Here are our first impressions of the technological new touring marvel from Aprilia.
Aprilia is going after Ducati’s Multistrada big time with the new Caponord 1200. They’ve taken the big 1200 V-twin from its Dorsoduro 1200 model and tuned it for touring perfection with torque in all the right places. The Caponord 1200 is comfortable with a not too high seat and very good ergonomics. I tested the Travel Pack version which features hard luggage, a centre stand, ADD (Aprilia dynamic damping), traction control and ABS brakes.
The most impressive thing with the new Caponord is its handling abilities and how it all comes together with the extensive use of electronics. Aprilia’s Dynamic Damping system is a definite step up from Ducati’s simpler Skyhook system. I struggled to put a foot wrong out on the gorgeous Sardinian roads and the Caponord 1200 makes any rider pretty fast from the word go. Solid is my impression of the super stable chassis which stays calm in any situation helped in a very large part by the ADD system. More and video here
2013 MV Agusta F4 and F4 RR First impressions
This week I have tested the 2013 versions of the MV Agusta F4 and F4 RR at Ricardo Tormo Circuit in Valencia. Both bikes has been fitted with MV’s latest electronics package with lean sensors, electronically assisted shift and more. The F4 RR is the absolute MV Agusta flagship model and now sports electrically controlled Ohlins suspension and steering damper controlled by a dedicated Ohlins ECU unit. This means that you can change everything but preload from the dashboard of the motorcycle. The F4 RR also features a new 14,000rpm rev limit and it produces a claimed 201 horsepower @13,600rpm whilst the standard and R model has to settle with “only” 195 horsepower @13,400rpm.
2013 MV Agusta Brutale 800 First Impressions and video
The new Brutale 800 differs from its 675 little brother in one simple fact; Ferocity! The 2013 MV Agusta Brutale 800 is simply put a more brutal motorcycle even more suitable to its name. The engine capacity has increased by 125cc but that just looks like a simple figure. In real life the Brutale 800 pulls a lot stronger and puts more excitement into a motorcyclists life. From around 5.000rpm the big triple explodes into its brutal beginning of the best. Don’t forget the MV Agusta four cylinders and the Brutale 1090RR, the three cylinder 800 is still their junior but now the gap between the 675 and the 1090 is truly closed. The Brutale line-up is completed. 125 horsepower to take care of the lightweight 167 (claimed dry weight-approx 189kg ready to ride) is plentiful and everything else apart from tyres and suspension is pretty much the same as on the 675.
2013 Moto Guzzi California 1400 Ambassador tested in Cannes
First impressions from Cannes...
The all new Moto Guzzi California 1400 Touring is the most comfortable beast ever to leave the Mandello del Lario factory gates. The plush seat kept me comfortable and happy during our whole 200 kilometre test ride in Cannes.
There’s some excessive heat dissipation from those big new cylinder heads that hits just below my knees and luckily for us the temperature only ranged between 13-20 degrees Celsius.
The new 1380cc air-cooled V90 is very impressive and whilst I preferred to keep her under 2,000 rpm it gets really lively all the way up past 5,000rpm. The new 1400 is a really flexible engine which hasn’t sacrificed its low end sweet spot to achieve an almost sporty top end. That’s unusual for this size cruiser. More here
First video with exhaust sound:
2013 MV Agusta F4, F4 R and F4 RR technical highlights video and images!
2013 Ducati Multistrada 1200 S Touring full review and full video test
2013 Ducati Multistrada 1200 S Touring launch – The suspension rises
Ducati Skyhook Suspension; what a name! It sounds like a component out of Luke Skywalker’s Landspeeder. Just like a Jedi the Skyhook suspension system uses “the force” or an imaginary X figure to calculate what it should do. Skyhook is truly high tech and the result of thinking outside of the box. Skyhook is a fantastic feature and I’ll try to explain more in this test.
Words: Tor Sagen/Photo: Milagro
2013 BMW R 1200 GS official video
2013 Yamaha FJR1300 A AS official video
2013 Ducati Monster 20th anniversary video - 696 - 796 - 1100 Evo
New 2013 Kawasaki Z800 video
Official Honda HRC press release and video:
Honda has unveiled its CRF450 Rally model at the 2012 International Motorcycle, Scooter and Bike Fair in Cologne, Germany. The new machine will compete in the motorcycle class in the 2013 Dakar Rally to be held next January.
From 1981, Honda competed nine times in the forerunner of the current Dakar Rally, the Paris-Dakar Rally. Cyril Neveu from France rode Honda to its first victory in 1982 in the race's fourth year and, from 1986 to 1989, Honda won four consecutive titles for an overall record of five victories in nine years. More images and video here
2013 Ducati Multistrada 1200 S Touring tested in Bilbao
First impressions, large photo gallery and action video from the Bilbao launch here
2013 Ducati Multistrada 1200 S Granturismo and Pikes Peak version revealed
Next week you can read all about Ducati's new version of the popular Multistrada 1200 touring and do-it-all machine. We'll test the new Skyhook suspension in Bilbao shortly. More pictures here. Tor
The big wheelie compilation
We've been able to pull a small or big wheelie on most bikes over the years and here's a compilation. 168 wheelies on 79 bikes by 16 different manufacturers. From 125cc to 2.300cc Enjoy! Wheelies
Europe's hottest superbikes - Aprilia RSV4 Factory APRC SE - BMW S 1000 RR - Ducati Panigale 1199 S
In case you haven't noticed Tor Sagen is a freelance motorcycle journalist and have to give clients priority on publishing full reviews. Now our self imposed embargo has been lifted on the three hottest superbikes in the world and all three reviews has been published in full with all the best photography and a lot of it plus videos of course. There's a lot to read about these three superbikes that has been tested all over the world. Aprilia RSV4 Factory APRC SE was tested at one of the best test circuits in the world, Jerez. It's fast, technical, always dry and doesn't give a rider much time to breathe but we love it. Then the BMW S 1000 RR that we tested on the northernmost roadracing circuit in the world, Arctic Circle Raceway. We also tested the RR on the road taking it to the Arctic Circle point itself before the racing and testing started on the circuit. Finally the Ducati Panigale 1199 S that we tested at the ultra fast Yas Marina circuit in Abu Dhabi. I nearly though about reducing my helmet size from Large to Medium after the 1.3 kilometre straight was negotiated a few times. Here are the links:
NEW comprehensive information from BMW US on the HP4:
Since US magazines are really anal with technical details and you can read page up and down about a new piston here's the latest BMW US press release describing the HP4 down to the finest detail. We don't want to write articles like that so here's the entire press release for those interested in deep tech porn (bottom of the page). I'm more of a tech erotica person myself. Enjoy! Tor
New 2012 Riding kit from Alpinestars and Suomy
We've just taken delivery of some new riding kit that'll help us through the autumn and winter hopefully filled with bike tests! Check out more details here and here.
BMW HP4 - High tech and high performance
BMW have done what we hoped for and gone all the way with the S 1000 RR. It looks exactly like the S 1000 RR but its name is simply HP4. HP stands for High Performance and 4 for the number of cylinders. It follows in the tradition of the HP2 Enduro, Sport and Megamoto where a limited production model with all the tricks in the book thrown at it is launched. The key performance figures are 193 horsepower and 169 kilo dry weight (199 kilo ready to ride) New is also a 200 section rear tyre (we've already tested the S 1000 RR with a 200/55-ZR17 section rear tyre on track with very good results) and DDC (Dynamic Damping Control) as the first BMW motorcycle. The HP4 forms BMW's Superbike and Superstock racing homologation model so it has to produce at least 1000 HP4's in 2012 as it'll be a first time application for the HP4 in World Superbike. New is also launch and wheelie control so the 2012 BMW HP4 pretty much places itself right up there in racing gadgetry with the Aprilia RSV4 Factory APRC SE. BMW means serious business with the HP4. Expect to have to fork out around €20.000 for this wunderbahr motorrad. Check out all the high rez photos and further details here
Here's my full video review unedited from Varese, Italy. Enjoy.
BLOG: Maxi Scooters
It's been a big year for scooters with Aprilia, BMW and Piaggio launching flagship scooters. Here's a little history and a large photo gallery of scooters from 1946 to 2012. Maxi ScootersBlog
2012 MV Agusta Brutale 675 tested in Varese!
Varese, July 5th.
Finally MV Agusta have done a run of 675cc Brutale motorcycles and allowed the first journalists to test them.
My first impressions is that of a very light and tight motorcycle with a very good chassis. The 110 horsepower version of the newly developed Trepistoni engine feels very suitable in the Brutale chassis which isn’t a million miles away from the F3 chassis. In fact the swing arm and split trellis frame is the same as found on the F3 sport motorcycle. At 167 kilos dry the Brutale 675 is light and very easy to flick from side to side. Being so light and having such a rigid chassis the radial Brembo callipers makes stopping both easy and safe with serious power and authority. The 675cc triple engine is very compact and produces great power and more torque earlier in the powerband than the F3. This enabled me to use higher gears and good acceleration was possible from 4.500rpm which is low for such a small engine. More here
This weeks bike tests; MV Agusta Brutale 675 and Piaggio X10 500 coming
2013; Honda returns to Dakar rally with HRC factory team
Honda have announced its intention to compete in the 2013 Dakar rally with a works team for the first time in 23 years. Those old enough will remember the iconic Honda Africa Twin styled like a Dakar rally machine. The team will simply be called Team HRC. The 4 man strong team consists of Helder Rodrigues, Felipe Zanol, Sam Sunderland and Javier Pizzolito. The prototype rally machine will be based on the CRF450X and kit parts will also be made available to a limited number of non factory teams. See the Honda Racing Corporation President's comments here
2013 BMW F 700 GS and F 800 GS first pictures
BMW have just released the first pictures and info on the 2013 model year of the F 650 GS replacement the F 700 GS and the new F 800 GS. Both models are 2013 specification but will be available in autumn 2012. More info in the individual links. Tor
2012 Harley-Davidson VRSC V-Rod 10th Anniversary video
2012 BMW R 1200 GS Rallye Special Edition tested
Never was the Dakar rally more exciting than when BMW sported factory teams; from the 80’s original GS to the Rally superbike 900RR. My all time favourite BMW gravel munchers are the HP2 Enduro and the 900RR rally Dakar winning factory bike. The 2012 BMW R 1200 GS Rallye isn’t as extreme as any of these bikes it merely pays homage and it is what it is a special version of the R 1200 GS.
Words: Tor Sagen Photography: Danielle Boxall More here
2012 Vespa LX and S 3V tests coming up - Roman Holiday
Video; Harley-Davidson, Dracula and the Night Dragon
2012 Pirelli Night Dragon Tour - Venice to Istanbul completed!
One of the most incredible tours I have ever done is now completed and we have reached Istanbul successfully with only two tyres having to be replaced, one due to rim damage and one due to an imbalance in the Softail Slim's chassis. We have ridden more than 3,000 kilometres through six countries and two continents. We have visited amazing villas and castles in Slovenia, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria and Turkey. The kick off in Venice was done in style at a classic Venetian hotel and from there we had 17 Harley-Davidson models ranging from Dyna's, Sportsters, Softails, V-rod's and Tourers. Much more coming from this incredible adventure both in a full video documentary and a comprehensive write up. Stay tuned! Tor Sagen Photo: Milagro More photo's here
2012 Headbanger motorcycles model range tested in Italy
I’m just back from Paris where I have tested the all new Piaggio X10 maxi GT scooter.
Back in 1993 Piaggio had developed the Hexagon which became the world’s first so called GT scooter. Through the X7 to the all new X10 Piaggio have developed its new flagship scooter and in Paris I got to sample the 350cc version of the X10. Piaggio will offer the X10 as a 125, 350 and 500cc version. When I arrived in Paris I was told that the 500cc version wouldn’t hit production until in May 2012 so I had to make do with the 350cc version which proved to be a nippy tool around Paris’s busy streets.
On paper Aprilia have merely upgraded a few things and as such it isn’t the most interesting new motorcycle of 2012. The upgrades include new Aprilia wheels that are 2,7 kilos lighter than previous models. This reduces unsprung weight and I felt this during my test as the “new” Dorsoduro is more responsive than ever before. 300 additional grams have been saved by using a thinner plastic mould for the front mudguard, using a less bulky exhaust heat protector and a new number plate holder. The 1200cc V-twin is also a little bit more powerful than before without it being revealed in the tech specs. More here
2012 BMW C 650 GT first impressions
BMW’s C 650 GT luxury scooter is the one that is the most BMW of the two new scooters launched in Madrid. Here you have a big and comfortable seat, 60 litres storage capacity under the seat, electrically adjusted windshield and extensive touring fairing. On my morning ride out of Madrid and into the mountains the temperature dropped from around 11 degrees Celsius and down to below 7 degrees. Yes it was a rather cold morning so I knew how to appreciate my luck in starting my morning on the GT and finishing my day on the 600 Sport. That’s because the GT had the optional extras of heated grips and seat and if on auto the big BMW scooter automatically adjusts the heating level to the temperature and speed of the vehicle. And as we were cruising out of Madrid on the motorway we were doing a constant 120km/h and more. The windshield is pure luxury... More here including onboard video
2012 BMW C 600 Sport first impressions
BMW’s new C 600 Sport is aimed directly at Yamaha’s Tmax in particular but also opens up additional space in the segment towards the upper range. It’s hard to see why the BMW C 600 Sport shouldn’t take the benchmark spot after this. The Sport is the C 650 GT’s sportier brother stripped of the luxury comfort items and with different fairing and ergonomics. More here
Coming up; 2012 BMW C 600 Sport, BMW C 650 GT and Aprilia Dorsoduro 1200 launches
In the next couple of weeks you'll find me in Madrid with BMW and in Sicily with Aprilia. Stay tuned! Tor @torsagen
Interview with Adrian Morton, MV Agusta F3 designer
At a freezing Paul Ricard circuit in the south of France I hooked up with MV Agusta’s senior designer, Adrian Morton. Adrian is an Englishman with an impeccable CV in bike design involving mouth watering designs of motorcycles from Benelli, Ducati and MV Agusta. Morton is himself a motorcycle rider and is a genuinely down to earth guy. Just the type of bloke you’d expect to bump into at a bike rally. Read the interview here
2012 Ducati 1199 Panigale S at Yas Marina first impression
The 2012 Ducati 1199 Panigale S is an absolute animal out on the circuit but in a very good way. Don’t get me wrong, it’s actually much easier to ride it fast than the 1198 SP that it replaces but nobody in their right mind would call the sheer heart stopping acceleration of the Panigale anything but brutal! The response from the all new 1199cc twin in the higher revs is just insane and it’s astonishingly fast. In advance I had been looking forward to the 1.2 km straight, the longest in the F1 circus. Upon having finished my second session I hated it because we tested on a windy day and it was impossible to move in a complete straight line and it wobbled up and over 200km/h and the sheer acceleration even above 250km/h created lots of pressure inside my helmet, much like in an airplane and my ears popped after riding. That’s some acceleration for you! The chassis is beautiful and I could flick the 1200cc sports bike through the s-bends like it was a 600! The amount of grip from the Pirelli Supercorsa’s we tested even with SC2 compound on the slick sides was impressive considering the amound of sand on the circuit due to the strong winds. The Brembo Monoblock brakes are equally impressive and even with EBC on the tail swaggered like a mad dog if I grabbed them hard enough! This is what I call a fun day! The ultimate motorcycle and the ultimate launch. By Tor Sagen/Photo: Milagro
Ducati admitted to me that they have no idea how to ever trump this one. Yas Marina is a circuit surrounding a 5 star hotel in Abu Dhabi, we simply walked from breakfast straight to the circuit in the morning. How good is that? Definitely the most spectacular launch I have ever attended and probably the most spectacular motorcycle I have ever ridden too.
2012 Ducati 1199 Panigale S test at Yas Marina circuit
Greetings from Abu Dhabi! I'm testing the Ducati 1199 Panigale S at Yas Marina and soon you'll get my first impressions, onboard video and much more! Tor Sagen
2012 MV Agusta F3 tested at Paul Ricard HTTT in France
MV Agusta F3 video from the assembly line in Varese
The Playboy, The Playmate and a randy Italian man (pardon de pun...)
Randy De Puniet recently got engaged to Australian model Lauren Vickers. It's clearly evident De Puniet has been more successful off the track than on the track these last few years. This may well change now that De Puniet will ride the Aprilia powered 1000cc MotoGP CRT (Claiming Rule Team) prototype in 2012. More here including the screenshot Miss Vickers recently revealed on twitter involving a lovesick Italian man. Photo Lauren Vickers, twitter.
2012 Harley-Davidson new model teaser
In only two weeks I'll test these new Harley-Davidson models that we can see the outline of in this screen shot from Harley-Davidson. At least one (if not both) will join the rest of the understated cool Dark Custom range. More info on the bikes as soon as Harley-Davidson release info. Tor
Alpinestars Drift Leather jacket and Alloy gloves
These are our latest addition to our wardrobe. The Drift Leather jacket is a classic motorcycle jacket of vintage design but with Alpinestars latest protection solutions. I'll tell you more about it as soon as it's in full use. To go with this or supermotard or street riding we will use the Alloy leather gloves, a short summer glove. Tor
2012 MV Agusta F3 ready to launch!
26.01.2012 It's with frightful delight that we can reveal that we will test the all new three cylinder MV Agusta F3 at the Paul Ricard HTTT circuit in the south of France in only two weeks time. February 2012 will be a historic motorcycling month with launches of two of the highest anticipated new sportbikes in years. Namely the MV Agusta F3 first and then the Ducati 1199 Panigale and we're present at both. for the latest impressions etc from these launches. Tor Sagen
Here's a video of the three-cylinder Brutale. Expect an official F3 video very soon!
2012 test update, Harley-Davidson, Ducati, Aprilia, MV Agusta and Moto Guzzi
Greetings from Raptors & Rockets HQ. I have some good news regarding what I'll be testing in the near future. First on the schedule are MV Agusta's 2012 in-line four models. The Brutale R 1090, Brutale RR 1090 and the F4 R Corsacorta on a yet to be named circuit. Then I'm jetting off to Spain to test Harley-Davidson's latest addition, and yet to be named, to the Dark Custom range. Then in February the big one that I know many people are waiting for, the 2012 Ducati 1199 Panigale world launch at Yas Marina circuit in Abu Dhabi. Following this we should get confirmation on launch details for Aprilia's new maxi scooter, the SRV850 and Moto Guzzi's V7 range. Plenty to look forward to I should think! Don't forget to follow me on twitter @torsagen for live test updates and more. Tor Sagen
2012 riding kit
New additions to the 2012 riding kit includes the 2012 Alpinestars Supertech R boots, Suomy Capirex SE Apex and Suomy Jet 70's Matt Black helmets. The leather suit in the pictures is the Alpinestars Tech 1-R suit that has all the latest in riding safety and it's as comfortable as racing suits get. I'll continue using my Alpinestars Barcelona leather jacket for more relaxed testing service. I will also add the TOR hoodie to the shop shortly. More details on all this soon. Ride safe. Tor
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
What is 17,000? And can the MV Agusta F4 really go that fast?
Last night, December 6th at 23:32 hours our ever popular YouTube channel hit a magical 6.666 subscribers and with it more than 37 million views. This made us very happy so subscriber number 6666 gets a custom T-shirt. We promise to do the same for number 7.777, 8.888 and so on if verifiable. Who knows, they may become collectable! Tor
Alpinestars Tech-Air Race Air-Bag leather suit
Nottingham, December 2011. Alpinestars presented its groundbreaking new Air Bag racing suit to the UK press at one of their UK dealers. The suit based on the Racing Replica features a highly sophisticated "ECU" so to say connected to five active sensors (when armed) on the suit. These sensors knows when a rider is moving at low speed on a motorcycle and then it arms itself provided that the 8 hour capacity battery is sufficiently charged. In active mode the sensors samples data every second millisecond from all five sensors and when armed Alpinestars algorithms are able to determine whether the rider is having a crash or not. If the sensors and the control unit determines you are crashing the micro processor initiates a firing process. Within 45 milliseconds one of the nitrogen gas canisters will have inflated the air bags by help of a pyrotechnic charge. More here
EICMA 2011 photo wrap-up.
The EICMA 2011 photo gallery is now complete. Check it out, it's all on one page. EICMA 2011
2012 Moto Guzzi's
Moto Guzzi showed us some new V7's that we like very much and also the California 90, Nevada 750 and Norge GT8V. Enjoy this photo gallery. The V7 Racer X is competing for most beautiful bike of the show along with the 1199 Panigale and F3. I want one. Tor
Honda launched the 2012 CBR1000RR Fireblade, Crosstourer, NC700S, NC700X, GL1800 GoldWing, Integra, VFR1200F and Vision. Much more here on the dedicated 2012 Honda page. Some gorgeous Italian babes and some smiling Japanese men. Video
Here you'll find the entire 2012 Headbanger motorcycles range including the 2012 news and colours. Look out for our test of all these soon. We've also updated with Gilera and Harley-Davidson images on the EICMA 2011 page.
Every new 2012 Bimota motorcycle, it's a comeback!
Click on this link to check out not only the new DB9 Brivido and DB10 Bimotard, but also the Evo models available in 2012 from the Rimini factory. Ruben Xaus is now involved with something Bimota calls Bimota Experience. Check out Ruben on the DB8 on the Bimota 2012 News page. Tor Sagen EICMA 2011
2012 Ducati 1199 Panigale voted most beautiful bike at EICMA show
Check out all OUR photos and videos of the Panigale S. Launch will take place in February.
EICMA 2011 coverage including November 7th spy shots!
I'm in Milan now and the coverage has hence started. I'll be tweeting, FB'ing and YouTube'ing as well. Enjoy the coverage! EICMA 2011 coverage Tor Sagen
Marco Simoncelli - The Last Lap
Sepang, October 23 2011 was to be 24 year old Marco Simoncelli's last race where the first lap of the race also became the promising Italian's last full lap. What could easily have ended in just a minor racing incident turned into one of the the biggest tragedies MotoGP has seen since Jarno Saarinen and Renzo Pasolini both died in a pile up at the 1973 Monza GP. By: Tor Sagen/Photography: Honda Racing Corporation/AGV
Simoncelli's first lap consisted of an eventful exchange of positions, corner to corner racing, between the Italian and Suzuki's Alvaro Bautista. Just before the fatal crash it was Simoncelli that was in front. Whilst pushing through the first corner on lap 2... Read the whole story here including what The Medical Director said and HRC's tribute.
2012 TOR Trainers and T-shirts now available
Tor's been in the Helps-Anybody-Look-Good business since the Viking ages. We know what we're doing. People in magazines wear this stuff. Fashion people, sporty people with tattoos. People who know how to wheelie a motorbike. People who don't have to wear a business suit everyday. People who are hell-bent for leather. All designs fit perfectly surrounded by a black leather jacket. Go on son, we know you want to. Here's our new shop
2012 Ducati Streetfighter 848 first official images and info
Ducati have now released the first official images of the Streetfighter 848 with a new version of the Testastretta 848 engine found in the 848 EVO. It will be available in Red, yellow and matt black in November 2011. See more images and video here
Check out the photos of the tweaked 2012 Triumph Daytona 675. Not much is new but we have used the opportunity to update our pages with the full 2009 and 2011 reviews of the bike. Here's the 2012 page.
Exclusive interview with Massimo Bordi - From Ducati to MV Agusta - Mr. Desmodromic
Meet Massimo Bordi, the inventor of the 4-valve Desmo found in every modern liquid-cooled Ducati. He was the General Director of Ducati and now he performs the same role in MV Agusta. In this exclusive interview Bordi talks about the Desmo, the 851/888/916 and Monster and a lot more. Bordi also reveals that MV Agusta will enter World Superbike with its F4 model and that both the F3 and F4 are being further developed at Ferrari's HPE. Will we see a MV Agusta Desmo? Read the interview here.
2011 Suzuki GSX-R600 vs Triumph Daytona 675R track duel
Watch this video to see which is the top dog in the 600 class in 2011.
Giovanni Castiglioni exclusive interview
MV Agusta CEO Giovanni Castiglioni speaks with Tor Sagen.
“I have the first F4, but not the one presented to the public. It was a 916 with a four cylinder engine with a Cagiva logo.” “The F4 RR is our 911 Turbo.” “We are working on a third 675cc bike which is a MV Agusta interpretation of what could be a motard.” “Take a bike, any bike you want and cover its brand and tell me which bike it is. 90% of the time you don’t know. With an MV Agusta you know, you say this is an MV.” “Small companies like MV Agusta should remain family owned.” “Harley-Davidson, I’m not saying they did badly for this company; they did incredibly well for this company. But on the financial side and other sides everything went slower and a bit more bureaucratic.” “Prototype racing isn’t for us, it’s a big show but we can’t afford MotoGP it’s not for a small company.” “Superbike racing is right for us. It takes time to get there; it’s difficult as the brand wants so much. We don’t go racing to finish between 5th or 10th place, we go to win.” Read the full interview here
2012 MV Agusta F4 RR Corsacorta
The 2012 MV Agusta F4 RR Corsacorta produces a claimed 200 horsepower @13,400rpm and 114Nm @ 9,200rpm. 998cc.Top speed is a claimed 298km/h - 185Mph. It will do 205km/h - 128Mph in third gear. Dry weight: 192kg. We'll test it in Italy in September. Photo gallery here.
Claudio Castiglioni passes away 17.08.2011 due to illness aged 64
Claudio Castiglioni was born 22.11.1946 and died of illness 17.08.2011 64 years old. Claudio and Gianfranco Castiglioni inherited the Cagiva company from their father Giovanni in 1978. From 1950 to 1978 Cagiva produced small metal parts but Giovanni's sons were more interested in motorcycles. Cagiva made successes in 500GP in the 2-stroke era and also in the Paris-Dakar race with their offroad machines. In 1985 Cagiva bought Bologna firms Ducati and Moto Morini followed by Husqvarna in 1987 and MV Agusta in 1991. After achieving great success particularly with the Monster model and on the race tracks with the 916-996-998 models Castiglioni sensed that there'd be a V90 onslaught aimed at Ducati. In 1996 he started selling off Ducati shares which enabled a 1997 launch of the 750cc MV Agusta F4 (in production by 1999). In 1998 the remaining Ducati shares were sold and Aprilia, Honda and Suzuki started their liquid-cooled V-twin fight back against Ducati both on the roads and race tracks resulting in a less dominating Ducati presence as Castiglioni had predicted. Cagiva then started buying Suzuki twin engines to power its Raptor range rather than Ducati engines which had been the case in the eighties. Cagiva was to re-create the Monster success with the Raptor whilst MV Agusta were to re-create the 916 success with the F4. This never quite happened and the MV Brutale came and the Cagiva Raptor all but went. Change in ownership and financial ups and downs culminated in the sale of a healthy Husqvarna to BMW in 2007 which enabled 100% effort into MV Agusta again for a refresh which resulted in Harley-Davidson buying the MV Agusta holding company in 2009 injecting lots of fresh R&D cash. This resulted in the new 1000cc and 675cc engines that represent MV Agusta anno 2011 one year after Castiglioni bought MV Agusta back from Harley-Davidson for the symbolic sum of one Euro. Claudio Castiglioni will be remembered for his great contribution to motorcycling in the last 30 years. His son Giovanni Castiglioni had already taken over the day to day running of MV Agusta along with Massimo Bordi so the company is presently in very good hands. By Tor Sagen Follow this link for MV Agusta's press release regarding their President's death and Tor Sagen's 2008 interview with Claudio Castiglioni.
A midsummer night's dream - 2011 BMW S 1000 RR and Pirelli Diablo Superbike Pro & SC2 slick test
I am just back from the Arctic Circle and Arctic Circle Raceway in Norway. I have spent a whole week up north and four of them testing the 2011 BMW S 1000 RR and Pirelli Diablo Rosso Corsa, Diablo Superbike Pro and Superbike SC2 racing tyres and slicks in association with Bikeport.no. I have also done my Road Racing license, done my first race (1000 Club Race where I participated in the Rookie 1000 class) and instructed road riders in the art of track riding. The 2011 BMW S 1000 RR is no less than a track ready monster. I did decent lap times in the end with a bog standard superbike that you can buy in the shop. The main modification of course were the slick tyres from Pirelli and particularly the full on race Superbike tyres changes the Beemer into something very mean and angry that can handle insane cornering in safety. I also did a whole day on the Pirelli Superbike Pro slicks that have been designed to last for at least two hard days on track without the necessity of tyre warmers. They do of course work better straight away with tyre warmers but I tried both and even used them both for my qualifying session and for the race. Had I had a dedicated mechanic I’d put the SC2’s on for the race but realistically I had no chance to change tyres myself and then be ready for race with warmed up SC2’s and all in only 15 odd minutes. More here
2011 Harley-Davidson FXS Softail Blackline tested
2011 Aprilia RS4 125 first impressions
Greetings from the ACR Vairano test circuit just south of Milan. I’ve just finished testing the all new Aprilia RS4 which is Aprilia’s first step away from the 2-strokes that made them famous. Aprilia will still sell the much sought after RS 125 2-stroke alongside its new 4-stroke 125 but it’s obvious that it will be phased out at some point. Despite being restricted to 15 horsepower and 11Nm of torque the small single cylinder race bike provided plenty of fun on the circuit. Tor More here
2011 MV Agusta Brutale 920 First Impressions
I'm just back from the MV Agusta factory in Varese where I have tested MV's first serious attempt at something you could be stretched to call a "budget" motorcycle, the all black Brutale 920. The very team that runs MV Agusta today were the very same team that brought Ducati its first successes since the 70's. Mr Desmodromic, Massimo Bordi, told me that it was his idea back in the early 90's to launch the first Monster Dark. The idea being to justify a lower price you remove some exclusive components, replace them with slightly cheaper ones and then paint it all black. This basically is what MV Agusta have done with the Brutale 920. Saying that though, the 920 doesn't share its 921cc engine with any other Brutale so it's definitely a stand alone model and not a budget version of the 990 R. The engine is still a growling in-line four but with a 129 horsepower version of the in-line four. The 990 R features a 139 horsepower engine of 998cc. Giovanni Castiglioni told me in our exclusive interview that the MV Agusta in-line four model range now is complete. It comprises of the three Brutale models (920, 990 R and 1090 RR) and the F4 and F4 RR. The Brutale 920 albeit having softer but still quality suspension still feels very much like an exclusive MV Agusta but now at less than £10K. With full traction control and riding modes and a beautiful engine the Brutale 920 comes across as something of a bargain. Read my full review soon. By Tor Sagen Photo: Milagro
Call to arms, freelance snappers, writers and designers
Syndication is the magic word for any freelancer. Why work exclusively for one in one country when you can work for many? Raptors & Rockets is expanding and we need your help.
Photographers: If you are a freelance motorcycle photographer we can help with syndication. We have clients interested in photo shows from major events or particularly outstanding photography of special motorcycles. Even if you are not a professional we need your help. Have you been lucky and snapped a prototype motorcycle no one knows about at a remote location? Cash in and get your pictures syndicated all over the world with major motorcycle publication houses. If you have the material then I have the contacts to move your pictures into the spotlight for cash. In particular we are looking for Japanese, German, Italian, US, UK and Spanish spy-snappers.
Writers: If you are a freelance motorcycle writer and feel you are not syndicated enough then contact us. As long as it does not conflict with any of the launches that we attend we are willing to syndicate your material. In particular if your material has got news value and good picture material. English is always best, but on some occasions we will be able to syndicate in various languages. But I must also always get an English version. If you are not a professional writer we are still interested in all sorts of different information's about new bikes and developments in the industry. These pieces of information can also generate cash.
Designers: Hugo van Waaijen, Luc1, Astroman and many others has now been published all over the world as a result of working with Raptors & Rockets. It is your choice whether you want to design anonymously or with full name credit. There will always be a need for brilliant designers and you could be one of them. Show us your stuff and get syndicated! Note to all: send me low resolution stuff as examples of your work. I will ask for high resolution material when needed.