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.

MotoGP & WSBK Testing: Laverty Rides the Suzuki, Forward Heads to Jerez, & Honda’s Moto3 Bike Surfaces

11/26/2013 @ 10:39 am, by David Emmett4 COMMENTS

MotoGP & WSBK Testing: Laverty Rides the Suzuki, Forward Heads to Jerez, & Hondas Moto3 Bike Surfaces honda moto3 race bike

It’s been a busy time for motorcycle racing in the south of Spain. With the winter test ban about to commence, and now in force for both MotoGP and World Superbikes, the teams are heading south to get some development work done while they still can.

For the World Superbike and MotoGP Open class teams, their destination is Jerez, while Moto2 and Moto3 are at Almeria, in Spain’s southeastern corner.

At Jerez, Suzuki has just wrapped up a test, and Yakhnich Motorsport are taking the MV Agusta F4RR out for its first spin. The Jerez test was Eugene Laverty’s first opportunity to ride the Suzuki GSX-R1000, after the Irishman had signed for the Crescent Suzuki team, who have swapped title sponsors from Fixi to Voltcom.

The move is a step down from the full factory Aprilia team for Laverty, but it is a long-term investment for the Irishman. Speaking to German language website Speedweek, Laverty explained that he believed that it was easier to move development on a project forward with a smaller group of people than inside a large organization.

Also making their debut at Jerez are the Yakhnich Motorsport team, which is now the full factory MV Agusta squad. The team will be fielding Claudio Corti on the F4RR in World Superbikes, while Jules Cluzel and Vladimir Leonov will be campaigning the F3 675 Supersport machine.

For Corti and the F4, it is a real shakedown, with the bike not having been raced in World Superbikes before. Corti is returning to the WSBK paddock after a couple of years in Grand Prix, first racing in the Moto2 class, and last year racing the FTR Kawasaki CRT bike in the MotoGP class.

The Ten Kate Honda team is another team testing at Jerez, continuing work on the CBR1000RR Fireblade. Special focus of the recent tests for Jonathan Rea and Leon Haslam is sorting out the HRC electronics, which still need work to be ready for 2014.

The World Superbike squads are also being joined by some of the Open class teams in MotoGP. The NGM Forward team resume testing with the Yamaha FTR the will be running in 2014. Both Aleix Espargaro and Colin Edwards will be at Jerez for three days, to continue work on the bike.

Key area for them is also the electronics, as Edwards identified the strategies being used at the previous tests in Valencia as having room for improvement.

Meanwhile, the Avintia Blusens team are testing Kawasaki ZX-10R, which they will be using as a basis for their 2014 MotoGP machine. The chassis and bodywork will be much closer to the production bike, after a good test at Aragon after the final MotoGP round at Valencia.

Ducati are also present at Jerez, for both MotoGP and World Superbikes. For MotoGP, only Michele Pirro will be present with the test team, and work will continue testing parts on the factory’s lab bike. More important will be the coordination between track test team and factory, as Gigi Dall’Igna continues the work of integrating the two parts of Ducati Corse more intimately.

Over in Almeria, the Moto2 and Moto3 teams take to the track, but the real novelty at the circuit is the first appearance of the new Honda Moto3 machine. Three teams will be racing the bike: the Estrella Galicia team with Alex Rins and Alex Marquez, Racing Team Germany with Efren Vazquez and John McPhee, and the CBC Corse squad of Alexis Masbou and Zulfahmi Khairuddin.

From photos of the bike posted by Alexis Masbou on Facebook (above), and by Speedweek, the bike appears to be more of a radical evolution of their existing NSF250R rather than a total revolution.

The engine layout is still back-to-front, the cylinder sloping backwards with the exhausts exiting towards the rear and the throttle body facing forwards. The exhausts now have dual pipes running the full length of the exhaust manifold, rather than the single pipe of the old machine.

Speedweek is reporting that Honda have also changed the bore, going up from 78mm to use the full 81mm permitted by the regulations. That change is an attempt to counter the superior horsepower of the KTM, which also used the maximum 81mm permitted bore.

With just six riders to supply, the new Honda is nearer a pure racing prototype than its predecessor, and HRC is bearing much of the financial cost. According to Speedweek, the Estrella Galicia team is receiving the bikes for nothing from Honda, while both CBC Corse and RTG are being heavily subsidized. Despite receiving a fifty percent discount, the two ‘satellite’ teams will still have to cough up 200,000 euros per rider, however.

Just how competitive the new Honda will be remains to be seen. As the Moto2 and Moto3 tests at Almeria are private, no official timing is present. Whether any times will be released – and just how reliable any such times will be – is very much open to question.

Source: Speedweek; Photo: Alexis Masbou (Facebook)

This article was originally published on MotoMatters, and is republished here on Asphalt & Rubber with permission by the author.

Comment:

  1. Brad W says:

    Any news from the Buell’s (EBR) attempt at World Super Bikes? MV got a bike ready to test already but no word from EBR on their progress or testing plans.

  2. Gooooood question. EBR has less development to do, but they are way behind the other teams as far as prepping for next season.

  3. paulus says:

    EBR is probably still busy machining a stock of brake disks ;-)

    Good luck to all for 2014

  4. meatspin says:

    i need to see more shots of this KTM killer. Is it now more expensive to run a team in moto3 than a team in moto2 equipment wise? Thats crazy.