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.

All You Need to Know About TTXGP at Infineon – Mission: Out – MotoCzysz: Out – Brammo: Doubtful

05/01/2010 @ 12:46 pm, by Jensen Beeler5 COMMENTS

All You Need to Know About TTXGP at Infineon   Mission: Out   MotoCzysz: Out   Brammo: Doubtful mission one motors infineon test 2 560x373

Even though the official TTXGP entry list isn’t due to be out until Monday morning, Asphalt & Rubber has been working hard to find out what electric motorcycle manufacturers would be at Infineon for the first round of TTXGP. We already expect Zero to show up on something that doesn’t rhyme with Ravizen, but what about Mission Motors, MotoCzysz, and Brammo? The answer to that question would be: no, no, and maybe…but probably not.

Even though Mission Motors tested their Mission One at Infineon, and signed early in the silly season to ride exclusivily with TTXGP, the San Franciscan company is going to be a no-show at Infineon. Citing their focus on getting the Mission One into production, it looks like we won’t see Mission at many races as the company balances priorities. The good news though is that Mission has tipped us off that they wil be debuting a new race bike later in the season. Mission Motors would neither confirm nor deny that the new race bike would be based off their second-generation street bike, which we’ve dubbed the “Mission Two”. More on this as we get it.

An additional no-show at Infineon will be MotoCzysz, which is blaming Infineon’s race date as being to close to the team’s ship date for TT Zero, the Isle of Man TT’s zero-emission race that sarts June 1st. TTXGP has been purposefully scheduling events on top of other competing racing events, TT Zero being just one of these instances.

Brammo is the only remaining question mark from the big electric four, and the only company that hasn’t made it’s racing intentions clear. The Ashland, Oregon company, the last time we talked to them, was indecisive about racing this season, and with zero time left on pulling the trigger for Infineon, we’re not expecting a Brammo (or Best Buy) tent at the Sonoma track.

While each team has their reasons to obstain from what was expected to be one of only a few gatherings of competitive teams in electric motorcycle racing, we think the final reason comes down to time and money, commodities all startups are in short supply of. This development does bring into question if it’s too soon for a full-blown electric motorcycle racing series, and whether or not the current situation is encouraging growth in the industry, and putting this budding sport in a positive light.

As we like to say here, only time will tell.

Comment:

  1. KLS says:

    “…whether or not the current situation is encouraging growth in the industry, and putting this budding sport in a positive light.”

    For an industry to grow there has to be consumption. Electric bikes have been around for decades and it was past time for something to prompt their production and innovation. The best way to do so is racing–at least when it comes to our two-wheeled sports.

    Every motorcyclist I know thinks of themselves as more creative, more innovative, and more forward-thinking than car drivers. If we weren’t, we wouldn’t be riding! As such, I know that electric racing is pushing the envelope of technology and setbacks are bound to happen. We don’t have car executives building these racebikes, we have engineers. Engineers make progress by trying stuff and improving what breaks. It’s not pretty to watch but as a result we have a whole new type of competition in racing. When was the last time that happened in >>any<< motorsport?

  2. All You Need to Know About TTXGP at Infineon – Mission: Out – MotoCzysz: Out – Brammo: Doubtful – http://bit.ly/9284OF #motorcycle

  3. Brammofan says:

    RT @Asphalt_Rubber: All You Need to Know About TTXGP at Infineon – Mission: Out – MotoCzysz: Out – Brammo: Doubtful – http://bit.ly/9284OF

  4. skadamo says:

    RT @torkindia @Asphalt_Rubber All You Need to Know About TTXGP at Infineon Mission: Out MotoCzysz: Out Brammo: Doubt.. http://bit.ly/9284OF.

  5. Odie says:

    As much as I would like to see electric bike racing, it seems to me the electric bike industry just isn’t quite ready yet. I also think the racing is too fractured.

    A number of years ago, there was a huge push for fuel cell engines for cars. People touted it as THE solution for the next generation of car power. It turned out to be a lot harder than anyone anticipated and a lot of promises were made that could not be filled and the whole movement pretty much stopped dead in it’s tracks.

    I just hope that this doesn’t happen to electric bikes. I thought TTXGP on the Isle of Man was a good start, but a full season of events maybe too much for these fledgling companies to pull off if they want to make and, most importantly, sell electric bikes.