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?

AMA Pro Racing Homologates the Aprilia RSV4 Factory

04/01/2013 @ 11:59 am, by Jensen Beeler12 COMMENTS

AMA Pro Racing Homologates the Aprilia RSV4 Factory 2013 Aprilia RSV4 Factoy APRC 635x423

Looking to add more manufacturers to the traveling circus, AMA Pro Road Racing has homologated the Aprilia RSV4 Factory ABS for racing duty, though with one interesting caveat. Instead of giving the 999cc Italian V4 a birth in the AMA Pro Superbike class, the RSV4 Factory has been homologated instead to race in the AMA Pro Supersport.

With Aprilia USA lacking a 600cc machine and the budget necessary to race at the factory level in the Superbike class, AMA Pro Road Racing officials have come to a compromise with the Italian company on how it can enter the American road racing scene with its current equipment, and hopefully thus spur its sport bike sales.

“Since the Aprilia RSV4 Factory has nearly twice the capacity as a regular supersport machine, we have agreed with the AMA that our riders will only be able to turn the throttle halfway while racing in the Supersport class,” an Aprilia Racing representative told us.

Unlike the homologation requirements concerning the 2013 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R, which has a higher minimum weight to compensate for its 37cc displacement advantage, the new agreement over the throttle use on the Aprilia is grounded in a more realistic approach to level the field of competition.

“Since few of the Supersport teams are running anywhere near the minimum weight figure, the AMA decided to be more pragmatic in its solution with Aprilia,” said an AMA Pro Racing official wishing to remain anonymous. “So, Aprilia riders will be limited to only twisting the throttle halfway on the RSV4, and must use the OEM-fitted throttle assembly on their bikes.”

“This should make the RSV4 behave more like a 500cc machine power-wise, which is a more-than-fair provision considering the close level of competition in the class,” he added. When asked how race direction would enforce the half-throttle rule, the same official explained the AMA’s intricate enforcement plan.

“Primarily, we will use the honor system,” he said directly. “Sure, we expect that there will be a few instances where riders will be tempted to use 60% maybe 70% of the throttle in close finishes, but overall we think that the teams and riders will adhere to these provisions, which are more like guidelines than rules anyways.”

Rumors that Max Biaggi could leave retirement, and race for Aprilia in the USA have been unconfirmed. However, with the the Italian World Champion splitting his time between Rome and his second home in Malibu, California, an American road racing season could be a possibility — provided the AMA waives the age restrictions on the Supersport class.

Time will tell on this one, but an official announcement is expected before April 2nd.


  1. Keet says:

    ugh… everyone, please stop with the April Fools day “jokes”?!

  2. Keet says:

    …AMA “PRO” road racing is a joke enough!

  3. mudgun says:

    Ok then. I wasn’t sure how I felt about……

  4. Norm G. says:

    sucker, sucker, sucker. LOL

  5. TexusTim says:

    you have too think they(ama) were worried it would stomp everything in SuperBike…..half throttle eh ? forgetting about electronics are we ? half throttle with fly by wire is a state of mind yo.

  6. proudAmerican says:

    In other news, Can-Am is ready to announce homologation of their three-wheeled Spyder RS to AMA Superbike.

    The Spyder will sport a Boss Hoss Chevrolet V8, and run on official NASCAR Goodyear slicks front and back.

  7. Tcrook21 says:

    Can we just say April Fool’s?

  8. stu says:

    Wow I’m reading this in Australia on the 2nd of April, completely forgot it was still April Fools day in the US! Almost had me!

  9. 76 says:

    I swear, I hate this day

  10. TexusTim says:

    bawawawawahahaha….the give away was the annoucment date and max coming out of retirement…I believe he is more than happy in malibu with his girl…lol

  11. Deez Toolz says:

    Hallelujah!!! The heavens have spoken and it is NOT a crime to ride an aprilia in the States.

    Oh, April fools. you’re still hosed if you bought one. Faster values drop than the housing market.

  12. dc4go says:

    DMG.. Now that’s a JOKE!!!!