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.

Arai Tops J.D. Power & Associates Helmet Rankings

05/21/2010 @ 3:32 pm, by Jensen Beeler6 COMMENTS

Arai Tops J.D. Power & Associates Helmet Rankings well used arai helmet 560x374

For twelve years in a row, Arai Helmets has topped J.D. Power & Associates motorcycle helmet rankings for customer satisfaction. This is important because J.D. Power also found that highly satisfied owners are more likely to buy their brand of helmet again (that’s a no brainer, right?). The kicker though is that the likelihood of a repeat customer is nearly 10x more likely when they are highly satisfied with their helmet. In a world where it’s cheaper to keep an existing customer than to find a new one, a 10x multiple is a staggering figure on how product quality plays into a company’s sales and growth strategy.

This ROI seems to exist at virtually all price points regardless of the actual price paid for a new helmet. Motorcycle owners who are highly satisfied with their helmet also say they believe they received a great value in their purchase, despite the price. Furthermore, 57% of highly satisfied helmet owners say that they got an “outstanding” amount of value out of their purchase.

Out the most highly rated helmets Arai was followed by Shoei, Icon, and Harley-Davidson (in that order), with all four brands beating out the industry average. On par were Scorpion and Bell (Scorpion was just above the industry average, and Bell just below it). Check the attached chart for more listings.

Helping come to this assessment, J.D. Power consolidated 4,800 customer responses that focused on three key factors: helmet ventilation, face shield, and design & styling. Each of these three factors was then further broken down into 11 other attributes (quietness; ventilation/air flow; defogging performance; face shield ability to keep wind out; face shield ability to resist scratching; ease of replacing face shield; scratch resistance of shell; color/graphic design; weight; ease of fastening the strap; and fit and comfort), and a comprehensive score was made out of the results.

Both Harley-Davidson and Bell Helmets showed a substantial increase in customer satisfaction as they’ve improved their product line. We’ve got a couple Bell Helmets here in the A&R office, and should have a comprehensive report on them soon.

Source: J.D. Power & Associates

Comment:

  1. BikePilot says:

    Congrats to Arai. I really like Arai’s dirt lid, their street stuff not so much. Last year I switched to the Bell Star and Bell Moto8 and now prefer those to Arai’s top of the line offerings. I dig the fancy helmet bag and extra goodies too:)

  2. Adam K. says:

    My congrats to Arai as well. I recently had to replace the side pods on my two year old Vector lid. I emailed Arai, they said my helmet had a five year warranty. Five freaking years! They sent out new side pods for free. Excellent support. And to boot, the helmet is great!

  3. Arai Tops J.D. Power & Associates Helmet Rankings – http://aspha.lt/112 #motorcycle

  4. Silver says:

    After having an array of helmets in my 16 years of riding, I can honestly say that for the money and shape of my head that Shoei is hands down the best I have owned. Since purchasing my first Shoei I have tried others and went right back to them. By the way, Harley makes helmets? I guess I wouldn’t of considered a bandanna a helmet. Their helmets are a joke in that they are HJC helmets with a $150 HD sticker.

  5. Deez Toolz says:

    As an Arai Owner for many years, and now trying Shoei and Bell, I can agree that they’re exceptional helmets. But I would love to see the JD Power ratings for motorcycle support industries, like leathers: Dainese vs. Alpinestars vs. MotoGP vs. Frank Thomas. Things that may not have as much chatter and prominance as motorcycle brands would. Recognizing the distinction and correlation between purchase price and perceived value. I would stipulate that a person willing to shell out the bucks for an Arai or Shoei have already bought into the more abstract concept of “safety ratings,” and are therefore more likely to yield favorable marks in other features, simply because they’re pleased with the helmet in general.

    Speaking of which, wouldn’t a typical person who understands the value in an Arai, bug splattered as it may be, want to put something better than downed Technic’s on their hands?

    Shoutout to all vendors: A&R needs a pair of new gloves, size L Jenny?.

  6. Jenny Gun says:

    Yes, a large please. I have freakishly large hands.