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.

BRD Motorcycles CEO Starts Unique Crowd-Funding Model

04/01/2013 @ 7:37 am, by Jensen Beeler17 COMMENTS

BRD Motorcycles CEO Starts Unique Crowd Funding Model marc fenigstein 635x635

Looking to close its Series A round of financing, San Francisco EV startup BRD Motorcycles has had to rethink its investor-appoach strategy, as the venture capital market in California has gone through a reset as a result of the past economic recession.

“It has been brutal this past year talking to investors,” explained BRD Motorcycles CEO Marc Finegstein. “In fact, it was actually easier to raise capital during the recession than it is currently right now. For the last few years, you just had to be bullish…you know, polish your PowerPoint deck, shift your paradigm, and make sure you were best in breed. But now, with all the bad paper that has been going through the market, the traditional funding sources have all but dried up.”

Countless dinners and evenings wasted, Fenegstein often returned to the office the next day with nothing to show for his hard work from the night before. Facing increasing production and development costs, it was clear that something had to change in the company’s funding strategy.

So, when asked what sort of measures BRD was taking to close its funding objectives for the Series A round, the young CEO exhaled slowly, sat back in his chair, and only hinted at BRD’s new investor-pitch strategy. “Let’s just say our funding strategy is more ‘hands on’ than it was before with our investment circle,” he said while staring blankly out his office window.

“Going into 2013, my hands were raw from trying to beat around the bush with these traditional investment guys, and that is when I realized we were going about this all wrong,” said Fenenshrine as his gaze drifted back to within the room.

Turning his attention from large singular investment institutions, Femensine had BRD begin to woo micro-funding sources for its electric motorcycle business. Sourcing its funds primarily from San Francisco natives, this allowed BRD not only to keep its business and manufacturing based in the San Francisco Bay Area, but now also consolidated its funding members in the same locale.

“I don’t think that I have to explain that the new darlings in the SF startup community are ‘social’ startups, so the guys and I had a long brainstorming session about how we could apply the social business model to BRD. We didn’t walk away from that meeting with any immediate answers, but as I was coming through the Mission that night, somewhere around Capp Street, the answer just hit me in the face.”

“We could get investments from any old John,” Freenananstain said with a grin. “Best of all, our engagement time with each investor was way lower than with the traditional venture capital funds. What used to take weeks of hand-holding, dinner meetings, and outright begging on my knees, we were now doing within minutes of meeting a potential new investor.”

For those familiar with the tech community that exists in the greater bay area, the concept of crowd-funding isn’t a new one. Funding sites like Kickstarter have funded thousands of projects at this point in time, a couple of them we have even featured here at Asphalt & Rubber. However, few EV startups have been able to effectively leverage a large group of investors and their divergent interests…that is until now.

“I wasn’t initially interested in investing BRD, but they made me an offer I couldn’t refuse,” said Oliver Klozoff, one of BRD’s first crowd-funders. “Let’s just say, Marc really got the job done when trying to persuade me to leave money on the table.” When asked what ultimately convinced him to invest in BRD, the man adjusted his black form-fitting skinny jeans, and described the dynamic team at BRD. “Really it is the whole team. There is no load, no work load, they can’t handle. I have an eye for people like that, and they really impressed me with their talent.”

While the funding amounts per investor have been considerably less than the amounts than the company’s previous institutional investors have put into the BRD, with some investors giving as little as five dollars to Fenigbrine, the CEO pointed out that the sheer volume of new investors was easily offsetting the smaller deposits.

“We have literally gone from Sandhill to Potero Hill, and what we’re finding with guys like Oliver is that we have a vast array of investors who are double, even triple-dipping in our company’s investment opportunities,” explained Frenegstain. “In fact, it is not uncommon to have multiple investors engaged in a funding pitch at the same time, with each one fighting for a better position. I really have my hands full in those meetings,” he laughed with a waive of the hand.

When asked how BRD finds its new investors, Fennenenenstam shot back an interesting look. “It used to be that a story on sites like Tech Crunch or Engadget could really make or break a tech startup, and in the EV space sites like AutoBlog and A&R were our target outlets, but that has now all changed.”

“Don’t tell me that print is dead, because beyond word of mouth, paper-based trade publications and cheap newsprint have been our #1 referral source with this new strategy. We are effectively penetrating into niche consumer markets that we previously didn’t think were open to our product, but with some re-tooling to our pitchdeck, we’re feeling a lot less friction in those kind of customers, and things are coming together nicely now.”

While the main role of a startup CEO is to raise capital at an exhausting rate, it rarely is a solo act, and at BRD it truly is an all-hands affair.

“Marc is really the face of the company,” said one BRD employee. “So, we really want to put him in front of whatever the investors are going to show up with. His skill set is the most-attuned to that kind of environment, but we try to fill-in wherever we we can. There are no egos here — whoever can close the deal is sent in to do the job, and everyone brings something different to the table.”

Not everything has been easy-going though, explained that same employee. “Marc makes it look so easy, but there is a huge learning curve to closing a deal. If you’re not careful, you can get really banged, even from just pitching an investor — it has really been a learning process for all of us, and I have definitely taken my licks from the investors.”

When asked what the future looked like for BRD, Farmerstam explained that BRD wasn’t backing down from building the best electric motorcycles in the industry. “I don’t care how thinly veiled our actions have to be, whatever it takes to build the best motorcycles possible, I plan on doing.”

That sounds like a philosophy we can all get behind.

Photo: A&R Image Database

Comment:

  1. Heatsoak says:

    “…you know, polish your PowerPoint deck, shift your paradigm, and make sure you were best in breed.”

    I’m not sure if he’s trying to be snarky here or not.

  2. L2C says:

    “‘Let’s just say our funding strategy is more ‘hands on’ than it was before with our investment circle,’ he said while staring blankly out his office window.

    Going into 2013, my hands were raw from trying to beat around the bush with these traditional investment guys, and that is when I realized we were going about this all wrong,’ said Fenenshrine as his gaze drifted back to within the room.’”

    “I wasn’t initially interested in investing BRD, but they made me an offer I couldn’t refuse,” said Oliver Klozoff, one of BRD’s first crowd-funders. “Let’s just say, Marc really got the job done when trying to persuade me to leave money on the table.” When asked what ultimately convinced him to invest in BRD, the man adjusted his black form-fitting skinny jeans, and described the dynamic team at BRD. “Really it is the whole team. There is no load, no work load, they can’t handle. I have an eye for people like that, and they really impressed me with their talent.”

    LOL!!!

  3. L2C says:

    Really, HAHAHAHAHAHA….

  4. Heatsoak says:

    So it’s not just me then?

  5. Jason says:

    PROOFREAD PLEASE.

  6. Jason says:

    Okay just got the joke.

  7. You’re welcome, Jensen, for the insider’s taste of the action at BRD. The motorcycle industry, at its best, has always sold raw, wild, unrestrained passion, self-indulgence, and fun. We could hardly call ourselves innovators if we didn’t find ways to cut out the middleman and deliver such unbridled ecstasy not just to customers but directly to dealers, journalists, and more recently our investors. There’s no room for pride or self-respect on my part. There is only the goal: putting something special between your legs.

  8. Class act Marc. Class act.

  9. Brammofan says:

    I had my debit card out and EVERYTHING.

  10. Sergio says:

    I know this article is for laughs, but seriously, Marc has a long line of men behind him and they’re all ready to fund him.

  11. “There is only the goal: putting something special between your legs.”

    Touché!

  12. Victor Pritzker says:

    Yo Jensen,

    Thank you for finally publishing the definitive spelling of Marc’s name! It was damn difficult for all those investors to spell.

  13. Victor Pritzker says:

    Oh, and pronouncing it is still a mystery.

  14. I hear it’s easier to pronounce when you’re drunk, German, or both.

  15. “…you know, polish your PowerPoint deck, shift your paradigm, and make sure you were best in breed.”

    Not to mention being 100% buzzword-compliant!

    Jokes aside, the quality of writing of the piece is exemplary. Great fun.

  16. protomech says:

    What makes it amazing is the Racer glove ad posted just underneath.

    http://ads.offcamberdh.com/www/images/c4d3bfdc915cdda75e89acce72a0a489.gif

  17. Judge says:

    LOL! Holy crap that was funny. Feel free to sneak in another article like this any time Jensen.