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.

Up-Close with the 2012 MotoCzysz E1pc

06/01/2012 @ 12:30 pm, by Jensen Beeler13 COMMENTS

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More evolution than revolution, it is easy to see the lines of the 2011 MotoCzysz E1pc peaking out from underneath the complex shapes of the 2012 MotoCzysz E1pc. Building upon the design that won his company the 2011 SES TT Zero, Michael Czysz says he has finally had time to truly address the aerodynamic aspect of his designs, though he admittedly had to make some aesthetic concessions to find the right aerodynamic package for the job.

These concessions cause the 2012 MotoCzysz E1pc to have a bit of Buck Rogers feel to it at first glance, as the winglets, ducts, and neon colors hit you all at once. While it all seems a bit over the top, there is some method to the madness. Relying on computational fluid dynamics to develop his designs, Czysz’s designs aim to make the 2012 E1pc as slippery as possible in the wind, but also serve to allow the team to continue a design philosophy that first started way-back with the MotoCzysz C1 project.

Whipping the air over the combined form of rider and machine, the 2012 MotoCzysz E1pc should be able to hit and maintain higher speeds with less energy than before, but the real secret sauce for the Portland-based company is in how it has routed the air through the bike to maintain cooling temperatures. Bringing air through the basking shark front end, the internal aeros bring the air through the bike, presumably over the batteries, back towards the rear of the bike, and through a radiator located in the tail section.

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If my social science major’s understanding of aerodynamic principles holds fast, the routing of the air through the center of the E1pc’s mass, and dumping the exhaust of that routing duct to under the bike’s tail section, should help remove the vacuuming effect normally suffered by motorcycles, further aiding in the streamlining cause — without the need of dustbin solution.

We see the same aerodynamic principle in road racing, where holes are cut in forward-facing fairings and windscreens, to help alleviate the low-pressure spaces that are created behind those barriers. This theory seems similar to, though should be entirely separate from, Homer Simpson’s speed holes theory of automotive design.

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Like all MotoCzysz machines, it is the detail touches that make the machines such a sight to behold. LED accents cover the lower lip of the 2012 E1pc’s RAM air duct, and are right above the now ubiquitous raison d’être-clad front mudguard. This year’s slogan is “< 22:38.28″ which is a reference to the time necessary to break the 100 mph barrier on the Isle of Man TT Mountain Course — with the consensus being not if, but by how much, that barrier is shattered this year. Another regular item to the Czysz design philosophy is the subtle “Made in America” sticker on the tank, reminding us that for now, electric motorcycle racing is the only field being dominated by American entrants.

A carry-over from the 2011 MotoCzysz E1pc, the suspension system is again housed under the carbon fiber mock fuel tank, with linkages connecting the two Race-Tech shocks to the six-axis front forks (another regular MotoCzysz design element) and rear swingarm. For 2012, the previously carbon fiber clad swingarm’s linkage has been replaced with one made of metal, presumably to allow Miller and Rutter to hit the jumps along the Mountain Course with their full-might.

On Rutter’s bike last year, the Dow Kokam battery packs were split into two units, stacked one on top of the other. For 2012, both bike’s have one larger pack that extends well past the 2012 MotoCzysz E1pc’s twin-spar carbon fiber frame, both fore and aft. According to Czysz, the new pack is volumetrically similar to last year’s, though it should bring the center of mass on the bike much lower to the tarmac.

Officially housing 14 kWh, it wouldn’t surprise to find that number has been sand-bagged a bit, with a few more pouches to be found in the battery enclosure than before, along with a more dense lithium-ion formula working its electron magic inside them.

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With the Mugen team in full-attendance at the MotoCzysz unveiling behind the main TT grandstand along Glencrutchery Road, the competition between the two heavy-hitters is an exercise in the definition of an oxymoron– being both incredibly demur and yet also immensely intense at the same time. A good showing by either party only enhances the victory by the other…and neither team has any intention of leaving the Isle of Man with a second place podium to show for their efforts.

With Mugen showing the guises of a massive battery pack on its Shinden motorcycle (20 kWh sounds high, though not absurd), the Japanese squad is exhibiting a very modern one-two punch on the old American adage  that “there’s no replacement, for displacement” which stands in stark contrast to the aikido of Michael Czysz’s wind-shaping zen state. If we lend ourselves to stereotypes, there is a good role-reversal going on here, and the first bout in this mixed-martial arts fight comes to us tomorrow. Stay tuned.

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Photos: © 2012 Jensen Beeler / Asphalt & Rubber – Creative Commons – Attribution 3.0


  1. it’s possible that there is an internal duct to the motorcycle that sucks
    air passes from the front flowing to radiators rear?

    someone can answer this question?

  2. I think I said as much in the article, no? Sorry, I know English isn’t your first language.

    Let’s think about it this way, there would have to be an internal duct in order for any

    Without a duct, the radiator in the tail would be completely sealed in (low-pressure under the tail section isn’t going to force are in through the “back door”), so in essence it would act like a reservoir, which isn’t exactly an efficient or useful on the Mountain Course.

  3. Sorry ! I wrote this hypothesis on twitter and your first post “MotoCzysz 2012″ and instinctively I repeated the question without reading the new post!

    I confess that Unfortunately when I read the post was too late and I had already commented!

    I am very pleased that my hypothesis is true, the duct reduces the rolling resistance!

    Great idea of ​​Michael and his staff! congratulations!

  4. Tuktu says:

    “With Mugen showing the guises of a massive battery pack on its Shinden motorcycle (20 kWh sounds high, though not absurd), …”

    I hope the E1pc has more than their advertised 14 kW-h pack! I am pretty sure Honda, oh sorry Mugen, was able to cram in at least 20 kW-h in theirs as I tried to demonstrate in my previous comment on the Shinden!


    Like you said, we’ll see if it’s brute power or efficiency that takes it!

  5. MikeD says:

    ” Made in America”…………………………………. REALLY ? ! AMERICA ? ! LMFAO. It never gets old. It still sounds like something some patriotic pretentious douche would say.

    How about just “Made in the U.S.A”…………….. or NORTH AMERICA to be more accurate yet not accurate enough ? ! LMAO.

    Sorry guys, i couldn’t hold back myself on this one.

  6. Rich Melaun says:

    @MikeD: I understand your point except that most of us from the states do refer to our nationality as American. And having traveled all over Europe most people there do as well. Even though a Canadian or Mexican are also North Americans, most understand that an American is someone from the United States. No?

  7. MikeD says:

    @Rich Melaun:

    Indeed my polite, well traveled/educated fellow reader. \(^_^)/

  8. Rich Melaun says:

    @MikeD: Yes my friend. Cheers – Rich

  9. Pat Walker says:

    Czysz had a falling rate rear suspension on is Moto GP bike. Did they mention if this bike has a rising rate or falling rate rear suspension?
    Note to the rule makers – Please ban any front , rear or side wings. Those segway wings look retarded not to mention dangerous.

  10. Westward says:

    Truly innovative designs, though I’m not too sure about the winglets. Buck Rodgers and Flash Gordon would be proud…

    Brute force shows a lack of creativity, however, efficiency reveals ingenuity of design…

  11. Rob749 says:

    After last year’s bike’s almost sensual curves, the 2012 is a bit of a let down aesthetically. Lets hope its worth it.

  12. luke says:

    I too, was goggle eyed at the winglets. Love to hear more about how effective they are in terms of aerodynamics. Beeler, heard any info there?

  13. Rich Melaun says:

    I am, for one, a person who thinks beauty is as function does. The “winglets” (which look more like turning vanes) appear to have a function; one has to wonder were they designed with CFD software, or with CFD and a wind tunnel?