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.

2010 Honda VFR1200F Breaks Cover

10/08/2009 @ 12:43 pm, by Jensen Beeler8 COMMENTS

2010 Honda VFR1200F Breaks Cover 2010 Honda VFR1200F 560x373

After 10 years of waiting, VFR owners can rejoice in the announcement of the new 2010 Honda VFR1200F. Actually comprising of two models, the VFR will come in a standard model, and a model equipped with the dual-clutch automatic transmission.

Available in the Spring of 2010, the VFR1200F will make 172hp, and 95lb•ft of torque from its 1,237cc V4 motor. The new VFR is a big girl though, tipping the scales in Europe at 588lbs, and here in the US at 591lbs. If you want the dual-clutch model,  expect a bike that weighs a staggering 613lbs. Pictures, videos, and specs after the jump.

As we reported earlier, the VFR will feature a 76º V4 motor with a unicam crankshaft, offset cylinder spacing, variable cylinder management, throttle-by-wire, and an optional dual-clutch gearbox that’s mated to an automatic transmission. Riders opting for the manual shift model will get to enjoy a slipper-clutch setup. Both bikes will feature Honda’s next-generation shaft drive system with offset pivot points and a sliding constant-velocity joint.

The VFR1200F has a vacuum-moulded cast aluminium chassis, and softening the blows from the road will be the 43mm cartridge-type forks at the front, and a Pro-Link monoshock with gas-charged damper at the rear. Power from the motor will come from Honda’s new shaft-drive, which has been specially designed to eliminate the rocking motion normally experienced from that power-train. Helping stop the VFR is Honda’s C-ABS anti-lock brakes system.

The new VFR1200F uses what Honda calls “layered fairing technology”, which is a fancy way of saying that the fairings create a shape that looks good, but doesn’t compromise the air flow to the engine for heat management. Honda explain it as such:

“By effectively increasing the speed of the air by channelling it through smaller apertures before it reaches the radiators, engine cooling is optimized and the hot, exhausted air is channelled away from the rider and passenger for a cooler, more comfortable ride. The heat generated by the powerful, enclosed V4 engine is also channelled away to keep hot air away from the rider.”

Fitted with a conventional six-speed gearbox as standard, riders for an added cost (not yet disclosed) can add Honda’s new dual-clutch automatic transmission. The DSG will allow riders to operate the VFR1200F in either full automatic mode, or in manual mode, with clutchless gear shifting via finger-operated paddles.

Other official Honda options will include hard panniers, a top box, centerstand, Sat/Nav, fairing extenders (in front of the handlebars), and a flip-up screen.

The 2010 Honda VFR1200F will be available in Red, White, and Silver. No word on pricing for the bikes or the optional accessories.

2010 Honda VFR1200F Photos:

2010 Honda VFR1200F Action Shots:

2010 Honda VFR1200F Accessories:

Technical Specifications of the 2010 Honda VFR1200F:

Model: VFR1200F / VFR1200F with Dual Clutch Automatic Transmission
Engine Type: 1237cc liquid-cooled 76° V-4
Bore and Stroke: 81mm x 60mm
Compression Ratio: 12.0:1
Valve Train: SOHC; four valves per cylinder
Induction: PGM-FI with automatic enrichment circuit, 44mm throttle bodies and 12-hole injectors
Ignition: Digital transistorized with electronic advance
Transmission: Six-speed (VFR1200F) / Six-speed automatic with two modes and manual mode (VFR1200F with Dual Clutch Automatic Transmission)
Final Drive: Shaft
Suspension:
Front: 43mm cartridge fork with spring preload adjustability; 4.7 inches travel
Rear: Pro Arm single-side swingarm with Pro-Link® single gas-charged shock with remote spring preload adjustability and rebound damping adjustability; 5.1 inches travel
Brakes:
Front: Dual full-floating 320mm discs with CBS six-piston calipers with ABS
Rear: Single 276mm disc with CBS two-piston caliper with ABS
Tires:
Front: 120/70 ZR17 radial
Rear: 190/55 ZR17 radial
Wheelbase: 60.8 inches (1545mm)
Rake: (Caster angle): 25°30’
Trail: 101.0mm (4.0 inches)
Seat Height: 32.1 inches (815mm)
Fuel Capacity: 4.9 gallons
Color: Red
Curb Weight*: 591 pounds (VFR1200F) / 613 pounds (VFR1200F with Dual Clutch Automatic Transmission)

*Includes all standard equipment, required fluids and full tank of fuel–ready to ride.

Comment:

  1. 2010 Honda VFR1200F Breaks Cover – http://bit.ly/17D4ZR #motorcycle

  2. GeddyT says:

    I’ve been following this bike with quite a bit of excitement. As I get older and honestly evaluate what it is that I actually DO with a bike on the street, I’ve realized that a focused sportbike is just not for me. For instance, I’d like something that I can ride two-up for a couple hundred miles without my wife crying in pain after a half hour.

    Step one was trading in my 1000RR on a Multistrada. For the most part I like it, but just wish it had a bit more oomph. I also am not an irrational Ducati lover that just ignores all of the “joys” of riding Italian (oil leaks, terrible parts availability, spotty fueling, etc.). So I’ve been following the news on the new VFR quite closely. I’d much rather be riding a reliable and well-built Honda.

    Also, although I definitely like to be in control of my bike, I’m not such a tough guy that I can’t admit when I see a helpful new technology like this transmission. The fact that it allows for such smooth shifts has me longing for a day when I won’t get a head-butt from my wife every time I shift gears. I’d bet this smoothness would also allow for much more extended rides two-up without pain. Sure I’d miss rowing through the gears myself, but how often do I find myself with the bit between my teeth like that?

    After all this though, sadly, there is one number that completely erased any desire I previously had for this bike: 613. Sorry, if I’m going to pilot a vehicle that heavy, I might as well just drive my car. After the radical weight reduction plans this generation 600RR and 1000RR experienced, it’s just inexcusable that the VFR GAINS 60 pounds. Hell, I thought the old Interceptor was too heavy of a bike for anything resembling sport riding and would only have been interested in the new model if it were lighter than the last gen. In fact, I’d be first in line with a deposit. (And don’t tell me higher displacement requires higher weight. The 1198 would beg to differ.)

  3. Joe says:

    I was a bit nervous about the weight when I saw it but my zrx is nearly 600 all fueled and loaded and its not nearly as nice or as fast as this VFR is likely to be. I’ll have to see one in person but it looks pretty promising for my purposes, eg mountain touring two up. I’ll probably skip the auto, price reasons only.

  4. Hayabrusa says:

    Hey – do you guys wonder WHY they haven’t released pricing yet? Surely, they are not gauging interest first, then deciding on a price, right? I mean, they’d have to know what it costs to build, so I’m wondering – if they get people begging for it, they can tack on a few hundred more for extra profit? I agree the weight is plenty, but I don’t ride crotch rockets per se’, so I imagine it should feel pretty decent on the open road.

  5. BigDog says:

    I agree she is a little girthy, however she would drop some weight fast if they would drop the buck rogers exhaust system. Looks like a nice design.

  6. MATRQL8R says:

    It looks promising, but it does sound as if it will be heavy. I had a 2004VFR and I loved it, but while riding w/my partner (2006 Huyabusa), I simply needed more “pop.” I now have a Kawi ZZR1200 that I really like (and is fast…had a ZX-14 also), but Honda braking is some of he best, and the reliability can’t be touched. I’m sure they were aiming at the K1300S and GT w/this bike, so it will probably be EXPENSIVE. And you KNOW Honda doesn’t usually make deals

  7. Destiny Altered says:

    Are the bags “standard equipment” included in the weight?

    Thirty pounds (5%) heavier than the BMW K1300S (also shaft drive) ) and 150 pounds (34%) heavier than my 2000 Honda CBR 929RR (chain drive) which replaced my 603 pound 1990 CBR 1000F (chain).

    Yeah, 591 pounds is better than the Yamaha FJR 1300 and the Kawasaki Concours 14 “sport” tourers, if your sport is weight lifting.

    C’mon Honda why didn’t you aim at BMW? What a disappointment.

  8. Ol' Jair says:

    This is a great technological leap forward. A sportbike with a trouble-free shaft drive and an auto trans to eliminate the awkwardness of foot lever shifting, which I find awkward on many sportbikes, as I’m over 5’10″ tall and my legs are already tucked into an uncomfortable riding position. If you are a racer, the weight might be a problem, but for ordinary street riding by people of average skill, forty pounds here or there isn’t going to make a difference. A 600lb 1200 sportbike should be more than fast enough, if you have the training to handle the twisties at speed.

    I personally am very impressed with the VFR1200, but am waiting to see if this transmission setup is made available on the ST1300 replacement. In my opinion, that would be the perfect bike for me, as I prefer sport tourers, with their more comfortable riding position and more available amenities (cruise, heated grips, etc).