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.

Ultimate Motorcycling Claims To Be The Most Popular American Motorcycle Publisher Online – We Call Bullshit

10/18/2010 @ 1:15 pm, by Jensen Beeler13 COMMENTS

Ultimate Motorcycling Claims To Be The Most Popular American Motorcycle Publisher Online   We Call Bullshit motorcyclistonline.com+ultimatemotorcycling.com+cycleworld.com uv

Ultimate Motorcycling, formerly of  Robb Report fame, issued a fun article today (and accompanying press release) about how they’ve become the most popular American-based website for motorcycling out of all the print magazines, surpassing CycleWorld, Motorcyclist, and *gasp* even Asphalt & Rubber (actually we don’t dabble in print, so we guess we’re excluded from this club). This of course is complete, utter, and absolute bullshit, now allow me to tell you why. Ultimate Motorcycling is backing up its claim by citing Alexa.com, one of the most unreliable and easily massaged traffic reporting sites on the internet.

Now while all metric sites should be taken with a fair dose of salt, since they typically indirectly measure a website’s traffic, Alexa is by far the worst of the group. Bought by Amazon in 1999, and then quickly forgotten about by the Seattle company, Alexa has done little since the 20th century to change with the ever evolving internet. While the site was fun back in the days when AOL was still the default landing page for most internet users, Alexa has long since jumped the shark in regards to its credibility in the industry.

There is a nice Wikipedia article that explains basics of Alexa, and TechCrunch gives a good example on how inaccurate Alexa reports really are (YouTube bigger than Google? Really!?), but the boiled down version is that Alexa collects the majority of its data through its own Internet Explorer toolbar and Firefox/Opera add-ons, and given how few people actually use these toolbars the sample sizes are woefully small and statistically insignificant. Further proof of this is the fact that Bulgaria is shown at Ultimte Motorcycling‘s top ranking country…yes, Bulgaria (we apologize to all 600 of our Bulgarian readers for this slight, but come on!).

The worst part about Alexa’s rankings, is how easy they are to game. Remember, these stats are coming from a toolbar that only a handful or readers are actually using, so to inflate them all you need to do is have a few more people visit your site using the toolbar. Having litterally two or three more people visiting Ultimate Motorcycling‘s website with the Alexa toolbar installed can drastically skew the data results the company uses, and for instance say…making someone’s writing staff install Alexa on their work computers could just as easily raise the traffic figures (not that we’re suggesting such an unethical thing has actually occured).

If you want a more accurate idea of how website traffic compares for your favorite motorcycle blogs, we’d recommend Compete.com since they generally have more palatable numbers. Though it often under-report figures, Compete seems to at least get the trends roughly correct (all these sites become more accurate as sites generate more traffic, again exemplifying the issue of small sample sizes), and is good for a general snapshot of how multiple sites compare to each other.

According to Compete, Ultimate Motorcycling has finally caught up to Cycle World, so kudos to them on that account! However Cycle World, despite being the largest motorcycle magazine in the United States, is one of the worst performing web properties in the motorcycle industry. Barely capable of keeping up with Sport Rider, a publication that enjoys maybe 1/5 of Cycle World‘s circulation, the real online heavyweight from the print guys is Motorcyclist, which often enjoys two to three times as many visitors as Cycle World, Sport Rider, and even the #1 ranked Ultimate Motorcycling.

Ultimate Motorcycling Claims To Be The Most Popular American Motorcycle Publisher Online   We Call Bullshit sportrider.com+motorcyclistonline.com+cycleworld.com uv

Another good free source is Quantcast, which is very similar to Compete.com, but will also allow sites to directly measure their traffic (Google Analytics is another example of direct measurement results). The downside with Quantcast is it will rank sites that are directly measured against sites that are indirectly measured. We’ve found Quantcast under-reports us by about 100% even using their measurement code, and up-to 1000% when indirectly measured (eeks!). But again the usuable data is really more about the trends and comparisions than raw numbers, when A&R doubled and then double again, Quantcast’s figures showed a similar increase. There does seem to be a fair amount of white noise in Quantcast and Compete’s figures, so again not optimal, but certainly better than Alexa which shows 50% fluctuations on even Ultimate Motorcycling‘s figures.

comScore is the gold standard in this field, but you have pay-to-play, and it is very expensive. Unless you are a major ad agency, you won’t be able to justify an account with comScore, so we’ll omit that comparison for now (if some one has a comScore account though, please post up the numbers!).

At the end of the day, the tale of the tape is in directly measured results from the same source, and the default winner in that category is Google Analytics. Harder to manipulate than server-side scripts and Urchin, Google is becoming the final word on traffic. So Ultimate Motorcycling, why don’t you release these figures, and we’ll see whose is bigger?

Comment:

  1. rliddell says:

    Little less talk and a lot more action. Motorcyclists don’t care who the most popular publisher is, so long as its published.

  2. frod says:

    I think this is the second or third time I heard of Ultimate Motorcycling and I haven’t heard any of the people I ride ever mentioning that site. I wonder how those number were added up.

  3. Brian Nitto says:

    Ultimate Who? Nothing like blowing smoke up the pervebal asses of everyone in the online community that’s involved in motorcycles. Sounds like a stunt to get recognized.

  4. Mike Werner says:

    Most print publications that manage a web site don’t understand the rules of the internet. They think it’s weak to mention their source via a link (like MCN did yesterday with one of my articles). But what they don’t understand is that by placing a link to their source, they go up in Google PR and therefore in searches, and therefore in readers.

    By ignoring this, you only get readers that come to your site on purpose, which is a very low rate. Those figures you show pale in comparison with real web sites (like yours,mine and other popular sites).

    Nice article

  5. Frank says:

    RT @Asphalt_Rubber: Ultimate Motorcycling Claims To Be The Most Popular American Motorcycle Publisher Online – We Call Bullshit – http://bit.ly/bHbSNS

  6. Bike EXIF says:

    RT @Asphalt_Rubber: Ultimate Motorcycling Claims To Be The Most Popular American Motorcycle Publisher Online – We Call Bullshit – http://bit.ly/bHbSNS

  7. lisar says:

    alexa puts you way down the list 57,000+ . you sound like a source loser.

  8. I could honestly care less about where Alexa ranks A&R, including if it ranked us 1st. You must have missed the point of this article, which was that Alexa is a completely unreliable source for website traffic ranking. I’m much more concerned with sources that actually create meaningful and reliable results…there’s a reason no one in tech uses Alexa, and it shows how much the print guys are strongly with the online game that they would even bring up the site during a conversation.

    As for sore losers, we know there’s sites larger than us…and we’re kind of ok with that. This article is not about A&R vs. UM, it’s about a bogus claim backed by unreliable data. UM has had some solid monthly growth, kudos to them (I believe I already said this?), but the “most popular ” website they are not.

    At the end of the day, we measure A&R against A&R. The reason this site grew 15%-50% each month this year is because we’re constantly evaluating our own internal metrics, looking for best practices throughout the blogsphere, and above all else willing to accept that we’re not perfect and constantly change this to serve our readers better.

  9. Tsanborn says:

    A&R by far blows UM out of the online waters… It is sad that a (formerly) reputable site would stoop to such a low attempt. The old saying gos, “if you need to tell someone how good you are, then your likely not that good”.

  10. Bear in mind that UM is probably mentioning their weekly Alexa rank, as their 3-month -which is the rank ALWAYS used when referring to Alexa- is 50,000+ ;) Plus, Alexa’s rankings are indicative, not a means to absolutely measure site traffic…

    What the A&R site could use to become more popular is perhaps a sorter name (i’m sure many mispell “asphalt”) and a faster server…

  11. tonyrusso says:

    This article by Jensen Beeler is totally unfounded! And the numbers on compete are not even close to our google numbers. According to Google Analytics, over the last 60-days, Ultimate Motorcycling had 807,760 visits and 1,635,420 Pageviews. We really appreciate our reader’s support and hope you enjoy our site. – If anybody wants to talk to the source,,, I’m can reached here at OnlineEditor@UltimateMotorcycling.com

  12. Unfounded because Alexa is such a reliable source? You’re welcome to that opinion Tony, but it’s going to be lonely one.

    I guess you missed the part in the article where I said Compete under-reports numbers, but the trends and relation to other sites are fairly credible. For example the fact that Motorcyclist shows nearly four times as much traffic as Ultimate Motorcycling is a credible statistic (by the way the Google Analytics figures you quote confirm how little traffic UM does compared to Motorcyclist). And like I said before, if you overlay your own traffic trends on top of Compete’s you’ll see similar rises and falls, confirming the validity in reading trends off Compete.

    Judging from the numerous typos in your comment though, I’m guessing detail-oriented behavior like actually reading an article is asking a bit much.

  13. Clubber Lang says:

    drago by second round kayo.