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.

Mission Motorcycles: The Mission R Lives??!

05/07/2013 @ 4:20 pm, by Jensen Beeler21 COMMENTS

Mission Motorcycles: The Mission R Lives??! Mission Motorcycles Teaser 635x400

Mission Motors tweeted out something interesting just a moment ago, a link to a new website for Mission Motorcycles. Teasing there a photo of the Mission R, it would seem that the electric superbike that does competitive AMA Supersport lap times at Laguna Seca, is finally set to come to production.

The stars have been aligning these past few months for such an occasion, with rumors that an old Mission Motors investor was back in the mix, and looking to bring the Mission R to production. You may recall that Mission Motors made a course correction away from the two-wheeled world, focusing instead on supplying the automotive world with electric-drive components.

That change of course saw the departure of two Mission Motors founders, and the heartbreak of two-wheeled enthusiasts, petrol and electric alike, who wished to see the Mission R come to market. With layoffs reported at the San Franciscan startup just six months ago, it would seem more changes are afoot for the EV company, but we think you will like the sound of this.

It seems we won’t know everything about the new Mission Motorcycles project until June 3rd, though we can speculate pretty accurately on what the A&R Bothan spy network has been telling us. Expect to see the Mission R electric superbike in street legal trim, honed even further than when we rode the machine back in August last year.

In addition to the Mission R, expect to see other models in the company’s line-up, as well as additional trim levels for would-be owners. Yeah, that got our attention too, and should make Mission Motorcycles more palatable to dealers looking for a little EV on their showroom floors.

From the look of things, our assumption is that Mission Motorcycles will be a separate entity from Mission Motors, with the latter continuing its EV powertrain gig, while the prior focuses on the two-wheeled world. One can imagine that there will be a close-knit relationship however, with R&D going back and forth between the two groups. This is all speculation though.

What we do know from talking to Mission Motorcycles’s President Mark Seeger is that Mission intends to bring something never-yet seen before to the two-wheeled space, electric or otherwise. We expect that to mean something on the software-side of things, one of Mission Motors’s core competencies, but we will have to wait and see to be certain.

Start shaking out your pocketbooks now folks. More information as we get it.

Photos of the Mission R Electric Superbike:

Source: Mission Motorcycles; Photos: © 2012 Scott Jones / Scott Jones Photography – All Rights Reserved

Comment:

  1. Dicey says:

    Hopefully there is a race program to go along with his announcement.

  2. C’mon you guys. I don’t want to nit-pick, but it’s ‘close-knit’. That’s, uh, lousy grammar.

  3. It’s something, that’s for sure.

  4. The James Parker latest front-end has been seen before but never in production, so could a FFE be in the works, too?

    It seems logical for heavy electric bikes to want to cut weight such as the 22 pounds that Parker cut out of the stock GSX-R when he modified it to accept his RADD front-end.

    22 POUNDS

    Either way, this is very good news since Mission has the performance & style to change the E-bike scene for the better. A lot is riding on style not only for Mission but the entire ebike scene considering where they are in the marketplace and how long it’s taken to get there.

  5. ML says:

    I just bought a 1199 S. I think I already have buyers remorse. =(

  6. Ken C. says:

    The only decision I have to make is which kidney to sell.

  7. Chaz Michael Michaels says:

    E motorcycles in general seem like the wrong answer. Is there not a logical step being being missed? Is there less merit in developing great gasoline powered sportbikes that can get 75, 100mpg? Shouldn’t that step be explored first?

    Why not start with development a remarkable and fuel efficient motorcycle? (I’m looking at you Aprilia RSV4). I would find that more exciting.

    Wouldn’t there be way more utility and benefit to the environment if somebody were working on a sportbike that could get 100 mpg? Shouldn’t that be the way forward?

    Because I just don’t follow the logic. Sportbikes getting around 25-30mpg is bad…solution? go electric. huh?

  8. Chaz Michael Michaels says:

    E Bikes are a great idea though, don’t get me wrong.

  9. Damo says:

    @Chaz

    I usually don’t, but I am in 100% agreement with you.

  10. The early-adopters might be in it for the fuel-savings and the green-cred, and I agree that when my Ducati Streetfighter gets over 40 mpg on a regular basis, I’m not looking for improvement on fuel, costs, etc.

    I am always on the lookout for a better performing bike, or a motorcycle that is “more fun” to ride than my last. You’ll have to take my word for it, as I’m one of the few people in this world who have ridden bikes like the Mission R and the MotoCzysz E1pc, but once you ride a proper e-bike, you really won’t want to ride another petrol-machine.

    With gas bikes we always talk about throttle response, power delivery, flat torque curves, chassis feedback…e-bikes by their very definition are superior to gas bikes in this regard. Riding even the Zeros and Brammos, you can get a taste of what I’m talking about.

    It’s not about going green, it’s about going faster.

  11. KEVIN says:

    why would you want one? electric get a life!

  12. AlexOnTwoWheels says:

    Any of the people in this thread that aren’t excited about this must have never been for a ride or driven a Tesla Model S. If you had experienced the gut wrenching force with which electric drivetrains can accelerate, your erection would be ripping your jeans just like mine is at the mere though of this bike being available on the street!

  13. meatspin says:

    i’d like to get an electric bike someday. I just have such a long history with ICEs that its a bit of a hard sell.

    What I think it is, is that I am simply in love with the smell of gasoline.

    I probably have cancer.

  14. Damo says:

    When a company comes out with an electric bike that weighs about as much as a 2005 era liter bike, has a 150 miles range, has a sub 12 second 1/4 mile, a less than two hour recharge and costs less than $15,ooo USD, I WILL BUY IT IN A SECOND.

    I would love to ride a proper E-bike, but there aren’t even any dealers or demo rides I can find in the Northeast.

  15. Westward says:

    Why do one at the exclusion of the other?

    I’m sure there is a company out there attempting to boost the fuel efficiency of motorcycle engine. But that is not what Mission does. They do electric and that should be where their attention is focused. Let some other company deal with fuel efficient petro engines…

    I have been looking seriously into a Zero Motorcycle. It seems perfect for me as a city commuter. Just trying to justify it vs. another Ducati, or a MV Agusta F3.

    I definitely want an electric motorbike. Just don’t believe they should cost $15k, more like less than $10K. Unfortunately, I feel the prices were factored by including the governmental incentives…

  16. protomech says:

    @Chaz Bike fuel economy can certainly be improved, to a point. Bike engines are typically optimized for power to weight ratios; when you accept a slightly less powerful engine like the NC700′s, then you can get very good fuel economy (~65 mpg) even on a somewhat larger bike.

    There are some innovative non-piston engine types that *claim* increased fuel economy. Otto-cycle piston engines are dominant in the marketplace because they work well and they’re well understood, but I’d certainly like to see new engine types trialed.

    Focusing on aerodynamics could get us to 100+ mpg in a relatively comfortable bike. May be coupled with a lower feet-first riding position. Competitors in Craig Vetter’s fuel economy challenge use aerodynamic fairings that can give 140+ mpg in real world highway riding. Monotrace makes an aerodynamic full-cabin bike that is extremely slick (and extremely expensive), but at that point you’re basically riding in a two wheeled car.

  17. protomech says:

    @Damo

    Zero has a number of dealers in the northeast along the coast. May or may not be one close to you.
    http://www.zeromotorcycles.com/locator/

    Couple in MD, southern PA, NYC, southern ME.

  18. Dr. Gellar says:

    I share the same thoughts as Dicey and Drive The Wheels Off… I hope at some point soon there will be a race program from Mission Motorcycles if they do indeed begin to produce motorcycles, and that such a racer might utilize a RADD front suspension system (especially if James Parker continues to be involved with Mission). I feel electric GP bikes provide a great potential platform for experimenting with different front suspensions (as MotoCzysz has been doing), and as DTWO points out with the RADD front suspension….a 22lbs weight savings is huge.

  19. George says:

    Have you seen their latest website update?? That user interface dash looks… amazing!!! Finally, for motorcycles!! :D Woohoo!!!

    http://www.mission-motorcycles.com

  20. The dash interface was great when I saw it, though hard to read in the daylight (Samsung Tablet was being used), and not too functional.

    http://www.asphaltandrubber.com/wp-content/gallery/mission-motors-mission-r-ride-review/mission-motors-mission-r-test-ride-36.jpg

    Looks like it’s gotten an update. Wonder what they’re using for the display though. It didn’t seem OLED was going to be the way forward when I last talked to Mission.

  21. TLZoner says:

    So when will the racing team start up again?