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?

TTXGP: Brammo Sets Track Record at Infineon

05/15/2011 @ 1:57 pm, by Jensen Beeler15 COMMENTS

TTXGP: Brammo Sets Track Record at Infineon Brammo TTXGP lap record Infineon 635x457

The California sun gods were in our favor this morning, as the rainy heavens over Infineon Raceway parted long enough to dry out the Sonoma track, and allow racing to commence under cloudy skies. After a thrilling ambulance race (Infineon Raceway had all its four-wheelers out drying the tarmac and racing line), Race Direction deemed the course fit for racing, and the slower-paced electrics were first on the card to try out the dryness of the track. Fielding three bikes for Race 2, we saw a return of Brammo, Moto Electra, and VOLT to the starting grid, as Ely Schless and his Proto Moto was a scratch for today’s event.

With such a large spread in the field, things sorted their way out much like on Saturday, with Brammo taking the early lead and never looking back. Thad Wolff made an impressive showing, but was no match for the faster Brammo Empulse RR. Meanwhile in the Formula TTX75 class, Kenyon Kluge rode to a solo victory with no other competitor fielding a 7.5 kWh machine.

Perhaps in response to some remarks by an unscrupulous blogger, Brammo put to rest any doubts about its efforts, as Steve Atlas set a track record for electric motorcycles on the Empulse RR. With a 1:55.150 race lap time, the Brammo team shaved nearly 19 seconds off his overall race time from yesterday. Breaking the record for electric motorcycles at Infineon with authority, Atlas posted 1:55 and 1:56 lap times throughout the race, setting a new bar in the TTXGP series.

Talking to Brammo’s Brian Wismann, he explained that the team swapped out the 180 Dunlop rear tire from yesterday, for a 160 tire. Brammo had been testing on the 160, but was unable up until today’s race to find one in the Dunlop truck that would hold air on the team’s rims. Dunlop was able to find one for today’s race though, which allowed Brammo to run a gearing setup they were more familiar with, and was much faster on the Empulse RR. In fact, all three bikes were quicker Sunday when compared to their Saturday afternoon times. Absent from the race was Ely Schless, who withdrew after completing the first race, having motor heating issues.

As with yesterday, the bikes of Lightning and Mission Motors were also scratches, both citing a lack of time to get their race bikes together in time for the first race of the TTXGP season.

Pos. No. Rider Team Time Diff.
1 58 Steve Atlas Brammo 17:25.021 -
2 37 Thad Wolff Moto Electra 17:54.069 29.047
3 19 Kenyon Kluge VOLT 19:22.377 1:57.355
Not Classified
DNS 18 Ely Schless Proto Moto - -
DNS 15 Mike Hannas Lightning - -
DNS 80 Michael Barnes Lightning - -
DNS 17 Steve Rapp Mission Motors - -

Photo: Jensen Beeler / Asphalt & Rubber – Creative Commons – Attribution 3.0


  1. Gavin says:

    Anybody have the lap times from today?


  2. Ron says:

    This is an interesting class to watch for about a half a lap. I would really like to see this class grow with other teams, but with 3 silent bikes on the track, and the race pretty much over after the first turn, nobody watched. I hope this isn’t too discouraging to the manufacturers and teams. I would like to see them on a shorter track, maybe Super Moto?

  3. Brammofan says:

    RT @Asphalt_Rubber: TTXGP: Brammo Sets Track Record at Infineon – #motorcycle

  4. Iaasic says:

    I made the trek out to Infineon raceway to find out the Brammo bike would be doing laps. Disappointing.

    Today was a setback for the blossoming e-motorcycle industry. Two of the bigger racers bow out? I mean wtf? Did Mission need more time to work on photoshop images of its bike? C’mon guys, race a damn race already.

  5. Gavin says:

    Lap times for the winning Empulse would be nice to see…wanted to see how they compared to yesterday’s ride. Where were the 19 seconds gained?


  6. Richard Gozinya says:

    That’s pretty cool, but until they go up against Lightning, Zero/Agni, and MotoCzysz, Brammo’s basically just running laps.

  7. Gavin:

    Lap 1 – 3:46.871
    Lap 2 – 1:56.619
    Lap 3 – 1:55.688
    Lap 4 – 1:55.150
    Lap 5 – 1:55.533
    Lap 6 – 1:55.771
    Lap 7 – 1:56.665
    Lap 8 – 2:02.723

  8. skadamo says:

    Love it! RT @Asphalt_Rubber: TTXGP: Brammo Sets Track Record at Infineon – #motorcycle

  9. Dr. Gellar says:

    Iaasic hit the nail dead in the head. I too made the trip to Infineon today, and I feel exactly the same. Only 3 participants today?!? Really?!!? Yikes…even MotoGP has more competitors than that! :-p I only hope that the Isle of Man TT Zero race next month and the combined TTXGP/FIM e-Power race at Laguna Seca in July will have far better turn-outs.

    Props to Brammo though, not just for showing up with a top-notch effort and winning, but for once again having the hottest trophy/umbrella girls of the event as well!

  10. Gavin says:

    Thanks Jensen:

    What is nice to see from the 2 races: From Saturday to Sunday…

    Improved times in all laps. Very good, consistent times in the middle 6 laps (4 of them in 1:55, 2 in 1:56). And it is great that Brammo is basically running a modified production bike—yes heavily modified, but still Brammo is just about ready to get a version of this bike out to the public…I don’t see that yet from any other company. Hopefully that changes…Competition is a good thing.

    It’s fun to see the bike run some laps, it is much more fun to ride them ourselves around town and out in the mountain twisties :)

    It will be interesting to see if the gear box Brammo is bringing to electric motorcycles can improve the first lap time.

    The only small area of concern for me is the final lap time. Lost 6 seconds each day on the final lap. I was concerned that it was Steve conserving the battery…but it could also have been just slowing a bit on the final lap as nobody was close. I guess it isn’t a concern if Brammo was running 12 laps at practice on Friday.

    Hoping to see more entries in Seca and maybe Brammo upping the Power from 85% to in the 90%…a lap at 100% would be fun too :)

    Thanks again for the updates and info.


  11. EnvironMoto says:

    These awesome people are doing something new. Completely new. They are not buying an R6 and building a racebike from a proven design with readily available kit parts and tuning knowledge. They are conceptualizing, engineering, testing, and racing a completely new form of motorcycle on a shoestring budget compared to factory backed or well funded privateer ICE race teams. Pure prototype racing.

    To expect cubic-dollar infused participation and effort at this point is silly. I marvel at the level of design, engineering, and quality these teams have managed to pack into their programs already. Ask Kenny Roberts what it takes to create, manage, and fund an engineering program and prototype motorcycle race team for international competition.

    The improved performance over last year is a great stepping stone. Kudos to everyone involved in the TTXGP at Infineon. Can’t wait until Laguna Seca to see all of the biggest players on track at the same time. I completely agree with Dr. Gellar “Props to Brammo though, not just for showing up with a top-notch effort and winning, but for once again having the hottest trophy/umbrella girls of the event as well!” And even bigger props to Asphalt and Rubber for doing an incredible job of covering the scene!

  12. KLS says:

    I hope that Brammo plans to use a 160 or similarly-sized rear for the production bike. When they first started taking “pre-orders” I pushed them for a smaller-section rear tire than the 180/190 on the prototype. MAYBE an R1 can use a 190 (although not much on the street) but it just adds unneeded weight and drag on the announced e-bike.

    That’s not to diminish their success on the racetrack. The difficulties with the other teams demonstrate that it’s an enormous task to prototype, build, test and race a brand-new machine.

  13. Rockstarartist says:

    Forget Brammo’s track record! Who is that umbrella girl and what a cute round tush she has!

  14. Oh her? She’s….someone’s daughter.