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Motorcycle Legend Colin Seeley Dead At 84

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by Janaki Jitchotvisut from https://www.rideapart.com

Legendary British motorcycle frame builder and racer Colin Seeley passed away after a long illness on January 7, 2020, at the age of 84. A lifelong engineering genius, Seeley’s seemingly endless curiosity combined with a passionate love for motorcycles meant he figured out his life’s general direction from an early age. The motorcycle world was better for it, and indeed, would not be what it is today without his contributions.

Seeley did all kinds of racing from 1954 to 1967, but made a name for himself in sidecar racing. Once retired from that phase of his career, he took up residence in his workshop—and might perhaps be most well-known for the incomparable frames he made for Nortons and other British motorcycles of the day.

However, of significant note as well were the frames he eventually made for ‘70s Japanese motorcycles, such as this sumptuous 1973 Seeley-Kawasaki H2A. By this point, Kawasaki’s engine-building prowess far outstripped the torsional rigidity of its available frames—but Seeley’s excellent engineering and execution handily solved that problem.

Stick these powerful, technically-exemplary-for-their-time engines inside a frame that can properly direct all that power, and you’re in business! Privateer racers loved Seeley frames as well, and he did a thriving business in both road-going and racing machines.

Even now, in the first quarter of the 21st century, vintage racers still win events by riding Seeley-framed machines, including twelve wins at the Manx Grand Prix. In later life, Seeley dedicated his time to charity work, founding the Joan Seeley Pain Relief Memorial Trust in 1979, in honor of his late first wife.

Seeley’s contributions to the motorcycling world will always be valued, and he will be greatly missed. We at RideApart extend our deepest sympathies to his family and friends in this difficult time.

NAWA’s Radical Electric Motorcycle Highlights The Potential Of Supercapacitors In EVs

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by Bill Roberson from https://www.forbes.com/

Despite the fact that they have built an electric motorcycle, French tech company NAWA Technologies, or just NAWA for short, isn’t in the business of building electric motorcycles – they build batteries. But maybe they should reconsider the motorcycle market option, especially in light of the one-off bike they did just indeed build, because it’s a serious looker packed with possibly industry-changing technologies.

The NAWA Racer’s sleek, minimalist styling comes courtesy of a collaboration with Envisage Group, who have been involved with Jaguar and other brands that want some cool lines with their new tech. One highlight is a hubless rear wheel, although the bike is covered in cool touches including the wrap-around LED taillight and duck-tailed seat.

But beyond the slick lines and hubless rear hoop of the NAWA Racer, the cafe-racer inspired from-the-future motorbike carries an underlying technology that significantly boosts performance and could signal a significant step forward for electric motorcycle performance – or the performance potential of anything that needs batteries for motive power, including electric cars.

NAWA has added a supercapacitor to the Racer (NAWA calls it an ultracapacitor, and have branded it as NAWACap), and the short version of the technese is this: A supercapacitor is similar to a battery, except it can be charged in seconds, and can then dump that charge at an extremely high rate – far beyond what a battery can provide – for an instant boost in power. It can also repeat that feat millions of times without any substantial performance losses. NAWA isn’t the first company to put a supercapacitor into service; supercar maker Lamborghini is integrating a supercapacitor system into their new Sián hypercar (sorry, but all 63 are sold out at $3.6 million per copy).

According to information provided by NAWA, the Racer has a relatively small 9kWh lithium-ion battery pack, and a .1kWh NAWACap ultracapacitor located in the upper pod above the pack in the frame. The inclusion of the NAWACap system has multiple advantages. Since it can be charged in seconds by regenerative braking (preferably) or the Li-ion battery (or both), it’s pretty much always ready to give a power boost when physics puts the largest load on the battery: From a stop or during hard acceleration. NAWA claims the racer can go 0-60 in about three seconds with a top speed of about 100 miles an hour. The Racer’s motor puts out about 100 horsepower, and NAWA says that since the supercapacitor system cuts down on needed battery capacity, the Racer weighs in at about 330 pounds – far lighter than some current electric motorcycles like the Zero SR/F, which tips the scales at 485 pounds with a 14.4kWh battery. That improved power-to-weight ratio also helps in performance metrics and improves handling.

Additionally, the NAWACap system extends the urban range of the Racer since the motor can be smaller, lighter and has to push less weight around. NAWA is claiming 186 miles of urban range, where the NAWACap system will be in its element, sucking up free electrons from the regenerative braking system in stop-and-go traffic. Highway range would be less, of course.

The Lamborghini Sián and the NAWA Racer are shining more light on both an ongoing problem and a potential elegant solution around the limitations of lithium-ion batteries, which currently power pretty much every electric car, hybrid, electric motorcycle, ebike and cell phone in the world. The problem? Lithium-ion batteries, wondrous as they are, take a relatively long time to charge. Also, they are not able to dump power into a drivetrain at a very high rate – unless you can pile a literal ton of them into your vehicle, as Tesla and others have done, but which you cannot do with a weight-sensitive machine like a motorcycle. Also, batteries can catch fire if severely damaged, and their lifespan is limited. Capacitors, which have been around for about as long as electricity, have none of those problems – but there’s a reason we don’t use them as long-term energy storage devices just yet: They are not able to hold a charge over long periods of time like a battery, and they currently have low energy density compared to most batteries. If those issues could be solved, they would touch on the holy grail of battery technology: The Solid State Battery.

To put this in perspective, consider that if a Tesla used supercapacitors (or a solid state battery) instead of a lithium-ion battery pack, you could likely charge it in a fraction of the time it now takes to fill a traditional car with gas. As in: A minute or so. Additionally, an array of supercapacitors would also be able to pump huge amounts of energy into a vehicle’s drive system, resulting in incredible acceleration even beyond the feats of Ludicrous Mode and so on. But again, because they cannot hold a charge for long and have low energy density, they are not yet practical for uses as a primary energy storage system. NAWA’s solution with the Racer? The battery/supercapacitor hybrid.

Just like battery technology, capacitor tech isn’t standing still either. Work is ongoing on making supercapacitors even more super by lengthening the time they can hold a charge and otherwise improving every other aspect of their performance. While powering vehicles with supercapacitors was once something talked about on the fringes of EV R&D forums, the tech is now heading mainstream, and we should expect to see more vehicles with ever better supercapacitors in the near future. For now, all we can do is hope some OEM slips a check under the door at NAWA Technologies and brings something like the Racer to market sooner than later.

If you’re going to be in Las Vegas for CES 2020, check out the NAWA Racer at their booth in Eureka Park.

Dull Yamaha XSR900 Turns Into Convoluted Naked Racer

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by Daniel Patrascu from https://www.autoevolution.com

On the market as a naked motorcycle paying tribute to the classic bikes of old, the Yamaha XSR900 somehow manages not to be a real head-turner. At least not in factory specification, because when custom builders get down to business, it turns into something else entirely.

The factory-made motorcycle is as basic as it gets from a design standpoint, lacking all the unnecessary elements that on other two-wheelers cover the front and side. But given enough imagination and just a few extra elements, the XSR900 can look quite appealing.

The motorcycle depicted in the gallery above is called Type 11 and started life as a Yamaha XSR900. It was born after hours and hours of work on three different prototypes, at the hands of a London-based custom builder by the name of Auto Fabrica.

The bike no longer looks bare and simple, but features flowing lines – obvious especially when it comes to the long, curved exhaust – that make you think the bike is no longer slamming against the incoming air, but rather flowing through it.

That’s mostly because of the way in which the fuel tank has been shaped and extended to embrace the handlebars, and then end with the large, round headlight.

The changes made to the Yamaha are not only visual. The Type 11 uses Ohlins forks and socks, the steel exhaust we mentioned earlier, painted black, and carbon-nylon parts in the radiator. Also, there’s Alcantara on the seat and aluminum on the grips.

Auto Fabrica says it will build this bike in limited numbers, and only to order. That means the personalization options go even further, and each client will have the right to ask for the desired specifications.

No pricing for the custom build has been announced. More details on the Auto Fabrica Type 11 can be found at this link.

200-horsepower Honda mows its way into the record books

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Honda’s Mean Mower V2 might have wrestled back the title of world’s fastest lawnmower for the Japanese factory, with a 150.99-mph (243-km/h) top speed, a power-to-weight ratio better than a Bugatti Chiron and the fastest 0-100 mph time in history for a lawn care vehicle.

Using the 4-cylinder engine from a CBR1000RR Fireblade motorcycle that produces 200 hp at 13,000 rpm, a custom-built, ultra-lightweight frame and a set of standard bodywork from a regular ol’ Honda HF 2622 lawn tractor, Honda and its British Touring Car Championship partner Team Dynamics put together a screaming beast of a thing in an attempt to take back the title of World’s Fastest Lawnmower.

Honda held this profoundly silly record back in 2013, and was a little miffed when a Norwegian team bundled a 408-hp Corvette motor into a Viking T6 and took the title off them in 2015.

But the Viking’s record of 134 mph (215 km/h) was no match for the Mean Mower V2, which just squeaked past its goal of hitting 150 mph (241 km/h) at the Dekra Lausitzring, near Dresden, last week. It also set a new world record in acceleration for a lawnmower, if such a thing had ever existed before, by blasting its way from 0-100 mph (0-161 km/h) in 6.29 seconds.

Honda’s press release curiously only celebrates this acceleration title, so there’s a chance it couldn’t officially prove the top speed run in both directions, within an hour, which are the official requirements for a Guinness World Record in this category. Either that, or the Japanese company thinks this whole high-speed mower shebang is getting a bit dangerous and wants to put a stop to it.

We suspect the former; breaking the top speed record was the only thing Honda spoke of in its July press release, and now Dave Hodgetts, the Managing Director of Honda UK, is saying things like “After taking the top speed record in 2014, we wanted to do something a little different by setting an all-new record for acceleration.” Did you really, Dave? Or are you salvaging an acceleration record out of an unsuccessful top speed attempt?

Mystery and intrigue, folks. Either way, in case anyone’s asking, yes, it can cut grass. And it can do so at speed – although how good of a job it can do at freeway speeds may be another issue altogether.

Enjoy a fun video of the record attempt below, with racer and stunt driver Jess Hawkins at the wheel.

Hot-rod heartthrob : Campagna V13R

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Hot-rod heartthrob : Campagna V13R
Get a Ride to Thrill Your Senses
by Ujjwal Dey

Distinctive American V-Twin engine sound is ultimately the best selling point of the V13R. It roars and with custom exhaust you will get noticed a mile before you arrive. Just four-and-half inches off the ground, you feel one with the twists and pace of the road ahead. The heart of this hot rod is a Harley Davidson V-Rod engine. The soul is the design unique to Campagna.

READ THE FEATURE ARTICLE HERE – Click Me

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