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Honda Quietly Release Details of Fireblade Failure in McGuinness Crash

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Honda publically announce details of John McGuinness NW200 crash on same day that Guy Martin takes to Facebook to dismiss newspaper claims of his quitting road racing.

Rewind to the North West 200 and turn your attention to the high-speed crash John McGuinness had at Primrose Hill. Fans and racers were shocked; McGuinness isn’t known to be a faller, so whispers in the paddock of something being wrong with the bike, soon became shouts from the fans. It was a horrific crash, and John suffered a badly broken leg which has put him out of the 2017 season and raised question over whether the 23 time TT winner, will return to road racing at all.

Honda did eventually confirm that John himself had quickly fed back to the team that the throttle had either stuck or opened unexpectedly. However, the official cause of the crash hadn’t been announced properly until today.

After the rather loud explosion of rebutted ‘Guy Martin retirement’ news released by MCN, it might raise the odd skeptical eyebrow that it was also MCN that announced – just hours later – the official confirmation from Honda that it was an error with their bike which caused John to crash.

Honda Team Manager, Jonny Twelvetrees released today in a statement that after having extracted and reviewed the data from the ECU on McGuinness bike, they can now confirm that it was a setting on the ECU race kit software that resulted in the throttle, unexpectedly, blipping.

Speaking about the incident, Twelvetrees had this to say,

“Although at the time there was a long delay in getting the data from John’s bike due to the ECU being damaged – the ECU had to be sent all the way to the supplier in China to extract the data from it – we put in a countermeasure of a new spec of ECU for the TT to ensure the problem wouldn’t happen again.

“Separately, now that we know what happened the race kit software has been updated and is now performing flawlessly – no repeat of the issue in over 5000 Ks of both testing and racing since, including at the Slovakia Ring Endurance World Championship race where we put the Fireblade up on the podium.”

Surely this fault with the bike being confirmed as the reason for McGuinness’ horror smash – the same bike that Martin himself has publicly criticised – is the biggest story here? It’s fair to say that on any other ‘non Guy Martin’ day, this would have been huge news.

In the interest of impartial journalism, let’s suggest that the timing of this release with a prepared Martin interview is nothing more than a mere coincidence. 

John has had to undergo numerous surgeries from the break to his right tibia and fibula in the crash, and his recovery looks to be taking a while. Road racing is full of danger, and riders must accept that injury or death is a real risk of the job.

But is it fair to accept this is part of the deal on a bike which would appear to not be fit for purpose? With Martin having described the Honda Fireblade SP2 that threw him off at this year’s Isle of Man TT as ‘always going to be wrong‘, it’s been a tricky year for the entire Honda Road Racing team.

You could hardly blame them for wanting to have the attention taken away from some less than complimentary news.

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Custom of the Week: Ducati Leggero by Walt Siegl

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FOR WALT SIEGL, performance and beauty go hand-in-hand. The bikes in his Ducati Leggero series are drop dead gorgeous, but they’re also light, quick and handle well. And that puts them in high demand.

This newest build was commissioned by Jamie Waters, one of the leading lights behind the REV’IT! and Rizoma brands in the USA. Jamie owns a significant collection of race bikes, European sports cars and American muscle cars, but they’re more than just show pieces: he regularly pilots his rare factory racers at AHRMA events.

That makes him the perfect client for Walt. “I’m thrilled that I could build this bike for Jamie,” says Walt from his New Hampshire workshop, “because I know he will ride it and enjoy it.”

Each Leggero is hand made to order with room for customization, but the building blocks are always the same. It starts with a Walt Siegl Motorcycles 4130 chromoly steel frame, created in-house and weighing just 15 pounds.

Walt slots in a two-valve Ducati motor, rebuilt and blueprinted by Bruce Meyers Performance. It’s then finished with top-shelf components, and custom Kevlar bodywork.

On this build, the donor motor came from a Monster 1100. It’s been blueprinted and bumped to 1125 cc with Mahle pistons, warmer cams, ported and flowed heads, and titanium valves. The carbs have been ditched in favour of the fuel injection system from a Hypermotard, and the bottom end has been lightened too.

Since Jamie’s pretty serious about actually riding the Leggero, he wanted top spec chassis and suspension components too. The lightweight chromoly Leggero frame is matched up to an aluminum subframe, and a Ducati S2R swing arm.

It would take days of careful study to spot all the details on this Ducati, so we’ll just run through the highlights. The custom-built, ceramic-coated stainless steel exhaust is stunning, right down to its carefully placed heat shields.

The cockpit’s pretty slick too, and includes a racy Motogadget tacho bearing the WSM logo. And there’s a sprinkling of carbon fiber and Rizoma bits, to drive the performance ethos home.

When it came to the final livery, Jamie’s hobby provided all the inspiration needed. “Jamie wanted to incorporate elements from the early muscle car era in my Leggero design,” says Walt, “which is decidedly European, if you will.”

So the white ceramic coating on the exhaust system references early Shelby Cobras, and the frame’s been nickel plated, as a nod to the 1960s and 70s.

The primary paint color was sampled from a car in Jamie’s collection. “Jamie has a 1968 Corvette in Laguna Blue,” says Walt. “For that series Corvette, it was a one-year color only—painted by Peach Pit Racing.”

Now we’re really jealous.


This is an edited version of an article that first appeared on Bike Exif. It is republished here with permission.

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Idiot thieves steal electric manufacturers’ bike whilst they were on ‘theft tracking’ test!

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Motorcycle manufacturer Zero had their own bikes, actually stolen – for real – during security testing.

Bike thieves are the worst.

Not literally – we’re pretty certain that there are some certain individuals on the world stage that could put a petty motorcycle thief into perspective – but they’re ‘up there’ on our list alongside people who use their mobile phones on speaker whilst sat on public transport and most of the contestants from TV’s Love Island.

Bike thieves are also pretty stupid. None more so than the ones who tried to make off with a couple of Zero electric motorcycles recently in London.

What made these thieves particularly stupid we here you cry? Well, how about trying to nick a couple of electric bike maker Zero’s actual bikes whilst they were undergoing actual theft-tracking device testing with British bike security firm Datatool?

“I have been testing the product for several months now”, said Zero UK’s manager Dale Robinson, “but the ultimate test came last week, when two of our bikes were stolen from the back of a van in the London area.

Ironically we had just been introducing the partnership with Datatool to our dealers at a conference the day before, but I hadn’t expected that we would have to put it to the test when I got up the next morning.”

Yep, you read that right. Literally the same night that Zero and Datatool had introduced their partnership at a dealer shindig, somebody thought it would be a good idea to take the battery-driven machines.

But did the freshly installed system actually work?

“I reported the theft at 8.00am and the data confirmed that the bike was stolen at 3.37am. Datatool collaborated with the Met Police’s stolen vehicle squad, and the bikes were tracked to within a metre of their actual location, under a tarpaulin in a timber yard.

The police extraction team commented that the information given to them, in the form of a pinpointed Google map and exact coordinates, was the most accurate they had received and I got a call to come and pick the bikes up a few hours later.”

Some people pay thousands for that kind of PR. All Zero and Datatool had to do was get drunk and leave a couple of bikes in a van on a London street overnight.

Amazing.

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