Bike Cover june07_print.indd - NCR

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Bike Cover june07_print.indd - NCR

RIDELINEAdil Jal DarukhanawalaCagiva finally finds an Indian ally in Kinetic EngineeringThe news that Italian bike maker Cagivahas contracted Kinetic Engineering Ltd.to make parts for its range of bikes andthen upped it to make complete bikes isa welcome one for the Indian motorcycleindustry. It is also great that a famous namelike Kinetic Engineering Ltd. should getthis contract from a high profile Europeanbike maker.It however isn’t that difficult tounderstand why because keeping the highEuropean production costs to one side,Kinetic’s recent moves with Italjet (whereit bought the design rights to some six orseven Italjet scooters) and also its previoustie-up with Piaggio for the Luna mopedINDIAN BIKE SPORT: WHY WE HAVEN’T GOT FARAs you must have made out from theopening page of this month’s issue of themagazine, we have tried to drum up someenthusiasm for our road test editor’s honourat being invited to ride in the CentenaryTT at the Isle of Man. Aspi Bhathena hasbeen scheduled to ride in the Past MastersLap of Honour at the 100th running ofthis great festival of speed on two-wheelsand also in the Champions Classic Paradethanks to his being the only Indian ever tohave figured on the leader board of thosewho have competed and come back with abronze replica.Aspi gained his bronze replica after hisstunning ride on the Bill Smith Motorsprepared Honda NSR250 in the 1987 250ccProduction TT and that I believe remainsthe pinnacle of any Indian rider in bikesport to date.Of course we did have the likes of SherifDyan race in Sri Lanka, Singapore andand latterly with engine maker MotoriMorini has made it fairly well respected inthe land of Lamborghini and M V Agusta.Speaking of M V Agusta, KEL first gotorders for some components from Cagivafor its range of M V Agustas and fromhere there was no turning back. It is also ameasure of how well KEL has progressedon the quality front given its previous trackrecord that bodes well for the company’sfuture orders.The amazing thing about the tie-up isthat some years ago, Cagiva came close totieing up with KEL’s bigger neighbour inthe Chinchwad - Akurdi industrial areain Pune - Bajaj Auto. Cagiva and BajajMalaysia as also the brothers Raja andRaju who were truly great riders. In facttheir duels with Aspi at Sholavaram andSriperambudur are the stuff of legends.So why didn’t the likes of Aspi, Raja,Raju and many others didn’t go far ininternational bike sport? Today we havea few Indians racing in support classes inMalaysia on steps thrus and Super Sportmachines but that I believe is through theirown endeavour. It amazes me that countrieslike China, Thailand and Malaysia havebegun to get their youngsters into the 125ccand 250cc Grand Prix races and we withthe second largest bike market in the worldhave been unable to put in place a supportsystem for our budding riders to make it tothe international level.There are many reasons but the mostimportant of them all is that our nationalfederation is so chock-a-block with the carwallahsthat the bikers are marginalised.Auto had discussed ways and means toco-operate and had in fact even lined upa slew of scooters which the Indian giantwould have made for export as well asfor the domestic market. However withthe bottom falling off the Italian scootermarket and Bajaj acquiring critical strengthin technological matters and productiontechniques, the Cagiva deal was put off.It now remains to be seen as to how theCagiva - Kinetic deal pans out and whether theIndian company will try to do an Italjet withCagiva. And yes one other thing, especiallyfor Kinetic Enginering: from mopeds tosuperbikes, it has been a momentuous run.Hope it runs long and strong.HAILWOOD’S NCR DUCATIEveryone from my generation who has followed top flightmotorcycle sport will know that it was a Ducati 750 Desmo withwhich the great Mike Hailwood returned to the Isle of Man TTand made mincemeat of the works Hondas in the F1 TT race.Unfortunately not many give credit to the small team whichbuilt that Ducati which was entered for Hailwood by the Britishimporter Sports Motorcycles. In fact even I was unaware as tothe exact details of who had built the red and green machine withwhich Mike rewrote the history books and thrashed the top ridershalf his age. Until the last month that is when we got in touch withMichele Poggipolini of the Poggipolini Group who own NCRFactory. In the course of our interactions on the Ducati-basedMillona One Shot racer, Michele enlightened us as to the foundingfathers of NCR Factory were the ones who built Mike ‘The Bike’Hailwood’s TT mount and that with this success they becamebetter known. And the rest, as they say is history.In fact much of the federations’ revenue isgenerated by the bikers but it is the car guyswho decide policy for them, make rules aswell on certain occasions for them.Our clubs have to shoulder some of theblame as well. None of them has been ableto look beyond their own events and turf. Ifit were left to a few like minded individuals,we could have had classes for scooters andmopeds proliferate, make production racinglucrative and easy for any and everyone toenter and try and reward, nay defray thecosts of as many budding racers as possible.Take China which has placed a handfulof riders in the 125cc GP class. The Chinesefederation has picked a leaf from its Spanishand Italian counterparts and invested inbikes and technical support for their ridersand made them go through the grind. Ifyou don’t invest you don’t reap. Sadly theIndian federation doesn’t believe, or evenworse, doesn’t know, this fact of life.34 India June 2007Adil Final Rideline_june07.indd 3422/06/2007 2:13:52 PM


THE ULTIMATETRACK TOOLFloats like a butterfly, stings like a bee,best describes this Italian dazzler by theNCR Factory. Lighter than a CBR125 yetquicker than a Fireblade, it is the ultimatetrack tool. And looks mighty tasty too!Story Adil Jal DarukhanawalaPhotography NCR Factory62 India June 2007 June 2007 India 63Adil NCR DUCATI MILONA.indd 62-6322/06/2007 2:15:17 PM


THE ULTIMATETRACK TOOLWhat you are looking at is not just theultimate drool tool but also one ofthe hottest bikes created expresslyfor fun on the run, or to put thingsbluntly in focus, a proper track day bike. Andwhile to many it might look like a Ducaticonversion, it is more than that because just likea Bimota it is also a specialist approach, ratherone with even more exclusivity and boastinghigh tech in its complete make-up.This Ducati-engined bike is the NCR Millonadreamed up by the long-established Italian tuningfirm NCR Factory based in Ducati’s hometown ofBologna itself. Part of the high tech PoggipoliniGroup headed by Michele Poggipolini, the firm hasbeen established since the mid 1970s and its firstmajor success came courtesy Mike ‘The Bike’Hailwood who rode the Ducati Desmo made byNCR Factory and entered by Sports Motorcycle inthe 1978 F1 TT. From then on NCR hasn’t lookedback and it has made a run of stunning bepsokemotorcycles since then which have not only caughtthe eye but have also been very effective tools forthose involved in the sport and for those who love touse a thoroughbred for road as well as track use.The 2006 NCR Millona was the bike to beat inhe 2006 Ducati Desmo Challenge and also theItalian Supertwins Championship. Last year it wenton to take 20 wins out of 25 races in Italy andcompletely annihilated its rivals. And this year it ison song to do the deed once again thanks to the2007 version being even lighter and more powerful.In fact NCR says that the new full blown MillonaOne Shot (a rather ridiculous name for a gloriousmotorcycle) has a 20 per cent better power to weightratio than a Honda Fireblade! The bike tips thescales at 118kg dry - some 49 kilos less than the latestZX-6R to put things into perspective and withcarbonfibre bodywork penned by Aldo Drudi(Know him but can’t place him? He’s the one whodoes Valentino Rossi’s helmets) the Millona OneShot positively oozes with goodies galore.Beginning with the frame which is a special trellisjob conjured up by NCR Factory, it comes with acustom-built, machined-from-solid aluminiumMupo shock which is the holy grail as far asadjustability is concerned with high/low speed damping tweaks built in. Thesubstantial swingarm is a unique handcrafted device and a veritable work of artin high grade aluminium once again. NCR offers two versions of the Millonaas far as the chassis frame goes: the first one has a trellis made from humblechrome-moly tubing while the second option is a special aluminium tubeframe which pegs chassis weight down to just 3.9 kilos! The bike packs inBrembo superbike brakes an Ohlins upside down front forks. The designershave made for the steering angle to be adjusted and the bike’s 17 inchmagnesium wheels come shod with 120/70 rubber up front and 190/55 R17 atthe rear. The 2 into 1 into 2 exhaust system, made from titanium is anothergreat detail and if you can care to see the slipper clutch cover and the solo raceseat plus that superb fairing, the Millona oozes class through and through.The bike employs the two-valve Ducati Desmo motor but it has been totallyworked upon by NCR Factory which has replaced the internals with its ownpistons, barrels, valves and con rods to up capacity to 1200cc and peak powerto hit 121bhp. This now means that the power to weight ratio is a mean 1.02bhpper kilogram. Eat your heart out all you Honda Fireblade freakos who can onlyget to 0.95bhp per kg. The bike comes complete with inbuilt datalogging gearand has that race winning edge and feel to it.A work of two-wheeled art like the NCR Millona doesn’t come cheapthough. The basic Millona S and the Millona R come with the chrome molyframe and the Ducati 1000DS engine but the full blown Millona One Shotdepicted on these pages gets the special NCR Factory motor upped to 1200ccand that lightweight aluminium frame plus the all adjustability in the steering,and suspension. Drippng with titanium, magnesium and carbon fibre, theMillona One Shot, like all NCR Factory products is handcrafted to order.Interested but don’t know who to ask? Write in to NCR’s MichelePoggipolini (this fine bloke’s on m.poggipolini@ncrfactory.com) and he will beable to quote you a huge figure sans customs and shipping. If the Millona OneShot’s killer looks don’t get you, its price surely will! Prepare to be stunned!WINNING SOUND OF THUNDERIf you do not race a bike made specifically for track operationthen you are wasting it, we think. Seems the NCR Factory andits customers follow this same dictum and unlike many otherswho mollycoddle their exotic machinery, the Millonas have beenthrashed on the race tracks and they have emerged triumphant.This year, the NCR Factory’s Walter Bartolini (above) took a greatwin astride the works Millona One Shot in the Sound of Thunderevent during Daytona Bike Week in March. Walter Bartolini, the leadrider for NCR Corse was the most successful race in the ItalianDucati Challenge last season, winning six of the seven races heentered on the Millona One Shot.Seems NCR Racing’s DNA from the Hailwood Desmo of 1978remains unrestrained and pure to this very day. Forza NCR Ducati!June 2007 India 65Adil NCR DUCATI MILONA.indd 64-6522/06/2007 2:15:28 PM

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