The RSD CR500 Cafe Racer

How do you make a Roland Sands Design bike even more desirable? Just watch the video, one of my favorite videos. The bike featured is of course, the now renouned CR500 Cafe Racer

10 Best Looking Naked Bikes

Bikes.. the way they are meant to be, the way they were created... NAKED!

Nothing, I mean nothing comes close to matching a sixties bike than the Royal Enfield Classic 500. Someone wrote if you close your eyes and visualize a sixties British bike, this is the thing. All metal, air cooled, big massive single, spoke wheels, single round headlamp with parking lights, a single speedometer , single me-only seat and now the new bike comes with adequate power at 27 bhp to pull you to a top whack of 140 kmph. Thats peanuts by today's standards, but where else would you get the classic thump and mainly the character of that old British bikes more than this beautifully crafted machine? With the right amount of modern amneties, like EFI, gas shock absorbers, this is not as close but, this is THE sixties British bike. So in case if you have always thought how life would have been during the swinging sixties, wind beating you at the chest, care free and all, now you can get some taste of it, thanks to this big single.

Lots of fans would probably kill me for placing the hallowed MV AGUSTA Brutale at #9 position, but the thing is that when we talk about 'Naked' bikes, usually, we think about 'metal' bikes typically reminding bikes of 80s styling. The Brutale is naked, but not actually metal. No doubt, this is one of the finest looking bike for any generation and any category, but sometimes the bike looks too edgy and of course it still looks very very good, just that to repeat myself, it is not all metal. With the finest carbon, aluminum, titanium and other metals used, Tamburini has created a visual delight. Look at any part of it, from the alloy wheels to the beautiful exhaust, every indivisual part is a treat and every part of the bike compliments each other resulting in a product that is so stunning to look at that it can just be used as a piece of decoration for any exhibition. Performance wise, it can stand up to any competition and in total this is purely and completely an Italian motorcycle. Period.

Well, this is the bike that has redefined Harley Davidson’s original bad boy image with uber coolness, a Harley Davidson that is stunning to look at and can perform. Yes, HDs have always looked fantastic; it was the performance that not too many people wanted to talk about. Harley stood more for leisurely biking with a image of a guy whose attitude says that he couldn’t care less what is happening in and around the world. Then came the Harley Davidson V Rod, the kind of bike which seems to be driven by clean shaven trimmed hair and nails senior executives wearing Armanis and commuting by S Class for office in the day time and after office hours slips and dons a leather jacket and whizzes off in his bad ass 2 wheeler. No more chrome slug, no more extra wide handlebars, things you associate with HD and no more sluggish and slow. Its performance can match and better many Japanese power cruisers. But that is not it. Just look at it, what a stunner. And if the V-Rod was not just enough good looking, they had to bring out the VRSC Night Rod Special. If anyone in the world had an excuse for not buying a HD for its performance, s/he has just run out of the last excuse.

Now this is one bloke with oodles of muscles all around, very well built and so proportionately shaped. The one time racing specialists may not be making an impact in the race circuits, but being a true blue Italian, they are still churning out motorcycles which will take your breath away. Each of the present products looks delicious, but the Moto Guzzi Grisvo SE is really a step ahead especially in the stunning green colour of the SE edition. No doubt the V7 looks classy, but in front of the Grisvo, it looks anemic. And comparatively, it is for the Griso has a heart of 1151cc with 110 bhp on tap and with that neat looking fenders, the twin exhausts, the sculpted tank, those naked round headlamp and dials , all mix up to create a truly lust worthy Italian beauty. This street bike is actually an all-rounder in disguise, a street bike with touring capabilities. Surely many fans would not buy the Grisvo for its performance for at that price, you will get many a bikes with better performance, but those who get into the saddle of the Grisvo knows that this is a thorough bred Italian. Look at the finish, look at the seat, the switches and the entire engine seems to be made in unison with absolutely nothing sticking out or out of place. This is the hallmark of Italian companies and the Grisvo is right there taking charge of this brigade.

The Triumph Thruxton is one of those bikes, which really carries forward the 60s into the 21st century. Very typical Café Racer styling and yes, one of those rare models which you can buy over the counter as a Café Racer with no modifications needed at all. A very basic bike, actually that is what a ‘real’ Café Racer should be, an air cooled twin engine displacing 900cc with a fuel injected engine. Although it has been made into a Café Racer mode, Triumph made it clear that it will stick to the original 60s concept of café racers and although that means many of today’s modern street bikes might beat the Thruxton in terms of performance, the Thruxton can beat all of them with its sheer perfectly proportioned evocative silhouette. It is sizzling hot with the way the dome shaped rear is perfected, the round head lamps and those mirrors dangling by the handles. The bike looks very symmetrical aided by the beautifully slight upswept exhaust, perfectly placed with one on each side. The engine styling, those back shock absorbers, everything is very very ‘60s’. If it comes to showing off in the busy streets of a uptown bazaar, this bike is just perfect.

This is the Ducati GT 1000 from the Sport Classic range. Surprisingly, the model has been closed for the 2012 models. Yes, Ducati is synonymous with elegant styling, unmatched by any brand now or ever and to choose just one model is a crime, but to be fair to motorcycles world over, I had to choose one Ducati and you can very well guess, how hard it can be, especially since the last new model launch of Ducati, the Diavel, has been bestowed with honours after honours for its look itself, let alone performance and to choose. If it is one bike which every motorcycling fan will like to add to his garage, it has to be the GT 1000. After all, it is firstly a Ducati, but the better part is that it is unlike other naked Ducatis, you do see the tubular trellis frame, but like other Ducatis, it doesn’t immediately evoke the ‘Wow! Ducati!’ effect, but rather, a ‘OMG! A DUC from the 70s” and then your heart starts palpating and before you know, you start drooling. The model you see here is the Biposto, that came out during the mid-2000s and there was also a Paul Smart L.E model in 2006. Do not get fooled by its looks thinking it is as a tribute to the 70s with its air cooled engine and all, because although it is a tribute, that is only superficial, beneath those awesome good looks is a fire breathing Marelli electronic fuel injected, 92 bhp producing engine aided by a 6 speed transmission and as you can see Ducati still gave it an air cooled engine keeping the ‘spirits’ of the gone era.

Without any shadow of doubt, the Honda CB1100 is one of the most beautiful bikes that have been launched in recent times. Launched? Well, at least in Japan and although we have been hearing it will be worldwide launch, we are still waiting for its launch anywhere outside Japan. But, nevertheless, this is one piece of machinery that is probably ‘truest’ to its predecessor, the famous lineage of Honda CB series from the 60s to 80s and still continuing in some modified form. There has been sublime changes from the 80s model especially at the belly (side panels) and thereafter, but the engine is just the same… look wise. If you are a sucker for UJMs of the 80s, this bike is Godsend. And to add to it, the CB1000F (there is a CB1000R model with fairings and all) has a variant, a Café racer version, with a bikini fairing and a small rear seat. The bike with the inline 4 air cooled engine and the double cradle frame will definitely remind you of your first or second bike when you were in your teens and the bike you grew up with. The body lines and simple but very definite, the angles are subtle but delicate and all ends up in a very beautifully made very proportionate motorcycle which actually looks better than its predecessor.

If it was not for the fact that this bike would probably never see production stage, I would have gladly put it in the numero uno position. This Vincent Black Shadow contains the most legendary name in the world of motorcycle and although this is not the original product, Bernand Li has made something which cuts across any time period. You can place this bike in any era and this will never look outdated. Although the legendary engine is missing, doing duty here is another legendary motorcycle, the Honda RC51. And maybe we talk about it in a hush manner, but we do need to admit that the Honda RC51 engine is better than the Vincent original. Yes, the originality is not there, but the product outcome is nonetheless a continuation of the original brand. Legendary British brand, revered Japanese engine and what a looker. From the projector headlamps to the tail light, Bernand Li has really recreated magic. But alas, due to numerous patent laws and the untimely death of Mr. Li last year, only time will tell if this bike would ever see production stage. Just imagine, Mr. Li had even priced it as $25,000 onwards, at such a price, getting a factory produced Vincent would have been a dream, unfortunately, a dream is just what remains as of now.

If it was not for the high price tag of $60,000 and limited edition, the Confederate B120 Wraith would have probably made it as the top bike in this list. Like many fans all over the world, this bike for me is an object of desire and a thing I lust for knowing very well that I can never get my hands on this one. Breaking every possible styling rule that exist, breaking every notion that a designer is supposed to follow, Matt Chambers created something that needs to be kept in a pedestal covered with bullet proof glasses and adored for a life time. This futuristic looking bike is completely hand made and just around 100 were made and the bike usually adorns the garage of celebrities and other big wigs which mean it probably spends more time as a showcase item but this bike is all about the show and the go. The bike can stand along the biggest and baddest of them all and can also do circles around many of them, it is that good! But of course, that is not the reason why it is in this list, this visual delight has so much artistic brilliance that everytime you see the bike (or rather its picture) you will find something very interesting. For instance, just note the pedals and you will know what I mean. For a most ‘lusty’ look, just search for Wraith in the blog.

Well, the most gorgeous bike today on planet earth is most definitely the Norton Commando. It is neither Japanese, nor Italian, nor German, it comes from good’ol England, is overpriced, is not the most technology savvy which by the way makes it even more overpriced, and when you look at it in the flesh, every logic just vaporizes, as if it never existed, you get smitten by it just as we as kids got smitten by Brook Shield in the 80s and Gabriela Sabatini in the 90s. When you see it in the pictures, a most definite second look with a willy smile on your face thinking, man, I got to see this bike… and then you look at a video of the bike running and then the sound… and then your evil inner twin rises to tell you that all those savings and bank accounts, it is time to use them, after all what good use is money if it cannot buy you happiness? Then you land up at a showroom and before you come to terms to realize that your savings probably are not enough to buy this machine, your evil twin and even the one dressed in white with a halo over the head will tell you the nearest and most easily accessible (read easy to rob) bank. When the Commando was launched in 1983 with a 750cc air cooled engine, it was ‘the’ bike with an attitude. Not much has changed in the last 2 decades. If you have $21,000, I believe you will somehow fancy this bike to the ultra-modern Ducatis, MVs and Japanese. That is what beauty can do to a human being. Like I said, sometimes there is just no logic.

MIDALU FGR 2500 V6 - Aiming for the Sky

When one talks about Czechoslovakia and Motorcycle in the same breath, the name of CZ JAWA comes to mind. The brand is very much active, thank you but now there is a new brand coming out from the Czech Republic which will make people stand up and notice. For fans that follow the 125 Moto GP circuit, you might be familiar with the brand name of MIDALU. This brand has a 125 cc Moto GP bike which came out 2 years back and now they are venturing out to the complete other side of the spectrum. They have come out with a prototype with a V6 engine displacing a humongous 2500cc claiming it to be the world’s most powerful production motorcycle in the world. It is said heavy he feels who wears the crown and so why would a 125cc manufacturer come out with a Boss Hoss kind of a machine?
And talking about crown, just last year we saw the Vyrus and Asphalt motorcycles claiming to be ‘Fastest Production Motorcycles’ and now we have the ‘Most Powerful Production Motorcycle’. I believed that crown was held firm by the Munch Mammut, so let us take a peek as what is this about the MIDALU FGR 2500 V6.
Midalu is a family-run business in Czech Republic. Miroslav Felgr incepted the idea of producing the biggest displacement bike in a mass production stage back in 2004. A designer by profession, along with Oldrich Kreuz, he began working on motorcycles in 2005, but he started out with the Moto GP bike, the FGR 125 GP. Moto GP bikes are very complicated to make as it involves a huge amount of dynamics and ergonomics to scream at those high speeds. By February, 2007, they had their first motorcycle ready to run. The motorcycle was showcased in the MOTOCYKL 2008 exhibition and in the same event, it was announced that Midalu is planning for a much much bigger bike. A completion was held for interested designers to design the proposed 2.5 liter engine along with the bike. Out of 45 proposals, 11 were shortlisted for round 2 and finally 3 were selected by February 2009. Stanislav Hanus, Ladislav Skoda and Petr Vanek later joined hands with Hanus, the winner, taking the lead and started working out from base up. It was pre decided as to what they needed to work with in regards to engine size and capacity, so the motorcycle had to be built with that in mind. The frame came first, followed by the forks and things started adding and stacking up on it. Of course the final design saw varied changes and finally everything fell into place last year and they were ready with their first prototype. There, the first Midalu FGR 2500V6 was born.
The 2442cc V6 engine is said to belt out 240HP, and something like 150lb/ft of torque. The V-Twin is configured at 90-degree adequately supported with liquid cooling technology. The supposed icing on the cake is the very tempting mileage figures of is 12 to 16km/l depending on how you run the bike. The enthusiasm of the Midalu family is very evident from the displayed prototype. The bike has been designed with the finest materials available in the market. Not only the design and accessories, it has some of the best cutting edge technology to assist many innovations going inside the bike and the engine. Keeping it naked, which of course highlights the massive engine, the bike has a very clean, yet distinctive look to it. Styling is minimal and with the trellis frame, it will remind you vaguely remind you of a Ducati Monster added with that Ducatisque headlamp, but just that, this is a real big Monster. Interestingly, since the family was not a big name, finance was always an issue when you think about such a big project. So they had approached the Ministry of Industry for grants, initially not for the FGR 2500 V6, but for the FGR125 GP. After listening out, the Ministry not only approved the 125 GP project but also gave the go ahead with the v6 project.
The 4-stroke engine, supported by a tubular chassis, has a six-speed gearbox, slipper clutch and carbon tank built into the saddle, with a capacity of 18.5 liters. The 6 cylinders will go through bore and stroke dimensions of 90 x 64 mm with a compression ratio of 9.9:1 to get to those claimed power figures. Dry weight of this beauty is 269 kg. The bike was unveiled mid-January, 2011 and this year, the prototype will undergo track and road testing. Launch of the bike is scheduled for 2012. Of course, the bike will have a premium cost and will probably cost anything around 50, 000 USD. Whether the FGR 2500 V6 will be able to beat the 2000cc, 260 hp, 295 Nm, 86mm bore engine of Munch Mammut, we will only get to know it by next year, but rest assured, you will be getting one hell of a hell –ride!
You may visit the FGR 2500 V6 Official website for more information. All photos courtesy of the Gallery section of the website.

Dissecting the Diavel

What is it about the Diavel that has made every bike lover, every critic, every Ducati hater (if anyone exist) go weak on their knees when they see the Diavel? We all know Ducatis are exotic yet the common man can aspire of owning one. There are (by now) many high end bike manufacturers who make limited edition bike at exorbitantly high prices that are well beyond the common man’s reach. These bikes appeal to specific fan bases and these machines do provide well-crafted engines. This is where I believe Ducati scores heavily. The Ducati products are so good looking that individually, each model is like a custom bike, but they are not. We don’t even need to think how well their engines perform. And the best part is that the ‘fan base’ we are talking about cut across all ‘bases’, all ‘styles’, all ages and of course it has the heritage and legend of the Ducati brand. The company which started out worldwide with their lip smacking 900 series of sports bike ventured out to the naked bike series with the Monster brand. The Monster became a benchmark in naked style bikes with their exposed trellis frame. Then there is the Street Fighter, the bike which won many accolades in terms of designing.
Although there were many critics who didn’t like the bike’s overall styling and personally I think it was too edgy, but once you see it in flesh, you tend to love it. During all these time, there were plans that Ducati is working on a cruiser and again people were skeptical how well can Ducati pull off a cruiser since it is a Ducati, it has to be different, but then how can a cruiser look different? Well, so now we have the Diavel, a bike so smashingly good looking that cruiser lovers are calling from roof tops that Ducati has finally heard their yells, but even street riders are voicing the same thoughts. It is now as if a lot of ‘fan bases’ are calling the Diavel to the ‘the’ product of their category. But fact is, this is a Ducati and it cuts all categories. Yes, it is probably a cruiser gene somewhere, but how can you miss the distinctive ‘street’ appeal? Or is it a Power Cruiser like the V Max? Lots and lots of critics are comparing the Diavel to the V Max, in fact comparisons have started long before its official launch. So that is the thing, the Diavel is a Ducati. Period. That is the category it belongs to. You know, no matter how hard you are a cruiser fan, you just can’t ignore the 918, no matter how much you love SBKs, you just can’t ignore the Monster and likewise no matter which fan you are, you just can’t ignore the Diavel. And it won’t be wrong say that the bike will run away with lots of ‘Bike of the Year’ awards and probably a lot of ‘Bike of the Decade’ awards too.
The idea of the name Diavel - pronounced Dee-ah-vel, was born early in the development process when a factory man saw it and remarked that the bike looks like a Devil. In Bolognese dialect, of course Diavel is what you would say for Devil. And remove the D from Devil and Evil is what you get… from the bike. Lots of fans would probably get evil to own The Diavel while many rival companies must be calling Ducati evil as it will sway quite a few customers to the Ducati side. Just as the ‘Monster’ is one of the favorite Ducati for both its affordability and easy handling, the Diavel is surely going to be the flavor of cruiser lover, power bike lovers, street bike lover, naked bike lovers and of course, how can you not associate Ducati with performance, so it will jolly well find a lot of erstwhile sports bike fans.
But this is not a Power Cruiser bike in the mould of V Max and the B King. For one thing, the engine is not on the wrong side of 1500cc, it is actually the same 1198cc engine and secondly, it is not big as you think it is, certainly not of monstrous proportions like the V Max or even the V Rod. It is quite small having dimensions of 1192mm x 2257mm. Its dry weight just about touches 200 kilos which means it is a lightweight, add to that its agility and so now, what do you say, is it a sports tourer or a naked street sports bike? It all gets very confusing so the best thing is to let it be just the ‘Diavel’.
But if you think that with these specifications, it will not have a commanding presence, boy, you are so damn wrong. Commanding presence, it has… and HOW! You cannot miss a Diavel even in the Rio Carnival. Just to remind you, it is built by Ducati.
Some critic has mentioned that Ducati should concentrate on what it does best, that is make ultra luxurious sports bike, s/he mentioned that how will it feel if Ferrari comes out with 4 door cars? Point well taken, but then think anout it, if Ducati didn’t give us the Diavel, we would have no Diavel. Let me repeat, if Ducati didn’t make the Diavel, we would have no Diavel, what I am trying to say is that only Ducati could have made a Diavel. The styling, the portfolio, although a criser bike, yells out as a Ducati. For cruiser lovers wanting to have a Ducati logo embedded in between his/her legs, Diavel is his/her bike. Why leave out any market when you know you have a desired and wanting customers?
I get what the critic is saying, you want a 4 door luxury car, look at Bentley, look at Rolls Royce, likewise, if you want a cruiser, look at HD, V-Max, B-King, but I think although you can compare a Rolls to a Bentley, you just cannot compare the V-Max to a Diavel. I cannot explain why, but to make sense, let me reinstate that Diavel makes a complete new category, power cruiser road steet king! Dycati rightfully mentions that the Diavel is a combination of custom shop beauty with state of the art technology, innovative design to provide extraordinary riding pleasure. For connoisseurs of technology, ABS, Ducati Traction Control and Ducati Riding Modes will deliver a confidence-inspiring sophistication while stunning looks, the Superbike-derived Testastretta 11° engine and 207kg (456lb) of authentic Ducati performance will drive a comfortable sport lifestyle that could only be dreamt of until now. There is just so much more in the Diavel, for the techno buffs there is plenty to enjoy including Ride by wire throttle, ABS, hands free ignition and traction control. The new model will be available as a base model in traditional red or pearl white whilst the Diavel Carbon which includes carbon bodywork components and forged Marchesini rims and is available in red carbon or black carbon.
With 162bhp on tap and weighing 456lb (207kg), the Diavel is sure to win the performance king of its class. The specially designed 240mm rear wheel on a massive 8″ wide rim provides the requisite custom presence. 50mm fork is by Marzocchi, fully adjustable shocks by Sachs 240/45-17 rear tyre for cruising, wrapped around 14-spoke alloy forged Marchesini wheel with a bunch of carbon-fiber goodies, the Diavel is out to make a statement. Radially mounted Brembo monoblock calipers on 320mm semi-floating front discs, state of the art Ducati Bosch-Brembo ABS system as original equipment, antilock brakes as standard, traction control, as mentioned, ride-by-wire throttle with three maps (162 hp sports-type delivery, 162 hp for touring and 100 hp for street), the Diavel has everything you can ask for. Pirelli has worked with the Diavel's designers and engineers to develop the new Diablo Rosso II tires, a conventional 120/70 x 17 section front designed for enhanced wet weather performance to go with the 240/45x17 rear custom-style rear.
But since Diavel is out there primarily to woo the cruiser fans, it has all the ingredients of a cruiser. Exceptionally low seat height for a Ducati at just 30.3 inches, stretched out pegs and reasonably wide handle bars, the cruiser lover will feel at home. But just so, s/he wants to go the sports mode, just fold the passenger pegs and they hide completely, and get the piilion seat cover mount and lo! You have a sports bike. Behind the pillion seat, you can see the vertically stacked LED tail lights complimenting the front’s vertical LED turn signals mounted on the radiator shrouds. The headlight looks somewhat similar to the Monster, but with a more aggressive look, you know, kind of ‘I am ready’. And then the stylish license plate, it is bolted to the rear hub with a trellis frame wrapped around the rear tire from the left to hold the number plate in the area where the policeman would want it to be. The Diavel, just like the latest Ducatis, is equipped with a hands-free ignition which means with the key in your pocket, the bike becomes armed as soon as you reach 6.5 feet within the diameter of the Diavel.
So basically, the Diavel has everything any biker would fancy and if you are a biker, which I presume you are since you are reading this blog, sign a cheque of $16,995 or $19,995 for the base or carbon variant respectively and check it out in your nearest Ducati dealer. Let me assure you, you will not come out with the cheque, rather with a big smile on your face atop the most handsome devil you have seen till Ducati thinks about building a new Lucifer, Villain, Rogue, whatever since the monster and now the Diavel are already icons.
Instruments: Handlebar mounted instrumentation with LCD display: Speed, rpm, time, coolant temp. Warning lights for: Neutral, turn signals, high-beam, rev-limit, DTC intervention, ABS, status, oil pressure, fuel reserve.
Tank mounted instrumentation with TFT colour display: Gear selected, air temp, battery voltage, trips 1 & 2, fuel, reserve trip, average and actual fuel consumption and speed, trip time, scheduled maintenance.
Full status and/or management of Riding Modes, DTC, RbW and ABS.
Engine: 1198.4cc, Desmodromic, fuel injected, liquid cooled, Testastretta 11°, L-Twin cylinder, 4 valve per cylinder,
Bore x Stroke & Compression Ratio 106 x 67.9mm & 11.5:1
Maximum Power & Torque: 162hp (119kW) @ 9500rpm & 94lb-ft (127.5Nm) @ 8000rpm
Exhaust: Lightweight 2-1-2 system with catalytic converter and two lambda probes, Twin aluminium mufflers
Transmission: 6 speed, Wet multiplate clutch with hydraulic control.
Primary & Final drive: Straight cut gears & Front sprocket 15, Rear sprocket 43
Chassis: Frame Tubular steel Trellis frame
Wheelbase 1590mm (62.6in)
Rake & Steering angle: 28° & 70°
Front & Rear suspension: 50mm fully adjustable forks & Progressive linkage with fully adjustable Sachs monoshock, Aluminium single-sided swingarm
Front & Rear wheel: 3.50 x 17 & 8.00 x 17 Marchesini forged and machined 9-spoke, 14-spoke in light alloy
Front & Rear tyre 120/70 & 240/45 (ZR 17 Pirelli Diablo Rosso II)
Front & Rear brake: 2 x 320mm semi-floating discs, radially mounted Monobloc Brembo callipers, 4-piston with ABS & 265mm disc, 2-piston floating calliper with ABS
Fuel tank capacity 17l - (5.3 US gal)
Dry weight 210kg (463lb) 207kg (456lb)
Seat height 770mm (30.3in)
Max height x length: 1192mm (46.9in) x 2257mm (88.9in)


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