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?

The Rappture Comes to Laguna Seca – Mission Motors Wins Electric Bike Showdown

07/24/2011 @ 2:31 pm, by Jensen Beeler12 COMMENTS

The Rappture Comes to Laguna Seca   Mission Motors Wins Electric Bike Showdown Steve Rapp Laguna Seca race win

With the micro-weather climate that is Laguna Seca, the skies cleared in time for the FIM e-Power/TTXGP Championship race. Fast throughout the week, Steve Rapp stood on the pole position riding the Mission Motors Mission R electric superbike supersport. Qualifying second was Michael Barnes on the Lightning entry, and rounding out the front row was Michael Czysz on the 2011 MotoCzysz E1pc. With eleven motorcycles on the starting grid, Laguna Seca proved to be one of the most well-attended grids for electric motorcycle racing; but perhaps more importantly, it was host to some of the most professional entries we’ve seen to-date from electric racing.

With 11 seconds covering the top six riders, the gaps between teams has narrowed in the two short years of electric motorcycle racing. Most of that gap caused by Mission’s scorching pace, a margin of just three tenths of a second covered the second row of the grid, making a battle for fourth almost assured from the get-go. Though the qualifying times were far apart overall, there was still some close racing to be had at Laguna Seca.

Walking away with the lead after the first lap, Steve Rapp checked out from the competition while Michael Barnes and Michael Czysz vied for second. Barney lead for most of the race, but Czysz followed in pursuit, capitalizing as the Lightning machine began to run out of power in the final lap. Closing the gap, Czysz burtst by Barnes with just a few yards to the finish line, snatching second place from Lightning by a matter of feet for the second year in a row.

The close finishes wouldn’t stop with the battle for second though, as the next group of riders battling for fourth had been neck-and-neck the entire race. With Alessandro Brannetti leading the three-rider pack (Brannetti, Atlas, Himmellmann) for the first five laps, Steve Atlas took over on lap six and rode his Brammo Empulse RR to a fourth place finish. Atlas would not have an easy time of it though, as both Brannetti and Himmellman were just a matter of yards from each other coming down the final straight.

Photo: © 2011 Scott Jones Photography – All Rights Reserved


  1. Steve C. says:

    How fast are they compared to the gas powered?

  2. Nick says:

    Saw it reported that Rapp did a 1:31 in qualy so slower for sure, but getting there.

  3. Jon says:

    I read somewhere that Rapp’s qualifying times were comparable to AMA Supersport. I think they said it would have placed him something like 13th on the gird.

  4. Doctor Jelly says:

    I’m glad Mission has finally brought a product to the grid and even more glad it doesn’t look like their first bike! MotoCzysz’s dominance is in question and they may be dethroned if Mission is at the next IoM!

  5. “You read somewhere” should be replaced with “you read here” –

    Track’s internet went down for a better part of the day, it’s a small miracle this article went out. I’ll update it tonight with the full results table.

  6. Rich says:

    1’31.376 would have put Rapp and the Mission 4th on the grid of SS, and 20th on the DSB grid. In the race Rapp ran 1:33s to 1:34s while he was way out front. Only e-bikes were suppose did 8 laps, and SS did 18, and DSB were suppose to do 23. It is relatively easy to put big power in these bikes. It’s just they can’t go that fast as far. However the biggest “fuel tank” was .43 gallons of gas (14.4kwhr). DSB requires stock tanks. So some quick math (33.7kWhr per gallon, ICE eff 30%, elec.eff 95%, 4.5 gal gsx-r600 tank) electric bikes only need 1.42 gals of fuel to go as far and fast around the track. That’s about a 47.9 kWhr pack. That technology is years away still, but I wouldn’t be too surprised to see 20kWhr packs next year or two that are the same size as the current ones, and maybe lighter with some of the technology that more than one company is claiming they have right now.

  7. The Rappture Comes to Laguna Seca – Mission Motors Wins Electric Bike Showdown – #motorcycle

  8. Tessier says:

    To bad we can’t see Chip Yates compete they we might have a great race since he is the one racing ICE bikes!

  9. rollme says:

    I wonder if Czysz will be putting a professional on his bike from now on.

  10. KyleG says:


    I would think an ICE engine is more like 15-20% efficient under racing loads. The electrics are going to be more like 85-90% as well. Nonetheless you are correct that to compete directly with gas bikes, electrics would need north of 20kWh. But why would electrics want to compete against them? We race electric because its different, clean, and has a big future. Racing against gas bikes is not an ultimate goal for a lot of electrics IMHO

  11. Czysz said in the post-race press conference that he’d be hiring a pro rider next year.

  12. Dr. Gellar says:

    Watching the race from just in front of Turn 4, I was totally surprised by Rapp’s speed on the Mission R. Holy s**t that bike was flying around that corner! He was noticeably faster there than both Czysz and Barnes on the MotoCzysz and Lightning bikes respectively. Those guys got beaten bad. I do wonder how much of that performance was due to Rapp’s riding skills vs. any superiority of the Mission R compared to the E1pc and the Lightning. I’m a big MotoCzysz fan, but congratulations to Rapp and Mission on the win.