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?

Yamaha Gets Serious About India with $500 Motorcycle

06/27/2012 @ 1:38 pm, by Jensen Beeler11 COMMENTS

Yamaha Gets Serious About India with $500 Motorcycle india yamaha ybr 110 635x396

I wax on about the importance of the Indian market with far too much regularity to regurgitate it yet another time, but its suffices to say that like Ron Burgundy, India is a pretty big deal. With two of the three largest motorcycle manufacturers in the world coming from India, and the country continuing to account for a massive amount of the world’s two-wheeler consumption (India is the second largest consumer of motorcycles in the world, by volume), it should come with little surprise then that Japanese motorcycle manufacturer Yamaha wants a bigger piece of the pie.

Yamaha currently accounts for roughly 500,000 of the 10+ million units sold per year in India (read: less than 5% of the total Indian motorcycle market), and the Japanese company is already offering several cheap motorcycle options in India. However, hoping to increase that figure to 600,000 next year, and to continue future growth in the market down the line, the tuning-fork brand has let it slip that a $500 motorcycle is in the works. Game on Honda.

The new $500 model is a part of Yamaha’s overall strategy to gain a larger foothold in the Indian market, as the Japanese company hopes to increase its marketshare to 10% of the Indian motorcycle market by the year 2016. With roughly 70% of all motorcycle sales in India occurring in the 100cc-125cc range, Yamaha is feeling the pressure to bring more entry-level machines to its Indian offering. For instance, rival and Indian-market sales dominator Hero MotoCorp offers six entry-level models to Indian riders.

With the Indian motorcycle market growing 12% in the last fiscal year through March 2012, and nearly 1 in 25 citizens a motorcycle rider, the Indian market is the happy hunting ground for motorcycle manufacturers who are watching their American and European sales continue to dwindle. The only question that remains is why other large motorcycle OEMs aren’t bringing more smaller-displacement offerings to India.

Source: Wall Street Journal


  1. Damo says:



  2. @Damo: ROTFLMAO!

    Actually, it’s a sharp looking little bike. I wouldn’t be embarrassed to ride one. Then again, I thoroughly enjoyed a loaner KZ125 one weekend while my 650 was in the shop. For me, riding itself is more important than what I’m riding. And, frankly, it’s just fun rowing a gearbox in order to achieve 70 kph. *GRIN*

  3. MikeD says:

    U heard that Boys ? Yes, is the sounds of things coming….and more still to come…as in…..screw the West Markets and their 600 and 1000 and it’s BLOOD($) SUCKING Heavy R&D and refresh cycles …those guys are dead and dry….let’s focus on milking the CASH COW emerging East Markets….more R&D on small fries sold by the “Ship Load”.

    I totally understand, is a bussiness…profit MUST BE MADE one way or another or else.

    Another case of ” If is rainings lemons…well, let’s make lemonade”…’till it rains something else.

  4. Johndo says:

    Strange that Yamaha can build a complete bike for 500$, yet a plastic exhaust cover on my MT-01 cost 340$. I love the bike, but really their parts are crazy expensive…if they do this in India, chances are people won’t go for that 500$ bike the year after cause they’ll have figured out that replacing parts will add up to the price of the bike in no time!

  5. Johndo says:

    …Reminds me of inkjet printers…where it’s often cheaper to buy another printer, then buying ink cartridges.

  6. Random says:

    Actually, YBR is a denomination which applied first to Brazilian engineered/produced bikes which were later exported to other countries.

    Production of the 125cc variant started in 2000 in Brazil, and the need for a small displacement bike in other markets took use of the existing project with adaptations such as fairings and FI in some countries. Even if it is no longer manufactured only here it shows its roots.

  7. Jimmy Smith Jr. says:

    That’s right on budget for India.

  8. Bob says:

    I don’t know how they can procure the raw materials for one bike for $500, let alone transform that material into something. And what about paying for a facility, wages, marketing, shipping?

    There has to be some form of government subsidizing in order to produce a whole bike for that price.

    I wonder what it would cost to buy one and ship it here.

  9. Bob says:

    Ditto everyone that mentioned price of parts. The last 17 x 3.5 wheel I bought cost me $900. The freaking heated grip for my Ninja 1000 cost $300. $300 for grips!!!!!

  10. Bob says:

    Gotta feel sorry for Honda now. They want to sell theirs for $810.

    “Lets see,” said the Indian person. “$500 for a Yamahahahaha or $810 for a Honda? I could feed my family of 4 generations for 6 months with that $310 saved.”

  11. MikeD says:

    @Johndo & Bob:

    Were u guys offered some form of “sex toy lubricant” with those prices ? (o_O)

    Man ! That’s just WRONG.