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.

2012 Brammo Empulse R Technical Specifications Revealed

04/18/2012 @ 1:04 pm, by Jensen Beeler29 COMMENTS

2012 Brammo Empulse R Technical Specifications Revealed brammo empulse r 635x364

Right on schedule, Brammo has released the technical specifications of the Brammo Empulse & Brammo Empulse R electric street bikes. Featuring a 54hp water-cooled Permanent Magnet AC (PMAC) motor, the Empulse will come with a 10 kWh (9.3 kWh nominal) battery pack, and of course the Oregonian company’s six-speed gearbox. With fully-adjustable Marzoochi front forks, a fully-adjustable Sachs rear shock, Brembo brakes, & Marchesini wheels, Brammo has included some nice kit on the Empulse, though the company hasn’t tipped off to what the “R” designation will mean for consumers.

Our best guess is the Brammo Empulse will be a naked version that is very similar to the Empulse prototype we’ve seen from day one, with some cosmetic updates of course, while the Brammo Empulse R will be a fully-faired sport bike that strikes a similar line to the Brammo Empulse RR electric race bike.

Asphalt & Rubber‘s Bothan spies report that the gearbox works incredibly well, allowing the Empulse to operate just like a standard street bike with shifting and gearing control. There’s still some debate as to whether electrics need trasmissions, let alone close-ratio six-speed transmissions, but we’ll leave that debate for another day.

Still not releasing any images of the new Empulse and Empulse R, Brammo will be taking the wraps off its latest bike on May 8th at an event to be held in Los Angeles. The unveiling will also be live-streamed on the web as well. Click after the jump for the full technical specifications of the 2012 Brammo Empulse R.

2012 Brammo Empulse R Specifications:

Motor Type  Permanent Magnet AC (PMAC) – Water Cooled
Motor Controller Sevcon Gen 4
Peak Motor Power  40kW,  @  8,200 rpm (54 hp)
Peak Torque  63Nm  (46.5 foot pounds)
Final Drive  Direct Chain Drive (14/48) 520 O-ring chain
Transmission IET 6 speed gearbox with multi-plate, hydraulic activated wet clutch
Emissions  None
Battery Type  Brammo Power™ BPM15/90 Lithium-Ion ( NCM Chemistry)
Battery Pack Capacity  9.31 kWh (nominal), 10.2 kWh (max)
Battery Pack Voltage  103.6 V (nominal)
Recharge J1772 Level I maximum charging time:   8 Hours. (0 – 99% SOC, no cell imbalances)
Level I and II Level II maximum charging time:  3.5 Hours.  (0 – 99% SOC, no cell imbalances)
110V AC to J1772 Level 1 Adapter included Every 10 minutes of Level II charging adds up to 5 miles of range
Battery Cycle Life  1,500 cycles to 80% capacity (100% DOD)
Max Speed  100 + mph   (160 + km/h)
Driving Range  City: 121 miles*   (195 km)
Highway: 56 miles**    (90 km)
Combined: 77 miles***  (124 km)
*SAE City Riding Range Test Procedure for Electric Motorcycles (variable speed, 19 mph / 30km/h average)
**SAE Highway / Constant Speed Riding Range Test Procedure for Electric Motorcycles (70 mph / 113 km/h  sustained)
*** SAE Highway Commuting Cycle (.5 City weighting, .5 Highway weighting)
Operating Modes 2 Operating Modes selectable through the handlebar switch:
1. “Normal” – limits acceleration by reducing maximum current delivered to the motor through the motor controller in order to maximize driving range.
2. “Sport” – provides maximum performance in both acceleration and top speed.
Regenerative Braking Under deceleration, energy is returned to the battery system to both extend driving range and provide familiar rider feedback.
Operating Cost Assuming 13 cents /kWh for electricity:
1 cent per mile around town
2 cents per mile on the highway
Approximately 400 miles for every $4.00 of electricity (city)
Data Collection Brammo DDC™ (Dynamic Data Collection) records key motorcycle parameters at 1Hz (1 sample/second) for analysis and service support.
Frame  Brammo E-Beam™ Aluminum, Fabricated by Accossato in Italy
Suspension / Front Fully Adjustable 43mm Marzocchi Forks
Suspension / Rear Fully Adjustable Sachs Shock
Triple Clamps Forged Aluminum
Swing Arm Tubular Steel, Fabricated by Accossato in Italy
Sub Frame Tubular Steel, Fabricated by Accossato in Italy
Brakes / Front Dual 310mm Brembo floating disk with twin four piston Hydraulic Brembo Brake Calipers, Radial Mount.
Brakes / Rear Brembo single disk with dual piston Hydraulic Brembo Brake Caliper
WheelsFront / Rear 17″x 3.5″ Marchesini / 17″ x 5.5″ Marchesini
TiresFront / Rear 120/70-17 AVON AV79 / 180/55-17 AVON AV80
Instrumentation  LCD display; speed, tach, odometer, gear position, energy consumption, battery status, estimated range and system status
Wheelbase  58.0″    147.32 cm
Seat Height  31.5″     80.0 cm
Width 31.8″ (bar end-to-bar end)     80.77 cm
Height 42.6″ (highest portion of the dash)    108.2 cm
Length 81.3″   206.5 cm
Ground Clearance 7.3″     18.54 cm
Rake / Trail 24 degrees / 3.8″
Storage Capacity  Optional Brammo hard saddle bags and top trunk.
Fuel Economy 485 mpg-e      206 km/L-e
Vehicle Weight  440lbs. / 200kg
Carrying Capacity Cargo Capacity   365 lbs. / 165.6 kg
(805 lbs. / 365.1 kg total combined motorcycle, rider, passenger and cargo)
2 Years (Limited Factory Warranty) 1 year Fender-to-Fender Limited Warranty, 2 year Limited  Powertrain Warranty (Batteries and Motor)
Colors True Blood Red, Eclipsed Black, White Noise
All specifications subject to change without notice.

Source: Brammo


  1. Brammofan says:

    @Tyler – Prices released on May 8, when they reveal the production models.

  2. Keith says:

    urban bomber ONLY…sorry no thankyou. The short ride where I live is 30miles…not a plug in station anywhere. Want to go to wal-mart? Nearest one is 130miles.

    And then you tell me the batter wears out in roughly (very) less than 8 years? I think it’s not ready for anyone but a hipster.

  3. Ervgopwr says:

    Not a hipster here, but an urban liver, and absolutely no need to go to walmart. But count me as intersted in the development and progression of these machines. I may not be an early adopter, but certainly it’s on my radar for the future of two-wheeled (power) riding. I pedal most of the time anyway.

  4. Keith, Li+ battery packs like this are typically being rated to last 300,000+ miles. And hipster? What’s hipster about electric motorcycles?

  5. Jeram says:

    300,000 miles is alot longer than most motorcycle internal combustion engines will last.

  6. Jeram says:

    I for one would be more inclined to look at one of these bikes if there was the promise that as battery technology increases that they will make upgraded packs for them.

    for instace, by the time I do 300,000 miles and my battery is ready for replacement, is Brammo still going exist sell me a new 10 yr old technology battery, and further more are they going to be able to supply an updated battery with the latest technology.

  7. Richard Gozinya says:

    There’s that Jeram, plus no oil changes, or tune ups. And there’s already people figuring out ways to hotrod electric vehicles, so there’s that. I don’t think EVs are quite on par with ICE’s just yet, but they’re getting there, faster and faster. And hipsters? Really?

    I’d tell you what hipsters really ride, but you’ve probably never heard of it.

  8. Richard Gozinya says:

    Jeram, I’m guessing battery upgrades would cost you. It’s probably not as simple as just plugging in a new battery, there’s stuff to do with the power controller as well. Like when you put aftermarket pipes on a bike, ECU needs to be adjusted to properly deal with the new air flow. A new battery would require some adjusting as well. Guess the point is, it’s not going to be free.

  9. JohnMc says:

    Please tell me the forks are Marzocchi, and not Marzoochi…I jest.

  10. Ryan says:

    Looks sweet, but I may tend to side with the dissenters on this one. My commute is 90 miles one way. Unless I was rich or a hipster, there’s no way an electric would ever be feasible. That being said, I think electric systems are much better suited to motorcycles than cars, so I hope the development continues to progress and go well.

  11. Wait, when did Ural start making electric motorcycles?

  12. Minibull says:

    You misspelt “Transmission”


  13. frogy6 says:

    So for a proper spin the battery will last 54 miles? That’s shit, and that’s if you don’t go 70

  14. Brammofan says:

    @frogy6 – Where did you get that idea? Granted, range, when compared to ICE bikes, is going to be frustrating until some major battery advancement occurs. But the spec sheet above indicates that the bike can go 56 miles at a sustained speed of 70 mph. I’m not even sure where you get your “54 miles” figure, and, obviously, I have no idea what a “proper spin” means to you.

  15. frogy6 says:

    Apologys I ment 56 miles, a Sunday spin I’ll burn at least a tank of petrol, so at least 100 miles. Apart from some main roads, many back roads a constant 70 mph is no problem. So it wouldn’t even do half what’s considered a standard spin in Ireland.

  16. Keith says:

    300,000 miles On a Lipoly or LiFe packe does NOT equal 1,500 charges and 80% max capcity means you have 20% less range.

    Your argument is not valid.

  17. frogy6 says:

    How many miles before the battery starts to deteriorate, like is it after 50k it starts or 300k
    Or what % will ya end up with at 100k/200k/300k

  18. Tyler says:

    Above comments are hilarious. Conjecture upon conjecture… just for the sake I think…

  19. mxs says:

    It’s very misleading to relate battery lifespan (to hold 100% charge) with a mileage figure on its own. Any pack can do 300K …. there has to be somewhere in the equation how many charges does that account for. If I charge the battery 1500 x after 30 miles traveled, the battery only lasted 45K while being able to give 100% performance …. most people will view that as not such a great deal, considering the cost of the new batteries this time around.

    I like the specs of the other bike parts, but anything regarding the battery is unfortunately not so great news (as expected). It’s the same old, until someone comes up with new technology/materials it will continue to be the same tune …. expensive and heavy due to the battery pack.

    But I applaud them for the efforts and I wish I could support the development in some way ….

  20. Mr.X says:

    What happens when the Brammos, Missions, and others with NO distribution channel have to compete with Honda and a superior product, distribution channel, and economies of scale?
    What will these companies do in the face of competition from far superior…. companies?
    They will etch their name in the history books of motor vehicle manufacturing, which is hopefully worth something. But it’s not, unfortunately, worth money.

  21. Mr. X, Polaris owns a good stake in Brammo. If this bike takes off, a dealer network shouldn’t be a problem.

    As far as the Battery pack. the 300,000 miles is the estimated mileage life of Zero’s 9kWhr pack. Brammo is using a different chemistry. They claim 1500 cycles (one cycle would be a full 9.31kwh used, not every time you plug it in) to 80% capacity. Using the 77 mile range for combined highway/urban usage, and nominal capacity (9.31kWh), you get 115,500 miles to 80%. 84,000 if you drive 70 the instant you take off until you stop, or 181,500 if all you do is urban commuting. By the time you wear the pack out (how many of you have put over 100,000 on a motorcycle, really) Brammo may not offer a replacement pack, but there will be an aftermarket company that will, with better batteries no less, and the software updates needed for the controller and BMS. If not, let me know and I’ll start one. But really, by then the rest of the bike may just plum be worn out. I think at this point the argument against the reliability of battery packs is silly. Especially when compared to engine life of an ICE bike, and the costs of having a motor and transmission rebuilt. But, it still remains to be seen.

  22. Marc F says:

    ttxgpfan, actually the Zero and Empulse are using very similar cells to my knowledge (NCM prismatics from what I have seen published… I’m sure someone will correct me if I’m wrong), though the Enertia uses different ones. The two companies choose to rate things differently, but real world life cycle should be quite similar between them. The Empulse will stress the batteries more due to it’s higher motor output, but it also has about 15% more capacity (9.3 vs. 7.9) which reduces the stress proportionately. It’s also worth noting that a charging from a partial discharge doesn’t “count” as a cycle in the rated life. It’s actually really good for the battery. That is, if you only discharged it halfway each time, you would have MUCH more than half your battery life after 1500 cycles.

  23. protomech says:

    @Marc F

    The Zero and the Empulse both use NMC pouch cells, Zero uses 20 Ah EIG pouches and Brammo uses 10 Ah pouches of an unknown make. Same pouches (presumably) in the Empulse (28s9p) and the Enertia Plus (24s7p) .. and quite possibly the Empulse RR race bike as well (probably 84s2p).

  24. Marc F says:

    Awesome, thanks for the added info. Exactly what I have seen for Zero and Empulse, except I could have sworn shots of the Enertia Plus battery with the top unfastened showed cylindricals… maybe that was a deceptive view or an experimental prototype?

  25. mxs says:

    Something doesn’t make sense …. whatever battery chemistry they are using, unless there’s an unpublished breakthrough in recent times, if a battery is topped up every night (don’t say you don’t have to, because most people will do …otherwise who wants to be left stranded if I decide to take a different route home), the battery will suffer from what is normally known as a memory loss (even though manufacturers always say that it doesn’t exist). If it didn’t, all these lithium batteries used in various devices would be able to keep 100% of their charge for as long as advertised. None of them do. So whether a manufacturer calls it a full cycle or not, I don’t really care, because my battery will sooner or later not be good for 60 clicks, but rather only 40, and after another who knows how many cycles it will drop to 30 …… or is there an actual evidence to suggest otherwise?

    Not arguing, just don’t like when I am being served too-good-to-be-true-cake without knowing who baked it.

  26. Brammofan says:

    Nickel cadmium batteries had the battery memory problem, not lithium ion batteries.

  27. mxs says:

    Nickel cadmium batteries had the battery memory problem, not lithium ion batteries.
    What are you talking about? That is exactly the myth being spread without evidence proving otherwise …

    Every battery type has a life span, yet no manufacturer wants to truthfully talk about it (saying that battery will last 300K is like claiming that my fuel tank will last 500K …… the one thing I do know is that every time I put 12L of gasoline in my tank I get certain mileage and it doesn’t matter whether I fill up half empty every day or not).

    BTW your laptop, iPad, iPod whatever recent device does have a lithium ion battery in it. Ask yourself how long it took before the battery started to last a lot less than when bought new? Both my laptops started to seriously feel it within a year …

    I know you are excited about anything electric, but pls can we keep it a bit rationale?

  28. Brammofan says:

    @mxs Yes, every battery type has a life span. Your original comment, however, stated “if a battery is topped up every night (don’t say you don’t have to, because most people will do …otherwise who wants to be left stranded if I decide to take a different route home), the battery will suffer from what is normally known as a memory loss…” Memory loss, or memory effect, is something different than loss of capacity over time. Memory effect: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Memory_effect . Both Zero and Brammo have been pretty clear about the useful life of their batteries – After the specified number of charge/discharge cycles, the batteries will only be holding about 80% of their charge when they were new. You can still use it, or you can replace them with whatever happens to be the newest, latest advances in battery chemistry.