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.

Chip Yates Electric Race Bike Practices at Infineon

12/16/2010 @ 11:20 am, by Jensen Beeler17 COMMENTS

Chip Yates Electric Race Bike Practices at Infineon Chip Yates SWIGZ Infineon Raceway test 635x416

Asphalt & Rubber was on-hand yesterday for first testing of the SWIGZ.COM electric race bike, which is being put together and piloted by Chip Yates and his crew. Getting blessed with a perfect California winter’s day, we only had to wait for Infineon Raceway, which is becoming the venue of choice for electric motorcycle race teams, to dry out from the previous night’s rain before the sunny 54° F temperature allowed Yates to get on the track. Taking eight laps in the afternoon, Yates ran the SWIGZ bike without the highly anticipated front KERS components, which will be the same configuration the bike will use when racing against the gasoline powered v-twins in the WERA Pirelli Sportsman Heavyweight Twins Superbike class later in January.

With the SWIGZ bike showing more than ample power in the straightaway, the electric race bike “exceeded all my expectations” said an enlighted Yates when he finished his last session. The first shakedown test on a track, Yates was also pleased with the bike having no mechanical failures during the sessions, giving him a vote of confidence for January’s race, which will see the SWIGZ race team contend against Ducati 1198 and KTM 1190 RC8 R superbikes.

Not likely to win many beauty contests, the SWIGZ race bike looks like the bastard red-headed electric step-child from a Hayabusa and European pizza delivery scooter, with its 180 lbs of batteries stashed in a box that sits right around where the pillion would be.

While it might not make it into the MOMA anytime soon, the electric racing machine might have a spot in Carnegie Hall waiting for it, as the 747-style whir from the motor, re-gen, and wheels was music to our ears (on more than a few occasions this writer looked up at the sky wondering if a jumbo jet was going by, when in fact it was the SWIGZ bike closing in out in the distance).

One lap from Yates should silence any discussions about electric bikes not sounding cool (no pun intended), and get an entire generation raised with Star Wars excited about the future of electric motorsports.

Like all the heavyweight electric race bikes, cornering seems to be a challenge, especially through the tight chicane at Turn 9. With Fontana (Auto Club Speedway) having two long straights though, this tradeoff between power and maneuverability will likely be less of an issue come race day in January. Yates hopes to finish mid-pack in the WERA race, and will be making calls over the holidays to make sure some stiff competition shows up at the event.

Photos: © 2010 Jensen Beeler / Asphalt & Rubber – Creative Commons – Attribution 3.0

Comment:

  1. Dantheautomator says:

    So, no KERS on that testing ?
    :-o

  2. Dantheautomator says:

    sorry I wrote the previous comment just looking at the pics. Reading that Chip decided not to use the KERS is weird, any explanation ?

  3. Ted Shred says:

    180lbs in the pizza box?? I hope that’s a typo. That much weight on the back of a bike would make it handle like a GL1800 :-(

  4. Not a typo Ted.

    Dantheautomator, the WERA race is only 6 laps or so (going from memory here, it might 8 laps), so KERS wouldn’t be needed for that race. It’s also my understanding the KERS needs some more development before it’s ready for prime time.

  5. Christian says:

    I have no words for this.

  6. Ed Gray says:

    180 lbs on the pillion, and he’s having trouble changing directions! Gee there’s a surprise. The handling has to be wretched. The rider is going to have their hands full if he loses traction. I predict no mild highsides.

  7. Rolf says:

    Yates should look at the engine and battery placement of the Brammo Empulse (www.brammo.com), maybe he can use some ideas to get that center of gravity down. You can clearly see in the video that he is fighting the top-heavy machine.

    Cool vid, cool project, keep the stream coming! Really interested in how Chip will do against the gassers.

  8. Electric is lame, in my opinion, unless you are a tree hugging, antidrilling, left wing wackjob. Two strokes are the obvious answer because they are light weight and high power. Erik Buell, please join Bombardier and stuff one of their clean burning (low emissions) direct injection two strokes in your superb handling bikes. Those guys down under (Two Stroke Store) are getting my attention with that 1100 two stroke Triple that they are working on and plan to stuff in a ZX10 Kawasaki frame. Those guys really have cojones!

  9. skadamo says:

    Flaunt those batteries! Awesome. RT @Asphalt_Rubber: Chip Yates Electric Race Bike Practices at Infineon – http://bit.ly/i2FaZ1 #motorcycle

  10. gnmac says:

    Alfonso Rodrigues – A-FREAKIN’-MEN!! F*** electric bikes, especially this fatso which happens to be the only bike uglier than that fugly Ducati Diavel!!

  11. wbkr says:

    Ducati Diavel is the prom queen compared to this thing. Kill it with fire.

  12. Damo says:

    “Electric is lame, in my opinion, unless you are a tree hugging, antidrilling, left wing wackjob.”

    Seriously? Are you typing that in your mom’s basement while listening to Glen Beck cry on the radio? j/k

    All kidding aside, I will personally go where the performance/cost viability is. If electric bikes with 170+ horsepower, 100 mile travel range and a quick recharge option start showing up on showroom floor for a reasonable price…..I will get in line for one.

    I would miss the rumble of my Rotax V60, but a bike that sounds like a TIE fighter fly-by would cool I supposed.

  13. Chris says:

    Gotta love these guys slamming electric bikes I”m sure the Wright brothers had people like this in their time. Bet none of them could even come close to riding any bike to its potential.

  14. Damo says:

    @Chris

    I think much of problem people have is not being able to separate a political agenda from a technology advancement.

    I personally would love electric bikes to thrive, and not for any environmental reasons. I have worked directly with small electric motor development and the amount power and efficiency that these things can put out is astounding.

    Batteries however, need to tons of work to fit into the equation, but with the steps being taken in lithium-ion polymer battery development, electric bikes might be closer than everyone thinks.

  15. Dear Mister Rodriguez:
    Having read your most recent missive, I must strongly protest. Rather, it is these new-fangled gas-o-leen powered contraptions that are, in my esteemed opinion, a wretched blight on the lanes and byways that run through and connect our humble townes and villages. Can thou deny that they are only owned and operated by scoundrels and blackguards, for they be not unlike a one-legged man in their lameness? Two-horse teams are the only answer because they consume less hay and produce fewer tonnes of equine feces per mile traveled. Henry Ford, please join the Busch family and hitch a two-horse team of their finest Clydesdales to your noisy “Model T”. Those beer vendors truly have the heft of voluminous balls, in, of course, the figurative sense.
    As for the suggestion that a vehicle could somehow be put into motion by that self-same power that God himself shows us in a bolt of lightning . . . well you and Mr. Benjamin Franklin should just go out and fly some sort of kite in a lightning storm. Perhaps He will strike you down for your blasphemy.

    Yr. humble servant,
    Capt. James Horsebreeder
    Signed by my own hand, this 17th day of December, (unreadable year), in the year of Our Lord.

  16. gnmac says:

    Hell, motorcycles are about the noise and sheer badass-edness…Yates’ bike looks like a fat 80′s w/ an oversized LV trunk wrapped in a tarp hanging off of its ass…I’m sure all the MotoGP, SBK, Harley-Rebelson, Cafe Racer, etc fans would love this…this is your future, an ugly donkey with an ass the size of J-Lo!

  17. Dr. Gellar says:

    @ gnmac and other haters…

    Do you really think future electric racing motorcycles will look like this bike?!? This bike does not represent the future, but the present…and is the result of Yates’ no compromise approach to obtaining maximum horsepower in an electric road-racing motorcycle despite the limitations of modern batteries as a power supply. Yeah…it’s currently heavy, and yeah, it isn’t the prettiest electric racer out there…but already in a very short period of time Yates is proving it to be effective so far (can you say “240hp”). With more time, money and development…the bike will only get better, faster….and likely prettier.