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.

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?

Ducati North America Posts 43% Sales Growth in 2011 – Now Ducati’s Top Market Worldwide

01/23/2012 @ 9:01 am, by Jensen Beeler13 COMMENTS

Ducati North America Posts 43% Sales Growth in 2011   Now Ducatis Top Market Worldwide Ducati Streetfighter 848 headlight 635x511

If you read A&R with any sort of regularity, you should know by now that the European motorcycle companies have been cleaning house during these otherwise tough economic times, with 2011 being the high-water mark for many of these more premium brands. BMW Motorrad posted its best sales year ever in 2011, while Triumph and KTM have been holding their own as well.

The same has been true for Ducati, and now Ducati North America has posted its sales numbers for 2011, which show a 43% gain over the previous year. This increase in sales has now established North America as Ducati’s #1 market for the first time ever, and the Italian brand continues to grow here in the United States, Canada, and Mexico (while declining back home in Italy).

Ducati North America says its growth was fueled by the Multistrada 1200 and Diavel, the two motorcycles that have been primarily responsible for pushing the Ducati brand from a sport bike company into a performance motorcycle company. Also helping the bottom line was the Ducati Performance line of apparel and accessories, which was up 50% over 2010.

“Growth in the North American market is a top priority for Ducati. North America’s outstanding performance significantly contributed to Ducati’s global success in 2011, which has been a record year for us in terms of global sales, market share and profitability,” said Cristiano Silei, Chief Executive Officer of Ducati North America.

“This year the company made substantial investments in new product, key personnel and in the strength of our distribution network. These elements, combined with an array of extraordinary products, including our new Superbike, the 1199 Panigale, will continue to fuel our growth in 2012 and beyond.”

Source: Ducati North America

Comment:

  1. MikeD says:

    GodSpeed Ducati.
    Now don’t rest yourself in all your latest glory like some of the other guys and keep pumping new models out ( Where’s the baby Panigale ?, Baby Multi, u name it ).

  2. Andrey says:

    I only wish their care and attention toward the customers with expanding gas tanks was as good as their care and attention focused on the bottom line!

  3. MikeD says:

    OH, i’ve heard about this…did it happen to u ? Share some lite on it if it did.
    I guess it can’t be that much harder or more $$$ to make the plastic tanks ethanol resistant ? RIGHT ?

  4. dc4go says:

    Had an issue with mine on the Duc and my RSV4 both companies replaced the tanks at my local dealer … 30 min procedure and off i went… not really a big deal to me…the dealer was great and so were the manufacturer …

  5. walkingshadow says:

    sometimes I think that the Ducs for “poor” italian/EU market has made with less quality than overseas exported models or … u.s. market has a faster “model change” (at the first expensive-maintenance limit).
    :-(

  6. AK says:

    I help them get there lol ……

  7. Westward says:

    I think I have an expanding tank issue too, just recently realised…

  8. Jmart says:

    I filed a claim with Ducati at my local dealer and I had no problem whatsoever getting a replacement tank for my ’10 Streetfighter S. Ducati and the dealer were great.

  9. Tentatively optimistic says:

    “I only wish their care and attention toward the customers with expanding gas tanks was as good as their care and attention focused on the bottom line!” – Audrey

    My sentiments exactly. There was a settlement which was finalised in NA, essentially that Ducati would replace the affected tanks WITH THE SAME MATERIAL once a fault was found. These affected 50,000 motorcycles in North America (varying degrees of expanding certainly). The alternate option was to provide shorter seats, bracketry and limit the steering stops if handlebars were hitting the tanks.

    Keep in mind, ethanol and its ability to hold water (in turn bloating the polymer of the tank) is to blame. ALSO. . . keep in mind that ethanol has been a fuel component of North American gasolines since the early 1990s.

    So. A 43% increase in sales in 2011. . . and Ducati couldn’t be troubled to serve its customers and offer a permanent solution for this issue.

    Draw your own conclusion of what Ducati is looking out for.

  10. Croix Moto says:

    What? As if the turning radius on Ducatis isn’t wide enough already.

    And didn’t Ducati do any research when developing the tanks (what plastic would be affected with fuels in EU, NA, etc)? Seems there’s quite an oversight and didn’t do proper homework. . . .

  11. Charlie says:

    Ive been fortunate to have not experience the expanding tank issues but have experience my fair share of other issues with my three Ducatis. But I still love the bikes that Ducati makes. If you’re that unhappy with your ducati then get rid of it and don’t buy another.

  12. Andrey says:

    I have had tanks on two Ducatis (post 2006 models) that have expanded. Both were replaced by the dealer (Ducati Seattle ; fantastic bunch of guys but not sure about them now that a new owner gave the founder the ass out the door). Ducatis’ response is 100% ineffective and only serves to delay the problem until the legal time limit expires after which the owner is left with a tank that will expand and come off its mounts. If you read and follow the forums you will know that the only way to treat this is to coat the inside of the tank with Caswell tank sealant. This “fix” works but nobody knows for how long. I drain both tanks over winter to minimize the fuel exposure. Either way if you have not treated your tank in this manner when it was replaced, it will happen again at some stage. Ducati N.A. were also aware of the problem and continued to supply bikes to the American market with the same tank construction. Ducati N.A. ignored the issue and it wasn’t until owners mounted a class action lawsuit that they really responded. It is a PATHETIC and NEGLIGENT way to treat a loyal customer base and I for one will not be buying another Ducati with a plastic tank. Greed pure and simple and totally not customer focused… damn bastards those bean counters!

  13. Cpt.Slow says:

    I been using seafoam (or your choice of a ethanol fighting agent) and my tank (knock on wood) has been fine. I actually also use the additive in my cars at least once a month. It’s not just to stop the ethanol from misshaping my tank but to help maintain my fuel lines (which are rubber) and help keep my injectors clean. Ethanol is bad news all around.

    I’m not sure how accurate this is but changing formulation of the tank post production is not as easy as it sounds. From my understanding, the company is to bound produce the motorcycle as it was presented originally and made legal to the given country.

    BMW has had their issues- I have also heard of KTM and Aprilia are suffering from the ethanol. A lot of the models have their tanks covered and reshaped to account for the potential expansion. Ducati seems to have followed suit and have reshaped their tanks.