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.

Rating the Riders of MotoGP: Cal Crutchlow – 8/10

01/08/2014 @ 10:58 am, by David Emmett7 COMMENTS

Rating the Riders of MotoGP: Cal Crutchlow – 8/10 cal crutchlow monster yamaha tech 3 motogp scott jones 635x422

The fifth part of our series looking back at 2013 sees us turn to Cal Crutchlow. Here’s a perspective on his 2013 season. You can catch up with this series here: part 1, Marc Marquezpart 2, Jorge Lorenzopart 3, Dani Pedrosa; and part 4, Valentino Rossi.

In 2011, Monster Tech 3 boss Herve Poncharal cursed the day he signed Cal Crutchlow to a two-year contract. The 2010 World Supersport champion was struggling to get to grips with MotoGP, finding the tires harder to deal with and the level of competition higher than he expected.

In 2012, Poncharal’s took back most of what he said about the Englishman, and in 2013, Crutchlow rewarded Poncharal’s patience in spades.

This was the year of the great British motorcycle racing revival. Cal Crutchlow looked to be the first Brit to win a premier class race since Barry Sheene in 1981, and Scott Redding looked to be the first British Grand Prix champion since Sheene in 1977. Neither man would succeed in their objective, but they generated a surge of enthusiasm for the sport back in their home country.

Crutchlow was brilliant in the early part of the season, taking podiums at Le Mans, Mugello, Assen and the Sachsenring. In Germany, he tore up his forearms after crashing in the gravel at Turn 11, the fast right-hander which caught so many riders out in 2013.

He would carry that injury for the rest of the year, fluid building up in his forearms over the course of each race weekend, and never really draining properly.

That crash set Crutchlow back a little, his confidence knocked. He had a poor race at Laguna Seca, and another at Indianapolis, despite receiving the chassis upgrades he had been asking Yamaha for since the start of the year.

The new chassis saw the fuel tank moved further back, and was meant to help the bike brake early in the race with a full tank. The gains were not as great as Crutchlow had hoped for, and the Tech 3 man ended the year wishing he had stuck with the chassis he had started the season with.

At Silverstone, Crutchlow suffered the curse of the British home rider (a curse which appears only to affect MotoGP, as Scott Redding won the Moto2 race), crashing heavily during warm up, then again having a poor race to finish seventh. Slowly, he built his confidence again, ending the season more upbeat than he began, but he never recovered the blistering form he showed in the first part of 2013.

Was Crutchlow’s slump in the second half of the season related to the contract negotiations which saw him end up at Ducati? Crutchlow himself is adamant that it was not. Speculation over his future started early on in the season, when rumors first emerged that Yamaha had signed Pol Espargaro for 2014 at the first race of 2013 in Qatar.

Ducati spent the spring and early summer courting Crutchlow, eventually signing him up after Laguna Seca. Given that Crutchlow had a strong first half of the year and weaker second half, the uncertainty surrounding his contract situation appears not to have had much effect on the Englishman. He faces a much tougher challenge in 2014, however, when he actually has to ride the Ducati.

High Point:

Rating the Riders of MotoGP: Cal Crutchlow – 8/10 Saturday Silverstone British GP MotoGP Scott Jones 06 635x423

The trip to Holland and Germany would prove to be the high point of Cal Crutchlow’s season. Though he could not quite stick with Valentino Rossi, he fought a fierce battle with Marc Marquez for most of the race at Assen.

Two weeks later, Crutchlow went one better, keeping Marquez in sight for a large part of the race at the Sachsenring, but not quite having the pace to match him.

Low Point:

Rating the Riders of MotoGP: Cal Crutchlow – 8/10 Sunday Silverstone British GP MotoGP Scott Jones 22 635x423

Cal Crutchlow’s season started to go south in Germany. The crash at the Sachsenring badly damaged his forearms, and though he had an excellent race, it would be his last podium of the year. Struggling at Laguna Seca and Indianapolis, he vowed to make amends at Silverstone.

A crash during warm up put an end to any hopes of a podium, Crutchlow limping home in seventh, 26 seconds behind the winner, Jorge Lorenzo. One year he will have a strong race at Silverstone, but 2013 was not that year.

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

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

Comment:

  1. vman says:

    So who gets the 1 out of 10 ? should be an interesting read.

  2. chaz michael michaels says:

    Spies’ 2013 season probably gets a 1, maybe even a donut.

    His season was a disaster of epic proportion.

    When he does come back he forgets how to ride the damn bike, gooses it with no traction control on,…poof! career over.

  3. vman says:

    To be fair to Ben, he was on a GP13 ..but yeah not a great season.

  4. Jw says:

    Hayden will have some fun against Ducati in 14. Cal will be good for Ducati, someone’s gotta do it.

  5. “Spies’ 2013 season probably gets a 1, maybe even a donut. ”

    I’d be kind to him and add a coffee to wash it down. Boy, what a sucky end to his career. A shame, too; I like the guy.

  6. paulus says:

    I enjoyed watching Cal this season… entertaining on and off the track.
    Better than the pre-programmed brand-bots of other teams.
    Go Cal!

  7. L2C says:

    The potential was there for Crutchlow’s career to go out with a poof! this year, too. Good thing he reined it in after he got his ducks all lined up and in order because his body wasn’t going to hold out to the abuse much longer.

    Crutchlow proved the point that he was willing to go over the limit in order to be at the front. Now with his factory ride at Ducati, he doesn’t have to do that anymore. He will find the limit and stay there just like all the other factory riders do. He knows he’s not indestructible. Now it’s up to Ducati/Audi/Gigi to put him at the front, as he’s done playing Superman.