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.

Up-Close with the MV Agusta Brutale 675

12/06/2011 @ 5:40 pm, by Jensen Beeler13 COMMENTS

Up Close with the MV Agusta Brutale 675 2012 MV Agusta Brutale 675 EICMA 10 635x444

Finally making its public debut, the MV Agusta Brutale 675 was easily one of the most anticipated motorcycles of the 2011 EICMA show. Representing Varese’s commitment to more affordable motorcycles, the Brutale 675 comes with a €8,990 price tag in the EU (US pricing is still up in the air, but should be competitive with the Triumph Street Triple). No exactly a surprise in its design, the 2012 MV Agusta Brutale 675 is true to the Brutale format, and follows the lines of the F3 supersport…without fairings of course.

In person, the MV Agusta Brutale 675 comes with the fit and finish you would expect from the historic Italian brand. For as much as I bag on MV Agusta for its various monetary and business troubles, the Italian factory is trying to make available a gorgeous motorcycle at a very attractive price tag. For all the concerns made about how MV Agusta was going “down market” with its brand, the basic bullet points of what defines an MV still remain true with the Brutale 675, which should make it a winner when it comes to market.

We imagine that MV Agusta will price the smaller Brutale a bit higher in the US market, like it did with the F3, that will of course have a negative affect on sales volume, which the company desperately needs. However, those in the market for a small sport-naked, will have to take a strong look at the MV Agusta Brutale 675. As a motorcycle, it is a potent alternative to the venerable Triumph Street Triple and the new Ducati Streetfighter 848.

As a company though, MV Agusta still has a long way to go. The longevity of the brand still creates substantial question marks in this writer’s mind, and the support/dealer network in the United States has serious issues, which are undoubtedly cooling the jets of buyers hot to own this moto. Known to be more show than go, we’ll be curious to see how the F3 and Brutale 675 stack up on the actual road and track, but until the spring when they’re available, we’ll have to continue just drooling over MV’s latest creation.

Up Close with the MV Agusta Brutale 675 2012 MV Agusta Brutale 675 EICMA 06 635x444

Up Close with the MV Agusta Brutale 675 2012 MV Agusta Brutale 675 EICMA 07 635x444

Up Close with the MV Agusta Brutale 675 2012 MV Agusta Brutale 675 EICMA 08 635x444

Up Close with the MV Agusta Brutale 675 2012 MV Agusta Brutale 675 EICMA 13 635x444

Up Close with the MV Agusta Brutale 675 2012 MV Agusta Brutale 675 EICMA 15 635x444

Up Close with the MV Agusta Brutale 675 2012 MV Agusta Brutale 675 EICMA 17 635x444

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

Comment:

  1. fazer6 says:

    Looks nearly perfect.

    Bike too.

  2. RJ says:

    Still no adjustable front forks?!? At this level, and especially price point, that’s a bit inexcusable. I know most people dont fiddle with the adjusters, but for those that do because of the obvious impact in performace, that’s just too a bit to ridiculous…

    A nice looking bike, sad looking supension specs…

  3. MikeD says:

    It goes to show… there’s such a thing as “too much publicity”…

    I don’t find it that atractive anymore…(o_O )’…as is the case with the “back then” superhot F3.

    What im still scratching my head is the layout of the engine internals(moving parts specially)…

    Hey Jensen…any chance we can kidnap and hold hostage the main head of MV Agusta and trade him for some CAD drawings of the engine and it’s internals ? Just saying…lol.

  4. fazer6 says:

    For adjustable suspenders, wait for the inevitable R version. I know I am.

  5. Doru says:

    I went to EICMA this year.
    I must admit I was anxious to see the MV Agusta line up.
    Their section was very “fashionable” if I may say so.
    Not wide open like most of the manufactures, almost closed with a tiny entrance just enough to make you want to come in and see their bikes even more.
    The great thing was that you could swap over any of their models, which I obviously did.
    Other than that, really not that much of a jewelry. Excellent shapes, great design but God such a cheap plastic.
    Sadly but true, I have encountered this build quality throughout the show at most of the manufacturers. Few exceptions with Ducati, Triumph and a couple of Honda bikes.
    Hopefully this will change.

  6. RJ says:

    Sorry fazer6 but it costs nothing to put adjustable cap tops on modern day forks. Judging as the R model of the F3 is double the price of the standard F3, then the R version of the Baby Brutale will prob be in the price range of a low mileage 990 Brutale…

    Does that seem like smart business sense to you?!?

  7. fazer6 says:

    There is no ‘R’ model of the F3 yet–There IS the Oro, but that’s altogether different.

    Look more closely at the history and pattern of MV model introductions and naming conventions.

    Also, putting “caps” on top to make suspension “adjustable” is not cheap or simple, unless you’re simply talking preload.

  8. RJ says:

    Actually, it is pretty cheap and simple. On top of the fact that preload adjustment is extremely useful, the caps are only relevant if the internals are modern enough to actually make use of them. Most manufactures that sell internal fork kits will also sell you the adjusters to take advantage of them, obviously.

    If the forks on the new F3 Brutale are of such out-dated technology that they offer no internal architecture for compression or rebound than what are they really selling here? Premium performance, or just premium looks?

    FYI the price manufactures spend on items such as front forks, shocks, or brake calipers are in the range of 10%-15% of street market value. Of course this is because they buy these in large bulk. But the point is when dealing with a bike of this caliber, better front forks would have added roughly $100 to the final price of the bike. A negligible difference to say the least when spending this type of money…

  9. fazer6 says:

    You can’t compare MV’s volume with Honda et al…They’re not getting that kind of bulk discount, and really nobody gets that much off “street” price, except maybe the manufacturers that also own their own parts companies.

  10. RJ says:

    Actually, they do. I was never comparing MV to Honda, but other manufactures with the same type of operating structure when it comes to buying parts. A company like Honda produces all of it’s components in-house spare for a few. For example, they own Showa which is why all Honda’s products boast Showa components. But for smaller manufactures (volume-wise) like Ducati, Triumph, or MV Agusta, buying components from third parties is a way of life.

    How would you know how much they get off market price? Do you know anyone on the inside? I do, and I’ll tell you, once you find out how much Ducati pays for a set of Ohlins forks you would be be shocked. But then again, they are buying 10,000 sets of those components. It’s common business practice.

    But my original point in all of this was that a premium motorcycle at the upper end of the price range should come with upper end components. If you disagree with that, then all you have to do is say so…

  11. fazer6 says:

    Actually I agree with you, and I’m disappointed in MV for not including better suspension on this
    model, and with the general degradation of quality across the range implemented during the HD regime.
    My original point was merely that they will surely be included on the coming R version, and most likely the choice of shocks and brakes has less to do with production costs than it does about model differentiation.
    Also, MV’s volumes are WAY lower than Education and Triumph …think Motor Moroni; The US import numbers are in the dozens, not hundreds let alone thousands.
    MV was (is) reluctant to even import the F3 and B3 to the US, as it will be nearlimpossible to make a profit

  12. fazer6 says:

    BTW, ‘Education’ = Ducati, dam autocorrect

  13. luke says:

    there is an odd auto-correct :)