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.

Analyst Predicts Indian Will Outsell Victory in 2014

01/08/2014 @ 4:03 pm, by Bryan Delohery14 COMMENTS

Analyst Predicts Indian Will Outsell Victory in 2014 2014 Indian Chief 635x400

According to an analyst from UBS Investment Research, Indian Motorcycles is on track to outsell its sibling company Victory Motorcycles in 2014, its first full year of sales since the company’s recent rebirth.

If this prediction turns out to be accurate, this will be a huge feat for Indian, considering the fact that the American brand only sells three models since its relaunch in August of last year, compared to Victory’s current 15 model lineup.

Victory has also been around since 1998 when it was created by Polaris Industries to be a cruiser alternative to the iconic Harley Davidson brand.

Among other predictions boosting revenue for Polaris in 2014 is the release of the Slingshot, a three-wheeled, reverse trike that will be powered by a 2.4L Ecotec four-cylinder engine from GM, which may give the KTM X-Bow and Campagna V13R some stiff competition.

Though 2014 looks to be a great year for Polaris Industries, time will tell if their plan to resurrect the Indian brand will bury some of Harley Davidson’s sales figures.

Source: Powersports Business

Comment:

  1. Tom says:

    Polaris is approaching a crossroad – but I suspect that they expected this when they acquired Indian. Victory will need its own identity or face being discontinued, and I suspect the latter. Indian always seemed poised to become the premiere brand due to its history and name recognition. It’ll be interesting to see if Victory has a long term future.

  2. Bruce says:

    Perhaps it is wishful thinking, but if Indian can strongly establish Polaris in the cruiser market, it will allow Victory to move into other segments, such as sportbikes, dirt bikes, sport tourers, etc.

  3. The risk of either Victory or Indian venturing outside their established markets is utter failure, akin to how Harley’s repeated forays into the small-displacement segment has always been both odd and a failure. If a particular direction feels unnatural, buyers will avoid it like the plague.

  4. Bicho says:

    Any brand can succeed in any segment,if they have a great product.I believe in engineers,not in badges!

  5. Ton Up Jax says:

    Yes, venturing outside their established market is a risk H-D has taken- and failed again and again. The reason for this is H-D was attempting to lure new customers with designs too close to their current models. This, indeed, created an “unnatural” feel for both existing and prospective H-D customers with the offerings being too similar for H-D fans, and too H-D for customers wanting something more “modern” and “competitive”. I see it as another example of H-D’s fear of competition by refusing to attempt to build anything outside of their “comfort zone”- which always ensures failure.

    Indian, on the other hand, has the opportunity to go head-to-head with H-D’s core market as well as venture into markets where H-D has been afraid (or incompetent) to go- sport, sport-touring, adventure, dual-sport, etc. If done smartly, Indian/Victory could have a model designed specifically for every market segment- which is quite natural for consumers of products from the Big Four, BMW, Triumph, Ducati, etc. Following this path allows Polaris, through Indian & Victory, to become a world-class American manufacturer with a line of products for everyone- a real coup if you ask me, and a shameful slap in the face to H-D.

    I sincerely hope this is where Polaris/Indian/Victory is heading, because I truly believe American consumers have long been waiting for a home-grown manufacturer to produce a full-line of motorcycles they’d be proud to own. EBR and Motus have thrown down the gauntlet, so let’s cross our fingers that Polaris will pick it up and run with it.

  6. John D'Orazio says:

    No surprise here. While the quality of Victory motorcycles has steadily improved over the years, they (at least to me) are still stunningly ugly. The Indian brand has done a nice job of producing a “more traditional” bike that is more likely to appeal to the target demographic.

  7. It’s all about the target demographic and I think Polaris would benefit greatly from taking all of it’s R&D and experience from Victory and dumping it into Indian because Indian stands a much better chance of competing with Harley

  8. Indian has one marching order: to be the other legacy American cruiser brand. This is a market that has nothing to do with technology, and everything to do with marketing…a very difficult nut to crack, as we have seen from the failures of the metric cruisers. Victory had to learn this lesson the hard way too, but has ultimately found its footing as the “anti-Harley” in the market.

    Why have Indian go after Harley-Davidson, instead of pursuing other segments? Because Harley sells roughly one of every two new bikes sold in the United States, that’s why. H-D is the motorcycle market in the USA essentially, and Polaris wants a piece of that pie.

  9. Tim says:

    I ride a Victory. I will be buying an Indian in the near future. But neither one in the near future will out sell Harley. Go into a Harley showroom- you have 100s of bikes there. Victory or Indian dealerships have only a hand full.

    Where I see it, is Indians name and 100 years history will put a small but noticeable dent into the Harley market. Because of its name and nothing else.

    Most Harley riders will never change the brand, in fact they won’t even acknowledge another brand. And that’s fine with me. I love my Victory, and I have test road the new Indians. Different machines, both amazing and first class engineering.

    There is nothing wrong with a little competition in the motorcycle world. Indian is now here to stay, and so is Victory.

  10. V2win says:

    Jensen– Do you know what percentage of the bikes sold in the US are Victories now? Just curious.

    The above comments bring up some good points. I am invested in Polaris stock (ticker symbol PII) and it did extremely well in 2013 — UP 169%. A $10,000 investment would have provided you with profit to buy a free new bike AND not touched your principal! They have a smart business plan–they and their dealers have no yearly sales lulls — motorcycles in the summer and snowmobiles during the winter. Perfect! My local BSA dealer did the same thing in the 1960s and retired very successfully. Indian can only add to filling-in that menu.

    Whether the Indian line hurts Victory remains to be seen. Victory has accumulated a good number of loyal followers, moving over from HD and certain other cylinder head draggers. And they are gaining a large police following–type in “police rodeos” on YouTube and such. Victory is now one of the preferred bikes of Motorman Jerry Paladino–see his videos and training DVDs. My local Victory/Polaris dealer touts the high reliability and ease of service. He says: “After I sell one, I never see it again because maintenance is minimal, oil changes are just as easy as a car (one plug for everything), and people can easily do their own.”

    Each year my brother (retired motor cop) and I ride a couple Victories when the factory Demo Van comes through town and we’re impressed with a few things (eg, engine design) and disappointed in others–namely the pointy, “urban bagger” look influence of the Ness family, but there’s a growing populace of folks who are into custom baggers and can buy one off the floor.

    Hopefully, there’s room for All. We’ll see….

  11. singletrack says:

    What’s in a name indeed.
    I’m not a cruiser guy, but personally, I was turned off at the very beginning by the hubris of the brand name ‘Victory’.

    I still think Polaris should have leveraged their own 50 years of brand equity to market motorcycles. Were they really so embarrassed by the Polaris name? Are their ATVs and sleds so inadequate that a motorcycle under that name would be relegated to the dusty corners of a snowmobile shop? Hard to be worse than Victory’s current low single digit market share.

    A premium Polaris cruiser model called Victory might have made some sense… after some prior sales success.

  12. singletrack says:

    Here’s more, from the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal
    http://www.bizjournals.com/twincities/print-edition/2013/03/08/revving-up-polaris.html?page=all

    “When Scott Wine joined Polaris Industries Inc. as CEO in 2009, the company’s motorcycle business was at a crossroads.

    Polaris’ built-from-scratch brand, called Victory, had been around for a decade, but it was still small and unprofitable, with only 2 percent of North American market share.

    “When I got here, the board was divided. Even the executive team was divided about whether or not we should stay in motorcycles,” Wine said.

    Polaris’ motorcycle business accounts for less than 7 percent of the Medina-based company’s $3.2 billion in annual sales. It also makes ATVs, side-by-sides, snowmobiles and other small vehicles. …

    ….Wine then hired McKinzie & Co. consultants to review the motorcycle business. “They made some recommendations for pricing and promotions, but also said, ‘Scott, if you really want to be in this business, you need to get a brand.’ ”

    For Polaris, that would mean pouring millions into Victory to reposition it. Or, the company could buy a brand.

    …. Or, how about this – market bikes under the Polaris brand. One that millions of people already know !!! That way they could sell any type of motorcycle – sport, dirt, or cruiser, touring….

  13. Doctor Jelly says:

    @V2win

    Based on memory alone:
    Harley sells +/-250,000 bikes per year stateside.
    Victory sells roughly 10,000 per yer in the states.

    Also, H-D owning half or more of the motorcycle market here only applies to the on road ‘heavyweight’ bikes (I think that means 750+cc only). Add in all the on road small displacment bikes, and it might skew their percent a bit lower.

    Again, take all take with a grain of salt as I don’t remember for sure…

  14. buellracerx says:

    Polaris Ind isn’t ashamed to build an mc brand around the Polaris name, it just takes too long. Reconstructing Indian is less costly and was done in a matter of a few years.

    Hindsight is 20/20. Indian has the benefit of learning from H-D’s past.