Kevin Schwantz Tests Suzuki XRH-1 MotoGP Bike at COTA, While Randy De Puniet Matches Pace of Open Bikes

Suzuki’s MotoGP test team took advantage of the presence of the MotoGP paddock at Austin to plan a test directly after the Grand Prix of the Americas. Under the watchful eye of team manager Davide Brivio, the team planned to have test rider Randy De Puniet put in three days of testing at a circuit, as the team had not yet tested the Suzuki XRH-1 at COTA, in a bid to gather more data ahead of their return to the series in 2015. Unfortunately for Suzuki, very heavy hail and thunderstorms made testing extremely difficult on Monday, leaving the track very dirty and much slower than it had been for Sunday’s race.

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.

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.

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

Comment:

  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.