Photos from 250+ Feet up COTA’s Petrolsaurus Rex

Standing 251 feet above Turns 16, 17, & 18, the COTA observation tower provides a bird’s eye view of just about every tun on the circuit, if you can stomach its subtle sway in the wind and clear-glass floor at the precipice. Officially called by COTA as the “Observation Tower” – it really needs a better name for casual conversation. We’ve heard COTA Cobra used a few times with some lovely alliteration, but the structure has always struck us as less snake-like, and more like a big dinosaur — we’re going to use the name “Petrolsaurus Rex” until I hear something better, or COTA sends me a cease and desist order. I climbed to the top of Petrolsaurus Rex (read: took the elevator) during the MotoGP Warm-Up session, and snapped a few photos in the process. Enjoy!

MV Agusta F3 800 Ago Now Officially Debuts

We already announced the bike last November, and brought you a bevy of hi-res images of the special edition machine. Although now that we think of it, MV Agusta never released anything on this Giacomo Agostini tribute motorcycle — better late than never, right? Back at the EICMA show launch, where the MV Agusta F3 800 Ago was first shown to the public (and Agostini himself), the Varese brand promised us two additional motorcycle launches in early 2014. MV Agsuta made good on half that promise with the Dragster 800 model, hopefully this Ago special edition isn’t the other half of that statement, and MV Agusta still has something waiting in the wings. That being said, the Tricolore & Gold paint scheme is gorgeous, and looks even better in person.

Isle of Man TT Gets TV Deal for Australia & USA

Want to watch the Isle of Man TT from the comfort of your non-British TV, but haven’t been able to in the past? A new TV from the Isle of Man’s Department of Economic Development will do just that. Inking a new TV contract with North One TV, the Isle of Man TT will be televised in the American, Australian, and of course British markets, making it easier than ever to watch the iconic road race. With a five-year contract with the Velocity Channel in the US, the American cable channel will show seven one-hour race shows. Each segment will air within 24hrs of each race, and be tailored for the American market.

Castiglioni Denies Fiat Buyout of MV Agusta Is in the Works

After reporting 22% growth in Q1 2014, Giovanni Castiglioni had some closing words about the rumors that Fiat could acquire MV Agusta — a popular rumor that has been swirling around in the press the last two months. Denying outright that MV Agusta had, or was in, talks with the Fiat-Chrysler group about an acquisition (some reports linked even MV Agusta to being bought by Fiat-owned Ferrari), Castiglioni said the Italian company solely was focused on building growth, and building motorcycles. “Moreover, I’d like to take this opportunity to deny rumours circulated by the media over the last few days concerning supposed negotiations vis-à-vis the sale of a share of MV Agusta to the Fiat-Chrysler Group,” said Giovanni Castiglioni, the President and CEO of MV Agusta.

A 2WD Hybrid-Electric Motorcycle for the US Military?

In the coming years, US special forces may be riding a tw0-wheel drive, hybrid-electric, multi-fuel motorcycle co-developed by BRD Motorcycles and Logos Technologies. Helping make this project possible is a Small Business Innovation Research grant from DARPA. The goal is to make a single-track vehicle for US expeditionary and special forces that will be nearly silent in operation, yet also capable of traveling long distances. Details on the proposed machine are light, of course, but it sounds like the 2WD dirt bike will be based off the BRD RedShift MX (shown above), and use an electric drivetrain, as well as a multi-fuel internal combustion engine to achieve its goals.

Colin Edwards Will Retire from Racing after 2014 Season

Announcing his decision during the pre-event press conference for the Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas, Colin Edwards told the assembled press that 2014 would be the Texan’s last season racing a motorcycle. Citing a lack of improvement on his performance in pre-season testing and at the Qatar GP, Edwards decision perhaps answers the lingering question in the paddock of when the American rider would hang-up his spurs after an illustrious career in AMA, WSBK and MotoGP. Talking about his inability to come to terms with the Forward Yamaha, which Aleix Espargaro was able to take to the front of the pack in Qatar, Edwards was at a loss when it came to understanding the Open Class machine and his lack of results.

MSF Updates Its Basic RiderCourse Curriculum

It is no surprise that statistics from the NHTSA show that motorcycle accidents and injuries are on the rise. According to the 2012 Motor Vehicle Crash report published by the NHTSA, motorcycle fatalities for that year rose to 4,957, up seven percent from 2011, while injuries increased 15% to 93,000. While the NHTSA statistics are misleading because the motorcycle category includes mopeds, scooters, three-wheelers, pocket bikes, mini bikes, and off-road vehicles, new riders need every advantage they can afford. The Motorcycle Safety Foundation has taken notice of these statistics and has revised the curriculum for its Basic RiderCourse to include a new Basic eCourse, which students will take prior to in-person instruction.

Yamaha Trademarks “R1S” & “R1M” at USPTO – “YZF-R1M” Trademarked Abroad – But Why?

Are new Yamaha YZF-R1 models coming down the pipe? That’s the question being asked after trademark filings in the US and abroad tipped off Yamaha Motor’s intention to use “R1S”, “R1M”, and “YZF-R1M” for motorcycle, scooter, and three-wheeled purposes. The filings are being taken as hints towards a possible multiple trim levels of the Yamaha YZF-R1 superbike, with the “S” and “M” designations being different spec machines than the current base model. The “S” nomenclature is a popular one in the two and four-wheeled world, though “M” would certainly be a novel designation, outside of say…BMW.

Bell & COTA Create Texas-Themed Limited-Edition Helmet

Continuing its theme of making limited-edition helmets for premier-class US rounds, Bell Helmets has teamed up with the Circuit of the Americas and Chris Wood, of Airtrix, to create a Texas-themed Bell Star Carbon helmet, just in time for COTA’s MotoGP race next weekend. Available only until April 13th, the Bell/COTA helmet features a red, white, and blue flag motif on the front, with both the American and State of Texas flags visible, which then wrap around the rear to merge with a hardwood design, reminiscent of the floorboards in a Western saloon. The helmet is also crowned with a Longhorn cattle skull, which adds to the Texan motif. The specially designed helmet also features a horseshoe, the COTA logo, and the 2014 Red Bull MotoGP of The Americas logo.

Aprilia Mounting a Return to MotoGP in 2016

Towards the end of the 800cc era, MotoGP looked to be in dire condition. Grids were dwindling, factories were reducing their participation, and teams were in difficult financial straits indeed. By the end of 2011, there were just 17 full time entries, Suzuki was down to a single rider, and were about to pull out entirely for 2012. How different the situation looks today. In a recent interview with the official MotoGP.com website, Aprilia Corse’s new boss Romano Albesiano gave a brief outline of their plans. The Italian factory will continue to work with the IODA Racing team for 2014 to collect data on the electronics and tires, which they will use as input on an entirely new project being worked on for 2016.

Voxan Wattman — A French Brand Revival Brings an Electric Power Cruiser to Market

12/02/2013 @ 6:28 am, by Jensen Beeler20 COMMENTS

Voxan Wattman     A French Brand Revival Brings an Electric Power Cruiser to Market Voxan Wattman 02 635x423

The Voxan brand has been reborn, this time with Gildo Pastor, the billionaire Monégasque man behind the Venturi automobile project. Building off of his experience with Venturi’s use of electric drivetrains, Pastor has revived the Voxan brand to bring electric motorcycles to market, thus making good on his promise in 2010 to bring an electric to market within three years.

The Voxan Wattman, the company’s first new model, has just broken cover at the Paris Auto Show, and the machine sports a power cruiser form factor with some eye-catching specs. At the Wattman’s core is a liquid-cooled 200hp permanent magnet motor that is also good for 147 lbs•ft of torque at 6,000 rpm.

Coming with ABS, traction control, and Beringer four-disc front brakes as standard, Voxan also quotes a 12.8 kWh lithium-ion battery pack as well. Visually hefty with its 240mm rear tire, the Voxan Wattman tips the scales at a portly 771 lbs — that number is not a typo.

With a 0-60 time of just 3.4 seconds, it is hard to call the Wattman a fat bike, though we suspect the weight figure will catch some riders off-guard, even in the power cruiser segment. Voxan’s choice to enter an electric power cruiser is an interesting one, especially considering how centered the cruiser market can be around the Harley-Davidson brand and culture.

Still, the design is an intriguing one, and our eye is drawn to the overly-complicated yet interesting linkage for the swingarm assembly. Instead of a simple single-piece single-pivot design, it appears the Wattman has two separate pieces to its parallelogram-shaped swingarm, each with two pivot points: one on the frame, and another at the rear wheel.

The shape of the swingarm is to accommodate the apparently physically large battery pack that is shrouded by the Wattman’s aluminum monocoque frame, which Voxan calls an “exoskeleton” design.

Like all projects linked to Mr. Pastor, the Voxan Wattman was inked by Sacha Lakic (of Bimota Mantra fame). Talking to one colleague, the word “polarizing” was used to describe the Wattman, though we think the phrase “visually unappealing” is a more appropriate journalistic crafting of the word ugly.

While Voxan intends to bring the Wattman to market, like many projects from Gildo Pastor, one has to wonder if commercialization will ever be truly realized. No word on price or availability yet, but we expect a hefty price tag to accompany this hefty motorcycle.

Voxan Wattman     A French Brand Revival Brings an Electric Power Cruiser to Market Voxan Wattman 01 635x423

Voxan Wattman     A French Brand Revival Brings an Electric Power Cruiser to Market Voxan Wattman 05 635x423

Voxan Wattman     A French Brand Revival Brings an Electric Power Cruiser to Market Voxan Wattman 06 635x423

Voxan Wattman     A French Brand Revival Brings an Electric Power Cruiser to Market Voxan Wattman 07 635x256

Voxan Wattman     A French Brand Revival Brings an Electric Power Cruiser to Market Voxan Wattman 08 635x417

Voxan Wattman     A French Brand Revival Brings an Electric Power Cruiser to Market Voxan Wattman 09 635x792

Voxan Wattman     A French Brand Revival Brings an Electric Power Cruiser to Market Voxan Wattman 11 635x447

Voxan Wattman     A French Brand Revival Brings an Electric Power Cruiser to Market Voxan Wattman 12 635x765

Voxan Wattman     A French Brand Revival Brings an Electric Power Cruiser to Market Voxan Wattman 13 635x415

Voxan Wattman     A French Brand Revival Brings an Electric Power Cruiser to Market Voxan Wattman 14 635x381

Source: Voxan

Comment:

  1. Norm G. says:

    re: “Still, the design is an intriguing one, and our eye is drawn to the overly-complicated yet interesting linkage for the swingarm assembly.”

    that’s what’s referred to as a 4-link setup. a not uncommon conversion in truck world (diesel/lifted) to control axle wrap brought on by high torque. warranted or not, it looks cool so I guess that brings us back full circle to warranted. LOL

    re: “the Voxan Wattman tips the scales at a portly 771 lbs — that number is not a typo.”

    good, ’cause I was thinking a 1/2 ton, so that’d be an improvement.

    re: “which Voxan calls an “exoskeleton” design…”

    …i call a caterpillar drive…! (Connery accent) looks like a cell from a Crown standup.

  2. Norm G. says:

    ps: think the connie has a 4 link setup.

  3. Keith says:

    permanent magnet means DC motor to me. No thanks, not brushed motors…the range sucks and they waste power. If you aren’t going with an brushless motor you are way behind the game.

  4. Phil says:

    but how long does it take to change from ‘no-charge’, because that’s a big lump to push home on the road.

  5. Gildas says:

    You can have brush-less permanent magnet motors. We are working on one in class, cost 40 euros… We are going to rewire it and upgrade the rotors to the kind that hold a bike to the ceiling.
    Nothing new there.

  6. johnrdupree says:

    @Keith, brushless motors have permanent magnets in them. And technically, brushless motors are DC motors.

  7. re: “…and our eye is drawn to the overly-complicated yet interesting linkage for the swingarm assembly.”

    What else is there for your eye to be drawn towards ?

  8. L2C says:

    Looks refrigerated. Like it’s built to store brewskies and cold cuts.

  9. 2ndclass says:

    Since electric bikes tend to be heavier (for the moment at least) the power cruiser style actually make sense.

  10. General Tso's Chicken says:

    those are the BPF forks off a HD XR1200. exactly. youd think they could aim just a little higher up the scale than that?!

  11. MikeD says:

    LMAO. The comment section NEVER fails to give me a good laugh.

    I like it.
    Pretty elegant for an electric bike.
    I don’t think is too heavy.
    A Rocket III Roadster is 800 lbs+, has a lot less HP AND looks like POO compared to this “Freezer”. . . JMHO.
    The autonomy (~111 miles) and HP is pretty even with a VMAX 1700 (~100 miles, ~200hp) and i don’t hear a lot of people complaining about it on the VMAX forums.

  12. zipidachimp says:

    just a thought: would a motorized hub in the front wheel be helpful? 2-wheel power?

  13. paulus says:

    As a rendering it has some nice details. I reserve my personal judgement for images of the real thing… nice details tend to get lost between rendering and reality.

  14. Denis B. says:

    I’m so disappointed by that bike… I’m french, so I have always been interested by bikes made in my country. But this is not something serious, the previous Voxan bike were at least rideable and not that expensive. This bike is made for some rich guy who will never ride it. It’s 350 kg (771lbs) and whit that position, I don’t see how you can have some sort of fun on it. But I’m not a big fan of cruiser.

    I just think that there is nothing new about it, Motoczysz had a 200+hp bike with 125 kg less and 60 miles of range at more than 100mph average. They are trying to make a big fuss, but it will not revolutionise the electric bike world, or make it go forward. If you want the electric market to expand, you need to do something serious, something that can be compared with a sportsbike or a fast roadster…

  15. Lube says:

    The rear swing arm arrangement makes room for direct drive belt/chain from the motor rather than employing a jack shaft.
    Typically, the swing arm pivot runs right through the motor when one tries to implement the most basic drive arrangement with a belt or chain.
    Most manufacturers have employed a gear train to remote the motor so as not to compromise the frame structure.

  16. Lube says:

    The rear swing arm arrangement makes room for direct drive belt/chain from the motor rather than employing a jack shaft.
    Typically, the swing arm pivot runs right through the motor when one tries to implement the most basic drive arrangement with a belt or chain.
    Most manufacturers have employed a gear train to remote the motor so as not to compromise the frame structure.

  17. Woodlandrider says:

    Its a great effort . . . . I hope it gets into production and I hope to be able to afford one. . . . . . ! However, if it ever falls over, I think I may just have to leave it where it rests.

  18. Frenchie says:

    Pictures of the actual prototype can be seen here: moto.caradisiac.com/En-direct-du-Salon-de-Moto-La-Wattman-de-Voxan-l-exception-dans-tous-ses-etats-795

    Moving 771 pounds fomr 0 to 60 mph in 3 seconds, that must be quite an engine!!!
    They claim a top speed of 105 mph and a max range of 110 miles with full charge in…30 minutes !? I’m guessing this would only be achievable through a special (and costly) charger, still it remains an impressive figure.

    I’ve always had a soft spot for the Voxan Black Magic Cafe Racer (motomag.com/Voxan-Black-Magic-1000 .html) which was already designed by Sacha Lakic.

    Good for them to try to bring something original to the market, European constructors are not supposed to rival Honda and the likes on roadsters and mainstream bikes territory, they have to find their own niche and since their bikes will always be more expensive than their japanese counterparts, they might as well add a “character” and “high end” factor to it.

  19. Frenchie says:

    This bike would be on par with the Triumph Rocket III (2300cc triple cylinder) weight-wise and torque-wise (774 pounds, 147 lbs•ft) with an extra 60 hp, not too shabby.

  20. Bicho says:

    Glad to see a Lawwill rear end on a motorcycle,it was also used on DH bisycles from Yeti and Schwinn,some time ago.And of course by Mert on dirttrackers……..