Bikes at BIMS
The Bangkok International Motor Show (BIMS)
in March-April this year is a showcase for motorcycles as
well as cars, and I was fortunate again that accredited
motorcycle journalist Alan Coates was in Bangkok and sent in
the following report.
BMW: I was personally disappointed
that my current UK ‘bike, the F800ST was not amongst those
BMW F800R: The F800R while new and
different it does use the same 798cc parallel twin engine
that has been around for at least 5 years in various other
models. BMW’s claim that the fuel injected 798cc parallel
twin is state-of-the-art is dated. 64 kw at 8,000 rpm from
this engine and 86 Nm of torque give an impressive
Brakes are 320-millimetre Brembo double
disc at the front while optional BMW ABS and Tyre Pressure
Control are available. Dry weight is down to just 177
kilograms. The suspension set-up and a fuel tank located
under the seat aid a lower centre of gravity.
BMW S 1000RR: This is a genuine
superbike, designed for the race track where it is
performing very well. On the road, a comparison test by UK’s
Motorcycle News (MCN) had the BMW as overall class leader.
Power output is 142 kw at 13,000 rpm and
a combination of optional electronic rider assistance
systems is available. In particular, racing ABS and dynamic
traction control (DTC), which adjusts engine torque to the
current level of grip, ensures optimum traction out of every
BMW F650GS: The BMW F 650 GS is
categorized as an all–rounder, being small and lightweight
compared to the normal image of a BMW. With a water-cooled
(and detuned) 798cc parallel twin-cylinder engine, the 52 kw
is not too meager for 179 kg dry weight. BMW also offer a
reduced power version (25kw) intended for beginners.
BMW R1200RT: The “Boxer” twin BMW
R1200RT has been around for some time, allegedly
long-journey: comfort, practicality and speed is good for a
tourer. 81 kw to haul a dry weight of 230 kg (495 kg maximum
permitted weight) is adequate but falls short of the absent
K1300GT performance. You really have to be a fan of the flat
twin to buy one since there are so many more viable
alternatives in the marketplace.
BMW R1200GS Adventure: One wonders
how many of these tall, heavy off roaders are sold in
Thailand to the native populace? Few I would guess, most
purchasers coming from the Germanic ex-pats section of the
residents. Indeed, a striking leg length and substantial
frame are required to haul/hang on to these monsters. Not
for the vertically challenged.
Power is plenty at 81 kw from the uprated
twin double overhead cam boxer engine and the luggage system
(three cavernous aluminium boxes) allows the rider to carry
the kitchen sink when necessary.
DIRTSHOP: Three notable street
fighters plus a race bike were on Dirtshop’s stand and on
sale were appropriate clothing and accessories. The awesome
Ducati 1099 cc Streetfighter (167 kg and 114 kw) has the
highest power to weight ratio and it was Triumph’s latest
675 cc Street Triple R (78 kw and some 189 kg) on show. The
KTM 990 Duke (88 kw and 186 kg) looked impressive.
HONDA: Honda’s theme for the show
was “It’s a fun thing to ride a Honda!” Their display
included scooters and step-thru’s of all the pastel colors
and patterns imaginable. The idea being, seemingly, it’s fun
to change your bike or scooter for a different color, the
same as you change your shirt or phone cover.
EV Cub: The future of motorcycling
was shown with the Fuel Free EV Cub, both wheels driven by
electric hub motors complimented by a slim, uncluttered
frame and cycle parts. Will it catch on? Eventually yes,
that’s the way the motoring industry seems to be going.
High end Honda
VFR1200F: The new, long awaited
VFR1200F Sports Tourer was revealed and while the
specification is high end, road test reports in the UK have
been somewhat critical that it doesn’t meet its hype!
CB1100: The retro styled CB1100
was again present as it was in 2009. If you want to ride a
big heavy lump of metal without any weather protection, buy
one. Not strictly a posing machine (too ugly) but certainly
less than practical.
CBR600RR: Honda’s sport bike
offering was their sweet CBR600RR, a must have for every
young Pedrosa pretender. The same engine that powers the
CBR600RR has been chosen by Dorna as the power unit to
replace all two stroke 250 cc race machines in the new Moto2
class of the MotoGP championship series. On display was a
mock up of the Bimota framed Moto2 (600cc) entry for Thai
rider Ratthapark Wilairot.
You may have seen this, but it is worth
repeating in a motoring column.
For those unfamiliar with these awards,
they are named after 81-year-old Stella Liebeck who spilled
hot coffee on herself and successfully sued the McDonald’s
in New Mexico, where she purchased the coffee. She took the
lid off the coffee and put it between her knees while she
was driving. Who would ever think one could get burned doing
that, right? That’s right; these are awards for the most
outlandish lawsuits and verdicts in the U.S. You know, the
kinds of cases that make you scratch your head in disbelief.
So keep your head scratcher handy.
This year’s runaway First Place Stella
Award winner was: Mrs. Merv Grazinski, of Oklahoma, who
purchased a new 32-foot Winnebago motor home. On her first
trip home, from an OU football game, having driven on to the
freeway, she set the cruise control at 70 mph and calmly
left the driver’s seat to go to the back of the Winnebago to
make herself a sandwich. Not surprisingly, the motor home
left the freeway, crashed and overturned. Also not
surprisingly, Mrs. Grazinski sued Winnebago for not putting
in the owner’s manual that she couldn’t actually leave the
driver’s seat while the cruise control was set. The Oklahoma
jury awarded her $1,750,000 PLUS a new motor home. Winnebago
actually changed their manuals as a result of this suit,
just in case Mrs. Grazinski has any relatives who might also
Are we, as a society, getting more stupid?
Last week I mentioned that the US GP of a
few years back started with six cars only and was a farce.
However one year the 24 Hours of Le Mans started with only
17 cars. I asked, what year was that? It was 1930.
So to this week. Which driver repaired
his broken chassis with wood from his hotel furniture in the
Paris-Vienna race, finishing 12th with
no clutch, no exhaust pipe and only one gear? Clue: 1902.
For the Automania FREE beer this week, be
the first correct answer to email email@example.com.
Grand Prix – this year or next?
To site a Grand Prix circuit in a country
with absolutely no F1 history sounds more than a little
peculiar. Yet, Bernie E and the boys jubilantly stated there
will be a Korean GP in October this year.
Last year’s end we saw the inaugural Yas
Marina circuit in Abu Dhabi, now christened the ‘Yawn
Marina’ despite its hotel which changes color. Though the
venue might have been awe inspiring, the circuit itself was
anything but, being another of the predictable Hermann Tilke
‘line up in order and don’t pass’ circuits. When will F1,
the FIA and Bernie E ever learn?
However, Bernie E has countries knocking
on his door wanting to host a round of the F1 championship
because those countries think this elevates them above their
station in the eyes of the world. And they pay heavily for
that right, into the hundreds of thousands of dollars. For
the Abu Dhabi track, the cost was in the vicinity of $400
million. And how much to the ‘Commercial Rights Holder’
(Bernie)? And the country has no hope of recouping that
figure. Neither now nor in the future.
Of interest is the fact that Korea
co-hosted the 2002 football world cup and lost money on the
biggest spectator sport in the world. This new venture with
the third biggest spectator sport in the world will go the
The South Koreans were not daunted, as
the Korea Auto Valley Operation (KAVO) chief Chung Yung-Cho
said, “Construction is half-completed. We will do our best
to build a ‘speed mecca’ both in name and reality when the
track opens in July 2010.”
However, comes the news this week that
there have been delays, and now it looks as if the new
Korean track may not be ready for October, but may have to
be held over until 2011.
The delays are not the only problem. Its
location is also remote from the capital, where the majority
of Koreans live. Will they travel 320 km to an event in
which the country has no constructors or drivers? The answer
is most likely in the negative.
South Korea believes that by having this
F1 circuit, it will show to the world that it is the third
largest economy in Asia. Korea also is known worldwide for
its involvement with cars. Korean car companies such as
Hyundai and Daewoo are huge exporters of cars worldwide and
Korean people themselves, traditionally always embrace the
opportunity to host worldwide sports events. South Korea has
also held the Olympics and is seeking in the future to hold
the winter Olympics. However, there is no F1 Hyundai or
Daewoo. And it looks as if there won’t be a Korean GP this
Cayenne goes green and it’s not the paint
Porsche’s first hybrid – the Cayenne S
Hybrid luxury SUV – will be the second most expensive model
in the range, although well short of the Cayenne Turbo.
The lean and green hybrid SUV, which
returns a European combined fuel consumption cycle of 8.2
liters per 100 km will not be the most expensive hybrid on
the market. That honor goes to the Lexus LS600hL four-seater.
The Cayenne’s new parallel hybrid system
combines an Audi-sourced 245 kW supercharged 3.0 liter
petrol V6 with a 34 kW electric motor for a maximum output
of 279 kW and 580 Nm.
Porsche claims this drivetrain – which
will also appear in the upcoming Volkswagen Touareg Hybrid
and, most likely, the next Audi Q7 range – can deliver the
economy of a six-cylinder with the performance of a V8. The
Porsche features kinetic energy recovery system (KERS)
technology developed by the Williams Formula 1 team. Braking
energy is stored and can be used to drive a pair of electric
motors mated to the front wheels of the all-wheel-drive car.
A new eight-speed Tiptronic gearbox is
among the improvements in the re-worked range.