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 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.

Update on the Bottpower BOTT XR-1

02/07/2012 @ 7:15 pm, by Jensen Beeler29 COMMENTS

Update on the Bottpower BOTT XR 1 Bottpower BOTT XR 1 635x582

It is sad to say, but the Harley-Davidson XR1200X is just about the only thing from the Milwaukee brand that intrigues me. And what kills me the most is that Harley-Davidson could really add something more to its product line up if it just explored the flat-tracker aesthetic in greater detail with its brand. Instead of bringing to market twenty or so variations on the same cruiser shape, Harley-Davidson could really bolster its brand with younger riders if it simply tapped into the street-tracker/scrambler movement that is percolating underneath the “looks like a Power Ranger” street scene.

Wake up Milwaukee, because the emo-teenger, full of high school angst, has matured into the “college is for pussies” hipster scene, which is comprised of an eclectic group of people that have been collectively displaced out of the 1940′s and into the new millennium + 10 years. Building a brand off the 1% rebel perception, I don’t know why its such a hard concept for Harley-Davidson to understand that it can latch onto these new-age bohemians, and create a similar bond with them as it did with the Baby Boomers so many years ago. After all, there is already great symmetry between the two cultures, as both Harley-Davidson and the hipster elite seem forever-fixated on a period in time that is far enough removed from our parents’ generation to be considered cool again.

What the hipsters wouldn’t like of course is the Bottpower BOTT XR-1. A racier and more custom version of the Harley-Davidson XR1200X (The BOTT XR-1 is actually based off a Buell motor), Bottpower has done such a good job making the Buell look Alana Blanchard hot that the Voltron generation will forget all about the reasons their didn’t like the Bar & Shield brand in the first place, and instantly liquidate their pre-IPO Facebook stock in order to make room for Bottpower’s work in their marina-view apartments. Needless to say, I like what’s going on here.

With Bottpower fitting the headlight, and oil-cooler behind the number plate, it seems that the final version of the BOTT XR-1 will stay very true to its CAD form. A company already known for melding form and function together well, we’ll have to wait with bated breath for more installments on this build’s burlesque-like progress in the coming days.

Update on the Bottpower BOTT XR 1 Bottpower BOTT XR 1 18 635x423

Update on the Bottpower BOTT XR 1 Bottpower BOTT XR 1 11 635x423

Update on the Bottpower BOTT XR 1 Bottpower BOTT XR 1 03 635x424

Update on the Bottpower BOTT XR 1 Bottpower BOTT XR 1 34 635x424

Source: Bottpower; Photos: Flickr


  1. Keith says:

    I am massively well endowed so take that excess 450cc donate it to some peewee bike and shave another 25lb, swap up to a 22l fuel tank and ffs put some close fitting fenders that WORK on it.

    Why? Real motorcyclists ride in the rain.

  2. MikeD says:

    Digging it. Wich Buell engine does it have ?…the 900 engine could have done just fine.
    With the 1200 this thing has to be a wheele monster and leaps forward like like a frog on crack.

  3. Steve Lang says:

    Where do I send my deposit? Now…. that’s a Harley I would ride.

  4. Minibull says:

    Serious? Buttpower? I guess thats where the lovely exhaust note comes from…

  5. Andrew says:

    I have never liked Harley’s for their lack of innovation or change but this machine is cool. I would be tempted by this franistien creation.

  6. Tom Z says:

    @MikeD Its the XB12 motor… you can tell by the primary cover.

  7. GeddyT says:

    “Burlesque-like progress”? What’s that even mean?

  8. JoeD says:

    Hmmm, a Sporty Bike from HD. Really? Are you serious? A friend had the XR1200. Had. It was a slug. The suspension was crap and the power was more in line with a 650/4 from the seventies. The Sportster is already top heavy and the frame on this one looks as though it only adds more weight higher up and then a fuel tank is added. The word on the street is “The Sportster is a Girl’s Bike” and is prolly one reason why the big twin is the top seller. You just cannot look cool on the GurlyBike. Even when dressed as a pirate in drag. Power Rangers are way more cool.

  9. RGR says:

    I don’t like Harley so take it for what it’s worth, but they make bikes for a certain type of rider and they don’t understand any other type of rider. Just like Harley riders don’t understand any other type of bike. It’s a match made in heaven. As consumers, we shouldn’t expect either side to step out of their comfort zone, and I have no problem with that. If you don’t expect it, then you’re not let down when HD doesn’t come out with anything interesting or different. Harleys are made for a certain type of person and if you’re not that person, just ignore them and buy what you like.

    What irks me more is all the copycat companies that could do some cool stuff but refuse to because they’re trying to clone HD (like Victory). Victory has the resources and engineers to make some really interesting American bikes, but instead just keeps coming out with clone after clone (albeit better performing clones).

    Anyway, why should HD cater to “the emo-teenager, full of high school angst, has matured into the “college is for pussies” hipster scene”. I’m guessing this group has no funds and can’t afford new Harleys anyway.

  10. Jimmy Midnight says:

    Guys! Stop dreaming, Stortz Performance has been building these for years! Check’em out!

  11. fazer6 says:

    What i don’t get is that this seemingly has identical performance to a Buell XB12S, but must cost 3-4 times as much (or more), just for a style exercise?

    And to call this a “custom version of the Harley-Davidson XR1200X” is just dumb, since it looks to not share a single part with that bike, rather it takes a rolling chassis and engine from a Buell (which IS based on the sportser motor), swaps the frame for a custom unit (which looks to be quite a bit flexier than the stocker) and makes it look like a XR.

    While I like the end result, I wouldn’t buy one, especially when I can pick up an XB12 for $3k.

  12. Richard Gozinya says:

    @Jimmy Midnight

    The Bott XR-1 is a lot different than anything Storz has to offer. All new chassis, and it uses the XB12 motor, instead of a Sportster motor.

    As to Harley, and it’s pervasive lameness, I just think it’d be nice if they had something that could compete on its own merits against bikes like the Griso, R1200R, Monster 1100 etc. Seems like the “Sport”ster should be doing that, but it doesn’t, not even in XR1200 form.

    And those 20 something hipster types are more likely to go for an old UJM and café it out.

  13. Jimmy Midnight says:

    Oh there’s no doubt the BOTT is different but the Storz actually exsists not just a test mule and some CAD drawings. You can even build your own piece by piece depending on your budget. Besides, the exhaust on the Storz is way cooler than anything Buell has to offer. Not to mention chain drive vs. belt? Nuff said!

  14. TRL says:

    20 years ago there were just a few of us who rode Flatheads, FXRs, SS400s, T100s, GPzs, 4 pipe Magnas, or whatever was at hand, in the inner cities. We rode in every kind of weather, worked at dive bars, clubs and bike shops, worked after-hours every night and still made it to after-after hours. The chicks were tough and when they were in the mood, they took us to bed, in the bad part of town. In the morning, after they threw us out, we hauled our asses to the bike shop, in time for the first customers to drop off their bikes for service….it was fun and later we grew up…Hipsters are just poseurs, looking through a narrow focus lens, trying to recreate an arty, microbrew, version of that life without really taking any true risks….without the risk it’s just a late night B movie….they never would have survived.

    I hate Hipsters.

  15. Toby says:

    I dont get HD: just take the vrod engine and put it in a xr frame with some better brakes and suspension – ready is the first Harley u can actually ride fast in a more human like position.
    and dont change design, cos retro is in…

  16. Mark says:

    I don’t understand what’s so special about this bike. Yes it looks pretty cool, but will be a far inferior bike than the Buell XB donor bike was.

    Why would anyone want to throw away the stiff Aluminum, fuel in frame, Buell frame and replace it with a 1960′s spec steel backbone, that raises the center of mass, flexes more, and cuts fuel capacity in half, at least.

    All for looks I guess, in typical HD tradition.

  17. Westward says:

    – “far enough removed from out-(r) parents’ generation to be considered cool again.”

    ___edit out the above___

    I like where this project is heading….

  18. MikeD says:

    Mark says:
    February 8, 2012 at 10:24 AMI don’t understand what’s so special about this bike. Yes it looks pretty cool, but will be a far inferior bike than the Buell XB donor bike was.

    Why would anyone want to throw away the stiff Aluminum, fuel in frame, Buell frame and replace it with a 1960′s spec steel backbone, that raises the center of mass, flexes more, and cuts fuel capacity in half, at least.

    All for looks I guess, in typical HD tradition.


    Some of us would like just THAT. Different horses for different courses. Yes, the Buell is a superior species(in your and my head so far)…but sometimes people just don’t care about that…case in point: Pirates riding H-Ds.

    If it makes u happy…ENJOY IT.

  19. Shawn says:

    @RGR “Anyway, why should HD cater to “the emo-teenager, full of high school angst, has matured into the “college is for pussies” hipster scene”. I’m guessing this group has no funds and can’t afford new Harleys anyway.”

    Because their current customers will soon be too old to ride a motorcycle and Harley should look into maintaining market share in the future. The first wave of baby-boomers are in their late 60s and will soon start putting away their leather chaps for good.

  20. David says:

    @Mark, the fuel capacity remains very similar, the XR-1 has a secondary fueltank under the rear shock. The chassis weights the same than the aluminium one and stiffness is also very similar to the original Buell chassis. Steel is 3 times stiffer than aluminium.
    I wouldn’t say that it will be inferior than a Buell XB. I think it is a different kind of bike. Appart of the aesthetics, the wide handlebar and the riding postion will make it a really funny bike to ride.

  21. Mark says:

    @David, yes, steel has 3 times the tensile strength of aluminum, but it’s also 3 times heavier. Given two properly designed frames of equal weight, the aluminum one will be stiffer, because the lighter material can be used to construct a larger beam. It doesn’t necessarily mean that it will be stronger, just stiffer.

  22. Dr. Gellar says:

    IMO this bike is pretty much what HD’s XR1200 should have been: a slick combination of mostly Harley dirt-tracker looks and Buell technology which equates to an XR750 racer-rep that is truer to the philosophy of that bike than the current XR1200 is. I like it…lookin’ forward to the finished product.

  23. EM says:

    I really do not understand why people go ape shit for the Harley Engine in a Better frame. Why not just do this with any other smaller, faster, more efficient engines available? Harley needs a more race ready Twin, Ducati is doing it why can’t HD do it?

    That being said this is the closest offering from HD since the old KR750s that I would consider buying.

  24. MikeD says:

    Ok. Correct me if im wrong…BUT…does it sound like “some” people around here think this project is backed, built, FUNDED, owned and what not by H-D ?!

    I hope not. U heard that, EM ?

    Oh, back to your question…”Why use H-D based engines ?” Easy, the H-D Engine is like the SBC of the motorcycle custom world. IT LENDS ITSELF TO ALMOST ANYTHING.
    And shitty, underpowered, heavy and what not we think around here it may be, the danm thing is pretty stout and anvil reliable when looked after. Not to mention the aftermarket support is endless.

    Tell me how many aftermarket billet crank builders for a Virago 1000 u know of ? Or RoadStar 1700 Cranks ? Or Suzuki M109 Cranks ? Heads ? Cams ? Complete aftermarket running engines ?
    Just trying to make a point not pick a “fight”.

  25. David says:

    @Mark, you are right. But in this case it is relatively easy to design a steel chassis with the same structural efficiency (stiffness / weight) than the Buell one. The Buell frame is a casted part, which means that its thickness is bigger than necessary in a lot of areas. It could be much more efficient if it was built using sheetmetal (which allows to achieve much thinner walls) like racebikes.
    Another point to consider is that the frame is attached to the engine through rubber and some tie rods. Which means that the real stiffness of the bike doesn’t rely only on the frame, it depends also a lot on the way the chassis is clamped to the engine.
    Anyway we are talking about street bikes, and they are not designed to achieve the maximun structural efficience. On a street bike, cost, reliability, aesthetics, etc. are normally more important than pure structural efficiency. With a street bike, at the end the important thing is if you like the bike and if you have fun with it.

  26. MotoRandom says:

    I am so glad to see progress being made on this project. I think that it’s going to turn out to be a really awesome bike in the end. I guess the styling is what brings up the Harley XR1000X but simple math will tell why that bike will pale in comparison. The XR1000 weighs 150 lbs more than the XB12S and makes 30Hp less. Which bike do you think will be faster and more nimble? Erik Buell really is one the most innovative motorcycle chassis engineers on the planet today. Why use such an “outdated lump of iron” for a motor? Torque. Gob-loads of it. Over a wide range of rpms. You don’t have to wind it up to full scream to get in to the power range. I think a lot of guys who gripe about the Buells have never spent much time riding one. Yeah, they don’t hit warp speed on the straight of your favorite racetrack but that’s not what they are made for. They are just flat out stupendous fun to rip around urban environments in. Don’t dis on them until you’ve actually spend some time doing this. You might be surprised.

    So, why would anyone ruin a perfectly good Buell to make one of these Botts? I suppose some will, just for style exercise. But I don’t think a lot of the naysayers are considering the more likely source of donor bikes. “Not so perfectly good Buells”. The fuel-in-frame chassis is a marvel of modern motorcycle engineering but can be easily damaged in a crash. Even the slightest crack in the frame and it doesn’t matter how good your welding skills are. The insurance company is going to write it off as totaled. Now there are a couple of chopper frames out there but what a waste of an awesome sportbike to end up to that fate. If this Bott bike were to exist as a viable options, there are a lot of XBs that will have a second chance at life. Go look at eBay and see how many Buell motors are for sale. Usually more of them than complete bikes on any given day.

    Yes, this bike fills a very tiny niche in the motorcycle world but it is one that is completely void of anything at this point. I really, truly hope nothing bad ever happens to my XB12sTT but if it does, I really, truly hope that this Bott bike will be alive and well in the market place so I can rebuild it into something that will still be just as fun for my urban moto entertainment.

  27. Harleys are lame says:

    It is still a stupid Harley motor. Stick a good powerplant in that and you would have something.

  28. A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, I enjoyed riding my Daytona Special around on the back tire. One day, my dad offered me to take his Wide Glide out for a spin. A little while later, I came back with a huge grin on my face. I understand “stupid Harley motor”, and it’s got some definite appeal.

  29. keith mckenna says:

    Love and agree with what RGR say’s about Victory. They could do anything, ANYTHING! And what do they choose? To play second fiddle to a company that refuses to commit to the future(or even the present). It’s strange to look at Victory’s parent company Polaris. They make snowmobiles and ATV’s. They race snowmobiles and ATV’s , and win on them. I’ll bet they could do the same with 2 wheels. I wish there was an office in Medina MN with Eric Buell’s name on the door.