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.

Zero Motorcycles Debuts New Zero SR at EICMA

11/05/2013 @ 1:23 pm, by Jensen Beeler11 COMMENTS

Zero Motorcycles Debuts New Zero SR at EICMA 2014 Zero Motorcycles Zero SR 25 635x423

Every year, the electric motorcycle lineup from Zero Motorcycles grows up a little bit more, both in terms of product evolution and in terms of technology advancement.

So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that for 2014 Zero Motorcycles once again has something for enthusiasts: the Zero SR, which builds off the company’s Zero S electric motorcycle, and features 67hp, 106 lbs•ft of torque, and a 102 mph top speed.

The Zero SR achieves this through its new 660 amp controller, which that provides 24% more power and 56% more torque than the controller on the Zero S.

With 11.4 kWh on board the Zero SR, Zero Motorcycles also has an additional “Power Pack” 2.8 kWh battery option, which boosts city range from 137 miles to 171 miles, and highway range from 70 miles to 88 miles.

Those numbers are starting to put Zero Motorcycles in a good place for what consumers are looking for in an electric motorcycle, and we are happy to see that the company has spent more time on its product’s fit and finish.

Gone are the machine shop project kickstands, wood block brakes, and bicycle suspension pieces, and in their place are real motorcycle components that you would find on any other serious two-wheel OEM.

From a visual standpoint, the design of the Zero SR doesn’t stray too far from where Zero Motorcycles has taken the Zero S, which means it won’t be winning any beauty pagents anytime soon, but with the refinements that are present on the Zero SR’s lines, as well as the other machines in Zero’s 2014 lineup, the bike is certainly no dog either.

The 2014 Zero SR, and the rest of the 2014 Zero Motorcycles range, should start coming out of the Zero’s Santa Cruz, California factory in January 2014, with pricing set at $16,995 ($19,490 with the Power Pack) for the American market.

Zero Motorcycles Debuts New Zero SR at EICMA 2014 Zero Motorcycles Zero SR 23 635x453

Zero Motorcycles Debuts New Zero SR at EICMA 2014 Zero Motorcycles Zero SR 21 635x453

Zero Motorcycles Debuts New Zero SR at EICMA 2014 Zero Motorcycles Zero SR 22 635x453

Zero Motorcycles Debuts New Zero SR at EICMA 2014 Zero Motorcycles Zero SR 24 635x453

Zero Motorcycles Debuts New Zero SR at EICMA 2014 Zero Motorcycles Zero SR 15 635x453

Zero Motorcycles Debuts New Zero SR at EICMA 2014 Zero Motorcycles Zero SR 16 635x453

Zero Motorcycles Debuts New Zero SR at EICMA 2014 Zero Motorcycles Zero SR 17 635x453

Zero Motorcycles Debuts New Zero SR at EICMA 2014 Zero Motorcycles Zero SR 19 635x453

Zero Motorcycles Debuts New Zero SR at EICMA 2014 Zero Motorcycles Zero SR 20 635x453

Source: Zero Motorcycles


  1. ian says:

    just to have a pick at it, it looks Chinese cheap…..or a bike that scoots around the congested streets of India with all 6 family members on board.
    Where is the character, aggression, the stealth.
    Maybe channeling my own taste too much than looking at the market target.

    Congrats Zero however on your advancement.

  2. Doug says:

    They have received a ton of investment money. This bike is not indicative of that money being paid back.

  3. RL says:

    Zero just dosen’t get it. People want sporty,cohesive looking e bikes such as the Empulse R(prototype) or the Mission R. The Zero looks like it was build from a mail order kit.

  4. Richard Gozinya says:

    Still looks cheap. Zero is in desperate need of a competent designer. Oh, and that headlight? Yeah, it’s the same one that’s on the Empulse.

  5. Westward says:

    Zero cheap?

    That thing costs $17-20k and I don’t see anything reading Brembo, Ohlins, Rizomo, Marchesini, Ducati, or MV Agusta on it…

    I wonder how many MacBook Pro lithium Ion batteries it would take to make my Ducati Monster project bike an electric…

  6. protomech says:

    Richard: that headlight was first used on the Yamaha MT-03, then the Empulse concept, then the 2012 production Zero S/DS, then the 2013 Zero and Empulse bikes. It’s been around the block.

    The Zero S/SR now spans a range from $13k to $19.5k: S ZF8.5 S to ZF14.2 SR.

    The battery packs are made of either three, four, or five ZF2.8 modules: ZF8.5, ZF11.4, ZF14.2 respectively. Each module uses 28 3.65V 24.5 Ah lithium-ion prismatic cells.

    The 15″ Retina Macbook Pro has 6 3.65V 4.2 Ah lithium-ion prismatic cells .. roughly equivalent in capacity to a single 24.5 Ah cell in the Zero bikes.

    So for a ZF11.4 bike like the base $16995 SR, you would need to sacrifice 112 Retina Macbook Pros, MSRP $223888.

  7. jzj says:

    @protomech: Good knowledge. Here’s a few questions for you:

    1. Zero is reported to be using Lithium-Nickel-Manganese-Cobalt-Oxide: true?
    2. Do you happen to know the battery manufacturer?
    3. Do you think the air-cooled motor will stand up to street abuse (considering that forced-air ducting is used on the track)?


  8. delbert mansubi says:

    @jzj: protomech is a zero employee, he’s probably limited on what he can state (actually i’m not even sure he’s supposed to be posting on forums)

  9. Westward says:

    AH, the simple point is this, asking someone to choose between a Ducati Panigale 899 and a Zero SR for $15k seems a bit ludicrous. The argument “because it’s electric” is not justification enough. The new Yamaha MT-07 costs half what Zero is asking for their bike. The reality is that by the time one spends the other half of that amount in gas and maintenance, we all might be riding speeder bikes like in Star Wars…

    Not to mention the cost savings of riding a Honda 300, Kawasaki 300, or a KTM 390…

    I think electric bikes and cars are amazing. But right now, its a rich man’s toy. When will it be the average man’s cost effective alternative is anyones guess….

  10. protomech says:


    1. True, for years 2012 – 2014.
    2. EIG for 2012, Farasis for 2013 – 2014.
    3. The motor should be pretty bulletproof, even if abused. The motor, controller, and battery packs are all thermally monitored and will throttle back power if temperatures exceed a warning threshold.

    The 2014 SR uses new motor magnets that should increase its tolerance for high heat. We’ll have to wait for reviews to see how well this performs in practice.


    Electrics are still a fair way from up-front cost parity with gas – though their capabilities and pricing continues to improve year over year.

    Consider the $14k price point:

    2012 S ZF9: $14k, 63 miles mixed riding, ~30 hp. Comparable to Honda CBR250R, $10k delta.

    2013 S ZF8.5: $14k, 70 miles mixed riding, 54 hp, pillion seat, bluetooth connectivity. Comparable to Honda CBR500F, $8500 delta.

    2014 S ZF8.5: $13k, 69 miles mixed riding, 54 hp, new gauges, improved suspension, 5 year powertrain warranty. Comparable to Honda CBR500F, $7500 delta.

    So capabilities are going up, prices going down. All well and good, but there’s still a sizeable up-front cost gap.

    But the most important point is this.

    How long does a Panigale 899 take to pay back over a Honda or Kawasaki 300? Isn’t “because it’s fast” justification enough?

    Even though electrics should be less expensive to operate, and may approach total lifetime costs of something like a Honda 500, I don’t think cost should be the primary consideration – particularly given the still very large up front cost delta.

    Instead, I’ll throw these out there:

    1. Ease of operation. Easy to fuel at home, easy to ride, easy to maintain.
    2. Excellent street riding performance. No peaky powerbands, no missed shifts, no overheating at low speeds or boiling engine heat in the summer. Flipside: no engine heat in the winter either.
    3. Novelty. Silence is a virtue all of its own.


    lol. right.

  11. jzj says:

    @protomech: great responses, thanks.