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.

ADVers, Your 250cc Prayers Have Been Answered

02/26/2014 @ 11:14 am, by Jensen Beeler30 COMMENTS

ADVers, Your 250cc Prayers Have Been Answered Zongshen RX3 Minsk TRX300i Honley adv 05 635x425

Five years at this game now, and I feel like I have a pretty good grasp of what the reaction to an article will be before it’s published.

With big-displacement ADV bikes, there are invariably those who arrive, deploring the unnecessary weight and size of the machine in question, and who adamantly believe that 450cc is all you will ever need off-road (let’s side-step the whole “two-strokes vs. four-stroke” debate on this one).

This group always seems to miss the point though: that one would not want to travel hundreds (if not the thousands of miles we did on our Broventure) on the wooden saddle of a dirt bike — I already cringe at the thought of the handlebar buzz as well.

As cumbersome as a big ADV bike is off-road compared to its dual-sport brethren, they get the job done well enough, without sacrificing too much on the macadam while loaded to the gills. This is what we call compromise

That doesn’t change the fact that these detractors are somewhat right though, it’s high time that motorcycle manufacturers built smaller, lighter, and more comfortable ADV bikes of the sub-800cc variety. Well, one finally has: China’s Zongshen has just debuted its 250cc Zongshen RX3 adventure machine, for your touring pleasure.

One of the more reputable brands to come from behind the Great Wall, Zongshen has built a basic 249cc motor, with a SOHC four-valve head, which is good for 24hp and 16 lbs•ft of torque. Add to it a six-speed gearbox, 16 liter fuel tank (4.2 gallons), a 31.2 inch seat height, and 385 dry weight and you’ve got the RX3 in a nutshell.

Perhaps still a touch too heavy for die-hard off-roaders, we are still impressed with the power available on the Zongshen RX3, which is comparable to a Kawasaki Ninja 250R. Complete with 55 liters of luggage, this petite ADV could fit the bill for many long-distance riders.

Sold as the Honley RX3 in the UK, and the Minsk TRX300i in Russia and other markets, there is no telling if the Zongshen RX3 will make it to the USA, though we secretly hope it does.

ADVers, Your 250cc Prayers Have Been Answered Zongshen RX3 Minsk TRX300i Honley adv 07 635x635

ADVers, Your 250cc Prayers Have Been Answered Zongshen RX3 Minsk TRX300i Honley adv 03 635x422

ADVers, Your 250cc Prayers Have Been Answered Zongshen RX3 Minsk TRX300i Honley adv 01 635x370

ADVers, Your 250cc Prayers Have Been Answered Zongshen RX3 Minsk TRX300i Honley adv 02 635x422

Source: CMG Online

Comment:

  1. SinoSoul says:

    finally an adv bike for petit, non-fat blokes. in41.

  2. Jake says:

    If it’s cheap enough and can travel uphill at highway speeds we may have a winner.

  3. If it’s cheap and doesn’t fall apart too badly, then I am all for giving it a try.

  4. Andrew says:

    I would be excited if it was made by one of Big Four. But Zongshen? Not so much…

  5. Marty says:

    I just sold my KLR650 and bought a BMW K100 liter bike that has ABS,fuel gauge and that feels safe when doing 100km if I want to jump on to a highway. I am fascinated with video’s and blogs of guys/gals doing long tours on little bikes like the Honda C90…If I was young and had the time I would grab a small bike like this one and go to Europe/Asia/South America. Here in Canada/Upper part of the USA its just such a long stretch of boring landscape that riding a small bike like this would become tiring and frustrating.

  6. TonyC says:

    But does it give you bragging rights as you do your daily ride to your neighborhood Starbucks?

  7. It’s easy to be down on Zongshen because they’re a Chinese outfit. They make a pretty good bike though, especially for the price.

  8. I’m not down on Zongshen because they’re Chinese. I’m down on Zongshen because so far they have only made very cheap, poorly built motorcycles with some of the worst finishes you can find. (Not to mention the inavoidable engine/gearbox-troubles. )

    They make motorcycles for beginners who have never owned a decent bike and are tempted by the cheap price. Riders who want the real thing will stick with KLX’s, DR’s, WR’s and CRF’s and so on, or eventually switch to a heavier all road motorcycle.

    …although I must admit that on the pictures this looks like one of the nicest Zongshen’s I’ve seen so far.

  9. Nick Goddard says:

    ADVers have 390cc prayers ;)

  10. ADG says:

    I live in Panama and had a young friend stay with me for 2 weeks here. He was on a trip from Austin, Texas to the tip of Cape Horn Chile. He is 6’5″ and his passenger GF was very petite, on a Kawi 250 Ninja loaded with saddle- tank bags, tent and a ton of crap. They made it with only problems being worn/flat tires, brake shoes and broken headlight and saddle bag frames. Heroic effort.

    In the ’80s my dad met a guy that took a Honda MB5 from Vancouver, Canada to Argentina…….on back roads….an even more heroic effort.

  11. Those prayers might be answered soon enough Nick.

  12. ADG says:

    Give it time….Jap bikes and cars were crap at one time, then they took over. Korean cars (Hyundai) were crap when they were introduced to the US in the ’80s. Look at them now.

  13. Norm G. says:

    250cc…? will it be able to get out of it’s own way…?

  14. Bruce Monighan says:

    250? No will not work once you load it up and hit the highway.

    I think there should be a 600 bike. The SV650 would make a perfect motor for a lighter bike. Love my Tenere but off road I would love a lighter bike. You never feel the weight on the highway but to be serious in the dirt you need bikes lighter than GS1200′s and Teneres’.

    pmosh, followed your link. That is a 450 at 286 lbs. Very good start. Love to throw a leg over that and give it a try

  15. tbowdre says:

    DRZ400SM.

    Decent power stock, lots of after market for more power, lots of used parts available with millions of them sold, lots of choices for 17″ dirt worthy tires…. almost perfect small ADV bike… needs a 6th gear

  16. culcune says:

    This is one of the ‘breakthrough’ bikes to come out of China. Even with some of the Chinese brands’ poor fit and finish, the engines are good. For instance, I own a TMEC 200cc enduro. I bought it used 15 months ago, and after me putting nearly 9000 miles on it, it still starts up daily, hauling me to work 32 miles roundtrip a day. The engine is manufactured by Zongshen and is an aircooled cg200. Like I said, I bought it used from a guy who got it from a friend who was going to use it in a video. Fit and finish already had the speedo cable break at 302 miles, and I still don’t have it working. Things have fallen off, yet I can get parts from the distributor (I could never figure out the speedo even though I did buy a cable), and other things have had to be welded or replaced. But it keeps going and going. And by no means am I a mechanic of any kind!

    By the way, Zongshen and Piaggio have a joint venture building some of Piaggio’s scooters.

  17. Adrian says:

    Am I the only one who noticed the dry weight of 385 lbs? This thing is hopelessly fat for the off-road side, and hopelessly slow for on-road work. What is it for?

  18. Karikor says:

    http://www.motorbeam.com/bikes/ktm/ktm-launch-390-adventure-india-2015/

    Would the above link interest any of the ADV riders who do not need a heavy bulky ride. By the way remember that 1 US $ = 62 Indian rupees and 1lakh rupees is 100,000 rupees.

  19. Kaw4Life says:

    Great starter bike, would be nice if Honda (or any other from Japan) follows with a 600 and 900 version.

  20. karlR says:

    You had me until “…China’s…”

  21. paulus says:

    The Chinese styling copying is getting much better…. this actually looks like it belongs in this decade

  22. ADG says:

    @paulus, the Japs copied (reverse engineered) in the late ’50′s-’60s….the original Toyota Land Cruiser straight 6 motor was a direct rip from the Chevy straight 6.

  23. Norm G. says:

    re: “No will not work once you load it up and hit the highway.”

    catch a head wind and literally chew the teeth off your sprockets.

  24. Norm G. says:

    re: “If it’s cheap enough and can travel uphill at highway speeds we may have a winner.”

    re: “If it’s cheap and doesn’t fall apart too badly, then I am all for giving it a try.”

    WARNING, DOES NOT COMPUTE, DANGER WILL ROBINSON…!!! DANGER…!!! (crazed robot swinging arms)

  25. Norm G. says:

    re: “In the ’80s my dad met a guy that took a Honda MB5 from Vancouver, Canada to Argentina…….on back roads….an even more heroic effort.”

    ever notice, the default thought process of human beings is just because we can DO something (or have done something)…? we automatically interpret it as a GOOD IDEA…? isn’t that weird…?

    re: “Here in Canada/Upper part of the USA its just such a long stretch of boring landscape that riding a small bike like this would become tiring and frustrating.”

    is that all it would be…?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wv91RLHcd5k

    should wild life get the drop on you…? do you really want to be loaded down in the middle of BFE on a 250…? note, this is a herbivore, not even a fast moving predator like say a wolf, or a black bear. that’s right, it’s all fun and games until you’re chased by a TYRANNOSAUR.

  26. Bruce Monighan says:

    Karikor post – http://www.motorbeam.com/bikes/ktm/ktm-launch-390-adventure-india-2015/

    That has potential, especially coming from KTM I would be interested depending on how it finally comes out; power and weight

  27. Michael says:

    I do not think you will see that bike ever offered in the USA….It would make a nice Urban commuter and weekend local adventure bike, basically a nice starter. I think most enthusiasts take themselves way too seriously. The majority of the population has no interest in two wheels and the idea of riding a motorcycle and gear shifting is, too challenging to these people and that is not something that will ever change, these bikes are for the rest of the world markets.

    The Chinese will eventually sell more vehicles into the USA, but not for decades if ever, they cannot manage to understand what works and what does not in the US. If they did they would be offering these as an entry level through Aprilia Dealers.

  28. afletra says:

    rather than engine or anything else, I’m worried much abou the suspension