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.

Taylormade Carbon2 – Life Outside the Moto2 Box

07/10/2013 @ 7:44 pm, by Jensen Beeler23 COMMENTS

Taylormade Carbon2   Life Outside the Moto2 Box Taylormade Carbon2 moto2 race bike 01 635x423

David spent some lines of text yesterday talking about the lack of chassis innovation in the Moto2 Championship — a series whose spec-engine rules were supposed to be a playground for chassis engineers. As we know now, Moto2 has become a race of common denominators, with twin-spar aluminum frames ruling the day.

Company’s like Vyrus have threatened to enter Moto2 with their very stylish Vyrus 986 M2 race bike, with its hub-center steering design; but as David pointed out, the work involved to train racers for the new inputs these machines provide is perhaps the bigger boulder to carry when compared to developing the motorcycles themselves.

That doesn’t mean that innovation is lacking though, as we bring you another intriguing design, this time one built right here in sunny California: the Taylormade Carbon2.

An eye-catching motorcycle, if for no other reason than its carbon fiber monocoque chassis, the Taylormade Carbon2 is an attempt to bring some fresh ideas to an otherwise extremely conservative sector of an already conservative industry. Developed by Paul Taylor and designer John Keogh, the Carbon2 has some interesting design elements at its core.

For starters, the radiator is in the tail section, and draws air from the front of the motorcycle (much like the 2012 MotoCzysz E1pc). This allows the front cross-section of the Carbon2 to only have to be as wide as the engine (dropping the added width of the chassis helps in this regard as well), and also allows for less turbulent air to pass through the radiator fins.

Below the seat, and at the Cg of the machine, Taylormade has positioned the fuel cell vertically, so as to minimize handling changes during fuel consumption. The swingarm is made to be super-stiff, and of course is made from carbon fiber as well.

Up front is a fork tube and wishbone configuration, which BMW owners might find to be familiar design element, as the dampening duties are handled by the conventional fork tubes. Taylormade says this design allows for the Carbon2 to give very similar feedback to the rider as a conventionally race bike.

“In a class as ultra competitive as Moto2 the chance of an advantage has got to be of interest. That’s what we’re here to prove,” says Paul Taylor. “Moto2 was introduced as a prototype class using a supplied Honda CBR 600 engine to limit costs, but with complete freedom for chassis design. As designers, this was a very exciting prospect as top level racing had become exclusively based around modified production bikes.”

“However, I’ve been disappointed in the way Moto2 has developed. It may be the best racing in Grand Prix, but the bikes do not have an ounce of distinction between them. Of course, the racing community is innately conservative, but we hope to prove to teams that thinking “outside the box”, combined with rigorous testing and development, can deliver a competitive advantage.”

The Taylormade Carbon2 will debut at the Goodwood Festival of Speed tomorrow, but the real question will be whether any Moto2 teams will take the gamble on the company’s intriguing design. As always, time will tell.

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Taylormade Carbon2   Life Outside the Moto2 Box Taylormade Carbon2 moto2 race bike 03 635x423

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Source: Taylormade

Comment:

  1. Brandon says:

    Interesting, butt, ugly. Even in racing looks count for something. If they rework the aesthetics I think they might have something people will give a second look at.

  2. Don says:

    I too crave for innovation in chassis design however the harsh reality is that racing at this level is pretty much just a business.

  3. RJ says:

    I see Sir Alan has had a go on it. Can’t wait for his write up…

  4. Norm G. says:

    omg, I just threw up in my mouth a lil’ bit.

  5. jon says:

    This looks innovative, not too attractive but I can’t say I think that matters. Still as I understand it – some of the main things to be garnered from using the twin-spar aluminium frame are cost effectiveness, and being able to effectively adjust and refine stiffness.

    With such a complex and inherently stiff material as a casing this seems it would be very hard to do. Also moto 2 riders tend to crash frequently – and this looks like a very expensive and laborious bike to crash and repair. Running changes in testing to gearing etc. would also be slowed down by an inaccessible engine.

    The article also doesn’t mention any distinct advantages – normally carbon is weight saving – is this bike actually any lighter? With a minimum weight ballast it seems potentially irrelevant.

    I’m all for bringing in more innovation but the Vyrus/hub centre steering seemed more appropriate – a big change in layout to produce a fundamentally different solution.

  6. There is no real weight savings advantage, since Moto2 has a minimum weight that is easily achieved with twin-spar designs.

    Adjustability and cost of replacement is a huge factor in Moto2, where the game really is one of millimeters, and dollars (euros) are scarce.

    What some don’t realize is looks do play a factor on race day. Sponsors are very vocal about the design and look of the bike and team. I heard a fun story about a chassis provider who had to change its intake because the sponsors didn’t think it looked good, despite being functionally the most perfect design.

    Makes you wonder what the show is all about, huh?

  7. fish says:

    In motorcycle racing, major changes involving new tech require massive changes to riding styles that have been developed over decades of racing motorbikes. If a frame manufacturer designs a carbon frame or a stem-less steering assembly, this may make absolute sense concerning all variables on paper, but it will change the way information is delivered to the rider. The long term cost ( crashing included), along with the time required for the rider and technical staff to get used to the new tech, are not worth it in the current economic situation. Combine that with spec tires, where frames are developed around tires and not the other way around, and you have a bad combination for experimental development. There is no short term return on time and/or money investment into experimental GP frame development. Short term gain is what EVERYONE is looking for, at the moment, no matter what industry you are looking at. That means that Vyrus and Taylormade’s dollars, on paper, don’t match the potential success of their design.

  8. froryde says:

    I wish them all the success in the world just to prove that it could be done.

  9. Gildas says:

    The radiator is at the back, that leaves a huge scope of aero possibilities on the lower front fairing (think 125 GP at a mimimum) that is not being exploited here.

  10. Shawn says:

    It’s nice to see golf club manufacturers branching out into other industries. ;)

  11. meatspin says:

    i think a motorcycle should also be nice to look at. This doesnt look good. Also , why does it have an arrow can if taylormade markets their own exhaust systems too? It just doesnt make sense.

  12. Joe says:

    I don’t mind the looks, but you have to wonder how it would crash?

  13. Mr.X says:

    @meatspin: Good point, Taylor is an exhaust guy, right? And he buys the Arrow. I’m so confused.

    On looks alone, the Pontiac Aztek wins.

  14. monkeyfumi says:

    “For starters, the radiator is in the tail section, and draws air from the front of the motorcycle (much like the 2012 MotoCzysz E1pc).”
    Yes, but John Britten did it first, 20 years ago. His bike actually raced (and won) in a world championship too.

  15. Stanford Crane says:

    Congrats Paul! Yes innovation always draws critics, but if it didn’t you’d know you would have missed the mark. Keep moving forward. Some clever paint will do wonders for those giving style points. As for the race, they don’t count, lol. Just make it fast.

  16. paulus says:

    it’s an answer to a question already answered by cheaper, more proven solutions.
    nice try… f’ugly bike.

  17. irksome says:

    So w/ spec engines, spec tires and, I assume, spec electronics, what’s left for variables besides chassis and aerodynamics? I’d assume a radically decreased front profile would make for a marked advantage. Assuming the design works.

    As to ugly, I find pretty much every new bike to be godawful. At least this thing has some curves, rather than looking like a Transformers reject. I must be old; I haven’t liked the looks of a new bike since the MG v11.

  18. Westward says:

    Maybe, Dorna should allow unlimited testing to teams that introduce innovative engineering and design. Once they are considered up to speed, then the usual restrictions apply.

    I think Britten was definitely on to something, and surprised the majors manufacturers have not yet capitalised on his ideas enough to expand on. I guess he was too ahead of his time…

  19. buellracerx says:

    +1 Stanford Crane! Great job Paul!

    A few distinct advantages:

    1) mass distribution – though the total mass must remain constant, WHERE it is distributed about the chassis plays a huge role in handling

    2) aero – as with any design, this one will evolve and be optimized. the rear rad is very helpful in this regard

    3) tunability – with the proper FEA tool AND the expertise to build the model, composites offer a virtual playground for structural tuning. only limiting factors here are $$ (time, analyst salary, FEA license, computing power) and imagination…unfortunately, the latter often becomes the limiting factor

  20. twoversion says:

    As someone whose followed the development of the series quite a bit I only have a couple of issues here – Taylormades carbon work is junk, ask anyone whose owned one of there under body kits for any length of time – also it doesn’t handle impacts very well compared to steel, if you drop the bike especially in gravel your race is over.

    Also the intake is too big, draft someone and that gaping hole in the front will be much less effective and a small team being able to afford top level draft / pass ecu tuning is unlikely. The hollow pass through stem is nice though but the overall engineering and look is a step down on bottpower, my favorite underdog.

    As far as looks, sponsors pay big to be at the front – while ugly bikes are harder to pimp out for cash upfront, if they are out front the money will flow in.

  21. Norm G. says:

    re: “Yes, but John Britten did it first, 20 years ago.”

    in more recent history, benelli’s 900 tornado went to production with an underseat radiator. ironically goddard’s race kit employed a traditional front mounted set-up.

  22. Grant Madden says:

    PT you clever devil.It is very Brittenish and, like the Britten,it deserves a good paint job.If Paul says it’s good it will be really clever.If you can mold or produce carbon fiber components easily and they are structurally sound then whats the problem.Most modern bikes are covered in the stuff anyway but it’s only held on with titanium screws and fasteners which make a lie of the cost thing.No mater what, it will be interesting and good to follow.Maybe electric could be the way in the future,no?