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.

MTT Readies the Next Generation Y2K Turbine Bike

01/29/2013 @ 11:21 am, by Jensen Beeler20 COMMENTS

MTT Readies the Next Generation Y2K Turbine Bike marine turbine technologies mtt 2013 y2k jet bike

The name Marine Turbine Technologies (MTT) may not immediately strike recognition, though we are pretty sure that if we said the company was repsonsible for the turbine-powered Y2K hyperbike, you would know what we mean. Built in time for the turn of the millennia, the Y2K features a Rolls-Royce-Allison Model 250 turbine motor that makes 320 hp at 52,000 rpm. Yes, that rpm figure is correct.

Unlike other turbine-driven road machines, which use the trust of the turbine jet engine for locomotion, MTT mated the helicopter turbine system to a two-speed gearbox, which in-turn drives a shaft to a final chain-drive system. Not exactly a huge success on the market, the MTT Y2K was still made famous by celebrity owner Jay Leno, who had a tendency to melt plastic car bumpers at stop lights.

Now reports say Marine Turbine Technologies is working on a new model of turbine-powered hyperbikes, awkwardly dubbed the 2013 MTT Y2K 420R.

Upgrading the drive package with a Rolls-Royce C-20B gas turbine engine that produces an apt 420hp. Other highlights include carbon fiber wheels and fairings, radial-mounted calipers on the front brakes with ABS, and a 240mm rear tire.

Street-legal in the US, with similar provisions being made in the EU, the 2013 MTT Y2K is currently undergoing wind-tunnel testing in the UK, and MTT hopes for a 260+ mph top speed figure. Expect to see the company’s latest creation later this year, with what we imagine will be a price in the six-figures.

Source: Autocar & Bikes in the Fast Lane


  1. Since the average turbine helicopter consumes 25 gallons an hour I assume this thing isn’t being built with touring in mind.

  2. Chasdev says:

    How many seconds can the rider can apply 420HP?
    Real world use should reveal better mileage.

  3. JoeD says:

    A smaller turbine may help in the wheelbase department and still provide adequate power. As is, cornering prowess may be lacking.

  4. Prasenjit Kumar Debroy says:

    Mind boggling Specs.
    But, too much to be of much Road usage.

  5. AK says:

    Why does front half look like Ducati??

  6. Matt says:

    Who was this bike designed for? Stretch Armstrong?

  7. paulus - Thailand says:

    it’s an interesting engineering project.

  8. Rocket Punch says:

    One simply need to look at the rider triangle to see that this is impossible ride except for may be in a straight line; Which is the only way the bike will work since if you try to steer the thing you will see that the brake/clutch lever will collide with the fairing.

  9. David says:

    I think it’s cool. Especially now that is has decent power. 420hp verses the weak 320hp.

    AND, I can power it with the cheap perfume and wine that I buy in 55 gallon drums.


  10. L2C says:

    The word disgusting comes to mind.

  11. Damo says:

    A neat little engineering exercise I supposed, but completely useless other than spreadsheet bragging and straight line interstate runs.

  12. Interesting piece of exotica, but totally impractical. Our helicopters use the same engine. Although the engine is rated at 420 SHP, in our MD500E’s, the maximum continuous horsepower is 350, with 375 maximum available (5 minute limit) during take off’s and landings. It burns an average of 28 gallons/hour. The same engine runs more efficiently in our Bell OH-58′s, with a higher max continuous rating, and average burn of 22 g/hr.

    The engine has to be de-rated to different helicopter models due to weaknesses of various components in the driveline, and also to give a higher performance threshold at altitude.

    I don’t know if one of those bikes would even fit on a dyno, so maybe the manufacturer doesn’t need to worry about someone checking their power claims. But, I’d sure like to see how much power is actually being transmitted to the rear tire. They’d have to de-rate the engine down to a level where the weakest component in the drivetrain doesn’t fail.

    If I had that kind of money I’d just park a Desmosedici in my living room an call it a day. :))

  13. …Oh, and as an aside to my last post, if you get the start sequence wrong, or try to start the engine while it still contains too much residual heat, well, then, you just fried a $275,000 turbine engine.

  14. I agree with the commenters criticisms in this thread, why do people keep putting these full-size turbines into heavily modified motorcycle chassis? Why doesn’t someone create a purpose built microturbine that is Relatively efficient and about the same size as 1000cc engine? Hasn’t that already been done anyway?

    I assume they can’t get sufficient power to make it practical… yet. So turbine engines remain impractical for anything but planes, tanks and helicopters.

  15. Jimbo says:

    ProudAmerican, there is no chance you could ever get the tire to grip well enough to stress any of the driveline parts!

  16. Zef Eisenberg says:

    The truth about the MTT turbine bike….

    The press release of the 420ss is not official and neither are the facts correct. It was copied from an Indian forum after a 3D render was released without permission. Below is the reality to dispel all the myths and educate fans of this amazing motorbike.

    MTT stopped making the last ‘Y2K’ in 2005. That bike had a RR Allison 250 series C18, (from the Bell 206 helicopter) which offered 318shp (shaft horsepower) and about 286hp at the rear wheel, (10% loss from the drive chain).

    A Joint Venture between Zef Eisenberg and MTT was created in 2009 to take the last 2005 C18 powered bike to Europe (UK) and test, race and land speed it to see what it could really do, under ACU/MSA sanctioned events and which areas could be improved. Since then it has been at Elvington, several top speed events, Goodwood festival of speed and expos in the UK.

    Anyone with an understanding of the laws of physics will know that the drag always gets in the way of top speed, ie: The faster you go, the more drag is created and the more power you need to go faster… not in a linear way, but in a massive way, ie: depending on drag efficiency levels (how smoothly the object slips through the air) a normal motorbike will need circa 200rear wheel HP to achieve 200mph, 300rwHP to achieve 225mph, 450rwHP to do 250mph, etc…

    Until you’ve been at these crazy high speeds, you have no idea how much resistance air itself creates. If you don’t believe me try sticking your arm out the car window at just 100mph and see if you can hold it straight!

    You then create another problem, the more horsepower (and torque) you produce, the more traction (laying the power down) becomes an issue. That is why a 1500hp drag bike has a tyre the size of a lorry. If they used a normal 190 or 240 road legal tyre, it would just spin, smoke and go no where. For a road legal bike and safe high speed stability, curved road tyres is what you want, not giant flat drag tyres.

    For the benefit of high speed stability ‘250mph bikes’ don’t want to have the front forks set like a GP bike at 23 degrees for quick turns and reaction, they prefer slower steering such as 26 to 30 degrees This will make the bike longer and more stable. Trust me, you don’t want a speed wobble at 250mph. The compromise is length hence the Turbine bike is longer than the average bike at 2450mm, but no longer than many cruising and touring bikes. Ignore the illusion of half finished 3D renders.

    In May 2012, The C18 powered ‘Y2K’ bike achieved a certified GPS speed of 205.87mph in its fastest run. The gearing (front and rear sprockets combo) was wrong, so the turbine spooled to 5300rpm, instead of its 6000rpm governed speed. This resulted in a loss of much needed horsepower for the higher speeds. Lots of testing has been done since on tweaking and improving many areas, with greater results expected in 2013.

    With all the C18 testing and knowledge, a new model was created – The 420ss. This bike is 90% built, but has not undergone high speed testing yet. Everything about the bike is new. Although the bike without it’s fairing, looks similar; the frame, forks, wheels, brakes, tank, gearbox, swingarm, aerodynamic fairing, electronics, triple tree, rake/trial, suspension, etc… has all been improved, strengthened and tweaked.

    Most newsworthy is that it is using the RR Allison 250 series C20B turbine, as found in the 6 seater luxury VIP Augusta 109 Helicopter. At 100% N1 (fuel input) at 6000rpm (N2) it achieves between 420 and 440shp (at the shaft), which will be 378-396 rear wheel HP. The torque is considerably more than the C18, being 367 lbft v 280lbft. These power ratings have been achieved on a RR turbine engine dyno and Dyno250, without any component failure.

    To understand this, a Honda gold wing makes about 110lb ft and a 500hp Turbo Hayabusa makes around 238 lbft at 11,000rpm. The concern with the 420ss is will the 240mm rear tyre be wide enough to lay down the power to achieve the acceleration and top speed its capable of?

    It is for these reasons that claims of 200mph in 5.4seconds is rubbish. Such times would make the bike win every prostock ¼ mile drag race in the world. Top speeds of 275mph is also rubbish. 240mph is realistic, 250mph a big maybe if the aerodynamics of the bike was improved over the original, which we all agree was not optimised in design or looks. Yes, if the bike was made into a 20 foot long pencil thin ‘bonneville’ stream liner, 275mph would be very realistic, but then it’s not road legal, which is all the fun!

    Turbine’s are unique compared to piston engines. They take about 45 seconds to spool up to maximum rpm (N2) and rev slowly when under load, as they are designed to operate for hours at 100% RPM, as opposed to revving like a piston engine. There are ways to achieve very fast acceleration on the bike by using a technique where you spool the turbine up to the limit of the tyre traction and then release the turbine brake, resulting in you being catapulted from the start line. However as the bike is single geared you can end up spinning the tyre up to 200mph in seconds, without moving forward, so great care is required to avoid causing catastrophic tyre failure.

    The gearbox is not really a 2 speed auto. It is actually 2 speeds that you select as the conditions require via the handlebar switch using hydraulics. 1st speed is 0-100mph allowing for lower cruising speeds and better RPM for town use. 2nd speed is 0-250mph or however else it is geared, for cruising along the motorway or racing. You do not change gears during use.

    In terms of fuel; the bike does not need Avgas, as it does not need the high altitude additives to stop the fuel freezing. The bike runs very well on boiler oil (Kerosene) or basic pump diesel. It can also run on Biodiesel B100 (purified vegetable oil). In terms of MPG, it is very inefficient during normal cruising speeds or traffic jams, as the turbine spins at 27,500 rpm (3500 shaft) at idle !

    However it is very efficient (in comparison to other engines) when cruising at 200mph + at 6000rpm, which is what the engine is designed to do for hours on end with total reliability.

    Unknown to may, when it achieved it’s Diesel and Turbine record in May 2012, Zef, the rider actually rode it up the M6 from Birmingham, UK, all the way to Elvington in Yorkshire without any issues or reliability problems, filling up with Diesel along the way and enjoying the fast highways and twisty B roads alike.

    The reality is if you want an affordable, practical, good economy, commuter bike or great handling track day bike, don’t buy an MTT turbine bike ever, you will be disappointed.

    However, if you want a second bike with a sound and presence to turn heads and stop everyone in their tracks without fail wherever you go, a turbine bike is the ultimate choice! If you’ve never heard a turbine bike start and ride past you in real life, it’s jaw dropping. It still impresses me every time!

    All the best,

    Zef Eisenberg

    MTT 420ss Project co-ordinator
    British Record holder for Diesel and Turbine wheel powered motorbike

  17. Gutterslob says:

    ^ I’m sorry, Mr Eisenberg, but if I wanted a second bike to simply turn heads at pubs and blow supercars away, I’d much rather get a Desmodesidici or the (supposed) upcoming Honda RC, or maybe some limited edition Yoshimura bike like the Zero-50 Tornado III. At least those things can corner. Straight line prowess might be cool at the salt flats, but that’s it. Turn up at a pub in one of these and you might as well wear leathers with the word “knob” stiched on.

  18. mugget says:

    LOL Chasdev – you just said “real world use” talking about a jet turbine motorbike.

    Cheers for that info Zef.

    I know a bike like that is “impractical”, but then if everything was about practicality you would see no one commuting on a sportsbike… for me bikes are all about having fun, and I reckon it’s a special type of fun to be riding a frickin’ jet engine! If I ever had a chance I’d ride one (even better if I was in a position to own one!)

  19. Bob DeMuth says:

    Zef….Being a motorcycle nut and a helicopter mechanic I totally agree with your statements in all aspects. There’s nothing like the sound of a turbine spooling up. I am building a rather smaller turbine bike using a small APU turbine that maybe puts out 100hp but is only the size of a volleyball. I picked it up for $300 at a military surplus auction. After all is said and done I might have my own Turbine bike for under $2000. Look for completed bike summer 2013.