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.

Indianapolis Motor Speedway Modifies Course for MotoGP

10/02/2013 @ 5:30 pm, by Jensen Beeler16 COMMENTS

Indianapolis Motor Speedway Modifies Course for MotoGP Sunday Indianapolis GP MotoGP Scott Jones 10 635x422

Astute motorsport aficionados may have noticed that Indianapolis Motor Speedway debuted a new infield layout for IndyCar’s new and upcoming GP of Indianapolis, which in turn begs the question whether the new infield changes for IndyCar will affect the course for MotoGP. We called up IMS to get the scoop, and the answer is yes…but also no.

For starters, MotoGP will continue to run the infield course in a counter-clockwise direction (that same direction as the oval course), which is opposite of what IndyCar will do for the GP of Indianapolis. Before we get into the confusing bits, we should say that the new course layout of MotoGP will continue to consist of 16 turns, and gets a modest increase in distance: 2.645 miles over the previous 2.621 miles.

With IndyCar running a slightly different 14-turn course, it can get confusing trying to compare IndyCar turns with MotoGP turns, since they are in reverse order numerically, so we will cover here just the changes that will affect Indianapolis GP (MotoGP)  – car guys, go to your own damn blog site if you want the low-down on the GP of Indianapolis (IndyCar).

For MotoGP, there are three big changes afoot. First, the T2-T3-T4 complex of turns has been modified to make an easier transition off and back onto the IMS oval. Turn 2 is now a constant radius turn, and sets up an easier transition back and forth through Turn 3 and Turn 4.

The second big change is to the T7-T8-T9 complex, where Turn 7 has been opened up from its near 90° degree bend, to more of a dogleg that allows for another smooth transition between Turn 8 and Turn 9, which then leads to the back straight of the infield course.

The third and final major change is at T15 & T16. Like the other changes, Turn 15 has been opened up to make the series of turns easier to flick the GP bikes through, with the hope then that T16 will be an easier transition for the riders onto the front straightaway of the oval course.

With these three sections being the trouble spots in the past for riders in terms of crashing, the hope is that not only will the racing be better for the fans, but also safer for the competitors.

The last modification worth mentioning is that Indianapolis Motor Speedway will be paving the infield with a single type of asphalt, which should mean consistent grip throughout the course — a major complaint levied by the GP riders against the IMS infield course.

Construction is expected to be completed by early December, which should allow for plenty of time for the pavement to cure and weather through the winter. Testing then will be conducted in the spring, and IMS will host two car races on the infield course before MotoGP comes to town.

Barring major rains ahead of the MotoGP race weekend, this should mean that plenty of rubber will be laid down on the track ahead of the Indianapolis GP.

This new infield track layout is expected to be the Grand Prix course going forth (assuming MotoGP stays at IMS past its 2014 contract), though Indy says it remains open to feedback from riders, and that modifications could still be made for future events.

A new track map, and official details, are expected from Indianapolis Motor Speedway in the coming days. More when we get it.

Photo: © 2013 Scott Jones / Scott Jones Photography – All Rights Reserved

Comment:

  1. jkobflys says:

    You can put lipstick on a pig….

  2. Seth says:

    Agreed… It’s still an akward backwards track. Yet we drop Laguna, the best track in America?! Sad day

  3. crshnbrn says:

    I’m sad to read Laguna is being dropped, but glad to read Indy is making the changes to keep a MotoGP race. The infield at Indy is tight & technical, especially turns T7 – T9. Hopefully the changes will result in the infield having better flow.

  4. Jake F. says:

    As much as I hate seeing Laguna go, you have to hand it to IMS and the great people of Indianapolis for fully embracing MotoGP and adopting the whatever-it-takes mentality to keep the Indy GP on the calendar. I wish Mazda Raceway received even half the support from the local community that IMS does.

  5. TexusTim says:

    the riders wouls rather have laguna then indy…this should be one of the factors dorna should keep in mind when playing around wioth the american market like the seem to do…first they want more fans but they make decissions that are unpopular with fans and riders ? the indy scene is just thst the people around that area love it of course but for the rest of the country it is the least favorite venue motogp races at were laguna even thouhg difficult is far more popular not only in person but on tv..which brings us to the third thing dorna has backwards they need to make a deal at least for the american broadcast that putd it on “free Tv” on of the majaor broadcasters stations as long as they go the direction there headed there making this about an elite spectator sport not for the masses just like f1 if you cant afford the memorbilla or watch it on tv whats the use ? cuz at this rate not amny will be making trips to austin or indy next year mark my words attendtence will be less than all years previous…now dorna moves on in india and south america also minimising there precense here?…this is backasswards to garner new fans..this will just empower all the rich elite that this is for them only not for us regular guys and gals.

  6. TexusTim says:

    o jensen we call car drivers here cagers you now they drive around in a cage never having the freedom we have…keep up the great work you do keeping us up to date.thnx

  7. Jimbo says:

    Jake F +1

    I agree – I think any Track that is willing to fully embrace Moto GP is a good thing.

  8. BrianZ says:

    @Seth-LS is “NOT” the best track in America, there I said it. COTA is much better in every way. Part of the GP experience on track is to see and hear these machines do what they were designed to do, and Laguna simply limits them in so many ways. A good track helps enable them to exploit every piece of engineering they are designed with. Indy has more potential to exploit these machines as well, and hopefully with the new changes, we will see this even moreso.

    @JakeF and Jimbo- another +1, especially in the depressed $$$ state that racing is in right now.

  9. Seth says:

    @brianz you have a point… COTA looks amazing, and I’m hoping to treck out there for next year. But, I’m a California kid, so I have an irrational love for Laguna which cannot be swayed. ;-)

  10. PD says:

    What is the logic behind running MotoGP in the reverse direction to IndyCar (and F1 previously)?

  11. BrianZ says:

    @Seth-I am an East Coaster myself and wish I had access to some of the conditions and tracks that you guys do. I have to settle for VIR which ain’t so bad.

    @PD-I think the logic origionally was based on the amount of speed the bikes generate on the oval straight portion combined with braking forces for what would then be turn 1, and Turn 1 would end up being a freaking bus stop crash zone with the tops speeds of the bikes being ( purely a guess on this figure) about 15mph less that what they currently hit on the straight.

  12. PD says:

    @BrianZ: I do see that that may indeed be a problem. However, I don’t quite see why that wouldn’t be a problem for cars as well, in fact may be even more so given that they are bigger (less track space), and probably brake harder and later (4 wheels w/ huge contact patches).

  13. irksome says:

    Running the course counter to it’s designed intent led to too few passing opportunities; hopefully this was why they modified. But you can’t fix flat.

  14. crshnbrn says:

    The main straightaway must remain flat because it is part of the Speedway, but it might be possible to put some elevation change into the infield portion of the track. Mr. Beeler, can you call IMS back and make a suggestion?

  15. Yeah, I’m not sure how much pull I have with the IMS brass…

  16. Anvil says:

    @PD: running it in reverse was the only way it could be approved by the FIM for safety reasons.

    @crshnbrn: I’ve had the same thought. I can imagine it would take hauling and grading huge amounts of earth to pull it off and lots of repaving which means lots of $$$. I also wonder whether IMS would be willing to drastically alter the whole infield permanently, considering it’s used as spectator camping/viewing for big oval events like the 500 and Brickyard race.

    Now that there will be an IndyCar GP road race there, maybe they could be convinced to add elevation to at least part of it. Start writing.