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.

MotoCzysz Fielding Two Bikes at the Isle of Man TT

05/18/2011 @ 11:04 am, by Jensen Beeler19 COMMENTS

MotoCzysz Fielding Two Bikes at the Isle of Man TT MotoCzysz E1pc Laguna Seca 635x374

Sources have been hinting that MotoCzysz had two bikes in the works for the upcoming TT Zero, and now we’ve gotten confirmation from the Portland, Oregon company that it will indeed be fielding two bikes at the Isle of Man TT. As with the past two years, Mark Miller will be at the helm of the MotoCzysz machine, but this year he will be joined by Michael Rutter on the second Czysz bike.

Mark Miller rode the MotoCzysz E1pc to victory last year during the TT Zero, while Rutter was a solid Top 10 contender in the Superbike, Superstock, and Senior TT classes. Though the Englishman has won 27 BSB Championship races, and competed in both MotoGP and World Superbike, this will be Rutter’s first foray into electric motorcycle racing.

Details are sketchy on MotoCzysz’s 2011 bike, though we imagine describing it as harder, better, faster, stronger wouldn’t be stretching reality too far. The news that MotoCzysz will have two bikes at the Isle of Man is certainly interesting, as the Oregonian company is clearly gunning for the 100mph mark, and the outright win.

Idle speculation on our part here at A&R would be that one bike will be a standard track/road course machine, while the other would be purpose-built for TT duty. We’ll have to wait and see if our hypothesis is correct, but you can be certain Michael Czysz is keen on keeping his TT Zero record intact.

Photo: MotoCzysz

Comment:

  1. Brammofan says:

    Cool. We were just discussing this over on the elmoto forum. I had heard that he had three bikes, but two sounds good. Best of luck to Mark Miller and Michael Rutter.

  2. dp says:

    My guess is that its a dustbin bike:

    http://www.asphaltandrubber.com/news/motoczysz-e1pc-dustbin-ready-iomtt/

    I can remember Czysz saying if they had built something that looks like a cigar, they could go well over 100 mph average. They just didn’t want to do that last year.

    Maybe they want to try that now.

  3. DeezToolz says:

    Haha, you said “idle speculation,” which is funny because electric bikes don’t idle.

    Cheeky baastid.

  4. Isaac Chavira says:

    I can’t wait until it gets unveiled next month. I hope it’s not a dustbin machine. The winds on the Island will blow that bike around like a paper aeroplane.

  5. deejay51 says:

    Top marks to MotoCzysz for what will be a huge effort to field two machines in the TTZero 2011 event.

    I would be amazed at a dustbin effort, no way, they are dangerous in cross winds and I was sure they had been outlawed by the FIM decades ago. However the TTXGP 2010 winning ‘Team Agni’ did enter one in TTZero 2010 here: http://www.deejay51.com/tt2010_tt_zero.htm

  6. "@Asphalt_Rubber: MotoCzysz Fielding Two Bikes at the Isle of Man TT – http://bit.ly/lnajgc #motorcycle"

  7. skadamo says:

    Confirmed RT @Asphalt_Rubber: MotoCzysz Fielding Two Bikes at the Isle of Man TT – http://aspha.lt/jl #motorcycle

  8. Jim Bob says:

    It would be very exciting to see Motocysz, Mission Motors, Brammo, and Lightning Motors at Laguna Seca this July.

    Motocysz was there last year. Will they be there again?

  9. Tom says:

    How can Motoczysz even compete at all? They’ve been around for years and never sold a single bike nor competed in a single season? Where is their cash flow?

  10. One does not have to sell bikes to make money.

  11. Jeram says:

    yep

    evertime they pass gas, the international motorcycle media swoops

    they get as much coverage as the big time stars

    there lies your income…. sponsorship

    they may also make income in the form of electric drive-train research grants

  12. Remind me: Would a dustbin fairing be legal under TT Zero rules?
    I’ve long been in support of freeing ‘prototype’ (ie: MotoGP) classes from fairing rules that are dated and arbitrary. Allowing unlimited aero freedom in those classes would help to differentiate them from production-based classes (ie: SBK).
    In the case of e-moto racing, it would probably serve to give the electric bikes a ‘futuristic’ look that might really capture fans’ attention.

    While we’re at it, though, it’s worth noting that the ridiculous drag coefficients that modern motorcycles are saddled with are not the only holdover from days when 100mph was fast. The overall shape of modern sport bikes in general – and telescopic front forks in particular – are probably what an engineer would choose for a single-track racing vehicle if he was starting from a clean sheet. Or, a screen without a single pixel on it…

    So far, electric motorcycle designers have almost without exception focused on the ‘electric’ part and taken the motorcycle for granted. We don’t just need freer rules. We need freer thinking.

  13. Brammofan says:

    Hi Mark. Yes, the TT Zero rules allow dustbins. “The rider must be completely visible from either side, except for the riders hands and forearms which may be obscured by bodywork.” Within that basic rule, a dustbin is possible.

  14. Mark says:

    @Mark Gardiner. I don’t really agree with your assertion that motorcycle development has been stagnated by the rules.
    Motorcycles are highly developed and refined animals. There are no rules limiting where the engine can be placed or where the rider is positioned, yet all of them place the rider and engine in almost exactly the same place. This didn’t happen by accident or convenience. Just look at how a small difference in weight balance or aerodynamics effects the overall performance of a bike.

    Rossi is having a heck of a time getting Ducati’s GP11 to perform properly, mainly because of a slightly more rearward weight bias due to the architecture of their L-Twin engine.
    Casey Stoner also had issues with the Ducati GP10 bike earlier last year when Ducati extended the fairing sides 2 inches further forward which made it much too sensitive and unstable in cross winds, they modified the fairing accordingly and the issue was solved. Imagine the effect of dramatically increasing the side area by using a dustbin fairing would have on the stability of a bike if only a couple of inches on the GP10 was enough to cause a problem.

    It also makes no difference if the bike is powered by an electric motor or a gas engine, a motorcycle is still a motorcycle, the dynamic forces are the same regardless.

  15. hoyt says:

    Good points from both Marks.

    Innovation would be opened up more if electrics for the track would be developed with a clean sheet. A good example, as Mark G mentioned, is the front suspension. Proper suspension should not be developed in a silo “next” to the motorcycle. It needs to be part of the whole development with the chassis and motor. For close to a century, almost all chassis design has been done from the steering neck to accommodate a tele. then the motor and rest of the chassis is included. (Example: http://moto2-usa.blogspot.com/ This motor will be integrated with the front-end and the rest of the chassis from the beginning.)

    Look at the weight savings James Parker has achieved with his latest GSX-RADD. Electrics are porky, so why has no one been working on an alternative front-end to help cut weight? Czysz has one, but it still involves a stout neck that is light due to cf.

    Mark G. -

    Did you mean to include a “” in this comment:
    “he overall shape of modern sport bikes in general – and telescopic front forks in particular – are probably “” what an engineer would choose for a single-track racing vehicle if he was starting from a clean sheet.

  16. hoyt says:

    oops…looks like I inadvertently used some html in my last sentence above. “Not”

  17. shallwedance? says:

    Rutter will win the race

  18. Mark says:

    hoyt, I agree, front suspension technology is an area with lot’s of room for improvement, electric drive or not. I was looking forward to Moto2 as a platform to develop some alternatives, instead they are using the same old racing mentality of making whats known to work a little better rather than using better, yet unproven technology.

  19. Dr. Gellar says:

    That’s a pretty big play by MotoCzysz to sign Michael Rutter to ride their 2011 E1pc. Even more so that last year, they are not messing around. My guess is that that 100mph average lap around the Isle of Man for the TT Zero event is going to be achieved this year. Even if the MotoCzysz team isn’t the one that gets it (first)…someone is going to.

    I’m with Jim Bob….I’m really hoping we get MotoCzysz, Lightning, Brammo and Mission (and hopefully some other surprises as well) to compete against each other at the Laguna Seca FIM e-Power/TTXGP race in July. To see all four teams on the same track together will be a lot of fun! Especially if some teams, like MotoCzysz and Lightning, enter two machines each. Be nice to get about 10-12 bikes on the track for the race, if that is possible.