Photos from 250+ Feet up COTA’s Petrolsaurus Rex

Standing 251 feet above Turns 16, 17, & 18, the COTA observation tower provides a bird’s eye view of just about every tun on the circuit, if you can stomach its subtle sway in the wind and clear-glass floor at the precipice. Officially called by COTA as the “Observation Tower” – it really needs a better name for casual conversation. We’ve heard COTA Cobra used a few times with some lovely alliteration, but the structure has always struck us as less snake-like, and more like a big dinosaur — we’re going to use the name “Petrolsaurus Rex” until I hear something better, or COTA sends me a cease and desist order. I climbed to the top of Petrolsaurus Rex (read: took the elevator) during the MotoGP Warm-Up session, and snapped a few photos in the process. Enjoy!

MV Agusta F3 800 Ago Now Officially Debuts

We already announced the bike last November, and brought you a bevy of hi-res images of the special edition machine. Although now that we think of it, MV Agusta never released anything on this Giacomo Agostini tribute motorcycle — better late than never, right? Back at the EICMA show launch, where the MV Agusta F3 800 Ago was first shown to the public (and Agostini himself), the Varese brand promised us two additional motorcycle launches in early 2014. MV Agsuta made good on half that promise with the Dragster 800 model, hopefully this Ago special edition isn’t the other half of that statement, and MV Agusta still has something waiting in the wings. That being said, the Tricolore & Gold paint scheme is gorgeous, and looks even better in person.

Isle of Man TT Gets TV Deal for Australia & USA

Want to watch the Isle of Man TT from the comfort of your non-British TV, but haven’t been able to in the past? A new TV from the Isle of Man’s Department of Economic Development will do just that. Inking a new TV contract with North One TV, the Isle of Man TT will be televised in the American, Australian, and of course British markets, making it easier than ever to watch the iconic road race. With a five-year contract with the Velocity Channel in the US, the American cable channel will show seven one-hour race shows. Each segment will air within 24hrs of each race, and be tailored for the American market.

Castiglioni Denies Fiat Buyout of MV Agusta Is in the Works

After reporting 22% growth in Q1 2014, Giovanni Castiglioni had some closing words about the rumors that Fiat could acquire MV Agusta — a popular rumor that has been swirling around in the press the last two months. Denying outright that MV Agusta had, or was in, talks with the Fiat-Chrysler group about an acquisition (some reports linked even MV Agusta to being bought by Fiat-owned Ferrari), Castiglioni said the Italian company solely was focused on building growth, and building motorcycles. “Moreover, I’d like to take this opportunity to deny rumours circulated by the media over the last few days concerning supposed negotiations vis-à-vis the sale of a share of MV Agusta to the Fiat-Chrysler Group,” said Giovanni Castiglioni, the President and CEO of MV Agusta.

A 2WD Hybrid-Electric Motorcycle for the US Military?

In the coming years, US special forces may be riding a tw0-wheel drive, hybrid-electric, multi-fuel motorcycle co-developed by BRD Motorcycles and Logos Technologies. Helping make this project possible is a Small Business Innovation Research grant from DARPA. The goal is to make a single-track vehicle for US expeditionary and special forces that will be nearly silent in operation, yet also capable of traveling long distances. Details on the proposed machine are light, of course, but it sounds like the 2WD dirt bike will be based off the BRD RedShift MX (shown above), and use an electric drivetrain, as well as a multi-fuel internal combustion engine to achieve its goals.

Colin Edwards Will Retire from Racing after 2014 Season

Announcing his decision during the pre-event press conference for the Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas, Colin Edwards told the assembled press that 2014 would be the Texan’s last season racing a motorcycle. Citing a lack of improvement on his performance in pre-season testing and at the Qatar GP, Edwards decision perhaps answers the lingering question in the paddock of when the American rider would hang-up his spurs after an illustrious career in AMA, WSBK and MotoGP. Talking about his inability to come to terms with the Forward Yamaha, which Aleix Espargaro was able to take to the front of the pack in Qatar, Edwards was at a loss when it came to understanding the Open Class machine and his lack of results.

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.

Spotted: Honda CBR500, Honda CB500R & Honda CB500X

10/25/2012 @ 4:00 pm, by Jensen Beeler17 COMMENTS

Spotted: Honda CBR500, Honda CB500R & Honda CB500X Honda CB500 spy photo 10 635x374

Honda is set to debut a number of 500cc machines at EICMA next month, two of which we have already glimpsed: the Honda CBR500 & Honda CB500R. Joining the smaller sport bike and street-naked is is the Honda CB500X, a 500cc version of the Honda NC700X.

Spotted all together at an Italian commercial shoot, all three models are said to share a 500cc parallel-twin motor that makes 45hp, as well as the same basic chassis.

Fitted with “traditional” telescopic forks, single brake discs up front, and all three models sharing a bevy of major parts, Honda should be able to be very aggressive with its pricing structure on the new 500cc model line.

Looking at the components as well, it is clear that Honda intends its new CBR500, CB500R, and CB500X motorcycles to be priced at the lower end of the pricing spectrum, making them attractive to newer and price-sensitive motorcyclists — especially our friends across the pond who are riding with an A2 license.

Honda CBR500:

Spotted: Honda CBR500, Honda CB500R & Honda CB500X Honda CB500 spy photo 05 635x635

Honda CB500X:

Spotted: Honda CBR500, Honda CB500R & Honda CB500X Honda CB500 spy photo 06 635x437

Source: Il Centro


  1. MikeD says:

    Meh…as atractive as a Female Hippo…Craigslist is your friend if u want more bike for your hard earned $$$ UNLESS u have your heart set on buying new (a warranty, new bike smells, no second hand worries, probably optional ABS, etc).
    “Affordable” Transportation ? Hope so…BUT Honda has this nasty habit of thinking their farts smell like roses and over-pricing it’s products…SO FAR their new 250′s have proven me wrong…but not holding my breath…or hating, for that matter.
    I hope they sale billions of these in SE Asia & S. America so they can keep pouring money on the bigger (USA, EU oriented) bikes. Call me selfish.

  2. Tripps says:

    Call me selfish but market that shit over here stat! I’d rather see the bike industry grow again over here and I’d also like to see more second hand bikes over here as well.

  3. Spotted: Honda CBR500, Honda CB500R & Honda CB500X – #motorcycle

  4. The CBR looks fine to my eyes.

  5. Honda's new 500cc range spied – interesting …

  6. Honda's new 500cc range spied – interesting …

  7. frogy6 says:

    I agree the cbr500 looks good.

  8. Damo says:

    I would love to see a full frontal shot of the CB500. I hate the CB500x looks, but the CBR500 looks fine in my eyes. Not sure why anyone would call it ugly. A little boring sure, but looks clean.

  9. Pete says:

    I think this bikes will sell very well with everyday bikers, specially in Europe where riding on the city is harder. (only weekend bikers will think different ;)

  10. steve D says:

    i’ll bet these are ~380-390lb porkers, big brothers to the fatso 250. no thanks; waiting for the 100 lb lighter KTMs.

  11. Damo says:

    @steve D

    I can tell you have never actually ridden CBR250.

    I can see you have steady been jockeying those spreadsheets, though.

  12. MikeD says:


    How much u wanna pay……… much it’ll weight. Easy to figure out.
    These are budget commuters…don’t raise your hopes too high and check your feelings at the door…(^_^)


    INDEED. Fat girls can be fun too BUT for it’s size she’s a legit little porker…and everything else on this size segment but the Mini Dukes.

    @every1 & any1 that think they look good:

    Compared to the their direct competitors they look great. My rather quick comparo was with what i could buy USED for the $$$ they’ll ask.
    Kinda of fair/unfair at the same time.

    I think Pete got it pretty much down to the core of the matter.

  13. Comparing $$$ for used versus displacement for new is a significant apples-to-oranges deal. It just doesn’t compute, guys. Somebody who wants a nice 500 or 250 isn’t going to get “better value” out of a used 750 gixxer. So, unless you’re talking a nicer 500 used instead of these 500s new, you’re mixing your metaphors, so to speak.

  14. “probably optional ABS”

    I just noticed that the bikes in the shoot all have the ABS disc timing marks for the sensor.

  15. Paul McM says:

    With the NC700X offering 65+ mpg, storage, a good riding position, and a broder torque band than my VFR 800, I question why Honda would bring in the CB500X, though I do suspect some young guys will want the CBR500 based on looks alone (and maybe insurance classifications). What I really want to see is a complete re-think of a proper 1100cc street and touring bike that has a good seat, great lights, superior fuel economy and a good set of bags (and a proper pillion) all @ 520 lbs fueled. Then I would sell both the VFR 800 and my ST1100. The NC700X is a little too bare-bones to replace both those bikes, and I’m not sure who is going to buy a CBR500 vs. a 600 in this country unless the 500 is WAY cheaper.

  16. Interesting points, Paul.

    I see the NC700X and VFR800 has being entirely different beasts. I mean, jeeze, the VFR has, what, 110 ponies versus 40-something for the NC? The VFR is more sport than touring and the NC, I think, is more UJM than either sport or touring. When you put the CBR against the NC, I suspect you’ll find the CBR will be a peppier performer, cheaper to insure, lighter and something that tastes sporty while not roasting one’s wedding vegetables (term stolen from a user on this blog).

    Because of its torque, the NC would be dressed up and pillion. I feel each bike goes after a decidedly different market. If I were to only want soft bags and/or a tank bag, the CBR would get my personal vote. The 600 makes a great mid-size sport tourer with hard bags, IMO.

  17. John says:

    Several times last year I rode a Honda CBR 150 – yes 150 cc – from Bangkok to Pattaya (2 plus hours one way on a pretty good freeway, carried all my scuba gear and overnight bag, and maintained a steady 60 miles per hour. As an American whose last motorcycle was a BMW R1100R I am convinced that America’s need to ignore anything under 500 cc is a mistake. A Honda CBR 250 can probably do 90% of anything anyone expects a motorcycle to do and do it at a lower price, safer, and much easier in every other way too. I ask you, why is America fixated on huge motorcycles?