Photos from 250+ Feet up COTA’s Petrolsaurus Rex

Standing 251 feet above Turns 16, 17, & 18, the COTA observation tower provides a bird’s eye view of just about every tun on the circuit, if you can stomach its subtle sway in the wind and clear-glass floor at the precipice. Officially called by COTA as the “Observation Tower” – it really needs a better name for casual conversation. We’ve heard COTA Cobra used a few times with some lovely alliteration, but the structure has always struck us as less snake-like, and more like a big dinosaur — we’re going to use the name “Petrolsaurus Rex” until I hear something better, or COTA sends me a cease and desist order. I climbed to the top of Petrolsaurus Rex (read: took the elevator) during the MotoGP Warm-Up session, and snapped a few photos in the process. Enjoy!

MV Agusta F3 800 Ago Now Officially Debuts

We already announced the bike last November, and brought you a bevy of hi-res images of the special edition machine. Although now that we think of it, MV Agusta never released anything on this Giacomo Agostini tribute motorcycle — better late than never, right? Back at the EICMA show launch, where the MV Agusta F3 800 Ago was first shown to the public (and Agostini himself), the Varese brand promised us two additional motorcycle launches in early 2014. MV Agsuta made good on half that promise with the Dragster 800 model, hopefully this Ago special edition isn’t the other half of that statement, and MV Agusta still has something waiting in the wings. That being said, the Tricolore & Gold paint scheme is gorgeous, and looks even better in person.

Isle of Man TT Gets TV Deal for Australia & USA

Want to watch the Isle of Man TT from the comfort of your non-British TV, but haven’t been able to in the past? A new TV from the Isle of Man’s Department of Economic Development will do just that. Inking a new TV contract with North One TV, the Isle of Man TT will be televised in the American, Australian, and of course British markets, making it easier than ever to watch the iconic road race. With a five-year contract with the Velocity Channel in the US, the American cable channel will show seven one-hour race shows. Each segment will air within 24hrs of each race, and be tailored for the American market.

Castiglioni Denies Fiat Buyout of MV Agusta Is in the Works

After reporting 22% growth in Q1 2014, Giovanni Castiglioni had some closing words about the rumors that Fiat could acquire MV Agusta — a popular rumor that has been swirling around in the press the last two months. Denying outright that MV Agusta had, or was in, talks with the Fiat-Chrysler group about an acquisition (some reports linked even MV Agusta to being bought by Fiat-owned Ferrari), Castiglioni said the Italian company solely was focused on building growth, and building motorcycles. “Moreover, I’d like to take this opportunity to deny rumours circulated by the media over the last few days concerning supposed negotiations vis-à-vis the sale of a share of MV Agusta to the Fiat-Chrysler Group,” said Giovanni Castiglioni, the President and CEO of MV Agusta.

A 2WD Hybrid-Electric Motorcycle for the US Military?

In the coming years, US special forces may be riding a tw0-wheel drive, hybrid-electric, multi-fuel motorcycle co-developed by BRD Motorcycles and Logos Technologies. Helping make this project possible is a Small Business Innovation Research grant from DARPA. The goal is to make a single-track vehicle for US expeditionary and special forces that will be nearly silent in operation, yet also capable of traveling long distances. Details on the proposed machine are light, of course, but it sounds like the 2WD dirt bike will be based off the BRD RedShift MX (shown above), and use an electric drivetrain, as well as a multi-fuel internal combustion engine to achieve its goals.

Colin Edwards Will Retire from Racing after 2014 Season

Announcing his decision during the pre-event press conference for the Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas, Colin Edwards told the assembled press that 2014 would be the Texan’s last season racing a motorcycle. Citing a lack of improvement on his performance in pre-season testing and at the Qatar GP, Edwards decision perhaps answers the lingering question in the paddock of when the American rider would hang-up his spurs after an illustrious career in AMA, WSBK and MotoGP. Talking about his inability to come to terms with the Forward Yamaha, which Aleix Espargaro was able to take to the front of the pack in Qatar, Edwards was at a loss when it came to understanding the Open Class machine and his lack of results.

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.

Video: An Honest Review of the Triumph Bonneville

12/11/2013 @ 12:28 pm, by Jensen Beeler39 COMMENTS

Video: An Honest Review of the Triumph Bonneville triumph bonneville 635x476

Is there truth in motorcycle reviews? That seems to be a debate that crops up time and time again, as it is hard to believe the journalistic veracity of publications that are entirely dependent on the dollars that flow forth from the major motorcycle OEMs. The conflicts of interest are high, the deadlines are tight, and there is of course the small matter of people having a difference of opinions, which all leads to public mistrust.

So it is refreshing when we see a frank motorcycle review that is free from the entanglements of typical motorcycle assessments — you know, a real honest impression of how a motorcycle is built in the factory and rides on the open road.

With a review as honest as this about the Triumph Bonneville, our protagonist has almost assured himself of a short career in motorcycle journalism. Still, it certainly provides some worthwhile entertainment, as long as you are not easily offended. It is possibly not safe for work as well — not that you read A&R from the confines of your office chair of course.

Source: On Two Wheels via Bikes in the Fast Lane

Comment:

  1. Chris Blair says:

    That was AWESOME!

  2. starmag says:

    He obviously thinks he should have gotten a Multistrada for his $8K. Jeez, I thought I was nit-picky and cynical. He strangely doesn’t make any mention of selling it. His recommendation at the end makes him seem more than slightly bi-polar. Alternatively, he could have actually loved the process and it’s just click bait. Someone spent a lot of time editing.

  3. You really know how to suck the fun out of a colostomy bag with that sense of humor.

  4. Chris Blair says:

    I was thinking the same thing. He must ride a Triumph. A Bonneville in particular.

  5. starmag says:

    Your implication that I eat feces has been received. Are you sure you want to show that off?

  6. Br549 says:

    I had a 2004 T100. I loved it. One of the few standards still available.

  7. starmag says:

    Chris Blair says:
    December 11, 2013 at 2:48 PM

    “I was thinking the same thing. He must ride a Triumph. A Bonneville in particular.”

    Sorry about your theory Chris, ZRX1200, KLR650, CB900f.

    Hard-core “truth” telling is for videos but not for the comments. Got it.

  8. Kenny says:

    Hahah! I had forgotten about this guy. Check out his video on how to change oil on a SR500.

  9. gabe says:

    As the owner of a bike that gets too much undeserved loved from its owners and too much derision from others, I know exactly how this guy feels (1993 Katana 750)

    It is possible to love a bike that is nowhere near perfect for anything.

  10. Jeremy C. says:

    Great review! Thanks for your honesty.

  11. Jake F. says:

    Jemaine Clement’s Australian cousin is a pretty funny guy!

  12. Jordan says:

    I really enjoyed this video. It was funny and effective at pointing out the flaws that appear to be overlooked in the retro/chic circle jerk you see in common reviews. It also illustrated one of the strongest attributes of the bike, such as when you put the work in to rectify the bike’s shortcomings, you can relish in the reward of something that works so much better.

    This guy should write for ‘Bike’ Magazine.

  13. Norm Fraijo says:

    I like any statement that ends with “Got it” minus a question mark.

  14. Jw says:

    I bought a brand new 1978 Bonneville, it was made in Englund. I had no idea this new bike is made in Tiawan. This review is a masterpiece!

    Talent like this should find its way into some form of motorcycle journalism

  15. Drew says:

    Awesome video! I have a Triumph Speedmaster and think many of the same things about it. It’s truly unremarkable, but is a nice, dependable bike. It also has lots of little quirks that need to be ironed out before one can be truly happy with it. I’d love to see more owner reviews like this. To paraphrase one of our founding fathers, “I hold it that a little sarcasm now and then is a good thing, and as necessary in the motorcycle world as storms in the physical.”

  16. Brian Stevens says:

    I kept my Bonneville for about 8 boring months until I test rode and bought a Ducati Hypermotard 796. A while later I got what i had been looking for : the HM 1100 Duc. Have never looked back. Fun fun and more fun. The Bonnie might look good, but beware ! It is just a very watered down copy of the original.

  17. Paul McM says:

    That is the most candid and clever bike video review I’ve ever watch. Bravo. I should attempt a matching video on my Honda VFR 800 — described by countless sycophantic bike reviewers as “best sport touring bike ever made” or alternatively the “Second Coming of Christ on two wheels”. I love the build quality of the VFR and the silky smooth gearbox. But it is gutless under about 6800 rpm — requiring double downshifts on the highway for spritely passing maneuvers. It is overweight for its class, with poor shock performance in the rear. The seat seems OK at first, but the angle pushes your junk into the tank and the bad shape and crappy foam makes it seem like your tailbones are riding on metal rods after 45 minutes. Sport tourer par excellence? Umm, it doesn’t handle soft bags very well at all. It’s choppy as heck on freeway expansion joints, constantly jolting the rider. My girlfriend hates riding on the back because the pillion is small, pitched forward and the rear pegs are so high. Yes the VFR 800 is reliable as a rock, and the motor is sweet at high revs, but it is far from the brilliant “all-rounder” machine the press made it out to be. My 1984 FJ1100, though porky, was a far better mile-gobbler and had way, way better seats for both rider and passenger. That 30-year-old FJ had phenomenal roll-on performance, and got significantly better mileage than the VFR to boot. The VFR is a good, not great sporty bike. But a decent “sport-tourer” it is ain’t — not by a long-shot.

    Somebody should have a subscription-based website with honest owner reviews only. Jensen — motoveritas.com domain name is available. I’ll be the first to pay $20/year!

  18. Chris Blair says:

    Not at all Mr. Mag. But I will clearly leave the telling of truth to you.

  19. jet says:

    I have to admit guy’s that beside’s my Ducati i have another love,she is my work horse and grocery hauler and has never left me stranded,it’s my 2002 Honda 250 Rebel ! lol cause i can hear you.Bike’s like this here Bonneville are just super cool and comforable,it’s an escape and if i ever did and i did get teased by a single or group of hog’s wanna-be’s i would just smirk and know that what’s in my dungeon on a tender under a blanket and cover is my weapon of chioce.Having a nice grocery ride is not to be takin lightly for i know i wont get a ticket on her,lol.I don’t know what caused me to confess,fawk it..

  20. Brian says:

    Brilliant, it reads like early Jeremy Clarkson car reviews, when he was doing a regular column for the Sunday Times. This is exactly what the world needs, caustic reviews that challenge the sugar the PR departments spew out. I loved it.

  21. Tanker Man says:

    Every bike mag needs a reviewer like that.

  22. meatspin says:

    actually reads more like yahtzee’s zero punctuation reviews over on the Escapist.

  23. Mule says:

    This was great. Honest and pointed out the parts that suck. Spot on!!

  24. Ruger says:

    Funny piece and well done.
    Suggestion: Buy a used Honda rectifier/ regulator on eBay and fit it down in the rear wheel fender.
    Better looks and better rectifier. (It gets plenty of air – I’m in SoCal and no problems with heat).
    Now you have room to drop your headlight and flatten out the gauge cluster using a lay-flat bracket.
    Also, have your dealer (or yourself) install proper shocks and fork springs on day one.

  25. Pinktoe says:

    Liked his honesty about the bike but his cut in images and commentary are racist and I hope he is unable to find a job anywhere as a journalist.

  26. Stupendous video!

    Makes you realise, All that glitters is not gold!

  27. Judge says:

    @Pinktoe Sense of humor required. “I equate the sound of my exhaust to a kindly black man’s voice”. That’s hilarious!!

    Or was it “should provide years of reliable service” old lady that offended you?

    Priceless. More please!

  28. Craig says:

    Really? Who doesn’t get this for what it is… GREAT humor with no boundaries and really true overview of this bike. All cheap bikes need STUFF… My SV650 for instance… Penske and Springs / Emulators in the front make all the difference…
    I can appreciate his point of view 100%.

    As far as racist or whatever… Some on this log need to take the beam out of your own eye before pointing out the twig in someone else’s…

    Loosen up and if you can’t… well, quit typing!

    Cheers and Merry Christmas!!!

  29. Chris Blair says:

    All hail Craig! Champion of common sense and unfortunately much needed interpreter of comedy.

  30. gord lalonde says:

    loved this review/ hilarious/ #funny ;)

  31. Hayabrusa says:

    Jensen -

    Better hire this guy before someone else does! Awesome review! Any biker knows you need to tinker with your ride, so his discussion of the bike’s shortcomings (and how to fix them) is totally warranted. I can think of a few American Cycle Mags that their reviews pretty much claim most bikes are perfect – it’s refreshing for someone to tell the truth!

  32. MikeD says:

    GOOD JOB, Sr. The motorcycling world could use A LOT MORE “regular Joe with some common sense” reviewers like yourself.

    I sure appreciated how he pointed and mentioned all(or most of) the + & – and how to fix said negatives or at least improve it.

  33. Joe Sixpack says:

    I loved this video. He’s right about the suspension and brakes. Sorted with springs, shocks, pads and SS lines.

    I’m surprised he didn’t change the bars. Wakes the bike right up.

  34. sam0000kent says:

    Read the comments before watching the video – excellent video and very entertaining. Great comments on here about cutting through the BS too.

  35. paulo says:

    True the suspension. That was the biggest improvement I could recommend on my new-owner survey.

    I disagree with the brake complaint and fueling issues. Mine (2012 w/23k miles) stops very well and the fueling is spot on. Never stalled or exhibited any other bad manners at low speed or high.

    It certainly isn’t strong- high speed acceleration is definitely lacking.

    Lack of tie down points, no helmet lock and stupid second key for the fork lock all valid points, but I honestly never noticed the bracket behind the head until this video. I had to go look at mine to see- it’s painted black!

    Overall very enjoyable review. I appreciate the effort that went into it.

  36. Very funny stuff and some it very accurate. But many of the criticisms could be made of most similar bikes. Full time journos are jumping on and off of different bikes all the time so have a proper reference to judge a bike by. This guy doesn’t appear to have that experience. It doesn’t make his comments invalid but the context has to be considered. For instance he has ridden one Triumph Bonneville, on a product launch most journos would ride two or three or more different bikes. An individual bike can have a specific problem.

  37. Marlon says:

    Hey everyone! Thanks for your kind comments…

    Joe Sixpack – since the video I’ve changed to Renthal Ultra Low bars and man, the thing feels fantastic in corners now. Much more direct feeling to the steering. (I’ve also put an aftermarket dash on it, changed the headlight ears, moved the ignition etc.)

    Paulo – glad to hear you haven’t had any problems with your bike. Maybe you got a good one? Or I got a dud? It’s pretty well sorted now though and I’m going one tooth down on the front sprocket to try and get rid of the ‘slight’ jerk (ahem) when I roll on the gas.

    Paul McM – you need to chuck something up on YouTube about the VFR. All I’ve ever heard about the bike is how damn fantastic they are. I’ve had a play inside one and mechanically it was gorgeous. But people get overly-enamored with bikes sometimes and struggle to admit their faults.

  38. BikerDad says:

    Marlon’s pre-purchase research must’ve consisted of reading a couple of reviews while at a BBQ getting blasted on cheap beer surrounded by the distraction of the Swedish Bikini Girls.

    While I haven’t read any reviews that treated the suspension as harshly as Marlon did, EVERY review of the Bonnie (and siblings) I’ve read pans the suspension. EVERY one.

    And as far as the low speed throttle issues go, THAT is a problem with almost every fuel injected bike. Only in the last few years have the makers been able to reduce, but not eliminate, it. Most of the problem is because of the legally mandated emissions crap, which Marlon took off…. I don’t know anything about that 400 he had before, but I’d venture it was probably a carb’d bike.

    Now, many of the rest of his complaints strike me as being legit. Stupid place for the ignition key. Idiotic to use so many different fasteners, but my Honda has the same foolish engineering. Oh, and I have to pivot BOTH cans out of the way to change the rear wheel.

    Hopefully, Triumph is busily engineering a new New Bonnie that will sort out these problems, especially many of the niggling and simple one’s for the maker to solve. Lose weight on the bike. Improve the fueling. With all that said, remember that until the announced new 250cc bike hits the market, THIS is and has been Triumph’s least expensive bike since it was introduced.

    (No, I don’t have one. Yes, I do want one. I’m holding off to see what T has in store for the next gen.)