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.

KTM Freeride E – OEMs Enter the Electric Motorcycle Fray

11/08/2011 @ 2:59 pm, by Jensen Beeler13 COMMENTS

KTM Freeride E   OEMs Enter the Electric Motorcycle Fray 2012 KTM Freeride E 09 635x464

The writing has been on the wall for sometime now, as the entire electric motorcycle community has been waiting for a major OEM to debut its own electric motorcycle. Answering that call, KTM unveiled at EICMA today the new 2012 KTM Freeride E. Saying that as the leading off-road motorcycle manufacturer (KTM accounts for about 50% of the worldwide dirt bike market), the Austrian motorcycle manufacturer could not afford to sit idly by while other companies innovated in its space.

Built along the Freeride’s ride anywhere mantra, the KTM Freeride E comes with 2.1kWh of battery power on-board, and is powered by a permanent magnet synchronous motor. With a rated output of 10hp, KTM says the electric motor is good for 30hp peak, with a maximum of 300 Volts going through the system. Helped by its small battery size, the Freeride E weighs only 204 lbs and can be recharged off a 220V socket in 90 minutes. As for range, KTM has an interesting rating system for the electric Freeride, quoting a 20 minute ride time in the hands of a professional, while the KTM Freeride E is rated to last 45 minutes in the hands of an amateur.

KTM will be initially only selling 100 units in early 2012, as the Austrian company wants to test the electric dirt bike market before going into full production. If those market test show a market, then KTM will pursue full-scale production. Accordingly, KTM hasn’t released pricing on the 2012 KTM Freeride E beyond that it will be less than €10,000, though looking at the components the ‘Ready to Race’ company could be able to undercut Brammo, Zero, and BRD. Obviously with a distribution, sales, and support network already in place, KTM has a leg up on these other electric motorcycle companies.

The question I’ve been asking, about what happens when a major OEM enters this space, still remains, though we will soon get a glimpse to that question’s answer. What will be interesting to see is whether KTM’s entry disrupts the electric motorcycle space, which would make for some good irony, as the current crop of electric startups are supposed to be the disruptors in the motorcycle industry. Chewy.

KTM Freeride E   OEMs Enter the Electric Motorcycle Fray 2012 KTM Freeride E 06 635x422

KTM Freeride E   OEMs Enter the Electric Motorcycle Fray 2012 KTM Freeride E 02 635x422

KTM Freeride E   OEMs Enter the Electric Motorcycle Fray 2012 KTM Freeride E 03 635x422

Source: KTM


  1. Dr. Gellar says:

    Hopefully within a year from now we will see a head-to-head shoot-out comparison between the off-road electrics from Brammo, BRD, KTM and Zero. I’m really interested to see how each of these brand’s offerings match-up against one another.

  2. Jason says:

    This would have been very exciting news in 2009.

  3. 76 says:

    Make it a street legal supermoto at 7 to 8k and I will be there.

    “Other” Electric manufacturers, please take note what an electric can look like if you actually have designers worth a damm or at all.

  4. konalight says:

    Not to bad for a first although way behind from what is technically feasible.
    See also: http://www.evdrive.com/prototypes/category/e-moto-crf250r/
    Then again for a price below 10 grand, one cannot expect more than the package offered by KTM (and others…)

  5. Jason says:

    October 29 2008 KTM announced this bike as “race ready”. Now just 3 years later it’s been announced (again) with a firm date to possibly consider a limited release of test bikes at some point next year. Following on from that at some undisclosed point in the far flung future there’s a definate possiblity of a chance that you might one day see one from a distance on a podium at a trade show.

  6. Brammofan says:

    @Konalight – that projected price by KTM was in euros, not dollars. 10,000 euros is about $13,600 at the current exchange rate.

    I like the looks of this bike but wonder about that relatively small battery … and the choice to go with DC Agni motors. One thing we’ve learned from TTXGP is that these motors have “issues.”

  7. BikePilot says:

    I like it a lot! Looks like a very fun backyard toy. I’d really like this power package wrapped up in a trials bike chassis. There the very limited range would be less of an issue, especially if it came with an extra battery pack or two so I could swap out for a fresh one for each loop.

    Something is wacky with the hugely different am vs pro figures. By am maybe they mean total noob, not am racer. I race am off road and seem to burn about the same amount of fuel as pros, maybe a little less (in terms of gph, but only ’cause I usually cover less ground in a given amount of time), but certainly not less than half. Racing both harescrambles and desert I’ve found that I make the same pitstops on similar bikes with similar fuel tank sizes as pros. Usually takes me 25% more time to get to the stops, so if you go by time rather than distance maybe I’d use about 25% less fuel. I suspect that on something of this power the difference between an am and pro would be negligible, if any (and might be the other way around as the pro will maintain higher corner speed).

    The re-charge would be a heck of a slow pitstop though :D

  8. Gary says:

    Game on! Sorry Brammo and ZERO, you had your chance.

  9. Damo says:

    If anyone can do it, the off-road heroes at KTM can, BUT it still needs to be cheaper to appeal outside the novelty market.

    I think we are in the “leather helmet” era of electric motorcycles currently and thing will only get better and cheaper from here on out.

    Remember when a 40inch TV cost $5,ooo USD?

  10. KTM might sell half the dirt bikes in the former Austro-Hungarian Empire, but it certainly doesn’t control 50% of the world market for off-road motorcycles. Where did that statistic come from?

  11. KTM’s EICMA presentation.

  12. juan ramirez says:

    how much the bike