something like this from the Orange County guys? I feel a disturbance in the force

Tailgunner Streetfighter - Hell’s Tailgunner

Hell's Tailgunner streetfighter

Do you remember the Tailgunner Rotary Cannon Exhaust we mentioned back in January? Strictly a custom chopper piece, right? Well, the guys over at Angry Guy Streetfighters decided it would be perfect for a Honda CBR900RR based custom and built the Hell’s Tailgunner streetfighter and sure enough, there’s a rotary cannon exhaust sticking out the back.

They have a lot of “companion” pieces, too, like hand grenade and brass knuckle brake reservoirs which coordinate nicely with the tailgunner exhaust. Sounds like there’s some pent up hostility floating around over there, but then again, it IS a streetfighter, right?

KTM 690 Single Cylinder with 63 Horsepower

KTM 690 Super Moto with 63 horsepower

KTM packs a lot of power into single cylinder engines. I was just going over the Intermot coverage from a couple of weeks ago and I noticed this KTM 690 Supermoto. Reading the specs is interesting, it’s a single cylinder 690, actually displacing 654cc, with a power output of 63 horsepower! That’s not bad.

The absolute high point on the KTM stand - and a highlight of INTERMOT 2006 is the entirely newly developed 690 Supermoto. Driven by an all-new single-cylinder engine with 63 hp, reduced vibration, electronic fuel injection, an easy to operate APTC clutch and a new 6-gear transmission, this bike not only sets new benchmarks in terms of top performance, it also represents a strong statement by the KTM brand concerning the single cylinder.

Ferrari Formula One Team Racecar Chopper

Ferrari Tribute Chopper

Choppers are not our specialty here but this Ferrari inspired Schumacher Tribute Chopper is a bit different. It’s powered by a Triumph 955 triple which is fully enclosed by the Ferrari F1 style bodywork.

It’s for sale over on ebay and they have a video showing it running around a bit. The music drowns out the sound of the bike, but what you do hear isn’t your normal chopper sound and it would probably run away from most choppers in a straight line, but I think I would slow way down for the turns. No F1 handling here! Different and interesting in its own way.

Honda CBX - Spondon Frame Streetfighter

Spondon Frame Honda CBXCycle World magazine puts together a regular American Flyers feature with custom motorcycles outside the usual fancy paint and chrome category, to get into the lineup you need something really special. This Honda CBX gets past the velvet rope without any discussion, it’s a stunner.

Tryg Westby is an ex-racer, pro bike builder and long time CBX owner. Though he’s owned several of the Honda sixes and still owns the first one he bought new, he managed to get a low mileage (348 miles!) engine from a crashed CBX with the intention of building a bike around it.

He ordered a frame from Spondon and finally got one after a second order came in and they decided it was time to get out the 7020 aluminum alloy tubing and put a couple together. The bike is a laundry list of high end parts, besides the Spondon frame are Ohlins on both ends, Marchesini front wheel with rim mounted brakes, custom machined and hammered pieces and a healthy mix of superb craftsmanship thrown in. The result is a 375 pound jewel of a CBX. This is a great example of what some of the best bike building is all about. I like it!

Triumph Rocket 3 Custom - MGS Custom Bikes

Triumph Rocket 3 based custom by MGS Custom Bikes

The Metric TV custom build off has resulted in a lot of bikes which still seem to be waiting for their television debut. We mentioned the show some time back where a group of builders were each given a metric bike, cruiser or sportbike depending on their specialty, and given 180 days to produce something unique. They’ve come up with a few interesting customs and I thought I would show this one just to continue the Triumph powered custom theme from the other day when we featured the Triumph triple powered Ferrari Chopper.

This custom by MGS Custom Bikes began as a Triumph Rocket 3. What’s interesting is the builders don’t know beforehand what they’ll be working on and when MGS got a Rocket 3 they were a bit surprised. After the shock wore off they got to work and the result you see here utilizes more stock pieces than you might notice beyond the engine, things like gauges, gas cap and headlights and a few other pieces, but obviously the stock bike is now a mere memory. They haven’t produced a corner carver of any sort but the workmanship looks first rate. Somehow, I don’t expect to see a lot more Rocket 3 based customs but you never know.

Bienville Studios - JT Nesbitt

Bienville Studios Ghost concept motorcycle design

J.T. Nesbitt and Dave HargreavesMore than a year has passed since Hurricane Katrina and the ensuing split between Confederate Motorcycles and some of their previous employees. One well known name often associated with Confederate is that of designer J.T. Nesbitt, especially well known for the Wraith, a model that caught everyone a bit off guard with its very unique look and refreshing ideas about what an American motorcycle should be. The development of the Wraith has since been carried on by Confederate Motorcycles at their new home in Birmingham, Alabama and it has every indication of carrying the Confederate name forward as an American company building truly world class machines.

J.T. Nesbitt and former Confederate employee Dave Hargreaves, have since moved on and they’ve begun a new design company located in the French Quarter of New Orleans called Bienville Studios. It’s a lot of work getting a new company started and both J.T. and Dave divide their time between regular jobs and the studio. The studio helps focus their efforts and applies their talents designing motorcycles with ideas that could work well for a variety of motorcycle companies worldwide and as you look through their web site you can see some of the work they’ve been doing for the past eight months along with many concepts strictly developed as Bienville designs with nothing else in mind other than the creation of world class motorcycles in their own right.

One of their ideas that I believe has a lot of potential is the Bienville Motorbike, a modular motorcycle where the buyer has the ability to choose from five different body-styling kits, Café Racer, Touring, Dual-Sport, Bobber, and Standard. All body pieces are interchangeable which reduces production costs and yet allows maximum flexibility, even after purchase, the customer could have an entirely new motorcycle with the purchase of a new kit. Nice.

The Benelli Concept is firmly rooted in the big twin, great handling muscle bike idea we like so much around The Kneeslider. It combines a multitude of international design elements into a bike with a distinctly American flavor.

But the most interesting design from Bienville Studios is the Ghost (seen above), an inline 4 cylinder, supercharged, high speed, luxury touring machine. It will never be confused with a Japanese or European design, it has, as they describe, a fiercely American look. A weld free carbon fiber frame, LED lighting, multi link front and rear suspension; another concept that will most likely knock a few designers off balance. This bike needs to be built and I sincerely hope someone with similar thoughts can help Bienville Studios bring the concept to life.

It’s great to see industrial design is once again alive and breathing in the city of New Orleans and it’s also nice to know the design ideas of J.T. Nesbitt are flowing again. Welcome back, J.T.

Bienville Benelli concept

Bienville modular motorcycle concept

Fischer MRX Update

Fischer MRX

Since we last mentioned the Fischer MRX just as it went into production, we’ve received several comments here and there is now an article about it in the December 2006 Motorcyclist magazine, the cover story, actually. In our first article, we noted it wasn’t clear where the MRX was actually built and it is now clear that the production is at their factory in Maryland. Engines are sourced from Hyosung but the bike is assembled here.

Our first article questioned a waiver the potential customer had to sign when placing an order and the waiver has since been removed so that no longer appears to be an issue.

I read the article by Alan Cathcart in Motorcyclist with interest because I’m trying to see where the MRX fits into the picture and Cathcart says it’s in Suzuki SV650S territory, though the MRX at $7999 is quite a lot pricier than the Suzuki at $6499, not a lot if you’re spending $20k but a big jump at this level. The MRX has a considerable option list which allows you to upgrade many of the standard components, though, if you add very many, the price can rise pretty fast and places the Fischer up against some pretty stout competition from Japan and Italy, not a good battleground for a small production startup company. In Dan Fischer’s own words, he is trying to make a “domestically produced, entry level sportbike consistent with the product American consumers are buying almost solely from Japan.” OK, fair enough, but if you are going in $1500 higher your bike needs to be as good as the competition will be with $1500 worth of upgrades, a very tall order.

The styling of the MRX is the type you’ll either like a lot or not at all, all hard edges and angular, it’s not my preference but that’s a matter of taste and many others may love it so it’s not a negative but not necessarily a plus, either.

The article seems to stress the Made in the USA label of the Fischer, calling it “The sportbike Milwaukee is afraid to build” and Alan Cathcart finishes up by saying, “not just hit the target, you’ve blown a hole through the bullseye,” and it’s “the most important new American machine in decades.” Wow! Really?

The MRX looks like a nice bike but it doesn’t seem to be quite as revolutionary or over the top as all that. I have to reserve any final judgement since I have not seen the bike in person and with the first limited run sold out, probably won’t be seeing one for a while.

I honestly hope the bike is as good as they are saying here and I’ll be keeping an eye on developments. Dan may have started out with a winner and it may take off in a very big way. I applaud anyone who makes the effort and takes the risk of starting a new company, willing to build a bike and face the competition. That means a lot in my book and it’s why I’m rooting for his success. Will it succeed in the market with customers who don’t care about those things? Time will tell.

Buell Lightning Super TT XB12STT

Buell Lightning Super TT

Buell introduced their new Lightning Super TT in Milan today, it’s a streetfighter, Supermoto combination which actually looks like it could be a lot of fun. The numbers are 103 horsepower, 84 foot pounds of torque and 400 pounds dry. It’s similar to their other Lightning models but it has the raised front fender in the Supermoto style, plus number plates and either plain white or orange paint which it looks like they intend you to use as sort of a canvas for your custom designs. Pretty neat. Suggested retail is $10,295.

Press release follows:


Buell Delivers Sport Performance with New Urban Supermoto Motorcycle

MILAN — (Tuesday, November 14, 2006) It’s time to take to the street with attitude and style as Buell brings on the new Lightning Super TT XB12STT packed with tenacious performance and distinctive urban character. The Lightning Super TT, launched today at the EICMA 64th Annual International Motorcycle Exhibition in Milan, Italy, is built for battle with characteristic Buell Streetfighter innovation and excitement.

“Buell motorcycles let riders own the corners and have fun, whether it’s the corners on a back highway or corners of a city street,” said Erik Buell, Chairman and Chief Technical Officer, Buell Motorcycle Company. “The Lightning Super TT XB12STT continues that concept by blending street and track performance with plenty of torque and power into a bigger, versatile Supermoto-inspired design.”

As the latest addition to the Buell Lightning family, the Lightning Super TT combines hard core Streetfighter attitude with the style of Supermoto bikes. The Supermoto (aka SuperMotard or US TT) category refers to an all-around style of motorcycle combining characteristics of road racing, dirt track and motocross bikes. The Lightning Super TT captures a rebellious and aggressive racing spirit. Other models in the Buell Lightning family are the Lightning XB12S, Lightning XB12Scg, Lightning Long XB12Ss and Lightning CityX XB9SX.

The Buell Lightning family is known for its combination of functional rider ergonomics and sporty styling. The Lightning Super TT provides a long, smooth 31.4-inch solo seat height with Supermoto-style, while a passenger seat can be added. 5.63-inches of suspension travel and a 54-inch wheelbase let you take the Lightning Super TT wherever the road leads. A fully adjustable 43mm Showa inverted fork and fully adjustable Showa rear shock add even more versatility.

While the Lightning Super TT has a slick, competition-inspired look with racing-style number plates, white Surlyn flyscreen and minimalist Satin Black tail section, the bike begs riders to show their inspiration for customization as these components can easily be personalized. The white Surlyn flyscreen sits below a wide, flat handlebar with cross brace, instrument panel and deflectors for aggressive street riding. The upper front fender provides debris protection with a Supermoto look.

Primed with 84 ft. lbs. of torque and broad powerband of the Buell Thunderstorm 1203 45-degree engine, the Lightning Super TT is just the bike to attack city streets. On the roads of the urban jungle or in the corners of a long canyon run, the Lightning Super TT is powerful in every gear, rpm and twist of the throttle. The air/oil/fan-cooled V-Twin engine features DDFI II electronic fuel injection and the Buell Interactive Exhaust is tuned for the ultimate in performance and control.

The Buell Trilogy of Technology featuring frame rigidity, mass centralization and low unsprung weight works to provide the Lightning Super TT with superior handling, powerfully smooth acceleration and legendary Buell torque. A lightweight aluminum frame contains the fuel while the swingarm holds oil. The muffler is located below the engine and the Immediate Throttle Response System has a light Goodyear Hibrex final belt drive with Flexten Plus technology to provide what feels like a direct connection between the throttle and the rear wheel for an exhilarating ride in all conditions.

A ZTL (Zero Torsional Load) front braking system, mounted on the wheel perimeter 375mm rotor, is gripped by six-piston caliper allowing for light, six-spoke Designer Black Super TT wheels. Pirelli Scorpion Sync tires on the Lightning Super TT have an aggressive tread pattern to provide better bite on even the nastiest pavement.

The Lightning Super TT features Barricade Orange or Arctic White airbox cover molded in color schemes. U.S. MSRP for the Lightning Super TT will be $10,295, and it will be available at Harley-Davidson/Buell dealerships in mid to late January 2007.

Buell Lightning Super TT XB12STT highlights:

* 1203cc (73.4 cid) Thunderstorm Powertrain:
o 3.500-inch (88.9 mm) bore and 3.812-inch (96.82 mm) stroke
o 10.0:1 compression ratio
o 49 mm down draft DDFI II fuel injection
o Interactive Exhaust with mass-centralized mounting
o 103 peak horsepower @ 6800 rpm (per SAE J607)
o 84 ft. lbs. peak torque @ 6000 rpm (per SAE J607)
* Designer Black 6-Spoke Powdercoat cast aluminum wheels:
o Front: 3.5 inch (89 mm) x 17 inch (432 mm) wheel with 120/70 ZR-17 tire
o Rear: 5.5 inch (140 mm) x 17 inch (432 mm) wheel with 180/55 ZR-17 tire
* Pirelli Scorpion Sync tires
* Buell ZTL front brake
* Front and rear suspension travel of 5.63 inches (143 mm)
* 43 mm Showa fully-adjustable front suspension with inverted forks
* Showa fully-adjustable rear suspension with coil-over monoshock with remote reservoir
* Narrow Supermoto-style solo seat
* Laden seat height 31.4 inches (798 mm)
* Supermoto-inspired upper front fender design
* Racing style white Surlyn flyscreen and tail section number plates that are easily swapped out as a canvas for moto art and self-expression
* 23.1-degree rake and 4.7-inch (119 mm) trail
* Dry weight: 400 pounds (181 kg)
* Wheelbase: 54 inches (1372 mm)
* Graphite Gray frame and swingarm
* Supermoto-style crossbar with deflectors.

Buell Lightning Super TT

LBF Cycles Metric Revolution Build Off Bike

LBF Cycles MetricTV build off bike

Dean Kawczak of LBF Cycles built a show stopper for the MetricTV Metric Revolution build off. Like all of the other participants, Dean was not given a choice in the bike he had 180 days to customize and what they rolled off the trailer was a brand new Suzuki GSX-R1000. Dean is only 24 years old but he certainly has a lot of ideas about custom sportbikes and he managed to get a lot of them into this beauty. There’s a lot of original thinking here, let’s take a look.

The very first thing most people will notice about the bike are the wheels, that’s not a reflection you see, those are clear Lexan wheels. The Lexan is one inch thick, sandwiched between two split rims. The wheels have perimeter brake rotors from Freddie Krugger of Krugger Motorcycles and on the rear is a 96 tooth sprocket from Ego Tripp who also made the wheel rims and hubs. Even with a 20 tooth front sprocket it’s still geared a bit low but hey, it does look pretty cool.

The bike has air suspension in the rear AND front. It also has almost invisible controls, you’ll notice there aren’t any of the usual cables and levers anywhere. Like choppers, the cables and wires are routed inside but where are the controls? The clutch is activated by twisting the left grip with a button shift from Pingel. The brakes are activated by thumb levers, front on the right, rear on the left.

There’s quite a bit more but you get the idea. This is a very impressive custom piece without all of the over the top chrome and paint usually associated with custom bikes. It’s actually a bike that focuses on fabrication, builder skill and ideas. I like that. It will be interesting to see what Dean builds next.

LBF Cycles MetricTV build off bike

Piaggio MP3 400 3 Wheel Scooter

Piaggio MP3 400

Piaggio had their new Piaggio MP3 400 i.e. on display at EICMA last week, giving the MP3 the engine many said was needed in the first place. The 400cc engine offers a top speed of 92 mph, capable of keeping up with traffic anywhere and most likely expanding the demand for this already appealing 3 wheeler.

Press release follows:

PIAGGIO MP3 400 i.e.

The Piaggio MP3, the three-wheel scooter that recently revolutionised personal transport by redefining the entire concept of ride stability, has grown to a 400cc displacement to offer unprecedented performance and safety. Fun, nimble and nervy, the Piaggio MP3 400 i.e. handles curvetaking with extraordinary safety and road holding that only the MP3 can manage, while providing all the power and distance range of a real touring scooter.

The Piaggio MP3 has upped its engine capacity to offer even zippier performance together with a safe, fun ride.

The new Master 400 engine (Multi-Valve Advanced Super Torque Engine Range) — a 4 stroke, 4 valve unit with liquid cooling and electronic injection, provides a 34 hp power output at 7,500 rpm and torque of 37 Nm at 5,000 rpm.

These performance figures translate into smooth, full power output at any engine speed, with response and acceleration at the top of the category. This makes it possible for the Piaggio MP3 400 i.e. to handle all kinds of riding, from town traffic to city bypass roads and tougher out-of-town roads in total comfort and safety even when riding with a passenger and a full load. Extra power and full-bodied torque become available at low engine rpm and are in fact crucial at critical moments like overtaking, when the Master 400 i.e. engine’s acceleration and throttle response together with the exceptional stability of the two-wheel front suspension let the rider pull away fast and safely.

The Piaggio MP3 400 i.e. is truly an all-round scooter. On town riders, the Piaggio MP3 400 i.e. handles cobblestones, tram tracks and irregular roads with the greatest of ease and stays stable and safe on wet roads as well. The exceptionally large underseat storage bay (which holds two full-face helmets), the wraparound protection of the wide front shield and excellent cruising speed the new engine offers make this the ideal vehicle for long-distance as well as tougher rides.

The new 400cc engine also adds substantial advantages as regards the running gear: the use of the new engine and a 14” rear wheel with a 140/70 tyre on the Piaggio MP3 400 i.e. has increased the wheelbase by a good 65 mm.

The result is impeccable stability when leaning into fast curves or when braking thanks to the longer rear end, increased rear wheel contact surface and outstanding road grip provided by the innovative parallelogram front suspension built to an original Piaggio design. Its tilt mechanism is composed of four cast aluminium arms, with four hinges fixed to the central tube and two guide tubes on either side of the parallelogram, connected to the arms via suspension pins and ball bearings.
Comfortable and innovative with exceptional performance, the Piaggio MP3 400 i.e. will seduce novice riders as well as seasoned motorcyclists, as it combines enjoyment and ease of use with unprecedented safety.

PIAGGIO MP3 400 i.e.: Technical specifications

Engine: - 4-stroke, single cylinder 4-valve Piaggio MASTER with electronic injection, catalysed
Displacement: - 398.9 cc
Bore: - 85.8 mm
Stroke: - 69 mm
Fuel: - Unleaded
Compression ratio: - 10.5:1
Max power at crankshaft: - 34 hp (25 Kw) at 7,500 rpm
Max torque: - 37 Nm at 5,000 rpm
Cooling: - Liquid
Gearbox: - Twist-and-go automatic
Length/Width: - 2,190 mm/ 745 mm
Wheelbase: - 1,550 mm
Seat height: - 790 mm
Dry weight: - 238 kg
Fuel tank capacity: - 12 litres (includes 1.8 litres reserve)
Max speed: - 148 km/h - 92 mph

Extreme Bikes Design and Tuning by Sabine Welte

Lazareth Vmax photographed by Sabine Welte

Extreme Bikes by Sabine WelteGot a note the other day from Sabine Welte, a motorcycle journalist and photographer over in Germany. She wanted to let us know her new book, Extreme Bikes - Design and Tuning, was just published. Sabine seems to have a way of getting shots of many of the really interesting customs over in Europe, her cover shot shows one of my personal favorites, the V-max modified by Lazareth, (Wouldn’t it be nice if Yamaha looked at that as a possible direction for their redesign?).

Sabine is not camera bound either, she knows her way around a racetrack and is very capable of getting her own knee down so she has a better eye for what a rider or motorcycle enthusiast would find interesting about a particular bike than someone who just shoots the photos but doesn’t ride.

The book is in German and available from Amazon in Germany, I’m not aware of any plans to translate the book at this time. From the looks of the photos on her web site, I would be willing to bet the book is pretty cool and might be a great source of ideas for some other builders.