Motorcycle News – January 2014

Welcome to 2014! After a short break I’m finally back at the computer. I’ve barely kept up with the news and emails over the period since it was the longest break I’ve had for awhile. So looking back over the last few weeks the following are my top stories in automotive news:

Story1 – Yamaha to start making cars?

yamaha_motiveYamaha has announced that it will start making its own cars. The first one being the MOTIV.e involving Gordon Murray of F1 fame. The MOTIV.e is of course the platform which various versions of the car could be produced. Eg. Hatch, sedan, sports etc.. However it looks like the first version will take on the SMART FORTWO.

Yamaha makes great motorcycles, sea craft and snow mobiles and of course a range of engines for all sorts of things. It has designed and built engines for Toyota and Ford in the recent past.  Their engines being used in high performance versions and F1 engines indicates their engineering prowess. 

Back to the Motive.e, the engine involved has a 1 litre 3 cylinder engine presumably using the crossplane tech I covered is a prior Yamaha motorcycle (probably donated from the R1) and an electric version producing a headlining 658Nm – 896Nm of torque but mere 15kw-25kW of power. Real world performance for the electric version is claimed: 0-100kph of 15 seconds with a top speed of 105kph and a range of approximately 160km.  Specification of course show that it is designed to be an inner city car. 

Story 2 – DAKAR 2014 rally is on again!

2014_dakarThe DAKAR Rally for 2014 is on again! (in South America) In the ‘Car’ class the race leaders are no longer from multiple major manufacturers since they have largely abandoned the rally due to various reasons. That said these are not’ cars’ you can buy since they have space frames, engines, essentially completely unrelated to the road car! The only manufacturer backed teams are from BMW subsidiary MINI in the permanent class. Which is a pity.

In the ‘Truck class’ all the European brands and sole Indian that you may never heard of are again in the race, KAMAZ, IVECO, TATRA are examples.

Thankfully the motorcycle class and Quad-bike categories have KTM, Yamaha and Honda to keep things interesting. This year the bikes are 450cc since I believe that the 650cc are now too fast! At least these motorcycles can be purchased if you wanted one.

I personally wish that the premier class had production cars rather than rally specials since it would certainly be cheaper and draw a larger TV audience. That said there is the production car class already racing so why not feature them in the coming years?

Regardless it is a great race and one you should try to watch if only for the amazing stories and scenery!