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 the Motus MST at Alice’s Restaurant

07/26/2011 @ 4:28 pm, by Jensen Beeler20 COMMENTS

Up Close with the Motus MST at Alices Restaurant Motus MST prototype alice 1 635x425

Stopping on the way back from the US GP at Laguna Seca this weekend, the Asphalt & Rubber crew stopped by Alice’s Restaurant on Skyline to check-out the Motus MST & MST-R Prototypes. Making a cross-country trek on the bikes, Lee Conn and Brian Case have been gathering some development data while meeting with local dealers and potential customers. Hoping to produce somewhere between 200-300 motorcycle next year, Motus is looking for 25 or so quality dealers for its initial launch.

The bikes are clearly test mules, both because of their unpolished state that has data acquisition boxes clearly visible, and also because of the emblazoned “Prototype” sticker set. Still, it’s also clear that Case’s design is reaching its final-production trim, and fellow Penn State alum has included plenty of interesting details into the Motus MST that owners will enjoy.

The side-mounted clutch is perhaps the one feature that will sneak-up on you the most easily, as it’s a pretty standard vision on motorcycles these days…just not on longitudinally-mounted motors (are you reading this Moto Guzzi?). In fact, much of the Motus MST seems to come from a pragmatic approach, as you can even service the motor without removing any bodywork.

If you have a chance to stop by Alice’s, try the “Harley” burger. The rumors that its applewood bacon and breakfast sausage toppings will take years off your life are probably untrue, but not completely unfounded. Though lighter on the cholesterol, the photos of the Motus MST & Motus MST-R prototypes after the jump may make your heart skip a beat.

Up Close with the Motus MST at Alices Restaurant Motus MST prototype alice 9 635x425

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Photos: © 2011 Jensen Beeler / Asphalt & Rubber – Creative Commons – Attribution 3.0


  1. BikePilot says:

    I wonder if they’ve done much testing for pillion comfort. From my POV a sport-tourer that can’t comfortably tote another is a waste – if I’m alone I’ll stick to a much lighter sporty bike. In that vein the pillion seat looks rather small and poorly shaped and I fear the long passenger peg hangers/exhaust hangers will end up transmitting a ton of vibs to the passenger’s feet (see e.g., bandit 1250 right pass peg). A reasonably light, simple, fun, visceral sport bike for two would get my attention.

  2. There was a woman how got a pillion ride. Dunno how much feedback you can get going once around the block though.

  3. Ades says:

    Even for a Prototype it looks a well put together and thought out motorcycle. Love the Trellis frame and swing-arm, and it certainly possesses all the goodies (Ohlins etc). Will be interesting to see the finished product.

    If it’s priced right it could definitely sway a few people away from the Multistrada.

    Good to see some American motorcycle design that is aesthetically pleasing too!

  4. MikeD says:

    I still find it Bland,BLAH & Mehh…The Candy looks delicious (we all have hear that sweet engine screaming)…is just the Wrapping that has me Cold…hope they have a Sharper/Better wrapping for the final product.

    Yes, i understand this is not an R6 or MV Agusta F3 competition (looks and performance wise) and is just a Prototype but dang… (-_- )’

  5. very cool jensen … nice feature/scoop.

  6. Mickey says:

    I got up close to it at Laguna and was amazed at how narrow it was at the seat. So far in concept it looks like a really good sports tourer. I’m not loving the kicked in the face look though. If you like the way KTM’s look you’ll probably like this, but I think KTM’s are the ugliest bikes ever manufactured so for me not so much.
    Maybe they can hire a couple of Italians to help with the front fairing.

  7. Billy B.Tso says:

    agree with MikeD, it is very vanilla, especially the R version…whatever happened to the motus they showed in the Daytona video, that looked nicer naked i thought…i think it has potential to be a beauty, although needs some plastic surgery…

  8. MTGR says:

    Looks interesting.

    Incidentally, Guzzi runs a shaft drive so putting side clutch on would require two extra sets of highly expensive, power robbing, potential weak point, helical gear assemblies to make two extra 90 degree turn in the power-train. Not ideal. Motus needs to turn once anyway to make the chain drive work (just as a Guzzi has to once in the final drive of the shaft assembly). Still, I agree they were smart to make the adjustment where they did to allow a conventional clutch location. Lots of good thinking.

  9. chris says:

    well… it doesn’t just look like a ktm. looking at the close-up picture of the headlight…. i can now confirm my long standing suspicion that they’re using an off the shelf ktm 950/990 adventure headlight. why do all that work around someone else’s design? it’s understandable for a custom bike builder… plenty of people using yamaha mt-03 headlights, and v-rod headlights… but those decisions at least come out of the shadow of the original manufacturer and stand on their own… when you look at radical ducati bikes, you don’t think yamaha and harley. for an new manufacturer to make such a novice mistake is just dumb.

  10. John Magnum says:

    Happy you guys in the US have a home grown (me OZ) bike, and a great motor.

    though i think all those in favour of the styling are lying to themseves, its just down right outdated.
    Without the RC8 style headlight it looks like something out of the 80′s with a fresh paint job.

    Take its clothes off and keep it naked / streetfighter. let its character (motor) show.

  11. Random says:

    Hey chris, no need to get mad, they’ve stated long ago they are using ktm headlights and this is not the final fairing design, just a test mule. Maybe those complaints about the bland fairing (i don’t find it attractive too) are just too early, let’s wait and see the final shape.

  12. sp33dwagon says:

    I’d like to see integrated turn signals instead of those stalks, looks disruptive to the lines of the bike. I feel on faired bikes they just fit better. And please, please, please, make the naked musclebike version a reality!

  13. by @Asphalt_Rubber: Up-Close with the Motus MST at Alice's Restaurant – http://aspha.lt/q4 #motorcycle: Up-Close with the… #sffoodbuzz

  14. ZeitgeistXIII says:

    One word “PROTOTYPE” Things often change on final production. Bodywork is easy skin. But it takes time to source custom made stuff.

  15. Keith says:

    ugh! Swapping out that alternator AND adjusting the belt is going to be a BEECH! As for pillion issues…none as that is where the trunk/5gal fuel cell goes. ;^)

  16. BikePilot says:

    Good to hear someone has at least sampled the pillion provisions – hopefully the provisions are more accommodating than they look.

  17. TRL says:

    We’ll see. It seems like it has potential but I’d drop the Two Brothers pipe (if that is the final choice, that weave always looks like crap after a couple of years in the Cali sun). Faring is ok from the saddle but meh from everywhere else.

    The seat makes me laugh, I can’t see the label but I think the reason it looks uncomfortable to you all is that you aren’t Harley riders. I’ll just bet that’s a Harley based seat design, its got just about the shape to be a Softail or Dyna seat….but I could be wrong….

  18. A twin says:

    definitely nix the 2 brothers pipe

  19. AZHobo says:

    PLEASE MAKE IT PRETTY!!! The KTM nose has to go. This bike has got everything else going for it. A bike can sound awesome and handle great, but if I have to avert my eyes every time I walk out to the garage – I won’t buy it.

  20. Matt A. says:

    Well, it looks like all my comments were hit upon already. Saw pillion questions / comments, saw questions on the looks (to me, it doesn’t look ugly – it just looks plain; though the MST-R is somewhat improved with the graphics package), saw concerns about the slip-ons (ditto – ditch the Two Brothers…they don’t match the rest of the bike…Go Austin Racing or something similar), finish the dash – cubbies would be cool if that could be arranged….And it’d be cool if there was a shock to match the forks (though I do like the remote preload adjuster).

    It’s getting there guys! Looking forward to checking out a finished one.