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Ridefast January 2021

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MOTUL News Of The World.

MOTUL News Of The World. Production begins on 2020 MV Agusta Superveloce 800 Serie Oro and standard models A year on from showing their first concept model at Eicma 2018, MV Agusta has now confirmed production has begun on their retro-inspired Superveloce 800 range. Using the same 798cc liquidcooled three-cylinder engine as the F3, producing 145bhp at 13,000rpm and 65ftlb at 10,600rpm, the motor has been re-worked for greater midrange grunt, with the Superveloce designed more for casual road riding than a trackday skirmish. This is complete with an eight-way traction control system, riding modes, and an up and down quickshifter. For more punch, the Serie Oro comes equipped with a triple exit race exhaust, which boosts power to 151bhp at 13,250rpm. This is characterised by two exits on the right of the bike and a further pipe on the left, rather than the standard bikes’ three-exit exhaust, which all overlap on the right-hand-side, in a similar style to the F3. This is housed within a frame again lifted from the F3 800, comprising of a cast-ally rear and trellis front section, complete with a bespoke clock housing and rear subframe designed specifically for this model. Shrouding this is a striking retro-inspired fairing, which MV claims pays tribute to their past racing success. Masking all screws and fixing points to the frame, the limited Serie Oro features largely carbon-fibre components, with the base model’s fairings instead made of a thermoplastic to help reduce cost. Both bikes also feature and LED lighting at the front and rear. To help the Serie Oro stand out from the standard bike, a number of CNC-processed parts have also been added, including a fuel filler cap, complete with a leather strap. An aluminium ring is found around both the front and rear lights, too. Away from the styling, the Superveloce also gets a 5in TFT screen derived from the Brutale 1000 Serie Oro, which allows riders to monitor incoming calls, messages and music via Bluetooth. Once equipped with the ‘MV Ride App’, settings such as fuel maps and traction control can also be altered remotely. Alongside this, the Serie Oro also an anti-theft tracking function. Very, very cool! Norton Motorcycles set to resume production. New Norton motorcycles are about to roll off the production line after nearly 12 months of inactivity. Since April when Indian firm TVS bought Norton for £16m - a huge amount of work has been going on behind the scenes to get the brand back on its feet. “The first bikes to be built will be 40 Commandos,” says the company’s interim CEO John Russell. “We have some of these on order from previous customers and there will probably be a few left over. It’s a bike people love.” And those bikes will be built at a new facility in Solihull, England after the firm relocated from Hastings House at Donington Hall. Russell adds: “We want to change from a cottage industry to a credible motorcycle manufacturer. We have set up an interim factory in Solihull and are laying down the production lines now. Even though it is temporary (probably for the next 4-5 years) it will still probably be the best facility Norton have ever had. “Architects are working to help us create a facility capable of producing high quality products. It is getting real now. It is a 20-year-old building suited to manufacturing. Production is about to start.” Once the Commando orders have been fulfilled the outstanding V4 machines will be built. And then attention will turn to the Atlas. “That bike still needs some development and we will be sourcing some of the components from different suppliers. It’s a bike that has the right weight and riding position to suit the less experienced and those wanting a bike without too much drama. “That should see us through the next 18 months and then we will start looking at new opportunities. We want Norton to be quintessentially British. Selfassured, sturdy, an Aston Martin rather than a Ferrari. “We want there to be substance and we won’t just be sticking Union Jacks everywhere. We want to make great products that just so happen to be British and they will be manufactured in Britain. But we won’t always be buying British parts. The motorcycle industry is multi-national and you can’t always get the best tech in the UK.” And, despite the rocky recent history of the company, Russell has been astounded by the positive reaction he’s been getting from suppliers, employees and even customers. “The positivity and trust has been staggering. The goodwill still exists and TVS has been warmly welcomed.” Even Covid-19 has failed to knock the company too far off track. Russell reveals: “Doing everything remotely has been difficult. We’ve got a huge amount of support from India but it has been impressive how everyone has adapted. “When you are trying to capture a passion for bikes it is more difficult doing that remotely. We have still managed to create that, but it has slowed us down a bit.” Kawasaki working on hybrid bikes and AI assistants (Yup!) Kawasaki, the people who bring us some of the most powerful Petrol powered motorcycles in the universe, are exploring hybrid technology and motorcycles with artificial intelligence as they consider the future of motorcycling. Following on from their unveiling of an electric prototype at Eicma 2019, Kawasaki say they are now exploring the “possibilities of hybrid technology” with a bike that combines a small “clean running” petrol powered engine with an electric motor and battery power. “Addressing the contemporary issues of overall electric vehicle range and the trend for many cities across the world to declare zero emission credentials, the new hybrid two-wheeler is still at an early stage but illustrates well the diversity of Kawasaki research into emerging vehicle systems,” says Masanori Inoue, General Manager of Marketing and Sales at Kawasaki. Although details are scarce on the exact nature of the machine Kawasaki are working on, they say its ability to switch from petrol to electric seamlessly would be good for “short to middle distance commuters”. To demonstrate this, Kawasaki have released a video that shows the bike running on a dyno, switching from electric to petrol power and a combination of both. The idea is that riders could ride to the outskirts of a city under petrol power, then continue into the centre on electric power only. Other manufacturers have dabbled with this already – Honda already have a hybrid scooter on sale, albeit not in the UK – whereas others such as BMW have dismissed hybrid bikes due to issues with size and weight. However Kawasaki says that the key to unlocking the technology has come from an unlikely place: Trams. Kawasaki Heavy Industries manufacture all sorts of large scale equipment, including scalable nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) batteries they call Gigacells. These Gigacells are already in use on electric trams in Sapporo, with more research on going. Kawasaki aren’t yet sure if NiMH batteries will be the final power supply for a hybrid bike but they’re confident with their experience they can find a solution. In another slightly Tomorrow’s World experience, Kawasaki have also been experimenting with motorcycle AI. Currently being trialled with a group of riders in Japan, the AI concept uses an in-helmet voice interface that allows riders to ask the bike questions. It can be simple stuff such as ‘how much fuel range do I have?’ to more complex questions like ‘what’s the weather at my destination?’ or ‘how’s the traffic on route?’. Perhaps we should ask it, ‘Where is this all going?’…