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.

Honda Interceptor Returns to North American Shores

02/04/2014 @ 4:48 pm, by Aakash Desai15 COMMENTS

Honda Interceptor Returns to North American Shores 2014 honda interceptor vfr800 635x423

Good news folks, the legendary Honda VFR 800 is returning to US and Canadian shores after a nearly five-year hiatus. If you were disappointed when Honda didn’t confirm the VFR 800 for North America back in November at EICMA, take heart, it’s on its way.

Since 1998, the Honda VFR 800 has combined the seductive power delivery of a V4 with subdued styling, comfy ergos, all-day practicality and bulletproof Honda reliability.

Sure, it doesn’t have the sex appeal of a Ducati 1199 Panigale or the rough-and-tumble attitude of a KTM 1190 Adventure, but what it does have is probably the best blend of comfort, performance and practicality for riders who consider a motorcycle to be their primarily form of transportation.

Things have not been all roses and honey for the Interceptor over the years, however. The 2002-onward generation gained a little in weight, incorporated Honda’s infamous VTEC system, and generally lost a bit of the cult-classic character that defines the pre-2002 generation bikes with their non-variable valving and linear torque delivery.

Thus, to this day the 2001 and earlier bikes seem to hold their value, while the VTEC generation bikes tend to be better bargains.

The 2014 Honda Interceptor borrows the VTEC from the previous generation and adds a few new features such as adjustable seat height, radially mounted front brakes, LED lighting and more.

The Deluxe model is the one to look at with its added features such as ABS, Traction Control, grip heaters, self-canceling signals, and adjustable front forks.

Prices will be in the $12,499-13,499 range depending on which model you go for. For the $1000 more Big Red wants for the Honda Interceptor Deluxe, it seems like a no-brainer. Expect to see it in showrooms in May.

Source: American Honda

Comment:

  1. s2upid says:

    needs an aftermarket exhaust to thread it over to the other side :D

    also it reminds me of my olf 91′ vfr750f

  2. ttxgpfan says:

    Pre-2002s also had gear-driven cams, which I miss the sound of. Its funny to hear all the VFR World guys clamoring for this 800 when for years VFR-list folks whined they wanted bigger displacement. So eventually Honda gave them the VFR1200. I’d wish they’d make up their minds, and I bet Honda does too. Either way this bike is still over weight and under powered. I’m really not sure why they are bothering to sell it here as I don’t think it will sell in any great numbers unless it was stripped down and powered up enough to give a GSX-R750 some entertainment. 16 years and they’ve managed to give it 4 more hp and made it heavier. No thanks.

  3. Ben says:

    Great looking bike with horrible exhaust. Absurdly horrible.

  4. Marc F says:

    In improvement from the last gen and definitely excited to have it back on the roster with even a mild update in the right direction. Hoping that they come back to it with a full rev rather than an update – keep the meaty midrange and friendly ergos, drop the VTEC and add lightness. Once upon a time, with the VFR and CBRXX, Honda defined the category for “gentleman’s sportbike.” Would love to see them take more than a half-hearted crack at the category again.

    The Aprilia RSV4 at $15k and 452lbs wet bests the Honda by almost 80lbs with 200cc more. Comfy ergos shouldn’t weigh the same as an aspiring actress. As the CBRs have proven, Honda can win the weight game when they want to. Get on that.

  5. Lee says:

    Zzzzzzzz….wake me up when Honda really makes a VFR sportbike again. Remember 1986? How much does this weigh…550lbs+.

  6. I had a 1986 VFR 750FG when it came out, and with the exception of the Ducati, it was the best sport bike on the road at the time. And I went out of my way to prove it to every bike that had the nerve to step to me. Many a GSX, FZR and punk ass Ninja got sent home with their tail between their legs. Back when I was young 19 and full of vinegar. :)

  7. Michael says:

    Good gosh that thing is as hideous as the VFR1200. You can keep that abomination Honda. Keep it back in Japan. It’s nothing like the old VFR.

  8. Sentinel says:

    What a shame they did nothing of real significance to update and improve the bike after all of these years, and with a price hike like that, no thanks!

  9. Starmag says:

    I’ve ridden a friend’s ’97 a bunch. I suppose these could be considered “comfortable” only if your other bike is, say, an 1198. If your other bike is a KLR or DL1000 you’d know differently. One of my favorite motors though. It occupies an odd not sporty enough, not comfortable enough niche.

  10. Singletrack says:

    I was excited when I first saw the news of a new Interceptor.
    But as many above have noted, it’s really just a restyling of the previous gen.
    I loved most everything about my ’02, except for the VTEC which appears to be carried over intact. That’s a shame.

    Now if Yamaha would put a full fairing and luggage on the FZ9 – they’d have good bike to beat the VFR.

  11. Chaz Michael Michaels says:

    Honda had a really good run with the evolution of the VFR up to generation 6 where they lost their way, dropping the gear driven cams and adding VTECH…they went deeper into the woods with the VFR1200…this version might be a step in the right direction?

    I love my bone stock 5th generation VFR.

  12. bob joe says:

    Why buy this thing over the Ninja 1000?

  13. Paul McM says:

    I own a 2001 VFR 800. Last year of the gear driven cams. Some guys say this was the best iteration. I have also ridden the newer VTEC bikes.

    I am a 6’1″ 200-lb rider with 40 years of riding experience, from two-stroke dirt bikes up to Gold Wings. Here’s the TRUTH about the VFR 800.

    It is a beautifully crafted “sportyish” bike that has super smooth controls, sweet gearbox, light-feeling shifter, decent brakes. If you’re 5’7″ and want a sport-looking bike built very nicely for profiling a few hours a week, you’ll enjoy it.

    But…
    1. It feels pretty gutless under 7500 RPM (like you’re riding a 400). I have to drop TWO gears to make a sprightly pass on the highway.
    2. The ergos are NOT good. After 40 minutes the seat becomes VERY uncomfortable. the seat also slopes and pushes you into the tank. Sergeant after-market seat really isn’t much better.
    3. The bike is cramped for a tall rider. NOT something you’d want to ride all day — or even all afternoon.
    3. The bike is heavy for its power.
    4. The bike ‘s suspension leaves a lot to be desired for everyday driving. Rear travel is inadequate and the bikes is very “choppy” on California highways.
    5. I do consider a motorcycle (I own four) to be my primary mode of transportation. I just came off 900 miles on a 2012 R1200RT in Arizona (rental bike). Now THAT is a bike with good ergos.

    QUOTE: “comfy ergos, all-day practicality and bulletproof Honda reliability…. the [VFR offers] best blend of comfort, performance and practicality for riders who consider a motorcycle to be their primarily form of transportation.”

    6. Honda reliability? Yes. The rest of the stuff? Absolutely NOT. Ergos are NOT comfy. It is absolutely NOT all-day practical. The above statement just doesn’t make any sense to me. The VFR is the last bike of my four to get ridden. Why? It is not good around town because of bad ergos, impractical riding position, lack of storage. It is not good for a weekend trip because the suspension is too choppy, seat is really painful, and it’s WAY down on usable torque (compared to a liter-bike, any literbike). It’s OK in canyons but it’s porky compared to a GSXR or a Monster. It’s a very poor mount to carry a passenger — pillion is too high and angled, rear pegs are too high. Overall I’d have to say that this is a beautifully made machine that actually doesn’t excel at all at 90% of real-world riding — not urban, not open road, not two-up, not canyon carving. Consequently I suspect the new 800 will be a sales failure. BTW I was one of the very first voices to say Honda got it WAY wrong with the VFR 1200, and that it would be a sales failure. I was right. I predict the same fate for this bike.

    Quote: Since 1998, the Honda VFR 800 has combined the seductive power delivery of a V4 with subdued styling, comfy ergos, all-day practicality and bulletproof Honda reliability.
    Sure, it doesn’t have the sex appeal of a Ducati 1199 Panigale or the rough-and-tumble attitude of a KTM 1190 Adventure, but what it does have is probably the best blend of comfort, performance and practicality for riders who consider a motorcycle to be their primarily form of transportation

  14. Norm G. says:

    re: “Good news folks, the legendary Honda VFR 800 is returning to US and Canadian shores after a nearly five-year hiatus.”

    like somebody already asked, why…? North America gets this but still no full size adventure bike (see entry for crossrunner/crosstourer), why…?

    oh that’s right, your franchisees will get when the category has completely FLAT LINED and they can’t give the fucking things away.

  15. airfiddler says:

    I have an 03 vtec model since new. I’ve owned 17 bikes over the years. this is the one bike I don’t want to sell. The only mods I made on this bike are Heli-risers, a Sargent seat, and a laminar lip on the top edge of the windshield. IMHO these small changes make this bike into a comfortable all day mount. I have done numerous 1000 km days, no problem. I don’t understand the comments about lack of power. This is a STREET bike, and will certainly go fast enough to get you in serious trouble with the law. There are lots of faster bikes out there. Who cares? Buy one if you really need more power. With a 22 liter tank I usually fill up once to my riding buddies twice, and it runs just great on regular fuel. This is a wonderful sport touring motorcycle, and I like the changes Honda has made to the new model. Might have to look at a trade for a 2014 model