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.

Officially Official: 2013 Kawasaki Z800

09/05/2012 @ 11:18 am, by Jensen Beeler18 COMMENTS

Officially Official: 2013 Kawasaki Z800 2013 Kawasaki Z800 02 635x422

If we had to summarize Kawasaki’s new model philosophy, it would have to be with the old tuner’s phrase that “there is no replacement for displacement.” Bumping the 2013 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R from 599cc back to its odd 636cc figure from 2003-2006, Team Green has also trumped the quarter-liter market with the debut of the 2013 Kawasaki Ninja 300, a peppier clone of the Kawasaki Ninja 250R world-model that debuted last month (it looks like North American will have to make do with the mundane and carb’d version of the Ninja 250R, sad trombone).

While we expect to see a bevy of new Kawasaki’s later next week, one bike we don’t expect to see is the 2013 Kawasaki Z800, which just officially debuted in Europe. We were on vacation when some Thai readers leaked the first images of the Kawasaki Z800 in our comments section, luckily other publications read our site and picked up the story. You have probably already seen the photos, but just in case they are in a gallery after the jump.

Kawasaki isn’t saying too much officially, beyond the usual hyperbole of course, but it is obvious that the 2013 Kawasaki Z800 is a punched out version of the Kawasaki Z750 (a model we don’t get here in North America). Basically a 806cc version of the 748cc inline-four model, with virtually the same bodywork, Kawasaki is quoting more torque and horsepower from the Z800, but isn’t tipping any actual numbers just yet.

Creeping in on the terrain of the Kawasaki Z1000, it will be interesting to see whether Kawasaki follow’s Yamaha’s example, and deems the 800cc & 1,000cc models different enough to bring them both to North America together (e.g. Yamaha FZ8 & Yamaha FZ1), or if the Kawasaki Z800 remains a strictly European affair.

Expect the full details of the 2013 Kawasaki Z800 to hit the interwebs by October 2nd, or earlier if we have our say in it.

Officially Official: 2013 Kawasaki Z800 2013 Kawasaki Z800 03 635x477

Officially Official: 2013 Kawasaki Z800 2013 Kawasaki Z800 01 635x485

Official Photos of the 2013 Kawasaki Z800 from Kawasaki Europe:

Leaked Photos of the 2013 Kawasaki Z800 from Siam RiderClub:

Source: Kawasaki EU; Gallery: Siam RiderClub

Comment:

  1. Keet says:

    not a fan of the droopy headlight look that a lot of the manufacturers are sporting these days on their naked/semi-naked bikes.

  2. joe says:

    ok spice up this 800 motor and make a zx7/8r already.

  3. MikeD says:

    They can keep it. (-_-)

    Same HUMPBACK look as the Z1000………..HORRID. What’s with the angry looking headligth ?
    Why so much crappy xpensive body work to get damaged ?
    Rectangular section steel swing arm ? WHAT’S THIS ?! A NINJA 250 ?!
    No fancy schnancy radial calipers ? Again…is this a Ninja 250 ?!
    W/e happened to flatter/lower tail sections that don’t make the passenger feel/look “in the clouds” ?

    Sorry for the rant. I haven’t learnt to lower my xpectations everytime this time of the year comes around…or maybe im getting all crabby and old. LOL.

  4. Paul McM says:

    Tell me, does anyone over the age of 9 years actually like this “Transformer” bike styling? All angles and pointy corners (the better to jam you in the kneecap). Didn’t Suzuki prove with the B-King that this styling trend is NOT appealing to the market any more (if it ever was)? It seems like all the bike makers are in a competition to produce the most hideous headlight module on their “naked” bikes (CB1000R comes to mind. The front end of that bike is an abomination.) I think its time for all the major Japanese motorcycle makers (Honda, Suzuki, Kawasaki) to “Clean house” in their styling departments. My beloved 1984 FJ1100 had excellent ergonomics, and a beautifully sculpted tank (that held lots of gas without an ugly humpback). Have the stylists learned nothing in nearly 30 years, except how to achieve ever greater levels of ugliness?

    http://texascycleusa.com/_images/84_fj1100_3_600.jpg

  5. You’re not the only curmudgeonly certified old guy ’round these here parts, Mike. I’m looking forward to the day that motorcycles don’t look like a bad Transformers sequel.

  6. Kurt says:

    I’m an artist and if I was given a clean sheet of paper and told to come up with the ugliest motorcycle design possible, there is no way I could create anything as hideous as this or the new Triumph ADV bike. Kudos to the new crop of stylists, you’ve taken on the B King and won! Your angry insectiod transformer overlords will be so proud of how mega-radical you’ve turned out. Keep it up and you may achieve your goal of permanent blindness in all who gaze upon your creations.

  7. JoeD says:

    So the Bug/Transformer look is not for you? When I show up on the Benelli CR, a crowd gathers. The positive responses far outweigh the negative ones. Not that it matters to me, I ride my own bike(s). To be honest, the Euro folks had this going on long before the Asians copied it which may explain why it gets panned in 2012. I think to appreciate the evolution of the species, one must look back to the Cafe Racer era when all we had were 1/4 fairings and some dropped bars to make our road bikes at least look like a real racer. John Britten made a georgeous machine with minimal body panels. Be different. Get out of the box.

  8. Damo says:

    @Paul McM

    I have said the same thing a million times. The first time I saw the new z1000 I was like, “Wow! That thing looks crazy! Right out of an anime film.” But you know if you had to live with it, three months down the rode you go, “Uggh! That thing looks a bit too crazy.”

    At least the FZ8 looks good, now if we could just get Yamaha USA to sell the small fairing version of the FZ1 here. ..

  9. Neil says:

    I have no idea what the Japanese manufacturers are thinking !!!???

    Let’s make a smaller version of the Z1000, don’t come up with anything NEW….just make a smaller version of what you’ve already made????

    This is why Ducati and BMW are kicking your ass !!!!

  10. Westward says:

    Bravo JoeD

    It’s not that bad. It looks like the Ducati Streetfighter to me, albeit a Kawasaki version. Priced significantly less I would imagine…

    I wouldn’t expect this bike to appeal to those use to full fairing machines, but to those of use that prefer naked and cafe racers, it will do.

    I am sure someone will remove the rear fender, slap on an after market pipe, change the mirrors and lights, and the bike would display a better character.

    Besides, looking like a transformer can’t be too much of a bad thing, those movies keep making so much money it’s ridiculous…

  11. Gritboy says:

    Nice looking.

  12. MikeD says:

    @JoeD:

    (O.O) How dare u compare a Benelli CR to this ? Have u look closer to the components that form your motorcycle….Sr ?

    I’ll run over if i see u on the road…LMAO.

  13. Ton Up Jax says:

    I’m confused… it’s not naked, and it doesn’t have fairings- yet the only visible engine parts are a glimpse of cylinder head, headers, and two case covers. Even the exhaust has a cover. What’s up with that? The insectoid/transformer look was sophomoric when it was introduced (years ago), and it’s still just as bad. I can’t imagine anyone who likes naked/cafe style bikes would find this anything but vomitous. If I were wrong, I’d expect to see the streets filled with young anime freaks riding these hideous monstrosities from Japan… but they’re hardly ever seen. So why do they still build them?

  14. MikeD says:

    I think it will be a Europe ONLY Model for all we care.

    Man, im starting to feel a little guilty…some of u guys are skinning the living s&*$ off of it…c’mon…is not “that bad”…is it ?

  15. “Be different. Get out of the box.”

    I think you have it backwards. With most bikes looking squared-off and angry these days, one needs to be very much IN the box and just like everybody else. There are an awful lot of bikes, but precious few choices. It’s reminiscent of having 200 channels of cable.

    I don’t think it’s genuinely fugly, but neither do I think that it has “timeless elegance” going for it. Something like a Guzzi Daytona 1000 is timelessly elegant in my books. This bike might have some interesting lines going for it, but they are not elegant lines, IMO.

  16. Facepunch Machoman, Jr. says:

    Of the current nakeds I think the FZ8 looks ok and Suzuki’s GSR750 (Euro only) looks great.

    I think it’s stupid that they castrate all of these bikes with budget suspension and heavy weights. I understand trying to hit a budget. But Triumph proved with the Street Triple R that there is a big demand for adjustable suspension at least. It is only a few hundred more and it generates positive hype. From dealers I heard the R version is MUCH more in demand than the non-R version. With the FZ8, you hear of people putting R1 forks and FZ1 shocks on there for just a few hundred bucks so why doesn’t Yamaha offer it out of the box?

    Sure you can get the liter bike but not everyone wants something so powerful and heavy. You shouldn’t have to screw around so much just to get adjustable suspension on the smaller bikes.

  17. Stas says:

    Hi all. Now I have a Kawasaki Z750 and I find that new Z800 awesome. By the way, Z750 is the best selling bike (not only naked) in many european countries. So, it’s just a matter of taste, isn’t it?