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?

Asphalt & Rubber Turns Four Years Old Today

10/28/2012 @ 7:51 pm, by Jensen Beeler54 COMMENTS

Asphalt & Rubber Turns Four Years Old Today Jensen MotoCzysz E1pc 635x423

Today is a surreal landmark, as it marks our fourth year of publishing Asphalt & Rubber. If you cannot already tell, I am having a hard time believing that four years have gone by since I started this humble motorcycle blog (in the middle of corporate finance class, no less), but A&R continues to thrive despite my best dyslexic efforts.

It astonishes me that our “little” site is visited throughout the world on a daily basis, and that each month more people read A&R than all three of the major US motorcycle print magazines…combined.

Things keep on growing here, and I am deeply grateful now to be publishing the work of David Emmett on A&R, as he continues to be one of the most insightful writers in motorcycle racing, in both the print and online mediums.

This year, I am also very honored to have had regular written and photo contributions from Scott Jones, Daniel Lo, and Jules Cisek this year — their work has helped Asphalt & Rubber earn a reputation for stunning photography, and I hear compliments about their photography virtually every time I meet a loyal A&R reader in person.

Looking back on the last year, I realize that we have done quite a lot. We were first to ride some amazing and unique motorcycles, like the BRD RedShift SM prototype, the Mission Motors Mission R, and the 2012 MotoCzysz E1pc. As usual and whenever possible, we tried to get out from behind the computer screens to get our coverage in person, something that is surprisingly rare in this space.

This year alone, A&R visited four continents (you should see my frequent flier miles), and covered in person a bevy of MotoGP races, the Isle of Man TT, the EICMA show in Milan, not to mention a slew of great events in North America (our base), like the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb and World Superbike round at Miller Motorsports Park in Utah.

We have some great things planned for the site and for the brand next year, with a few exciting projects already in the works. All of us here at Asphalt & Rubber look forward to bringing you more interesting features and timely news items, and I plan on bringing a few more insightful and intelligent voices into the A&R family within the coming year as well. Stay tuned for all of that.

Something that transcends beyond just the past year, it is clear that the motorcycle industry continues to adapt and shift in these uncertain economic times, and moto-journalism continues to come to terms with an online format as well, but one thing for certain will be constant: Asphalt & Rubber will remain a reader-centric publication — meaning our site will always be free to our readers and independent in its thought and content from others.

I am deeply proud of what we have created here, and of course none of this would be possible without the hard work, encouragement, and support of a very loyal group of people. Many thanks to all of you that have been there these past four years — you really have no idea how much your support has meant. You too Mom.

Lastly and most importantly, thank you to all our readers who make all the work worthwhile. Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter, friend us on Facebook, or just leave a comment below. See you next year.

Some Photos from the Past Year of Asphalt & Rubber:

Main Photo: © 2012 Ryan Phillips / 360° Photography – All Rights Reserved


  1. Hooi says:

    Hey guys, thank you very much for putting this website together. Yes, indeed times flies, it has been 4 years but I enjoyed every moment of it. Bringing motorcycle news of all sort from far & wide. Just want to tell you guys behind the scene that I really appreciate it. Keep up the good work and look forward to many more good years ahead!

  2. TJ says:

    I have greatly enjoyed the site’s features on bikes and the news. I am impressed you have have such comprehensive articles on WSBK and MotoGP. I hope the site has been profitable.

  3. paulus says:

    A big ‘thanks’ to you and your team.
    AS+R is a great source of information and professionally presented.
    It makes life easier to stay in touch with motorcycle news from around the world.

    Paulus, Thailand.

  4. Jon says:

    Congrats Jensen and Co! I’ve only been a reader for a year but it’s now part of my daily internet routine. Keep up the great work and keep the interesting pieces coming.

    Jon Houle

  5. Ken C. says:

    Happy Birthday, A&R! Your website continues to be my go-to site for motorcycle news, day in and day out. Thanks for posting great articles and photos year round. Keep up the good work, guys.

    Ken C.

  6. Alex Dallwitz says:

    Asphalt & Rubber is such a welcome daily visit— great layout, easy to read, excellent photography, and great insight. Thanks for all the hard work you and the team do. Happy Birthday!

  7. TexusTim says:

    congrats !!! my favorite site.

  8. Benjamin says:

    Good on ya mate. Ze Germans like your site as well. It would be cooler if you kept writing your own articles (about GP and SBK mainly) though. You have the ability to write good articles, so keep following that route.

  9. Caleb Mackechnie says:

    I haven’t been around much lately, but I did want to let you guys know that I’ve been checking the site from time to time, even if I didn’t comment. The people that have taken on the writing of the articles while Max is ill…. you are all just awesome! It’s really great to see everyone pulling together to get the job done.

  10. Happy Birthday A&R. Very informative site for bikers and fans alike. Wish you the very best next year.
    Lots of love from Kenya.

  11. Pedro says:

    Kudos, keep up the good work :)

  12. JohnEE says:

    Great Site Keep it up!!

  13. Kevin says:

    Happy Birthday A&R! Good job mate and love sitting next to you in the media room even if I have to keep an eye on my keyboard ; )


  14. Moto bell says:

    Congrats guys.. I love the site. Would love to learn more about your story.. I am always fascinated by passionate projects such as this

  15. Damo says:

    Keep up the good work Jensen!

    Oh, and I want the scoop on the new 848 Ducati Motard ASAP!

  16. frod says:

    Felix cumpleanos A&R. I really hope it stays as it is.

  17. Jack says:

    Congratulations and thank you for informing and entertaining.

  18. Happy Birthday RT @Asphalt_Rubber: Asphalt & Rubber Turns Four Years Old Today – #motorcycle

  19. joe says:

    Congrats on the four year mark, keep up the good work!

  20. D Santos says:

    Happy Birthday A&R! I have been a reader only since last year but since then visiting A&R is part of my daily routine. Good articles combined with great photos make this website a pleasure to read and a easy way of keeping in touch with the motorcycle world.


  21. John says:

    Congratulations on reaching this milestone! A&R is a great site. I check in at least once a day. Thanks for all your hard work.

  22. Eduardo L. V. Tafner says:

    In good Brazilian Portuguese:

    Parabéns pelo aniversário de 4 anos, Asfalto e Borracha!

    Keep up the excellent work. It’s a pleasure to follow your work.

  23. Jake F. says:

    Way to go Jensen and Co.!

  24. CP says:

    Congrats! Keep up the great work. Love your site!

  25. Tim M says:

    Happy 4th!!! Thanks for one of the best moto sites around JB&Co. You can always be counted on for insightful and breaking news presented with integrity. Your love and respect for all things moto shows in your work. Proud you are in the SF Bay Area too. It’s you and Superbike Planet every morning!

  26. David Emmett says:

    Asphalt & Rubber Turns Four Years Old Today – #motorcycle

  27. Greg says:

    Thank you A&R, for keeping us abreast of motorcycle news at home and abroad. Happy Birthday, and keep up the good work!

  28. DareN says:

    Sto Lat! (that is in Polish). Always look forward to reading your stuff.

  29. Cpt.Slow says:

    Keep up the work guys, bravo!

  30. justadude says:

    I too am a relative newcomer but never miss a day. Good job!

  31. Shawn says:

    Congrats on the first 4! My favourite motorcycle news site.

  32. Doctor Jelly says:

    Hey, Congrats! I’ve been visiting and reading your articles nearly every day for just over 3 of those years, and don’t plan on letting up anytime soon. Thank you for all your work bringing us the newest of news, the techiest of specs, and the insights that most of us never get to see!

  33. Halfie 30 says:

    Congrats. Get most of my Moto news from you guys! Keep up the good work so I don’t have to ever subscribe to a magazine again!

  34. Halfie 30 says:

    Oh, and make some t-shirts and such so I can where them out and about!!!

  35. Phil says:

    Congratulations. A&R is a site that I visit every day for my “fix” of motorcycling news. Your roster of staff includes some of the people for whom I have the most respect in the sport so I know I’ll always get it “straight”.

  36. Marc F says:

    Congrats Jensen and team! Keep up the good work.

  37. Mike says:

    Happy Birthday A&R,The best M/C site on the planet,Thanks so much for everything you write and pics,keep it up,,,,,,,,,Mike,Kingsburg,Ca.

  38. MikeD says:

    CONGRATS to the one and only blog that let me let it all hang out from time to time, rant, bitch, discuss, disect and sometimes verbally abuse each others with almost ZERO CENSORING.
    Wish i could say the same of
    The owner (Dirck ?) got pissed and banned me cause i called the Big Aprilia scooter an Sperm Whale with lipstick (REALLY ? Do you kiss Aprilia’s ass too by any chance ?)…uptight old fart that can’t take a joke or tolerate other people’s point of view.

    Keep up the good work JB !!!!!!!!!!!!

  39. “i called the Big Aprilia scooter an Sperm Whale with lipstick”

    ROTFLMAO. Dang, Mike, that made me burst out laughing, literally. :-D

  40. Robert Smith says:

    Great work, guys. This is the only blog I would not like to be without. Lots of information out there, but it takes interpretation, context, insight and critical thinking to turn it into something worth reading. Well done…and here’s to the next four years. Best, R.

  41. MikeD says:


    Glad u had a kick out of it. LOL. That’s why i love the comments section on this blog and the freedom of speech we enjoy HERE.

    Sometimes i skip the article to read the comments….souldn’t but i can’t help it.

  42. JW says:

    Truth found here!

  43. FernandoARG says:

    Congrats and many more to come, I’ve been reading and expressing my opinions every step of the way, keep up the good work!

  44. Bryan says:

    A&R is clearly the best bike site. Real class. Cheers all

  45. neil says:

    It’s part of my day! Spooky that it covers my moto interests completely!

  46. Am late…but congrats and heartiest wishes on completing 4 years of biking bliss :) Thanks so much for bringing us stuff day in day out. And all the best for the future.

  47. Great job on this site. I check it daily. Your success inspires me to continue work on my little blog. Kudos!

  48. Dr. Gellar says:

    Happy Birthday! I love this site…keep up the great work. :-)

  49. alex says:

    uncertain economic times….

    Yeah because a small super fuel efficient vehicle that’s able to travel in the car pool lane has no interest in the mainstream at this time. I bet the people marketing for these companies are all brainwashed to actually believe that.

    I’d rather be stuck in gridlock with my f150 gulping my paycheck down right.

    You might call A&R dislexic but the motorcycle industry has you beat 90:1

  50. alessandro borroni says:

    Congrats Justin,

  51. Ken says:

    Happy B”day
    Great site
    Keep it coming

  52. Michael L says:

    Congratulations, Jensen! I am very thankful to have found your site right when I was looking for a motorcycle counterpart to Autoblog at that time, and have followed work of you, your colleagues, and your commenters since then. I have enjoyed every minute. Keep up the good work. I look forward to next year’s coverage and editorials.


    Michael (American living in The Netherlands)

  53. DeezToolz says:

    Happy birthday, brotha. Love what you’re doing, so KEEP IT UP!!!