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 Honda Crosstourer

11/07/2011 @ 4:53 pm, by Jensen Beeler9 COMMENTS

2012 Honda Crosstourer  2012 Honda Crosstourer 4 635x476

Honda teased us last year with the Honda Crosstourer Concept, but for the 2011 EICMA show, the Japanese manufacturer is making good on its promise to bring the GS-lookalike to market. Based off the VFR1200F, the 2012 Honda Crosstourer comes with traction control, combined anti-lock brakes (C-ABS), and of course an optional dual-clutch transmission. While the Crosstourer shares the VFR’s 1,237cc V4 motor, the adventure bike model puts out a significantly lower 127hp @ 7,750 rpm, while a gluttonous 93 lbs•ft torque @ 6,500 rpm remains on-tap.

Clearly a road-focused adventure-tourer model, the Honda Crosstourer may never have the off-road pedigree as the BMW R1200GS it is meant to emulate, but true to Honda fashion, the Crosstourer has plenty of technical prowess built into it. For instance, the idea of using DCT technology for an adventure bike should prove interesting, as it takes the process of having to manage the clutch/motor over unsteady terrain out of the picture.

Adding traction control and C-ABS to the mix only heightens how the Crosstourer will be an easy bike to ride off-road (we’re ignoring its 600+ lbs riding weight for now). While purists will protest, no one should be surprised by Honda’s “better living through technology” approach. Other features include ride-by-wire throttle control, a shaft-drive that is housed in the single-sided swingarm, and the ability to mount tubeless tires on the Crosstourer’s 19″ front wheel and 17″ rear wheel.

It will be interesting to see how Honda positions the Crosstourer in the market. With everyone wanting a piece of BMW’s pie, some OEMs are going directly after the R1200GS, while others are looking for unexplored real estate in the adventure space. One of the newest market segments in motorcycling, there could be something to the notion that we haven’t quite vetted out what riders are looking for in this space.

Like with the VFR, Honda’s strategy here seems to lean towards creating new class definitions. If the Honda VFR1200F sat at the intersection of sport and sport-tourer, then the 2012 Honda Crosstourer seems ready to straddle the fence at tourer and adventure-tourer. The question remains though, are consumers looking for a more road-oriented machine that can occasionally do off-road duty? Or, are these purchases aspirational, fueled with dreams that go the long way around? Maybe the better question is at what price point do those dreams occur, and how will Honda live up to its dream to take on BMW? Stay tuned.

2012 Honda Crosstourer  2012 Honda Crosstourer 2 635x476

2012 Honda Crosstourer  2012 Honda Crosstourer 3 635x476

2012 Honda Crosstourer  2012 Honda Crosstourer 41 635x476

Source: Honda

Comment:

  1. Random says:

    It looks lighter than the Crossrunner (even if it isn’t). Maybe because it doesn’t look so fatty around the engine, I suppose. I quite like it.

    As for the on-off road ability, most GS’s never seem to go eat a little dirt, it seems. Maybe it will be succesfull just because of the riding posture (I dig it too) and the “adventurer allure”. After seeing so much SUVs stopped in traffic in the crowded city I live, I don’t doubt it.

  2. phobe says:

    I suspect it could come in a little lighter than the VFR1200F. Less complicated fairing, lighter mirrors, smaller muffler, smaller brakes.

    This has the potential to be a real winner.

  3. BikePilot says:

    I like what they are trying to do, but not so sure I like what they’ve done. Aside from being one of the most aesthetically uninspiring things I’ve seen in a while the ergonomics and geometry seem a bit weird from the picture. The seat looks too far back, the pegs too far forward (relative to the seat – move the seat up a foot and they’d be about right) and the forks too raked out.

    127hp (crank?) seems rather pathetic for a 1200cc four. Ducati’s twin is doing well more than that.

  4. Don says:

    everyone that travels gets caught on a dirt road now and then but unless it has a large fuel tank cruse control and a place to mount hwy. pegs to straighten out the knees leave out the old guys, which this seems to be the market there going for. I’ll probally keep my 1200RT

  5. MikeD says:

    Seems as if Honda did the old bait and switch with this Bloated Pig.

    SO, this means we won’t be seen anytime soon the replacement of the ST1300 based of the VFR1200 that should have been out by now and before this long legged Pig ?…oh Honda, U so crazy…LMFAO.

    http://www.smcars.net/forums/honda/34231-2010-honda-vfr-1200f.html

    I guess SPORT-Tourers are dead and the thing replacing it is “UP-RIGHT Sport-Tourers” ?

    Whats wrong with nice GT machines instead of these friggin 2 wheeled tractors ? lol.

  6. MikeD says:

    @Random: LOL, the CrossDresser does look fatter, lmao.

    @BikePilot: I thought i was the only one, the fork does look raked for an ADV Machine.
    Don’t get too hung up on the HP Game, i bet what it lost on Top it makes it up in low-mid range torque like it should and really needs it.

    @Don: I wouldn’t trade an R1200RT over this thing…not yet anyways…lol.

  7. Random says:

    @ MikeD: Yeah, it seems no real 1200 V4 tourer. At least the 2012 VFR has TC and a bigger tank (they don’t reveal how much bigger, though).

    Why all on-off inspired bikes have that annoying “beak” under the front lights? Both this and the new Multistrada would look so, so much better without those strange appendices. And that thingy is there even if they have low front fenders. Highly annoying.

  8. Newbe says:

    I think that this has potential. The esthetics aren’t half bad. The riding position looks reasonable, at least compared to the VFR on which it is based (yes, I know that they’re SUPPOSED to different). I hope the seat height will be adjustable, as not everyone is 6′ 2″ tall. I would assume that the narrow seating area made possible by the narrower rear cylinder bank will help in “flat” footing it. I hope that bike is less “bulky” than the GS. I’ve sat on the thing and honestly I feel as if I’m going to fall over (I’m 5′ 10.5″ in socks). I’m a big fan of the DCT option. I just think that it makes a bike easier to live with. I hope that cast wheels might be available as well. Of course the clincher is the price. I don’t need to tell my fellow conspirators that the GS ain’t cheap, especially when larded up with the seemingly endless options that are available. If the DCT version of this thing comes comes in in the low twenties sans many options, I think Honda may have a problem. Indeed, I would argue that if the price is more or less the same, without things like ESA, etc. being available, Honda could have trouble. But then what do I know? I’ll shut up now.

  9. Newbe says:

    Follow up: I’d assume that the tank will afford “sufficient” range as well. That has been a big knock against the VFR–a well deserved one. As for the commentator bemoaning the absence of ST1300 replacement, I would assume that it will be introduced about this time next year. So just hang on. That said, the ST is pretty long of tooth and it must be frustrating to wait so long for its replacement.