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?

Ride Review: 2010 Honda VFR1200F

07/20/2010 @ 6:07 am, by Tim Hoefer8 COMMENTS

Ride Review: 2010 Honda VFR1200F 2010 Honda VFR1200F ride report Santa Barbara 11 682x1024

Asphalt & Rubber was recently invited by Honda America to test ride the new 2010 Honda VFR1200F in both configurations of the standard manual-shifting model, and the all new and highly anticipated ‘automatic’ model with the dual-clutch transmission (DCT). Santa Barbara, California served as our amazing backdrop as we took to the road on the new VFR. On our first circling of the bike it did not take much time to figure out why the VFR community has nicknamed this model the ‘Buffalo’. Given it’s dominant headlight and fuel tank that carries a similar curve of a buffalo profile, the bike is however anything but ugly or slow.

We started the test ride with fellow riders from across the country that were all personally invited by Honda. It was nice to see Honda take the time to seek out individuals by researching online forums and news outlets in an effort to give the opportunity for real VFR owners and sport-touring enthusiast to ride the new VFR, and give direct unfiltered feedback back to Honda. Hosting a group comprised mostly of VFR enthusiasts, and not journalists, Honda had a rare occurrence during its Q&A session: actual questions.

Since many present were current older-model VFR owners, the questions revolved around problems that were experienced with previous generation models; questions that only riders who own the bikes, and use them as daily riders would know to ask. Accustomed to press junkets where the questions have little connection to the model line or brand, it was nice to be amongst people who were versed in the history of the VFR, and wanted assurances from Honda that previous problems were addressed in the new model.

Ride Review: 2010 Honda VFR1200F 2010 Honda VFR1200F ride report Santa Barbara 15 560x373As we walked out to the parking lot it was immediately apparent that pictures hardly give justice to the VFR’s radical design, here at A&R we are use to seeing dynamic sport bikes that are always attempting to be lighter, while adding aerodynamics…bikes that take design cues from fighter jets and things that go fast. These efforts are to give the bike speed and stability while pitching deep into a turn at a track; meanwhile the first images that come to mind with sport-tourers are luggage racks and tanks. Take for example any BMW sport-tourer you have ever seen: it probably has a direct transmission that looks heavier than an entire S1000RR.

Along those lines, Honda has created a new kind of bike that looks heavy enough and durable enough to withstand trekking across the Ozarks, but they have also made a motorcycle that is sporty and light enough to carry a good clip the whole way. True to the Honda brand, the bike’s fit and finish is top quality, they have even gone to the extra mile with the VFR’s details, making sure that the fairings have no visible screw heads holding them together in their multi-layered design. It’s the little things like that which catch your attention and make you think that this is a quality product.

Taking off from the parking lot, the new VFR is incredibly easy to giddy-up. Having no problems from a stand still, the low-end torque means that you can shift right away, keeping low revs in stop-and-go traffic. This allows you to minimize shifting while keeping up with the pulse of the traffic. The VFR1200F is also deceptively quiet, you wouldn’t imagine that you have 1237cc’s at your fingertips until you wind it up under load, at which point the bike makes a fabulous noise that became addicting. Through the entire power band, the bike has no annoying vibrations in the fairings or in the handlebars thanks to the newly designed V4 motor.

Ride Review: 2010 Honda VFR1200F 2010 Honda VFR1200F ride report Santa Barbara 14 560x373In the end, what do we have here? It has a spirited way of riding that we can only assume lends it to live permanently in the sport tab on Honda’s website. However, without pounding the pavement and using the VFR on an extended trek of our own we are left wondering. Can the VFR comfortably fill the saddlebags with Mountain Dew, camping gear, and perhaps the odd midget? Maybe. If Honda would lend us one to blast up the 300 miles to Monterey for the MotoGP race at Laguna Seca this weekend to find out, we would gladly answer that question for you. What we do know is that the miles would melt away without the normal lock up of the wrists and hips that we typically experience on our sport bikes, and instead we would have a grin on our faces the whole way up the California coast.

Until that time comes Honda (hint..hint..nudge..wink), we do not want to claim this as a go-to tourer quite yet, as touring requires more of a relationship with your bike that you can only experience over time. Can the new VFR comfortably shuttle you around town? Yes, and in style at that. With its unique looks and distinct V4 sound, the VFR1200F is a head turner because it isn’t your granddad’s typical bike. When riding it you don’t’ feel the heft of the almost 600 pounds of bike underneath you. What you do feel is a sense of pride in being on a bike that feels like it can conquer states and not just counties with ease.

The Honda VFR1200F is a bike that asks you to twist the throttle in a turn just to see if you can lean it over farther and go faster. While albeit it might not be aimed at the younger sport bike crowd, the veterans of the asphalt can definitely put a young squid in their place through the twisties no matter how chromed their wheels are, or how loud of an exhaust they can manage. Does that mean it is a true sport bike in the sense of track-days and canyon rides? Nope, it’s not. At its price above the famed CBR1000R, we would have a hard time labelling the VFR as being able to outperform its brother in arms. So where does the new VFR fit in the Honda lineup? Really we believe it comes down to the rider. If you have ever wanted a stylish sport bike that is fun to ride, and the traditional sport bikes doen’t fit the bill for you, then step right up, you won’t be disappointed.


  1. Maas says:

    I think Honda must give you more time in the seat so we can compare your findings with the boys over at HFL.

    Based on your review I will buy one and reading HFL’s review I will not.

  2. Stacy says:

    How long did you ride this bike during the test?

  3. kevin says:

    How about sharing what riding the dual clutch version was like.

  4. Ride Report: 2010 Honda VFR1200F – #motorcycle

  5. jim says:

    gyroscopic origame

  6. jim says:

    gyroscopic origami

    sometimes i can spell

  7. Hmm, this test leads off with, ‘in both configurations of the standard manual-shifting model, and the all new and highly anticipated ‘automatic’ model’, so I was anticipating a full on ‘trani’ comparo by A&R, nuh. I love most things Honda and dont mind this machine, have been a bit put off by the fuel tank capacity, limited Pillion seating and that muffler in close proximity to the rhs bag, no I dont think much of the alloy protector between the two, look here…

    I hope the bike does well for Honda, maybe we can have a ‘Part 2′ from A&R, soonish…

  8. Phil Hall says:

    I’ve been following the VFR story for a couple of years now and have never once heard it called the “Buffalo”

    It IS, however, being widely nicknamed “Shamu” by the VFR cognescenti.