UNIQUE WITH STROLLERS
At the Bonhams auction, which took place on April 26 as part of the International Exhibition of Classic Motorcycles in English Stafford, three famous stroller motorcycles are on display.
The first is the 1949 Norton Manx with a Watsonian stroller. At it, the Englishman Eric Oliver won the first world championship in road racing in this class. That is what is curious. Before the war, Oliver spoke on lonely motorcycles, but without much success, but in the postwar years, four times became the world champion in single-cylinder Norton. And this despite the fact that rivals performed on the 2-cylinder BMW and 4-cylinder Gilera.
His wheelchair partner was renowned journalist Denis Jenkinson. Officially, the duo did not represent the factory team, however, Norton invariably supplied their devices with engines, and Watsonian, the largest manufacturer of motorcycle strollers, provided all kinds of technical support.
The second device (pictured), which will be sold under the hammer, is also sports, also born in 1949 and also with a Watsonian stroller. But it is intended for the trial and is built on the basis of the BSA Gold Star motorcycle for the famous duo Harold Towser and Jack Wilkes. If at that time the world championships in trial for motorcycles with wheelchairs were held, they would become invincible champions! From 1946 to 1952, partners won 54 competitions at the national level, and since 1949 they played on this motorcycle. For forty years he stood in a house in northern England, and was restored for sale with the assistance of former BSA mechanics.
The third car for the auction is the personal device of Bert Greaves, the founder of Greeves, who became famous in the 50s and 60s for his sports motorcycles for motocross and trial. The combination, built in 1968, is a combination of the Greeves Challenger 36MX4 sports bike and Watsonian strollers.
Ducati Supermono is still perhaps the most advanced single-cylinder racing motorcycle. He is the rarest and most desirable Italian bike for collectors: they ask for at least $ 100, 000 for it. Designed by Pierre Terblanche, this unit was released in only 67 copies: the first batch with a 549 cc engine - in 1993, the second, with a motor bored to 572 cm³ - two years later. The power unit was designed by Massimo Bordi: he took the Desmoquattro L-shaped engine, removed the rear cylinder, and placed a balancer in its place. Thanks to this scheme, the engine spins up to 11, 000 rpm - a wonderful indicator for a single-cylinder "five hundred".
Supermono racing class flourished in the 90s of the last century. Its formula is simple: one cylinder, four measures - and no other restrictions. I myself then actively raced in this class at the Ducati Supermono, and not without success: I won the open championships of Great Britain, Holland and Japan, twice was the second in the European Championship. Like everyone on this Ducati, I'm in love with this little bike. He, as they say in Italy, "was successfully born."
But despite numerous requests from importers and potential buyers, the company never made its serial road version - Supermono Strada. But such an opportunity was originally laid in the design, Bordi even provided tides in the crankcase for the installation of an electric starter. In 2000, company executives considered the possibility of launching a compressor version of Supermono Compressore, but buried this idea.
And in a recent interview * the boss of the design department, Claudio Domenical, finally put an end to the rumors: “Unspeakable flaws are inherent in single-cylinder engines - strong vibrations and insufficient responsiveness to the gas handle.” Eh, Domenical, but after studying at the university you started at Ducati just with work on Supermono …
And yet, after 15 years of fruitless waiting, Ducati Supermono fans can finally get the road version of the wonderful car. True, made not in Italy, but in … Great Britain. So Alistair Weiger, my former racing engineer and a great connoisseur of this model, realized his dream: at least 20 of the 67 issued copies passed through his hands. He said: “In my opinion, Ducati’s big strategic mistake was that they, having spent a lot of money on the design of this motorcycle and achieved excellent racing success, did not take advantage of their results - they did not release the road version. I took the mistake to fix, and we are ready to start mass production. "
Weiger was lucky: he bought from Ducati the castings of a single-cylinder power unit, parts of a unique balancer and high-performance oil pumps specially developed for Supermono. Everything else is either from various Ducati production models, or is specially made - say, a monoblock steel crankshaft and carbon fiber lining, with a gas tank and a rear subframe. Instead of the cylinder head from the Desmoquattro engine, as in the original, Alistair delivered a more perfect Testastretta (so that the dimension was 104x70 mm and the working volume was 595 cm³), forged piston, camshafts and valves from the 999R model, a 6-speed gearbox from the model 800SS and clutch from the 916th. At the stand, this engine showed 70 hp. at 9800 rpm on the rear wheel, i.e. approximately 81 hp on the crankshaft.
What is not impressive compared to modern 600 cc sportbikes? But you estimate the specific power: after all, a motorcycle, with all technical fluids, but without fuel, weighs only 134 kg! Only 6 kg more than the racing prototype - and after all, a full set of electrical equipment, including an electric starter and a headlight, is installed on the road. The tubular frame made of chrome-molybdenum steel is close to the original. Like a race car, Ohlins suspension is fully adjustable on the motorcycle, and the brakes are even more perfect: two 305-mm disc blades with Brembo monoblock brackets. Marchesini forged magnesium wheels are shod with Pirelli Diablo Supercorsa Pro tires.
Only ten Supermono Strada will be made this year, and for each asking for 35, 000 pounds - this is a weighted price
for manual work and first-class components. “I dreamed of building just such a road bike when I was working on racing single-barrels, ” said Weiger. - It is delightfully controlled, thanks to its low center of gravity it is very stable. I’m not at all sure that you will be able to go through the turn on a multi-cylinder bike with the same speed as on it! ”
NEW ITALIAN FORMAT
The two-cylinder Benelli Due 756 roadster “lit up” at the Inter-mot motor show back in 2006, but its launch into serial production was so delayed that the chief designer of the project, the Spaniard Carlos Solsona, could not stand it and left … But it happened: the paparazzi tracked down a working prototype gas station cars in Italy - that means that the tests are being carried out with might and main, and we should expect that soon the model will go into mass production.
That's what we managed to scout. The in-line two-cylinder engine of the motorcycle is actually two-thirds of the famous Benelli “three”. The company is developing a new product in two versions: the "entry-level" - 600 cc, which in price and dynamics will compete with the Kawasaki ER-6 and Suzuki SV650, and 750 cc - its mission is to select customers from Aprilia 750 Shiver and even 4- cylinder Honda CB600F Hornet and Yamaha FZ-6. At the beginning of next year, the Benelli Due 756 will go on sale, for about 7800 euros. Its engine develops 97 hp. and about 65 Nm of torque. An interesting feature of the power unit: when braking the engine, a special servo motor opens the secondary throttle valves (as on the KTM RC8R), so there is no need to install a heavy “slipping” clutch. A power valve is integrated in the exhaust system.
At first, a naked bike will go into production - it is such a device that was noticed during the “peeped” test. But before his departure, Carlos Solsona also designed on his basis a city enduro, a tourist enduro and a cafe racer. By the logic of things, these models will start in 2011. By the way, the Chinese concern Qianjiang, the current owner of Benelli, announced that it is investing another 20 million euros in the Italian company, so these plans will come true with a very high degree of probability.
DUCATI IS FASHIONABLE
For many years, Ducati has partnered with German sportswear manufacturer Puma. Recently, partners joined forces to support the fashion department of St. Martin's College, the leading British hotbed of young talents. The Italian company provided talent to three Ducati Monster 696 motorcycles. College students will manually sign them and then, as agreed, will be sold at an online auction. The proceeds will be sent to the faculty fund. In addition, students were invited to refresh the theme of a traditional motorcycle jacket.
The work of the four contest winners was demonstrated during London Fashion Week, and at the same time, Puma / Ducati accessories and the Evisu black jeans line. Already in August this year, Puma in its stores will begin selling jackets created by students.
Let's go, brothers?
Shocking news came and it was undoubtedly caused by the current difficult economic situation: the Piaggio concern closes the Aprilia off-road motorcycle development department located in the town of Ternate, near Varese. The Design Department was founded in 2002 by engineer Ampelio Mackey. Prior to that, he worked for 19 years at Husqvarna, and over the years of his work, Husqvarna has won 46 world titles in motocross, enduro and supermoto competitions. But then MV Agusta, which included the company, had tough times, and Mackey accepted the offer from Aprilia …
For the new owner, he developed a family of off-road motorcycles and supermotos with V-shaped “deuces” with a working volume of 450 and 550 cm³. But now the Ternate office is being closed, and all work will be transferred to the Aprilia main base in Noale. But will the engineers working at the branch want to move to a new “place of residence”? Or would you prefer to return to the nearby Husqvarna Design Center?
Almost thirty years have passed since the death of the wonderful actor Steve McQueen. And he is remembered not only by film fans, but also by motorcyclists. Imagine the British company Metisse Motorcycles will release 300 replicas (12, 999 pounds each) of Steve's favorite motorcycle - a Metisse Desert Racer cross-country with a 650 cc Triumph TR6 engine. The actor bought it in 1966 to participate in off-road competitions.
It would be fair if we briefly recall the glorious history of Metisse Motorcycles itself. It was founded in the 60s by the brothers Don and Derek Rikman, equally gifted as motocross riders and engineers. They were completely unsatisfied with the driving characteristics of the “cross-country” (or, as they were then called, scramblers) of the time - all these BSA, Matchless, Triumph … And they began to make a new chassis for them with frames of their own manufacture - and thereby completely revolutionized the design of SUVs. And in the 70s, they made the same revolution in the road machine sector, when they launched the production of whales for Japanese 4-cylinder street bikes. And things went wrong: with the Rickman frames, Honda motorcycles really controlled, and Kawasaki no longer spent all his unbridled power just to throw the driver out of the saddle.
Steve McQueen drove his Metisse in the tail and mane, completely ignoring the instructions of the film studio not to ride motorcycles and even more so not to race at them in competitions. The actor is credited with saying: "Racing is life, everything else is just preparation for them." However, there is a certain irony of fate in that the most famous movie stunt attributed to him - a jump on a motorcycle through a fence of barbed wire - was not actually performed by him. In the 1963 film