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?

Ducati Mega-Monster Spy Shots

06/29/2010 @ 6:16 am, by Jensen Beeler22 COMMENTS

Ducati Mega Monster Spy Shots Ducati Mega Monster spy shots 1 560x373 has snagged some spy shots of the rumored Ducati power cruiser, or Mega-Monster as it’s now being called in the press (the Ducati Vyper nomenclature has seemingly been dropped). Aimed to take on Yamaha V-Max and it’s crew, the Mega-Monster is a big step for Ducati in tackling new market segments.

Taking a page from the Multistrada 1200 campaign, which saw a plethora of “leaked” images, we don’t really know if you can call these photos true “spy shots”. As with that release, these photos are clearly being staged by Ducati PR people, and then being leaked to motorcycle magazines.

With each rider clearly wearing Ducati apparel, the dots are being connected for us as we can see that the Bologna brand has indeed been working on a cruiser-styled bike, despite saying the project was canned last year. Photos and more after the jump.

Another sign that Ducati PR is at work is the fact we can really only see one angle of the bike in these photos. As with the Multistrada 1200 campaign, we seemed set to see a dribbling of these kind of pictures over the summer and fall, right up-until the bike’s expected launch at the 2010 EICMA show in Milan.

Despite how the pictures came to be, we can still see some details of the Italian power cruiser. The Mega-Monster is showing a huge rear-end that accommodates a 200+ sized rear tire, which is mounted to a single-sided swingarm. A Streetfighter-styled shotgun exhaust can also be seen, as well as your standard Ducati trellis frame. Radially-mounted front brakes, and dual-LEDs finish out the touches of the bike that we can gleen from these photos (post up in the comments if you see something we’ve missed). Stay tuned Ducatisti, you’re world has just been turned upside-down.



  1. joe says:

    New Ducati Indiana. LAME!

  2. hoyt says:

    The above Ducati has similar styling cues to the Vun Duu, which is apparently popular in Europe.

    “diluting the brand” or whatever some Ducati fans are worried about? I don’t think so if they sell a bunch that helps them develop their core product even better.

    An example of diluting a brand would be the Shelby Ford Explorer. (which did not get far, fortunately).

  3. MonsterAti says:

    From a company that’s had to compete with the deep pockets of Yamaha and Honda, and as a true Ducatisti, I see nothin’ wrong with branching out from they’re norm. Just as long as they remember why they [Ducati] are here… To race.

  4. joe says:

    I’m all for branching out from the norm, but I’d rather see a street legal supermono. These are just my opinions. The overpriced cruiser market seems to be well covered already, and the Indiana was lame.

  5. fazer6 says:

    @ MonsterAti, Ducati is here to sell bikes and make money for their investors.
    Racing has sometimes helped them do that.
    You’re deluded if you think otherwise.

  6. Ducati Mega-Monster Spy Shots – #motorcycle

  7. skadamo says:

    RT @Asphalt_Rubber: Ducati Mega-Monster Spy Shots – #motorcycle

  8. Brandon says:

    Hey I don’t know if you guys saw it but the under tail has two grooves down the middle. It makes me think that the side exhaust is a disguise and the production bike will really wear an undertail exhaust system.

  9. Hayabrusa says:

    I sure am glad SOME manufacturers are ‘stretching the envelope’ (ie. Ducati, BMW, even Triumph) rather than hiding out during tough times (can you say ‘Suzuki’ anyone?!!) Just goes to show the Europeans have a grip on reality! The reality being, of course, that the market wansts (and needs) new, exciting, and fresh ideas to keep it humming along!

  10. aaron says:

    uhh, yeah. welcome to 200x (whenever the 1098 came out)

    DEAR FIM: ducati wishes to race motorcycles that blah blah blah our production bikes. as we are discontinuing our 999cc bike, please let us race our new engine… or maybe one a hundred cc bigger.

    flash forvard to tomorrow… ducati launch the new 1300cc plus vyper at the same time the 1200cc bike is considered uncompetitive against the fours. wonder just how hard it will be to fit into a superbike frame? wonder how long it takes management to decide that 2 similar motors is just too expensive when they could easily survive with only half the tooling and inventory? I wonder how many douche-catista’s could live with themselves knowing they only had 1198cc?

    jeez… oh well, nobody ever thought less of porsche for the truck and family sedan, right?


  11. Sam says:

    I’m drooling already…

  12. Bike EXIF says:

    RT @Asphalt_Rubber: Ducati Mega-Monster Spy Shots – #motorcycle

  13. Elsa Blaine says:

    Now that's a rear tire! RT @Asphalt_Rubber: Ducati Mega-Monster Spy Shots – #motorcycle

  14. ladyhawke82 says:

    RT @Asphalt_Rubber: Ducati Mega-Monster Spy Shots – #motorcycle

  15. SquireSCA says:

    I think it is a great idea, this cruiser. I am sure that a lot of the Beemer purists thought that creating a bike like the S1000rr, something that wasn’t ugly, quirky or goofy and that people would actually buy, was a huge mistake for following the Japanese and “getting away from their roots”. Of course, the bike is amazing and is taking the market, and racetrack, by storm.

    Even the Multistrada was a deviation from the typical Ducati, back in the day.

    This is good, to create something outside the box. The strength of a company is not in their ability to stay focused on the past or status quo, it is in their ability to retain their core, while pushing the envelope and reinventing themselves and still being successful.

  16. Sean Mitchell says:

    This is the equivalent of Ferrari building some pathetic retro styled muscle car to go up against the new Mustangs and Camaros. The redneck hillbillies who are interested in power cruisers didn’t even buy enough of the new VMAX’s to make them a hit, so why are they going to buy a more expensive Italian version?
    Sigh…don’t know whether to keep my 848 as a relic of the company before they absolutely lost their minds, or sell it in protest.

  17. Hayabrusa says:

    Sean -

    Yeah, but the V-max SUCKS!! Who in their right mind will spend 20k on a Jap bike (of any kind!)? Having said that, it appears my sentiment is the same as everyone elses – shown by lack of V-max sales. Will I spend 20k on something Italian – you bet, as soon as MY economy improves!!

  18. hybrid promoter says:

    Haven’t any of you “racing” guys ever wanted the best of both worlds. A cruiser and a crotch rocket. Sure, you can go buy one of each, but this market is just starting to be tapped.
    Unfortunately, poor marketing and bad design choices are not helping it.
    After 100 years, Harley finally did something right with the VROD, and now that they have introduced the Night Rod Special and Muscle, sales have increased. “Traditional” guys are slooooooowly getting with the program with new and improved technology.
    And the VMAX does suck. It’s ugly and overpriced.
    The M109, too big and bulky.
    The Honda Warrior, a joke.

    This Vyper/Mega Monster, I think it looks great.
    And for the racing fanatics, are we forgetting about drag racing?
    It’s an untapped market for Ducati and you “Traditional” guys need to embrace change and technology to help Ducati grow and stay competitive.
    It may not be the fastest ducati and appeal to all ducati supporters, but this bike is a winner in my book.

  19. GeddyT says:

    Does this really surprise anyone? I mean, Ducati is second only to Harley in selling image/”lifestyle” first and bikes second. They are (by a million miles) the second best “brand” in motorcycling. It was only a matter of time before they put two and two together: the biggest group of riding posers (cruiser riders) and the biggest force in sportbike poser marketing (Ducati).

    You want proof? Look up a couple post to the person saying they wouldn’t be caught dead spending 20K on a Japanese bike, but would happily do so for a Ducati because it’s Italian. So, what, because a Japanese company wouldn’t be stupid enough to build a bike with a rear brake reservoir 2mm from a hot exhaust pipe (749S), or build a bike that leaks oil past the cam seals (MTS1100), or be about five years late to the party with an automatic fast idle circuit (same 749S), it must build a valuable bike?

    The two Ducatis I’ve owned (still own one), if I’m honest, have been more trouble than they’re worth. Both overheat a lot more than zero (my record with Japanese bikes), both stall for no reason a LOT more than zero (ditto), and even when I rode my friend’s brand new 1198 a couple of weekends ago I noticed that Ducati STILL isn’t making a bike that’s fueled worth a damn under 5000rpm and doesn’t radiate center of the sun levels of heat. He bought the bike without even test-riding the Japanese (or German or Austrian) competition. He bought it because he HAD to have a Ducati. Because it’s Italian. And, I mean, he already had the matching shirt, right?

    Yup, Ducati’s only mistake here that I see is that they waited so long to take this super logical step into cruiserdom.

  20. Fey says:

    I think, Yamaha V Max is better!!

  21. unclewill says:

    With a tire that wide, who needs a kickstand?

  22. Dever says:

    @ aaron If you had any idea of what you were talking about, maybe you wouldn’t come off as the shallow, pathetic, asswipe you seem to be. The Japanese are the ones who cried to the FIM get the rules to favor the boring, dime-a-dozen, in line fours. The twins must run a restrictor plate which effectively chokes the engine. If the restrictor plate rule was gone you would be singing a different tune,

    @ GeddyT Obviously, you’re a just a dumbass, Another of the simple minded idiots who buy rcer replica bikes to ride around downtown at 30 mph in bumper to bumper traffic and then whine because it overheats. Go buy a GSXR1000, all the other queers are.