Mazda patents engine with two turbos and an electric supercharger

Mazda twin-turbo electric supercharged engine patentWe have to hand it to Mazda. Lately, the small Japanese automaker has punched well above its weight with the announcement it would bring a gasoline Homogenous Charge Compression Ignition (HCCI) to market in 2019, dubbed Skyactiv-X. But, what's this? Another piece of news surrounding a future Mazda engine and it doesn't seem to be related to the...
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Vibrazioni Ducati 749 Raticosa

Vibrazioni Ducati 749 Raticosa

Meet Vibrazioni Art Design

The Ducati 749 you see here is the work of Vibrazioni Art Design, a boutique design house started by Alberto Dassasso and Riccardo Zanobini – two Italians with a penchant for recycling old oil barrels into handmade furniture and occasionally handbuilt motorcycles.

We’ve previously featured a Vibrazioni-built Honda CB750 and a Ducati Scrambler, you can always tell a Vibrazioni custom from half a city block away due to their unique metalwork, characterised by the iconic original oil company logos preserved on old 44 gallon drums.

The Ducati 749

Ducati released the 749 in 2003 as a replacement for the ageing 748, both bikes had slightly smaller capacity engines based on their larger Ducati stablemates, in the case of the 748 it was the 916 and the 749 was based on the 999.

Once of the benefits of the smaller capacity engine is the fact that it revs up faster and has a higher red line, thanks in large part to the smaller, lighter pistons and reduced rotating mass. Many Ducatista will tell you the 749 handles better than the 999 too – although this is difficult to explain give the exceedingly similar kerb weights and designs of both bikes.

With its Pierre Terblanche designed good-looks, its 748cc L-twin with 8 Desmodromic valves, 116 bhp, 60 lbf.ft of torque, and a dry weight of 188 kilograms (414 lbs) the 749 proved to be a popular and affordable entry point to the world of Ducati superbikes.

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The Vibrazioni Ducati 749 Raticosa

When Vibrazioni got their hands on a Ducati 749 it was always going to result in something a little unusual. As an Italian design house the team at Vibrazioni have a special connection with their fellow countrymen at Ducati, though their interpretation is unlike anything you’re likely to see rolling out of the official factory in Bologna.

Far from being just a cosmetic make over, the Vibrazioni team modified the main trellis frame and the sub-frame, they swapped out the original forks for a set from a Ducati Streetfighter, the swing arm was sourced from a Ducati 1098, and the handlebars came from a Multistrada.

That fuel tank may look familiar – it started life as a stock Ducati Scrambler tank before being modified significantly using parts from recycled Sunoco oil drums. The seat and rear bodywork has been shaped from the same Sunoco drum into a flat track style seat, with a matching headlight and vented shield up front.

The new exhaust was also made in house, and fitted with a shorty muffler that does a great job of barely restraining the distinctive burble from the Ducati L-twin. The completed bike is unmistakably both a Ducati and a Vibrazioni, with a healthy heaping of irreverent flat tracker styling thrown in for good measure.

The team at Vibrazioni make a relatively limited number of bikes, their other focus being industrial-style furniture with a similar design ethos. Even those of you who typically have little interest in furniture design might find you quite like their work – it’s certainly not the sort of thing you’d ever find for sale in Bed, Bath, and Beyond.

If you’d like to see more from Vibrazioni Art Design you can click here to see their back catalogue of bikes.

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1929 Mercedes-Benz crowned Pebble Beach Concours champion

1929 Mercedes-Benz S Barker Tourer, 2017 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance Best in ShowThe 1929 Mercedes-Benz S Barker Tourer that claimed the Best of Show honors at the 67th Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance almost didn't make it to the show. Owner Bruce R. McCaw of Bellevue, Washington, struggled with the idea of restoring it for several years. “The question was whether or not to restore it. I always hate to restore something...
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Saint Model 3014 Technical Denim Jacket

Saint Model 3014 Technical Denim Jacket

The Saint Model 3014 Technical Denim Jacket is designed for motorcyclists who want to stay safe, but not look like a Power Ranger. The Model 3014 is made from Dyneema interwoven with denim, making it tough, lightweight, and breathable. Saint uses Dyneema UHMWPE fibers, which are stronger than steel yet float on water.

Each Model 3014 Jacket is made from 12% Dyneema (UHMWPE) and 88% cotton, they have an engineered and tailored cut, and they’re 12 bath indigo dyed. Each jacket has four front pockets and zippered cuffs, with a button down collar and waist. Saint have rapidly developed a reputation for making some of the most technically advanced motorcycle gear in the world, with the added benefit of looking like regular street clothes.

Buy Here

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Daimler and BMW May Merge Their Car-Sharing Divisions

Daimler’s Car2Go and BMW’s DriveNow may be merging their car-sharing services, according to a hint by the chief executive of DriveNow’s partner, Sixt.

CEO Erich Sixt, who heads the Germany-based car rental company named after him, would not confirm that talks are under way, but suggested that it is in motion.

“At the last press conference I made clear that we are not involved. Today I can only say ‘no comment.’ This is of course a slightly different statement from the last one. Why things are dragging on is not down to us,” Sixt said Thursday.

The merger question had come up in May, when Sixt said his company wasn’t involved in talks between the two car-sharing firms. He did share that Sixt’s 50-percent stake in DriveNow had been valued at about 480 million euros ($560 million).

Prior to that, the question has been coming up for a while. In December, German monthly Manager Magazin reported that the two German automakers were in talks to consolidate their car-sharing units on an operations level, keeping the Car2Go and DriveNow brands active.

Both automakers declined to comment in December. This time around, Car2Go declined to comment and DriveNow was yet to respond.

BMW did comment to a question about Daimler and BMW being in talks about consolidation in car-sharing.

“We are in constant talks with our partners and are of course evaluating the strategic options for our activities and stakes,” a BMW spokeswoman said.

BMW and Daimler are seeing mobility services take off in global markets, but have taken a cautious approach about expanding their networks.

Car2Go recently reported seeing 40-percent growth in North America, with its one-way car-sharing model taking off. The company had shut down operations in a few cities in that region the year before.

DriveNow, was a joint venture between BMW and Sixt founded in 2011. Last year, BMW launched an Uber-competitive brand, ReachNow, in North America. On-demand ride services are being offered in a few markets, including the use of BMW i3 electric cars.

In Europe, demand for car-sharing is seeing quite a bit of growth in cities such as London, Frankfurt, Berlin, Milan, and Helsinki. Customers appreciate free parking in their car-sharing rentals, which cuts down a major cost in those cities.

BMW is seeing car-sharing having an impact with consumers on car ownership and mobility choices. More than a third of DriveNow customers in London have sold their cars, and only 20 percent of them had committed to keeping their own vehicles.

SEE ALSO:  Car2go Sees 40-Percent Trip Growth In First Half

Growth for their services has been taking off lately. Sixt reported that its DriveNow membership base had grown from 815,000 customers at the end of 2016 to 950,000 at the end of June.

Car2Go said that it has about 2.7 million members who have access to 13,900 vehicles in eight countries located in North America and Europe, and in China.

Both of the automakers, and most of their industry peers, see the game changing for vehicle manufacturers. Paid, autonomous mobility services are expected to make up much of their revenue over the next couple of decades.

Ride-hailing services offers by companies such as Uber, Lyft, and Didi, make up about a third of the global taxi market, according to Goldman Sachs.

The investment firm expects that to grow eightfold to $285 billion by 2030. Autonomous robotaxis will make that happen, Goldman Sachs said.


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