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?

VFR1200 Breaks Cover Ahead of Schedule

06/24/2009 @ 5:19 pm, by Jensen Beeler9 COMMENTS

VFR1200 Breaks Cover Ahead of Schedule Honda VFR 1200 exhaust Left Lane News

It would appear we do not need to wait until Fall to see the new VFR in its final, or near final form. MCN lead this morning with an article showing what they reputed to be leaked photos of the 2010 VFR1200 from Honda.

We, like many others, we skeptical of this news, both in part because of the source, but also because the reputed final version so closely matched mock-ups of the new bike that we’ve seen for months now.

Our skeptism may be unfounded this time, as auto news site Left Lane News has simultaneously released spy shots of the VFR testing in the California desert that would appear to rain on MCN’s parade of having “the scoop of the year”.

According to HFL, MCN disclosed to them that photos seen today were actually black and white shots of the VFR “in the public domain”,  and that MCN then “just coloured in from the original black and white image.” Not exactly the most inspiring thing to hear, but the photos from Left Lane clearly show the same distinct lines as seen in the MCN photos.

MCN claims in their article that the new VFR will have a variable-cylinder V4 motor. When cruising and when absolute power isn’t needed, the bike will shut down the two rear-cylinders, similar to the technology we see now emerging in large displacement car and truck motors. This will effectively create a parallel twin, which should improve gas mileage when touring long distances.

We’re not quite sure what this means as far as how the power will be delivered in this mode, since the firing order of the motor has not been released. The power pulses could be very close together, or more staggered depending on how the VFR is cammed. Hopefully at the official unveiling we will learn more about this, and why Honda thought it necessary to bring the technology to the motorcycle sector.

What we find the most interesting is the concept photo we brought to you back at the beginning of May, that was done by Vanjey Designs, looks almost identical to the bike being presented today. Clearly someone at the French firm had a glimpse at the final product, albeit getting a few details wrong.

Source: Left Lane News, MCN, HFL

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  1. John Adamo says:

    RT @Asphalt_Rubber: VFR1200 Breaks Cover Ahead of Schedule – #motorcycle

  2. Corry says:

    @EatSleepRide RT @Asphalt_Rubber: VFR1200 Breaks Cover Ahead of Schedule – now that’s something.

  3. RT @Asphalt_Rubber: VFR1200 Breaks Cover Ahead of Schedule – #motorcycle – ummmmm, will it grow on me?! ummm….

  4. Billy B says:

    ugly….shame they still can’t get some decent designers at honda….this actually looks worse than the cbr1000rr…didn’t think that was possible…and that’s coming from a fan of Honda!!!

  5. VFR1200 Breaks Cover Ahead of Schedule – #motorcycle

  6. Kebabsaregood says:

    Good blog, up until the point you keep mentioning MCN and then deviate to talk about whether you believe it or not. I see MCN regularly, and don’t think I’m so dumb that I can’t work out for myself if something is fact or speculation – in truth they make the same distinctions very clear, and if you can’t work that out too then I question whether your opinion is remotely relevant. It makes you look spoon-fed and needy (as if the big debate is editorial standards on a newspaper based on the other side of the Atlantic. Is it?)

    I don’t know… maybe it’s a natural development from blog to established news site: you stop mentioning all the sites you leech news from, and tell us things you’ve garnered for yourself without just looking at other sites.

    If you’re going to moan about websites that provide you with a big chunk of your news, I reckon you should at least read the paper they’re based upon.

    This isn’t a moan by the way, it’s a ‘keep up the good work but be confident in yourself’ message.

  7. Brett Haven says:

    RT @Asphalt_Rubber: VFR1200 Breaks Cover Ahead of Schedule – #motorcycle

  8. hjworton says:

    I smell a rat. Does it not seem slightly odd that only a week ago MD of Honda Shigeru Takagi was quoted as saying – and I paraphrase here – the bike would be a ‘new breed of Honda’ and ‘epoch making’. Passionate stuff. Strangely enough, just 1 week later studio AND spy shots appear of the bike. Is this some kind of viral marketing campaign from the big H ? I think it just seems a little too much like a coincidence for it to be one.

  9. John Senrot says:

    The preliminary “sketches” show it to be a good looking bike. I just hope that the riding position is not crutch rocket style but more like the present VFRs. I am looking forward to see it in the showroom and read the moto magazines critiques.