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?

Ducati Superbike 1199 Will Have Gear-Driven Cams

08/22/2011 @ 11:13 am, by Jensen Beeler28 COMMENTS

Ducati Superbike 1199 Will Have Gear Driven Cams  Ducati Superbike 1199 Superquadrata Valentino Rossi

Our sources close to the development of the Ducati Superbike 1199 Superquadrata have confirmed the rumors that the new Bologna bullet will do away with the tradition belt-driven camshaft and instead feature a gear-driven cam configuration. The same type of technology that Aprilia used to cheat win the 2010 World Superbike Championship title, a gear-driven camshaft configuration should help increase power by 3-5hp throughout the rev range on the Superquadrata motor, as compared to Ducati’s traditional belt configuration.

Widely used in MotoGP, the 1199′s gear-driven camshaft will be a carryover from the Ducati Desmosedici (a point we’re sure Ducati will include in its marketing material), which should help ease the transition for some hardcore enthusiasts who see Ducati’s belt-driven camshaft as an iconic part of the Italian company’s v-twin motor. With seemingly no sacred cows when it comes to the Superbike 1199‘s development, the highly over-square v-twin motor will be nestled in a “frameless” chassis, departing from Ducati’s famous steel trellis designs of the past.

As the Ducati Superbike 1199 expected to lose about 20 lbs of weight with its new frame and other designs, the Superquadrata motor is rumored to be up 20hp over the 1198, reaching the 200hp mark in its highest trim form. With so much tech coming over from the Ducati Corse race team, it’s only a matter of time before we hear whispers of a Valentino Rossi race replica edition (rendered above).

Source: Bothan Spies; Photo: Auto Cars Review via Ducati News Today


  1. Giles says:

    I wonder how this will alter maintenance requirements?

  2. 305ed says:

    Bout time. If by “iconic part of the Italian company’s v-twin motor”, you mean the single most ridiculous part requiring frequent and expensive replacement, yeah, i agree. Having sold both my Monster and 996 due to the exceptionally short service intervals, I applaud Ducati’s move to gear driven cams.

  3. I don’t think it’s going to change servicing too much, the issue with Ducatis are their frequent valve adjustments.

  4. 305ed says:

    Jensen – My dealer (Ducati Miami) was emphatic that the belts be changed every 10,000 miles (or every two years). That’s every 5-6 months with the amount of riding I do. And don’t even get me started on the 6,000 mile valve adjustment intervals….

  5. Westward says:

    Of course the Dealer is going to be very conservative on the maintenance schedule, but like any other vehicle, it is meant to be driven, and to last…

    I change the oil in my Ducati Monster somewhere between 3k-5k miles, but usually not much over 5k… as for valves, I will stretch that service to 10k-12k.

    I have two Ducati’s and one has over 40k miles on it while the other has over 10k… My bikes are immaculate, I clean areas on the bike I know you will never see with the naked eye, at a glance, or in passing…

    I was at MGP Ducati Island last year, and one guy had a Ducati Monster with over 193,000 miles on it and rode it there from another state…

    Most of maintaining a bike or a Ducati for that matter is mostly a little common sense… On a Monster, I bet you could stretch the oil/valve services to 6k/12k…

  6. Westward says:

    Supposedly, Ducati started a campaign back in 2007, that future models of their bikes would require 50% less in cost to maintenance…

  7. smoke4ndmears says:

    according to that mockup it will also have an 18″ front wheel!

  8. Motoputs says:

    Two belts have a mass of about 200-300 grams. TWO sets of gears to turn the camshafts to two separate heads will probably come in between 2000-5000 grams. If the goal is to build a light mass motorcycle I do not understand the move away from the light and reliable belts. Maybe they will go back to bevel gear driven cams.

  9. Damo says:

    Wish I could get one with Checa livery, that would be tits.

  10. Dan says:

    Being an RC51 owner I am admittedly a sucker for gear driven cams. The Ducati looks to be as exotic as it will be expensive. But then motorcycles are rarely a rational purchase ;)

  11. ladyhawke82 says:

    RT @Asphalt_Rubber: #Ducati Superbike 1199 Will Have Gear-Driven Cams – #motorcycle

  12. ML says:

    Maybe I’ll buy another ducati after all…

  13. Bjorn says:

    When I worked for a Ducati dealer back in the ’90s we recommended strict adherence to the factory schedule of 15,000 km for 4 valve motors and 10,000 km for 2 valve motors. For our harder riding 4 valve customers we recommended a belt change at 10,000 km as cheap insurance. All belts should be changed once a year if not done more frequently due to the cracking that occurs at the base of the teeth. At the time, Gates belts were$50 a throw; while the parts and labour to repair the rear head of a four valve that had a belt failure (due to an overdue belt parting) was in excess of $760.
    If you beetle around on a Ducati you can probably stretch the service intervals; if you regularly flog it to the redline, then prudence dictates changing the belts regularly.
    Disclaimer: I haven’t been privy to the altered service intervals of the previous decade.

  14. Tom says:

    “The same type of technology that Aprilia used to cheat win the 2010 World Superbike Championship title, a gear-driven camshaft configuration should help increase power by 3-5hp throughout the rev range on the Superquadrata motor, as compared to Ducati’s traditional belt configuration.”

    Back again on my jihad pointing out how motorcycle racing retards motorcycle development. Belt driven cams are old and inferior tech (the car world has known this for a long time) and Aprilia had to “cheat” by using a simply better (and smarter) design. Why should a street bike suffer with a belt drive? Oh that’s right, the racing rules….again.

  15. Kevin says:

    FWIW: The current maintenance schedule for Ducatis is every 7500 miles with the exception of the 11 degree motor in the Multistrada and Diavel where the intervals are every 15k miles.

  16. Other Sean says:

    Belt changes are not cheap, it’s like $100 a belt for an OEM 4 valve belt. Yes, the conventional wisdom is change those belts ever two years at least. But starting with the Multistroodle 1200, the belt changes were lengthened to 15,000 miles (along with the valve changes). I have an 848 which recommends more frequent belt changes, but guess what folks, it’s the same belt. Same part number.

    Still, Gear driven cams are also cool, and will be FAR less to worry about. Much more reliable. I’m a fan.

  17. buellracerx says:

    @Motoputs – decreases in parasitic losses through gears vs. belt as well as increases in reliability most likely outweigh the slight increase in weight. (You can also “pay” for it w/ weight losses in other areas)

    I applaud Ducati for taking more of a function-over-form approach with their engineering while still maintaining one of the most aesthetically pleasing packages on the market. They’re quickly becoming one of my fave mfg.

    @Jensen – your journalism is, as always, transparent as to your ducati bias ;P

  18. MikeD says:

    2 Reasons why i have always stayed away from Ducs even tho i like them A LOT.

    1: Timing Belts (like is not enough with the one i have to replace every 50k miles on that P.O.S Eclipse i drive)…and i don’t know about Ducs, but on the car U SHOULD replace all related components (idlers, tensioner,etc)…MAJOR $$$. Just did a 1998 Honda CR-V recently, the timing kit was something like 300$.

    2: Desmo…(probably cause i don’t understand the procedure)…people tend to fear and keep a distance from stuff they “don’t get it”.

    Back to the gears, I would take the gears even if it were made out of unobtanium and it’s related whine and extra heft just for the peace of mind of something less to adjust or “easely” fail.
    Im not a GP Racer who needs every ounce of HP out my joy ride and have a CREW to take care of Bike’s mood swings or mechanical bitchings nor do i want to be wrenching on it every so often. My bike is just an xpensive toy…or a sexual organ extender…LMAO…w/e happens to be ur opinion…i just want to hop on it and ride…not keeping count of miles and how much is going to hurt my bank account.

    Or maybe im just a cheap lazy Fudge who should stick to Japan Inc…LOL.

  19. Cpt.Slow says:

    Simple… wanna play? Then pay!

    Can’t afford, then get something else.

  20. MikeD says:

    Indeed…my cheap/ancient K3 SV1000N has been Anvil reliable so far. Clutch basket rattling and all. LMFAO. Those D&D cans sure help masking that last flaw and then some (^_^ ).

  21. Tom says:


    Why pay extra for inferior tech? That’s what Harleys are for!

  22. Bucks Miaggi says:

    @Tom: “Why should a street bike suffer with a belt drive? Oh that’s right, the racing rules….again.”

    Not true in this case. The street version of the RSV4 uses belt driven camshaft. Gear driven camshaft is more expensive, too expensive for the road bike apparently.
    If the street bikes would use gear driven camshaft, it could be used in WSBK as well.

  23. eric says:

    I’m happy to see ducati move to gear-driven cams; as someone who lost the rear cylinder, piston, head, valves, etc. on my (now departed) ’97 m750 monster, AFTER TAKING IT IN TO HAVE THE BELTS REPLACED, I think this was a smart move. I think this will allow higher RPM operation, with greater engine longevity. Hopefully, it’ll trickle down to the rest of their bikes, but I doubt it.

  24. Cpt. Slow says:


    Maybe you did not understand my past post. It states that if one wanted the product, he/she would then have to hand over the green. If one made a decision that he/she did not want to play, then no captinal need be exchanged.

    As for “having” to paying for “inferior” tech (do you view motorcycles in the same light as a playstation? That a motorcycle is only the sum of its wiz-bang 3D gizmos?! What happen to the joy of the ride, knee dragging over tarmac, mechanical/human syphony, the drama?! It’s suppose to be an event not some flavor of the month product from a company with a half bitten fruit as its logo) You or anyone else does not have to in the free world, simply buy something else…

  25. Judas says:

    Are we all forgetting the VFRs?! 1986-2002, Honda VFRs sported gear-driven cams, as did the RC30 and RC45. Gear-driven cams mean no chain tensioning, no belt replacement, and constant, precise valve timing. I’m all for that ish

    Applause for Ducati for embracing the genius that is gear-driven cams

  26. ... says:

    Yup, gear driven cams will not need any adjustments, and there will not be any “creep” of valve timing at high rpm, ensuring safe valve clearances.

    I own a 1989 VFR400R NC30, and it has gear driven cams. Don’t have any belt change, no valve adjustments at all in my ownership.

    Disadvantage? Will be sensitive to gasket thickness/head or barrel skimming.

  27. sburns2421 says:

    The stock Aprilia V4 uses a hybrid chain/gear drive for the cams. Chain from crank area to intake cam, then gear driven off that to drive the exhaust cam. No belts at all. The controversial gear drive Biaggi used last year replaced the chain portion.

    As for the Ducati, I will probably wait a model year to let them work out the bugs in the new engine. Just a guess, but I would think they will strive to lengthen the valve adjustment intervals like they did on the Multistrada.

    People go on about the belt changes and valve adjustment on the desmos but they are not a big deal for a competent DIY mechainic. Pay for a valve adjustment on a VTEC Honda V-4 and the Ducati will not be any more expensive at a dealer.

  28. GDC says:

    I love gear driven cams! I own an Honda NC30 and a CBR400 both with gear driven cams. They run great. You do have to check valve clearances every 24,000km. I’ve stayed clear from duc’s just because of their high maintenance schedule but I’m sort of liking the way the 1199 is turning out.