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?

Kawasaki Tests Costco Sales Program

01/04/2011 @ 2:28 pm, by Jensen Beeler15 COMMENTS

Kawasaki Tests Costco Sales Program costco kawasaki 635x421

Wholesale discounter Costco might be one of the great staples of free-market capitalism, allowing Americans to buy beef jerky in convenient seven gallon portions throughout the seasons (because you need that much jerky in your diet America). Steadfast to the rule that more must be better, it excites us to find out that Kawasaki has been testing a program since November with Costco, which sees the Japanese bike maker selling its motorcycles through 15 Southern California Costco warehouse stores. Taking place in Los Angeles, Orange, and San Diego counties, several Kawasaki dealerships have been working with local Costco stores on the pilot grogram, which includes having a Kawasaki motorcycle on display (starting with Team Green’s KX dirt bikes) at the Costco stores, along with other promotional materials.

The pilot program, which is being setup by Affinity Development for the Costco Auto Program (you’ve seen their work if you’ve noticed a car from a local dealer on display outside the Costco entrance), is the end result of over four years of effort by Affinity in enticing established motorcycle OEMs to try alternate points-of-sale besides the dealer’s showroom.

Despite Team Green being the only OEM to consider trying the program, there still seems to be ample push-back from Kawasaki on letting the program go full-bore. For instance, should a Costco member be interested in purchasing a motorcycle, they would have to call a number that would then refer them to their closest Kawasaki dealership.

Once the customer goes to the dealer, they flash their Costco membership card, and are given a pre-determined reduced price on their Kawasaki motorcycle purchase. Costco is helping lubricate the deal by offering a $250 Costco cash card to buyers if they fill out some additional paperwork. Kawasaki dealers are also offering a 20% discount on parts, accessories, and apparel to help sweeten the sale.

While the process still seems a bit convoluted and needs some streamlining, the selling potential for Kawasaki could be huge with this program going nationwide. Costco’s Auto Program has already proven itself to be a boon with car and boat sales. Boat maker Sea Ray has been partnering with Costco for over a year now, and seen over $120 million in sales in that timeframe (50% of sales were reportedly by people not in the market for a boat, with an additional 22.5% in the market only for another brand).

Similar success has been seen with Volvo, who has used Costo warehouses extensively for automobile sales, with the warehouse store accounting for 40% of models sales on specifically promoted cars. The key to this success is not only the high volume of traffic that goes through Costco’s doors, but also the company’s up-market and affluent demographic, which sees a $102,000 year median income in its membership.

Kawasaki is set to evaluate the program’s success at the end of this month, and at that point will make a decision as to whether to try and roll the program out nationwide. Initial dealer responses seem to be positive, and we imagine that with further refinement to the buying process, the number of additional sales could greatly be expanded upon.

The idea of using chain brand mega-stores is not a new one to the motorcycle industry, as we’ve already seen the concept used as a core component to Brammo Inc.’s initial sales strategy, which used several Best Buy locations on the west coast as its point-of-sale. The real power of chains like Costco and Best Buy resides in the fact that not only do a lot of consumers enter these stores’ doors everyday, but because they are mainstream brands, it means that manufacturers will get an opportunity to have non-motorcyclists thinking about a motorcycle purchase. Hopefully Kawasaki will stop thinking like a traditionally stodgy Japanese manufacturer, and see the value in this outside-of-the-box thinking, and how it could not only bolster sales, but indoctrinate new buyers into the motorcycle market.

Source: Dealer News


  1. Doctor Jelly says:

    I do love my Costco! Apple gets the finger and Kawi gets embraced!

    36 pack of toilet paper? Check. 4 pack of pizza? Check. 5 pack of ZX10R? Yeah!

    If the system proves successful, wonder how long it’ll take before we have Kirkland branded bikes…?

  2. Shaitan says:

    Craziness, but whatever improves moto sales and also public excitement/exposure.

  3. Tom says:

    Why not? Costco sells Porsches in Mexico. If Kawasaki can increase sales, good for them.

  4. 76 says:

    I think exposure like that is awesome for Kawasaki. Bikes are infectious, the more they get in front of people in a setting like that the better.

  5. Sean in Oz says:

    Expect a flood of second hand zx10r parts.

  6. Ken says:

    I love Costco and I am not over weight.
    I wish this would be available on the east coast so I could buy a bike thru Costco .I bought my latest car thru Costco and had a great experience.

  7. TomC says:

    I bet the local dealers are thrilled. Wonder what kind of break Costo will give on parts and service.

  8. The dealers are thrilled, they get the sale. Costco is basically supplying them with leads, not handling the actual sale, the parts, or the service.

  9. jim newbery says:

    TomC…the participating dealers are also offering 20% off P&S. A bike purchase is not required

  10. bruce armstrong says:

    Porsche tried this twenty years ago…..they were going to sell the cars and let the dealers service them……there was a revolution — dealers protecting their franchise agreements. Don’t expect to see this in California were dealer franchise laws are ‘in stone’ …. Bruce

  11. cory says:

    There is no discount on service but you can get 20% parts, accessories and appearal just for being a Costco member!

  12. jim says:

    Bruce…this is where the confusion often evidences itself.Note Jensons comment at 9:37
    Costco refers the Member to the dlr. Costco is not a broker. The dlr conducts all sales aspects…walk around, features and benefits, financing, warranty submission and delivery.
    There are no franchise issues involved.
    Costco is not selling the units – Costco is displaying them to promote the referral to the dlr…Costco only displays in whse’s in a dlrs PMA.
    The display is to inform the Member that such an association w/ a participating dlr exists.

  13. MikeD says:

    How is it that i goes ?…. There’s no such thing as TOO MUCH or BAD PUBLICITY ? , Someone correct me if im wrong. lol. If it helps Big KHI on improving sales on the U.S.A….HEY, nothing wrong with that.

  14. Singletrack says:

    But what does Costco and Affinity get out of it? If the dealer gets the sale Kawi must be paying Costco for every lead/sale. Costco’s not doing it out of the goodness of their heart.

    This goes along with the current big box mentality that dealers offer little to no value. Motorcycles (like computers) are pretty much disposable anyway. If you crash it, or it breaks, buy a new one because it’s too expensive to repair.

  15. Keep in mind these bikes are not on isle 11. Notice that you have to call a 1-800 number to get the information of a local dealership. This is nothing more than Kawi paying advertising fees to Costco, and that’s what Costco is getting out of the deal. In most aspects, it is similar to a sponsorship.

    I think it’s a smart move by Kawasaki. That have slowly been targeting big (or at least popular) businesses and getting exposure from them. BMW has the Ca Superbike school and Kawasaki now has…well, Costco.