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.

An FAQ on the Petition Against the NHTSA’s Funding of Motorcycle-Only Checkpoints

01/09/2013 @ 8:24 pm, by Jensen Beeler4 COMMENTS

An FAQ on the Petition Against the NHTSAs Funding of Motorcycle Only Checkpoints dont tread on me motorcycle 635x423

Twenty-four hours after starting a petition to the White House about ending the federal government’s funding of discriminatory motorcycle-only checkpoints, I am pleased to announce that the first hurdle of signatures has been reached, and the petition now sits on the front-page of the “We the People” website for the Obama Administration.

If in 30 days the petition can reach 25,000 signatures, it will be put before The President of the United States of America for a formal response. There is a long road ahead, but there is a chance here for us as motorcyclists to have some influence on the laws that affect us. To help explain the situation with motorcycle-only checkpoints, the process of petitioning the federal government, and some responses to nay-sayers, I’ve put the following FAQ together. And in case you haven’t already, click here to sign the petition.

What does reaching this first threshold mean exactly?

Well, for starters it means the petition is now public and searchable on the “We the People” website (the only motorcycle petition, I might add). With 250+ signatures already in the first day, things are off to a good start, but we are still a long way off to reaching the 25,000 mark.

Why is the next 25,000 signature threshold so important?

At 25,000 signature, the petition is put in front of President Barack Obama, where he has to officially respond to the petition, which could include directing the NHTSA from funding motorcycle-only checkpoints.

So what is this motorcycle-only checkpoint business all about?

First implemented by the State of New York, inspection checkpoints that apply only to motorcycles have become a more common practice across the United States, and are an act of discrimination that is primarily due to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) funding of the practice through special grants.

Implemented under the guise of operating for the public’s safety, states like New York have been able to target motorcyclists at checkpoints for vehicle and passenger inspection, even when the motorcyclists have broken no apparent laws, with no similar checkpoints being setup for automobile drivers.

An alarming trend in the unfair application of the law, the majority of current motorcycle-only checkpoints are funded by the federal government, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). This petition aims to remove that funding, making it more difficult for state and local authorities to operate checkpoints that single-out motorcyclists from the general automotive population.

I live in a state where they don’t have motorcycle-only checkpoints, why should I sign this?

While there are a large number of motorcyclists in the Untied States, overall our passion is one shared by only a small portion of the population. This makes it easy for laws, and those who enforce those laws, to target motorcyclists unfairly. We as a motorcycling community need to come together, regardless of how this one issue affects you, in order to ensure that the basic rights of motorcyclists are always assured.

These checkpoints really affect only motorcyclists who are breaking the law, and I’m ok with that.

Maybe the fines collected only affect the motorcyclists who are breaking the law, but the discrimination affects all motorcyclists equally. Remember, with enough scrutiny just about any vehicle can found to have something wrong with it that is punishable with a fine or fix-it ticket. Besides, having motorcycle-only checkpoints is not the proper solution to enforcing laws that the majority of the biking population adheres to, and we need to implore the government to use more reasonable measures of law enforcement.

This won’t change anything, so I’m not going to bother.

Actually, putting the issue in front of The President of the United States might do something, and if nothing else, it shows that the motorcycle-riding community is an active participant in what occurs in Washington D.C. and in the local legislatures of the 50 states. After all, the only sure-fire way of nothing changing is to do nothing at all.

Uggh, I have to register to sign this petition, why didn’t you use some other petition site?

While there a bevy of other sites to create online petitions, The White House’s “We the People” website is the only one that sends a message directly to the president, and if there are enough signatures, the president has to formally respond to the petition.

I don’t want the government to have my email address.

Do you wear your tinfoil hat underneath your motorcycle helmet too?

I signed it! High five!

Booyah! Now, share it with your moto-friends. The only way to reach 25,000 people in a month’s time is to get the word out. To get you started, here’s a quick and dirty Twitter share button for you below to click on, and and don’t forget to sign the petition!

Comment:

  1. Brian J says:

    All riders should be signing this. It is clear that we are under assault and if we do not stand together they will split us apart. When will someone start an AMA that is for real riders and not pretend to just support us, sort of? 99%ers ride, we don’t race or go off road. Those are fine activities and great fun, but they are not what the majority of motorcycle riders are doing. Just saying.

  2. DareN says:

    Great points, Brian. Maybe A&R will start something – let`s make Beeler the president.

  3. Tom says:

    Well, its clear that motorcycle owners are doing a hell of lot more for real liberty than all the gun nuts screaming about their gun rights but not the least bit of care about the Patriot Act to seat belt laws. Not trying to be political (in a political thread BTW). Just pointing out the state of reality. Some talk. Others do.

  4. +Jensen, your petition attacks on funding grounds, whereas another I’d created January 1st attacks on constitutional grounds.

    Here’s the original constitutional petition:
    http://wh.gov/U0xC

    Please encourage everyone to sign them both, as I’ve done.

    Ride on.
    Roadkill