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.

Broventure Update – Day Five: The Road Less Traveled By

09/11/2013 @ 9:51 am, by Jensen Beeler4 COMMENTS

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Robert Frost’s poem “The Road Not Taken” finishes with the iconic lines that “two roads diverged in a wood, and I — I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.” This phrase has become the embodiment of the idea that the road less-often taken brings us greater reward, and in many ways that is the impetus behind trips like ours to Moab — we are searching for something, adventure maybe, beyond where the roadway ends.

With those words in mind, we strapped our boots on in the morning, geared up for a full day of riding on the trails that lead down the Colorado River and into Canyonlands National Park. Tim and I were a combination of excited and nervous for the day’s ride — after all, we had just ridden 1,000+ miles for this very day. Our first order of business was to take Kane Creek Road, to Hurrah Pass, and onto the Chicken Corners Trail.

Making our way past the McDonald’s that sits on Main St. and Kane Creek Rd., our first route started on tarmac that winded along the Colorado river, which sits low between the tall canyon of red rock that flank either side of the water. As we passed campsites and makeshift domiciles, the road slowly deteriorated, and ultimately went to gravel and dirt.

Tall rock is at your side for a good portion of the trail’s start, but slowly we began to climb out of the river basin, and into the open plains of Moab. Our first vista was a long outcropping of rock, shaped like a narrow penninsula. It fingered its way out into the valley, and walking out to its tip, we got the first view of what we were in for in our day’s adventure.

Riding on street tires, with 500+ lbs machines, the trail was challenging, but manageable. A mixture of exposed rock, gravel, and light sand, our climb to Hurrah Pass was marked with superlatives and expletives over our helmet intercoms. We continued our descent down the other side of the pass, and ultimately turned around at the base of a sandpit and staircase of rock.

Retracing our path out of Chicken Corners Trail, we met a local named John who was on a Kawasaki KLR 650, and stopped to talk to us while we changed camera mounts at Hurrah Pass. Talking for a while, we exchanged the usual banter about riding motorcycles, John’s retirement in Utah, and our trip to Moab and back.

After talking bike for a bit longer, we descended the pass back into Moab with John, and ultimately bid him farewll as we entered the city limits. John had the whole afternoon ahead of him, and our next target was the Shafer Trail, which also begins along the Colorado River, but leads directly into the Island in the Sky district of the national park.

The first portion of the Shafer Trail begins near some sort of industrial mining project, with railway cars lining the train tracks, and pools of salt water slowly evaporating in the Utah sun. Whereas Kane Creek began with picturesque shots of canyon and river, Shafer began with less enthusiasm and magnitude.

That would slowly change as we pushed down the trail though. We knew as we began this second route into the park that rain could be an issue. Flash floods had been forecasted, and while we had hoped to beat the weather, a drizzle was now beginning to form. The moisture at first aided our ride, helping to contain the sand and dust, while not being an issue on the slickrock surfaces that were exposed. As the rain began to fall harder, our anxiety went up, but the trail continued to be entirely manageable, so long as we — ahem — stayed on it.

Eventually we came to an overlook of the famous Goose Neck turn of the Colorado river. Viewed from the northern side, the river’s 180 degree horseshoe bend is an epic view, and worth all the effort to reach. If one is brave enough, you can walk all the way to the cliff’s edge, and see the water hundreds of feet below. Taking time for a couple photo ops, the falling rain reminded us of the miles still ahead, and the challenges the weather could create for us.

Entering the park’s official boundaries, we hit perhaps the most challenging sections of the Shafer Trail, as the path crosses several silted river crossings that have steep entries and exits. Powering our way through, we came to the junction of the White Rim Trail — a route we had originally wanted to undertake, but elected to skip in the interest of time and preparation.

Reaching the switchback that would take us out of the trail basin, our ride for the day concluded with views back along the valley we had just ridden through. Our sense of accomplishment continued to build with each reversing turn, and at the park’s exit and junction onto SR-313, Tim and I reflected on the day’s events before heading back into Moab for a well-earned dinner.

We had traveled the road less traveled by, but like Frost’s famous words, our ride’s meaning and intention is easy to misunderstand. Our day wasn’t defined by the path we chose, but what value we internally gave that path. A day of off-roading in Moab to our newly made friend John is a daily event — a way to blow off steam, and find relaxation in a life of retirement. For others, Moab is a yearly destination, and trails of greater difficulty are the order of the day, which in turn provide a different sort of release.

For us, touring 1,000 miles and then off-roading those same bikes, provided a certain amount of internal satisfaction to both Tim and I, and only over the course of the coming miles will we understand what that satisfaction means to us, and what difference the road less traveled by will bring.

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Photos: © 2013 Jensen Beeler & Tim Hoefer / Asphalt & RubberCreative Commons – Attribution 3.0

Comment:

  1. "That Guy" says:

    Whoa…..now your talking….you guys ROCK!

  2. Robert Frost's Ghost says:

    Please stop misinterpreting my poem. The “difference” does not have a positive or negative connotation. It is simply the difference.

  3. Billy Zane says:

    Listen to your friend Robert Frost’s Ghost, he’s a cool dude.

  4. Blixa says:

    These comments have been cracking me up all morning.
    I’m really enjoying the updates, keep it up!