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.

2014 Kawasaki Ninja RR – A 250cc Single-Cylinder for Asia

02/16/2014 @ 6:29 pm, by Aakash Desai16 COMMENTS

2014 Kawasaki Ninja RR   A 250cc Single Cylinder for Asia 2014 Kawasaki Ninja 250SL RR 03 635x400

Let’s see, what would be an ideal motorcycle for tackling the treacherous roads, unending traffic and inclement weather conditions of a typical Asian city?

You want a bike that is lightweight, easy to maneuver and doesn’t put too much of a traction burden on mounds of slippery cow manure. You also want a bike that is torquey to get you out of the way of juggernaut garbage trucks that won’t stop no matter what gets in their way.

With these characteristics in mind, the newly revealed Kawasaki Ninja RR (or Kawasaki Ninja 250SL in some markets) seems tailored made for these environments.

The Japanese company took their popular twin-cylinder Kawasaki Ninja 250R, changed it to a single-cylinder thumper, and built the bike around a new steel trellis frame.

The downside: a deficit in power (compared to the normal 250) of 3.9 hp, but a increase in torque of 1.2 lbs•ft. The best part is is that the Kawasaki Ninja 250SL / Kawasaki Ninja RR weighs about 46 pounds lighter than the parallel-twin Ninja 250.

While this bike will be no match for the KTM 390cc bikes in terms of power-to-weight or torque-to-weight, it should be a practical and smarter choice for those looking for a lightweight runabout. No word on whether Kawasaki intends to bring this bike to other markets.

2014 Kawasaki Ninja RR   A 250cc Single Cylinder for Asia 2014 Kawasaki Ninja 250SL RR 01

2014 Kawasaki Ninja RR   A 250cc Single Cylinder for Asia 2014 Kawasaki Ninja 250SL RR 02

2014 Kawasaki Ninja RR   A 250cc Single Cylinder for Asia 2014 Kawasaki Ninja 250SL RR 04

2014 Kawasaki Ninja RR   A 250cc Single Cylinder for Asia 2014 Kawasaki Ninja 250SL RR 05

2014 Kawasaki Ninja RR   A 250cc Single Cylinder for Asia 2014 Kawasaki Ninja 250SL RR 06

Source: TMC Blog

Comment:

  1. avsatishchandra says:

    When you say that Kawasaki took the Ninja 250 R and cut out one of the cylinders, are you not telling an incorrect story? If that is true then it means that the new Ninja ZX RR Mono or Ninja 250 SL is a 125cc motorcycle. And building a new trellis frame would suggest that this is a totally new motorcycle. The engine is new (not just one cylinder cut out or two of the twins combined together) and frame is new (not the diamond type which is on the Ninja 250 R) so perhaps the bike can be considered all new? But what is with the ZX RR naming? Last I knew ZX RR was used on the bike that spearheaded Kawasaki’s MotoGP effort. What made Kawasaki use that nomenclature on this bike is a mystery to me.

  2. taikebo says:

    This is actually a replacement bike for 2-stroke Ninja RR for south east Asian market. The engine is not all new, but it is the (almost) same engine that is used in D-Tracker 250. The price of this bike is about $1000 cheaper than Ninja 250. I think this bike will be sold worldwide because it’s designed by Japanese engineers & it appears in Kawasaki website.

  3. Wei Lieh says:

    There seems to be too much overlap between the current parallel twin and this new single cylinder 250.

    Possibly, the parallel twin 250 will be discontinued moving forward and replaced by bigger CC’s – think 300 and up to challenge the onslaught of small CC bikes (KTM Duke 390, Pulsar 400SS etc).

    Yes, it won’t be able to take on the KTM Duke 390, but then that job will be left to the Ninja 300 surely?

  4. Andrew says:

    I’m puzzled as to what niche is this bike supposed to fill, given that Kawasaki already have a small Ninja – both in 300 *and* 250cc version.

  5. paulus says:

    The launches show the intended market… Indonesia, then Thailand, Malaysia and possibly India.
    It is a replacement for the ninja 150… a 2 stroke of old.

  6. Skips says:

    @andrew in SE Asia it is designed to replace the (very popular) 2stroke ninja 150rr. This new bike is significantly lighter, shorter in wheelbase, and slimmer than the current ninja 250. All that combined makes this bike very attractive for the Asian market, and it has been recieved enthusiatically.

    Also I won’t be surprised if this doesn’t make it to some market such as North America and Europe.

    I live in Indonesia and ride the Z250. If this bike was available back when i bought mine, i would’ve gotten it instead.

    Fyi, if you go to Indonesian blogs like tmcblog.com you can see pictures of the media trackday. The bike looks just the right size when ridden by the blogger, and he’s a very short guy, like 160cm ish. It’s a SMALL bike.

  7. paulus has the right idea here.

  8. Ian john says:

    Is it me or does it have a comparably higher (used to seeing) ground clearance.
    Cue new zx10…..

  9. Norm G. says:

    for some reason I’m hungry for Skittles.

  10. Jw says:

    I would think this single cylinder model to replace a 2 stroke will get better fuel economy and provide less ownership costs. The sound of this bike will be much better too. I say it’s a home run.

  11. donno says:

    while the 250SL is a nice bike, the Ninja 150RR superKIPS (last prod date 12/2013 in malaysia) is a very2 well loved bike. It has surely the sweetest production 2 stroke on the road engine. The tiny trouble free 150cc giving out nearly 35hp while burning only 1litre of 2t oil every 1500km (yes not a typo). Will be missed by a lot of people here in South East Asia…

  12. paulus says:

    It’s all about emissions… Asia has committed to going Euro 4, then Euro 5
    Coupled with government incentives linked to less emissions/eco-vehicles… the poor 2-stroke (in its current incarnation) is not in favour.

  13. SaiKamalDoss says:

    Its not a new engine… It’s the same old KLX250 engine lol same old medicine in new wrapper.. :D

    Check the specs of both Lol its the same and even the engine looks the same extra few cosmetics…

  14. SaiKamalDoss says:

    Asia money value Is low and fuel cost is too high and people always look for a sensible buy… I own CBR as I am ready to sacrifice some power for fuel, reliability & maintenance cost in the long run.. Mainly most Indians go for KM/L than KM/H as I have done 157km/h on my CBR and that happens only when i am on the highway.. Rest of the time I will be around 70 or 80 and on a busy day I don’t want a high revving engine that keeps asking for more when I am in traffic wearing a formal dress.. So middle aged men prefer next level of what boys would and Boys only look for looks and top speed as they have nothing to worry. Tho I am from india , even in China and other Asian countries its the same.. So when you are trying to sell a bike, you look for bigger market than the performance segment. That is why even Honda never bothered about what people say and they kept selling km/l bike.. Even CBR1000RR is “THE” performance bike of the company is still turned for km/l as its the best km/l bike in its class. And sacrifice power running lower compression when other are running hot.. Just for the reliability factor.. But they prove it where it really matters in MSMA. The only problem with CBR250R is the rocker arm.. Honda did it for ease of maintenance and would be cheaper. But unfortunately, most customers spend a fortune getting it fixed as Asian mechanics are not keen in using right shim resulting in engine noise and if they complain, mechanic uses a over size which damages the engine and they end up buying new can, rocker and shims :/ hope this comes with bucket valves like in CBR150R and Ninja250,300R.. Even duke390 engine noise is because of the rocker.. :/

  15. BBQdog says:

    Seems that dry weight is on the same level as the KTM RC 390.

  16. Ted Hamilton says:

    If Kawasaki had introduced this for the ninja 250 restyle a few years back instead of the current 250 twin with turd dash and skinny tires, I’d have purchased this. But don’t mind me — I’m just a bitter Suzuki fan forced to ride a CBR250 because my beloved blue and white doesn’t make such an offering… Maybe I repaint this blue and white since KawaZukis were the same thing a few years back…