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.

Polaris Slingshot – A Side-by-Side Trike That’s Coming Soon

01/15/2014 @ 6:23 pm, by Bryan Delohery20 COMMENTS

Polaris Slingshot   A Side by Side Trike Thats Coming Soon Polaris Slingshot three wheeler trike 03 635x423

Earlier this month, UBS Investment Research released their Top 10 Predictions for 2014, one of them being that Polaris would release the Slingshot, a three-wheeled vehicle, in the first half of 2014.

Although there has previously been much speculation as to whether Polaris Industries would officially be producing the Slingshot, a press release dated January 3, 2014 discusses the release of a slingshot product line.

“This sales and marekting consolidation frees Mike Jonikas from those responsibilities, allowing him to focus his efforts on growing Polaris’ snowmobile business unit and launching the company’s Slingshot product line,” the press release read. A design patent, which was filed  filed on March 21, 2011, gives a clear description of a “three wheeled vehicle” with several accompanying photos.

According to the patent, the slingshot  is going to be a three-wheeled reverse-trike design, similar in layout to the Campagna V13R, but would be powered by a 2.4L Ecotec 4-cylinder engine made by GM that produces roughly 200 hp.

The Slingshot, if released will have one rear wheel which is belt driven, a steering wheel instead of handle bars, and have side by side seating for the driver and passenger.

The patent also states that trike is expected to have several other features including, electronic power steering, anti-lock brakes, traction control, and vehicle stability control.

If UBS Investment Research’s prediction is correct, we should see the Slingshot rolling out sometime in the next few months. From the looks of these photos, which were taken from Polaris’ patent filings, the Slingshot looks very close to being ready for production.

Polaris Slingshot   A Side by Side Trike Thats Coming Soon Polaris Slingshot three wheeler trike 01 635x423

Polaris Slingshot   A Side by Side Trike Thats Coming Soon Polaris Slingshot three wheeler trike 02 635x423

Polaris Slingshot   A Side by Side Trike Thats Coming Soon Polaris Slingshot three wheeler trike 04 635x423

Polaris Slingshot   A Side by Side Trike Thats Coming Soon Polaris Slingshot three wheeler trike 05 635x423

Polaris Slingshot   A Side by Side Trike Thats Coming Soon Polaris Slingshot three wheeler trike 06 635x409

Source: USPTO & UBS Investment Research

Comment:

  1. KSW says:

    Wow, looks like it should be called the Rex Bow as it’s a combination T-Rex rear and KTM X-Bow front. Only thing missing is an appearance on CNBC by a Polaris analyst to get a premature uptick in the stock. Not at all very creative thinking really. I’d rather Polaris un snowmobile the other 3 wheelers and give them a canting/leaning front end.

  2. Brandon says:

    When it comes down to it I’d rather have an crossbow (X-Bow) than a Slingshot. Polaris made themselves to be less than the competition in many ways- name, style, and power. Why did they not try to
    improve upon a category that is obviously filled by a better product? They even set themselves up with a lesser brand name (Slingshot). Why would you choose a slingshot over a crossbow? Why not name it a Catapult if they are going that route? They shot low on this one.

  3. Mariani says:

    Uh, I’m really tempted to call this a KTM rip-off.

    This is so much like a three-wheeled X-Bow, just look at it!

    So, is this supposed to be a performance vehicle? If so, going for a single rear wheel is really wasteful.

    Anyway, why would you buy this and not the already-established KTM, or a Caterham, or an Ariel Atom, or even a Morgan ThreeWheeler?

  4. proudAmerican says:

    Wow. That has a very 1990′s look to it.

    And no, that wasn’t a compliment.

  5. paulus says:

    Is it April already?

  6. Stuart says:

    Absolute X-Bow rip off but it def makes more sense than a Can Am Spyder. Seriously those things aren’t motorcycles! STOP RIDING THEM SIDE BY SIDE ON THE STREET TAKING UP 2 LANES AT STOP LIGHTS!

  7. David says:

    Yeah,maybe a X Bow copy but who cares. I like the concept. 200 HP….awesome.

    But the real problem I have with these vehicles is their small size. Very hard for people to see these things while on the road.

    I already feel I have a problem with being seen when I drive my corvette because it is so low. These vehicles are even lower and smaller.

  8. JoeD says:

    Motorcycling is in decline in the US. Exception?-HD of course.

  9. Frank says:

    According to the pictures, this is nothing more than a full-size model. But maybe there is some technical patents…

  10. desmo says:

    The cross box starts at 120K in the US when it arrives next year. WTF?

  11. desmo says:

    Cross Bow KTM

  12. paulus says:

    KTM X-bow sales sucked. Under performed massively. X-bow 2 now sports a screen (car drivers dont want to wear helmet)… sales still suck.

    This is a poor immitation and an insult to T-Rex at the same time… WTF

  13. TaDaaaaa! says:

    I predict that older white men and black men of all ages will buy these up like crazy. Where I live, those two demographics ride the Can Am Spyders. Old people because obvious, no tipping over. Black people because rims, stereo, and other customizations. I say, sell as many as you can. We need more people to be aware of motorcyclist of all kinds.

  14. Confused says:

    How come no one reading this understands what this is? T-Rex competitor. Hopefully Polaris can lower the price and make overpriced sports cars nervous for less than the Campagna T Rex.

  15. Aaron Mezger says:

    Let’s not ignore the fact that 3 wheel vehicles are regulated like motorcycles and not like cars. If they were to add a fourth wheel, the cost would jump by way more than the price of the extra parts because it would then be a car.

  16. The Healthy Skeptic says:

    I get this is the age of the internet and information can “leak” and spread rapidly, but would anyone be the wiser if I decided it’d be fun to PhotoShop some images and send them to the forum to generate buzz?

    It’s exciting, but at this point the author and USPTO & UBS Investment Research haven’t given any insight into where the images came from so it seems to be purely speculative at this point unless anyone has heard otherwise…

  17. jackie says:

    Volkswagen GX3

    I wish they would have brought that to market.

  18. V2win says:

    It ain’t a motorcycle — none of the feel and benefits; all of the drawbacks.
    Put a 4th wheel on it and finish this cute little convertible!

  19. buellracerx says:

    Assuming this is a look-alike or copy also assumes this idea at Polaris is younger than the market release of those models. Remember lead time to market is a few years + any misc roadblocks or setbacks.

    That thing looks like a hoot on an auto trackday. Corvette killer.

  20. cheeky says:

    Most of you commenters don’t get it, with a few exceptions.

    Yes it does look similar to a KTM x-bow from the front, however when this Polaris hits the streets expect the price to be 20-25% of what an X-bow costs. It has 3 wheels so it can slide outside all of the rules and regulations 4 wheel vehicles are forced to have by the over regulated government.
    I personally think it will fill a niche not being served right now, I think its significantly different than the CanAm Spyder as it will obviously be much wider, have a steering wheel and side by side seating, so I think it will have its own unique customer base. I would consider it, not as a replacement to any of my motorcycles but as an option instead of a convertible sports car. As long as the performance and speed are very good for this vehicle, and cost is low, I think it will be a winner. There are other similar vehicles that have been made, but all were by small companies so the prices were high. Polaris is obviously a big company with a well established dealer network, so price, availability and service should all be good I would expect.
    I’m excited to see it hit the road.

    My only concern looking at these drawings is what happens the first time someone driving one rear ends a pick up truck?