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 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.

MIC Launches Electric Vehicle Task Force

06/29/2010 @ 4:32 pm, by Jensen Beeler9 COMMENTS

MIC Launches Electric Vehicle Task Force light bulb 560x420

The Motorcycle Industry Council (MIC) has formed a task force to study the issues surrounding electric motorcycles and other vehicle segments in the powersports industry. While the task force’s participants aren’t being named, almost all the major OEM manufacturers are involved, as well as most of the electric motorcycle producers. While the groups hasn’t finalized its priority list of issues, performance standards and consumer education seem to be top-billed action items for the task force, as group looks to create fair comparisons between the budding industry and entreached ICE market.

Headed by Paul Vitrano, who is also the Executive Vice President and General Counsel of the Specialty Vehicle Institute of America, the task force sees the group’s role being similar to the MIC’s helmet task force that gathered issues involving helmet of regulation proposals. For now the group is not a formal committee, and is still formulating its key issues after its first meeting in May, but has targeted performance and consumer topics as being on the list.

Regarding performance standards, the MIC would like to see a program similar to the EPA’s “driving cycle” implemented on EV’s. This would allow for direct comparisons not only between electric motorcycles, but also between electric and gas bikes. The MIC also wants to standardize the way companies portray their performance figures, and begin using standardized terminology and testing methodology,  which would allow consumers to make informed purchasing decisions.

For more information on the work of the Electric Vehicle Task Force, or to joint the group, interested parties can contact Paul Vitrano at the SVIA.

Source: Dealer News


  1. MIC Launches Electric Vehicle Task Force – #motorcycle

  2. lalaland says:

    I will never ride an electric motorcycle. You can add that to your task force data bank. I will never go for a Sunday drive in a golf cart either.

    The consumer bias is more deeply ingrained than you think. Give up. It’s the financially responsible thing to do for the companies you represent.

  3. Doctor Jelly says:

    Horses were deeply ingrained too, but almost no one rides one to work anymore…

  4. Brammofan says:

    RT @Asphalt_Rubber: "MIC Launches Electric Vehicle Task Force – #motorcycle"

  5. lalaland says:

    If you followed the reasoning properly you would have said, ” Horses were deeply ingrained too, but still people decided to switch to donkeys.”

    The transportation potential of the car was higher than the horse. To reference electric vehicles, you needed to choose something with a lower threshold for work. Something slower, uglier and less romantic. The donkey would fit nicely.

    Transitioning to donkeys b/c they eat less oats. I think that would be a good analogy. Let’s not forget that the electric motor was invented before the petrol ICE so I don’t really see where you are going with the technological progression bit.

    Kids run out in the street b/c they can’t hear you coming. You swerve and lay the bike down, it hits a curb, and then you spend a year of your kid’s college tuition to pay the hazmat crew. All of this so you can ride an electric donkey filled with toxic chemicals.

    Maybe it would work better if we put a big crash cage around the battery and then we could add two more wheels to make the vehicle more stable and less crash prone. That might work.

  6. The Future says:

    Your analogy is flawed. Oats are a renewable resource; oil is not (not in terms of our lifetimes anyway).

    Like it or not, the future is coming. I too like ICE’s but several factors will likely see to the end of them eventually. Legislation will succumb to the need to reduce pollution, dependence on fossil fuels, and foreign imports.

    Of course, the missing part of the formula to make this work is that the electricity will need to be generated without burning coal/nat gas. Wind, water and solar will need to be ramped up to create a distributed model of power generation.

    And why are you so worried about batteries internals? They are safer than carrying tanks of flammable liquid around. And when it is time to recycle them, everything is there in a tidy package, instead of spread throughout the entire atmosphere as pollution.

    Once the price of a mid-size e-bike is reduced enough I would consider replacing one of my current bikes with one. Even if their current spec they could easily handle my 3 mile commute each day.

  7. Aaron Lephart says:

    As a long time motorcycle rider (16 years) I have seen things progress in the past 5 years more then ever before. Moving away from I.C.E. is a natural progression. As a Brammo owner for a month now, I can say they are not suited for everyone yet. There is a certain level of sacrafice you must be willing to accept, top speed, acceleration, range, etc. But they will be very soon! American’s are typically to “proud” to accept anything that is percieved as a god given right.

  8. Doctor Jelly says:

    Mmm, nah. My reasoning is reasonably sound. Horseless carriages were underpowered, inefficient, expensive and practically useless for decades (arguably aver a century if you include steam powered attempts). It took quite some time before the automobile was actually useful to the average person (sounds a bit like today’s electric powered situation to me…).

    In terms of potential, yes, the auto had more than a horse (hence the eventual displacement of horse powered transportation). In terms of potential, yes, electric has more than an ICE (hence the eventual and inevitable displacement of ICEs). We have essentially hit a plateau in engineering progression of reciprocating piston engines. Sure you can wrangle a bit more power/efficiency/longevity by redesigning this or that a hair, but the era of real advancements in this technology is over.

    Hazmat crew? It’s not like we’re spilling gas and oil all over the place in a crash… Battery safety (including self containment during impact) is increasing significantly and is arguably safer than using gasoline. We’ve grown up around gas stations and cars and as such grown complacent to the dangers. Take a step back and look at how inherently dangerous driving and fueling cars is compared to using today’s top of the line batteries (for the moment forgo the incredible range of engineering advancements currently underway and yet to be made in batteries). If you’re actually trying this I hope you can see electric vehicles are actually more sensible in virtually all facets of the comparison.

    For the most part it sounds like you have an understandable, however, unfounded aversion to electrics. Not once did you cite a real concern/hindrance to electric progression (there are some, but the potential downfalls of electrics are fewer than current vehicles with over a century of development and the few disadvantages there are will be quickly overcome with progressing technology/public education).

  9. lalaland says:

    I don’t need further education and that’s precisely why the MIC want to fill my head with marketing concepts disguised as info. I know my energy densities and I understand the massive deficit that batteries have to overcome. I also understand that lithium (unlike oil or other biofuels which can be grown) is non-renewable and will have to be imported if the EPA or our wage rates even allows us to manufacture batteries in the US. Even if the battery industry builds the perfect plug in electric vehicle, you could still be belching out more hydrocarbons at the powerplant. You have to replace every hydrocarbon powerplant, and modernize the entire grid for plug in electrics to work. Don’t let that minor detail deter you. It’s more important to be part of the future.

    The ICE is inefficient b/c that’s all we’ve ever wanted it to be. It’s 30-35% efficient and only about 15% under normal driving conditions. We can double fuel economy in a decade with currently existing technology (Toyota proved it), and we can probably double the fuel efficiency of the consumer auto fleet by changing buying habits over the next 2 decades (SUV boom is dying on its own). That’s real, and so are the other proven technologies that can make huge improvements in ICE efficiency. I think dual fuel is my favorite b/c tiny amounts of ethanol can be used to raise fuel octane and allow much higher compression. Very nice fundamental air pump improvement. Imagine if someone make a proper rotary. Scary good.

    How many mpg does a Chevy Volt get? Infinity? I wonder what that does for your CAFE standards. $40,000 for a car with a 50 mile range that pollutes remotely and transfers money from the public to major auto companies via enormous $7,500 plug in electric subsidies? How far do I have to bend over before they will sell me one?

    Poeple who buy these eco-halo products are dolts, not visionaries. At least the Prius actually delivered better fuel economy despite the government subsidies and the mindless eco-hype. I prefer my energy revolutions to have substance. The real work is being done behind the scenes in the tragically unsexy petrochemicals and ICE industries.