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.

Buell Builds Last Motorcycle Before Closing

11/19/2009 @ 4:30 pm, by Jensen Beeler10 COMMENTS

Buell Builds Last Motorcycle Before Closing Buell last motorcycle XB12Scg 560x429

The last Buell rolled off the East Troy, Wisconsin assembly line this past November 12th, thus closing the final chapter for the American street bike company. After creating 136,923 motorcycles over the last 26 years, it is a Buell Lightning XB12Scg that will be the last motorcycle to bear Erik Buell’s name.

On October 15, 2009 Harley-Davidson, Inc. announced that Buell motorcycles would be officially closed for business come December 18th of this year. Also seeing the axe in that announcement was MV Agusta, which is up for sale, with many suspecting a return to Italian soil in the company’s future.

Both companies fell victim to Harley-Davidson’s rapidly deteriorating net income, which has seen declines upwards of 71% from last year’s numbers. The loss has caused the Milwaukee brand to circle the wagons around its core business and profit centers, unfortunately at the expense of shutting down Buell Motorcycles.

Source: Harley-Davison


  1. Lionel says:

    Sad… But at least the last one is a nice one.

  2. RT @Asphalt_Rubber Buell Builds Last Motorcycle Before Closing

  3. tim says:

    I just read your comments on the Kneeslider. I think you’ve absolutely nailed it.

    All very well to wring hands, and feel sorry for Erik Buell and the people involvec, but I think your analysis is spot on.

    If i owned stock in HD (I dont) I would be sending bottles of wine to the CEO and board about now. $1B in borrowed money? How the hell does that happen!!

  4. PTO says:

    ” it is a Buell Lightning XB12Scg that will be the last motorcycle to bear Erik Buell’s name.” Unless you have plans to murder the man yourself, this is a particularly venal piece of conjecture disguised as reporting. It is your opinion, and tacking it onto the factual half of the sentence: ” After creating 136,923 motorcycles over the last 26 years” does nothing to imbue it with truth.

    Regardless of the merits or mistakes of the man’s past accomplishments or your tumescent ardor for HD’s stock value, wishing an inventor a future in which his name never appears on another motorcycle might well have been the cruellest dig you could scrape out. I myself have no need to wish failure on HD in order to wish future success to Erik Buell and the possibility of a motorcycle landscape with more than one American brand in it.

  5. Buell builds last motorcycle before shutdown.

  6. BikePilot says:

    I haven’t actually checked, but I suspect HD owns the Buell Trademark – the statement in the article that this is the last bike to bear Erik Buell’s name is likely true if HD does not bring back or sell the brand. This has very little to do with whether Mr. Buell will design or produce bikes again in the future. Careful our you’ll hurt yourself making such a large jump to a conclusion.

  7. PTO says:

    Ms Gun did not write ‘might be the last bike to bear his name’, she wrote ‘will’. Phrasing your conjecture as fact does not make it so. I think Erik’s name ‘might’ appear on some motorcycle sometime in the future. Anyone who conjectures otherwise is equally entitled to their opinion, but those who throw around words like ‘will’ and, as you do, ‘true’, is merely using rhetoric to try and add seriousness to their opinions. Phrase it however you and she may, neither of you is any more entitled to know the future than me, and her negativity is the real message, couched disengenously as reporting. Reporters report, predictors predict, but only the arrogant will TELL the future.

  8. Jenny Gun says:

    I am from the future. Luckily, all of this works out reasonably well.

  9. OddBall says:

    That scg rolled off the line 29 oct. A picture of it and Henry Duga (seen in the background of this photo) was posted on BadWeatherBikers that evening.

  10. IceBreaker406 says:

    I’ve known Erik Buell since the late 1970s when he got going in a one car garage
    out in Mukwagano Wisconsin. Everybody back then thought he was a raving
    mad lunatic for building Sportster powered bikes that handled and stopped like
    real sport bikes. I kept saying “he’s on to something and I hope he succeeds”.
    Well, he did succeed and a few years ago in Libertyville H-D at a BuellRide
    I asked him if he ever had a chance to talk to John Britten and try to get
    a joint project going with him.
    How sadly prophetic in a way, H-D doing Buell in…

    Keep going Erik they can’t keep a great man and a great bike down!!!!