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.

Brammo Engage – Electric MX & Supermoto from Ashland

05/04/2011 @ 4:02 am, by Jensen Beeler12 COMMENTS

Brammo Engage   Electric MX & Supermoto from Ashland Brammo Engage SMS 4 635x423

A part of Brammo’s announcement that it will be entering the electric dirt bike scene, the Brammo Engage is the cornerstone of the Ashland, Oregon company’s off-road line. Featuring the S.M.R.E. designed Integrated Electronic Transmission (IET), Brammo is not only getting into the dirt bike and supermoto scene with the Engage (going squarely after players like Zero and Quantya), but is raising the ante by offering a six-speed transmission specifically designed for electric motors.

Details and specifics are still coming together about the Brammo Engage, and even the photos given to the press are of pre-production machines that are based-off S.M.R.E. prototypes. However, early speculation is that the IET system will also feature regenerative braking, another first for the Oregonian company. Photos, video, and more after the jump.

In total, three Engage models will be offered: the Brammo Engage MX (a full-sized MX style dirt bike), the Brammo Engage SMR (a race-oriented supermoto), and the Brammo Engage SMS (a street-legal supermoto). Brammo is also seemingly testing the water with the Brammo Entice, a mini moto style electric motorcycle that it will be racing at the AMA Mini Moto SX in Las Vegas this week (Brammo is also competing with its Engage MX dirt bike).

No word on availability yet, but interested riders can pre-order a machine from Brammo.com, with anticipated prices being the following:

  • Engage MX – Full-sized dirt bike competing in MiniMotoSX – Anticipated Price $9,995
  • Engage SMR – Supermoto Racing – Anticipated Price $9,995
  • Engage SMS – Supermoto – Anticipated Price $11,995
  • Encite MMX PRO – Mini-dirtbike competing in MiniMotoSX – No Price Announced

Photos of the Pre-Production Brammo Engage Prototype:

Source: Brammo

Comment:

  1. Steve says:

    Oh Yes!

  2. skadamo says:

    Man, what a change from 1 year ago when gears and regen were deemed useless (or not worth the effort) for electric drive motorcycles.

    Bike looks awesome!

  3. Brammo Engage – The Electric MX & Supermoto from Ashland – http://aspha.lt/i9 #motorcycle

  4. MikeD says:

    Hey Brammo, KTM called…it wants it’s style back… (^_^ )

  5. gnmac says:

    Dude, that “box” in the frame looks so lame – c’mon at least try to package the battery in some half-sexy looking case…but not a freakin’ box! Sheeeeeezzzzzzz, more reason to stay w/ a real engine!

  6. GeddyT says:

    Price is comparable to a European enduro, so not the end of the world.

    1.) How long could one ride HARD on this before the battery is dead? If you can’t do a 50 mile desert loop or 25 miles of technical woodsy mountain singletrack, I’d never make it back to the truck around here.

    2.) How much does it weigh?

    3.) Who makes the suspension/brakes?

    4.) What is the weight?

    5.) Is the battery hot-swappable?

    6.) Why would I pre-order an electric bike without knowing the answers to the above questions?

  7. GeddyT says:

    Whoops, asked about weight twice. Well that’s how important it is!…

  8. gnmac, I think part of the issue here is that these are pre-production prototypes, not the final designs. This bikes look to be identical to what SMRE built, I don’t know why Brammo is showing them now if it intends to work its own design aesthetic into them. Probably has something to do with money.

  9. Ulysses Rider says:

    I agree with gnmac and GeddyT. Why ride an electric bike with ugly square boxes where a powerful and light 300 to 500 two-stroke engine makes more sense? So what if it smokes a little? Commercial jet planes, diesel locomotives, and large 18 wheeled trucks all produce (belch) black smoke that is allegedly (bull crap) causing global warming, and ruining the planet. Great, lets put batteries on a 747 jet liner and see how much thrust it produces. Well, how about the space shuttle? Could batteries lift it into orbit? I think not and all this electric bike and car crap is just that- CRAP! Bring back the two-strokes.

  10. MikeD says:

    I’ll begin to consider anything electric the day that i can recharge a battery pack as soon as i currently fill 4 1/2 Gallons of gasoline “anywhere” i turn my head to and get the same acceleration and range out of it, till then for lack of a better educated form of xpressing myself how i feel about it i will join Ulysses Rider and call it all….still Crap.
    I know u can’t run before crawling, standing, falling but im just not ready to give up my ICE and swallow the upgrade. Let others be Guinea Pigs…and their Dollars.
    I would rather see advances on BioFuels than this ” We want to be Green Hipster Kool Aid/Electric B.S” thats still a gazillion years away from truly pulling it’s Shiznit togheter.

  11. jackie says:

    Beyond the horrid square block interrupting the lines of the design, it looks pretty good.

    Seems to follow the lines of Beta’s enduro. Still a bit pricey.

  12. rashomon says:

    Given the incredibly prototype nature of the bikes unveiled, I’d have to call this a FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt) to preempt sales of Zero electric dirt bikes. They’re taking pre-orders with no announced production date? Unbelievable.