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 Kawasaki Versys 1000 – The Z1000 Adventure-Sport

11/08/2011 @ 11:34 am, by Jensen Beeler23 COMMENTS

2012 Kawasaki Versys 1000   The Z1000 Adventure Sport 2012 Kawasaki Versys 1000 1 635x423

Giving the original Kawasaki Versys a bigger sibling, the 2012 Kawasaki Versys 1000 brings liter bike capacity to Kawasaki’s adventure-sport offering. Based around the 1,043cc inline-four motor from the Z1000, Kawasaki has “tuned” the Versys 1000 for smoother power delivery and throttle response, rather than just outright peak power. Accordingly then, the Kawasaki Versys 1000 gets a modest peak horsepower rating of 116hp, while making  75 lbs•ft of torque. While it is disappointing to see such a low peak horsepower figure, it should be pointed out that the Versys makes more power and torque in the lower part of the rev-range than its sport-naked counterpart, which should also suit the intended purpose of the 2012 Kawasaki Versys 1000 a bit better.

Packaged into a 527 lbs curb-side mass, the Versys 1000 certainly isn’t the lightest bike on the block, though it does rate as being more svelte than the newly released 2012 Honda Crosstourer, which will tip the scales at over 600 lbs with the DCT configuration. With 17″ wheels, Kawasaki is making no overtures about the Versys 1000 being a street-going machine, and while the Kawasaki Versys 1000 is ready for touring duty, the Japanese company is touting the bike’s sport appeal with its “adventure-sport” segment nomenclature.

As we noted with the Honda Crosstourer, Japanese companies are clearly coming at the adventure-style market with different approaches, along with varying degrees of on & off-street ability in each model. Going up against the Yamaha Super Ténéré, Honda Crosstourer, and Suzuki V-Strom, the 2012 Kawasaki Versys 1000 has some stiff competition to contend with from its Japanese counterparts. Hoping to help differentiate the Versys 1000 from its competition, Kawasaki has tried to pack several key features into the otherwise vanilla machine.

The repurposed Z1000 engine gets several tools to better suit the four-cylinder motor to its new task, and the first of which is the power mode selector. Enabling riders to choose from full or 75% power, the Versys 1000 incorporates a more basic form of the now ubiquitous user-selectable riding mode module, which creates a milder throttle response when applied. The 2012 Kawasaki Versys 1000 also features a new version of Kawasaki’s KTRC traction control system, and has a three-level traction control setup that is a combination of the KTRC found on the Kawasaki ZX-14R and the S-KTRC found on the Kawasaki ZX-10R. Also coming standard on the Versys 1000 are anti-lock brakes (300mm front, 250mm rear), as Kawasaki continues the industry-wide trend to incorporate the ABS braking technology on its motorcycles.

Suspension is fairly basic, with the revised 43mm KYB forks having only adjustable pre-load and rebound damping. The rear back-link shock also only features pre-load and rebound damping adjustment. While the rest of the 2012 Kawasaki Versys 1000 is fairly straight-forward and basic in the rest of its description, the one remaining feature that does strike us as interesting is the Economical Riding Indicator, which uses bio-feedback, via an indicator on the dash, to help riders conserve fuel by noting when they are riding favorably for fuel consumption.

Like most of the Japanese adventure offerings, the 2012 Kawasaki Versys 1000 doesn’t revolutionize the marketplace (with maybe exception being given to Honda for its DCT option), but it does promise to bring an honest get-you-there motorcycle. While pricing hasn’t been released in the US yet, we imagine on that point the Kawasaki Versys 1000 will shine for consumers as a bang-for-the-buck adventure-sport offering, that is of course if they can get over the radiator-mounting job that’s going on here.

2012 Kawasaki Versys 1000   The Z1000 Adventure Sport 2012 Kawasaki Versys 1000 7 635x423

2012 Kawasaki Versys 1000   The Z1000 Adventure Sport 2012 Kawasaki Versys 1000 10 635x423

2012 Kawasaki Versys 1000   The Z1000 Adventure Sport 2012 Kawasaki Versys 1000 8 635x423

Source: Kawasaki

Comment:

  1. Rexr says:

    UGLY……..

  2. JJ says:

    kawasaki ELEPHANT 1000, err… no, maybe kawasaki GORILLA 1000 LOL

  3. RSVDan says:

    That is one unfortunate looking motorcycle.

  4. Jake Fox says:

    “Introducing the Kawasaki Versys 1,000 – The illegitimate lovechild of a naked sportbike and a Pontiac Aztec.”

  5. Jake Fox says:

    err Aztek, sorry.

  6. 4Cammer says:

    Is it possible for the big 4 to make an interesting and good looking motorcycle?

  7. Tommy Lee says:

    Been riding my 2010 Versys 650 for a year and half now. Looks like they’ve finally refined everything on this new 1000 that I had to with aftermarket parts on my 650. Now, they just need to price it for the US, so I can buy one most rikki-tik!

  8. MikeD says:

    Stone me…but i like it…specially since it doesn’t have the ” MANDATORY CLICHE ODD SILLY LOOKING 19″ on the front like each and every GS1200A CopyCat or wire wheels for that matter.
    Lets face it people, this things are not made to roll on anything softer than a hard packed gravel fire road…who are we kidding here ?

    Standard ABS, TC, PowerModes, Remote rear preload adjuster + a bunch of factory options(Hard side cases and top case) and accesories.
    What’s not to like, styling ? That’s alright…moving along, nothing to see here…LOL.

  9. MikeD says:

    P.S: That fugly muffler has to go…quick fix albeit xpensive…(-_- )

  10. lester says:

    i like it
    i might even buy it over the new 1199

  11. odysseas says:

    This has got to be the ugliest bike of 2011 – 12.
    Designed by marketing managers with no sign of love whatsoever.
    meh

  12. GaryT says:

    I own the 650 Versys. No thanks to this one. Muffler is TOO big and fugly. Forks appear wimpy. Radiator has the aerodynamics of a door. The swingarm being a 650 Versys aesthetic trait is missing. Power is too low for the class and weight too high.

  13. J.P. says:

    Perfect ! A comfortable version of the Ninja 1000.

    When can I buy one ?

  14. MikeD says:

    @GaryT:

    When u are trying to “replicate” the “same” bike but on a bigger scale but using a completely different “core”…Yeah, that’s what happens. (^_^ )

    I too like the Gulwing swinger and the underbelly xhaust better but… ?

    Spaghetti fork ? That’s basically the universal size that most of Japan’s OEMs use on their hardware, even the heavy ones.
    The 2012 ZX-14R at 584lbs uses 43mm units.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    @J.P:

    U said it, this looks 5x more comfortable than that “compromised” Ninja 1000.

  15. Gary says:

    Come-on guys, let’s get with the program. A motorcycle can’t *possibly* be taken seriously in the adventure-“style” segment unless its grotesquely featured.

  16. MikeD says:

    @Gary: ROTFL

  17. Gary wins today’s prize for the best A&R comment.

  18. MikeD says:

    “I give in. I now accept and embrace the fact that modern motorcycles are ugly. I feel better now and can move on with my life.”
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    I took the above from another site’s Versys 1000 tread (written by Philip).

    Almost as good as Gary’s or better. ROTFL. Gotta love free open forums and it’s users.

  19. Rick says:

    To Gary re:”grotesque…adventure bikes…”
    I’ll have you know that while purring along, peering over the pitted windshield of my V-Strom, the only ugly thing in my line of sight are the mirrors and the accompanying blurred image of my shoulders.

    Somebody has to love the phat girls!

  20. conchop says:

    Ghastly styling! It took some time for my Ulysses styling to grow on me. It never really did. The entire field of ADV bikes has been styled by some crack heads in an effort to upstage the most hideously styled GS 1200.

    ADV bikes are like having a girlfriend with a beautiful and athletic body connected to a face that would cause a train wreck. Great ride, but the ugliest thing on earth.

    This is nothing less than corporate Sadism.

  21. Jason says:

    I’m still at a loss as to what these “adventure bikes” are actually for. There’s the Ewan and Charlie effect, but the only reason they rode the GS was that KTM wouldn’t give them the bikes they really wanted because they’d fall off them so often that it would make KTM look bad. They then proceded to fall off the GS’s every few feet and made them look like trying to ride baby african elephants who were high on PCP. In a turn of events that baffles me to this day, tens of thousands of people thought that looked like great fun and rushed to buy their own baby elephants. I ride in the dirt a lot. The difference between an empty tank and carrying that extra 10kg for a full tank is dramatic. Yet even with a full tank, my bike is 130 kg lighter than this!!!!!! When I’m actually sitting on my bike, full of fuel, helmet, boots, toolkit and everything. I’m still 40 kg lighter than this bike is dry!!!!!! That’s right, me plus my bike plus fuel is lighter than this thing! I could add my daughter on the back and I *still* wouldn’t match this lump (or any of the other equally strange “adventure bikes”)

  22. Silvio says:

    still lighter than ducati multistrada or triumph…

    good

    +1

    :)

  23. Wheelo says:

    Gee guys. Harsh much? It looks about like all the other bikes in the class. I’m very excited to see it, because I LOVE my 650 Versys so much, that I am finding it hard to get motivated to get a new bike. I kept saying to my friends, “I just wish there was a ‘Versys 1000′” My best riding buddy rides a Multistrada and wants to add in some dirt roads to our rides. Looks like the big V would be up for prepared dirt roads okay. 125 ponies is plenty of power in this class. The best part is going to be the price/performance ratio. Kawasaki will make you think hard before buying Ducati, Triumph, Yamaha, or Honda. I for one welcome this bike with open arms and will seriously consider purchase.