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.

Harley-Davidson Sales Up 4.4% for 2013

01/31/2014 @ 5:47 pm, by Aakash Desai25 COMMENTS

Harley Davidson Sales Up 4.4% for 2013 harley davidson street 750 635x357

The brand that seems to polarize motorcyclists worldwide but is inextricably tied to the image of “the biker”, did quite well in 2013. Hot off the presses of Harley-Davidson’s Accounting and Finance department in Milwaukee is the 2013 sales report detailing their growth in worldwide new motorcycle sales.

For 2013, H-D sold 5.7% more bikes in the fourth quarter and 4.4% over the full-year compared to the previous year.  Full year net income was $734 million on consolidated revenue of $5.9 billion. Compared to 2012 when the net income was $623.9 million on consolidated revenue of $5.58 billion.

President and CEO Keith Wandell cites various reasons for this success: “without question 2013 was an outstanding year for Harley-Davidson. We unveiled game-changing motorcycles like Project Rushmore and Street, launched surge manufacturing, celebrated our 110th anniversary with customers around the globe and delivered continued financial growth.”

The document also highlights improvements in organizational structure, employer, dealer and supplier support and efforts to expand the brands accessibility to broader audiences.

For 2013, 260,839 Harleys were sold worldwide with roughly two-thirds of them sold in the United States (167,016 units sold in the US, 74,039 sold abroad). The US market thus remains a sales stronghold for the brand, and these figures speak to the continued relevancy of the Harley marketing image and saliency in American motorcycling culture.

With Harley now looking towards the East to expand their cruiser empire bikes like the Street, it will be interesting to see whether the rest of the world will buy into the tired clichés of freedom, the open road, and rebellion betwixt your legs that is purportedly embodied in every Harley-Davidson motorcycle. Let the flame war begin.

2013 Harley-Davidson Quarterly Motorcycle Shipments

HARLEY-DAVIDSON Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 2013
Sportster 13,588 16,907 11,903 7,910 50,308
Custom* 30,302 35,315 19,111 18,222 102,950
Touring 31,332 32,384 23,011 20,486 107,471
Total 75,222 84,606 54,025 46,618 260,471
Domestic 50,683 57,070 32,061 27,202 167,016
International 24,539 27,536 21,964 19,416 74,039
Total 75,222 84,606 54,025 46,618 260,471

Source: Harley-Davidson

Comment:

  1. Paul McM says:

    Freedom, the open road, and rebellion are not clichés, because they are things that will be loved, celebrated, and pursued as long as humans populate the planet.

    That said, I have ridden a good share of the latest Harley offerings (including one of the Rushmore bikes). For the life of me I cannot understand why so many people want a bike that is oppressively heavy, that shakes so much, and that forces you into a riding position akin to a lady having a gyno exam.

    I want to see all bike makers succeed because diversity is a good thing. But to be honest, I am stupefied to read that H-D took in $5.9 BILLION in revenue last year. As someone with 41 years of riding experience, embracing many different brands, I just can’t comprehend why Harley controls such a large share of the market, when there are so many other terrific motorcycles made by other manufacturers. This shall remain an eternal mystery to me I guess….

  2. Aakash Desai says:

    They are cliche when your entire brand image and marketing strategy revolves around them.

  3. Campisi says:

    I hadn’t realised so many people enjoyed sitting their tailbone atop a paint shaker.

  4. Rico Bustamente says:

    let the games begin….

    Like little kids when Mom says “let it out… cry all you want… you’ll feel better”…

    well…. do ya?

    Frankly, I am “stupefied” that the anti H-D crowd can’t understand why a well run US company that controls costs, produces a high quality, reliable product that is recognized worldwide, would be so successful.
    DUH!

    If you don’t like the product, don’t buy it…plain ‘n simple.

    But… what you all are really saying is “now if I ran H-D, I would blah, blah, blah”…

    You are the same crew that crucified H-D for letting Buell go… you all bitched & moaned about Erik Buell this, Erik Buell that…. but few if any of you bought a Buell when you had the chance & hew if any will now.

    I like ALL bikes… sure… I wish some models had better suspensions, ergo’s etc…. but that’s the market…

    So for the love of God…. give it a rest!

  5. Starmag says:

    I wonder if skull and cross bones do-rags are up 4.4% as well, they seem to be a cult necessity even for folks who aren’t follicly challenged. H-D is genius at selling bar and shield clothing and accessories to their customers who pay willingly a premium to advertise for H-D for free. No other manufacturer even comes close. P.T. Barnum was unfortunately right. I wonder if they have a secret shrine up inside the marketing dept. in the Juneau plant of Edward Bernays. I like H-D and want them to succeed, which they obviously are, but I hope the new competition from Indian knocks back the general arrogance a bit.

  6. Rider says:

    all of the above references to the vaunted H-D marketing department implies that the 260,471 new H-D owners in 2013 are mindless idiots taken in by some mysterious magical marketing karma…. all of sudden they wake up one morning & have an obsessive desire for skulls & loud pipes…..

    do ya think?

    Could it be that at least some if not most of the 260k owners bought a Harley because it suited their tastes, satisfied their requirements, etc…. same reason you guys ride the bikes you ride…

    or are you trying to say that only YOU can make a logical decision of what bike to buy & that the 260k Harley owners can’t…

    You guys must have really big heads….

  7. mars says:

    there is nothing wrong with riding/owning Harleys, but dont deny the marketing strategy. fact is, some people are weak minded and they need to identify with something like the “biker” image to feel better about themselves.

  8. Norm G. says:

    re: “The brand that seems to polarize motorcyclists worldwide”

    not worldwide… their country of origin.

    see entry for “cannibalism”.

  9. Norm G. says:

    re: “I like H-D and want them to succeed”

    no you don’t.

    not like how the Swedes want Volvo to succeed. not like how the Germans want Mercedes to succeed. nor like the how Italians want Ferrari to succeed.

  10. Norm G. says:

    re: “some people are weak minded”

    take the red pill…

    and i’ll show you how deep this rabbit hole goes. (Morpheus voice)

  11. Norm G. says:

    re: “it will be interesting to see whether the rest of the world will buy into the tired clichés of freedom, the open road, and rebellion betwixt your legs that is purportedly embodied in every Harley-Davidson motorcycle.”

    if Shinya Kimura spoke English, he would ask, what you talkin’ ’bout willis…?

    http://vimeo.com/13159991

    Harley Davidson, on the brand recognition scale, right up there with Levi jeans and Buicks.

  12. Looter says:

    Whoa nice video there Norm!

  13. Starmag says:

    Rider, strawmen are so easy to knock down aren’t they? Read my comments above again. No disparaging of H-D’s products nor the reasons to own one. My comments are about the cult. You’ve never seen the human H-D billboards walking around? Or the ubiquitous skull and bones do-rags? They wear them to be noticed, and I have, too bad they’re not having the desired effect on me. Instead of “bad ass” I’m thinking really insecure. The large percentage of big twins with straight pipes isn’t doing motorcycling any P.R. favors either. Extremely self-centered. I wouldn’t think of telling anyone else what to do, but to me it’s sort of sad comedy.

    Norm G. says:
    February 1, 2014 at 6:13 PM

    re: “I like H-D and want them to succeed”

    no you don’t.

    Norm, mind reading now? To go with your,um, wit? Keep this up and you’ll have your own show in no time.

  14. RobR says:

    For the life of me I’ll never figure out what the attraction is, I’ve rode my share of HDs from a sportster to a couple of FX s and a Road King . Each time I’d say the same thing, why would anyone want to spend or spend way to much of their hard earned $ for one of these? It’s insane! The only thing that comes to mind is the people that do are not willing to try anything else. If they did they would find out they spent twice as much on a machine that isn’t half as good.

  15. dagoof says:

    @RobR, I’ve talked to riders that never have tried anything but an HD and of course they can only manage a sneer if you mention any other brand, which of course they have to do to maintain their entry in “The Club”. I also worked with a guy that went out and bought an HD and hated it. He tried a R1200RT and traded in the HD for it. So a few of them do get away…

  16. rob says:

    Paul McM is correct, and as a US citizen I’ embarrassed that this is what we have to offer the world motorcycle community.
    The only viable motorcycle manufacturer that we offer is an overpriced, underpowered, ill-handling, ugly piece of crap.

  17. L2C says:

    This thread is laughable. I bet each and every one of you who dislikes/hates Harleys -for whatever reason- has a brand in mind that you swear by. That brand could represent anything at all. It could be Paul Newman’s spaghetti sauce, for all I know, but you pick your butt up off the couch on the daily/weekly/monthly/yearly and invest in that brand without thinking because the product/feeling associated with it gives you exactly what you want.

    Savoring the taste, feeling, ride, social experience and associating it with that most revered of brands and its most-necessary logo/badge/ethos, you only think about the brand after the fact because by some mystical power unknown to you and your butt buddies, that brand had *YOU* in mind when it was created and put into production. You are alive!

    What a joke.

    I always laugh at this stuff. Sitting across from someone lecturing you on the evils of Apple or Microsoft or Dell or Whatever-the-Fux, meanwhile this person is dressed down exactly to the prescribed ways of The Cosby Show, Beverly Hills 90210, Miami Vice, Yo! MTV Raps, Dawson’s Creek, Brooks Brothers, Nirvana, or Skateboard Magazine.

    And you swear by the politician you voted into office last November, and the mighty greenbacks in your purse, that Betty Crocker® was the best you ever had — in your whole life.

    Now go gather ’round the *TUBE* with yer Budweisers, Doritos, Papa John’s and watch *THE SUPER BOWL*, you mindful “Finger lickin’ good!” consumers of no particular brand affiliation.

    Seahawks or Broncos?

    LMFAO, I’m just waiting for MotoGP to kick it off “for real” next week.

  18. L2C says:

    Thanks for posting that vid, Norm. Excellent.

  19. Bill says:

    What you missed in this article is the fact that HD also sold more bikes to women, minorities, and young people age 18-34. The prime demographic everyone else wants to sell to.

    http://www.bigscotty.com/1/post/2014/01/seven-myths-about-harley-davidson-motorcycles.html

  20. RobR says:

    I guess if someone’s brand ain’t HD then their gonna hear about it one way or another. A few people on a internet forum say they wouldn’t buy a Harley and their haters. LMFAO. What a joke! I’ve been riding on the street 35+ years and what rider and on what brand of bike on more than 1 occasion has insulted me for what I ride which now is Triumph, let me see, was it someone on a BMW, no,no. Was it someone on a Ducati, nope.

  21. paulus says:

    Anything with 2 wheels is better than 4 wheels (to me).
    Well done HD for a stellar sales year. Lots of bikes sold… even more apparel sold.
    Whatever keeps the 2 wheeled world turning.

  22. Rider says:

    Starmag… yeah.. right… strawmen….

    self centered…. V twin loud pipes making it bad for motorcycles…

    yeah… like all of the doo ragged Harley riders that WERE NOT involved in that NYC fiasco where your fellow sportbikers made international headlines…. cultish behavior, huh…

    Denying the facts do not make them cease to exist.

  23. Chaz Michael Michaels says:

    Elvis rode a Harley.

  24. Singletrack says:

    I am perplexed with the Shiny Kimura video posted earlier. Chabott Engineering ?? I see lots of art. But not much engineering.

    Now this is the result of art & engineering.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kRveGTFJwaU ,

    Until Hollywood decides to foster another image of motorcycling… we’re stuck with crap like Orange County Choppers. Can’t someone can ‘sex up’ the clinical image of a modern race shop?

  25. Richard Gozinya says:

    Can’t really blame Harley for putting out the stuff they put out there. It’s what their customers demand. Their customers don’t demand performance, modern engineering, or superior handling. They want big, heavy, loud cruisers with lots of torque, made from steel. So, HD delivers on that. While I lament the fact that Harley never seriously pursued turning Lucifer’s Hammer into a production bike, I can’t really blame them for not doing it. Their customers didn’t want an under 300 lbs sportbike that ate Ducatis as a snack, they wanted something that was good for cruising around on, lazily traveling wherever the rider felt like going.

    So, we are where we are. On the other hand, I can hate Polaris for their me too bullshit. Let Indian die already. The few people who experienced riding a brand new Indian are all either dead or in nursing homes. The nostalgia for that company is built on nothing but myth. And tassles.