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.

Up-Close with Ian Hutchinson’s Swan Yamaha R1 Superbike

06/11/2012 @ 7:18 pm, by Jensen Beeler10 COMMENTS

Up Close with Ian Hutchinsons Swan Yamaha R1 Superbike Ian Hutchinson Swan Yamaha R1 IOMTT 11 635x425

Ian Hutchinson may not be a household name here in the United States, but over on the Isle of Man, “Hutchy” is a pretty big deal. Winning five solo-class races in the 2010 season, the English rider’s hot-streak was cut short after a tragic closed circuit racing accident, which saw him sidelined for the 2011 TT fortnight. Suffering another leg injury going into the 2012 racing season, Hutchinson was still physically not 100% as he headed to the TT, with the Swan Racing Team making obvious adjustments to his Yamaha YZF-R1 to accommodate Hutchy’s injured leg.

While Hutchinson would ride through the pain, he was noticeably off the pace during this last TT meeting. While a large component of those results are surely products of his physical state, where were compound by the fact that his practice and racing schedule has been truncated, many also wondered about Hutchinson’s mental state as well. Twice beaten, once shy, one Swan team member explained to me that when you looked into the his eyes as he got on board the bike, there was something there that didn’t exist before in Hutchy’s eyes. “Fear?” I asked. The team member wouldn’t comment further.

Getting up close with the Swan Yamaha R1, we can see the obvious changes that have been made to the road-going motorcycle to make it a true superbike. The 200+ rear-wheel horsepower is of course tamed with Yamaha’s new traction control system, and all the standard racing bits apply to the team’s massaged thoroughbred: Brembo brakes, Akrapovic exhaust, Marchesini wheels, etc.

What is most striking though, is the absence of any left-side foot controls. Compensating for Hutchy’s injured leg, the team has transferred the Swan Yamaha R1′s shifter to the right-hand side of the bike via a clever rod system, thus replacing and eliminating the rear-wheel foot brake. Don’t worry though, Hutchy still has dual-wheel braking control (as required by the ACU), in the form of a thumb brake that is located on the left-hand side handlebar. Also on that bar is the bike’s quick-shifter, pit lane rev-limiter, and fuel/throttle map toggles.

Beaten like its rider, the white-plated #6 bike has seen its fair share of action. Tackling a seagull at 150+ mph, the Swan crew showed off the broken windshield from the incident with a bit of pride. Hutchy may have lost a step this fortnight, but he won the battle with the wildlife. Unfortunately, the bird passed away shortly after being rescued and delivered to the Isle’s animal conservatory. Looking at the pitted and broken front fairings, there are obvious impacts to the front of the motorcycle. I inquired if these were further proof of Hutchy’s battle with the seagull, but the team commented that those fairings had already been replaced with the current set, and that this pits were from rocks on the course.

Pebbles and rocks were the big complaint from the TT riders this year, as stones were constantly being picked up on the course, and flung aft of the riders — sometimes into fellow competitors. For those doing the math at home, that’s one motorcycle doing 150+ mph in one direction, and one stone doing 150+ mph in the opposite direction, with the two objects colliding in the process (note: that does not equal at 300 mph impact). Carbon fiber is a resilient material, but it is apparently not as resilient as its rider. Best of luck to you next season Hutchy.

Up Close with Ian Hutchinsons Swan Yamaha R1 Superbike Ian Hutchinson Swan Yamaha R1 IOMTT 15 635x425

Up Close with Ian Hutchinsons Swan Yamaha R1 Superbike Ian Hutchinson Swan Yamaha R1 IOMTT 08 635x425

Up Close with Ian Hutchinsons Swan Yamaha R1 Superbike Ian Hutchinson Swan Yamaha R1 IOMTT 02 635x425

Up Close with Ian Hutchinsons Swan Yamaha R1 Superbike Ian Hutchinson Swan Yamaha R1 IOMTT 13 635x425

Up Close with Ian Hutchinsons Swan Yamaha R1 Superbike Ian Hutchinson Swan Yamaha R1 IOMTT 19 635x425

Up Close with Ian Hutchinsons Swan Yamaha R1 Superbike Ian Hutchinson Swan Yamaha IOMTT 02 635x425

Up Close with Ian Hutchinsons Swan Yamaha R1 Superbike Ian Hutchinson Swan Yamaha IOMTT 01 635x425

Photos: © 2012 Jensen Beeler / Asphalt & Rubber – Creative Commons – Attribution 3.0


  1. SBPilot says:

    Somethings in life are so unexplainable and can be summed up with Hutchy’s experience. To be at one moment seemingly on top of the world, invincible, confidence through the roof, achieving the impossible by winning 5 TT races in one year, then shortly afterwards shattering his leg that will forever effect his riding and confidence.

    None the less, class rider he is and hope the best for him. Great photos. Would have been interesting to see that look he had climbing on the bike.

  2. noch says:

    great photos. don’t know why but i love the look of that swan bike

  3. BBQdog says:

    Nice gear switch side change !

  4. Ax1464 says:

    A bike traveling at 150mph does not throw debris backwards.

  5. frogy6 says:

    The sticky tires flick stones behind them at high speed, and you are going high speed towards them

  6. Ax1464 says:

    Behind them, yes, in the same direction the bike is moving — but not back up the track in the opposite direction.

  7. Damo says:

    Ax1464 is 100% correct.

  8. Gutterslob says:

    It’s was a horrific injury he had. His leg was in some weird cage, and one can only imagine the excruciating pain he must have been in for months. The boy’s strong as the carbon he rides, both mentally and physically.

    His bike was the best souding in the top10 this year by a long way. Love that crossplane-crank Yamaha sound.

  9. Tyler says:

    Wheels are circles, and can throw stones in any direction in 360*, including in the reverse direction… although maybe not at “150mph.”

    We’re all physics experts now… lets get back to the racing talk…

  10. “Wheels are circles, and can throw stones in any direction in 360*, including in the reverse direction”

    The available torque to propel a stone reward is directly related to how much wheelspin is being generated at the time the tire passes over the stone. In a best case, the stone is mostly being flicked upward and into the path of an oncoming bike. In a worst case, wheelspin has not only picked up the stone, but also flicked it out at relatively high speed in the direction of rotation of the spinning tire.

    Sounds like physics to me. :)