Wednesday, May 26, 2010

CR&S Expo at Club Pompone

Saturday July 24, another day to stick in your diary.

Club Pompone (Pompone means big pump or engine with large cylinders) will be holding its 25th anniversary celebrations in Pedavena, Italy. The festival will be honoring Italian motorcycle brands and CR&S will be there with their VUN & DUU models.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

S&S Factory Visit

Earlier this year, in March, a CR&S delegation traveled to the S&S Cycle factory in Viola, Wisconsin, aka "The Ranch".

left to right:  Georgio Sarti (CR&S), Roberto Crepaldi (CR&S), George Smith (CEO S&S), Giuseppe "Beppe" Bulla (DUU project engineer), Giovanni Cabassi (CR&S), Shane Whitty (S&S OEM Manager)

CR&S has enjoyed strong advance orders for their new DUU model since it was unveiled at last November's EICMA motorcycle show in Milan. The DUU uses S&S Cycle's new 2-litre X-Wedge engine. Face to face meetings are important to ensure good OEM agreements and a steady supply of engines. This, and CR&S's recent move into larger premises, show CR&S seem serious about meeting the higher production capacity needed to supply demand for the DUU.

The S&S X-Wedge Engine

Above: Some of S&S's production facilities at their Viola, Wisconsin "ranch".

Above: An S&S pro-stock drag racing cylinder head ready for shipment. As you can see from the photo, these heads are CNC machined from solid alloy billet. On the left, the solid billet before machining.

Roberto Crepaldi: Why S&S's main factory is located in a ranch close to Viola, a small village in the middle of Wisconsin? (Wisconsin is a green empty state full of farms). Because this is the Smith family ranch where they once repaired their tractors and tuned their own racing H-D in their own workshop while they do farming. Then they invented the S&S big bore carb for HD and the workshop [grew] and [grew] till the actual dimension of 200 workers... Their main business is always tuning parts for HD, but they produce a wide range of engines too. The X-Wedge is their [latest] one, completely coming from S&S technology and knowledge.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Paton vs VUN PPP

Last weekend's ASI Classic motorcycle event at the Autodromo di Varano de’ Melegari (Italy) hosted a track demonstration pitting the awesome 1968 Paton BIC500 Grand Prix bike against a VUN PPP (Pronto Per la Pista).

Roberto Pattoni readies the VUN PPP for the track.

While the Paton is wheeled onto its starting rig

The Paton BIC500 (1968)
Engine type Two-cylinder 4-stroke, 4 valves per cylinder
Displacement (cc)498.8cc
Bore x stroke78x52.2
Max power74 hp at 11,000 rpm
TypeSix speed cassette gearbox
Frame typelightweight steel double loop frame
Front forks35mm Ceriani
Rear shockTwin Ceriani R units
Front210mm Fontana drum

The VUN PPP (2009)
Engine type One-cylinder 4-stroke, 4 valves per cylinder
Displacement (cc)720cc
Max power85 hp at 8,500 rpm
TypeFive-speed gearbox
Frame typeSteel tubes and machined light alloy plate
Dry weight125 kg
Front forks42mm Ceriani
Front320mm radial Brembo single disk

On paper, these two bikes should be pretty evenly matched. At least in terms of power to weight. It was a delight to see them together on a race track. Unfortunately the track conditions were wet and slippery calling for caution, so we didn't get to see them going hard at it.

Giovanni Cabassi with the VUN PPP

According to the programme for the weekend's events there was supposed to be a VΨRUS on track with these two which would have made for a wonderfully eclectic mix of exotic Italian bikes. I am guessing that the terrible weather was the reason for the VΨRUS staying indoors.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

The Vuncent


Today the Autodromo di Varano de’ Melegari (Italy) held the annual ASI Classic motorcycle event. This is Italy's largest classic motorcycle meeting featuring many rare and important motorcycles from around the world representing each historic period.

This year the Italian Vincent HRD Owners Club hosted a lovely collection of motorcycles including (of course) a beautifully restored Vincent HRD, a racing VUN PPP, the CR&S DUU prototype, and a road-going VUN designed as a special tribute to the Vincent Black Shadow... The VUNcent.

This bike features the classic Vincent black & gold color scheme, complemented by playful tank logos. Wire spoke wheels complete the picture for a fitting tribute.

If you are in the region, there is still time to visit this wonderful collection of bikes. The ASI Classic motorcycle event finishes on Sunday May, 16th. (Below, the real thing).

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

DUU Orders Surpass 100

CR&S announces that pre-orders for their new DUU model have exceeded 100. This is a positive result for such a small company especially when you consider that the model was launched in the middle of a financial crisis. Production and first deliveries for the DUU are expected from 2011.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Goodbye TT2, Hello VUN

Last week I said goodbye to my Ducati TT2 and Triumph 675 Daytona. My beautiful TT2 was sold, the Daytona gave me four months of fantastic riding and is now in storage for the New Zealand winter.

This week I returned to Northern Europe and I'm getting reacquainted with my VUN. My first ride involved pushing her three city blocks from the garage to my apartment. It was a cold winter here and the lightweight Lithium Ferrous battery I installed last year was dead flat. At one point I attempted bump starting it down a gentle slope.

A bump-start technique for 650 singles:
  1. Find a gentle slope, or a steep slope. Not too steep or you will loose traction on the rear wheel. Remember that if it doesn't start you will have to push it back up.
  2. Put the bike into 3rd gear. This lowers the amount of engine breaking so your rear wheel doesn't lock up.
  3. Rotate the engine until the piston is just before top dead center. This ensures that the engine will be ready to fire as soon as it starts turning. This requires a bit of feel... top dead center is the point of maximum compression.
  4. Turn off the lights, check the kill switch (important), and turn on the ignition.
  5. Sacrifice a chicken (optional).
  6. Still in 3rd gear, pull in the clutch and run beside the bike, get up to your maximum running speed. 
  7. Jump onto the seat (side saddle style). At the moment your ass slams onto the seat, let out the clutch and pray to the gods of speed. Timing is important here. You want to put as much weight as possible onto the back wheel before letting out the clutch. This requires a bit of balance, do not fall down, with any (lots of) luck it will start. 
Slamming your weight onto the seat helps to prevent the back wheel from sliding. If this happens, don't panic, just pull the clutch back in. If you still have enough speed and are still going down hill then throw your leg over the seat and stand on the pegs. Now push all your weight on the pegs (start to fall onto the seat then stop the fall with your legs). Let out the clutch again when there is maximum weight on the back wheel.

Bump starting a VUN on your own is pretty difficult but I managed to start mine. Unfortunately, after riding about 20 meters I had to stop at an intersection and the engine died (I was now at the bottom of the hill). That was my first short ride on the VUN for 2010.

Here is a short list of what makes my VUN different from the standard model:
  • Marvic magnezium wheels,
  • Breaking "wave" front & rear disks,
  • Ohlins rear shock absorber,
  • Racing "sterio" lightweight radiators,
  • LSL clip-on handlebars,
  • Lightweight Speedcell lithium iron battery (now fully charged),
  • High-flow air filters, free flowing headers pipes (no catalytic converters),
  • Rizoma LED indicators,
  • Rizoma mirrors,
  • Custom paint.
This year will bring another series of modifications starting by replacing the rear subframe with a lightweight alloy one. As ever, the goal is to reduce weight, improve handling and (less importantly) increase power.