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?

Hero MotoCorp Eyes Purchasing Ducati? Erik Buell Racing?

03/05/2012 @ 3:22 pm, by Jensen Beeler7 COMMENTS

Hero MotoCorp Eyes Purchasing Ducati? Erik Buell Racing? hero motocorp logo 635x423

Two weeks and two separate rumors about Hero MotoCorp’s acquisition warpath. Last week the Indian motorcycle manufacturer was said to be eyeing a minority equity stake in Erik Buell Racing. Having already hired the American sport bike maker to help innovate on some of Hero’s upcoming small displacement machines, the two companies sweetened the deal with Hero becoming the title sponsor to EBR’s AMA Pro Superbike racing effort.

This week the spotlight shines on Ducati Motor Holding, which has quietly been for sale for almost a year now. Originally wooing an acquisition from Mercedes-Benz, the Italian motorcycle manufacturer has been linked to a variety of other companies, as well as a public offering on an Asian stock index. With our sources telling us that Ducati has been trimming the fat from its books in order to make its earnings more attractive, Hero MotoCorp is the latest potential buyer to enter the fray and to talk to bankers about a Ducati acquisition.

The important thing to remember about the this set of Hero/Ducati rumors is that the speculation is stemming from investment bankers themselves seeking out Hero MotoCorp as a potential buyer, which is substantially different from Hero courting the Italian firm with its wallet out. With over $1 billion in cash reserves, Hero MotoCorp is one of the few motorcycle manufacturers that could even consider an acquisition of Ducati, and still have the purchase make some sort of sense with the company’s business direction.

“Lots of people have been coming to us with Ducati: Not one banker but many bankers,” Hero MotoCorp Managing Director Pawan Munjal said to Bloomberg News. “We’re talking to a lot of people. Not just Ducati, whoever comes to us, we talk to them.”

Despite the fact that “professionals” of the moto-journalism world have already labeled Hero MotoCorp as having thrown its hat in Ducati’s ring, it’s far to early to say that Hero has more than a passing interest in Ducati. As any good businessman will tell you, one has to remain open to all possibilities. Hero MotoCorp’s involvement with bankers regarding Ducati should merely be seen as the Indian manufacturer assessing the state of the market, and the options available to it. With Investindustrial reportedly hoping for a €1 billion valuation of Ducati Motor Holding, Hero MotoCorp would be roughly a quarter billion euros short of the acquisition price at today’s market rate (again, “professional” motorcycle journalists can’t seem to keep their dollars, euros, and pounds sterling straight…sigh), creating the issue of how the largest Indian motorcycle brand would fully-fund such a transaction.

Slightly more credible than the Hero/Ducati rumors is the one pertaining to Hero MotoCorp acquiring a minority stake in Erik Buell Racing. One of the companies I’ve tipped as ripe for purchase in 2012, EBR has a serious growth problem if it doesn’t get outside of investment. One of the more peculiar things from EBR’s partnership with Hero is the seemingly one-sided nature of the deal, which traditionally would see some sort of investment take place by one of the parties.

It makes sense then that Pawan Munjal would tip the company’s interest in acquiring a portion of EBR in the future. ”We have a flexible free-flowing pact with EBR, which would be developed into a equity partnership,” said Hero MotoCorp’s Munjal. From that statement, the deal reached between Erik Buell Racing and Hero MotoCorp would appear to be more involved and complex than originally thought, and I am sure that Buell is gauging the response to the idea of an Indian company investing in a manufacturer whose brand has centered around being “American” in every possible horrible way.

Source: Bloomberg & The Economic Times


  1. Cpt.Slow says:


  2. kyle says:

    Thx for the straight story. Best place on the web for moto news! More content please!

  3. Halfie 30 says:

    This whole thing is getting very complex. Here’s to hoping EBR gets a fair shake from Hero, and eventually “mass” produce some bikes!

  4. motogpdr says:

    The idea of an Indian company buying, or at least taking a significant stake in Erik’s “american motorcycle” company is ironic. Just another sign of the economic shift of the world from west to east.

  5. Westward says:

    The Buell dichotomy, American motorcycles, Indian owned. There is irony in that situation. But hey, if the shoe fits, and it’s the only one around, you may as well race in it..

    However, Hero buying Ducati, that is just wrong on so many levels, that means the diluting of the brand. It would be like Audi becoming Pontiac…

  6. WetMan says:

    Well I am no investment banker, but I don’t believe for a second that Ducati is worth 1 billion. I know that money is almost free for bankers nowadays, but even so it should make some sense to spend it.

    If I understand correctly the bosses of BMW and Volkswagen want to buy Ducati because they love the brand and own some Ducati’s themselves. I guess the stock holders of these companies should be happy that they don’t love their Gulfstreams more…

    If Hero wants to buy a classy Italian bike firm with a lot of technicial expertise they should have bought MV Augusta. A year ago it was for sale for 3 dollars… I am sure the Castiglioni’s would consider selling for 100 million or so now.

  7. conchop says:

    Buell, Ducati, Hero – all in one basket – depends on the price. IMHO all these bikes are just widgets in the eyes of money. In the eyes of bikers, it takes on a completely different complexion. Buell is the Bill Boeing of motorcycles. Ducati is the Ferrari of motorcycles. Hero is the basic transportation of the Indians. Bikers are generally loyal to their brands as my ancestors formed a bond with their horse.

    How do the captains of industry mix all this together for a sustainable, profitable, yet emotional business? Very carefully.

    What we have here are positive potentials on all levels. Brought together, this could bring about a new generation and mix of technically advanced motorcycles that can carve into all segments of the motor world. However, if squeezed the wrong way by steely eyed accountants, we could end up with overpriced junk.

    You have my blessings – but continue ever so carefully. If any of you step out of line, you will be burnt. If you get it right, then we will all sing your praises. If you choose to walk away, the world will go on without you. The tales of Ulysses should inspire!