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?

Brain Teaser: The BMW i3 Electric Car Will Have an Optional Gas-Powered Motorcycle Engine in It

01/23/2013 @ 4:12 pm, by Jensen Beeler8 COMMENTS

Brain Teaser: The BMW i3 Electric Car Will Have an Optional Gas Powered Motorcycle Engine in It BMW i3 concept 10 635x475

Electric vehicles are finding a bit more traction in the four-wheeled world than in the two-wheeled market (see what I did there?), and as such we are starting to see more plug-in electric cars from established OEMs hitting the streets already or within a model year or two of being ready for public consumption.

One of the largest global OEMs, BMW is not keen to miss out on the next movement in people-moving, and thus  has been teasing its BMW i3 project for some time now. A plug-in electric with roughly a 100 mile range, BMW’s tests with the Mini E project show that most automobile drivers travel less than 100 miles in a day, but still a significant number of would-be buyers are put off by the low-range figures and daunting uncertainty about charging.

Following in the footpaths of cars like the Chevy Volt, the BMW has announced that the i3 will have an optional gas engine in it as well, serving as an electric generator to recharge the BMW i3′s battery pack. With BMW tipping that the engine will “come from the BMW family” and be in the 600cc range, we don’t have to rack our brains long to realize that BMW will be cross-polinating its electric car program with a motorcycle engine from BMW Motorrad.

Said to be a two-cylinder engine with SULEV properties, the prime suspect for the i3′s motorcycle transplant is sadly not the S1000RR, but instead the 647cc parallel twin of the C-series scooter. Revising the motor for automobile use, the engine will be fitted with an auto-stop feature, and be configured to run as undetectable as possible. Aside from ailing the fears of range-anxious buyers, the range-extender (REx) package will nearly double the BMW i3′s range, with an approximate 190 mile figure.

Already fitted with a compact 168hp / 184 lbs•ft electric motor, the BMW i3 boasts a 7.9 second 0-62 mph time, and tops out a 93 mph. Able to be recharged in to full in six hours (with a special high-speed charger, the BMW i3 recharges to 80% in one hour), the BMW i3 is more of a around-town vehicle, though as the charging infrastructure changes, longer trips could be made effortlessly with some careful recharge-point planning. Price? Roughly $35,000 base…or one BMW S1000RR superbike and one BMW HP4 überbike.

Brain Teaser: The BMW i3 Electric Car Will Have an Optional Gas Powered Motorcycle Engine in It BMW i3 concept 02 635x475

Brain Teaser: The BMW i3 Electric Car Will Have an Optional Gas Powered Motorcycle Engine in It BMW i3 concept 03 635x475

Brain Teaser: The BMW i3 Electric Car Will Have an Optional Gas Powered Motorcycle Engine in It BMW i3 concept 05 635x475

Brain Teaser: The BMW i3 Electric Car Will Have an Optional Gas Powered Motorcycle Engine in It BMW i3 concept 06 635x475

Brain Teaser: The BMW i3 Electric Car Will Have an Optional Gas Powered Motorcycle Engine in It BMW i3 concept 07 635x475

BMW C650 Engine:

BMW i3 Concept:

Source: Car and Driver & BMW Motorcycle Magazine; Photos: BMW


  1. MikeD says:

    Way better than any pure electric vehicle, although a diesel engine would make more sense on this application…it would give it more needed range (never a bad thing on any EV of late, LMAO).

    Maybe the diesel is a bit too noisy for this application ? Perhaps even not “clean” enough for the USA market ? Is a fact the USA DOES NOT FAVOR Diesel cars…no matter how clean they have become.

    IMO, i think this is the way to go until batts can be recharged as fast as pouring gas and give the same range…on cars anyway.

  2. Mike, I think the gas vs. diesel debate likely came down to how long BMW foresees EVs needing on-board generators to ease consumers. BMW doesn’t have a small diesel engine at the ready, so they’d have to design one and build an assembly line for it, for how many years of use?

    From what they’ve seen in the Mini E project, I bet BMW is counting on EVs needing generators for only the next few years. It’s already only an option, and as the range anxiety wears down, fewer and fewer buyers will want it. Diesel might be marginally better in this application, but it’s not cheaper to implement for BMW.

  3. MikeD says:


    Fair enough. Specially since diesels are more $$$ wichever way you look at it…from planning to regular periodic maintenance.

    P.S: What a shame, after taking the time to write my comment for the GP13 Specs article i found it was closed…i know some of the guys got a bit too serious in it but closing it was a bit overboard. Maybe ?

  4. TRL says:

    Love the rear glass. Finally a manufacturer that understands that some of us don’t want to feel like we are riding in a tank, we actually like to look out the window to see the world around us and maybe the occasional motorcycle in our blind spot… extra bonus more glass in the back makes rear passengers more comfortable even though the space is small.

    @MikeD, yer right, we’ve made a mess of diesels. I’ve got a urea pumping one now and I love the torque but the math says that between the urea, DPF, and every other damn device hanging off it along with the maintenance of all of the aforementioned, the next one will be gas. Too bad, in Europe where the emissions are arguably stricter but with a slightly different focus, the same engine gets 15-20% better mileage.

  5. Shawn says:

    When I read the headline I was hoping for the K1600′s inline 6. That engine could make a nice little i3 without the electric motors though, so it was really only wishful thinking to use it in a city hybrid.

  6. MikeD says:


    Indeed, diesels have gone from simple reliable workhorses to uber complicated powerplants, even heavy truck builders and it’s engine suppliers are having a tough time with all ever increasing emission requirements. A darn shame.
    I like my air clean as much as the next guy but some of those emission laws are just not realistic.

    @Shawn: HEY…that’s a great idea but maybe a bit MUCH to power this thing.

  7. MikeD says:


    TRL, good observation. The lower belt line at the rear windows is a welcomed trend bucking change.

  8. Alex says:

    “Aside from ailing the fears of range-anxious buyers”

    Shouldn’t that be “allaying the fears?”