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.

Benelli Due 756 Finally Goes Live…in China?

12/16/2011 @ 11:28 am, by Jensen Beeler13 COMMENTS

Benelli Due 756 Finally Goes Live...in China? benelli due eicma 2009 635x425

The Benelli Due concept has been in the works for so long, we’re officially giving it the Duke Nukem Forever status of the motorcycle industry. I first laid my eyes on the two-cylinder street-standard back in 2009, as the then called “2ue” was making its second EICMA appearance (the Due made its first appearance as early as the Cologne show in 2006).

Essentially a Benelli triple with a cylinder lopped off, the Benelli Due displaces 756cc with its inline cylinders, and is an otherwise attractive motorcycle. Given how much of a basketcase the “Tre” motor was, we can only imagine the “character” its two-cylinder counterpart brings to the table, though that is an entirely different issue.

Finally announcing that the Benelli Due will hit dealership floors in 2012, the Chinese-owned Italian company has an interesting twist with its news: the Benelli Due will be released in China first, then Europe and other markets.

At play surely is the idea and principle of pride that Chinese companies should release models in their home country first, before servicing other markets. This notion is surely understandable, but does strike us as interesting considering that Europe and North America are likely to be bigger volume markets for this big-displacement motorcycle.

The Chinese market is of course better known for its small-displacement motorcycle needs, and it is unclear how large of a demand exists for a bike like the Benelli Due within its borders. More shocking than this news is the fact that being nearly a six-year-old design, the Due is still a striking bike (sans that headlight perhaps).

For as many issues as the Italian brand has, it sure does produce some of the most striking and timeless motorcycles in the business.

Benelli Due Photos circa EICMA 2009:

Photos: © 2009 Jensen Beeler / Asphalt & Rubber – Creative Commons – Attribution 3.0

Comment:

  1. Tessier says:

    Only problem with considering North America to be one of there largest market is that they don’t have a distributor in the U.S.A. They closed up shop a long time ago. so good luck on that!

  2. Gary says:

    I’m sorry, would somebody please ante up the cash to bring this national treasure back under the Italian flag. I don’t care if you have to get a loan from Beijing to do it, JUST DO IT!

  3. MikeD says:

    We will never see this in the USA. With that said…i wouldn’t mind owning one as a daily commuter.
    Looks easy to ride and still kinda looking fresh-ish ?
    About the headlight…i have dated girls less atractive than it…ROTFL.

    And now the million dollars question ? How much would something like this usually cost me ? lol.

  4. aaron says:

    I must have missed something… what was wrong with the tre motor? I love triples, and figured one day I’d maybe get a tnt… were there reliability or drivability issues, or was it just typical italian stuff like high maintenance and long waits for parts?

  5. Nerve says:

    Nottin wrong. Pre 2008 models need to have their alternator shaft replaced. I own a Tre 1130, will never part with it.

  6. JoeD says:

    I have the 07 Cafe Racer and must agree with Nerve-I’ll keep this one forever. I believe the term Basket Case is a bit strong. Sure, there were some teething problems but all is sorted and the overall experience is excellent. Benelli America still has a website and has imports though mostly mopeds and scooters. It is a shame that US dealers will not take on another line but with the world economy tanked, who can blame them. The 756 would be welcome in my garage.

  7. Nathan says:

    nothing at all wrong with the 3 cylinder motors, my 04 Tornado 900RS was utterly reliable for the 7 years I owed it!

    the only other bike I was prepared to get was another Benelli, hence the TnT R160 rolling up in 3 weeks :-).

    Sorry mate, but unless you have owned one i dont think your qualified to call them basketcases. my honda gave me more grief!

  8. MikeD says:

    @Nathan:

    Can u post some pics of ur Benelli when u get it ? and maybe a small first impression writing to go along with it on your new pride and joy ?

    I wish i had the Doe to buy me a Tornado 1130 or one of those freaky-origami-cool looking [Orange or Green?, sorry color blind here] Cafe Racer that they sold[or still sell?] here on the USA.

  9. Nathan says:

    no worries, i get it on the 10th jan, have a look on the benelli english web page under moto, to see what they sell. :-)

  10. Kurt says:

    I’ll have to jump on this wagon. I’m the owner of an ’07 Benelli Cafe Racer as well. I know a few of my fellow post writers here, and must agree. The Triple in the TNT/TRE/Amazonas is a beast. The horsepower/torque balance you get from a well-tuned triple is enough to pull you from any other engine configuration. So, if their previous bikes are any indicator, once through the initial teething that all bikes have their first model year, this should be a fun and exhilirating ride. I myself would be thrilled to ride one. If the US “Importer” seems lacking, book a trip to our Northerly neighbor (Canada) and test ride one of theirs. Many of the Canadian moto dealers are familiar with selling to US customers and helping get vehicles licensed and transferred for use in America. Give the Nelli a chance before you bash it down. Agusta, Aprilia, and Ducati used to have reliability issues among others, but look at them now? Wait to see or ride one, I think you might be pleasantly surprised.

  11. Errol says:

    Basket case?
    My Tornado Tre has just ticked over 90,000 km, in 6 years of ownership.
    I rode her from Canberra to Adelaide in 12 hours, a month ago, with only three stops for fuel. 4 days later, we did the return trip in the same time and stops.
    That hardly qualifies as a basket case!