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.

2013 Mugen Shinden Ni (神電 貳) Revealed

05/10/2013 @ 12:57 am, by Jensen Beeler22 COMMENTS

2013 Mugen Shinden Ni (神電 貳) Revealed 2013 Mugen Shinden Ni IOMTT 01 635x444

Shipped up and on its way to the Isle of Man, we can finally now see more than test shots of the Mugen Shinden Ni and get its basic racing specifications. The electric superbike that John McGuinness will ride in the 2013 TT Zero race at the Isle of Man TT, the Mugen Shinden Ni represents that evolution of the Japanese firm’s design, having now a TT race under its belt.

Like its main competitor MotoCzysz, Team Mugen is eyeing a 110 mph lap around the Mountain Course, which would be a pretty remarkable one-year advancement for either team. With Mr. McPint at the helm, and seemingly brimming with on-board energy, Mugen is a serious contender for the top stop on the podium. It should make for some good racing in a few weeks’ time.

Looking at the finalized design, it is clear that Mugen has made some minor modifications to the shape of the front fairing (check our up-close photos of the 2012 machine here), which shows a more pronounced snout than the original Mugen Shinden. The tail section has seen more noticeable improvements over the first design, and now has rearward facing vents, presumably to facilitate some kind of cooling.

The same gorgeous carbon fiber twin-spar frame stands out on the Shinden Ni, and there are subtle changes to how the bodywork comes together, for instance with the pieces that connect to the rearsets, the mudguard, and front fender.

While the outward changes seem to be minor and most for improved aerodynamics, we expect what is underneath the fairings to be where Mugen expects to make the most gains with its lap-times. Forty-four pounds lighter than its predecessor (apparently all in battery weight), the Mugen Shinden Ni should be a more manageable machine for McGuinness, and the team should have a better plan of attack in regard to its energy usage.

It will be interesting to see if Mugen has anymore on-board energy than last year with such a massive weightloss occurring on the electric superbike. As we are fond of saying, only time will tell. The Isle of Man TT kicks off in just 15 days.

2013 Mugen Shinden Ni (神電 貳) Revealed 2013 Mugen Shinden Ni IOMTT 02 635x444

Technical Specifications of the Mugen Shinden Ni (神電 貳):

Length / Width / Height: 2,125mm /680mm / 1,130mm
Wheelbase: 1,485mm
Ground Clearance: 130mm
Seat Height: 840mm
Curb Weight: 240kg / 529lbs
Tire (Front): 120/70ZR17M/C(58W)
Tire (Rear): 200/55ZR17M/C(78W)
Frame: CFRP Twin-Spar-Type
Motor Type: Three Phase Brushless DC motors
Horsepower: 90kW / 120hp
Torque: 220Nm / 162 lbs•ft
Battery: Lithium-ion
Battery Output: 370V or more

2013 Mugen Shinden Ni:

2012 Mugen Shinden:

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


  1. Gutterslob says:

    The carbon work and little details are lovely, but that graphic/paint-jop makes it look more rotund than necessary. I wonder if, down the line, electric bikes will be the ones to advance carbon fiber frame design and bring it to the masses.

  2. Damo says:

    I love the fact that they when full anime over the top with the livery.

  3. Congratulations and best of luck to the Mugen team. It’s not the prettiest thing, but I’m guessing it will be fast!

  4. Plenty of time for them to ship the bike over for a guest appearance at Laguna Seca for the FIM eRoadRacing round. Brammo, Lightning, Motoczysz, Muench, Mission, Virginia Tech, Amarok, AND Mugen would make for a record grid and great racing!

  5. protomech says:

    Yes, let’s have a great big rumble at Laguna Seca : )

    Does the Mugen Shinden not have a rear foot brake? Looking at the 2012 bike I don’t see a foot brake lever there either. Is it combined braking off of the front lever?

  6. Westward says:


    Interesting point considering that the bikes are almost 91kg (200lbs) more in weight…

  7. Gutterslob says:

    That’s why I clearly said “down the line”. Most of that weight is undoubtedly batteries anyway, and that’s where the most advancement (weight, range, charge times) has to be made at the end of the day. Still you can’t argue that they’re at least being bold with the carbon chassis here, unlike the rather conservative road most of these marques seem to take with their grand prix programmes.

  8. Damo says:


    If they are preping the bike for John McGuinness he always relocates his break lever to his left thumb. Troy Corser and a few other folks always do that.

    Brembo actually sells a kit to do it.

  9. Matt says:

    Maxell? A main sponsor? They can’t be of much support. Do they still make cassette tapes?

  10. Ken C. says:

    Somebody beat this thing with an ugly stick.

  11. RE: The rear brake lever. You’ll notice that both Shinden motorcycles have a clutch lever, yet no clutch on the bike…

  12. vinny says:

    Looks to me like they just moved the rear brake to the spot where the clutch used to be. No need for a foot brake anymore.

  13. Dr. Gellar says:

    @ BrammoBrian

    That may be wishful thinking having all those competitors show up at Laguna in a couple months, but I am right there with you hoping for the same thing. I’d certainly love to see it happen.

  14. ZootCadiilac says:

    Oh No.

  15. Skadamo says:

    Love the graphics! Can’t wait for the TT.

  16. Faust says:


    Don’t worry, the rest of us understood that what you meant is that due to heavy battery packs, ebikes will be more willing to advance weight savings in all other areas. We’re picking up what you’re puttin down.

  17. Jordan says:

    Being that they are mutual business parterns, it would be nice to see Toyota and Yamaha offer up something to compete with the Shinden.

  18. Chaz Michael Michaels says:

    No vents in the fairings…the battery doesn’t heat up?

  19. Mike says:

    This and the icon brammo are the only 2 electrics that I WANT BADLY!!

  20. meatspin says:

    the bike looks awesome. The 5 year old in me highly approves.

  21. Sam Noah says:

    I love the paint job. It resemble Japan. Gooooooooooooo McPint!!!!

  22. At least it has real tires, made in Great Britain, not that pseudo-polyurethane crap Bridgestone is using in Moto GP :)