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?

MIC Forecasts Motorcycle Sales Decline for 2012

03/15/2012 @ 2:09 pm, by Jensen Beeler13 COMMENTS

MIC Forecasts Motorcycle Sales Decline for 2012 captain picard face palm

The Motorcycle Industry Council’s Business Advisory & Forecast group has issued a report that predicts a sales decline in the US new motorcycle market for 2012. The news comes fresh on the heels of the 0.3% gain that the motorcycle industry’s leading brands experienced in 2011 in the American market, and is the first time that the MIC has forecasted future new motorcycle sales for the United States.

Adding some validity to the report is the fact that the MIC, in conjunction with the Institute for Trend Research, accurately predicted 2011′s modest sales growth. This news is interesting to note, as it goes counter to news about the recovering economy and the increased national average gasoline price, both of which have been linked to previous bumps in volume for motorcycle sales.

Noting that fuel-efficient vehicles did well in 2011, scooter sales in the US were up 11.8% last year, and dual-sport sales were up 14.2%. The MIC is not releasing all of its numbers right now though, and says a detailed report about this first quarter’s new motorcycle sales for the industry’s largest OEMs will be released on April 20th.

“While our market stayed essentially flat last year, unemployment numbers and stagnant incomes are making consumers more cautious about large purchases,” said MIC President Tim Buche. “Even with low interest rates making this a great time to buy for many people, overall economic uncertainty is leading us to predict we’ll have fewer sales in 2012.”

One last piece of interesting information is reports of increased tire purchases, which suggests that motorcycle owners have been riding their motorcycles more often, likely for commuting purposes. The MIC’s Motorcycle Tire Sales Report shows that replacement tire purchases, among the eight leading brands, rose 9.6%  in 2011. And interestingly enough, even off-highway tire sales increased by 11.7% last year — the same time period that saw sales of new off-highway motorcycles declining by more than 13%.

Source: MIC


  1. Jonathan says:

    This has the smell of a self-fulfilling prophesy. If manufacturers start battening down the hatches in preparation for lean times then sales suffer because of a lack of promotion and innovation. Customers may also hesitate to buy into a brand that they perceive to be struggling. On the upside, smaller and more innovative manufacturers may be able to make gains.

    So it looks like the Japanese are in for another rocky year.

  2. Fred Santos says:

    The Japanese companies continues to selling millions of bikes on the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China). The big problem about selling motorbikes, the big ones, here in Brazil it called ‘greed’. A Fireblade in Brazil costs someone like 34,000 US Dollars. A BMW S1000RR full, 45,500 USD. A Ducati 1198, 51,660 USD. Here, honda sells almost 1 million 125cc bikes in SIX months. For us, motorcycles are a alternative for public transportation, and the streets are full of them, scooters or motorcycles.

  3. MikeD says:

    Fred Santos said:

    “A Fireblade in Brazil costs someone like 34,000 US Dollars. A BMW S1000RR full, 45,500 USD. A Ducati 1198, 51,660 USD.”

    Boy, a my thankful for living on the old US of A….u guys are getting stab where the sun don’t shine.

    Yeah, im affraid we are gonna become more of a “MEH” market if things continue the way they are.
    No more fancy, sharp, updated hardware every so often…we have gone from main dish to a fricking glass of water on the food chain game.

    @ Jonathan:

    U, my good man…made some really cold yet valid/real points. Count me in.

  4. Don’t feel too bad for him Mike, those bikes cost that much in Brazil because of the protective tariffs imposed by the Brazilian government. This is part of the reason why you’re seeing manufacturers build assembly plants in places like India, Indonesia, and Brazil. Growing economies with serious import problems.

  5. Fred Santos says:

    Jensen, the problem isn’t only the imported bikes. The Hornet, for an example, is assembled here, and costs someone like 17.800 USD. I don’t know why.

    I’ve wanted to run on similar “Superstock” here. But, it’s a HUGE investment, considering i’m above middle class in Brazil. Only the real riches ones can buy a 600 or 1000 4cylinders. People who have an annual income above 40.000 USD/Year. My bike are an Ninja 250r.

    This is why you don’t see brazilians riders on the scene, too. It’s a “Noble” sport.

  6. Wait, $40k US is uber-rich in Brazil?? I need to move.

  7. RSVDan says:

    You sure couldn’t tell bike sales are down judging by the number of machines we are moving on a weekly basis. We are sold out of many models currently.

  8. Scott F says:

    This doesn’t make sense. I used to forecast US automotive sales for an auto parts manufacturer, and the economic stuff that drives car/truck sales are most all looking up. It’s hard to believe that bikes, different in that they are more hobby oriented, won’t go up as well.

    It’s also kinda hard to believe that the MIC is deliberately low on this … if anything I’d think they would be optimistic.

    I’ll bet them a beer that US bike sales will be up 9 to 15% in ’12 vs ’11.

  9. Fred Santos says:

    Jensen, man…

    40k USD/year, here in brasil, means you can buy two Chevrolet Cobalts per year. Or 3 hornets per year.

    1 dollar = 1.8 Real (Brazilian Money).

    Take Prices…
    Fireblade – 59.800 Real
    Hornet – 32,800 Real
    XJ6 – 29.900 Real
    BMW S1000RR Full – 84.000 Real
    Chevrolet Cobalt Full – 42.000 Real.

    A person with an income of 40 k dollars/year have an average of 100k real/year in Brazil. Waht means 8.350 Real/Month.
    This salary (8.350/month) means youre Class A. With this income, you can finance car, houses and good stuff. For your information, i am Graphic Designer on a medium size Advertisement Agency, and my income are 2000/month.

  10. Beary says:

    I just like the picture of Jean-Luc. Good to see you made it so.

  11. Andre Ramos says:

    Fred Santos its right in his comments. In addition to every social problems that we have here in Brazil, our tributary tax and our interest rate are one of higher in the world. A motorcycle like Honda CB 600F Hornet here in Brazil, that´s assembled here in Manaus, receives about 35% of indusrialized product fee. Our logistics os not so efficient like in advanced countries, because our roads aren´t so good and rails and shipping isn´t developed trough for long years.

    In other words, we´ve a long way to go, but, looking back, things are better, so much better here.

  12. finance says:

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  13. Johnny_biker says:

    Couldn’t agree more with Fred Santos. Bike prices here in Brazil are crazy. I’m originally from Scotland but now living in Rio. Back in Scotland I ride a Ducati 749s. Just looking to buy a bike here in Rio now but the prices are nuts!!!