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.

First Photos of the 2013 MotoCzysz E1pc

05/29/2013 @ 2:55 pm, by Jensen Beeler16 COMMENTS

First Photos of the 2013 MotoCzysz E1pc 2013 MotoCzysz E1pc 635x423

Team Mugen has already shown off its new electric superbike, with the Japanese tuning firm looking to break the 110 mph barrier at the 2013 SES TT Zero event this year at the Isle of Man TT. To do that though, their rider John McGuinness will have to get past Mark Miller and Michael Rutter of the MotoCzysz team, which has won the past three years of the electric class at the TT.

While we still await the official debut of the 2013 MotoCzysz E1pc race bike, the Portland based company has given us a tease with a few photos on Twitter. This year’s bike takes some cues from the 2012 MotoCzysz E1pc that Rutter took to the winner’s circle last year (Miller finished third); but as expected for 2013, gone are all the aerodynamic winglets that we saw on the ’12 machine.

Talking to Michael Czysz last year during our test ride of the 2012 MotoCzysz E1pc, Czysz said this year his goal was to build a bike that retained many of the aerodynamic characteristics and innovations his team created, but was also more visually palatable for the common motorbiker.

As such, the elongated seat remains, which allows the riders to scoot back and lay flatter on the E1pc during the long straights of the Isle of Man’s Mountain Course. We also imagine the air-routing system seen on the 2012 bike remains in some form as well, though it is tough to see from the current photos, since we don’t have a good front-end picture.

What we do know is that MotoCzysz is aiming not only for another race win, but also a 110 mph average lap speed. Helping achieve that goal is the reported 20% of extra on-board battery power, which if the public spec’s of the E1pc can be believed, would bring the bike close to 17 kWh of on-board stored energy.

If you factor in the efficiency of an electric drivetrain over a petrol-based one, this means the 2013 MotoCzysz E1pc will be tackling the Mountain Course with the equivalent of about a gallon and a half of petrol. For reference, the internal combustion race bikes typically refuel after two laps on the Mountain Course, meaning MotoCzysz will have a tad less energy available on its single as the Superbike class rider does.

Another noticeable change is the absence of the MotoCzysz front-end with its oval sliders and single shock setup. Instead, MotoCzysz has gone a bit more conventional with a standard fork setup, though with a custom triple clamp, of the company’s own design (we hear MotoCzysz will be selling these soon).

More photos of the E1pc and news from The Rock as we get it. Until then, we wish the MotoCzysz crew all the best on the Isle of Man TT this year, and send good thoughts to Michael as he will unfortunately miss this year’s round as he continues his fight with cancer.

First Photos of the 2013 MotoCzysz E1pc 2013 MotoCzysz E1pc teaser 03

First Photos of the 2013 MotoCzysz E1pc 2013 MotoCzysz E1pc teaser 01

First Photos of the 2013 MotoCzysz E1pc 2013 MotoCzysz E1pc teaser 02

Source: MotoCzysz (Twitter)


  1. monkeyfumi says:

    Ohlins forks?
    What happened to their own front end?

  2. They’re still sorta running their own front end with conventional forks. Don’t have all the details, but the triple clamp is highly adjustable and designed by MotoCzysz.

  3. alex says:

    Feels like they took a step back with the conventional design elements – not a step forward. Still though the increase of 3kwhr and other changes makes me wonder if we’ll see a 120 lap this year.

  4. I think a 120 mph lap is going to take at least a 20 kWh pack, and more importantly a 100 lbs reduction in weight. Remember, that’s Supersport lap time territory. The electrics have the horsepower, but are still close to 500 lbs. What does a race-ready 600cc bike weigh?

  5. I’m shocked that they gave up on their highly touted oval forks with single shock setup. I’m wondering if this is an admission that those forks aren’t as good as conventional forks, or if, for some reason, MotoCzysz decided that they badly needed to use the space under the tank where the single shock resided for something else (more batteries?)

    I’m also surprised by the lack of winglets. If they provided an advantage last year, why wouldn’t they also provide an advantage this year? The excuse that they want the bike to look more mainstream is garbage. In racing, the old adage is that if you find that you go faster with a Barbie lunchbox welded to your dashboard, you run with a Barbie lunchbox welded to your dashboard.

  6. paulus - Thailand says:

    Best wishes to Michael Czysz for his personal battle….
    Big respect to MotoCzysz for putting it out there and doing something to contribute to the sport/future of motorcycling.

  7. ttxgpfan says:

    The EPA rates 33.7kWh = 1 US gal. of gasoline. It is solid math, not made up crap. So how does 17kWh = 1.5 gals? And what does motor efficiency have to do with how much energy is on board? It does say something for the petrol bikes that they can make 2 laps on 6gals (maybe more). That makes the TT Zero bikes only 2X as efficient instead of the normal 3X-4X.

  8. ttxgpfan says:

    Darn it now I’m doing it! At a 1/2 a gallon for one lap vs 3 gals for the petrol bikes, that makes the TTZero 6X as efficient.

  9. The math isn’t hard on this one.

    33.7 kWh = 1 gallon of fuel, as you stated.

    Electric drivetrains are roughly 3x more efficient with energy use than ICE, so in terms of work done, 11.23 kWh of battery is on par with 1 gallon of petrol.

    11.23 / 17 = 1.513, so 17 kWh of battery is roughly equivalent to 1.5 gallons of gasoline on a motorcycle.

    Assuming the ICE bikes are empty when they stop for their pitstops, and have 4 gallon tanks, that means a typical ICE bike on the Mountain Course uses 2 gallons of fuel (one pitstop is normal on a four lap race, 2 pitstops on a 6 lapper).

  10. TheSwede says:

    Beeler’s got it right. Yay maths!

  11. Hmmm. The Tyco Suzuki GSXR1000 have 24l tanks = 6.34 US Gallons. So ~ 3 US gallons per lap.

    Yet again, aerodynamics are critical on a vehicle with limited energy and high average speeds. So it’s disappointing that nobody is really taking advantage of the relaxed bodywork rules compared with the ICE machines. I kind of understand both Mugen and Motoczysz wanting to not appear to extreme, and also to be suitable and not too strange for people like Rutter and McGuiness to ride flat out. But it’s still disappointing.

  12. protomech says:

    Just another anecdote on comparing gas and electric.

    I get around 126 Wh/mile at the wall to ride my Zero. Most riding done at 45-55 mph. Assume 90% charging efficiency, yields 110 Wh/mile at the battery.

    I would compare that to 60 mpg in a small 250cc supermoto-styled gas bike.

    1 gal / 60 miles = 33.7 kWh (thermal, LHV petrol) / 60 miles = 561 Wh (thermal) / mile

    Comparable electric is 110 Wh (electric)/mile at the battery. So about 5x as efficient.

    1 gal of gas will take a comparable bike about 60 miles, I need 6.6 kWh from the battery to do the same. 7.3 kWh from the wall, at $0.085/kWh (North AL pricing) = $0.62/gal equivalent.

    The comparable efficiencies of gas and electric will both vary based upon load and RPM. Gas engines will be more efficient under moderate to heavy load – eg race conditions. Efficiency may be more like 3-4x then for electric.

    With 17 kWh, onboard energy is roughly equivalent to 1.5 – 2.5 gallons of gasoline. Probably closer to 1.5 gallons at race pace.

  13. buellracerx says:

    Another interesting point – not all chemical energy in a battery is available for conversion to electric. Liquid fuels are good to the last drop. I wonder, do they (teams, mfg’s, etc.) advertise the actual, consumable energy on board or is it the total chemical energy? All this coming from an IC engines guy, so take it with a grain of salt.

  14. Added another photo, this time of the front-end. Very similar to the 2011 bike.

  15. Dewey says:

    Why the switch to a conventional telefork if the bike was a winner last year with the alternative front?
    Rules? At the request of the rider?

  16. The flex unit from the forks has been moved into the triple clamp. Same tech in theory, different way of applying it. One advantage with the conventional forks is being able to tap into the deep experience in setting up those suspension pieces.