MSF Updates Its Basic RiderCourse Curriculum

It is no surprise that statistics from the NHTSA show that motorcycle accidents and injuries are on the rise. According to the 2012 Motor Vehicle Crash report published by the NHTSA, motorcycle fatalities for that year rose to 4,957, up seven percent from 2011, while injuries increased 15% to 93,000. While the NHTSA statistics are misleading because the motorcycle category includes mopeds, scooters, three-wheelers, pocket bikes, mini bikes, and off-road vehicles, new riders need every advantage they can afford. The Motorcycle Safety Foundation has taken notice of these statistics and has revised the curriculum for its Basic RiderCourse to include a new Basic eCourse, which students will take prior to in-person instruction.

Yamaha Trademarks “R1S” & “R1M” at USPTO – “YZF-R1M” Trademarked Abroad – But Why?

Are new Yamaha YZF-R1 models coming down the pipe? That’s the question being asked after trademark filings in the US and abroad tipped off Yamaha Motor’s intention to use “R1S”, “R1M”, and “YZF-R1M” for motorcycle, scooter, and three-wheeled purposes. The filings are being taken as hints towards a possible multiple trim levels of the Yamaha YZF-R1 superbike, with the “S” and “M” designations being different spec machines than the current base model. The “S” nomenclature is a popular one in the two and four-wheeled world, though “M” would certainly be a novel designation, outside of say…BMW.

Bell & COTA Create Texas-Themed Limited-Edition Helmet

Continuing its theme of making limited-edition helmets for premier-class US rounds, Bell Helmets has teamed up with the Circuit of the Americas and Chris Wood, of Airtrix, to create a Texas-themed Bell Star Carbon helmet, just in time for COTA’s MotoGP race next weekend. Available only until April 13th, the Bell/COTA helmet features a red, white, and blue flag motif on the front, with both the American and State of Texas flags visible, which then wrap around the rear to merge with a hardwood design, reminiscent of the floorboards in a Western saloon. The helmet is also crowned with a Longhorn cattle skull, which adds to the Texan motif. The specially designed helmet also features a horseshoe, the COTA logo, and the 2014 Red Bull MotoGP of The Americas logo.

Aprilia Mounting a Return to MotoGP in 2016

Towards the end of the 800cc era, MotoGP looked to be in dire condition. Grids were dwindling, factories were reducing their participation, and teams were in difficult financial straits indeed. By the end of 2011, there were just 17 full time entries, Suzuki was down to a single rider, and were about to pull out entirely for 2012. How different the situation looks today. In a recent interview with the official website, Aprilia Corse’s new boss Romano Albesiano gave a brief outline of their plans. The Italian factory will continue to work with the IODA Racing team for 2014 to collect data on the electronics and tires, which they will use as input on an entirely new project being worked on for 2016.

This Is Pretty Much What the Monster 800 Will Look Like

With the advent of the Ducati Monster 1200, it was only a matter of time before Ducati’s middleweight liquid-cooled “Monster 800″ would be spotted, and unsurprisingly the machines have a great deal in common. The one big difference seems to be that the 821cc Monster gets a double-sided swingarm, which has become Ducati’s new way of differentiating between its big and medium displacement models of the same machine, see entry for Ducati 899 Panigale. With the spied Ducati Monster 800 looking ready for primetime, and a pre-fall launch isn’t out of the question. Giving us an excellent glimpse into what the Ducati Monster 800 would look like, Luca Bar has again used his Photoshop skills to render up images of the still unreleased “baby” Monster.

Photos of the Mugen Shinden Ni sans Fairings

Given the competitive nature of the electric racing realm, its rare to see the big high-power bikes without their fairings, as teams are reluctant to reveal their secret sauce. Debuting the Mugen Shinden San this past weekend in Tokyo though, Team Mugen did just that, giving us a glimpse into the inner workings of the team’s 2013 race bike, the Mugen Shinden Ni. You don’t have to be an electron-head to get excited by these photos, as any race bike with a carbon fiber frame and swingarm is pretty drool-worthy, though the Shinden Ni’s carbon fiber battery enclosure does hide a great deal of the electric superbike’s geek factor. While the sheer size of the battery bike is impressive, it was expected when the Shinden was first announced.

Mugen Shinden San (神電 参) Electric Superbike Revealed

Mugen’s third purpose-built electric superbike for the Isle of Man TT, the Mugen Shinden San, has been revealed in Japan. Campaigning two machines for this year’s TT Zero race, Mugen has John McGuiness and Bruce Anstey at the helm of its “Shinden San” bikes, as the duo looks for a one-two finish in this year’s race. With MotoCzysz not racing at the Isle of Man this year, Mugen is a hot favorite to take the top podium spots, as well as crack the 110 mph barrier for electrics on the historic Snaefell Mountain Course (Mugen is targeting a 115 mph lap). An evolution on the company’s previous designs, the Shinden San fits 134hp — 10hp more than last year, thanks to a new smaller three-phase brushless motor provided by Mission Motors — into its 529lbs bulk.

Trackside Tuesday: The Winning Personality of Jack Miller

Chatting with a couple of NASCAR fans recently, I was reminded that any competition is boring if you don’t care who wins. But if you do care, then even cars driving around in circles can be very compelling entertainment. Those NASCAR fans really cared about how their favorite drivers finished, and not only how they finished in the latest race, but what and how those drivers were doing off the track as well. Those fans had been captured by the personalities of those drivers. One of the things NASCAR does well is sell personalities. All major sports-related businesses do this to some extent, but some organizations do it better than others.

Living the Dream – A Photographer’s Story: Qatar

Imagine if just for once you didn’t have to stick to your usual nine-to-five job. Instead you were able to do the one job you’ve always wanted to do, but any number of things (it’s usually money) have stood in the way. This is exactly the situation I found myself in six months ago when the company I had worked at, for the last 14 years, decided to close, making everyone redundant. This decision did not come as a surprise; in fact, I had been hanging around for the last few years hoping that it would happen, as I had a plan. Fast-forward six months and I have just finished photographing the opening round of the 2014 MotoGP World Championship in Qatar. The plan is starting to unfold.

Fuel or Electronics? Where Are Nicky Hayden & Scott Redding Losing Out on the Honda RCV1000R?

The news that Honda would be building a production racer to compete in MotoGP aroused much excitement among fans. There was much speculation over just how quick it would be, and whether it would be possible for a talented rider to beat the satellite bikes on some tracks. In the hands of active MotoGP riders, the gap was around 2 seconds at the Sepang tests. Nicky Hayden – of whom much had been expected, not least by himself – had made significant improvements, especially on corner entry. The difference in performance and the big gap to the front has been cause for much speculation. Where are the Honda production racers losing out to the Factory Option bikes?

2014 Honda CBR650F Coming to America Too

02/04/2014 @ 8:39 pm, by Aakash Desai12 COMMENTS

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With the introduction of Honda’s 500cc bikes last year (Honda CBR500R, Honda CB500F, and Honda CB500X), Honda provided newer and experienced riders with a practical and cheap option in an otherwise relatively polarized motorcycle market. While those bikes were sensible choices indeed, they were commonly criticized for their relatively modest power.

So here comes yet another color in the choice spectrum from the Japanese maker: a middleweight faired sport bike, with street-centric aspirations, and a palatable price tag. So if the Honda Interceptor is too rich for your blood, the inline-4 Honda CBR650F might just be the bike for you.

At a base price of $8499, the Honda isn’t the ridiculous value of the similarly priced Yamaha FZ-09. But, what you get with the CBR is Honda engineering and Honda quality. Additionally, the Honda offers optional ABS, a fairing, and 0.8 gallons more of fuel capacity.

What you lose versus the FZ-09 is that bike’s massive torque figures, much lighter weight, and adjustable front and rear suspension (preload and rebound). We would have liked to see at least front and rear rebound damping adjustment on the CBR650F, as well as 43mm USD forks.

Thus, it’s hard to see where the Honda CBR650F fits in. It doesn’t offer the same value propositions on offer by other manufacturers and the overall aesthetic character of the bike lacks distinguishing features that set it apart from the rest of the crowd.

Then again, Honda rarely enters a market without a plan and an agenda and it will be interesting to see how this foray into the middleweight and affordable sports market plays out for them.

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Source: American Honda


  1. paulus says:

    This model is Thai built and Asian focused. This is where these bikes sell, to compete with the ER6 family.
    In Asia USD 9,000 is competitive for a 650cc of this quality and specification.
    An imported MT-09 would be almost twice that, after legitimate import duties.

    If a few more can be sold in the rest of the world…. that’s just cream for Honda.

    I have ridden one, the brakes are surprising (good), the engine is powerful but seems to be quite ECU restricted (maybe to differentiate from the original CBR600 donor engine)… and the suspension is adequate, but craves a nice Ohlins RSU (already sold here). Lot’s of accessories already on sale…. I am sure it won’t be long before somebody addresses the ECU issue ;)

  2. Sentinel says:

    Thanks for the info Paulus, this looks like it’s going to be a very nice bike.

  3. JoeD says:

    Another boring bike eh?

  4. paulus says:

    Only boring if you don’t like to ride…. :)

  5. Gonzo says:

    Ditch the ugly, Suzuki-like headlight.

  6. CLB says:

    For that price… there are MANY other choices… easier to ride, faster and cheaper.

    But as with many folks ONLY new will do and so that is why this will sell. For me… I’ll take the FZ09 any day of the week and really enjoy riding… I do like to ride!

  7. Looter says:

    Would it kill Honda’s bottom line to add some sizzle to its chicken teriyaki?

  8. Tom says:

    I appreciate that Honda’s market is incredibly wide and diverse, spanning the entire globe and all ages and riding styles. I’m aware they’re not catering only for the UK/EU and the US. Having said that though, there’s not a single bike of theirs that appeals to me as a rider in his mid-to-late 20′s. Not a single One.

    My interests are – like most Western riders of my age, i’d say – supersports and nakeds. If I wanted a supersport, i’d buy a ZX6R or Daytona. If I wanted a naked, i’d be knocking on Yamaha’s door, or i’d grab a Street Triple. And if I did decide to get a litre bike, i’d settle for almost anything but the new Fireblade. Their entire product line seems totally devoid of any passion, flare or soul. I know, academically, that their bikes are good, great even, technologically speaking. But who wants to be purely academic about motorcycling? Commuters aside, whatever your ride, be it a cruiser, a sports, a naked, whatever, 99.99% of us want something that moves the soul. The only thing of mine that Honda move these days is my arse – straight out of their showroom and over the road into the Kawasaki dealership…..

  9. John says:

    It looks like the replacement for the CBR600F4i.

    A sensible inline 4 600 cc that is more city oriented (daily rider) that track.

    Where I live the F4i are sot after bikes.

  10. MikeD says:

    @Tom & John:


  11. Buellbafett says:

    I’ll take a used, 2nd gen. SV-650S over this any day. Some very minor suspension improvements and the SV is good ta go.

  12. Roadrash says:

    Pipes belong on the side and center stands belong underneath! Just another cookie cutter bike to try and gain some market shares? It will take more than just a nice looking moto to get me in. I am sure as usual it will be Honda good but that is not enough. A bike like this absolutely should have a center stand, decent fuel capacity and an optional rack for hauling crap to work or from the grocery store-or both, sad sad sad.