Kevin Schwantz Tests Suzuki XRH-1 MotoGP Bike at COTA, While Randy De Puniet Matches Pace of Open Bikes

Suzuki’s MotoGP test team took advantage of the presence of the MotoGP paddock at Austin to plan a test directly after the Grand Prix of the Americas. Under the watchful eye of team manager Davide Brivio, the team planned to have test rider Randy De Puniet put in three days of testing at a circuit, as the team had not yet tested the Suzuki XRH-1 at COTA, in a bid to gather more data ahead of their return to the series in 2015. Unfortunately for Suzuki, very heavy hail and thunderstorms made testing extremely difficult on Monday, leaving the track very dirty and much slower than it had been for Sunday’s race.

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 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.

Hero Building a 250cc Sport Bike with Erik Buell Racing?

11/21/2012 @ 4:59 am, by Jensen Beeler19 COMMENTS

Hero Building a 250cc Sport Bike with Erik Buell Racing? erik buell racing america 1270x846

According to The Economic Times, India’s premier financial newspaper, Hero MotoCorp is working on a 250cc sport bike, in conjunction with Erik Buell Racing. You may recall that Hero and EBR have already agreed to a technical partnership, which also saw the Indian motorcycle manufacturer become Erik Buell Racing’s title sponsor in the AMA Pro Racing Superbike series.

After its break up with Honda in the Hero Honda relationship, Hero MotoCorp has been relying on other firms for its technical developments. The Economic Times suggests the same can be said for this 250cc sport bike, with EBR handling the development of the machine, while Hero handles the business end of things, namely the quarter-liter’s production and distribution.

Perhaps most interesting aspect from this report is that Hero engineers are currently working directly in the United States with Erik Buell Racing, with the project being personally overseen by Hero CEO Pawan Munjal back in India. Expected to debut in February 2014, the 250cc sport bike will come to the Indian market, as well as other markets overseas, in what a source told The Economic Times was an “ambitious international business plan” for global penetration.

How ambitious is that plan, and does it include the United States? Only time will tell, but no matter which market the 250cc sport bike debuts in, it will go up against some stiff competition from the Japanese and European manufacturers. Furthermore, the pink elephant in the room is whether Buell-loyal Americans will show the same fervor for EBR products, as they have in the past, if the machines being developed by the “American” company are being built in India. Interesting stuff.

Source: The Economic Times

Comment:

  1. Monster says:

    The crankshafts will be manufactured in the US.

  2. Dan-O says:

    My spidey sense indicates this will be nothing like “twice larger” Blast of old Buell days. Hero certainly would not need EBR if their goal was so diminutive. Could it be possible for a 250 V-Twin to rival CBR250? Would EBR put its efforts toward an inline 250cc? Either question seems unlikely, but hey EBR is involved so we probably won’t know till press time.

  3. Doctor Jelly says:

    I’ve liked Buell products for the passion, theory, design and engineering. Not because they were ‘Amurikan’ (i.e. the 1125 with a Rotax engine is still my favorite bike of all time, and I love mine). That said, a 250 thumper sport bike of any sort is not going to rub my Buddha. I’m not adverse to the small displacement market, but I want something different. More like the early KTM 390 Duke rumors of a V-twin (of which I’m still dissapointed that it isn’t going to be…). That would pique my interest!

  4. smiler says:

    I always wonder when Eastern companies mention looking for technical know how from companies in the west. How it will end well. Once those companies in the East have the knowledge then what happens then.
    Big fan of Buell though. Hog were so stupid to kill his company and then let him go.

  5. Tyler says:

    I think the 250cc market may become crowded.. how different can a 250 be from the others… when creating a budget bike to fit at that price.

    Now if they can create a 250 with some uniqueness to it.. and maybe decent suspension/brakes out of the box.. okay track toy here I come..

    I really wish Buell jumped back into the “middle” CC category, above 250cc, as Honda/Kawasaki/KTM are going in the USA. How about a 500-650 v-twin to unseat the long gone SV650?…

  6. gebeme says:

    @Dan-O

    OOohh! What if they did the exact oposite of a Blast? Insteaed of cutting one large engine in half, they took two small engines and made one 500cc V-Twin!

    I can feel my spidey sense tingling too. Oh, wait. Sorry that was my phone on vibrate…

  7. Gritboy says:

    Coolness!

  8. Westward says:

    People keep thinking that the US is the only market in the world. 250cc caters mostly to every market save for the US. The truth of the matter is, motorcycles are a recreation or past time for Americans, whereas in other parts of the world it’s the major mode of transportation. Litre bikes are too expensive and too cumbersome for daily practical use. Even a 600cc bike can be a burden in most parts of the world.

    However, a 400cc or lower bike has more merit for a solution that would set nicely on the global market. Which is why I suspect Kawasaki released their 300cc model and KTM teased everyone with a 390cc bike too. Looking forward to the rest of the industry to get a clue…

    I believe that if the sub 400cc bikes were more prevalent, then you would see a rise in racing talent in the US, Australia and even Canada and the UK. Affordability is obviously key, the bikes need to cost around $3000 pounds, or less than $4000 eur…

  9. “Spot on smiler.”

    Such is the way with technical partnerships and why leagues of lawyers are the ones drawing up the agreements in the first place. Nobody is ignorant of the issues among those involved.

    My guess is that Hero will glean chassis expertise from Buell in terms of building a sport bike proper. Buell has well and truly proven his prowess at building a great chassis around a given engine, so I suspect that’s what a technical pairing will produce here.

    As for what will happen when Hero gets the deets … well, if Buell has good lawyers, that’s already in ink.

  10. Trane, I suspect the issue is moot. The Freedom of Information Act is a beautiful thing…

  11. TexusTim says:

    I hope it wont be ” overenginered,heavy and expensive” …must be light, cheap…and competitive

  12. meatspin says:

    lol. I’m just remembering what a turd that Blast was.

  13. foz101 says:

    I hope that the flurry of 250cc sports road bikes can translate to development of Moto3 bikes by many different manufacturers.

  14. Tyler says:

    Westward,

    To reply, I was just talking about the US, because that is where I live.. but yes you are very right about the worldwide market. Which is a much larger business playground for companies to play in… and earn…

    But at the end of the day, the US is spread out much unlike many countries, with towns and cities very far from one another in most states.. long stretches of roads without gas stations, etc.. this is one reason thumpers don’t and won’t do so well here all over the U.S in the small CC segment.

    Now city environments, that is another thing.

  15. Westward says:

    Tyler

    I don’t see where the CC’s have anything to do with distance, unless you are somehow implying that they are unreliable. Which is an argument I don’t subscribe to. As for gas stations, the Kawasaki Ninja 250R touts a 4.8 gal fuel capacity @ 60-70 mpg. I doubt there are higher CC motorcycles that make similar claims.

    But again, your response highlights my original point. As a daily runner lower CC machines are ideal. However, they will also suffice for your long back road jaunts as well. You might have to settle for a spirited less than 200 kph (120 mph), but as long as the roads are winding it should be fun nonetheless…

  16. I agree with that, Westward. I’ve always been a fan of smaller-displacement bikes.

  17. mxs says:

    The biggest myth of them all … US or Canada needs large displacement multicylinder bikes to deal with the distance … and thank to thinking of this kind North America gets shite selection of bikes. Drives me crazy more than anything else.

    If you had said that Florida is flat without flowing corners and that’s why stretched out Huyabusa is king seller, I’d understand … LOL

  18. Tyler says:

    The reason I mention displacement factoring in to longer rides, or “touring” type riding is two-part.

    (A) In some parts of the USA, long stretches of straight roads is what you get, no fun really, just a jaunt to get you to the next locale.

    (B) The vibrational nature of singles when used at higher RPMs, at higher speeds. They just don’t have enough extra juice to ride at higher speeds comfortably, for long distances.

    It isn’t so much about MPG, because for me, I cannot ride for 3 hours going the speed limit, I may just lose my mind…

    Especially here in Florida, with such long straight roads outside of town, you are left wanting with any bike that doesn’t have good wind protection and a comfortable high cruising speed.. the sooner you can get to that next fun stretch of road, the better.