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Thursday, July 17, 2014

CR&S Duu V-Twin Cruiser Motorcycle- First Ride Review on Cycle World

CR&S Duu V-Twin Cruiser Motorcycle- First Ride Review- Photo Gallery:

FIRST RIDE: CR&S DUUSlick specialty bike built in Milan, powered by an American S&S V-twin

CR&S Duu action shot
CR&S is a small Italian shop run by three passionate motorcycle enthusiasts: Giorgio Sarti, Giovanni Cabassi and Roberto Pattoni, the son of the legendary Giuseppe Pattoni who created and raced his own Paton 500cc. Sarti and Cabassi are both successful professionals, members of the Milanese high society who share a passion for motorcycles. Pattoni still runs his late father’s shop, and represents the technical pillar from which CR&S started its operation. That was in 2004, when a lightweight roadster based on a Rotax 650cc single sprang to life. The bike, called the Vun, had a strong visual personality and was blessed with excellent handling qualities.
From that first taste of success came the determination to move to a much higher level of creativeness and financial commitment to build their concept of the ultimate bike. In 2012, the Duu went into production.
The CR&S Duu is not a typical sportbike from an Italian specialist. It’s a power cruiser with a striking visual personality. And it’s built around the meanest and biggest twin-cylinder engine in production today: the S&S X Wedge. In some ways, the CR&S Duu is nothing more than a massive, upper backbone frame conformed to follow the upper profile of that big piece of American artillery. The engine, and Baker five-speed transmission (a six-speed is optional) hang from it, cradled in a box-shaped pan fabricated from stainless steel sheet of various gauges, nothing thicker than 5mm. The engine/transmission ensemble is bolted to it, and the pan is connected to the steering head area of the frame by a light structure fabricated from stainless steel sheet.
CR&S Duu details- engine and frame
Where the huge backbone tube bends down past the head of the rear cylinder, it ends with a cross member of the same size. Aluminum plates machined from billed bolt to either end of the cross member and reach down to solidly locate the swingarm pivot and support the rear end of the engine/gearbox pan. Being made from stainless steel, the huge backbone tube doubles as fuel tank with no need of protective inner treatment.
A single-sided swingarm has been created with a large-diameter stainless steel tube, reinforced at the top by a pyramid-like structure in stainless sheet. The top of the pyramid doubles as the lower mount for the cantilevered shock absorber. The front suspension features an inverted Sachs 48mm fork (Γ–hlins are optional), and the triple-clamps, axle, and radial-mount brake calipers are all machined from billet aluminum. There’s 4.7 in. of front wheel travel, and 5.0 in. in back. Wheels are composite, nine-spoke designs, size 3.50/17 front and 190/17 rear, shod, respectively, with 120/70-17 and 190/55-17 Pirelli Angel radials. The standard brakes feature 4-piston radial mount Brembo Monoblocks in front and floating 2-piston rears with “daisy”-style rotors, size 320mm in front and 260mm rear.
The S&S X Wedge, a 117-cubic-inch mill with a 56-degree vee, is put to work just as it is shipped from Viola, Wisconsin. On its dyno, CR&S got readings of about 100 hp at 5,100 rpm, with 116.5 pound-feet of peak torque at 4,300 rpm. Induction is via single-throttle-body fuel injection and a typical S&S filter, while the exhaust, developed by CR&S, is an underbelly resonator-silencer type.
CR&S Duu static 3/4 view
Although the CR&S Duu is a minimalist bike, it’s not a small one. It has a 62-in. wheelbase mainly because of the long engine/gearbox ensemble, which prevents the company from concentrating the major mechanical components around a neatly located center of gravity. The steering geometry is state of the art, with 24.5 degrees of rake and 4.3 in. of trail. Moreover, the well-shaped and nicely padded seat is 31.5 in. above the ground, with a fully enclosed section that acts as part of the fuel tank, which has a total capacity of 3.8 gallons.
The Duu looks intimidating, but its claimed dry weight of 540 lb. is quite acceptable, and its riding posture promptly reveals very rational ergonomics. With its sportbike-style rearset pegs and medium-width handlebar, the reach to the grips is perfectly natural. The clutch is light, while the five-speed Baker gearbox is a little crude. The exhaust note is raspy and reminds of the 60-degree Aprilia RSV1000, which was better muffled. There’s no galloping staccato like that of a 45-degree V-twin.
This big American twin pulls from as low as 500 rpm (yes, five hundred) and the amount of torque already available then is ludicrous. Over-enthusiastic take-offs cause a short spin of the rear wheel that is part of the show. The engine pulls evenly and strongly past 4,500 rpm, then flattens out. Going past 5,000 rpm makes no sense. Yet the final gearing is so tall that top speeds in excess of 120 mph are easily recorded.
The bike is very stable at high speed and feels surefooted. My test bike was fitted with Pirelli Diablo Rossos in place of the Pirelli Angels, and it also had the finely executed Discacciati radial-mount front calipers. Both options proved perfectly in line with the class of the bike.
CR&S Duu action shot #2
For its displacement, the rigidly mounted and not-counterbalanced S&S X Wedge generates a moderate amount of vibration. On a positive note, the solid crankshaft enhances load capacity and improves reliability and durability, while also cutting parasitic vibrations generated by the flexing and axial pulsating typical of a pressed crankshaft, which have nothing to do with the natural balancing characteristics of a given engine architecture. Plain bearings also run immensely quieter than roller or ball bearings and needle cages. In this, the X Wedge is way ahead of the competition.
Moreover, its power is adequate and about all the chassis can handle. At first, the bike feels like it will only go straight, due to what seems like lazy steering response. Then I realized that, despite ergonomics that encourage a very in line riding technique, the CR&S Duu loves to be thrown into corners with a more muscular, body-leaning action. At that point, the ride gets very spirited and rewarding.
But it’s not only the ride. The Duu should be considered as a whole package that offers ego-boosting appearance and a tough feeling of raw torque. That, together with the bike’s aggressive exhaust note and solid performance all around, means the rider gets to feel as if he’s been able to tame the beast. Not all is fine and dandy, however: Too much heat cooks the rider’s legs, and left-hand corners always come much neater and easier than rights.
Prices in Italy for the bike start at a fraction below 40,000 euros, which translates to about $54,000 at current exchange rates. In case you were wondering, “Duu” means “two” in the Milanese dialect, referring, of course, to the bike’s twin-cylinder engine.