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.

Erik Buell Racing Gets Flooring Financing From GE Capital

12/07/2012 @ 12:18 pm, by Jensen Beeler12 COMMENTS

Erik Buell Racing Gets Flooring Financing From GE Capital 2012 Erik Buell Racing 1190RS 635x476

Erik Buell Racing is well on its way, after announcing today that the American sport bike company has secured inventory financing from GE Capital. An important step in setting up a strong dealer network, GE’s commitment to Erik Buell Racing means that EBR dealers will be able to purchase their inventory on credit (the standard industry practice) from a top-tier financial institution.

GE Capital has become the go-to financier in the motorcycle and powersports industry, and the group has been making some very competitive offers to up-start motorcycle companies in the recent years. For EBR, getting GE Capital on-board with the fledgling company is a crucial step in building out the company’s dealer network, and putting bikes on the showroom floor.

GE Capital’s involvement is also a good indicator on the health of EBR’s business, which so far has only manufactured 100 units of its EBR 1190RS sportbike since the company’s 2009 inception. In that same time span though, Erik Buell Racing has signed a technical partnership with Hero MotoCorp, and has been rumored to be making a variety of other machines, from dirt bikes to small-displacement road bikes.

“As we ramp up our production capabilities and introduce other models, it’s great to know that we have a finance company that can support us as we expand,” said Erik Buell. “I’m pleased that GE Capital, with its decades of experience in the motorsports industry, continues to support emerging manufacturers like EBR.”

“We’re not just bankers, we’re builders,” said Sameer Gaur, the commercial leader of CDF’s motorsports group. “Across businesses and industries, it’s important for us to contribute to the growth of American manufacturers at every stage of their development.”

Source: GE Capital; Photos: © 2011 Tom Davenport / RD Image - All Rights Reserved


  1. joe says:

    love the innovation, yet too steep a price for me and most riders out there.

  2. John says:

    Joe, financial backing like this will allow EBR to make larger production runs and exploit economies of scale. This news means more, cheaper EBR’s available on the market.

    This can only mean good things for the consumers over the next couple years!

  3. Actually John, this won’t help too much with EBR’s production…beyond the fact that dealers will be able to actually buy the bikes that EBR produces.

    This isn’t GE Capital investing in EBR, it’s GE Capital helping dealers purchase EBR inventory.

  4. joe says:

    i do not doubt that higher volume and possibly lower cost models will help the average buyer. i just dont see it happening here.

  5. Halfie30 says:

    If he makes a smaller displacement bike that is even in the same vacinity of other bikes they will do fine. I hope EBR realizes their best bet is smaller better ha doing machines. 70+ grand super bikes. If they make a 250-400cc sport bike that out performs the competition and costs more, I’m in!

  6. Rob says:

    Unless EBR can make a sub $20K bike they will never be a mainstream bike. They are essentially in the same place as many of the electric motorcycle upstarts. They all will be out of business unless they can make something affordable.

    By the time you order a 1190RS and get it you could have just bought an RSV or 1199.

  7. MikeD says:

    Great for him ! Does it do something for the regular Joe like me ? NOPE.
    Unless he starts selling sub 10k bikes he’s as much on my radar as….let’s see here……ah , yes ! that 911 Turbo AWD i have always dreamed about but won’t be able to afford not even on my wildest dream.
    Better team up with your Indian Buddies and do something about it…or u’ll be back to your old “once upon a time” dead on the water status.

  8. smiler says:

    Cannot believe the negativity of comments here.

    I really like Buell. He produced THE most innovative bike in the US ever and it was a great bike. Done some track days with people riding those and they really go. Looked brilliant as well.
    Got royally shafted by Hog, spat out without his company and now he is back.
    I think he is savy enough to know he needs to produce a cheaper bike but without finance he cannot build quantity cheaply. So I think he should get all the support he needs.

    About his early biking career:
    “My Harley was….Red metal flake paint and those crazy two-piece ape hanger handlebars, which would come loose and swing back and forth. I’d shove wads of steel wool into the mufflers to quiet it down for the cops, but when I was really hauling, it would shoot these glowing balls of flame out the back. Man, that’s cool stuff when you’re a kid!”

    Carroll Shelby of US motorcycling. I will own a (2nd hand) Buell one of these days.

  9. Ton Up Jax says:

    At first, I was frustrated by the seemingly ignorant comments here- it’s like someone complaining that they love GM but can’t afford a Corvette. But then I realized that not everyone has been following what Erik Buell is up to. Yes, EBR has built 100 Inaugural 1190RS models at $39,999 each (add $4,000 for Carbon Edition), but that was just the start. With the successful production of the EBR Superbike, Erik has secured investors (Hero MotoCorp), sponsors (Hero, Amsoil), is setting up a dealer network (floorplan by GE Capital), and has been building soon-to-be-released new street and dual sport models (RX, SX, AX)- all priced to compete directly with the competition.

    From the EBR website:

    “EBR is the very definition of the American spirit. Motorcycles designed and manufactured in East Troy, Wisconsin embodying superb technology from around the world. Whether it’s Austrian four-stroke, liquid-cooled power plants or Swedish suspension components, EBR engineers global performance integration into every model.

    We’re starting slowly, building only 100 of our inaugural 1190RS models. After that, we’ll ramp up with more production and other models.”

    As from the beginning, Erik has been working to build a world-class American motorcycle manufacturer, and now free of the H-D yoke his dream is becoming a reality. EBR has been working non-stop for over three years now, and the fruits of this labor are about to come to fruition. The 1190RS was just the beginning, so be patient, curb the negativity, and prepare yourself for more amazing things from the genius mind of Erik Buell.

  10. JeCo says:

    Whats the possibility we see Hero use this as a well to get the bikes stateside. Slap the EBR label on their bikes (IE: the ones Erik is consulting on), get small dealerships going, and add in the top tier of what Erik is building with the 1190 as their mecha line.

    Heart you Erik, heart my XB9 city, and I will heart you even more if I can get a street fighter version of your 1190 (IE: It should look like the pegasus typhon).

  11. Robert says:

    I had a xb12r firebolt and loved it! He truly is a genius with his designs and we should all hope for his continued success now that he is free of HD. The article that cycle world, I think, was a great read on how he was done “wrong” by the motor company. Even thou I own a Harley because of the way they did him it will be the last one that I own. Here’s to you Mr. Buell!

  12. Lori Bird says:

    Congratulations Eric. This is such great news and we are happy that good things are happening for you.