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.

In the Future, Will You Even Wear a Helmet?

01/07/2013 @ 5:29 pm, by Jensen Beeler20 COMMENTS

In the Future, Will You Even Wear a Helmet? Human Head Motorcycle Helmet 635x350

Here at Asphalt & Rubber, we spend some pixels talking about the finer points of helmet usage, especially when it comes to the debate regarding mandatory helmet laws. Looking at helmets from 50 years ago, and the basic concept hasn’t changed all that much in the time since.

A hard shell, some impact material, and a soft lining mated to a visor and chin-strap system, over the last half-century most of the improvements to the basic helmet design have been for added fit and comfort, or cheaper and lighter materials — even the more creative and innovative designs that are being hocked around the internet right now don’t stray far from the current concept.

Think 50 years ahead though, and it is hard to imagine the same shapes and designs staying constant. In fact, it becomes even possible to imagine motorcyclists wearing not helmets at all. No, I am not talking about some sort of libertarian movement that will rush through our political system, freeing us from the shackles of big government. Instead, I am talking about the true next-generation of safety devices for the gray matter that resides between your ears, which might put the mandatory helmet law debate to rest (well…probably not).

The (r)evolution I am talking about here is the advent of active body protection systems, the most primitive form being the ubiquitous airbag. Already being used on the race tracks of MotoGP, WSBK, and even the AMA, we see the use of airbag systems in racing suits of companies like Alpinestars and Dainese, and it won’t be much longer until airbag system for street use will readily be available to consumers as well.

It is not hard then to see the writing on the wall for motorcycle safety apparel, as the rate of progress in regards to the development of the current helmet design has so obviously plateaued out, while the pace of development for active body protection systems is increasing rapidly.

While it might be easier to develop and incorporate an airbag into a rider’s jacket, the logical progression of the solution to a rider’s head is not far off. Already exploring the concept for human-powered two-wheelers, some Swedish entrepreneurs have developed a stylish solution for bicycle riders (checkout the video below). Is it so hard to imagine something similar being developed for motorcycles in the next fifty years? A decade seems more like it.

Source: Hövding

Comment:

  1. Lindz says:

    The problem with an “invisible helmet” in a motorcycle application is that at higher speeds, you need the hard shell areas of your gear to deflect energy and allow you to slide, just as much as you need the soft layers and absorb energy to reduce impact.

    On a bicycle where you’d experience speeds of what, 30 mph max on average(?) you can get away with passive safety items that are soft and purely absorb an impact.

    Without going too far into this, I’d predict that an “invisible helmet” might be a legal alternative one day and I could see it’s use on cruiser bikes. Hell, having that as a legal alternative to a hard shell helmet would be great. But on a sport(y)bike with high speeds involved I don’t think we’ll get away from the formula of hard shell/absorption material/soft liner.

  2. Isaac (Spektre76) says:

    I really cannot understand why there is a fuss about helmets in the first place! I know, I know the HOG riders want to “Ride Free” but let’s get real folks. Your brain is a precious thing. Do you really want your children growing up with out you? I ride a Harley and I wear my helmet and all other associated safety gear. I guess you can’t tech common sense.

  3. paulus - Thailand says:

    The helmet has not changed becasue the head has not changed. it needs some help when bouncing at speed.

    I just don’t agree with the article, if anything safety systems are becoming more expansive. We wear more today than any time before (with the exception of knights). The last 30 years has seen a massive increase in wearable protection. Full race leathers used on the road, spin protectors, proper boots and gloves, knee braces, neck braces, airbags.

  4. Kevin says:

    I love creativity and science. Passionate enthusiasm isn’t bad either.

    I believe that impact sensitive gels that can “adapt” their dampening
    ability already exist but might be costly. Outer shells have already been
    proven to be more than effective even when thinner and lighter. What is
    stopping their from being a lightweight “adaptive” gel, smaller helmet
    with a thinner interior mass that forms to you? Change is hard.

  5. Keith says:

    If memory serves at least one sci-fi novel has already presented the idea…it’s called Snowcrash. Good book, even has a side car with a nuke in it. ;) But no thanks a helmet does more than protect against crashes…you get over about 35 for any length of time and that wind in the hair sucks and bugs HURT! So does gravel etc.

  6. Andrew says:

    You want creativity and science? Fine: why stuff around with helmets at all, I propose genetically re-engineering the human body so when threatened with collision we can draw our heads and other extremities in. Like turtles do :)

  7. Alex MacPherson says:

    It is good to see people pushing the limits of what’s possible. There are lots of other factors to look at with motorcycles of course. Yes the helmet protects in a crash but it also protects from the elements, road debris, bugs, rain ect.
    I am sure in the next 20 years there will be all kinds of innovations with new technologies… nanotechnology ect. for motorcycle safety.
    Hats off to the Swedish girls for leading the way!

  8. Jay says:

    I like the idea for a bicycle and I agree with the women that bicycle helmets feel cumbersome. However, on a motorcycle I want to wear a helmet. It keeps my head warm and I need the eye protection a full-face helmet with a face shield gives me.

  9. TexusTim says:

    Buy a good helmet,use it and survive most crashes…do the oposite and your going to get hurt or worse die….that being said I dont want anymore goverment agency’s telling me what to do.

  10. RandyS says:

    There *have* been some big advancements in helmets in the last 50 years, but so far they are proprietary and thus not very widespread. For instance, SuperSkin, which reduces rotational energy in a crash:
    http://www.lazerhelmets.com/innovations/superskin/

  11. Robert Chase says:

    Despite the neat technology modern helmets provide more than just crash protection. They are wind and noise protection as well as protection from the rain. Even if they were able to perfect the modern technology so that it would actually protect you better than a helmet many people would not adopt those technologies because they dont provide wind, noise and rain protection. :)

  12. Damo says:

    I wear a helmet not just for safety, but to keep bugs out of my grill.

    @Keith

    Snowcrash is awesome.

  13. Daniel Croft says:

    @RandyS – I wouldn’t call that a big advance at all. It’s an evolutionary change to the base design that’s been around, almost unchanged, for a ridiculous length of time.

    In other markets, technology has advanced (D3o for example, and other impact attenuation materials that are capable of dissipating energy and are multiple use, not to mention lower profile) to the point that it’s affecting the materials and profiles of helmets that people are using and yet the motorcycle helmet market has remained largely static. Why?

    It’s a proven design but only proven to work in certain circumstances. It’s much easier for manufacturers to avoid legal entanglements but sticking to what’s known than invest in new technology when we’re all still happily buying the thing that requires no R&D.

    I’m not saying that these other technologies are necessarily better but there seems to be no effort to explore these technologies to provide a lower profile, lighter weight and equally (or, ideally, better) protective solution.

    Clearly just IMO. :-)

  14. Bruce says:

    I’m willing to try new technology if it is practical and reasonably priced. That said, an invisible helmet fixes a problem I don’t have. As stated above the hard shell provides a layer of safety not available with a soft system, and the modern full face helmet protects from the elements; sun, rain, debris, cold, heat, etc. Helmets provide a unique look, and whether riders will admit or not, a fashion statement of sorts, otherwise they would all be white. Also, with all the smoked and mirrored shields, a level of anonymity.

  15. JET057 says:

    This article from jensen beeler makes me think that you guys are loosing your edge,by researching and contacting the major helmet company’s out there jensen would have written at the stride’s that have been done instead of what he was trying to say whiich is ????????

  16. MikeD says:

    Lindz took the words out of my mouth, thanks for saving this lazy as some extra typing. lol.

  17. Oh God not this again PLEASE!

    If you don’t want to wear a helmet, please cut your head off and leave it at home.

    The balloon defense system would only work if it inflated before impact, it’s the initial impact that does the majority of the damage in most road accidents. So what you would need is a system like an airbag, that would sense the initial impact and inflate before that impact.

    What motorcycle riders really need, is a MAD defense, that’s Mutually Assured Destruction for you post Cold War kids. You can achieve this on a motorcycle by attaching Claymore mines http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M18_Claymore_mine to the front rear and sides of your motorcycle, creating multiple kill zones with these shaped charges. That way when some inattentive driver nails you, the mine explodes and takes out everyone in the offending vehicle.

    Very shortly the word will get around, hit a motorcycle, you and your whole family die. Then those in four-wheel vehicles will developed a healthy fear of creaming a bike and do anything to avoid that lethal impact. I predict a marked drop in car collisions with motorcycles, but of course the death rate from those who accidentally dropped their bike will rise significantly. lol

  18. pooch says:

    I dunno, they’re talking about bulk and being uncomfortable, that is one mother of a overstuffed scarf they are wearing. Maybe in Sweden it’s a more realistic proposition than for those who live in hot climates like me. The idea though is cool, a bit lower profile and it would be a winner. but in it’s present form, I simply can’t imagine putting that huge collar on, on a hot day.

  19. CTK says:

    I am OK with wearing a helmet. I think advances will enable helmets to get lighter and maybe more aerodynamic (think golf ball dimples), but I don’t think the form will change much. Remember you are talking about a community that still clings desperately to the telescoping fork and complains bitterly about even incremental change. The motorcycle world is not a place for bold ingenuity. Hell at this point I would be happy with Scorpion re-releasing their high viz colorways for lower end helmets.