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.

Norton Returns to Racing at the Isle of Man TT – New Bike Features Aprilia RSV4 Motor

04/18/2012 @ 7:10 am, by Jensen Beeler20 COMMENTS

Norton Returns to Racing at the Isle of Man TT   New Bike Features Aprilia RSV4 Motor Norton Isle of Man TT race bike 635x423

After a couple failed returns, Norton is set to race in the upcoming Isle of Man TT with a race bike that features an Aprilia RSV4 engine and proprietary chassis (does that remind you of anything?). Sponsored by Monster Energy, at the helm of the still unnamed Norton will be top be the TT Privateer’s Champion Ian Mackman, who will race in the Seniors TT on June 8th (the first time a Norton has been in the Senior TT since 1992).

The new Norton is a bit of a departure from the British company’s last race bike, the rotary motor-powered Norton NRV588. Unable to race the NRV588 in the 2009 Isle of Man TT, the new Norton is surely a byproduct of the firm’s heavily rumored MotoGP entry, as it fits very well within the premier class claiming rule team (CRT) provisions.

Built using a Spondon chassis, the Norton TT bike has Öhlins suspension both front and back, Brembo monoblocs, and of course the RSV4 motor. Virtually every other part, from the wheels, to the throttle bodies, to the bodywork was made in house at Norton, making this a truly unique motorcycle. Norton has also partnered with Active Technologies Limited for the fuelling system and electronic package, while the team will operate with their traditional polished aluminium tank.

“It is a huge honour to be riding a Norton at the Isle of Man TT Races, following such iconic names in competing on the Mountain Course,” said rider Ian Mackman. “It will be an incredible experience and I’m confident that we can do justice to this legendary company.”

Source: Isle of Man TT

Comment:

  1. Minibull says:

    Ahhhh the Spondon ART…

  2. Johndo says:

    Design looks a bit simple to me, but looking forward to see how it will do at TT.

  3. John says:

    How about actually delivering some Commandos??

  4. Richard Gozinya says:

    Doesn’t look as good as the NRV588, that’s for sure. And yes, those Commandos need to get delivered. Starting to look like the revived Norton is nothing but a vanity brand for someone who doesn’t know how, or care, to deliver a product.

  5. Earl Shives says:

    I don’t get it. What does Norton make anyways? That rotary engined bike was interesting at the least. Who owns Norton? It seems kind of like the Hasketh racing garages of old, except with more ineptitude. Another prancing pony for some rich bloke, eh? Those Commandos do look nice but I’ll bet I’ll have a Panigale paid off before ever even having a realistic option at one. Maybe they’ll beat that crazy American made sport tourer to market…

    I hope Kawasaki eats everyone alive at the TT and in WSBK. They’ve been the anus far too long.

  6. Ryder says:

    Indeed, in 10 years they will be a Zombie like Hesketh or they sold the name to China (and we will see it on mopeds which are sold in building centers). An 80s frame with a boring Design might work with at least fascinating engine but with one from Aprilia… that just crates something nobody was waiting for.
    This might have been one of the the reasos that made Terreblanche leave Norton after 1/2 year.

  7. RSVDan says:

    You can blame the EPA for the delay in the US getting Commandos, not Norton. Our shop is supposed to get them in June, just as they have been saying all along.

    As for the TT bike, it think it is pretty cool, but a bit of a disappointment after all the talk of a proprietary V4 for MotoGP. I guess this is at least a good place to start.

    What happened to them working with the Spanish engineering firm? Inmotec, I believe?

  8. The Inmotec was just too slow to develop its bikes. Despite how long the 800 era was, they still couldn’t get their bike together for even the Valencian GP last year.

  9. RSVDan says:

    I know they were developing their own machine, but I thought I heard rumor of Norton working with either them, or some other Spanish engineering firm.

  10. No you’re right, Norton an Inmotec were linked at one point in time. I dont’ think that relationship lasted much longer than the rumor though.

  11. RJ says:

    The rotary design is a very good one. So it was embarrassing the last TT, but so what?!? Learn from your failures and make it better. How they managed to make something with 4 times LESS moving components less reliable than a conventional engine is beyond me. They should grow some balls and make something new and unique, not another RSV4 repli-racer.
    Norton is too good of a brand to be represented by this.
    Nothing new here, boring..

  12. Tom says:

    With an Aprilia engine, just how the hell is this a “new” Norton in any way?

  13. Pooch says:

    Tom, +1. To call this a Norton is a joke.

  14. mxs says:

    The strangest announcement I have heard in years ….. I mean I am trying to be excited, but I just cannot fathom what is it supposed to do for them. On contrary, I think it must be quite embarrassing for them, definitely hard to see how there could be any sort of benefit to Norton from this release.

    Aprilia board must be having good times ….

  15. RSVDan says:

    Just as an aside here folks, Spondon is owned by the same bloke that owns Norton, so in a round about way, this is in fact all Norton except for the motor.

  16. Dr. Gellar says:

    Indeed, Stuart Garner owns both Norton and Spondon as RSVDan states. So the fact that this bike uses a Spondon frame is in that respect sort of a no-brainer. Jensen nailed it on the head when he said “the new Norton is surely a byproduct of the firm’s heavily rumored MotoGP entry”. This bike has CRT written all over it. It’s been written somewhere (MCN perhaps) that Garner and Norton were not happy with the original V-4 that was being developed for Norton, so hence…not too big of a surprise that they are using an Aprilia motor now. I agree with many who feel this bike is not really in the spirit of what a Norton should be. But…perhaps it is merely a starting point to what may someday develop into a completely Norton built machine…engine and all. Nonetheless…I wish them the best of luck at the TT.

  17. RSVDan says:

    The thing I find hilarious about this conversation is the fact people are complaining about Norton using an Aprilia motor, when in fact, up until a couple of years ago, Aprilia weren’t even using power plants of their own manufacture, but one of Austrian make! Did that make those bike any less brilliant, exotic, or Italian? HELL NO! This bike is a stepping stone, and I applaud them for having the balls to attempt it.

  18. dimitri says:

    Like RSVDan I do not understand what’s the fuss about the Aprilia engine being used in this bike. But what I really do not understand though is what’s all the fuss about the new Norton 961 bike. It’s totally over priced and is definitely not a looker. And as a blast from the past bike it sucks too. That kind of money buys me a real “entry” level NYC Norton Seeley. The real deal. Or I’d buy a new Triumph for less than half the money. Which does look the part. Please let me know what you all think. I must be going mad….

  19. Dr. Gellar says:

    I think the fuss is simple to explain: people want to see new Norton motorcycles that are pretty close to 100% Norton, that have the heart and soul of a Norton, that have a Norton-designed and/or produced engine. I totally understand why they are using an Aprilia engine in their TT racer, and I’m fine with that. And despite some disappointment, I’m sure others are too. But it would be cool to one day see such a machine with a motor designed by or built by Norton.

    You think all this fuss is bad…can you imagine when MV Agusta was reborn by the Castiglioni’s if the F4 was powered by a Japanese I-4?? Yeeeeeaah…there would have been hell to pay.

  20. Paul Jones says:

    I know for a fact that the chassis was actually built by Roger Allmond. They gave him the Aprillia frame and an old Spondon frame and he cut them up and matched them both together and worked an 80 hour week to do it. He also made the tank and modified the Spondon swing arm to fit. Shame they don’t give him a bit of credit really, lot of work and very clever!