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.

2014 BMW R1200RT — Cooler Heads Prevail

11/05/2013 @ 10:11 am, by Jensen Beeler12 COMMENTS

2014 BMW R1200RT    Cooler Heads Prevail 2014 BMW R1200RT studio 31 635x846

A big announcement at EICMA that we have seen coming down the pipe since the latest generation of the BMW R1200GS broke cover, the 2014 BMW R1200RT is the next logical step of progression in BMW Motorrad’s push to bring a “precision-cooled” water-cooled boxer-twin to its R-series of motorbike.

The new BMW R1200RT uses a basic formula for its philosophy: take BMW’s already proven touring package, and update it with the company’s latest technologies, while giving a mild facelift in the process. In many ways the 2014 BMW R1200RT feels like previous generations, and in many ways it is not.

At the heart of the machine is the same 1,170cc displacement, in a boxer-twin configuration, though as we have mentioned, the cylinder heads are now precision-cooled with water. This brings peak horsepower up to 123hp at 7,750, while torque gets a boost to 92 lbs•ft at 6,500 rpm.

BMW says that other changes to the motor on the R1200RT include an increase in the centrifugal masses of both the crankshaft and the alternator, which provides for a smoother engine operation, especially at slower city-traffic speeds.

Automatic Stability Control (ASC) is standard, as are the two riding modes (Road & Rain).  Per usual for BMW, Dynamic riding modes, as well as the new Hill Start Control (as the name implies) and BMW Gear Shift Assistant Pro (a quickshifter that works for both up and down shifts), are optional add-ons.

BMW Motorrad is also making its Dynamic ESC semi-active suspension system available, as well as the LED headlight from the K1600GT series,  optional add-ons to the 2014 BMW R1200RT as well, likely in a continuing effort to showcase BMW’s à la carte approach to motorcycle configuration and purchasing.

Riders of the 2014 BMW R1200RT will enjoy the improved ergonomics triangle, and the 5.7″ TFT dash has also been overhauled for improved visibility and information projection. The TFT display is supplemented by analog speedometer and tachometer displays, for you purists. And lastly, BMW has added an adjustable windscreen to the R1200RT.

Weighing 604 lbs at the curb with fuel in its 6.6 gallon tank, the 2014 BMW R1200RT also gets an impressive 60 mpg (at 56 mph) for its heft. No word yet on pricing or US availability.

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Source: BMW Motorrad

Comment:

  1. Paul McM says:

    Jensen, thanks for the detailed report and all the images. I was hoping Honda would give us a lighter ST1300 with improved suspension and upgraded electronics, but it appears Honda is building a wannabee bagger for the vertically challenged instead. So, it looks like this 2014 R1200RT may be the logical replacement for my 2001 ST1100 which is starting to show its age (though it remains stone reliable, and its blessed with one of the best riding positions ever). I like the lighting on this bike (more lumens are important for touring bikes). The added power from H20-cooling is welcome. But someone explain to me why the fairing is so bulbous and hangs way, way out in the front. This looks like a breaching Orca. It also seems that the windscreen is too far from the rider, which will results in a lot of noise and turbulence. I hope they still have the higher seat option. I guess the real question, is, other than power, is this better than its predecessor, and will the price (with bags) be closer to $15K or closer to $20K. If it’s $20K, I’ll ride my ST1100 for another 10 years.

  2. proudAmerican says:

    Gotta agree with Paul McM.

    It’s probably a fantastic motorcycle, but that front end looks way too big/forward. I liked the looks of the old 1200RT. I’m not keen on the looks of this one.

    Oh, and I’m also hoping Honda has a replacement for my 2006 St1300.

  3. Ken says:

    Looks great from the cylinder heads back. The rest…. Uh, well maybe they need some Italian help.

  4. Norm G. says:

    re: “Cooler Heads Prevail”

    good one. LOL I see what you did there.

  5. TLH3 says:

    I’m with the previous reviewers…The RT is looking better and better ont the spec sheet, but bigger and bigger on the front end (which I hardly thought would be possible).

    Still waiting for someone to release a new sport-tourer that emphasizes the “sport” part a bit more, i.e., smaller, lighter, more nimble. Sigh.

  6. Paul McM says:

    Here’s a crude photochop of the front fairing moved up and back to a more normal overhang position. This would provide better relief from wind, less noise and less turbulence IMHO. You would see more fork, but so what? Note, I’m NOT claiming to be a better stylist. This just illustrates how radically low and forward the new fairing is. On the actual 2014 bike, it almost looks like a bracket broke and it the fairing tipped forward. IMAGE: http://i40.tinypic.com/qwxcoj.jpg

  7. the jer says:

    Paul, I’ve been thinking the exact thing, the fairing looks a little low and forward. I’d like it about halfway to where you put it. Love the bike, though. Drove the new GS and was blown away by the new motor. Easy wheelies in second gear, which I kinda hope the weight of this fairing tones down a bit. Was looking for a liiiiitle smaller fairing, but I’m sure the size of this will be welcome on those long trips where I always seem to find other than ideal weather. Called my dealer today, I’m on the list……………

  8. Blaine Douglas says:

    Looks good but I would still like to see a sport touring beemer with smaller faring.
    Rode the new R1200 GS this spring. WOW. If they could put this drive train in my old R1100RS it would be perfect.

  9. MikeD says:

    I like it, not as much as the latest air/oil cooled version but would still rock it.

    Yes, the front overhang is pretty low & pronounced and the front cowl is just massive.
    Imagine how front heavy it must look with the bags and top case removed.
    Old one looked more sporty than this one.

    I was waiting to see a NEW or at least updated Honda ST1300 but this is not bad, WAY BEYOND my budget but non the less a welcome refresh to the S/T Category.

    In no time i see myself riding one of these Mammoths, as fighting wind blast in long stretches of highway at sustained high speeds for extended time intervals is getting pretty old & draining on my reliable SV1000N even with a good sized bikini fairing.
    At least with this engine you don’t have to drop it completely to change a fried clutch.
    Depending how this Gen ages i would consider buying it used at a latter day.

  10. Gary Niemeier says:

    Is it really necessary for BMW front ends to look like angry—possibly rabid—cartoon insects?

    /Volumes/Master/Gary’s Media/Photos/Cars:Bikes/BMW Insect.jpg

  11. Gary Niemeier says:

    As I commented previously, why is it that the fronts of BMWs have to look like angry cartoon insects? Is it just me, or do other readers see a resemblance? IMAGE:

    http://i43.tinypic.com/30lex3p.jpg

  12. MikeD says:

    @Gary:

    LMAO. Good one.