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.

Ducati Will Compete in MotoGP under the Open Option

02/28/2014 @ 2:51 am, by Jensen Beeler11 COMMENTS

Ducati Will Compete in MotoGP under the Open Option cal crutchlow ducati corse open option 635x423

After assessing its position during the two Sepang tests, Ducati Corse has decided to enter the 2014 MotoGP Championship under the “Open Class” rules, which means the factory Ducati team will have more fuel, more engines, and more importantly no engine development freeze for the 2014 season.

In exchange for those advantages, Ducati Corse will be forced to use the Magneti Marelli ECU package supplied by Dorna, rather than the company’s factory-developed electronics.

Explaining its decision, Ducati says that “after carefully considering the two options, [Ducati] has decided that the most suitable one for the current needs of the Bologna-based manufacturer is the Open one, which gives the possibility to the race department to continue the development of the bike and the engine throughout the entire season.”

The move has been one in the making for some time now, and heavily rumored and tipped in the paddock, despite Ducati’s attempts to suggest otherwise.

Ducati had until today, February 28th, to determine which rules package it would enter under for the 2014 season, and after feedback from Andrea Dovizioso and Cal Crutchlow, Gigi Dall’Igna and his team believe the Open option is the best way forward.

“We have carefully studied the new technical regulations and have concluded that the Open option is the most interesting for Ducati, in the current situation,” said Dall’Igna. “This year we have to keep developing our bikes throughout the season to improve our competitiveness, and the Factory option appears to be too restrictive for our needs.

“We are confident that the electronics package provided by Magneti Marelli and DORNA has very good quality and will allow the correct management of all the main functions of the bikes,” he continued.

Pramac Ducati rider Andrea Iannone will also enter the 2014 season with an Open Class Desmosedici GP14, as was originally planned and communicated.

Source: Ducati Corse


  1. Conrice says:

    It’s the right move for them. Gigi knows what he’s doing. They’ll actually be able to develop the bike now. And if everyone is going to be on the Open ECU next year – who cares if they go a year early?

  2. dc4go says:

    2nd best decision Ducati made recently after hiring Gigi.

  3. Westward says:

    Not only that, but it is my understanding that Ducati’s collected data will be contributed to the Open spec ECU as well. It’s an all around favorable situation for Ducati…

  4. tony says:

    all above comments correct. still wont be faster than my beloved yamahas- open class or any others! norm? any bets?!

  5. Norm G. says:

    so this is how liberty dies… with thunderous applause. (Padme Amidala voice)

  6. dc4go says:

    @ Tony… no bets yet but this is the first step to being competitive every week. By being able to work on the bike throughout the season will only help fine tune the issues the GP13 has. Dovi has been faster this year so far hopefully this is a start to a turn around. Ducati seems a lot more focus this year in GP and WSBK.

  7. Jimbo says:

    Think this is the best outcome for Ducati. They need to sort the bike before they worry about the electrics, and they will need the unlimited testing for that. I am sure there will have been traditionalists both in the actual team as well as fans who probably see this as a travesty but I think this is the best decision for Ducati in the long run.

  8. Westward says:

    @ tony

    I’ll wager for chest pounding rights. While Ducati is a manufacturer that will be developing their bike through-out, your Open Class Yamaha will have to rely on scraps, not to mention that they are hardly the priority. So over the course of the season, I would think Ducati will come out ahead of the OC Yamaha…

  9. Norm G. says:

    re: “Ducati seems a lot more focus this year in GP and WSBK”

    it was clear Ducati’s intent was to get in bed with “Ez/Dorn” the year they hired VR46, while simultaneously cancelling Christmas on Team Xerox.

    re: “Think this is the best outcome for Ducati…”

    …and worst case scenario for any team who ponied up MILLIONS thinking they’d finally found “Sanctuary” in the OC.

    (hard core Logan’s Run reference this. no relation to Lorne Greene’s BG, nor any SyFy channel series)

    re: “They need to sort the bike”

    they NEED to play by the rules and have 2 entries running under “FACTORY” designation, and 2 entries running under “OPEN” designation. ya know, same as any other manufacturer who enjoys a revenue stream exempt from Dorna’s freaky ass controls and manipulations. see entry for Honda, see entry for Yamaha.

  10. L2C says:

    “they NEED to play by the rules and have 2 entries running under “FACTORY” designation, and 2 entries running under “OPEN” designation. ya know, same as any other manufacturer who enjoys a revenue stream exempt from Dorna’s freaky ass controls and manipulations. see entry for Honda, see entry for Yamaha.”

    Competition is competition, but it’s pretty much bullsh-t that Ducati is able to have it both ways.

    Ducati-Marlboro-Audi: The big fish in a little pond.

    Does anybody actually believe that Ducati is on the same level financially as Forward Racing? If anything, the Open class teams should formally lodge a protest against Ducati to Dorna. Now that they get the chance to beat Ducati’s factory effort fair and square, Ducati bails on Factory classification and says, “Hey, IODA Racing, we’re the same as you!”

    Rules are rules, but what Ducati have done is not only not in the spirit of the rules, it makes a mockery of the rules. If Honda had supplied factory RC213Vs to Drive M7 Aspar, would things be all hunky-dory in the paddock with the Open class? How about with Dorna?

    The last thing one would hear is that Honda was being smart by staying ahead of the competition. Instead what is heard now is that Honda is being left behind by MSMA member Ducati, the factory Open class team.

    It’s a joke. And it’s also a joke because it’s like saying that Honda doesn’t possess the technical ability to get to grips with the championship software.

    What else is clear is that Dorna expected Yamaha/Ducati to exploit the rules as Ducati has. Honda has been clear about using it’s factory software for its factory bikes, so the Open class rules were written against the team. It’s telling that Honda would cave on using their own ECU hardware.

    Honda loves to go racing, true, but they may actually pull the plug if their RCXXXVs are required to use Ducati’s software. To me, that is plenty enough reason for Honda to retire from MotoGP. It’s no different than Dorna requiring Honda to use Ducati trellis frames or Ducati-whatever-else on Honda’s bikes.

    Even I praised Dall’Igna’s nerve. He inherited a particularly intractable situation, and so he had to use whatever options that were available to him to turn Ducati Corse’s MotoGP effort around. I don’t blame him at all.

    In hindsight, however, it’s obvious that Dorna made the rules with gaping holes so large that Ducati would basically fall right through them to its benefit. The rules for the Open class feature many carrots that Ducati’s horses desperately needed and the MSMA would suffer a blow in the process.

    So much for the constructors championship having any real value now.

  11. L2C says:

    “so this is how liberty dies… with thunderous applause.” (Padme Amidala voice)

    Supreme Dorna Chancellor Carmelo Ezpeleta: I know what’s been troubling you, Ducati. Listen to me. Don’t continue to a be a pawn of the MSMA Jedi Council! Ever since I’ve known you, you have been seeking a life of great significance, far more than any Jedi.