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 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.

Zero Motorcycles Debuts New Zero SR at EICMA

11/05/2013 @ 1:23 pm, by Jensen Beeler11 COMMENTS

Zero Motorcycles Debuts New Zero SR at EICMA 2014 Zero Motorcycles Zero SR 25 635x423

Every year, the electric motorcycle lineup from Zero Motorcycles grows up a little bit more, both in terms of product evolution and in terms of technology advancement.

So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that for 2014 Zero Motorcycles once again has something for enthusiasts: the Zero SR, which builds off the company’s Zero S electric motorcycle, and features 67hp, 106 lbs•ft of torque, and a 102 mph top speed.

The Zero SR achieves this through its new 660 amp controller, which that provides 24% more power and 56% more torque than the controller on the Zero S.

With 11.4 kWh on board the Zero SR, Zero Motorcycles also has an additional “Power Pack” 2.8 kWh battery option, which boosts city range from 137 miles to 171 miles, and highway range from 70 miles to 88 miles.

Those numbers are starting to put Zero Motorcycles in a good place for what consumers are looking for in an electric motorcycle, and we are happy to see that the company has spent more time on its product’s fit and finish.

Gone are the machine shop project kickstands, wood block brakes, and bicycle suspension pieces, and in their place are real motorcycle components that you would find on any other serious two-wheel OEM.

From a visual standpoint, the design of the Zero SR doesn’t stray too far from where Zero Motorcycles has taken the Zero S, which means it won’t be winning any beauty pagents anytime soon, but with the refinements that are present on the Zero SR’s lines, as well as the other machines in Zero’s 2014 lineup, the bike is certainly no dog either.

The 2014 Zero SR, and the rest of the 2014 Zero Motorcycles range, should start coming out of the Zero’s Santa Cruz, California factory in January 2014, with pricing set at $16,995 ($19,490 with the Power Pack) for the American market.

Zero Motorcycles Debuts New Zero SR at EICMA 2014 Zero Motorcycles Zero SR 23 635x453

Zero Motorcycles Debuts New Zero SR at EICMA 2014 Zero Motorcycles Zero SR 21 635x453

Zero Motorcycles Debuts New Zero SR at EICMA 2014 Zero Motorcycles Zero SR 22 635x453

Zero Motorcycles Debuts New Zero SR at EICMA 2014 Zero Motorcycles Zero SR 24 635x453

Zero Motorcycles Debuts New Zero SR at EICMA 2014 Zero Motorcycles Zero SR 15 635x453

Zero Motorcycles Debuts New Zero SR at EICMA 2014 Zero Motorcycles Zero SR 16 635x453

Zero Motorcycles Debuts New Zero SR at EICMA 2014 Zero Motorcycles Zero SR 17 635x453

Zero Motorcycles Debuts New Zero SR at EICMA 2014 Zero Motorcycles Zero SR 19 635x453

Zero Motorcycles Debuts New Zero SR at EICMA 2014 Zero Motorcycles Zero SR 20 635x453

Source: Zero Motorcycles

Comment:

  1. ian says:

    just to have a pick at it, it looks Chinese cheap…..or a bike that scoots around the congested streets of India with all 6 family members on board.
    Where is the character, aggression, the stealth.
    Maybe channeling my own taste too much than looking at the market target.

    Congrats Zero however on your advancement.

  2. Doug says:

    They have received a ton of investment money. This bike is not indicative of that money being paid back.

  3. RL says:

    Zero just dosen’t get it. People want sporty,cohesive looking e bikes such as the Empulse R(prototype) or the Mission R. The Zero looks like it was build from a mail order kit.

  4. Richard Gozinya says:

    Still looks cheap. Zero is in desperate need of a competent designer. Oh, and that headlight? Yeah, it’s the same one that’s on the Empulse.

  5. Westward says:

    Zero cheap?

    That thing costs $17-20k and I don’t see anything reading Brembo, Ohlins, Rizomo, Marchesini, Ducati, or MV Agusta on it…

    I wonder how many MacBook Pro lithium Ion batteries it would take to make my Ducati Monster project bike an electric…

  6. protomech says:

    Richard: that headlight was first used on the Yamaha MT-03, then the Empulse concept, then the 2012 production Zero S/DS, then the 2013 Zero and Empulse bikes. It’s been around the block.

    Westward:
    The Zero S/SR now spans a range from $13k to $19.5k: S ZF8.5 S to ZF14.2 SR.

    The battery packs are made of either three, four, or five ZF2.8 modules: ZF8.5, ZF11.4, ZF14.2 respectively. Each module uses 28 3.65V 24.5 Ah lithium-ion prismatic cells.

    The 15″ Retina Macbook Pro has 6 3.65V 4.2 Ah lithium-ion prismatic cells .. roughly equivalent in capacity to a single 24.5 Ah cell in the Zero bikes.

    So for a ZF11.4 bike like the base $16995 SR, you would need to sacrifice 112 Retina Macbook Pros, MSRP $223888.

  7. jzj says:

    @protomech: Good knowledge. Here’s a few questions for you:

    1. Zero is reported to be using Lithium-Nickel-Manganese-Cobalt-Oxide: true?
    2. Do you happen to know the battery manufacturer?
    3. Do you think the air-cooled motor will stand up to street abuse (considering that forced-air ducting is used on the track)?

    Thanks.

  8. delbert mansubi says:

    @jzj: protomech is a zero employee, he’s probably limited on what he can state (actually i’m not even sure he’s supposed to be posting on forums)

  9. Westward says:

    AH, the simple point is this, asking someone to choose between a Ducati Panigale 899 and a Zero SR for $15k seems a bit ludicrous. The argument “because it’s electric” is not justification enough. The new Yamaha MT-07 costs half what Zero is asking for their bike. The reality is that by the time one spends the other half of that amount in gas and maintenance, we all might be riding speeder bikes like in Star Wars…

    Not to mention the cost savings of riding a Honda 300, Kawasaki 300, or a KTM 390…

    I think electric bikes and cars are amazing. But right now, its a rich man’s toy. When will it be the average man’s cost effective alternative is anyones guess….

  10. protomech says:

    @jzj

    1. True, for years 2012 – 2014.
    2. EIG for 2012, Farasis for 2013 – 2014.
    3. The motor should be pretty bulletproof, even if abused. The motor, controller, and battery packs are all thermally monitored and will throttle back power if temperatures exceed a warning threshold.

    The 2014 SR uses new motor magnets that should increase its tolerance for high heat. We’ll have to wait for reviews to see how well this performs in practice.

    @Westward

    Electrics are still a fair way from up-front cost parity with gas – though their capabilities and pricing continues to improve year over year.

    Consider the $14k price point:

    2012 S ZF9: $14k, 63 miles mixed riding, ~30 hp. Comparable to Honda CBR250R, $10k delta.

    2013 S ZF8.5: $14k, 70 miles mixed riding, 54 hp, pillion seat, bluetooth connectivity. Comparable to Honda CBR500F, $8500 delta.

    2014 S ZF8.5: $13k, 69 miles mixed riding, 54 hp, new gauges, improved suspension, 5 year powertrain warranty. Comparable to Honda CBR500F, $7500 delta.

    So capabilities are going up, prices going down. All well and good, but there’s still a sizeable up-front cost gap.

    But the most important point is this.

    How long does a Panigale 899 take to pay back over a Honda or Kawasaki 300? Isn’t “because it’s fast” justification enough?

    Even though electrics should be less expensive to operate, and may approach total lifetime costs of something like a Honda 500, I don’t think cost should be the primary consideration – particularly given the still very large up front cost delta.

    Instead, I’ll throw these out there:

    1. Ease of operation. Easy to fuel at home, easy to ride, easy to maintain.
    2. Excellent street riding performance. No peaky powerbands, no missed shifts, no overheating at low speeds or boiling engine heat in the summer. Flipside: no engine heat in the winter either.
    3. Novelty. Silence is a virtue all of its own.

    @delbert

    lol. right.

  11. jzj says:

    @protomech: great responses, thanks.