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 KTM 690 Duke – Cheaper, More Powerful, & ABS

11/08/2011 @ 7:04 am, by Jensen Beeler26 COMMENTS

2012 KTM 690 Duke   Cheaper, More Powerful, & ABS 2012 KTM 690 Duke 081 635x423

After teasing us with some photos and video of its new Duke, KTM finally unveiled the 2012 KTM 690 Duke at EICMA this morning. With 90% of the bike being completely brand new, KTM says the new 690 Duke brings the Austrian company back to its street-naked roots, with an off-road influence of course. Accordingly, at the heart of the KTM 690 Duke is a 690cc LC4 single-cylinder thumper that puts out a crushing 70hp and 51 lbs•ft of torque, while the whole motorcycle package weighs only 330 lbs (without fuel).

Further refining the LC4 single-cylidner motor, KTM has created a new cylinder head, and added a dual-ignition system & ride-by-wire throttle for the 690 Duke. Anti-lock brakes have also been added to the 2012 KTM 690 Duke, as the Austrian company has tapped Bosch to use the Bosch 9M+ ABS package. Lastly, braking power comes from a Brembo radially-mounted caliper with a single 320mm brake disc, while suspension is handle by KTM subsidiary WP, and consists of fully-adjustable 43mm front forks, and a fully-adjustable rear shock.

KTM is continuing its use of a Chromium-Molybdenum steel trellis frame; while overall, the Austrian company has built the 690 Duke to be more durable on the road and more affordable to own (both in price and maintenance) for consumers. Additionally, the 2012 KTM 690 Duke also comes with a larger fuel tank (3.7 gallons), as well as improved fuel economy. Perhaps the only fatal flaw in the old 690, KTM is now boasting a 10,000km (6,200 mile) service interval, which is better a figure, but not a great one.

In person, the KTM 690 Duke is your typical Kiska-polished hooligan machine that looks like it would be a blast on any favorite back road, or when used as a tool of urban destruction. Kiska has certainly found its stride on designing KTM’s graphics package, and the KTM 690 Duke continues the Austrian company’s edgy feel for the street market. It’s just a damn shame that the 2012 KTM 690 Duke isn’t coming to America, because you know…naked bikes don’t sell in the USA (insert eye roll here).

2012 KTM 690 Duke   Cheaper, More Powerful, & ABS 2012 KTM 690 Duke 07 635x423

2012 KTM 690 Duke   Cheaper, More Powerful, & ABS 2012 KTM 690 Duke 13 635x423

2012 KTM 690 Duke   Cheaper, More Powerful, & ABS 2012 KTM 690 Duke 25 635x569

2012 KTM 690 Duke   Cheaper, More Powerful, & ABS 2012 KTM 690 Duke 28 635x356

Source: KTM


  1. Jake Fox says:

    meh. With a hp to weight ratio of .17 (and that’s using dry weight), they can keep it.

  2. fazer6 says:

    I love it–I’ve always loved the 690, and most high performance nakeds (and retro standards, etc.)–However, I don’t get the “eye roll”.
    I’m bummed it’s not coming stateside, however, if I wanted I could go buy a brand new 2009 model–Giving pretty good credence to KTM’s assertion that they won’t sell in the US.

  3. Rods says:

    I prefer the old one….

    The exshaust… The head-lights…. They Fuc!@#$ with this one…

  4. BikePilot says:

    Very cool bike and a smart move by KTM making it less like the SMC and more like the Super Duke (unfortunately I’m the odd one who prefers the supermoto-ish old version I think, but I’m a dirt racer at heart so like the ergonomics of the SM-ish Duke).

  5. fazer6 says:

    I agree, I really can’t imagine anyone buying this one with ’08s, ’09s, and ’10s still on the floor.

  6. Toby says:

    390 lbs dry ?

    just checked ktm.com and they say 330 lbs +/- dry…

    no idea why the new Duke looks more SM-ish (to me) when u can finally get the SMC with the R engine, bit confusing

    I”ll wait and stick to my Husaberg SuMo

  7. It’s 390 lbs w/o fuel, which is not the same as saying it’s dry (I know, it doesn’t make any sense).

  8. Jake Fox says:

    @Jensen Oil, coolant, and brake fluid add up to 60 lbs? That seems really unlikely, what am I forgetting?

  9. “Dry weight” can include things like tires, batteries, and ex-gf’s depending on the OEM. Hmm…I might be wrong about one of those.

  10. Gabe says:

    Hey Jensen! Why are you rolling your eyes? Naked bikes are less than 2% of the USA market for streetbikes–that means less than 8000 units a year. Why would any manufactuer get excited by a market like that?

  11. Marc F says:

    The old curb weight (curb = wet w/ fuel, I believe) was reported as 352 lbs. Did the bike really gain 40lbs?

  12. fazer6 says:

    It looks like that can adds 20lbs all by itself

  13. RD350 says:

    I owned a 2000 Duke II for several years .. quite simply, it rocked. It was truly the most fun bike I have ever owned .. and I have owned many at age 48.

    I have done 2 KTM track days at mid-Ohio and got to test all of KTMs in their lineup. I enjoyed riding the Duke 690 more than all of their other bikes by a long shot .. including the RC8. The Duke handled great, pulled hard off the corners and was just plain fun and easy to ride fast ..

    I wish they would import the new version into the States.

    Till then, my next bike will be a leftover ’08, ’09 or ’10 Duke 690.

  14. jackie says:

    All the things that will most likely make it a better all-around bike…
    ….also make it look deadly dull.

    It just looks like a brightly painted standard/learner bike, instead of the brutish little thumper of the old.

    Still if their past bikes are any indication, it will go far better than anyone expects, and will still be hoot when you ride it on your fave B-roads.

    I do love the sound of a 70hp thumper.

  15. Marc F says:

    rd350, did you have a chance to ride the other 690s? My fav of the bunch by far was the SMC, followed by the SM, with the Duke bringing up the rear. All ridiculously fun bikes though. I found the Duke surprisingly harsh for a bike with 6″ of travel… nothing a re-spring and revalve couldn’t cure.

    If the new one weighs as much as published above, that’s really disappointing. It loses the essence of what made these big singles great (lightweight), and moves them into territory occupied by bikes with better motors.

  16. freako says:

    can somebody tell me where the hell is the rebound adjustment?? n they say this bike is fully adjustable?? im confused..


  17. MikeD says:

    Somebody slap me and tell me i don’t know what im talking about but it looks like a Bear to do a valve check and adjustment on this little thing.
    That frame looks tight around the valve cover and the area around it cluttered with all kind of things.

    6,200 miles valve checks ? YUP not fun but i guess It comes with the territory. Suck it up or look somewhere else. lol.

    A shame they put that ugly muffler on the side, the full under-belly setup was way cleaner and better for mass centralization.

    So much rake on the fork… WTH ? a my missing something here ?

    390lbs Dry Weigth ? WTH KTM ?!

    Other than that the bike looks Tits(i like KTM’s Origami style), it most be a riot to ride and i feel sorry for those of u who wanted it.

  18. RD350 says:

    Last years bike was supposedly 327.4 lbs .. the 2012 bike is supposed to be lighter and more powerful.

    The weight (390lbs w/o fuel) mentioned in this article cannot be right.

    A&R please correct this ..

  19. wreckah says:

    Jensen (and others),

    the weight ready to race is 150kg or 330lbs, not 390lbs! That is everything excluding petrol/fuel.

    it’s got 68hp here in Belgium.

    I am yearning for years now to have a go on one (a 690), i think they totally rock. Fantastic heandling, more than enough power, good looks, reliable, and very light on petrol. I suspect that they are more fun than a 990SM, and that is saying a lot.

    This new one is a bit mainstream though, i think i’d rather go for the improved 690 SMC-R (yes, with the same 690cc 68hp motor from 2012!)

  20. Man, I thought I checked that weight figure at least three time…149,5kg = 329.6 lbs. My bad guys.

  21. MikeD says:

    @ Wreckah:

    Ok, now that’s more like it. LOL.

  22. Check this and tell me you don't want one > RT @Asphalt_Rubber: 2012 KTM 690 Duke – Cheaper, More Powerful, & ABS – http://t.co/pLXsl63O

  23. mxs says:

    Hey Jensen! Why are you rolling your eyes? Naked bikes are less than 2% of the USA market for streetbikes–that means less than 8000 units a year. Why would any manufactuer get excited by a market like that?

    Because the cool bikes like Duke are either not sold here anymore, or when they are it’s impossible to get them. It’s a vicious circle. Needless to say that there’s tons of bikes we don’t get here. Why? No clue, but you cannot be surprised it’s at 2% (if it’s true ). Not every potential buyer is looking for heavy pig with tons of power. Light, less powerful with much better handling is great as well. If the segment got a fair chance I am sure the sales figures would more reflective of that. Just looking here at AAR what bikes get most comments/reactions, it’s always the smaller cc bikes or Ducati. There has to be a reason why people want to discuss these bikes opposed to VFR1200 or 1200GS. Seriously there’s life under 1000cc and 400 lbs, trust me. And it’s fun too.

  24. I roll my eyes because I don’t see it as a market issue, I see it as a product/marketing issue.

  25. BBQdog says:

    Would love to have a SuperMono on this base. Know some KTM employees developped a track version already. LC8 fairing.

  26. allan "albi" davidson says:

    not bad at all !!!! but will it be overpriced as always ?????here in australia???