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?

Brammo Building a Dealer Network – Hires Jim Marcolina from Harley-Davidson

06/08/2011 @ 9:23 am, by Jensen Beeler6 COMMENTS

Brammo Building a Dealer Network   Hires Jim Marcolina from Harley Davidson brammo empulse rr infineon 635x425

It seems like only two months ago that I wrote that the “Great Distribution Experiment is Over“, and that electric motorcycle companies Brammo and Zero Motorcycles need to get on-board with established motorcycle distribution methods. As I mentioned in what I’m sure many found to be a snooze fest of an article, there are of course drawbacks and flaws to the dealership model, but for early-stage cash-strapped companies like the ones in the E2V market, this is a battle of the middleman is best to be fought another day.

I have to apologize to my regular readers, as I’m sure the relevancy of such an article to your daily “eat, sleep, ride” lifestyle was dubious at best, but from time-to-time the words on this site are meant for a select group, but better aired publicly (even if it does land me in a heap of trouble from time-to-time). As such, it’s refreshing to see then that Zero has recently announced its signing of several key dealerships, and now we get word that Brammo has hired Jim Marcolina away from Harley-Davidson, to build the Ashland, Oregon company’s dealer development team. So…umm…group hug?

Anyhoo…Marcolina formerly held the title of Director, Dealer Development/Dealer Relations at Harley Davidson, and will be in charge of prepping and signing-up established top-tier motorcycle dealerships to carry Brammo electric motorcycles, or as Brammo’s CEO Craig Bramscher puts it: ”Jim brings a deep knowledge and understanding of the motorcycle industry that will accelerate the growth of our dealer network.”

“There are hundreds of dealers who have applied to carry the Brammo range of motorcycles and Jim will be helping us to select the best and will then ensure that they become successful Brammo dealerships,” Bramscher concluded.

It’ll be interesting to see now how many bikes Brammo sells, and perhaps more importantly who buys them, now that the company is selling its product next to Honda motorcycles instead of Kenmore dryers. Time, as always, will tell, but I think this is a smart move for the Ashland team, though the prior endeavor was an intrepid one to say the least.

Source: Brammo; Photo: Jensen Beeler / Asphalt & Rubber – Creative Commons – Attribution 3.0


  1. Shoya says:

    A motorcycle guy who knows people who sell motorcycles to motorcycle buyers. Seems logical………….

  2. Sid says:

    “Seems logical”, true, but Buell & HD dealerships come to mind when reading this post. From my own experience, some of Buell’s inability to reach sales potential were the HD dealerships themselves.

    I hope questions about that management were drilled during the interview process.

  3. Westward says:

    A guy that knows how to sell a Harley is the wrong guy to sell an electric motorcycle… Marcolina, would be better suited to help Indian or Victory sales…

    The chrome and loud pipes crowd are not the demo… One can only hope this guy is a think outside of the box kind of guy… Or rather a “Think Different” type of person…

  4. Shoya says:

    I don’t think the type of motorcycle matters so much when you’re talking Dealer Relations. Everyone knows what a Harley is – I doubt he had to show up with one and rev the engine to convince them. My comment was meant to point out that this new strategy of selling Brammo motorcycles to motorcycle people makes a lot more sense than the previous strategy of selling Brammo motorcycles to Tech Geeks. Electric motorcycles will initially be purchased by motorcycle people as 2nd or 3rd bikes. Someday “regular” people may purchase them as 1st bikes, but we’re not there yet. Of course Brammofan is an anomaly, but we already knew that.

  5. Westward says:

    @ Shoya

    It’s a reasonable strategy to implement a traditional game plan, but don’t put all the eggs in one basket. tech geeks weren’t necessarily the demo, i think when it came to selling bikes at Best Buy. But the visibility was there… The only problem was trying to get a Best Buy employee excited to sell an electric bike. Apple sells it’s products in that store, but they have their own representative there to handle the hand questions…

    The market for Brammo should not be traditional motorcyclists, it should be the people that would consider buying a scooter to tool around town, the college student, etc. etc.

    It’s akin to trying to sell a Prius in Texas to the monster truck and SUV crowd, not gonna happen really. But in California, to the eco conscientious, the Prius are dime a dozen…

    What Brammo should do is take a page out of the Honda (when it first entered the motorcycle market) and vespa book, and build its following around that type of consumer…

    The traditional motorcyclist will come around when the bike can at least sustain 200 kmph for nearly as many miles, also, produce shorter charge times, and not price compare to a Ducati, but rather a Kawisaki 250R or a Suzuki SV650 in the off season…

    Well, that’s my twenty-five cents worth…

  6. joe says:

    Harleys dealer network is slick to say the least, I am almost certain Ducati took note to improve their own. They definitely need exposure to a wider audience, long term demos for dealership employees, demo days for anyone slightly interested, just let everyone see them, and know they’re not a novelty. We have a local dealer who had Zero’s, but they only had one on the floor, and they were willing to let you test ride, but they were not hyping that you could. I think they did a disservice to the electric motorcycle in the process. Right now it is a novelty, but to get past that will take familiarity. It’s a trip to think my first American made bike might be electric.