The Most Exclusive Motorcycle on the Planet?
By Loz Blain
Overkill. The word's origins are military in nature, describing a situation where one country has enough nuclear weapons to destroy significantly more of another nation that it would ever need to in order to win a war. But the term applies perfectly to today's sportsbike market, where any numpty with a license and a check book can waltz into a dealership and wobble out on a thoroughbred race machine that can break the speed limit at mid-revs in first gear and accelerate faster than any car on the road. Of course, for some people that's just not enough, bless their souls — but to create a vehicle that stands out from the pack in such a time of plenty, you have to take things to the absolute extreme. And it's a long time since we saw anything quite as extreme as the NCR M16, a bike that takes one of the most expensive roadbikes ever built, throws almost all of it in the bin and replaces it with the most exotic materials on the planet. Gentlemen, start your drooling.
Ducati's Desmosedici RR broke new ground when it was released in 2006, as the first true MotoGP replica for the road. With more than 200 horsepower on tap and an impressively svelte 171kg to haul about, it looked decades ahead of its time. But now that BMW's S 1000 RR superbike can pretty much match those figures for a fraction of the Desmo's US$77,000 pricetag, Desmosedici owners can stay ahead of the game by dropping their hallowed steeds off at NCR and having them worked over into this, the NCR M16.
The very thought of pulling the fairings off a MotoGP bike and making a bikini-faired streetfighter out of it will make some people sick to the stomach — but others will appreciate the fact that NCR's efforts cut the Ducati down to an astonishing 145kg — lighter than the Desmosedici ever was in its racing days, and a pretty amazing achievement given that the stock bike was already dripping in carbon fiber, magnesium and titanium.
The Desmo's magnesium rims and superb metal discs are replaced by carbon fiber wheels and ceramic matrix composite discs — so unsprung weight will be kept at a minimum and stopping power will be absolutely phenomenal once they're warm.
The fairings, already carbon fiber as stock, are cut down to a bare bikini minimum, the aluminum tank and CrMo steel trellis frame are thrown out in favor of custom carbon fiber units, and the swingarm, subframe and tailpiece are hand-made out of. . . you guessed it.
Anything that's not carbon fiber is machined from titanium — we're talking engine covers, clip-ons, fuel filler cap, the whole exhaust systems. . . not to mention every single nut and bolt on the bike. Serious stuff. The triple clamps are machined from billet aluminum, which lets the team down a bit, but then they receive a special "Nipploy" treatment — we have no idea what that is, but it sure sounds fun.
In the engine department, the roaring V4 powerplant gets an NCR Corse racing slipper clutch and a lightened gearbox. The top-shelf stock Ohlins suspension is replaced by, well, even topper-shelf Ohlins suspension, the same stuff they're using in MotoGP this year as opposed to 2006, the last year the Desmosedici 990cc beast raced in the top class.
The electronics are just about as impressive as the raw muscle and light weight of the M16. The ECU is pre-programmable with up to 3 different engine maps, there's a fully adjustable traction control system to keep the power under control, and a datalogging and telemetry system that records everything from throttle, brake and gear inputs to what the suspension's been up to as you were riding.
The NCR M16 has every right to call itself exclusive—possibly the most exclusive motorcycle in the world at a whopping EUR135,000—and that's on top of the price of the Desmosedici RR donor bike. That's certainly a pretty penny, but boy would we love to take one down to the shops to get some milk.
Slap down your order at the NCR Factory website today — or check the comments section below to see how long it takes regular Gizmag commenter "Mr. Stiffy" to tell us he'd prefer a scooter.
ideas, innovation, invention