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.

Jesse James Closes Down West Coast Choppers

10/16/2010 @ 9:01 pm, by Jensen Beeler19 COMMENTS

Jesse James Closes Down West Coast Choppers West Coast Choppers Dominator Ted Puryer 635x458

This one hits us out of the blue, but according to Cyril Huze, Jesse James has shutdown for good his custom chopper business: West Coast Choppers. If true, it’s not clear what will become of James’ Long Beach based company, but it looks like West Coast Choppers’ frames and parts will be produced by Daytec and Belt Drive LTD respectively, and sold through Custom Chrome. More info as we get it, but considering this news is hitting us during the weekend, we don’t expect to hear much before Monday.

Source: Cyril Huze Blog via Basem Wasef; Photos: West Coast Choppers


  1. gloverka says:

    Jesse James Closes Down West Coast Choppers – #motorcycle

  2. Rolf says:

    Probably an impulsive emotional decision, my guess is that he’ll be back.

  3. irksome says:

    Probably a rational business decision; my guess is America’s chopper fascination is all done.

  4. CZ says:


  5. Tom says:

    America’s love of overpriced underperforming poseurmobiles has come to an end. They were bikes for a time of easy credit and low self-esteem. I haven’t done the market research to validate this, but I think that there is a considerable market of Americans who would buy an American made bike that was special (like a Ducati) but not a chopper or cruiser. I sure as hell would and I finally have the disposable income to buy one so long as it were priced around (lower than) a Ducati. West Coast Choppers will not be missed by many.

  6. import says:

    Tom, America made those bikes. They were called Buells. No one bought them either. Maybe Erik will have better luck now that he is out from under the HD banner.

  7. Sean says:

    Too close to call! While you are all correct, it indeed could be a rash decision. Jesse James isn’t exactly Warren Buffett.

  8. CP says:

    Buells were garbage. under performing, overpriced, and ugly as sin. Then they payed off DMG so they could run almost twice the displacement of it’s competitor’s Japanese made sport bikes to make a name for themselves as a “performance” company. I agree with Tom. the US needs a national brand like Ducati. HD almost had it with their short term ownership of MV Augusta too, but MV is back in the hand of the italians.

  9. froryde says:

    @ CP: No matter even if HD still owned MV, MV will always be considered an Italian company and Italian brand.

    As much as you hate to admit it, Buell was the closest the US came to having an national performance bike brand (and probably will be for a while).

  10. Tom says:

    froryde, you are probably right about Buell being it for a while. However, CP is also correct n the Buell’s were subpar in their engines and design – although I still think that the Buell Blast was the ideal beginner bike that has been made in my adult lifetime. There are a few Buells that I have seen here in Japan and they all have crap seats, but over 20,000K so the Japanese must love them. Buell’s also had a design that most people didn’t grab on to but Buell’s biggest problem was always being sold at HD dealers where the faithful would not touch them and non-HD people simply will not go. I went to some HD dealers near West Palm Beach a few years ago looking for a Blast and you’d thought I had come in as a Muslim terrorist!

    Ducatis are beautiful and so are MV Agustas – you are right about MV always being an Italian brand but HD could have taken things it learned there and applied them to Buells……but, HD chose, once again, to be losers. HD has no design aesthetic and they think that every American bike must only have a V-Twin.

    There could have been an American sport company if Eller had gotten Indian and if Excelsior-Henderson hadn’t had the rug pulled out from under them. I still think that there is a market of Americans who want to win and would support an American company that cost a little more than the Japanese bikes if the US bike were well engineered and aesthetically beautiful. I think that the Americans could never compete with the Japanese on price but we certainly could compete with the Italians on engineering and design.

  11. shawn says:

    jesse closeing down the west coast shop!!!! say it anit so? ive alwas been a big fan of jesse work and alwas will be tell the day i die! when the time came to watch occ or west coast choppers or monster garage i was glued to the tv wacthen jesse and his crazy and sick biker build off.if i’d had a chance to build a bike with jesse i quit work and leave everything behind and go do it! oh well guess that will never happen will it your #1 fan

  12. Dave says:

    Don’t know why his shutting his doors “hit you out of the blue”, when he had announced a month or so earlier that he was moving to Texas to be close to his estranged wife and the kid(s) they had together.

  13. Greg says:

    Good riddance! I wish nothing but poverty and unhappiness on this racist dbag……..

  14. Jesse James Closes Down West Coast Choppers: This one hits us out of the blue, but according to Cyril Huze, Jesse …

  15. Roger says:

    As a ex-GP motorcycle racer, I have generally dispised harleys or anything that looks or underperforms on paved roads. I have raced pupose built racing 125 and 250cc GP bikes in the US, Europe and Japan. But Jesse James motorcylces sparked my interest in artisan motorcycles. He is an artist who produces works of art. His designs are unconventional yet graceful.
    One look at designs like The Radial Engine bike he built demonstrate his genius and just how radical his designs can go. His less radical designs leave me in awe in their compactness and simplicity. The organic look and feel of his designs are obviously the result of hand-worked materials that make me want to own one. His respect for Ducatis and MV Agustas demonstrate his openmindedness and respect for performance oriented manufacturers and designs. I don’t look at his motorcycles as such, rather I look at them no differently than a sculpture.

  16. Shovelman says:

    For Greg, who are you to call Jessie James a racist dbag. He works for a living like alot of people don’t, and hide under the minority banner and are racist exempted. Probably fits your description Jackass!

  17. lutherG says:

    @shovelman: perhaps the phrase “like a lot of people don’t, and hide under the minority banner” might seem ok to you, to the rest of us it sure looks bigoted. As to american sport bikes, I think indian could have become this except for the fact that every owner has tried to reproduce it as the 53 chief which really ran the factory into the ground. The 101 scout,and sport scouts of the 30′s were smoking hot little machines, and with overhead valve kits could match the horsepower produced by the sporters of the 70′s.

    Eric Buell is an amazing egomanic, and his bikes are quite possibly the ugliest on the road.

  18. sharin says:

    OH I’M SO sorry…I actually thought u were dead…
    New the name, not the face , and I just saw u baggin out pilgrams….m.m.m.m. how funny.
    why cant u play the trumpet? yeah I get IT…
    Who r u…and what else can u do?
    jesse james homemade toolboxes…What colours are they in.
    I have to agree… that bike u designed…ahh..I LIKE IT..
    Im sure This chick was on the radio…(oz) talkin bout u and what u do…u know…If ur the guy resting from s.bullock… she was atellin all about ur…package and how it works… Some hoe bags …I hope u dont give a shit…or did u just set it all up..
    need to make a coffee… wanna check some of those tatts, no I not tryin to tune u…
    Yes… mysterious… you have one of my grand fathers names.
    im not trying to give o.winfrey shit…she does that all by herself…
    Can:t u get a replacement shift…she stay way where she is u come down under give me one of ur custom made tool boxes… that sounds much more feesible than a potential terrorrists attack…

    Where the remote… shes on the right now..

    I should’nt talk to strangers..

  19. ray says:

    you guys all ssuck you dont even know jessee i help put hes figer 8 cars together sandra was eight behind him thats why she went to txas they bouth had houses there out of the bull like you all go jessee and sandea stay happy f cal