Motorcycle News - CREAM OF THE CROP: Yamaha XT550 by Zombie Gelato
Written by Martin Hodgson
Wherever in the world you go, it’s not long before you find a kindred spirit who shares a love for motorcycles; it’s a truly universal language. But while that passion burns deep across the globe, nowhere is it so heavily ingrained in the national psyche than in the home of road racing, Northern Ireland. So it should come as no surprise that Chris Martin of Belfast got his first bike from his Granny when he was just a wee boy, went to the races with his Dad and now has turned his attention to hand shaping metal and building custom creations. His latest, a Yamaha XT550 will hoon up any hill, haul along on any highway and looks mega doing it.
“I’ve had a passion for motorcycles since I was given a hand me down Honda Chaly from my Granny when I was 7, I rode it in the field behind her house as often as possible,” Chris tells us. The love of two wheels was one shared with his Dad, attending the classic bike shows and sitting on grass banks watching the road racing. For a while, skateboarding took over, but when his Dad passed away in 2009, the Suzuki GT250 he inherited needed some work and the bug bit again. After the little ‘Zuk, things progressed to a BMW R80 that was beautifully transformed, aided by his graphic design background.
But like with any addiction things began to spiral and not content with bolting on bits, Chris bought a cheap English Wheel and started shaping parts. So good were the results, his XS Yamaha with hand made fairings and cowl was accepted into the Bike Shed Show. But it was on a return ride on his BMW with mates from Belfast to London for the Malle Mile that the story of this Yamaha begins. Heading home with the hill climb on their mind, they stopped in at a motorcycle dealer that specialises in importing bikes from the US and with his friend Roger did a deal on the XT.
But when the bike had arrived, parts had been acquired and work started, Roger decided it wasn’t for him and with a gentleman’s agreement Chris took on the project solo. “The plan was for a modern looking enduro scrambler for touring but as if made by someone in the 1950s.” The bike had arrived not running nor import approved, but it did have a powder-coated frame in perfect condition and that would remain uncut. With the bike stripped down, Chris could work out which parts to keep, what to throw in the bin and exactly where he’d apply his metal shaping skills.
But wisely he chose to first get the engine running and it required a total overhaul to get it back into the sort of shape needed to cover endless miles. With many Yamaha spares acquired, the motor is treated to all new bearings, gaskets, and seals, with the head ported and polished before being bolted back down. To ensure reliability in even the worst conditions the stock airbox remains while the rebuilt carb draws air through a replacement K&N filter. Finally, a custom touch is added to unleash some extra ponies and bring the thumper to life with a custom exhaust running tight to the frame.
Putting the Yamaha back into rolling form the front suspension is brought back to its best and the single-shock rear replaced with a new unit from YSS. The front hub is an early TT600 unit that’s rebuilt like the rear with new EBC brakes shoes. These, like the stock rims, have been vapour blasted for a brilliant finish and then all laced together with stainless spokes. To find the right rubber, Chris looked to the king of go anywhere bikes, the BMW G/S and selected the Metzeler Enduro tyre that was developed with the big Bavarian.
Now he could turn his attention to his new love, metal shaping and with a bigger English Wheel and quality Tig welder he set to work. “The tank style is based on the Yamaha XT500 but a bit bigger to take the rear shock through the centre, and I fabricated the rack to accommodate a large duffle bag or six pack of beer, whatever suits.” With the fenders and side covers continuing the theme and serving a very practical purpose. But it’s the front screen that gives the bike a Dakar like appearance and proves perfect for tucking in behind on the long highway stretches. Lights and LED indicators are brilliantly integrated, while a step back in time is preserved with original clocks restored to their 1980s best!
A set of alloy bars from Twenty and Chris’s own USB onboard charger and phone/GPS mount complete the build and he was ready to roll. For the ultimate shakedown run a friend joined him for the long ride from Belfast to Biarittz for Wheels and Waves. But while the small problems that surfaced with the XT were smoothed out, the other rider went high side and flew home leaving Chris to enjoy his finished steed, alone, on the roads and in absolute heaven! Now building a refrigerated sidecar for his R80, @ZombieGelato will become the home of customs and ice cream while @irishhareaeroworks is the place for all your metal shaping needs!
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January 18, 2020 at 05:21AM
Motorcycle News - MO Tested: Pando Moto Steel Black Jeans Review
Pando Moto Steel Black JeansEditor Score: 91.25%
Ever since protective moto-specific jeans hit the market, I’ve been searching to find some that I liked. It’s been a challenge. I’m 5’8” with a 30-inch inseam and pretty muscular thighs – the watermelon-crushing kind. For a long time, it was the fit that bothered me. Euro jeans were too skinny, others were too baggy. Furthermore, jeans built with aramid fiber offer zero stretch to help with fit. Even now that there’s a plethora of jeans on offer from many different brands, I’ve yet to find any that I, personally, am 100% stoked about, be it fit, color, style, etc. At long last, the Pando Moto Steel Black jeans have been like finding the needle in the haystack for me.
The Lithuanian brand, Pando Moto, has been around since 2011 though it’s first step into the international spotlight was at the 2014 edition of EICMA in Milan, Italy. The company was founded as a fashion brand initially. It was the chance encounter of Pando Moto’s offices being located above a Harley-Davidson dealership that brought the company into the technical garment business. Folks from both businesses discussed the lack of technical protective jeans on the market that looked good on and off the bike while being subtle enough to hit the club in. Fast forward and Pando Moto now offers 10 models of protective jeans for men, seven models for women as well as a few jackets and other casual apparel.
Part of the protection in the Pando Moto Steel Black jeans come from a single layer of 13-ounce denim that’s made up of 55% Dyneema. To create a single layer pant, the denim and dyneema are interwoven which means no double or triple lined areas of the pant. The use of Dyneema is what interested me most about the Steel Black jeans.
Dyneema boasts similar properties to Kevlar or aramid fiber, but has more than a few advantages. Dyneema, being a brand name, is to Ultra-High Molecular Weight Polyethylene (UHMwPE) what Kevlar is to aramid fiber (think Kleenex and tissue paper). Dyneema claims to be 15 times stronger than steel (in a weight to weight comparison), is 40% lighter than aramid (because it’s less dense), and thanks to its fibers naturally feeling cool, not absorbing water, and not trapping air, it works quite well when used in garments that may be worn in hot climates (or by people like yours truly who are constantly warm). Really, it seems one of the only disadvantages Dyneema has compared to Kevlar or aramid fiber, is the fact that it’s much less resistant to heat. Kevlar can withstand temperatures nearing 900°F while Dyneema’s degradation begins at a much lower 270°F. I guess I won’t be using them to pull hot swords from the forge. You’re not likely to generate 270°F from friction during an unfortunate slide, though so they should provide ample protection.
Style-wise the jeans look pretty much, well, like normal black jeans. The CE-Level 2 Knox armor that resides in the two-way adjustable pockets on the knees is hardly noticeable. There are also pockets for optional hip protectors as well, though I haven’t tried them. I would say the fit is slim and slightly tapered, but with the impressive amount of stretch, they easily conform to my curves no matter what I’m straddling. In fact, after ordering my typical size 32 and trying them on, I probably would’ve opted to size down. For now, I’ll just wear a belt. Oh yeah, and the Steel Black jeans are just that, dark black. After using the pants during my time riding the Cake Kalk OR, I left it’s stark white seat more than a little darker around the edges, the jeans themselves show a little fading too. Be aware if you plan on resting your seat on any other light-colored saddles.
Other nice touches come by way of Pando Moto’s bespoke buttons and rivets, a sewn-on key ring, large belt loops, and minimal stitching on the outside of the jean to suggest there’s armor under there.
The Pando Moto Steel Black jeans are the pants I grab for quick errands, motorcycle launches where I need to keep it more casual, and really any time I don’t want to be wearing a dedicated moto-pant. The inclusion of Dyneema, the amount of stretch, and the subtlety of the Steel Black are everything I’ve been looking for in a pair of motorcycle jeans. It’s been a long time searching, and I’m glad I found the Pando Moto Steel Black jeans.
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January 17, 2020 at 07:31PM
Motorcycle News - Day-Glo dirt machine: A Hercules GS250 with an 80s vibe
This neon-flavored Hercules GS250 scrambler is an enigma though. It’s tidy enough to do duty as décor in a trendy moto-cafe, but it’s actually heading into a riding season full of abuse.
“This year the bike is to be ridden again off-road and on various tracks,” he says. “And therefore, unfortunately, it will be a little bit destroyed again.”
Enrico found the donor bike almost by accident. He was inspecting an entirely different bike, owned by an older gentleman who had a number of vintage machines in his collection. The sale didn’t work out and Enrico was about to leave—then the old timer told him about a 250 cc motocross bike that had been standing in his basement for the past 25 years.
Hercules was a German manufacturer that was bought by ZF Sachs in 1963, and eventually shuttered in 1996. Hercules had been using Sachs motors before the buyout, and this 1970s GS250 was powered by a Sachs single-cylinder two-stroke.
As for things like rings, seals, gaskets and bearings, those were all sourced from online suppliers.
Despite the period incorrect paint, this Hercules is actually more of a restoration than a mod. Enrico refurbished the original Bing carb and the exhaust system, only shortening the silencer a touch for aesthetic purposes. Everything looks factory fresh, and there’s also a newer 12V electronic ignition wired in.
The wheels were re-laced with black-chromed spokes, and shod with Metzeler’s all-terrain Unicross tires.
There’s a new plastic fender up front, and a classic KTM rear fender that Enrico managed to match up to the Hercules’ rear frame. Since the scrambler’s destined for off-road use only, it’s wearing nothing more than a scrappy number plate up front.
Enrico sent the frame, rims and a few other key parts off for white powder coating. Every other part’s been cleaned up, restored or refurbished, right down to the Hercules’ original sump guard.
We applaud Enrico for breathing life back into this neglected classic, and with such a meticulous approach too. The fact that he’s willing to get his white bike dirty is just the cherry on the cake.
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January 17, 2020 at 11:29AM
F1 News - Formula 1: Saudi Arabia unveil plans for race in 2023
Saudi Arabia has unveiled detailed plans for a new race track that is poised to host Formula 1 from 2023.
The Qiddiyah circuit is part of a new entertainment and sports complex outside the capital Riyadh, designed by ex-F1 driver Alexander Wurz.
Chief executive officer Mike Reininger told BBC Sport the track would be "ready" to host a Grand Prix in 2023.
"We're building a facility in the hope there will be a deal struck and there is a race here in Saudi," he said.
Reininger said negotiations were ongoing between Saudi authorities and F1, adding: "The formalisation of a race is not for us at Qiddiyah. It is outside the confines of the project itself. But we are building a facility that will be able to host a really world-class event as one of the signature items we will have on offer here at Qiddiyah as we open in 2023."
Reininger said he was "not specifically engaged in (the talks with F1) day to day" and that they were "mostly being driven by the general sports authority and the motorsports federation".
Insiders say no deal for Saudi Arabia to host a Grand Prix has yet been finalised but it is an effective fait accompli. F1 declined to comment on the prospect.
The Qiddiyah track was unveiled at an event on Friday, where the circuit was demonstrated on a simulator.
Damon Hill, the 1996 F1 world champion, was among the guests, along with ex-F1 drivers David Coulthard and Nico Hulkenberg, current Haas F1 racer Romain Grosjean and former MotoGP rider Loris Capirossi.
The track is FIA Grade One standard, capable of hosting both F1 and MotoGP, and is part of what Reininger described as "a bigger universe of motorsport activities".
He added: "We are actually building a series of facilities both on-circuit and off-road in one aggregated place which really hasn't been assembled anywhere else in the world like this. The centrepiece for us is going to be the Grade One circuit."
Wurz, the 45-year-old former Benetton, McLaren and Williams driver, two-time Le Mans winner and chairman of the Grand Prix Drivers' Association, is the track designer and a consultant on the project.
The Austrian was not immediately available for comment.
When will the Saudi Grand Prix be?
It is not impossible that Saudi Arabia could hold its maiden Formula 1 event before 2023, but this would require another new circuit to be constructed as a stop-gap.
Alternatively, the Qiddiyah F1 track could potentially be finished before the sites surrounding it, but even then it would not be ready before 2022.
A report this week suggested Saudi Arabia could enter the F1 calendar as early as next year, but senior insiders say that is unlikely to happen.
One reason for that is there is no track that could host F1 - although it is not impossible that a temporary street track could be constructed for next year - and another that F1 is wary of overloading the calendar in the first year of a sweeping new set of regulations being introduced in 2021.
This year's F1 schedule already holds a record 22 races and only the Spanish Grand Prix does not have a contract to continue in 2021.
The human rights question
A grand prix in Saudi Arabia would be lucrative for F1 in terms of hosting fees that would be expected to be in the region of $50m a year but would inevitability draw criticism from human rights groups.
Global sports organisations have been accused of being complicit in what is seen as Saudi Arabia's attempt to 'sports-wash' its poor human rights record.
Amnesty International says Saudi Arabia has "an appalling record on LGBT rights, women's rights, extra-judicial killings, beheadings, the murder of journalist Jamal Kashoggi, and their involvement in the ongoing conflict in Yemen".
And human rights groups point out that while women have been allowed to drive for the last 18 months, Saudi female activists are still in jail for promoting the right to do so in the first place.
Saudi Arabia has recently been making efforts to present an image that it is becoming more liberal, and is in the process of trying to open itself up to the wider world and promote itself as a place to do business and go on holiday.
And those who back holding sports events in controversial places often argue that raising the profile of countries in such a way can bring the issues into the spotlight.
F1 holds races in other countries that have been criticised for their human rights records, most notably Russia, China, Azerbaijan, Bahrain and Abu Dhabi, and has always countered criticism by saying it is a non-political organisation.
The Qiddiyah development is part of a project by Saudi Arabia called Vision 2030 aimed at diversifying the country's economy beyond reliance on the production of fossil fuels.
Reininger described Vision 2030 as "a transformation of the country economically and socially".
The wider Qiddiyah project effectively creates a new city and will extend over 330 square kilometres, including hotels, a theme park, retail and environmental programmes.
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January 17, 2020 at 06:00AM
F1 News - Ferrari sign Leclerc's brother Arthur to young driver programme
Charles Leclerc's younger brother Arthur has been signed up to Ferrari's young driver programme.
Monegasque Arthur Leclerc, 19, is one of two new arrivals, along with 16-year-old Dino Beganovic of Sweden.
Charles Leclerc was on pole position seven times and won two races for Ferrari in 2019, and has been rewarded with a contract until 2024.
Arthur Leclerc raced in Formula 4 in Germany last year, winning once, and is moving up to Formula Regional.
Beganovic was in karting last year and will make his debut in car racing in Formula 4 in 2020.
Ferrari sporting director Laurent Mekies said: "We have been scouting for more talented youngsters and we are happy today to announce that Arthur and Dino are joining us for what's going to be a very exciting season.
"Our focus will be on supporting them the best we can in their development as racing drivers and as young individuals."
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January 17, 2020 at 06:00AM
MotoGP News - Retired three-time champion Jorge Lorenzo to be made MotoGP legend
Retired triple premier class world champion Jorge Lorenzo will be made an official MotoGP legend during this year's Spanish Grand Prix at Jerez.
After a miserable season aboard the factory Honda in 2019, in which he failed to register a top-10 finish, Lorenzo announced on the eve of the Valencia season finale that he would be retiring from racing.
Lorenzo made his grand prix debut in the 125cc class at Jerez in 2002, on the day of his 15th birthday, and spent 18 years in the paddock, winning 68 races in total - including 47 in MotoGP with Yamaha and Ducati - and five world championships across the 250cc and MotoGP classes.
Commenting on his impending induction, which was decided on the day of his retirement, Lorenzo said: "To be named a MotoGP legend makes me extremely happy.
"When I began competing in this world, what I really aspired to do was to get into the world championship.
"To be able to win races and then five world championships is something that far outweighs what I expected, and to be a MotoGP legend is something even more difficult to achieve.
"To be named a legend means, apart from the titles, that you've left a mark on the people and history of this sport.
"I'd like to thank [MotoGP promoter] Dorna and the FIM for their support all these years, and for having included me in this special group of select riders."
Lorenzo is rumoured to return to the MotoGP paddock this year with Yamaha as the Japanese marque's official European test rider.
He is one of three riders who will be named an official MotoGP legend in 2020, with four-time 250cc world champion and double World Superbike title winner Max Biaggi also receiving the honour.
Biaggi's grand prix career began in 1991 in the 250cc class, and he raced in the paddock until 2005, by which time he had tallied up 42 wins - 13 of which coming in the premier class.
In recent years, Biaggi has set up his own Max Racing Team, which contested the Moto3 world championship last season with eventual title runner-up Aron Canet.
Biaggi has also been linked with a MotoGP test outing this year, with Italian media reporting the Aprilia brand ambassador could ride the RS-GP in next month's Sepang test.
New Zealand rider Hugh Anderson, who won the world championship four titles in the now-defunct 50cc and 125cc classes between 1963 and 1965, will also be made an official MotoGP legend.
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January 17, 2020 at 05:39AM
Motorcycle News - 2020 Triumph Thruxton RS Review First Ride
2020 Triumph Thruxton RSEditor Score: 90.5%
The Thruxton namesake is one that has described Triumph’s racing efforts throughout the middle of the past century. Now, the name designates a model that harkens back to those days that’s thoroughly modern while being meticulously designed to look the part of cafe racers from the 1960s. This new Thruxton RS continues to refine and develop Triumph’s factory cafe racer into a machine that will properly haul the mail and look smashing while doing so.
For me, the Thruxton is to sport riding what the Scrambler 1200 is to adventure riding. These machines do a fantastic job at their true intended purposes while delivering the cool retro vibe that make these motorcycles appeal to the general public. These are motorcycles that anyone would walk by on the street and give a second – or third – glance. Though the uninitiated may be unsure whether they’re looking at something from the 60s or perhaps something more modern, the word cool is on the tip of their tongue.
The Thruxton RS looks unequivocally cool, sure, but for us heavy-handed performance-minded (cafe) racers, the RS delivers the highest performing Bonneville in the brand’s 118-year history. As Evans surmised in his review of the 2019 Speed Twin, the Speed Twin’s engine updates that “may out-Thruxton the Thruxton” have indeed trickled up into the Thruxton RS, delivering more power and performance with efficiency.
The Thruxton RS’s 1200cc Parallel Twin features a 270-degree firing order as well as a full host of internal upgrades and weight savings that I’m told amounts to a 20% reduction in inertia, allowing the RS to spin more freely all the way to its 500-rpm higher redline. Triumph claims 104 hp at 7,500 rpm, which means the RS is making peak power 750 revs further into its rpm range than the Thruxton R. Much like the Triple family of RS models, the Thruxton’s motor spins up quickly into its powerband allowing you to keep revving it out longer than its siblings. This feature I was quite happy with after only bouncing it off the limiter a few times during our spirited test ride around the Portuguese countryside.
Roderick mentioned in his review of the 2016 Thruxton R that it’s not so much the horsepower that provides the Thruxton with its surprising performance, but the torque. Although the torque figure claim hasn’t changed from Triumph’s Thruxton R at 83 lb-ft, that torque is now available 700 rpm lower at 4,250 on the 2020 RS. North of that number the Thruxton will launch out of a corner like it’s been shot out of a cannon. Of the three ride modes, sport delivers the snappiest throttle response with road smoothing things out a bit while still giving all she’s got. Rain… well, who cares. Kidding! The ride modes also affect traction control intervention, with sport receiving the least and rain keeping things more than a little reined in.
One of the things I appreciate most that Triumph has done across its model range is the crispness of its fueling and feeling at the throttle. There is little free play, and any on/off throttle abruptness that the previous model was plagued with has been worked out. Though I kept the RS in sport mode during most of our ride, road mode delivers full power with progressive smooth throttle response that will do just fine for commuting or any other daily activities. Traction control can be disabled entirely should one find the need to loft the front wheel, while ABS is now a permanent fixture due to Euro regulations.
Forward thrust is great, but being able to match that acceleration with braking performance is equally or perhaps more important. Radially-mounted Brembo M50 calipers are standard issue on the RS, delivering powerful stopping power to dual 310mm rotors while being easily modulated from feedback at the adjustable lever. On the other side of the bars, lever pull is now made even lighter with the torque assist clutch, which uses a reduced-size clutch package, allowing engineers to make the entire engine narrower. Shifting is equally positive and without slop at the foot lever. Spoked tube-type 17-inch wheels are wrapped with Metzeler Racetec RR rubber, a welcome addition providing the Thruxton RS with befitting rubber for its performance ability.
Geometry and suspension remain unchanged from the R model. A nice steep 22.8-degree rake and short 3.62-inches of trail coupled with a relatively short 55.7 inches of wheelbase make the Thruxton eager to handle a set of curves. We were lucky during our ride to have a sampling of tight switchbacks, long fast sweeping curves, and everything in between, all of which the Thruxton RS could be tossed into with stability and ease. The only niggle I found whilst snaking through the Portuguese bends, was when trail braking, the motorcycle had a tendency of wanting to stand up while leaned over in a curve. A fully-adjustable Showa 43 mm big piston fork provides 4.7 inches of travel up front while the Öhlins twin shocks with piggyback reservoirs provide the same amount of adjustability and travel in the rear. The up-spec suspension does a good job of handling the Thruxton’s girth which is probably somewhere around 470 pounds at the kerb (Triumph says 434 dry) a figure we’re told is 13 pounds less than the R.
It’s been a minute since I’ve sat on a Triumph Thruxton. After a full day of riding without sore wrists, knees, back, or bottom, I was thoroughly impressed that the sporty ergos didn’t take the toll a modern sportbike would on the body after eight or more hours of riding. The wide-ish clip-on handlebars are comfortably placed, the footpegs aren’t too high and provide ample ground clearance (though I did drag them on the pavement a few times), seat to handlebar isn’t too much of a reach, and the seat itself was one of the more comfortable ones that I’ve sat on for some time despite being somewhat slim. The tank shape was the only thing that provided any kind of pause when considering the bike’s ergos. Having gotten used to modern motorcycles’ ergonomically engineered fuel tanks, I realized that the Thruxton’s tank’s form over function design prevented me from using my thighs to brace myself against the tank as much as I normally do. Even then, it’s easy to get used to.
The RS keeps the R’s dual clocks up front with a small LCD display in each offering trip info, rider mode, fuel level, gear indicator, and average fuel consumption among other standard information. This touch combined with the RS’s polished triple tree, a Monza-style fuel cap, and brushed aluminum tank strap lend a handsome elegant British racing authenticity to the Thruxton RS. Tucked away under the seat is a USB port and case for charging whatever device you may find yourself needing to charge.
The Triumph Thruxton RS is now the most expensive edition of the trio at $16,200. That makes the RS just $800 more than the R model, and $3,200 more than the base Thruxton. From the R model to the RS, for me, the upgrades to the engine are worth the $800 alone, while those considering the base model will need to decide whether the sportier suspension is worth it for their needs and expectations. Without the chance to ride the base model back-to-back with the R or RS, I can’t comment on the base suspension setup.
During our presentation Triumph had a couple of kitted out Thruxton RSs in the conference room, one of which had the “Track Racer” kit, which included, among other bits, the gorgeous factory fairing that’s available as one of more than 80 accessories for the bike. We’re told the color-matched front fairing has been the most purchased accessory and it’s easy to see why. It would be first on my list of upgrades, or maybe second after replacing the massive DOT-mandated turn signals.
Triumph says they’ve sold more than 16,000 Thruxtons since 2016 and over 40,000 since 2006. If the trend continues, the market seems hot for the old school repli-racer. Triumph NA says we can expect the Thruxton RS to be landing in dealerships in April 2020. The new model is available in a gloss Jet Black and Matt Storm Grey and Silver Ice, both of which look fantastic. Also, don’t fret, if you have a special someone you’d like to bring along with you, Triumph will offer an optional pillion seat accessory for non-EU markets such as North America.
There it is, another modern classic from Triumph brimming with modern performance in an exquisitely vintage-style motorcycle. I’m liking this trend of properly performing modern classics from the British bike maker. Thanks, Triumph, the Thruxton RS takes the company’s Bonneville line to a sporting level it has yet to see, and we couldn’t be more stoked about it.
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January 16, 2020 at 03:48PM
F1 News - Formula 1: W Series to be undercard at two races in 2020
The female-only W Series will feature on the Formula 1 support-race bill for the first time this year.
Races at the United States and Mexican Grands Prix in 2020 will be the climax to the W Series' second season.
W Series advisory board chairman and ex-F1 driver David Coulthard said it is "a truly impressive development".
F1 managing director Ross Brawn said: "W Series has contributed significantly to increasing interest in the topic of diversity and inclusion in motorsport."
The move is a significant vote of confidence for the new series, which was set up in 2019 with the intention of raising the profile of motorsport among women and the ultimate ambition of helping find a female F1 driver.
The last woman to race in F1 was Italian Lella Lombardi, who scored half a point with a sixth-place finish in the 1975 Spanish Grand Prix.
Racing on an F1 weekend is likely to enhance the W Series' standing around the world and will bring it to the attention of many thousands more fans at the track - the races in Austin and Mexico City are among the best-attended on the F1 calendar.
Brawn added: "We are convinced that our sport must offer equal opportunities for men and women to compete together.
"It is no coincidence that improving the diversity of the F1 grid by supporting and promoting driver talent from under-represented backgrounds is one of our strategic objectives.
"The ability for the great crowds who traditionally attend the Austin and Mexico City Grands Prix to see these talented female drivers up close will definitely further raise the awareness of the importance of inclusion and diversity in motorsport."
W Series chief executive officer Catherine Bond Muir said: "We at W Series are absolutely delighted that, in only our second season, our championship has been welcomed by Formula 1, and we're utterly thrilled that the final two races of the 2020 W Series season will therefore take place as part of the Formula 1 platform.
"Interest in and enthusiasm for W Series was enormous in our first season, 2019, among media and fans alike, and the addition of two all-new W Series races on the Formula 1 platform will inevitably increase that enthusiasm and interest."
Coulthard - who won 13 grands prix for Williams and McLaren in a 14-year career and is now an analyst for Channel 4's F1 coverage among other business commitments - added: "The announcement demonstrates very clearly the extent to which W Series has quickly been widely accepted as part of the international motorsport calendar."
Jamie Chadwick, the 2019 W Series champion, won a place at the Williams F1 team as development driver with impressive performances in the opening races last year. She has retained that position for 2020, and is racing in the W Series again this year too.
The other six W Series events will support the DTM German Touring Car Championship, as last year.
Full W Series 2020 schedule:
30 May - Russia (St Petersburg)
13 June - Sweden (Anderstorp)
27 June - Italy (Monza)
11 July - Germany (Norisring)
23 August - UK (Brands Hatch)
5 September - Netherlands (Assen)
24 October - USA (Austin)
31 October - Mexico (Mexico City)
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January 16, 2020 at 01:30AM
Motorcycle News - Riding Gear – Racer Forge Heated Gloves
Modern battery technology isn’t just improving electric cars and smartphones. Better batteries now mean more comfortable rides deep into the heart of winter – without stringing yourself up in wires. A joint effort between riding gear retailer Urban Rider and glove company Racer France, these Racer Forge Heated Gloves utilize two rechargeable 7.4-volt lithium-ion batteries that lie conveniently flat inside the cuff of each glove.
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January 15, 2020 at 11:30PM
Motorcycle News - 2020 Polaris Slingshot Announced with New ProStar Engine and Automatic Transmission
Polaris Industries has updated its Slingshot three-wheeler for 2020, giving it a new 1997cc four-cylinder engine, an automatic transmission, revised suspension and a redesigned cockpit. In all, Polaris says the 2020 Slingshot features “70% new vehicle content” in its first major update since its introduction in 2015.
“We are excited to announce Slingshot’s first-ever automatic style transmission. Our new AutoDrive transmission will open the door for more people to get in, stand out, and take their driving experience to a whole new level,” says Mike Dougherty, President of Polaris Slingshot. “With roughly 70 percent all-new content, we left no stone unturned both inside and out. The all-new ProStar 2.0L engine delivers more power and more fun, while the completely redesigned cockpit and interior elevates the shared experience for both the driver and their passenger.”
EDITOR’S NOTE: The issue of whether or not the Polaris Slingshot should count as a motorcycle has gone on, also since its inception. No, it doesn’t look like a traditional motorcycle, whatever your definition of that includes. From a regulatory perspective, however, the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration considers three-wheelers like the Slingshot to be motorcycles, though there are efforts to re-classify them as a new category called “autocycles”. In many states, a motorcycle endorsement is required to operate a Slingshot, and Polaris advises wearing DOT-approved full-face helmets and seatbelts while riding a Slingshot.
In our eyes here at Motorcycle.com, this makes the Slingshot worth writing about, even if some readers disagree. If you don’t want to read about the Slingshot, you don’t have to. But for those that do, we’ve got you covered. But if you still feel that strongly that Motorcycle.com should not write about the Slingshot, you’re welcome to leave us some feedback here.
As we were first to report back in November, the new engine was designed by Polaris and will replace the 2.4l GM Ecotec engine that powered the first generation of Slingshots. The ProStar 2.0l engine is actually the first four-cylinder engine ever produced by Polaris Industries, and will be offered in two states of tune. On the 2020 Slingshot SL model, the engine claims a peak output of 178 hp at the 8500 rpm redline and 120 lb-ft. at 5500 rpm, while the 2020 Slingshot R claims 203 hp at 8250 rpm and 144 lb-ft. 6500 rpm. By comparison, the Ecotec engine’s claimed 173 hp at 6200 rpm and 166 lb-ft. at 4700 rpm with a rev limit at 7200 rpm.
Along with the new engine comes Polaris’ new “AutoDrive” transmission. Polaris describes it as a “hydraulically actuated manual five-speed transmission”. It’s not a CVT as it shifts through five different gear ratios, but shifting is done completely automatically unlike, say, Honda’s DCT which still gives the rider the option of changing gears at the press of a button. For those who want complete control over shifting, the 2020 Slingshot R is also available with a five-speed manual transmission.
The 2020 Slingshot offers two ride modes, “Comfort” for more leisurely rides, and “Slingshot” mode for a sportier experience. The modes are accessible through the Slingshot’s new Ride Command infotainment system with a 7-inch color display. The updated system uses a new quad-core processor for a snappier response, and Polaris says the screen is brighter and more visible at further viewing angles than the previous system. The Ride Command system offers turn-by-turn navigation and phone connectivity, as well as AM/FM radio, with sounds pumping out of the Slingshot’s 100-watt Rockford Fosgate audio system.
Other features include a new front end design, LED headlights, new front accent lighting, a 7.5-inch wind screen, revised suspension and an updated frame. The Slingshot SL comes with cast aluminum wheels while the Slingshot R’s wheels are forged aluminum.
The 2020 Polaris Slingshot SL starts at $26,499 and is available in Red Pearl or Blue Steel color options. The Slingshot R ups the price to $30,999, and a choice of Stealth Black or Miami Blue two-tone paint schemes.
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January 15, 2020 at 05:43PM