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.

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.

First Look: Mugen Shinden Ni (神電 貳)

04/17/2013 @ 10:39 am, by Jensen Beeler12 COMMENTS

First Look: Mugen Shinden Ni (神電 貳) Mugen Shinden Ni test 01

With the start of the racing season just barely into its second round for many of the world’s various series, it is hard to believe that we should start hearing about entries for the 2013 Isle of Man TT, but June is truly just around the corner. Returning for the TT Zero race, Team Mugen returns to the Isle of Man with its new Shinden Ni electric motorcycle.

Piloted last year by the King of the Mountain himself, John McGuinness returns to Team Mugen where he hopes to improve upon his second place finish, and the 102.2 mph average lap speed he posted during last year’s competition.

McPint will be going for the top spot on the podium this year, but will have stiff competition from both Michael Rutter (the 2011 & 2012 TT Zero winner) and Mark Miller (the 2010 TT Zero winner) of the MotoCzysz crew.

We don’t have a plethora of details on the Mugen Shinden Ni (神電 貳) motorcycle, but Mugen says that the team has built an all-new chassis and powertrain, and is working on finalizing the bodywork as well, which we can only imagine will be more aerodynamical.

We do know that the Shinden Ni will be lighter than its predecessor, which was tipped to be the heaviest entry at last year’s race, and featured a massive battery pack.

Perhaps more importantly, Mugen and McGuinness will race in 2013 with more information and a better understanding of what it takes to race around the 37.76 miles of the Mountain Course with an electric motorcycle. Expect the competition to be fierce this year — we can’t wait.

First Look: Mugen Shinden Ni (神電 貳) Mugen Shinden Ni test 02

Photos of the 2012 Mugen Shinden:

Source: Team Mugen; Photos: © 2012 Jensen Beeler / Asphalt & Rubber – Creative Commons – Attribution 3.0

Comment:

  1. Kenny says:

    Ha! That bike must have been named by engineers. Ni means 2.
    Still I can’t wait to see how they get on. Especially since I seem to remember that Rutter was claiming the Motoczysz would do a 110mph lap in 2013.

  2. Gutterslob says:

    So next year it’ll be the Shinden San. Since “san” can also mean “Mr.”, we can expect it to have full AI and transform into a full-on humanoid Mr. Shinden

    Joking aside, best of luck to them. I still find electric racing rather eerie (the lack of noise), but if they can get the weight down and manage 2 x 120mph laps around the mountain course on a single charge in the next few years, it’ll be great news for production bikes.

  3. paulus - Thailand says:

    Electric series are getting interesting.
    The ‘TT-Zero’ and the ‘Pikes peak’ entries are both going to be worth watching.

  4. Damo says:

    How awesome does it look in matte black though. Dude looks like Vader San.

  5. Norm G. says:

    yawn.

  6. Heatsoak says:

    Is he wearing a GT-Air? Interesting choice for a track test…

  7. talkriver says:

    I am a Japanese. “神電 弐” is strange spelling. Correct spelling is just “神電 弐”. End letter “つ” should be deleted.
    The rider on those photos are Hikaru Miyagi, who is one of famous riders in Japan, cooperated to develop the first 神電 last year as well.

  8. talkriver says:

    Stone me. Strange spelling is “神電 弐つ”.

  9. Thanks, my Japanese is a bit rough.

  10. Damo says:

    @Heatsoak

    I mean it is Shoei’s most recent helmet design and is supposedly aerodynamically superior to most full race helmets.

    Also by dropping the Snell Safety standard in favor of the superior DOT and ECE standards, the GT Air weighs less than and Arai Corsair V.

    Just a heads up.

  11. protomech says:

    Looks quite a bit smaller than 2012 Shinden (Shinden Ichi?).

    A couple of options for multiple laps:

    1. No battery swap, lower speed endurance vs sprint (single-lap)
    2. Quick battery swap
    3. Quick battery charge

    For #1, given a choice between a single 110 mph lap or two 80 mph laps, I’ll take the 110 mph lap..

    For #2, battery swaps are certainly possible. Hollywood Electrics pulled off ~24 second swaps and rider changes at the M1GP 8H6 8 hour endurance race. Battery swaps do significantly drive up cost, which in turn means smaller grids.

    For #3, quick charging is the most applicable to production street bikes. However, like all the other options it introduces significant tradeoffs. Charging is not (hopefully) exciting to watch, it forces a tradeoff between very energy dense packs (for tracks like IOM) and packs that can accept high charge rates (so laptimes again are slower). Given a choice between two 20 minute laps @ 100 mph + 30 minutes of charging @ 30 kW vs two 30 minute laps @ 67 mph, the slower laps win (which brings us back to option #1).

    Eventually grid sizes, sponsorship and interest will improve and quick battery swaps will probably become the norm. Maybe a TT Zero Enduro race could start .. MotoCzysz used to design bikes with swappable battery packs, they may still do so.

  12. BenFaster says:

    Really glad to see this – competition is what will move the needle on this. Seems like a fast battery swap would be the most appropriate – keep the speeds up so its interesting – fast charges might be a little more dangerous etc.