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?

Vyrus 986 M2 – Soon to Infect Moto2 & Showroom Floors

01/13/2011 @ 7:16 am, by Jensen Beeler14 COMMENTS

Vyrus 986 M2   Soon to Infect Moto2 & Showroom Floors Vyrus 986 M2 Moto2 concept 635x424

You remember Vyrus right? The company that makes the Vyrus 987 C3 4V…the Bimota Tesi look-alike with a Ducati 1198 motor, hub-steering, and a supercharger? Not willing to rest on its laurels as having “the most powerful production motorcycle in the world” (211hp gets you that title), the small Italian boutique firm seems set to enter Moto2 racing with its new Vyrus 986 M2 race bike, whose preliminary concept photo has just leaked out of the Rimini factory.

Taking the idea of prototype racing to its fullest dimension with its hub-center steering design, perhaps the only thing more exciting than the prospect of seeing a few of these Vyrus 986 M2′s at 18 of motorcycling’s best venues, is the prospect that a road-based version of the machine could be siting in our garage later this year (assuming we could afford such things). Details after the jump.

Like all Moto2 class machines, the Vyrus 986 M2 is based around a Honda CBR600RR motor, but will be the only bike on the Moto2 grid to feature hub-steering. While Vyrus says the new 986 M2 will be an affordable option for Moto2 teams, the company also has plans to take the bike to the consumers (likely with some modification to get around the “prototype” requirement in Moto2), offering a road bike version available for purchase.

This news makes us especially excited for the uniquely styled 600cc machine, and with a March 2011 delivery date on the road version, we’re surprised Vyrus has been able to keep this project under wraps for this long.

Scheduled to debut at the Verona show on January 21, 2011, we’ll have more info on this dream machine in a couple of weeks.

Source: &


  1. 76 says:

    Awesome news, hope they can can make the start and become competitive. Would really put the motorcycle world on its head

  2. Brammofan says:

    Hub steering… wow. I had to google that just to educate myself. There are some good youtube vids that show it in action. Seems to make a lot of sense but obviously not in use by many (if any?) major manufacturers.

  3. A couple manufacturers have played around with it, the Yamaha GTS1000 comes to mind. The generally consensus seems to be that the cost outweighs the benefits, but that is also coming from companies that have a financial interest in Öhlins and Showa, so…

  4. hoyt says:

    Very Nice.
    Prototype racing to its “fullest dimension” with a spec engine from 1 OEM? Any word on Moto2 allowing other manufacturers to enter their engines in the coming years?

  5. Keith says:

    Hoyt, I would have to say it DOES make sense. As far as drivetrains go and in spite of traction control, instant shift gear boxes and dual clutches there isn’t a whole lot new. Currently our power trains are well ahead of the chassis, suspension and brakes. So what’s wrong with Moto2 providing a competative venue to accelerate research? I like the Vyrus and it’s hubless steering.

  6. hoyt says:

    Keith, you state there isn’t a whole lot new. How is there going to be anything new with one manufacturer?

    accelerate research? Engines and chassis get developed together, not in silos. Your logic suggests engineers will learn everything they need to from the inline 4. It is bad enough motorcycles are primarily developed around one front-end design, the tele.

    Yamaha is only into their 3rd retail year of the cross-plane crank engine. What if they combined that with staggered pistons (e.g. Horex’s VR6) so their 4 is the size of a triple? The chassis now has more options.

    Aprilia is only into their 3rd racing season with a brand new v4.

    Sure, these companies can develop in the GP class but a lot of innovation comes from small companies with smaller engines. Let there be choices across various classes so more players can contribute new designs. Plus, supporting a full-on prototype GP class with a class that uses one engine from one manufacturer doesn’t jive.

    I think the Vyrus is great too and hope Martin Wimmer’s team gets their front-end on the grid this year. The more the merrier, so why stop at a CBR 600?

  7. Scooterpunk says:

    “companies that have a financial interest in Öhlins and Showa”

    I am pretty sure that Yamaha sold it’s interest in Ohlins back to the company, although Honda still owns Showa.

    Hub center steering is probably still just a gimmicky thing and probably not a real improvement over telescopic forks. Even BMW decided to go with telescopic forks for their s1000rr, even though they had a lot of development in their Telelever and Paralever Systems.

    Although it’s good to see companies thinking outside the box, I don’t see a bunch of Moto2 teams jumping on board until it’s proven, which means Vyrus better have a deep war chest to go racing to prove their ideas are better than the norm

  8. Tom says:

    I like the different engineering that I’m seeing these days, but I have to take issue with the names. Motus, Vyrus, Motoczysz, etc. None of them roll off the tongue in a “cool” or endearing manner. Maybe someday some with get a Vyrus tattoo to show their devotion, but I’m just not feeling it.

  9. ds says:

    BMW went w/a tele front because the tele is most widely accepted, but it is not necessarily the best engineered solution

  10. froryde says:

    DROOL! Might have to sell the Tesi 3D to get this one!

  11. Scooterpunk says:

    “BMW went w/a tele front because the tele is most widely accepted, but it is not necessarily the best engineered solution”

    According to a BMW developer of the S100RR they said they tried the telelever, but for the best lap time, the telescopic fork was best. Also said was that the Duolever system results in too long of a wheelbase for racing. Also said, the natural braking dive of the telescopic fork “changes the steering angle and the trail, and riders find that leads to ease of turning, at race pace” This was from the latest edition of Roadracing World. While there may be other engineering solutions to the front end of the motorcycle, manufacturers have had almost 80 years to develop a new design, but have not. They have chosen to evolve the conventional fork. Probably for good reason

  12. ds says:

    I agree with most of those points but there are other designs in addition to the BMW version of the telelever and duolever. There are other factors at play too:

    racers will always prefer the tele because that is all they know & have known (for the time being).

    80 yrs ago, the tele was revolutionary and was the best so other designs did not seriously emerge until the 80s. Look at the results of designs like the RADD & 6x Flex with a fraction of the development time compared to the tele. Incidentally, the latter designs do incorporate some telescoping action to include some dive.

  13. ds says:

    …and the duolever and telelevers do not include dive (as far as I know)

  14. ds says:

    oops…telelever does include dive. BMW’s version of that setup has been fairly heavy so that wouldn’t have been included on a bike like the 1000RR anyway