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Honda CBR1000RR-R Fireblade SP Races its Superbike Counterpart

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by Sebastian Toma from https://www.autoevolution.com

Honda has pitted the new CBR1000RR-R Fireblade SP against its racing version on a track to prove how fast it can be in the right hands. With slick tires, the sport bike is as close to a street-legal MotoGP racer as possible.

The resemblance between the two is normal, as British Superbike rules mandate that the race bike must be developed from the homologated production motorcycle. Therefore, the chassis and the engine are identical, but the race bike has a few tweaks within regulations to allow it to be even faster.

According to the rulebook, the Honda CBR1000RR-R Fireblade SP’s racing version must have a spec ECU, which allows it to rev even higher than its street-legal brother. The gearing can also be changed according to various necessities, depending on the track and rider preference, along with a minimum weight of 168 kg (370.37 lbs.).

To prove just how fast the street-legal version of this bike can be, Honda Racing UK British Super Bike racer Glen Irwin took both bikes on the same day at Oulton Park International Circuit. We are talking about a 2.69-mile (4.33 km) track in the UK and identical riding conditions. Honda even fitted both bikes with the Pirelli Diablo Racing slicks (SC0 compound) to allow a direct comparison between the two bikes.

The street bike was still fitted with the stock mirrors, standard toolkit, and everything else one gets when buying a new Honda CBR1000RR-R Fireblade SP. The slick tires were the only change from the stock condition, and the team did not alter any settings on the bike.

Glenn Irwin rode each bike for six laps, and he managed to set a time of 1’39.054 on the production CBR1000RR-R Fireblade SP, which is just 2.872 seconds more than what he did with his British Superbike Fireblade.

Trap speed was 210.5 km/h (130 mph) on the street-spec bike, which is just 6.8 km/h (4.2 mph) slower than the race model, which goes to show how far have sport bikes gone in past years. The only thing left is for their riders to improve their skills on the track before thinking about changing anything on a stock super sport motorcycle.

Dream E-Type: Early days of the Honda 4-Stroke

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from https://www.thesundaily.my

Mr Honda’s disdain for two-stroke engines fuelled the relentless pursuit of perfection for his little four-strokers.

It was March 1951 when Soichiro Honda summoned engineer Kiyoshi Kawashima from Hamamatsu.

“‘Kawashima, would you mind coming over for a moment?’ It was the beginning of a two-month stint in the capital as I worked on the design of the E-Type 4-stroke engine in a corner of the Tokyo Plant,” recalls Kawashima. “When the plans were at last ready the Old Man dashed in to see it, bringing Fujisawa, with him.” (Takeo Fujisawa was Honda Motor Co Ltd’s co-founder.)

Kawashima can remember clearly that day in May 1951. “As he showed the plans to Fujisawa, Mr. Honda gave us an enthusiastic commentary: ‘Ah, I see. You have this kind of valve and the cam goes like that. This is what I call an engine, it isn’t just a two-stroke machine that looks as though it’s been cut from a bamboo tube with holes drilled. This will sell. Honda will do well with this!’ Mr. Fujisawa didn’t have any understanding of the plans, he didn’t know anything about mechanical things at all, so he just said things like ‘Hm, yes, that’s great,’” said Kawashima, laughing.

The now-legendary test crossing of the Hakone Pass took place on July 15. In those days the Hakone Pass was considered the ultimate test for a motor vehicle. Even lorries could only get over it if they stopped for a rest every now and then. So it was certainly a challenge for a small 150cc motorcycle. Kawashima acted as both the engine designer and on that occasion, as test rider.

“Actually we’d been using the Hakone Pass as a test track for quite some time by then. I was sure we could climb it, but I was pretty nervous because the Old Man and Mr. Fujisawa were coming along as well.

“If the engine had overheated or something and conked out right in front of Mr. Fujisawa, the Old Man would have suffered a terrible loss of face. That day a typhoon was approaching but history relates that the engine was completely untroubled in the torrential rain and raced up the hill in top gear.

“I joked to myself that it was lucky there was so much rain and spray, because it meant that the air-cooling worked liked water-cooling and helped keep the temperature down. Although I say that I went up in top gear, there were only two gears, which was just as well,” he said, laughing. “Looking back on it, I think that was a good, plucky little engine.”

The story goes that the motorcycle overtook the Buick that Honda and Fujisawa were riding in. Kawashima went over first and the three men were reunited at the summit of the pass, where they hugged each other with delight.

The Dream E-Type was Honda’s first four-stroke machine. The Japanese motorcycle industry had become more competitive about a year before and bikes with four-stroke engines were produced for the first time. The market started to show preference for four-stroke rather than two-stroke bikes.

Later, Honda came to be known as “Four-Stroke Honda” although in fact it was rather slow in switching to the new type of engine. But at this time a lot of four-stroke engines were fitted with side-valves for reasons of economy and ease of manufacture, while Honda opted for the overhead valve system.

Another difference was that Honda’s bikes, both two- and four-stroke, were much more powerful than other Japanese machines with 150cc engines.

“The Old Man probably wanted to make proper four-stroke bikes from the very beginning. In those days people’s ideas about two-stroke engines were rather hazy and since they burn up lubricating oil, which isn’t meant to be burnt, the Old Man probably only tolerated them as a kind of stop-gap at a time when he had no money and inadequate facility,” said Kawashima.

“For two decades after the launch in the following year of Cub F-Type (a two-stroker), Honda made only four-stroke bikes. The E-Type was the first bike the Old Man really enjoyed making.”

The E-Type’s frame, like that of the D-Type’s, was of channel-frame construction, but because there had been so much trouble with the failure of the wet-cone clutch on the D-Type, the E-Type was fitted instead with a dry-type multiple disc clutch. The clutch control was also changed to the more conventional left-hand lever system.

Kawashima recalls: “On reflection, we realised we had made a mistake in being too unique and we decided to make our bikes more conventional. But since it’s not Honda’s way to revert to old designs, we decided that the point of difference should be the quality of the engine. These were extraordinary bikes in the best sense. They sold well and brought pleasure to both customers and dealers.”

The E-Type went on sale in October 1951. Compared to the D-Type, which had shipped 160 units per month at its peak, 500 units of the E-Type were being shipped out a month only half a year after its launch and a year later, when it was fitted with a third gear, that rose to 2,000; three years later annual production reached 32,000 units.

Now that Honda had overcome the critical problems of its early years, the company would, as Honda himself had predicted, start to expand thanks to the success of the E-Type and seize the opportunity for rapid future development.

Kawashima riding a Dream E-Type at the Suzuka Circuit on April 1, 1992.

Honda CB200 Modified Into An Electric Motorcycle

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by Arun Prakash from https://www.rushlane.com

The electric powertrain of the modified Honda CB200 has fitted onto a stylish aluminum enclosure

Manufacturing EVs from scratch is an uphill task in itself but it is a whole new level of challenge when one has to convert a vehicle already fitted with an IC engine. We have earlier witnessed such projects being undertaken in four-wheelers such as Land Rovers and VW Beetles but this time an electric powertrain has been fitted into a motorcycle.

An aftermarket workshop named Omega Motors, based out of San Francisco in USA, has converted a 1975 Honda CB200 into an electric motorcycle. The donor model back in 1970s and 80s was a hot-selling retro-style motorcycle with a cafe racer design. The makers of this modified prototype haven’t tried to alter the design of the motorcycle in any way.

Updated Styling
Rechristened as Omega EV200, it still retains a part-scrambler and part-cafe racer design with round headlamps, single-piece ripped seat and wire-spoke wheels lending it a retro appeal. The electric CB200 gets refurbished front forks, wheels and brakes while retaining the cable-actuated front brake and rear drum brake.

Subtle modifications have been made to the chassis in order to incorporate a battery and electric motor setup. The frame has been shortened and the welded-in rear fender has been chopped off.

The pillion footpegs have also been removed while a small part of its spine has also been cut in order to weld a mounting plate for the controller. Interestingly, the motor mounts from the original bike have been left intact while the new battery pack and electric motor are attached via a set of custom mounting plates.

Specs & Features
Speaking of specifications, the motorcycle has been fitted with an electric motor sourced from Golden Motor and raed to produce 5kW (6.7 bhp) of continuous supply and peak power of 10kW (13.4 bhp). This motor feeds energy of a 1.6 kWh battery pack specifically designed and built for Omega EV200. Omega has also added a Kelly Controls controller which has been packaged neatly under the modified fuel tank and seat.

Coming to its performance, numbers are fairly modest with a top speed of 60mph (96.5 kmph). However, the electric bike weighs only 111 kilos which is 22 percent lighter than the stock CB200. The motorcycle offers a riding range of only 48 km on a single charge while charging the battery takes five to eight hours.

There isn’t much to offer in terms of features but Omega has got the stock analogue speedometer and switches working. Most importantly the clutch lever has been repurposed to work as an analogue regenerative braking control. The most attractive addition is a small digital display to reveal battery-related information which has been covered with the same piece of leather as the custom seat.

The 8 Motorcycles Reproduced with Insane Realism in RiMS Racing

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by Bogdan Popa from https://www.autoevolution.com

RiMS Racing is one of the most anticipated game releases of the year for moto racing fans, especially as Nacon and RaceWard Studio have promised to accurately reproduce the fastest bikes out there in this new title.

So in theory, RiMS Racing is supposed to feel stunningly real from one end to another, and based on a new video published by the two companies, it looks like this is very likely to happen.

Nacon has published gaming footage recorded on the Suzuka circuit in Japan, allowing us to see how the 2019 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10RR behaves on the track. And at the same time, the video also reveals other tidbits about the game, including the customization screen where you can change nearly every little detail about the motorcycle you’re about to hop on for the next race.

And last but not least, Nacon has also shared the list of eight motorcycles that will be available in the game: the Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10 RR, Aprilia RSV4 1100 Factory, BMW M 1000 RR, Ducati Panigale V4 R, Honda CBR1000RR ABS, MV Agusta F4 RC, Suzuki GSX-R1000R and the Yamaha YZF-R1.

As we said earlier, every single model comes with insane realism, and you can figure this out by simply checking out the video we embedded below. It’s pretty clear Nacon and RaceWard struggled to make the whole experience feel as real as possible, and you can almost feel the feedback the Kawasaki gives by simply looking at the video.

RiMS Racing will include over 70 events, and Nacon says it’ll roll out lots of multiplayer challenges after the game finally becomes available this summer.

And speaking of launch date, RiMS Racing is projected to see the daylight on August 19 on pretty much every gaming platform out there, including not only PC, but also consoles. The game will be available on both current and next-gen consoles, as well as on the Nintendo Switch.

Over 5000 Honda Gold Wing enthusiasts at 42nd Annual Wing Ding event

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by Jason Rima from https://www.ktts.com

Honda Gold Wing Riders Return To Springfield.

About 5,000 Honda Gold Wing enthusiasts are expected in Springfield for the 42nd annual Wing Ding event going on now through July 3.

The event had to be canceled last year because of the pandemic.

The last time Springfield hosted the Wing Ding was 1999, when more than 13,000 people came to town.

Springfield will host an estimated 5,000 Honda Gold Wing enthusiasts for the Gold Wing Road Riders Association’s 42nd annual Wing Ding event June 29-July 3. The event was rescheduled from 2020, when it was canceled due to COVID-19. Springfield last hosted the Wing Ding in 1999, when it drew around 13,500 people.

St. Louis Street between Kimbrough Avenue and the parking garage west of Hammons Tower will close starting at 4 a.m. Monday, June 28 to accommodate food trucks and vendors, reopening by 8 p.m. Saturday, July 3.

Rolling street closures to accommodate a cruise through Springfield will begin at 6 p.m. July 2 and will include Jefferson Avenue and its side streets south of Chestnut Street and Sunset Street east of Jefferson Avenue and its side streets until all of the estimated 300 motorcycles in the cruise turn south into the Macy’s entrance of the Battlefield Mall at approximately 7 p.m.

Wing Ding 42’s headquarters will be at the University Plaza and Expo Center, but several events-within-the-event are scheduled, including:

  • A welcome party, 6-9 p.m. June 29 at Jordan Valley Park, 635 E. Trafficway;
  • A luncheon, 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Wednesday, June 30 at the Route 66 Car Museum, 1634 W. College St.; and
  • A cruise with as many as 300 motorcyclists will start at 6 p.m. July 2 at Chestnut Street and Jefferson Avenue and travel to the Battlefield Mall via Jefferson Avenue to Sunset Street east to the Macy’s entrance. It’s estimated the cruise will be finished by or before 7 p.m.

“On behalf of the Springfield Convention & Visitors Bureau, we want to thank Springfield citizens and downtown businesses for their cooperation and understanding as we work to stage a fun and safe event for our guests,” said CVB President Tracy Kimberlin. “This group loved Springfield when they visited in 1999 and we know they’ll love being here again.”

Parking
Visit itsalldowntown.com for a map of parking lots and garages in downtown Springfield.

Code Word Discomfort: Unique Racing Project

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Six Ways to Sunday Racing Story Continues
by Kyle Smith from Hagerty.com

My best stories never begin with an explanation of how comfortable I was. The whole scheme of Six Ways to Sunday is campaigning one motorcycle in six different kinds of racing. In itself, this is a recipe for being uncomfortable, and I nominated myself to do it. How bad could it really be?

Coffee and pancakes gave us the will to live, and we headed back to the track to dry out the bikes for tech inspection. Bowen would ride my 1988 Honda XR200R in the same events in which I would be competing with the super-fresh ’89 Honda XR250R. I would be knocking out two of the six disciplines for my Six Ways to Sunday project.

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UK Motorcycle sales see post-pandemic bounce back

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by Felicity Donohoe from https://www.pressandjournal.co.uk

UK motorcycle sales have shown a healthy post-pandemic recovery with figures revealing a fresh enthusiasm for purchasing new machines – including EVs.

Recent data from the Motor Cycle Industry Association shows that 13,398 units were sold in May 2021, an increase of 148.4% compared with May 2020, with sales topping 43,242 for the first five months of this year and across all segments.

Adventure Sport and Naked categories were up 242% and 197% in sales (2,449 and 4,567 respectively) in May but EVs have found a place in the revived market, seeing 509 sales in May 2021 compared to 119 sales last May.

The sales reflect the interest in alternatives to cars and public transport solutions, along with the financial, environmental and practical benefits that riding offers.

Tony Campbell, CEO of MCIA said: “May’s figures are against a time in 2020 when the first wave of the pandemic had hit. We forecast a positive summer for the sale of PTWs (powered two wheelers) and associated products as restrictions ease, and the backlog of those awaiting CBT and testing reduces.

“As life returns to normal and people return to their leisure pursuits we’ll be ensuring our close links with Government consider PTWs at every opportunity.”

Top 10 motorcycle sales May 2021

  1. Honda: 2,392
  2. Yamaha: 1,717
  3. Triumph: 1,133
  4. BMW: 1,009
  5. Kawasaki: 810
  6. KTM: 652
  7. Lexmoto: 418
  8. Harley-Davidson: 404
  9. Royal Enfield: 397
  10. Ducati: 388

A Look At Honda’s Proposed Clutch-by-Wire System

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by Graeme Jones from https://www.rideapart.com

Computer-assisted clutch would open up new possibilities.

Recent filings with the US Patent Office reveal that Honda is working on a clutch-by-wire system that has the potential to bring some pretty noteworthy tech advances to motorcycles. Patent filings aren’t very easy to understand nor digest, so here’s a Clutch-by-Wire For Dummies version of the basics.

Think about it like a ride-by-wire throttle system, which replaced the age-old throttle cable with an electronic setup. Ride-by-wire, or throttle-by-wire, uses sensors and actuators that control the fuel injectors rather than a cable controlling carbs. Similarly, Honda’s clutch-by-wire system would eliminate the use of a clutch cable or conventional hydraulic setup entirely. Instead, the clutch lever’s position would be monitored electronically, and that data would be fed to the clutch, telling it what to do without any physical connection between the lever and the clutch itself.

Sounds simple, and yet… whoa.

The patent drawings show a hydraulic pressure control unit, which would serve as the heart of this system. In addition to gear lever position, this unit would be fed instantaneous data from the ride-by-wire system like rpm, throttle position, and vehicle speed. The most obvious result would be improved shifting and smoother clutch operation at slower speeds, great for newer riders and possibly something that could bring new blood into the sport.

For experienced riders that still want the usual lever feel, Honda’s got a “reactive force generation device” to replicate the feel of a conventional clutch lever.

According to the patent drawings, this system will employ a traditional clutch lever setup on the handlebar. Hydraulic pressure would still be used to engage the clutch, albeit via an electric motor rather than any direct physical connection from your hand. Neat, huh?

What’s the point, you ask? Well, in theory, this type of setup opens up many possibilities. Like ride-by-wire—which has brought us things like riding modes, traction control and launch control—Honda’s clutch-by-wire will be able to recognize when the clutch lever position isn’t optimal compared to wheel speed, rpm, etc. Smoother, more precise shifts are an obvious reward to this setup, but think about launch control: the motorcycle can now incorporate clutch lever position in addition to existing data like rpm, speed and even wheelie height to further optimize acceleration.

Given Honda’s success with the Dual Clutch Transmission (DCT) setup, we see no reason why this technology won’t become reality in the near future.

Honda’s Summer Model is Anniversary Montesa Cota

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by Cristina Mircea from https://www.autoevolution.com

Honda’s Two Summer Models Are an Anniversary Montesa Cota and a Rincon ATV

A Honda for every need. The Japanese automotive company recently confirmed its 2021 Montesa Cota 301RR trials bike and the 2022 FourTrax Rincon multipurpose ATV and you’ll be able to ride them this summer.

Both designed for off-road powersports, but each with its specific purpose, the new Montesa Cota 301RR, and FourTrax Rincon are designed to please all kinds of off-road enthusiasts. Honda is all about diversity, as confirmed by Brandon Wilson, Advertising & Motorcycle Sports Manager at American Honda, who claims no other manufacturer produces such a varied family of powersports vehicles.

The 2021 Montesa Cota 301RR is a tribute to the early Montesa models, and it’s a special edition meant to celebrate its 75th anniversary, with an included emblem to state it out loud. It comes with a new look, a red fuel tank, and most of the components found in Toni Bou’s Montesa, because why not get inspired by the bike of the 28-time FIM World Champion?

The 299cc four-stroke engine bike with Tech forks will be available starting this July, with a suggested retail price of approximately $11,700.

Moving on to the 2022 FourTrax Rincon ATV, the vehicle spells strength, with its rugged bodywork and steel racks. The ATV is comfortable and maintains Honda’s specific luxury look. Just like the Montesa Cota 301RR, the new Rincon also comes in red, and its three-speed automatic transmission can be shifted using the push buttons on the handlebar. According to Honda, the ATV features a liquid-cooled 675cc single-cylinder with the crankshaft aligned with the vehicle’s direction of travel, for a direct link to the rear axle.

The 2022 FourTrax Rincon will also be available starting July 2021 and has a suggested retail price of approximately $9,500.

But enough said, since a picture is worth a thousand words. We’ll let you feast your eyes on Honda’s new additions, and spread the word to your wallet.

From the past: Honda PC800 Pacific Coast Motorcycle

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by Steven Symes from https://autos.yahoo.com

This is probably the weirdest motorcycle Honda has ever made, but is it collectible?

Quirky, weird, and car-like, the Honda PC800 Pacific Coast emerged for 1989 to woo people out of their Accords and onto two wheels. Amazingly, the bizarre touring motorcycle was manufactured through the 1998 model year, but many people today seem to have forgotten about it. If we didn’t know better, it would almost be like people have collectively tried to forget about the Pacific Coast. However, we figured now is a good time to revisit this now-vintage motorcycle and examine if anything about it could be considered desirable for collectors.

At the other end of the spectrum was the Honda Valkyrie Rune.

The origins of the PC800 go back to 1985 when Honda R&D Americas, Inc. was established in the name of efficiency. That characteristic is, after all, one of the main attractive elements of Hondas, so it seemed to make sense. That meant the same people were developing cars, motorcycles, and other Honda products. We know, we know, the jokes practically write themselves but we’ll leave it at that.

Perhaps the most bizarre products of this shift in strategy was the Honda PC800. Designed as a motorcycle for people who prefer cars, the design was friendlier and more approachable than what you would find with a Harley, Ducati, Suzuki, or even another Honda motorcycle.

The press for the most part were wowed by the PC800. It was portrayed as innovative, forward-thinking, and further testified to the master genius of Honda. Most definitely it was a gamble made at a time when the US economy was strong and companies were more willing to stick their necks out to take a gamble. After all, Honda risked losing a lot of its credibility with motorcycle riders for making such a soft, strange, car-like tourer.

For motorcycle enthusiasts, the PC800 Pacific Coast didn’t have much to offer. After all, it didn’t pack much power, thanks to it borrowing the V-twin from the 1988 Shadow VT800. The upswing was these rides were extremely low-maintenance, with features like automaker tensioners for the chains and hydraulically-adjusted valve clearances. To combat the vibrational tendencies of the 45-degree V-twin engine, Honda engineers not only used offset crankpins, they used four rubber mounts for further damping. After all, car people don’t like to feel that rumbling underneath them.

To make the Honda Pacific Coast even more approachable, engineers added a 5th gear to the VT’s transmission. Power was sent to the rear wheels via a driveshaft, too. A full-cradle frame with 2 rectangular spars on either side of the engine meant more cornering clearance, eliminating a riding difficulty literally felt by many 2-wheel newbies.

What really makes the PC800 car-like is the bodywork. Unlike most motorcycles, this Honda was clad from wheel to wheel is molded plastic. That large rear allowed for a car-like taillight strip. Plus, the rear was hinged, giving riders access to 2 storage compartments, hence it was called The Trunk. A hydraulic shock kept the lid open, just like what Honda owners were used to with their hatchback Civic or Accord.

All that plastic cladding around the engine added to the difficulty of performing maintenance on the PC800. Sure, it looked good to the car people and maybe it made the bike a little more aerodynamic, but when you had to change the oil, pull plugs, or do anything else, all that acreage of plastic was a pain.

Not everything about the Honda PC800 Pacific Coast was bad. In fact, there were some genius designs like fairing guards and pop-off mirrors to reduce the risk of damage if you tipped over the bike. The trunk was made to the watertight, so you can ride this bike through all kinds of nasty weather and not have to worry about your luggage getting soaked.

Honda went big on price for the PC800, charging $7,700 when it debuted in 1989. Americans were feeling playful then, gobbling up the majority made for the debut model year. However, a recession in 1990 cut sales in half. That prompted Honda to pull the motorcycle from the US market, only to bring it back for 1994 once the recession was squarely in the distance. However, sales never came even close to the over 7,000 units sold in 1989, with under a thousand sold most years until Honda finally gave the Pacific Coast the ax after 1998.

This means there aren’t too many PC800s out there. There’s a cult following for these motorcycles, with many former owners pining away after theirs. However, prices don’t indicate these have caught the eyes of enthusiasts or investors, which is good news for those who want to scoop one up for a good deal. At the moment it seems doubtful these Hondas will ever become serious collectibles, but they are an interesting specimen of an experiment by the Japanese brand.