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?

Broventure Update – Day Seven: Unusual Perspectives

09/16/2013 @ 10:16 am, by Jensen Beeler6 COMMENTS

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The days are winding down now, with today being our last real day of this Broventure (tomorrow we make the long arduous trek from Las Vegas back to Santa Barbara). Our agenda is simple: go see the Grand Canyon and stop at the Hoover Dam.

It’s raining this morning, naturally, and a weather front is coming in behind us. This wouldn’t be much of an issue, except we have to back-track our way from Flagstaff to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. It would seem that we cannot escape the rain.

As we entered the park, the familiar sight of dark clouds welcomed us, giving us a hint that the Great Chasm we were about to see would be a soggy affair. Talking to the ranger at the gate only further solidified this understanding, as we were warned that the view of the canyon was obstructed by fog, and that no refunds were being given (not that it mattered, since we had a National Park annual pass).

The news was a bit deflating though, as both Tim and I had never seen the Grand Canyon before, and we had added a couple hundred miles to our trip just for this very occasion. As we pulled up to the first viewpoint, our hearts were deflated…the whole valley was swamped with fog. It was like turning on an old television, tuned to a dead channel.

I have no doubt that our disheartenment was worn on our faces, but in the minute or two that we walked along the wall, hoping for a sign of change, the wisps of fog disappeared in patches, providing keyhole perspectives to the grandeur below.

As soon as they appeared, they were gone again, as the low-hanging clouds ran up and down the sharp inclines from the valley. Mother Nature was playing Snapchat with us.

As we worked our way along the main park road, out towards Grandview Point, we were denied the typical expansive panoramas that the Grand Canyon is known for, but instead we were treated to a unique perspective of this national treasure that few get to see. This would be the theme of the day, as we headed out of the rain, and tried to beat the storm to the Hoover Dam.

Arriving in Nevada well into the evening, we weren’t even sure if we could even see the Hoover Dam at this hour…not to mention whatever special restrictions that might be in place, as it was just a couple winds of clock from being the anniversary of 9/11.

However, with flood lights on, and security at full alert, an officer welcomed us to the Hoover Dam, and went over the guidelines to our entry to this engineering feat.

At 10pm, there are obviously no tours at the Hoover Dam, in fact we weren’t even allowed to walk along its walls. With a security car never out of eyesight (we were certain that we were being monitored at all times), we rode across the dam, and parked in the parking lots, where we were allowed to remain for seemingly any duration.

A place that I can only imagine as bustling during the daylight hours, our warm September evening left us to be the only ones to view the art deco pillars and, massive power lines, and millions of tons of concrete. It’s a bit surreal to see something like the Hoover Dam in total solitude, not to mention to see it at night, lit with lamps.

Again we had visited a venue that has been witnessed and photographed ad nauseam, but left each site with a truly unique impression and set of pictures. With the same rainstorm from Arizona, now with lightning, starting to catch us yet again, we pressed onto Las Vegas, for our last night on the road — grateful though that we had made the extra effort to see both landmark locations.

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Photos: © 2013 Jensen Beeler / Asphalt & Rubber – Creative Commons – Attribution 3.0


  1. Reed Parker says:

    The fog is a great excuse to return to the Canyon. Great pictures, especially in front of the Hoover.

  2. Robert Taylor says:

    I’ve been to the Grand Canyon twice over the years and I must say I kind of like the pictures you have, it adds something unique to the otherwise usual hues of brown and green. Nice pictures of the Hoover at night also, never been there at night, it is quite different.

  3. paulus says:

    The Dam at night is a cool way to see it.
    Sorry to see the adventure coming to a close soon.

  4. Amazing trip! Amazing pictures!! My wallpapers are sorted for the rest of the year!

  5. Bruce Monighan says:

    Are you ever planning on saying anything about the bikes you are riding. Comparisons, thoughts, likes, dislikes.

    By the way, those night Hover Dam shots are amazing. Been there several times but not at night. What an amazing difference in perspective

  6. Thanks guys!

    Bruce, we should have something up on the bikes this week. Just sort of deflating now, and getting the last trip update written.