Wednesday, August 24, 2011

R.I.P. Claudio Castiglioni

I wish I had the time to write this last Wednesday when I first read of the death of Claudio Castiglioni aged 63. Who was Claudio Castiglioni? I will always remember him as the business man come motorcycle enthusiast who...
  • With his brother rescued the Aermacchi motorcycle brand from Harley-Davidson in 1978 re-branding the company as CAGIVA.
  • Saved Ducati from bankruptcy in 1985 nurturing from a basket-case it into a World Superbike Championship wining company with a proud line up of models and massive improvements in quality and reliability.
  • Built a successful 500cc GP team that competed with distinction winning many races and reaching third in the world championship in 1994.
  • Resurrected the legendary MV Agusta brand in the early 1990's. MV's first gift to the world (in 1997) was the fantastic MV F4 superbike.
  • Had to sell the Ducati brand in 1996 due to financial difficulties. But thanks to the Castiglioni Ducati went on to become one of the most iconic brands in motorcycling.
  • Due to more financial problems, was forced to sell MV Agusta in 2004 to a Malaysian investment company for €70 million.
  • In 2006 Castiglioni was able to find an Italian investor to buy back MV Agusta for just €1.
  • After some years of being unable to find enough outside investment to launch new models MV was again sold to Harley-Davidson in 2008 for €70 million.
  • Harley-Davidson invested serious money into the brand only to be smacked by the 2009 recession. Harley, desperate to get rid of any non-core cost centers sold the entire MV Agusta brand back to... you know who, for €3. Hey that's 3-times more than the Malaysians got!
Now the MV brand seems to have the reinvestment it needed, no debts (thanks Harley) and one of the sexiest new motorcycles I have ever seen (the new F3) due to be launched this year.

What a story, what a lifetime of achievement. What a wonderful legacy has been left in the younger hands of Claudio's son Giovanni Castiglioni.

The CAGIVA C595 took John Kocinski to third place in the 1994 500cc championship.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Cathcart Tests the DUU

World famous motorcycle journalist and Italian motorcycle aficionado, Alan Cathcart, test rides the CR&S DUU on the twisty Milanese country roads that surround the CR&S factory. Check the next issue of your favorite motorcycling magazine for a full review.

Tired Hero

Jule Thiel after a ride in the side-car. Courtesy Thiel Motorsport.

Just for fun :-)

Friday, August 5, 2011

VΨRUS Moto 2 - Track Test

In this video MCN test ride the new VΨRUS 986 M2. This bike is being prepared for the Moto 2 race series and uses the standard 600cc four-cylinder Honda race engine specially prepared for this series.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

DUU Assembly Notes

While visiting the CR&S factory two weeks ago I checked out the progress at the DUU assembly line.

Delivery of the first production DUU motorcycles is running a few months behind schedule. Problems with parts supplies and sorting out the final few niggling problems have been the main causes according to Roberto Crepaldi.

While I was at the factory I saw three DUUs in the assembly area, racks of S&S v-twin engines in crates, new frames having just been TIG-welded, rows of new suspension units and a new (since my last visit) parts store which looked full of parts ready to be turned into DUU motorcycles...

Freshly welded DUU frames ready for assembly.

DUU front suspension units decorate the entrance to the assembly storage area.

Considering CR&S motorcycles are hand made for a limited annual production this seems like a serious investment, no doubt encouraged by strong pre-orders for the DUU.

Background: Domenico Lavorata inspects a DUU in the assembly area.

Roberto Crepaldi with the DUU production prototype, ready for another test ride.

Italian manufacturing usually closes each year for the month of August, but Roberto says that will not apply to CR&S this year. Due to the DUU production delays, this year's VUNIC meeting was also cancelled (sad). The bright spot is that next year's ride will undoubtedly include a full contingent of DUUs.

Monday, August 1, 2011

VUN Rossi Tribute

During a recent visit to the CR&S factory in Milan I was generously given permission to wander around freely, camera in hand. There were plenty of new and interesting things to poke my nose into since I last visited the factory in December of last year.

I will be sharing some my factory vistas over the next few posts to this blog. To begin with, here is a delightful curiosity that was on display in the CR&S factory's new reception area...

It is, of course, the frame, suspension and swing-arm of a VUN. Nice, but what makes this one worth a second look is the plaque bolted to the steering head (click to enlarge).

A rough translation of the plaque reads... To Valentino Rossi for the pride in knowing that you are one of us. Nice gesture. Rossi sure is admired in Italy, especially in the north.

The reason for the factory visit was to pick up my VUN which had been in for its 10,000 km service, some paint work (partly to repair some crash damage from last year) and to fit some new parts. Here are the results (click to enlarge).

Apart from adding more red to the paintwork I added a front light protector (part number FLP) and  replaced the steel rear subframe with the lightweight alloy version (part number RCAS). One more step on the road to an ever-lighter, ever-prettier VUN.

Thanks to the staff at CR&S for the quality of their service and mechanical changes, and the skilled staff at Kaos Design for the excellent paint work.