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Friday
Apr272018

Expanding Motorcycle Safety Technology

Ducati is working toward the implementation of ARAS, Advanced Rider Assistance Systems, across its lineup. This means the addition of a number of sensors, including radar, to provide feedback on the immediate environment and help prevent possible collisions. So far, this program has resulted in the integration of its ABS Cornering system in the Scrambler 1100 and Dainese’s airbag jacket into the Multistrada Dlair, but more is to come.

Under its “Safety Roadmap 2025”, Ducati will extend implementation of the Bosch-supplied ABS Cornering to the entire line. This allows full use of braking grip even when cornering which, Ducati claims, effectively rules out the risk of falling during the corner-entry phase.

Also, since 2016, it has worked in conjunction with the Department of Engineering, Information and Bioengineering at the Politecnico di Milano to develop a rear-facing radar system suitable for motorcycles. This unit can identify vehicles in the rider’s blind spot, as well as those approaching at speed from behind. A patent was applied for this device in 2017.

That same year, Ducati selected a primary technical partner to bring a version of this technology to production. Unlike the original, it has been paired with a front-facing radar that ties into an adaptive cruise control system, and can control the spacing to vehicles ahead as well as warn the rider of potential hazards in the bike’s path. This package will be available on at least one Ducati model in 2020. — CAS

Friday
Sep152017

Ducati’s Race Engine for the Road

Ducati has brought its V4 Desmosedici Moto GP engine to the street. The 90˚ V4 will be the first four-cylinder ever offered on a production Ducati street bike when it debuts this November on the new Panigale V4.

That bike will be powered by an 1103 cc version producing 210 hp @ 13,000 rpm, and 88.5 lb.-ft. of torque from 8,750-12,250 rpm while meeting Euro 4 emission standards. The greater displacement increases mid-range torque, though an R version of the engine will be available in 1,000 cc form, and with a higher redline. This version will be used to homologate the engine for the 2019 Superbike championship series.

Like the race version the street Desmosedici features a counter-rotating crankshaft to reduce the gyroscopic effect and improve agility. The crank pins are offset at 70˚, as on the race motor,  in order to generate a more controllable power delivery, and to optimize traction while accelerating out of a corner. A 90˚ bank angle was chosen to centralize mass, keep the engine compact, and optimize weight distribution. As on the race engine, the front cylinders are set at 42˚ from horizontal, which brings the swingarm pivot forward and also allows fitment of larger radiators.

The new motor has an 81 mm bore, the same as the race engine and the maximum allowed in Moto GP. Stroke is just 53.5 mm, making the Desmosedici an high-revving “oversquare” design. It also features variable-height intake trumpets, a first on a Ducati street bike, and oval throttle bodies, each with an injector above and one below the butterfly. The compression ratio is 14:1, and the engine is a semi-dry sump design with four oil pumps (one delivery and three return). — CAS


Friday
Jun092017

Mecum Moves the Metal in Vegas

1950 Vincent Black Shadow was top seller at $95,000.Mecum’s spring vintage motorcycle auction in Las Vegas on June 2-3 moved 339 motorcycles to new owners, an 80% sell-through rate resulting in $4.4 million in overall sales.


According to Ron Christenson, president of the Mecum motorcycle division. “We began this three-day event Thursday evening with three champion motorcycle racers, Don Castro, Gene Romero and Jay Springsteen, taking stage and retelling tales of their days of competing against each other. When the bikes took stage Friday and Saturday, there was no disenchantment as we achieved more than $4 million in sales…. It’s very exciting!”

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Friday
Jun092017

Hall of Fame Restoration

England’s Barry Sheene, Formula 750 World Champion in 1973 and 500 cc World Champion in 1976 and 1977, was inducted into the Motor Sport Hall of Fame on June 7. Sheene beat out a shortlist of 12 potential inductees that included Joey Dunlop, Mike Hailwood, Soichiro Honda, Geoff Duke and Wayne Rainey in a public vote. The ceremony, held at the Royal Automobile Club’s Woodcote Park Clubhouse, also included a demonstration of Sheene’s recently restored 1976 title-winning Suzuki.

Sheene’s life was similar to that of his friend and F1 champion James Hunt. He drank and smoked heavily — Sheene had a hole drilled through the lower edge of his helmet so that he could smoke while on the grid — socialized with the likes of Ringo Starr and George Harrison, and began dating Stephanie McLean, a former Penthouse Pet of the Year while she was still married. They married once she was divorced, and had two children. Later, the family moved to Australia’s Gold Cost in the hopes that the warmer weather would help relieve the arthritis pain arising from Sheene’s many injuries.

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Friday
Jan292016

Conceptualizing Ducati’s Scrambler

Ducati recentlky showed three Scrambler-based concepts at the Verona Motor Bike Expo, the Peace Sixty2, Revolution and Artika. The bikes were created by Nicola Martini, Officine Mermaid and the Dario Lopez Studio, respectively, and show what can be done to personalize this handsomely simple bike. — CAS

Peace Sixty2 is Verona-based Nicola Martini’s second Scrambler-based creation, and features a 1960s-style wrap-around Plexiglass fairing. A single round headlight dominates the front view, as the fairing cuts back around the handlebars before enclosing much of the engine and transmission in an aerodynamic clamshell. The bike also features a single-seat tailpiece with a hand-crafted red leather seat, Termignoni exhaust, and stark primary colors paint scheme highlighted with symbols of peace. Martini, who has showcased numerous designs in various Paris events and exhibitions, dedicated the Peace Sixty2’s design to those affected by the recent terror attacks on the city.

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