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 MotoGP.com 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?

Hero HXR 250R – An Erik Buell Racing Designed 250cc

01/30/2014 @ 12:25 pm, by Aakash Desai27 COMMENTS

Hero HXR 250R   An Erik Buell Racing Designed 250cc hero hrx 250r 635x530

With a shot across the bow of former-partner Honda, Hero recently unveiled its flagship HXR 250R small-displacement sports bike this week.

Aimed at young enthusiasts in developing markets and newer riders in general, the claimed power of 31 hp, coupled with the svelte 306 lbs curb weight, make it both more powerful and lighter than the current Honda CBR250R and putting in more in line with the CBR300R.

We are told that the Erik Buell Racing (EBR) had a hand in helping design and develop the bike but it is unclear what specifically EBR contributed towards the design.

Hero currently holds a 49.2% stake in EBR and plans to use EBR’s distribution network in the United States to bring Hero’s bikes to our shores.

The bike itself looks modern by current generation standards, neither pushing the aesthetics game into new territory nor looking dated on delivery.

The power-to-weight ratio, while not at KTM RC390 levels, is highly respectable and more than adequate in this bike’s role as a world market small displacement sport bike and as a beginner friendly bike.

Expect to hear more about this bike any others stemming rom the EBR-Hero partnership in the coming year when the full US lineup is revealed.

Source: Hero; Photo: Motoroids

Comment:

  1. Wow, looks really conventional, like a Japanese bike… from about 17 years ago with the steel swingarm and that upper brace. I assume it has a modern rear suspension setup, though I can’t see it here.

  2. proudAmerican says:

    Looks more like a rival to Hyosung, not Honda.

  3. JoeD says:

    You would need 3 times the amount of aluminum for the same item made from steel. Way too chunky for a small bike. Call me Luddite but modern non-steel frames are ugly.

  4. Ian W says:

    I’m going to stick my neck out and say EBR had bugger all to do with this. If they did, hero should ask for their 25 million back.

  5. Doctor Jelly says:

    Eeeennnnteresting… Not bad looking. Maybe sort’ve looks a bit Buellish in the tank area and what appears to be venting for the radiator in the top of the side fairings. Can anyone tell if that’s an underslung or left side exhaust?

    I’m curious to see the price point stateside with those numbers.

  6. Hugh says:

    ~50 lbs less than the Honda CBR250 and ~5 more HP? I guess that puts it out of “rival” territory. :-)

    Several articles in the Indian press last year stated that this engine was designed by EBR.

  7. Paul says:

    Well looks like Erik sold out ! This thing is not was Buell was all about!

  8. KSW says:

    Interesting bike. After seeing the Chinese CF Motors 650 at the Isle of Man last year I’d say the devil is in the details. Component details like shocks, bearings, exhaust etc. In emerging economies local and inexpensive is key especially if the replacement parts are also inexpensive and readily available. Being successful globally however requires a higher standard. The CF Motors race bike was highly upgraded.

    Offering that much bike is a really good offering from Hero.

    Some here need to be less “proud…” and less critical without knowing details. Consulting on technical issues while providing a retail outlet is not wholesale designing of parts/bikes but rather sharing of info that is used however the partner chooses to use it. That’s not selling out that’s actually business relationships and Eric is moving forward. See A&R’s story on Hero Racing running EBR’s by team EBR.

  9. paulus says:

    It will probably retail (in India) for less than a US aftermarket exhaust system.
    For the market price point, it is a step forward.
    Way to go Hero.

  10. buellracerx says:

    KSW – well said, completely agree. armchair engineers are everywhere…including me here in a few lines…

    I wouldn’t be surprised if Hero handed them a sourced powertrain and EBR built a bike around it. A few things that tip me off…

    - styling; especially the windscreen and tank/airbox cover, appears heavily Buell influenced
    - cooling air flow routing through frame, pulling in extra cooling air through side panels to alleviate rider discomfort
    - structural design (aluminum brackets for footpegs, etc.) is very Buell-esque; flowing lines good for stress flow, not as great for edgy industrial design
    - wheel design – while not ZTL, still an anorexic cast Al design w/ a cross-section designed for lateral stiffness
    - engine isolation – looks like a isolator bar under the exhaust, allows engine to move in planar motion, similar to XB & 1125

    The only thing that doesn’t jive is underseat exhaust…oh well, come out with the MSRP, I’ll still race one!

  11. Good Lord, that last comment ‘buellracerx’ (Seriously? Did you come up with that pseudonym on your own? Are you like 12? If so I’m sorry for crackin on ya.) was like reading some kind of fawning fan boy techno love poetry. Looks like a few of you guys have a serious man crush on Erik Buell (I hope that’s all it is anyway, Christ knows Erik has his share of groupies). Y’all must know he reads these comments.

    Actually it’s more likely these are people who work for him, or were foolish enough to invest in the company. I just hope it’s the fan boys and not investors, those poor schmos are likely to find yourself in the same boat with the last group of investors in Buell. Sitting around late at night looking at a pile of those worthless stock certificates.

    Hero is a serious moneymaking company, no doubt they invested in EBR in hopes of jazzing up their designs and breaking into new markets. Mr. Buell is damn lucky they decided to invest in his company, since they’re basically Financing EBR by dropping 25 million in Erik’s pocket. Obviously he has some good friends in investment circles that helped him finagle that deal. Let’s hope the Indians don’t wind up with nothing to show for their investment, like so many others who have gone down this road.

  12. gabe says:

    Begun, the clone wars have.

  13. BBQdog says:

    @Aaron B. Brown: even the Duke 125-390 series had straight suspension at the back, no levers.
    And this Hero, how many gears ??

  14. Mike P says:

    I just threw up a little. Have you seen the Yamaha 125 they sell in India? and then this? It can’t actually be a product.

  15. LanceBoyles says:

    “it is unclear what specifically EBR contributed towards the design”

    fugliness?

  16. Chaz Michael Michaels says:

    just don’t make mention of the buell-designed wonky front brake rotor (I can’t quite make out if this bike has it or not). Fanboys will feed you to starving mutts, like Kim Jong Un did to his uncle for calling him “fatso.”

  17. KSW says:

    BuellRacerX,

    Design theft, design similarity is nothing new. After the investment it would make sense that young designers in India seeing all those Buell photos would pen similarities. Especially if you want to take advantage of “similarities” to the race bike which is all EBR now running in WSBK when you start your marketing campaign. This stuff is business 101 nothing more.

    At 25 million that isn’t so much an investment for many as a decision to spend a little bit of money on EBR rather than a new house on another continent and get a couple cool bikes out of the deal. People have to readjust if they haven’t what the value of money is. Hell to a Brit 25 million U.S. isn’t really much as houses in London sell for more.

  18. Huff1050 says:

    If I was Yamaha I would ask for cash for stealing the upper fairing from the old FZ1

  19. TexusTim says:

    still no word on what E.B. had to do with this ? other than they gave him a ton of money to “say so”.

  20. avsatishchandra says:

    I think the EBR Hero connection in the creation of the HX 250 R is being overplayed, and most of that is due to the ignorance of the Indian media, who seem to think that Eric Buell Racing is a high tech company. In my mind the synergies between Hero and EBR have more commercial implications than technological ones. Hero’s strategy seems to be to get exposure to the name and brand Hero and associating with EBR in AMA and now in WSBK seems to be the route they have taken. In this bargain EBR gets bank rolled for the racing activities. EBR does not have engine technology and uses Rotax for engine supply. So there is not much EBR can contribute in terms of a ground up design.

    Hero also partners AVL and Engines Engineering. I think the brief given to Engines Engineering is to create a motorcycle that looks like it has some lineage from EBR products. The engine I am sure is the old 223 cc Honda lump that has been used in the Karizma model for aeons. It could be bored/stroked out and with FI and an ECU that has been tuned for more power. AVL must have contributed to this. Hero will be quite happy if people were to associate it with EBR, because Engines Engineering and AVL do not have any brand value among the buying public. So Hero and EBR have a situation of Win-Win but it is also something that can turn Lose-Lose. But Hero is very savvy with its marketing and money investments and I believe that the former situation is more likely than the latter.

  21. Grey Matter says:

    So, all of these companies doing the joint venture thing (Subaru & Toyota) , I suppose they’re are all a bunch of morons too right? Sorry folks, you need to study more… like the laws about business in India and what EBR actually did on the HX. I bet you didn’t even know that the hybrid scooter that HERO is putting out was an EBR design did you? There’s so much more to this than any of you may think. EBR assisted in getting more power from the HX’s water cooled power plant and that’s really about it. All of the styling ques were HERO’s call. Think it looks like a rip-off? It’s supposed to be as to say “we can do it too, only cheaper and faster”. If the price point is right, I’m sure they will sell although it will be tough to shake the bad image that the Indians have gotten for bad manufacturing through bikes like the Royal Enfield and the industrial sector.

  22. buellracerx says:

    @Aaron B. Brown “fawning fan boy techno love poetry” haha. I really enjoyed that, thanks! Your in-depth behind-the-scenes insight blows me away.

    @KSW could be a copy, who knows right? Some engineers have signatures, much like artists. Not to say you can’t forge a signature.

  23. avsatishchandra says:

    Wow man Grey Matter, you compare EBR to Toyota and Subaru. In India, Toyota is a part of joint venture where it controls 74% of the capital holding and decides entirely on what product portfolio to present to the market. Subaru is not in India so I will not comment. EBR does not have the same wherewithal that a Toyota, Honda or Yamaha have. Studying Laws of business of India? What for? If you have the money come set up your own company, no Indian collaborator is required. So Ford, Honda, Hyundai, GM, Yamaha and Suzuki (two wheelers) and now Kawasaki have 100% Indian subsidiaries. There are at least 4 companies in India that are putting out hybrid scooters, not all of them have EBR. What Hero has to do with EBR I don’t know. What I do know is even when Eric Buell was with HD, he needed their engines. The chassis innovations were his. After HD said no to him, he went to Rotax for engines. So I cannot see him designing engines from ground up. Anyway the HX-250R engine is based on the old Honda engine and whether it is AVL or EBR doing the tuning after giving it FI and an ECU does not matter. There are many companies making motorcycles and scooters in India and they have been able to design them from ground up.

  24. nikhil says:

    haiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii

  25. nikhil says:

    helloooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

  26. Akash says:

    Great stuff !!
    King is always king—————— “HERO” Is back
    Aakash ji Thanx for sharing an article !!

  27. Anand says:

    there no way a this engine is based on 223 cc oldi …..
    rather it might b a better vrsn of current cb250r’s engine … thats the closest 1