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.

Asphalt & Rubber Goes Down Under to Oz and NZ

09/23/2011 @ 7:46 pm, by Jensen Beeler22 COMMENTS

Asphalt & Rubber Goes Down Under to Oz and NZ Aspahlt and Rubber down under

For the three weeks, Asphalt & Rubber will be coming to you from New Zealand and Australia, as I’ll be taking my first true vacation in nearly six years (booyah!). The high-profile blogging lifestyle is a tough mistress, and so far this year I’ve been on the road nearly 40% of the time (that figure is pure exaggeration, though A&R‘s entire June article coverage came to you from airports, hotels, and the back of my car).

The plan for the coming weeks is for my time down under to be less of a working holiday than my trips have been in the past (like Qatar and the Isle of Man, for example), so A&R’s mix of daily news coverage will come at you in spurts, while longer op-ed pieces will try and fill-in the gaps on days where I’m riding around in Kangaroo pouches, or whatever the hell it is they do for fun around here.

Having been in New Zealand’s southern island the past few days, I can confirm rumors of a pervasive sheep population, odd-speaking locals, and that spring is just around the corner. From here I’ll head up to Auckland and catch some of the Rugby World Cup, then it is over to Australia (Sydney & Melbourne) for the rest of the trip. While I’m trying to enjoy some life outside of motorcycling, I’ll be grabbing a track day at Phillip Island (bucket list item), and of course cover MotoGP’s Australian GP as one of the paddock’s few e-journalists.

If you happen to be one of Asphalt & Rubber‘s many upside-down readers, drop me a line in the comments or on twitter (@Asphalt_Rubber) on things to see and do while I’m over here in Oz and NZ.

Comment:

  1. 2ndclass says:

    Spring has hit hard here in Sydney (for the most past), so you’ve timed your trip well. There’s tons of good riding just out of the city; Natio to the south, Putty and Bell’s Line to the west, Old Road to the north. Just don’t head out on the weekends. Too many people and highway patrol.

  2. Q Deezy says:

    Naa mate, no worries about the critters all you need to do is: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iw5kH7civTo

  3. Tony says:

    Gotta try and see the CGR 500 V8 motorcycle in Christchurch. How about a video with sound?

  4. tack says:

    Your going to the wrong places…Queensland is where the great barrier reef is….Australia Zoo…sea world, couple of theme parks…plus plenty of Sunshine and the people are friendlier up here!!

  5. Phil says:

    Hey, mate. I hope you enjoy being down here. Any chance of a meet-up with you in Sydney so that some of us can see you and say hi?

  6. Yeah, we should get a Sydney meet-up going. Any particular place/bar that you’d recommend? I’ll by in Sydney September 28th – October 5th.

  7. Alex says:

    CGR 500 V8 motorcycle in Christchurch? What’s that? I live in Christchurch and I’ve never heard of it. I can’t find anything online either.

  8. Alex says:

    By the way if you are still in NZ then I would recommend checking out the Britten V1000 they have in the Wellington Museum (Te Papa). It’s even cooler up close!

  9. Odie says:

    Oh Man! I am so jealous!!!!! Take lots of pictures so us cube rats can see what the other hemisphere looks like.
    Have fun, Jensen.

  10. Phil says:

    Jensen, that sounds great. There are some great coffee shops along the harbour front near the Sydney Opera House. How does Friday 30th sound around 11′ish? If we could meet up on the main Opera House steps, then we could go find somewhere for a drink/coffee/lunch/bench race/whatever. Let me know if there’s somewhere I could give you my mobile number so we could make sure we don’t pass each other accidentally!

  11. Muz says:

    You should have spent more time in the South Island, great roads and scenery and less than 1 mil people. ( and better looking sheep, nervous sheep tho ) Anyway see you at the worlds greatest race track Philip Island. Stoner to win race, andwin the championship. And I’ll be in the Honda hospitality tent living it up.

  12. Minibull says:

    Enjoy the rugby Jensen, didnt think many Yanks were into rugby. Does it get much coverage in the USA?

  13. Minibull says:

    Oh, and where have you been in the South Island?

  14. Muz says:

    I live in the middle of the south island now, after living in Melbourne for about 20 years.
    Actually there are more cows than sheep around here.

  15. Jake says:

    make sure you drop by phillip island and do a track day mate!

  16. luke says:

    It’s a tad cheesy (to us Sydney-siders) but doing the bridge climb is pretty fun. Make sure you do the sunset climb, it’s the best by far. epic views – sunset on one side and sydney by night on the other.
    Then go to the rocks area (basically the bridge climb start point) and soak up some Sydney suds in a few of our classic pubs in the area (The Lord Nelson is a note-worthy one to visit).

  17. Ades says:

    Hey Jensen, drop me an email to adesthemex@hotmail.com for when you are in Melbourne. We have some amazing roads here and with some of my connections (Motorcycle Print medi etc) I may be able to tee up some test bikes and V8′s).

  18. Tony says:

    I read about the CGR500 V8 in Roadracing World magazine, October 2011 issue. The fabricator is Chris Gordon and the article was by Dave Britten. Could be wrong about Chris living in Christchurch but the article talks of the bike being tested at Ruapuna Park Raceway this last July.

  19. Alex says:

    Strange… can’t find anything on the web about it. Too bad I cant buy that magazine here!

  20. lasydesi says:

    Make sure that , have a plan to drive on the Great ocean road between Melbourne and Adelaide.

    In Adelaide, we call George Road as Heaven for Motorcycle Riders.

  21. Alasdair says:

    Enjoy your trip. If you have a bike (or even a rental car) and are in Melbourne, and have some time, it’s well worth heading out to Kinglake – take the eastern freeway to Warrandyte, cross the bridge into Kangaroo Ground, follow the signs to Kinglake. On of my favourite roads.