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 MotoGP.com 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?

In the A&R Garage: Ducati Streetfighter

08/12/2009 @ 12:00 pm, by Jensen Beeler5 COMMENTS

In the A&R Garage: Ducati Streetfighter Ducati Streetfighter AR Santa Barbara 560x308

Asphalt & Rubber has gotten our dirty little paws on a 2009 Ducati Streetfighter for long-term review, which was a supremely poor choice according to the little old lady that gave us the bird on our first test ride out. Despite her discouraging use of the bird, we’re so far quite impressed with this spaghetti rocket. Built of the 1098 Superbike platform, the Streetfighter is true to its name, having the punch of a 155hp v-twin motor. This is the sort of bike that when you sling a leg over it, you just look down and say, “Scream if you want, no one is coming to save you.” Continue reading for our thoughts, impressions, and a few photos.

Up-close, the Streetfighter unsurprisingly shares almost all of its parts of the now retired 1098 progeny. Foreseeing the 1200cc shift in superbike racing, we can only imagine the folks in Bologna sat down and brainstormed what to do with the leftover 1098 Superbikes it wouldn’t be selling in 2009. Up the displacement on its leftover motors? Write it off as a loss? Or perhaps just one lone junior management cube dweller said the words “streetfighter” under a thinly guised cough, hoping their career didn’t just come to a crashing halt, and the idea got traction.

However it came about, the result was an eye-catching, and apparently successful product. The Streetfighter has been cleaning up this year’s Bike of the Year awards, and stole the show at last year’s EICMA, where it was debuted to the public. Besides making a motorcycle that has all the right credentials in the performance department, while also looking the part of an Italian exotic, the Streetfighter is a success in how companies approach the changing motorcycle market.

Ducati has been, and rumored to be, exploring market segments outside of the traditional boundaries. The Streetfighter is the first example we’ve seen, in a long-time, that shows a company’s willingness to watch and see how customers use their product, see what modifications those customers make to their motorcycle in order to separate themselves from the crowd, and then offer a product to fill that niche. Perhaps the next closest example is the Kawasaki Z1000, another streetfightered sportbike.

In the A&R Garage: Ducati Streetfighter Ducati Streetfighter AR Santa Barbara 3a 560x374

Enough of that, how does it ride you ask? Well in the 5 days we’ve had the bike in our posession, we’ve done just over 1,000 miles on it. With a sitting position just slightly more upright than your standard sportbike, longer distances are naturally easier to undertake, but still will wear on your muscles after prolonged riding. Our blast down the coast from San Francisco to Santa Barbara was a bearable 350 miles, but made us well aware of the fact that this is not sport-tourer, but no crotch-rocket either.

The suspension is sufficient to handle mild urban pot-holes and the rigors of highway driving, but we were curious to see how the Streetfighter would handle under more “spirited” riding conditions. Our proving grounds for that task were the twisties located just outside the sleepy town of Ojai, California, on HWY 33.

Taking the bike through its paces in the Southern California mountains proved easy to do, with the Streetfigther showing its Superbike roots by being easily to flick from side to side in the chicanes. Braking comes from radially mounted Brembos, with rubber provided by Pirelli. On just about any bike, these components will perform superbly, and on the Streetifghter it is no different. Under these more demanding conditions though, we did begin to wonder what was going on in the Bologna factory.

For a 190lbs rider, the sag will have to be adjusted, as well as the rebound. To call the rebound settings “pants-on-head-retarded” might be an understatement. We just don’t see how in any situation the settings that our bike came with could be considered a good idea. With the rebound being overly soft, and the pre-load not suited to our weight, the Streetfighter wallowed on turns when moved to roughly, which didn’t instill a tremendous amount of confidence in the rider. We wouldn’t call this a deal-breaker for the bike, more something a rider should consider adjusting once they get their hands on it.

Compression dampening, on the other hand, was more than adequate for the street, but die-hard weekend racers will want to make some adjustments for more feel on the road. Since our first service is already upon us (600 miles, second service at 7,500), we’ll have to wait until afterwards to fiddle with settings to get everything just right.

In the A&R Garage: Ducati Streetfighter Ducati Streetfighter AR Santa Barbara 2a 560x375

Ducati is currently offering two deals to get people onboard: 1) Forza financing, and 2) free scheduled up to a year (or 7,500 miles, whichever comes first). Unless you have abismal credit, look for financing elsewhere. Ducati seems to think it has buyers over the barrel, and to call their rates uncompetitive would be to put things mildly. The free maintenance is a nice touch, although the Streetfighter is relatively light in the amount of time it needs to be in the shop, and the way we ride, we figure 7,500 miles will come and go well before the 1 year mark.

So far, we’re impressed with the Ducati Streetfighter. Naturally it doesn’t come out of the box custom fit to any rider, but we’re pretty confident a minimal amount of time in the garage will payoff in large dividends. We’ve also got out eye on the first set of modifications, which truly has to be the best part of motorcycle ownership. Look for future updates as we put more miles on the bike.

Comment:

  1. Rick Becker says:

    JennyGun, that is one sic looking bike, and some great shots. I miss walking back over that bridge on Ortega coming home from downtown. Hilarious article, as usual. Cheers!

  2. Lily Boys says:

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  3. John Adamo says:

    Score! RT @Asphalt_Rubber: In the A&R Garage: Ducati Streetfighter – http://bit.ly/QbXJl #motorcycle

  4. Marc says:

    Nice review, but you give the streetfighter WAY too much credit for being the first of it’s kind. Aside from the Z1000, the Tuono, Brutale, Street and Speed Triples are all textbook examples of factory streetfighters, and the FZ1-E, CB1000, and B-King are pretty close as well.

    Not to take anything away from Ducati design, engineering, or marketing… but let’s be fair to history and the other makes.

  5. meatspin says:

    i love stacked, double cans.