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.

Rondine Moto2 Race Bike

02/27/2012 @ 10:32 am, by Jensen Beeler8 COMMENTS

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When the Moto2 Championship was conceived, the racing public was pitched the idea of exotic prototype racing machines that would be built around production-based motors. Immediately the idea of a grid full of Bimota-like machines began to tickle our fancy, however the reality has been that Moto2 chassis designs have been far-more grounded in their approaches and configurations.

Though we did see Bimota build a Moto2 racer with the Bimota HB4, it is motorcycles like the Vyrus 986 M2 that we really want to see filling the Moto2 grid. Of course with the spec-engine rules, races are being won and lost by just the smallest differences in chassis specifications, making the use of exotic designs a venerable game of Russian roulette. Don’t tell any of this to Rondine though, as the Italian firm is working hard on a unique Moto2 design of its own.

Lead by Philip and Mark Nuccitelli, the small Roman team is better known for its Rondine RRV1 track bike, and while they have dabbled in electric motorcycles, the Rondine Moto2 concept is taking the Nuccitellis back to their racing roots. Instead of using a twin-spar aluminum frame, like many of the teams are currently using in Moto2, the Rondine Moto2 bike is comprised of several large billet aluminum plates that are joined together to make the bike’s chassis.

Anticipating the opening-up of Moto2′s spec-engine rule from using only Honda’s CBR600RRR motor, Rondine has designed their prototype around the 600cc engines built by Yamaha and Kawasaki. Certainly a creative design, the Rondine Moto2 concept is a bold move in a space that traditionally rewards only conservative approaches. In an industry famous for killing ideas that work in the test lab, but fall on the race track, we wish the Rondine crew the best of luck in their efforts.

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Source: OmniMoto.it


  1. Tom Z says:

    Several plates = several bolts = heavy

  2. Don R says:

    Still just another variation of a telefork suspended by a headstock. bring out the Hossacks, the Parker RaDD, Fiors, etc….some out of the box thinking!!

  3. MikeD says:

    Although i simpatize with Don R and the whole ” Try something new OR less ordinary, PLEASE ! ” thing…i have to say:

    I would hit that ( on 3rd pic form and shape ). All those machined plates, wierd shape and what not IMHO gives it an industrial look and finish i very much like these days. I would take something naked like that any day over the fully faired version.

    Fully faired version looks pretty good on it’s own too…if anything different.

    Good luck to these guys !

  4. Hoyt says:

    @tomz – what if they are ti bolts?

  5. Tom Z says:

    Bolting plates will never be as sturdy as welding, or casting specifically designed for this purpose. There is a reason EVERY GP bike uses the aluminum twin spar frame… it works.

    Having said that, it is a difficult line to walk. If you stick with the tried and true (telescopic forks, twin spar, radial brakes) you’ll be getting the same reliable, predictable performance every day. But this is prototype racing! I want to see the crazy, even stupid, ideas that may never work. I’m with you, Don R, bring on the Hossacks! Its about time they get the race development they’ve always needed.

  6. GeddyT says:

    On the other hand, the weight of the bolts might be offset by less material in the plates to achieve the same stiffness/flex properties. I could see an advantage of this design being that it would be orders of magnitude cheaper/easier/faster to make adjustments for chassis flex to eliminate chatter or add front end feel. Hell, it could be trackside adjustable! Front end chatter on a grippy track? Pull into the pits and want a few minutes while your crew swaps out the plates that span the side spars to the headstock with slightly more flexible ones, and away you go.

  7. Westward says:

    I’m just a fan of unconventional approach, especially motorcycles…

  8. Dr. Gellar says:

    If Rondine ever decides to dabble once again in electric motorcycles, hopefully it’ll end up looking more like this Moto2 idea, or better yet…their RRV1. Either would likely be an amazing machine.

    I agree with many of you…it would be cool to see more teams take a chance and race Moto2 bikes with more exotic chassis ideas than are currently on the grid. Don R mentions James Parker’s RADD suspension concept…that would be a great idea! Get an American team on the grid with an American rider using a bike with his ideas. One can dream… :-)