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.

Mission Motorcycles Debuts Its Mission R

06/03/2013 @ 4:53 am, by Jensen Beeler13 COMMENTS

Mission Motorcycles Debuts Its Mission R Mission Motorcycles Mission R 04 635x423

Fresh off the news that it would be making the highly touted Mission RS (previously known at the Mission Motors Mission R), Mission Motorcycles announces its own version of the Mission R, a $30,000 (base price) electric superbike that builds off the pedigree of its namesake.

Like the Mission RS, the Mission R features a 160 hp liquid-cooled three-phase AC motor as its power plant, which is mated to a single-speed gearbox with a gear reduction. Also featuring that same James Parker designed “Quad-Element” frame, the Mission R makes its differentiation from the Mission RS in the spec of its components.

Coming with Öhlins RT suspension rear and aft, Brembo M430 monobloc brakes, and Marchesini forged aluminum wheels, the component company names are of course the same, albeit not the WSBK/MotoGP-spec kit that comes on the RS. Available in 12 kWh, 15 kWh, and 17 kWh battery options, the lower-spec equipment (high-spec by any other metric) helps lower the price of the 12 kWh machine to a paltry $29,999 (after a $2,500 federal rebate), with the 15 kWh & 17 kWh machines presumably priced with larger price tag (Mission left that part out of the press release).

Mission Motorcycles says the 17 kWh bike is capable of 140 miles of mixed riding (50/50 city and highway riding at 70 mph), while the 15 kWh and 12 kWh bikes are rated at 120 miles and 102 miles, respectively. Of course if previous mileage claims from EV manufacturers are any indication, real world mileage will vary — especially with pure highway riding.

A motorcycle design we have seen for some time now (we’re pretty sure the photos supplied by Mission are just photoshopped versions of the Mission RS), perhaps what we are most anxious to see is the company’s MissionOS, which brings both an appealing and highly advanced user experience to the motorcycle cockpit.

Complete with an LTE wireless internet connection, riders will enjoy maps and directions in the dash (it’s about time), along with a bevy of other possibilities as developers will have access to an SDK prior to the Mission R’s customer delivery.

However, we still think that Mission’s announcement of now two machines on the company’s debut is a curious one, and it will be interesting to see how Mission Motorcycles handles having two bikes in the $30,000+ price range on the market at the same time (especially when they are nearly identical visually). Perhaps we just need to start thinking of these announcement as one bike, with several trim levels.

The company’s position of shipping the Mission RS to its 40 potential owners is of course one way to handle things (the higher price tag helps to some degree as well, though we imagine the type of buyer for both of these machines is a lot less price sensitive than your average motorcyclist, and a good degree of cannibalization will be at work here.

Equally confusing is the branding and naming of the machines, which should keep the press busy between making the distinction of the old Mission R, which is now the Mission RS, with the new Mission R…see what we mean?

Also confusing for consumers will be the differentiation of Mission Motors (still an OEM electric drivetrain provider, though formerly a motorcycle company) and Mission Motorcycles (a client of Mission Motors, and only in the moto-business). If the branding is confusing you, just chalk it up to déjà vu.

What is compelling is that the “more affordable” Mission R from Mission Motorcycles brings electric street bikes into a performance parity range with petrol bikes, and though we think true motorcyclists will want the extended range of the 17 kWh bike, the 12 kWh Mission R hits a price point that is squarely inline with bikes like the Ducati 1199 Panigale R, Erik Buell Racing 1190RS, and other premium sport bike offerings, and offers similar exclusivity and performance appeal.

Considering the type of aspirational buyer that buys those machines, Mission Motorcycles could see some success in the marketplace with the Mission R, that is of course assuming that the green startup can deliver on its Summer 2014 delivery date. Leave your thoughts on the Mission R in the comments section. Just what the doctor ordered for your EV itch? Or too late to market with the original Mission R design?

Mission Motorcycles Debuts Its Mission R Mission Motorcycles Mission R 03 635x423

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Mission Motorcycles Debuts Its Mission R Mission Motorcycles Mission R 01 635x423

Source: Mission Motorcycles

Comment:

  1. JoeD says:

    Nice design and one for the garage, just not the only one. IC engines can refuel in minutes vs hours for the electrics. Not a problem if your destination is work with a charging dock. Sunday Morning just became an all day affair and forget actually seeing anything trying to tour on one. Half of the vacation is spent refilling the electron bank. Every hour.

  2. Jake F. says:

    A gorgeous and fascinating bike. I wish them massive success so they can keep improving the technology and building economy of scale. If that happens, I could see myself buying one of this Mission R’s descendants in 5 years. Of course, that’s also dependent on reliability and customer support.

  3. Gutterslob says:

    Looks-wise, it’s a winner.

    Still waiting for info on what kind of servicing/maintenance/upkeep it requires compared to a regular petrol-burning sport bike. Another thing that concerns me is battery life – not life per charge, but how much those use/charge times deteriorate (like phone and laptop batteries) through the months/years. Hopefully we’ll see some long-term reviews in a years time.

    Can someone explain what this federal rebate thing is? Something exclusive to electric/low-emission vehicles, or just a tax-related thing that applies to all Americans?

  4. Haven’t talked to Mission, but if they’re like others in the field, periodic oil changes for the gear reduction will be the big maintenance item, along with chains, sprockets, and tires of course. As far as pack life, most the stats I’ve seen, the pack outlives the bike. You laptop is rated to what, 2000 charge cycles? That’s 5.5 years if you discharge the pack completely every day for that time period.

    As for the rebate, that’s for electric vehicles. Some states have/had rebate programs as well. IT was just pointed out on Twitter, the current federal rebates expire in 2013, though it wouldn’t surprise me to see them renewed…something to consider though.

  5. Silas says:

    How much does it weigh?

  6. protomech says:

    @JoeD: Touring might be too much of a compromise for many, but it definitely has range to have some fun on the weekend. A one-hour stop to charge midway should allow total ranges around 200 miles @ 55 mph or 160 miles @ 70 mph.

    A dedicated individual could put a very long 600 mile day on the Mission bike. Figure 11 hours riding @ 55 mph, 6.5 hours charging .. or 8.5 hours riding @ 70 mph, 9.5 hours charging.

    Mission has the technology to build a touring version should they choose to do so – perhaps a competitor to something like BMW’s K1600. 20 kW of charging from either AC or DC would reduce charge times down to a couple of hours.. little penalty for everyone but iron-butt riders.

    Seems like very little differentiation between the R and RS bikes. No doubt there are individuals for whom the extra $20-30k is a fair trade for the ultimate in track brakes and suspension .. but perhaps few and far between.

  7. “You laptop is rated to what, 2000 charge cycles?”

    I think the typical number for laptops is 1,000 these days. My early-2008 MacBook battery is only rated for 300. Technology has marched onward for sure.

  8. Norm G. says:

    the MV Agusta of electrics.

  9. Richard Gozinya says:

    It certainly is purty.

  10. Norm G. says:

    re: “Mission has the technology to build a touring version should they choose to do so – perhaps a competitor to something like BMW’s K1600.”

    somewhere in bavaria, engineers in lederhosen chuckle.

  11. Kevin says:

    Jens,

    Funny that to me the rear drive mechanism looks striking familiar to the earlier MotoCyzsz drive images.
    I may be wrong but funny how technology development can end up looking similar in the end.

    Cheers,

    K

  12. Yeah, they both have a very similar gear-reduction setup. Lightning on the other hand doesn’t, and thus has HUGE rear sprockets. Compare the Mission R to the Shinden Ni when you get a chance. Interesting things there as well.

  13. Alex MacPherson says:

    Love this bike! I hope Mission becomes a Tesla-like success story!