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.

Aprilia Tuono V4 R Finally Coming to America – $14,999

12/01/2011 @ 10:33 am, by Jensen Beeler18 COMMENTS

Aprilia Tuono V4 R Finally Coming to America   $14,999 2011 aprilia tuono v4 r 635x540

You wouldn’t know that the Aprilia Tuono V4 R even existed if you went to Aprilia’s USA website, though the fire sale of the older Tuono 1000 should at least raise an eyebrow. That being said, Aprilia USA is set to bring the new, as in debuted at EICMA last year, Aprilia Tuono V4 R to our American shores. Set to hit dealers in March 2012, Aprilia USA has at least gotten one thing right with the 2012 Aprilia Tuono V4 R, and priced the streetfightered RSV4 with $14,999 MSRP.

That puts the base model Aprilia Tuono V4 R a full $4,000 cheaper than the $18,995 MSRP 2012 Ducati Streetfighter S, and $2,000 more than the $12,995 MSRP Ducati Streetfighter 848. With that price point, Aprilia has aggressively positioned the Tuono V4 R against Ducati, its biggest competition in the performance-oriented street-naked segment. With 167hp on tap, there is plenty to get excited about with the Aprilia Tuono V4 R, and true to its ethos, the Tuono V4 R is basically a de-tuned Aprilia RSV4 R superbike without its fairings.

However like its superbike sibling, we predict that the Aprilia Tuono V4 R will still amount to another disappointment for the Noale brand in the American market. As one major motorcycle OEM CEO told us regarding the Aprilia RSV4 last year, the Aprilia was the best machine on the market for 2010, but flopped at the dealers compared to its competition — that’s not a product problem, that’s a marketing/business problem. With nary a mention of the 2012 Aprilia Tuono V4R on the Aprilia’s website here in the USA, we’d be inclined to agree with that CEO’s assessment.

Still, if given the chance we’d love to ride the new Tuono. With a Ducati Streetfighter 1098 already in this writer’s personal garage, I’d be very curious to see how Noale’s offering stacks up, especially if the APRC version, with its well-touted electronic rider aid package, showed up in our testing queue. Don’t worry though dear readers, Asphalt & Rubber doesn’t plan on changing its “we tell OEMs that send checks with bikes to fuck off” policy.

2011 2012 Aprilia Tuono V4 R Photos:

Source: MotorcycleUSA

Comment:

  1. DareN says:

    Jensen,
    You would not know that Aprilia existed,period! (in US ,that is). No display at IMS, no bikes at the Illinois dealer close to me. And that comes from former happy owner of Falco…

  2. AK says:

    Big fan of RSV models but there is no dealer in whole Indiana… they need to step up.

  3. Bruce says:

    With the departure of Rick in the Aprilia marketing department and a fairly new CEO of Piaggio USA, one can only hope that Aprilia can get their act together. I’ve owned 8 Aprilias in including my current RSV4 and I can vouch for the quality and fun-factor of their products. But there is no excuse for the poor dealer network and worse marketing. They won the 2010 World Superbike Championship and failed to capitalize on that in any significant USA marketing. They don’t have a presence at the Progressive IMS, they had no presence in the manufacturers area of the Indy MotoGP in spite of the fact that they were practically the entire grid of the 125 class. One Aprilia rep told me, “well, we don’t run in the premier class”. Sorry, but neither does Harley-Davidson, BMW, or KTM and they were all present. They funded a laughably small dealer exhibit at the AMA Pro Race at NJMP, that the dealer told me he received a week’s notice for. I drive several hours to have my bike serviced by a competent dealer, because the 2 dealers closest to me know far less about their product than I do. I will continue to support the product in spite of Aprilia USA only because they are fine machines and I have found a decent dealer. However, they need a complete marketing department overall if they ever expect to capture more market share.

  4. Jake Fox says:

    +1 what others here have said. Also, I’ve seen better designed myspace pages than their US website.

  5. Shawn says:

    Myspace, what’s that? J/K Notice the lack of a clutch fluid reservoir.

  6. Shawn D says:

    ^^ Clutch fluid reservoir? I’m no mechanic but isn’t the clutch in the same oil bath as the tranny… and the motor?

  7. Shaitan says:

    I dig Aprilia bikes in general, but after talking to several dealerships I’d never buy one as my main bike because parts support is lacking — at least where I live. The old Tuono was AWESOME, but heavy; the new one sounds amazing. Hopefully Aprilia has made the RSV-4 motor more reliable.

  8. Rob says:

    He meant clutch reservoir as in the clutch being actuated via hydraulic. Yes the clutch is bathed in the same oil as the crankshaft. However, clutches on ALL RSV4s are cable driven.

  9. Andrey says:

    Great article Jensen. A couple of points:
    1. Piaggio are clearly inept. Look at their poor marketing of Aprilia and their hopeless treatment of Moto Guzzi. They are handing a lot of market share to Ducati et al with their lack of customer focus and poor marketing management.
    2. Bike still doesn’t have a distinctive “look” in my opinion… styling remains awkward and uninspired. Looks like it was designed by a committee. Not a PATCH on the StreetFighter.

    and most importantly:

    3. Congrats to you for owning one of the best bikes on the planet! The StreetFighter is one amazing machine! …. and it looks the business as well. Any photos of your bike anywhere?

  10. MikeD says:

    I see, still looking as FUGLY AS EVER…man, what a shame.

    Sorry guys, it might the ultimate naked street/track weapon out there, but if i can’t stare at it while parked for hours it just won’t happen with me.

    To think at one point i thought the previous Gen was the ugliest bike they could come out with but they have surely raise the bar here, by a lot…

    And to add insult to injury no less to a platform that underpins one of THE BEST LOOKING sport bikes out there…

    P.S: I like the first gen RSV4 angular muffler design better than this, this looks too “organic”…

    Ok, done bitchin here…lol.

  11. Jake Fox says:

    Disagree. I quite like how it looks and would be happy to own one, if only they had a better dealer network in place.

  12. Damo says:

    @Bruce

    I agree 100%. I huge aprilia fan and my 2003 Mille is my favorite machine, but I have to order all my parts from Texas (I live in New England) because the dealer network is so weak.

    I was thinking about pulling the trigger on a new RSV4, but the closest place I can even sit on one is four hours away! Meanwhile I can got sit on a Ducati, KTM, BMW or any of the major Japanese brands all within a 30 minute drive.

    They need to up their marketing in the US. Hell I still go to group charity rides up here and people show up that don’t even know what an aprilia is!

  13. Bob says:

    I much prefered the FV2 concept they did a couple years ago. Now, that is one bad ass looking bike. This Tuono is far too close to the RSV4 in looks that I’d just rather get the RSV4. All they did was lop off the windscreen and hack away part of the side panels. Otherwise they look alike. A rather poor attempt at distinguishing one from the other. Even Harley Davidson does more changes between models of the same family.

  14. Bruce says:

    @Damo,

    I’m in central New York, but IMO there is a strong dealer in CT and one in NH. Not sure where you are but perhaps one of those is close.

  15. Damo says:

    @Bruce

    I live an hour south of Boston. Could you post up those dealers? I spend alot of time in southern NH, I would love to go browse in person and check out their parts department.

    I will admit though, it will be a sad day when I finally get rid of my Rotax powered Ape.

  16. Faust says:

    @Damo

    You know you’re going to end up on a CBR anyway, so stop lying to yourself!

  17. MikeD says:

    @Faust:

    ROTFL. U’ve made my night. Thanks.

  18. Damo says:

    @Faust

    +1 Mate, you’re probably right, haha.