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?

Electric Motorcycle Break-Even Calculator

08/02/2010 @ 7:08 pm, by Jensen Beeler11 COMMENTS

Electric Motorcycle Break Even Calculator Brammo Empulse flux capacitor 560x374

One of the big talking points for electric motorcycles is the subject of price/performance parity, i.e. when electric motorcycles will provide similar performance figures as internal combustion engines (ICE), for the same price. Performance can mean more than just raw power of course, with the cost of a motorcycle over its lifetime also being an important measure.

Considering that ICE motorcycles require more up-keep…and gasoline, the variable costs can stack up over time; whereas electric motorcycles require very little in additional costs, but are more money up-front (fixed costs). If that sounds like a lot of economics and math, it’s ok because a blogger by the name of Empulse Buyer has put together a handy break-even calculator that shows the total cost of owning electric and ICE motorcycles.

One of the issues that has been poorly addressed in the electric world is the real-world cost of owning a motorcycle over its lifetime. While would-be electric motorcycle buyers have suffered from the sticker shock associated from these new machines, one of the points that hasn’t been driven home well enough is the fact that electric buyers don’t have the recurring costs that normal motorcyclists incur.

This fact has lead some manufacturers to consider leasing batteries instead of selling them outright in order to reduce costs, and to help customers upgrade to new technology as it rolls out (EV battery tech is rapidly evolving after all).

However, one thing that is missing from this calculator is the fact that your purchasing the bulk of your energy expenditure in advance (i.e. the batteries), while buying your gasoline as you need it. To truly reflect the cost associated with owning electrics, a net present value calculation should be added into the equation. Also one should factor battery replacement costs, and bear in mind the typical amount of time an owner keeps a motorcycle, since buying an electric motorcycle has both long-term and short-term owner concerns that can affect the true break-even point.

Still the calculator is a very neat and easy to understand tool that allows motorcyclists to get a better picture of their purchase decision. If you’re considering an electric motorcycle, be sure to check it out and input your own cost structures.

Source: Empulse Buyer via The Electric Chronicles


  1. Keith says:

    That’s nice but he didn’t figure in the cost of new batteries ever 5 years or so. Those batteries don’t last as long as people imagine the will. I can’t imagine servicing any of my motorcycles costing $550 either…maybe a set of shims every 50,000 miles and a chain set every 10 to 20k miles. For that matter let’s see that electric bike recharge as quickly as you can fuel up an ICE propeled motorcycle. 8^) They need to be able to charge in 15min or less. Why? Becuase many of us would rather ride all day that ride 100miles and wait hours before riding another 100 miles.

    BUT don’t let that seem negativity I LOVE the idea.

  2. Ecosse says:

    good observations keith.

    something the calculator fails to take into consideration is the percentage of people who will actually own any bike (ice or not) for its lifetime.

    we all know many bikes are sold only a few years, sometimes less, after original purchase either to trade up or to make room for the usual reasons, i.e a new family, debt, lack of time to enjoy, etc…

    by the time an e-bike begins to pay off could be after it’s sold.

    having said that i would consider owning an e-bike… in addition to my ice machine. ; )

  3. Gildas says:

    Regarding the durability of the cells… I think the lifespan will be better than anticipated AND similar to the “wear” parts of a normal ICE engine (segments, cylinder lining, clutch etc)… And costing as much to repair.

    This is based on the evolution of the AA cells used to power flashes.

    Les than 5 years ago these were 500/800 mAh, would lose charge and be heading for the tip after less than 50 recharges.
    Now you get 2700 to 3000 mAh and at least a 1000 recharges… Some brands are better (Sanyo) than others (Energiser) and that can make or ruin the experience.

  4. Electric Motorcycle Break-Even Calculator – #motorcycle

  5. Brammofan says:

    Brammo says the batteries should last at least 2,000 full recharge cycles and/or 75-80,000 miles.

  6. The numbers may not work for everyone, im not implying that they do. That said, the ROI break-even point is typically far less than even half of the expected battery life. Add in state incentives for some of us… say California’s 1500.00 and the break-even point on an Empulse 6.0 vs a Kawasaki 650R is 4438 miles. Colorado residents (like myself) can get an Empulse 10.0 for less than the Kawasaki 650R.

    Keep in mind too that gas wont stay < $3/gal forever. Folks in Europe pay upwards of 8 dollars a us gallon. Cut the break-even point in half for them.

    As far as service costs go, 550.00 / 15k miles seems conservative to me. But this is coming from a guy who has owned a Ducati for the last 4 years.

  7. MTGR says:

    Another factor everyone seems to gloss over is the increase in your electric supplier costs.

    I know summer bills in Texas, with all the AC, are remarkably higher. And I recall California’s advisory announcements, spending millions just to warn people to turn on and off their X-Mas lights at specific times to avoid overloading the available power supply and causing rolling blackouts.

    You don’t honestly believe everyone’s electric bills are going to stay the same once more and more people start plugging in a bike (and/or car or two) every night? If nothing else there will be the built-in excuse of needed funds to expand the supply infrastructure to meet increased demand, which is tax speak for “we will find a way to charge you more either up front or in hidden ways.”

    I think e-bikes could be a cool addition to the bike market but add electricity costs and taxes to the battery replacement/recycle/lease/safe disposal/ safe handling/etc. fees and I doubt the overall savings are going to be as dramatic as everyone is being lead to believe, either for the individual owner or the environment as a whole.

  8. Brammofan says:

    The added amount of electric bills at the Brammofan house was a real eye-opener. I used a Kill-a-Watt meter and determined that my daily commute was costing me a whopping 25 to 30 CENTS! I’ve spent almost $4.00 in electricity on “fuel” for my Enertia since I began riding it in the middle of June. Thank goodness for Ramen noodles.

  9. @MTGR
    Regarding replacement battery cost:

    Those who intend to run these BEV batteries to EOL will benefit the most from these numbers and probably offset the cost to replace them at that point.

    Regarding electric utility costs. Think about what you are saying. If electric costs increase drastically, lets say by twice as much the impact is negligible. Just punch it into the calculator if you want proof. By that same token, the calculator also takes into account that prices stay the same at the pump. Double the costs of gas and see what happens to TCO. You don’t honestly think that prices at the pump are going to stay the same, do you?

    The more utilities charge for electricity, the more solar panels make economical sense. People will always have that option. Drilling for crude and building a refinery in your backyard is a little less cost effective.

  10. skadamo says:

    Paragraph 5 is a good consideration. RT @Asphalt_Rubber: Electric Motorcycle Break-Even Calculator – #motorcycle

  11. Kevin White says:

    That’s interesting, and I like math, but the reason I’m interested in electric motorcycles is for all the other aspects: torque, single gear/no shifting, instant on, no engine maintenance, no trips to fuel up, quiet operation, unique design, and light weight.