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.

First Look at the “Husqvarna” Moto3 Race Bike

01/28/2014 @ 11:44 am, by Jensen Beeler13 COMMENTS

First Look at the Husqvarna Moto3 Race Bike Husqvarna Moto3 race bike 05 635x387

In case you didn’t hear the news, Husqvarna will enter the Moto3 Championship this year; and like the 2014 Husqvarna dirt bike line, the Swedish brand’s name will basically be painted onto the Austrian company’s machinery.

The move is an interesting one for the Husqvarna brand, as the company is about to start a new chapter in its already interesting story. The acquisition of Husky by KTM’s Stefan Pierer essentially consolidated the premium dirt bike segment into one company, and his efforts also brought about the reunification of Husaberg and Husqvarna.

How KTM and Husqvarna will operate going forward is unclear. For 2014, the differences are only paint deep, as is Husky’s Moto3 program, which is being run by Aki Ajo — the same highly regarded squad that ran KTM Racing’s factory bikes in the 2013 season.

While we can drool over another beautiful race bike, especially one of some peculiarity, what really intrigues us though is what this signals for the Husqvarna brand in the long term. Is this just a marketing effort to promote a struggling marque? Or does does Pierer have eyes for Husqvarna on the street? Only time will tell.

First Look at the Husqvarna Moto3 Race Bike Husqvarna Moto3 race bike 01 635x635

First Look at the Husqvarna Moto3 Race Bike Husqvarna Moto3 race bike 02 635x635

First Look at the Husqvarna Moto3 Race Bike Husqvarna Moto3 race bike 03 635x635

First Look at the Husqvarna Moto3 Race Bike Husqvarna Moto3 race bike 04 635x635

Photos: KTM Racing

Comment:

  1. “Or does does Pierer have eyes for Husqvarna on the street?”

    Grands Prix roadracing would certainly lead one to believe so. Unless, of course, they’re just leveraging the exposure to get MotoGP fans to examine the brand’s offerings. A decent number of racing fans like playing in the dirt.

  2. paulus says:

    “Or does does Pierer have eyes for Husqvarna on the street?”

    … or as the earlier A+R article suggested, to circumnavigate some rules relating to ‘factory’ team limitations.

    Shame about the wheel colour ruining an otherwise great looking paint scheme.

  3. Jaybond says:

    Maybe this is the first sign that Husqvarna under KTM’s leadership will venture into the streetbike segment? Internal competition is not necessarily bad for KTM ( just look at Volkswagen group for example). This is definitely will be a good exposure for Husqvarna brand , although they must produce road going sportbikes to better associate with their involvement in Moto3 /GP (rather than just producing dirtbikes). Something that Aprilia failed to capitalize during the 250cc days with the Gilera & Derbi brands..

  4. Rad Rage says:

    @paulus: Couldn’t agree more, they could have went for red, blue, white, black. What were they thinking? Then again they probably wanted the bikes to be easily spotted among the color assault of the Moto3 bikes.

    They will definitely be getting exposure, the name is weird enough to warrant a ‘what was that? Husq..what? From there looking curiosity about their dirt bikes and so on could reap considerable dividends down the road.

  5. BBQdog says:

    Always been a big fan of the Aprilia RSR/RSW 125cc’s and currently of the KTM Moto3 bikes.
    But it is a shame to see that after just two years of competition we are back at the old days
    were one brand dominates the class and we see re-labeled versions of those bikes.

  6. ADG says:

    The frame on this and the Dakar bike is pure art work.

  7. “But it is a shame to see that after just two years of competition we are back at the old days
    were one brand dominates the class and we see re-labeled versions of those bikes.”

    We’ve yet to see the new Honda, though. It’s quite possible that the 2014 bike will give KTM a run for its money. (I hope so!)

  8. HRC is going to take the gloves off this season, just you wait and see.

  9. Jaybond says:

    I think Honda definitely has worked out some sort or improvement with their Moto3 bike, especially in the horsepower department. The screenshots of the ’14 bike we’ve seen in Dec last year spotted a twin exhaust pipes running from the single cylinder Honda engine (quite a drastic measure to say the least), which is definitely horsepower-related. And you never know what kind of improvement in the engine internals.

    On the other hand, Dorna should try to officially invite Aprilia, Yamaha, Ducati, Suzuki, Kawasaki or even other manufacturers such as Triumph and Norton to add more spectacle to the Moto3 series!

  10. paulus says:

    “Dorna should try to officially invite…”
    Then make special exceptions to each to encourage them to join
    Then risk losing the original, loyal Marques that are there presently
    Then implement cost control measures which cripple team development budgets.
    Then demand year on year fuel reductions.
    Ultimately be left standing with only one brand on the grid…
    Repeat the processs

    Cynical… nah!

  11. @paulus:

    You do realize that the MSMA have been the driving force for the fuel reductions, right? The MSMA craft the technical regulations and Dorna worries about the so-called ‘sporting’ regulations.

  12. paulus says:

    No, not clear on that… However, my personal rant stands.

    What is a request from the MSMA ultimately become the sporting rule, so Dorna must agree/buckle to it for it to happen.

    2014. Rather than speculating on the winner, let’s bet on who pushes their multi-million dollar technical peak of motorcycle performance over the line. That’s what I really want to see from the premier classes in Motorcycle racing. Limits on technology development and fuel economy ;)

    Then I can’t wait until future seasons when Dorna allows races are shortened by a few laps for the new marques to be competitive ;)

    PS – cynical, but half joking

  13. majortom says:

    Is this frame steel or aluminum? I think it’s most likely steel but I’m not sure. The welds are kinda hidden under the paint.