A 2WD Hybrid-Electric Motorcycle for the US Military?

In the coming years, US special forces may be riding a tw0-wheel drive, hybrid-electric, multi-fuel motorcycle co-developed by BRD Motorcycles and Logos Technologies. Helping make this project possible is a Small Business Innovation Research grant from DARPA. The goal is to make a single-track vehicle for US expeditionary and special forces that will be nearly silent in operation, yet also capable of traveling long distances. Details on the proposed machine are light, of course, but it sounds like the 2WD dirt bike will be based off the BRD RedShift MX (shown above), and use an electric drivetrain, as well as a multi-fuel internal combustion engine to achieve its goals.

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.

AMA Pro Racing Adds AMA Pro Vance & Hines XR1200 Spec Racing Series

03/04/2010 @ 4:46 pm, by Jensen Beeler21 COMMENTS

AMA Pro Racing Adds AMA Pro Vance & Hines XR1200 Spec Racing Series Vance Hines Harley Davidson XR1200 race bike 560x232

You may remember that six month’s ago we published a rumor that AMA Pro Racing was considering the idea of adding a Harley-Davidson XR1200 spec racing class. Today, that rumor became reality as AMA Pro Racing announced at the Daytona Bike Week that it would be adding the AMA Pro Vance & Hines XR1200 Series to its calendar. The painful press release and our colorful commentary after the jump.

Press releases by their nature are one-sided and often approach things from the most rose-colored points of view. If writing press releases was a competitive event, the writer of this release would be our gold medal favorite, putting some of the most positive spin on a series that examplifies the AMA Pro Racing’s continued spiral into the darkest corners of hell. We’ll take it on paragraph at a time:

Daytona Beach, FL – March 4, 2010 – AMA Pro Racing and Vance & Hines are pleased to announce the launch of the new AMA Pro Vance & Hines XR1200 Series, a spec-bike five race championship featuring specially modified Harley-Davidson XR1200 motorcycles.

Translated: Vance & Hines and Harley-Davidson paid AMA Pro Racing a whole lot of money, and possibly have photos of various AMA Board Members playing golf with the Devil.

This exciting new series will provide loyal Harley-Davidson owners, dealers and enthusiasts a chance to join the action at selected AMA Pro Road Racing weekends throughout the country.

Translated: We have to tell you this series will be exciting, because you’re likely not going to attribute that word to this announcement. We also do want you to realize that this “race” series is aimed at a market that centers around cruisers, and is comprised of middle-aged dentists, accountants, and guys who couldn’t afford Corvettes.

As the presenting sponsor, Vance & Hines will also serve as the official race kit supplier for the class.  The kit will consist of a Vance & Hines XR1200 exhaust system, a Fuelpak fuel management system, race bodywork including number plate, single seat tail section and belly pan, 17-inch front wheel with matching front fender, steering damper, oil cooler relocator and race decal package.  The cost for the complete kit will be $3500.

Translated: Ch-ching! ch-ching! We’ll be laughing all the way to the bank while you try and make the XR1200 look like a road-racer.

“We have racing in our DNA, Harley-Davidson has racing in their DNA and we are truly thrilled to bring Vance & Hines and Harley-Davidson back into AMA Pro Racing,” Terry Vance, a prolific champion as both rider and team owner, said of the new series.  “The XR1200 has proven to be an exciting platform for spec racing in Europe and this class will be a perfect cost-effective platform to showcase new talent on a national stage.  Many of the finest motorcycle racers all over the world got their start in the AMA Supertwins class of the 1990s.”

Translated: We’re going to just lie for a minute and then justify this series with some loose mentioning of racing in the company’s past, which an entire generation doesn’t remember because it happened before they were born. First one to mention flat-tracking loses the argument.

As in all AMA Pro Road Racing series, Dunlop will provide the spec tire for the class and Sunoco will fuel the racers with their Sunoco 260 GTX fuel.  In addition to the Vance & Hines supplied kit parts, teams will be allowed to upgrade their suspension, hand and foot controls, brake components and instrumentation.

Translated: Blah, blah, blah. We were going to allow teams to use their own frames and motors, but our marketing intern advised us otherwise.

AMA Pro Racing Chief Operating Officer David Atlas welcomed the new series, “Adding another element to our events with a series of this caliber will be a great benefit to our sport.  The specification of the XR1200 package will put the premium on the rider’s ability and will provide a great new class of racing that has ties to the past.”

Translated: We’re actually telling the truth now. This series will really showcase a rider’s skill, especially while they try and maneuver a 600lbs motorcycle through chicanes with some of Milwaukee’s finest engineering from the 1950′s.

Vance & Hines is also pleased to announce that the XR1200 Series will feature a $5,000 purse payout at each of the five rounds, $2,500 going to the race winner, $1,000 to the runner-up and $750 for third.  Fourth and fifth place finishers will receive $500 and $250 respectively.

Translated: If you win, it might cover your travel costs.

For the 2010 season, the AMA Pro Racing Vance & Hines XR1200 Series will race at five rounds of the AMA Pro Road Racing Championship.  The first race will be just north of Harley-Davidson’s Milwaukee headquarters at Road America in Elkhart Lake, WI.  Next up will be the classic Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, moving on to Virginia International Raceway and New Jersey Motorsports Park. The season finale will be at Barber Motorsports Park.

Translated: We won’t even bother crossing the Mississippi River with this race series, despite the fact that’s where over 50% of the American motorcycling community resides. Hey, at least we know where our core demographic lives.

For more information, please contact Paul Langley, Vance & Hines Motorsports at (317) 852-9057, email to plangley@vhmotorsports.com or www.amaproracing.com.

Translated: Please whatever you do, don’t call the AMA…we have no idea what we’re doing.

Source: AMA


  1. JR says:

    Very funny and well-done. I wish every news outlet did this sort of translation as a public service.

  2. @Reyzie says:

    Skip HD’s press release, your “translation” tells the true story!

    Ha! Harley Davidson racing. An oxymoron if I’ve ever heard one!

  3. Maytrain says:

    Professional road racing in the US is so messed up right now that any new corporate involvement is a blessing. Please stop projecting your hatred for all things American onto H-D and go to bed. This never ending pathetic self loathing will destroy our sport our lives and our nation.

  4. joe says:

    yeah, look at nascar, or flat track. are these things going to turn right?

  5. Lee says:

    Aside from the funny translation and AMA boilerplate press release, this will most likely end up a fun and exciting series…even if only a handful of races. The question is, what is the cost of setting up one of these “spec” racers?

    Those that remember the 883 class back in the early 90′s, the class was extremely competitive (though not as fast or hi tech as other classes) and had many racers that went on to be very successful. The Bostrom’s, Scott Zampach, Mike Barnes (I think) and a few other names we know.

    I can see a Chris Carr, Springer and a few other notables getting on one of these. That surely won’t be boring.

    Could be good. Give it a chance.

  6. Blake says:

    Very funny! The part about testing the riders ability seems very honest. In a way it will be interesting to see how they are able to will the bike around the corners at speed.

  7. @Reyzie says:

    Maytrain: Harley-Davidson brought on this kind of criticism themselves!

    Since age 12, when I bought my first motorcycle, I wanted to buy an American bike. However, in my life time, HD has yet to build a competitive bike!? I’ve also been of fan motorcycle racing going way back, yet NEVER had an “American dog” in the fight!

    Buell was a glimmer of hope, but who killed them? Harley-Davidson!

    And the thing that galls me most: HD actually does have a racing heritage. Granted, ending some 60 or 80 years ago, but somewhere in HD’s collective balance sheet focused DNA, there’s actually a PERFORMANCE bloodline. So where are the performance bikes???

    Harley-Davidson has already done tremendous damage to racing in America and motorcycling in general. Just because they’re the ONLY American motorcycle manufacturer doesn’t mean they’re a competent manufacturer.

  8. Dr. Gellar says:

    Wonder if next year’s Daytona 200 will be officially run with this class, as it will almost certainly be named the premier class of AMA/DMG roadracing by the end of this year…

  9. AMA Pro Racing Adds Harley-Davidson XR1200 Racing Class – http://bit.ly/9R7O58 #motorcycle

  10. Dan says:

    We AMA racers always hated going out on the track after the 883 series or any class with a Buell in it…oil on the track is scary.

  11. John says:

    Looks like fun to me. Old tech bikes set to a spec banging aroung a race track, what’s not to like? Should be pretty cheap to get in on. Me likey.

  12. Ryan says:

    For me, it is just another political HD/AMA move. HD can’t compete with anyone, so they just race against themselves, or have the rules changed in their favor. And they call themselves a “Motor Company” and claim to make the best bikes in the world, with all others being inferior. Everything they do (R&D, marketing, killing Buell, etc) is pathetic, imho.

    Why kill Buell, the bike with a future (since it has no HD engine), and start racing an irrigation pump on wheels? To have the American Buell program axed, only to have the axing company return with this crap is absurd and insulting.

    Look at what BMW and KTM have achieved in such a short time with S1000RR and RC8. Real motorbike companies trying to catch up the Japanese and Italians, not just hide in the weeds racing themselves.

  13. eric says:

    It won’t be the official class to run the 200 because the motors won’t last the race at full revs.

  14. Bjorn says:

    I can sympathise with Dan, bikes that disgorge their lubricants on the track are a menace.

    However, set up with an appropriate catch system to counter any regurgitation (bellypan, catch bottle, incontenence sheet), these things will make for a great spectacle for the general public. Like it or not, Harley Davidson bohemoths with sit-up-and-beg riding positions are what many non-motorcycling people think about when motorcycles enter their conciousness.

    If there is close racing, lurid slides and bikes tying themselves in knots it will be popular. In Australia the 883s were great in the ’90s for getting people who wouldn’t know a superbike from a swordfish out to the track, spending money at the gate and the food stalls and bars.

    In order to survive as a viable business and attract sponsors, motorcycle racing needs to attract a wider audience than just motorcyclists. With the death of closed road racing that took the sport to the masses, anything that brings bodies through the gate and places motorcycles in the general public’s mind can only be a good thing.

    You can always stand by the fence and laugh.

  15. Jessee says:

    What a joke. That bike is so out of date it would really be funny to see one in a race. It would give the crowd a good laugh. Harley should stick to making a new “Sturgis Bike” or something like that. The beer drinking geezer Harley rider is not interested in racing and the younger bike riders are not interested in a out of date Harley. I don’t care how much money you throw at it that bike will not win any races but it will get a few laughs.

  16. Bjorn says:

    “Jessee says:

    I don’t care how much money you throw at it that bike will not win any races but it will get a few laughs.”

    I predict it will win every race it enters. After all it’s a single make series.

  17. gnmac says:

    Wow, pigs do fly, don’t they!

  18. Steven says:

    The only way a Harley can win a race is to race against themselves as everything else on 2 wheels will blow those antiques off the track. I am sure the Harley crowd will watch these pretend races though.

  19. Skipper says:

    Oh boy, now the Harley Davidson R&D department will have to design a “all new” line of Harley Racing Clothes. The Harley R&D department has nothing else to do except design clothes, jock straps, nose picker gloves, ash trays, beer can holders and everything else with the Harley name on it – except a decent modern motorcycle. The only way a Harley can win a race is to race against themselves. I am sure the race would be crowded with the pirate dressing Strugis crowd standing around drinking beer and bragging about Harley’s.

  20. Ecosse says:

    xr1200 spec racing is/was pretty popular in europe last time i checked. and if the euro bike snobs gush over this bike i don’t see the point of the pile on. well, except to pick on an easy target (hd). at least give harley credit for a much improved sportster and one closer to the original concept introduced in ’57. everyone’s a critic, geez.

    me? i wouldn’t mind owning one of these 1200′s. as for the ama being a shadow of what it was… oh look, a baby wolf!

  21. I think you’re snark is a bit misplaced on this one. This is essentially the same type of series as the old Speed Triple spec class races back in 95/96. While it was a limited run it was no failure. It accomplished what it set out to do which was highlight what was essentially an overweight, ill handling pig of a bike in it’s own spec race series.

    Ecosse has it right. This is already a pretty successful series in Europe and deserve a shot over here. The 1200 is probably at least as bad as the first gen Speed Triples (I owned a 95 so I CAN say that) and look at how that bike improved. Quit being such a snark. Since when is more racing a bad thing? sheesh!