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.

Oh No, Not Again – Ducati 899 Panigale: Japan Edition

01/22/2014 @ 12:04 pm, by Jensen Beeler19 COMMENTS

Oh No, Not Again   Ducati 899 Panigale: Japan Edition Ducati 899 Panigale Japan exhaust 01 635x466

If you’re in the market for a Ducati 899 Panigale, and have the misfortune of living in Japan, the above is what you will be forced to buy. You see the Ducati 899 Panigale, like the Ducati 1199 Panigale and MV Agusta F3, is too loud in its stock form for the Japanese market.

Compounding the issue, the Island Nation is too small of a market for Ducati to revamp its design to meet homologation in its stock form, so an obvious quick-fix has been implemented instead.

It’s a bit of an eyesore on any model; but on the Panigale, the long carbon fiber pipe detracts from the hard work Ducati designers and engineers put into the attractive under-slung unit on the middleweight sport bike. Also of note is the revised big black plastic clutch cover, for added sound dampening.

We’re told the eyesore can be easily removed, with most dealers taking that liberty for an owner at the time of purchase, but still…somethings just aren’t right. A big hat tip to loyal A&R reader Trane for snapping these photos. The sake is on us.

Oh No, Not Again   Ducati 899 Panigale: Japan Edition Ducati 899 Panigale Japan exhaust 02 635x469

Oh No, Not Again   Ducati 899 Panigale: Japan Edition Ducati 899 Panigale Japan exhaust 03 635x479

Photos: © 2014 Trane Francks — All Rights Reserved


  1. Gonzo says:

    Actually, the story I heard is that in Japan, Big Pipe equals Big D*ck, and that the mufflers on the Panigale were what Japanese dealers wanted.

  2. Stuart says:

    It reaches past the rear tire! Thats nuts!

  3. ADG says:

    An “under slung” exhaust looks like shit, but I can’t say these cans look much better.

  4. cdove says:

    I lived in Korea for a bit and the “cool” cars all had gigantic exhausts, Gonzo might just be on to something…

  5. theseekerfinds says:

    When the 916 was released in Western Australia the laws at the time forbid the use of the split style of headlight the 916 is so revered for and it was forced to be released with a legal (read UGLY) single square headlight and second nosecone which the majority of owners ditched immediately and simply rode around with the standard illegal ones. A new law allowing the 916 headlight was soon passed which rendered the square type obsolete, but Japan isn’t the only country where Ducati’s finest has struck legality issues..

  6. JoeD says:

    My 95 Guzzi Sport 1100 is the US model with the square HL. The trapezoidal one is better looking but hard to find.

  7. L2C says:

    That’s crazy! I think with that move Ducati is clearly saying, “Take this ugly POS off of our bike immediately!” They definitely made it as ugly as possible. Took form and function to a whole new level.

  8. ADG says:

    Fast and Furious 20– Jap Duc made in China.

  9. proudAmerican says:

    Why am I all of the sudden reminded of Pumpkin Chunkin’ cannons?


  10. “It reaches past the rear tire! Thats nuts!”

    No kidding! That’s what caught my eye, too. It hangs WAAAAAY out there behind the bike. What an eyesore!

  11. tonifumi says:

    All that Italian style stuffed by a stupid looking muffler !

    I’m not blaming the Japanese authorities – I blame the Italians !

    They could have made a better looking muffler solution than that. That stupid thing look like it took some junior designer 2 hours to mock up…..Really disappointing.

    If they sell less of these in Japan because of this ugly, ugly solution, they have only themselves to blame.

  12. Shinigami says:

    And the saddest part of all is that if ridden by a typical urban Japanese rider these bikes will live their entire lives with two inch chicken strips… in a place with some of the greatest mountain roads on the planet

  13. maco says:

    Oh No !!! We don’t need it!
    This is the bad influence of exhaust gas regulations and the exhaust volume regulation in Japan.
    How much does it cost the purchaser to regain the true of the Panigale.

  14. ” How much does it cost the purchaser to regain the true of the Panigale.”

    Good question. I think most users stick with the stock pipe. I have yet to see a Panigale with Termis or even standard-issue cans on it, although that is quite common with other Ducatis. I saw a 748S at the dealer the same night I took these photos. The 748 had Termis on it and, man, it sounded like thunder.

    The flip-side of the Japanese noise regulations is that police never seem to bother chasing bikes with loud pipes. It’s rare for me to see the police doing anything other than driving around with their lights uselessly flashing their presence.

  15. maco says:

    If running in compliance with speed limits, police is for us to miss us enough muffler volume of third-party in many cases.

    Unfortunately, motorcycle more than 250cc must pass the inspection of the vehicle once in two years in Japan. Volume of the exhaust sound is measured in this inspection.
    (Vehicle inspection Will there in other countries?)

    However, it is no doubt that it is an attractive model. ;)

  16. Norm G. says:

    re: “How much does it cost the purchaser to regain the true of the Panigale.”

    let’s just say it’s not for the faint of wallet.

  17. smiler says:

    Protectionism in motion. The 1199 looks too much like a jap bike.

    At one time, to sell skis in Japan they had to have been tested by a Japanese champion. Not many of them about.

    If dealers want long exhausts then why do no Japanese manufactuers supply them now?

  18. maco says:

    re:”If dealers want long exhausts then why do no Japanese manufactuers supply them now?”

    Consumer and manufacturer of Japan does not demand a long muffler.

    This is to make it a long exhaust pipe to clear the exhaust gas regulation and noise regulations in the vehicle for the Japanese market specification.
    It must clear the regulations at the time of the import. And, these regulations are very strict against imported car.

    Japanese consumers also believed that not a smart Japan car specifications.
    I want you to sell remains the same as other countries.

    (from Japan)

  19. VK says:

    smiler says: Protectionism in motion. The 1199 looks too much like a jap bike.

    I don’t think it’s protectionism. EU has many regulation and Japanese mnufacturers meets those, so why can’t Ducati factor the Japanese requirement in their initial design? I think it’s plain ignorance from Ducati part.
    The whole idea of limiting max Speed to 299Km/h by the Japanese Big Four started because of EU regulators. Now, EU bikes are execeeding that limit and nobody is regulating that. I think that’s protectionism.