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.

Asphalt & Rubber Turns Five Years Old Today

10/18/2013 @ 4:29 pm, by Jensen Beeler52 COMMENTS

Asphalt & Rubber Turns Five Years Old Today ducati hypermotard sp jump scott jones 635x422

Another year has gone by at our tiny motorcycle blog here, as Asphalt & Rubber turns five years old today. The thing is though, the site isn’t that tiny anymore — one million visitors will come to A&R in October alone.

In the past four years, when I have written these birthday posts, I write the same thing about how I look back on the past 365 days with a bit of astonishment, and then list all the great things that we have done in that time.

At the five-year mark though, I find myself looking all the way back to the beginning of A&R, a time when this site wasn’t really anything at all. With that retrospect, I see how Asphalt & Rubber has come into what it is now — if I had to go back, and try to decipher today from the fog of time, it would all feel like an impossible reality, if I am honest.

Many have asked me how this site came to be, and so here it is. The not-so-quick genesis story of Asphalt & Rubber is that I stared this website while in the middle of a second-year corporate finance class in business school. It was October 2008, the job market was non-existent for soon-to-be newly minted MBA’s, and though I didn’t know it yet, the Great Recession had officially started.

If I had been smart and safe, by graduation I would have copied what my fellow classmates had done, and latched onto the first available paying gig that came along. Instead, I decided to take a risk, and try to start something of my own.

You see, the idea of being a corporate controller at ExxonMobil for the rest of my life was unappealing when it was pitched to me in a job interview that year. Similarly, I laughed far too loud when a Dell recruiter told me to work for them, as they were going to be the next Apple, according to him.

And then there was the prospect of working for a regional mid-Atlantic bank, the very prospect of which had me already reaching for my shoelaces and looking for a good load-bearing beam in the rafters. If I had been smart and keen to play it safe though, I would have taken any one of those jobs, and life would have been much easier.

Instead I moved back to California, moved in with my mom, and started Asphalt & Rubber in her freezing cold basement. It sucked.

Post-graduation and full recession, I was a quarter-million dollars in debt from my nearly decade long tenure in school (I did three years of law school, in addition to the two years of business school). In my late-20′s, living with my mom, and “blogging” for paychecks, what I was doing was looking more like charity than a living.

This wasn’t what I had planned for myself during that last year of college…you know, when I had figured everything out, but the world had changed on me. Motorcycling had even changed in that period of time, as we saw sales in the United States and Europe just completely disappear.

Journalism had changed also, though things were already changing in the industry as the internet constantly encroached upon the readership of print publications. Not helping matters, print budgets were slashed in the recession. So, not only was the readership leaving print magazines, but now so too were the dollar signs.

I don’t have any illusions that those two factors are probably what got me through the lean years and why Asphalt & Rubber exists today. With all of that now more of a distant memory, the site now flourishes, despite my dyslexic attempts at mashing words together.

While many things come easily to me, writing has never been one of them. I look back through the archives and see some of my ahem, rough, articles and cringe a bit — if you have been a long-time reader of Asphalt & Rubber, you surely are a patient person. Another thing that strikes me looking back at old articles is that this site has matured into something of its own.

Truth be told, this isn’t my site anymore. It’s your site, really.

When I finally put my mind towards Asphalt & Rubber actually being something more than my own outlet of thoughts, I knew that I wanted to create a publication that I would want to read as an enthusiast.

I wanted to create a publication that didn’t shy away from asking the tough questions, and didn’t mind losing advertisers because of the stories that it had  published. I wanted to run a publication that completely held its readers as its ultimate stakeholders. These are the same tenets others always seem to promise, but also always seem to fail to deliver.

I look at the response we have had from our readers these past five years, and see them as confirmation that this is something that others are looking for as well; and as such, that standard goes beyond being just my own. It is ours.

I have learned that it is easier to draw those lines in the sand when you are a small publication, and no one pays attention to you, but that the task becomes much more difficult once you get bigger in size, readership, influence, etc.

What keeps me up at night is how Asphalt & Rubber will maintain those same standards going forward, as this seemingly slippery slope is something I think only the most unscrupulous of people undertake willingly. Thankfully, I have good people around me to keep me accountable.

I continue to be deeply grateful to have David Emmett publishing his work here at Asphalt & Rubber, as he continues to be one of the most insightful writers in motorcycle racing, in both the print and online mediums.

Beyond the words of his, that many of you read, David is often the sounding board I go to for my big picture ideas, mindless rants, and rare crises of conscience. His friendship makes up for the moments where he talks on the phone in Dutch to his lovely wife. Seriously, it sounds like Chewbacca.

I can’t talk about David without talking about Scott Jones too. His photos are a huge factor in what makes this site look so visually appealing, and I don’t nearly do them justice by coupling them to my written postings. Scott’s work behind the lens is surely apparent to anyone who reads this site on a regular basis, but he too does so much for Asphalt & Rubber behind the scenes.

He has endured my unique style of “planning” trips abroad, my snoring at night, and of course my constant reminders of how I was born when he graduated high school. A true friend, I look forward to our regular lunch meetings where we plot to takeover the two-wheeled world. I love this guy so much, I would even go vegetarian for him.

Readers are likely not too familiar with Daniel Lloyd though, Asphalt & Rubber‘s server administrator. Dan has been a part of this crazy adventure since the very first day…the poor bastard.

As each day passed on, Dan become more and more the literal reason that A&R continued forth, as he built, tweaked, rebuilt, and retweaked our now four (or is it five?) servers into submission for the roughly gigabyte of traffic our little blog now produces…each hour.

Looking back too over the past five years with Dan, we have had some late nights, some stressful mornings, and sometimes combinations of the two. I am immensely grateful for all the hard work he has put into Asphalt & Rubber. Any other sane and rational person would have told me to take a hike long ago.

I am even more grateful for the patience of Dan’s wife, because rarely has a call at 2am woken up only Dan. Since starting A&R, I have had the fortunate opportunity to watch Dan find the love of his life, Sara. They got married this year, and I was deeply honored to get to witness their union. That day had to be the top moment for Asphalt & Rubber this year.

I am exceedingly proud of what we have all created here, and of course none of this would be possible without the hard work, encouragement, and support of a very loyal group of people. Many thanks to all of you that have been there these past five years — you really have no idea how much your support has meant. You too Mom.

Lastly and most importantly, thank you to all our readers who make all the work worthwhile. If you haven’t already done so, be sure to follow us on Twitter, friend us on Facebook, or just leave a comment below. Until next year.

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


  1. paulus says:

    Many happy returns.
    A great opportunity to express appreciation for you and your team’s efforts.
    A great resource and a great daily read.

  2. tl1098 says:

    Great site,congratulations hope you have many more years of success.

  3. L2C says:

    “Similarly, I laughed too loud when a Dell recruiter told me to work for them, as they were going to be the next Apple.”

    Hahahaha!! That might be the funniest thing I have ever heard you say. :-)

  4. Patrick Houston says:

    Appreciate the hard work and dedication.
    Love reading your site on a daily basis and will continue to do so as long as you are writing.

  5. MikeD says:

    Aaawww, Jensen . . . You brought this picture of a VERY HAPPY SINGLE Mom watching her son playing with the other kids on the Park while she remembered how much it HURT pushing the little sucker out to this side of her Cooch, how those staples on her belly hurt like a Mother after having C-surgery and how many sleepless night came after ALL THAT (feeding, butt cleaning, playing doctor, etc).

    Kidding aside, CONGRATS to you and your Crew for keeping the LIGHTS ON at A&R another year and bringing the News and many more to come !
    KEEP UP THE WORK ! and a place for us here to talk motorcycles, racing and call each other names with out too much parenting ! ROTFLMAO !

  6. L2C says:

    Well, I love this place, obviously. I appreciate the work the good result and work that goes into it, so thanks to all involved.

    And a special thanks to you, JB, for sharing your story and how Asphalt & Rubber came to be. I’m sure many will be inspired by it. Nothing beats following your passion and having something to show for it. Kudos, man. You deserve it.

    Happy Birthday, A & R! ;-)

  7. L2C says:

    Typical editing boo-boo. Sorry about that. It won’t be the last, I’m sure. Derp.

  8. vanduc996 says:

    Congrats man, and may you have many more anniversaries to come.
    A&R is a daily destination to feed the online aspect of my two wheeled addiction.
    Basically, I like what you do, keep up the good work

  9. TexusTim says:

    congrats jensen, the best motogp blog on the planet.

  10. Goncalo "Bam"da Silva says:

    From all the articles you’ve written, Jensen, this is the most heartfelt one I’ve read. I got the chance to meet you in PI last year, even if briefly (and slightly intoxicated), and as I said at the time: congratulations on this blog. My day doesn’t go without reading it, same with Motomatters. You and David (and the Motopodcast I might add), both in very unique ways, have created what I see as the future of motorcycle journalist. Class, knowledge and passion steered in the right direction. I like where this is going, I just hope some Australian publications catch on…

    Congratulations Jensen. I shall eat some Nando’s tonigh to celebrate!

    Goncalo “Bam” da Silva

  11. Hisham says:

    Hi Jensen.

    From the state, all the way to MALAYSIA, home of Sepang International Circuit. I would read A&R lmost everyday in the morning in office before i start my work. A&R is clean and simple. More to motorcycling purist thought and with open biased. great work and may A&R will cherish centuries to come.

    Happy Birthday A&R!!!

  12. Judge says:

    Congratulations on another year Jensen. Here’s to paying off your loans and getting out of freezing basements.

  13. Motogpdr says:

    Congrats! By far the best sport bike/ racing site ! It’s one of the first sites I check each am while waiting for the espresso machine to reach temp…..warmest regards and I wish you many more years of success. Your writing is second to none despite your humble self critiques…kudos Jensen

  14. Bruce says:

    Hi Jenssen
    Congratulations on completing 5 years,
    We all look forward to your site everyday in hope of seeing something new, thanks for enlightening us
    and keeping us updated with latest happenings around the world.

  15. Gutterslob says:

    Happy 5th Birthday, AsRub~!!

  16. Fred Santos says:

    Cheers from Brazil.
    A&R are an inspiration. I´ve started a motorcycle news blog some time ago, but refused to continue.

  17. TimM says:

    Congrats JB/A&R–happy fifth, glad you survived, thrived, and made that choice back when. Don’t know if your mom’s glad but a lot of readers are! Thanks for five years of great work.

  18. Ganny says:

    Congrats Jensen….have been a constant follower of A&R for three years now…This is the go to site for me when it comes to motorcycle news….Cheers

  19. Mellowdave says:

    I appreciate your blog and site more than any other I go to. Proper job, well done. Keep it up, many happy returns.

  20. Alex says:

    Congrats Jensen! This is my favorite blog on the internet on any subject.

    Thanks so much for all your hard work!

  21. Neil says:

    Happy Birthday A&R, and thanks for one of my favourite sites! Tough work but appreciated.

  22. Many many congratulations Jensen :D

    I have been following A&R since Oct 2008 itself. I did not know A&R had started only then!
    I latched on due to a KTM 1190 RC8 article way back then.

    Today, A&R is my daily read. Never a day goes by without reading up all your articles.
    Kudos to you and your team of hardworkers.
    Enjoy the torque !!!

  23. sam says:

    Looks suspiciously like Minnesota st

  24. jim says:

    between an MBA and a law degree you were screwed, but unlike bucky fuller you didn’t get kicked out of harvard twice. you succeeded. a much more difficult spot. if you’d gone to work for dell or the mid adlantic bank you’d have ended up committing sepuka in the parking lot, and A&R is proof of the veracity of that statement. fortunately for myself and the crowd that visits A&R, yo mama has a basement. apparently all that college work solidified your writing, i’ve always viewed it as pro work. so weather it was desperation or stamina that got you five years down the line, it’s a site i visit most every day since it’s exactly what one wants, a stream of straight ahead coverage, not a front for an ongoing advertisement.

    i’m still looking for a 300lb bike with about 70hp

    cheers and thanks

  25. smiler says:

    Well done thus far. Well written, laid out and great photographers with Dan and Scott, once Dan gets equal dibs.
    Not bad at all for colonial commoners.

    Keep it up.

  26. Mariani says:

    Yesterday was this website’s birthday?

    Today is MINE birthday! :-)

    This blog got my attention ever since I laid eyes on your criticism of Honda’s recent mundane work, and it has become one of the few sites that I get to visit every day.

    Your work is appreciated, Jensen. It truly is.

    Cheers from Brazil!

  27. K1200Rider says:

    The fact that i am at work since 4:00am on a saturday morning, and reading A &R is a testament in itself to what an amazing site you and your faithful team have created.. You are like my morning “cup of joe” so to speak, my picker upper for the day. Keep up the excellent work!

    Guess i better get back to doing some real work now…

  28. GeoKan says:

    Keep up the pace, and full throttle!
    Cheers from Greece.

  29. GeoKan says:

    Keep up the pace, full throttle!!!
    Cheers from Greece.

  30. B.T. says:

    Congrats buddy.Gotta love anybody that chases that dream & doesn’t sell out to the easy money.
    Proud of you Buddy.Great site.Can’t wait until you do an article on me…..Hahaha

  31. I honestly can’t remember how I stumbled across the site a few years back, but always kept an eye on the articles. Then, one day at the TT, taking photos I got talking to an American guy who was taking some shots for his site. When I mentioned that I read an American site called Asphalt and Rubber, he (fairly) modestly informed me that was his site.

    Anyway, since then I’ve continued to read and enjoy the site and even had the pleasure of contributing to the site with some coverage of this year’s TT.

    Long may it continue!

  32. ET says:

    Congrats and many good years ahead.

    I stumbled onto this site few years back and has been my daily must visit site!! In fact I check for any updates every now and then throughout my day.

    Great news and vast coverage of motorcycle news and insights. Keep it up!!

    Edwin from Singapore

  33. MikeBike says:

    My favorite online distraction at work. Congrats and keep it up!

  34. Mike says:

    Happy 5th & thank you for a great site!

    Really is my favorite bike site & my first stop


  35. dayyan says:

    Been following since the website came into being, and it has been a great thing to see the website flourish. Great to read the story behind it.

  36. Karl says:

    Congratulations! Keep up the excellent effort – it’s very appreciated.

  37. Jonathan says:

    Congratulations! Where many other have faltered, given up, or sold out; A&R continues to give us what we want. In the last year I have become a much more dedicated reader due to the contributions of all the writers, particularly Mr. Emmet . As long as this lives on, I will be reading.

  38. mudgun says:

    I visit three sites daily to keep my world in perspective. The first is AsphaltRubber. So glad you’re one of those guys who used to live in his Moms basement.

  39. Mr.X says:

    Congrats, great work.

  40. mafiax says:

    Didn’t hang around much this year but nice work and congratulations Jensen.

  41. What a great retrospective. Congratulations on getting through another year, Jensen. I wish you many, many more; A&R is one of the only two motorcycle publications I follow.

  42. Halfie30 says:

    Happy day of birth A&R! Thanks for helping me stop paying for magazines! Keep up the great work Jensen and Co. !!!!!

  43. Azhar says:

    Congrats Jensen to u n the rest of A&R’s team on the 5th Anniversary. Articulate,honest & insightful motorcycle website that I’ve come across. A&R is sort of my daily dinner & breakfast “meals” (im on permanent night shift-in IT industry;not Dell!). Always awaiting new & exciting readups on 2-wheels world news. Keep up the excellent work & may A&R have a many prosperous years ahead!

    Greetings from Singapore

  44. Anvil says:

    Jensen, you know what you have? Balls.

    Mom’s basement sucked, but you now have control of your own destiny. Plus, you have the best co-worker of all–your love for what you do. And that’s worth a lot more than some cube job with a paltry bonus (maybe) and a false sense of security. Congrats and many more years of success.

    As to your writing, it’s a fair shade better than a plenty of hacks that I know that call themselves pros. Just one request: please try to stop using the phrase “based off,” I know it has become colloquial in the last several years but it’s nonsensical. The phrase is “based on.’ Other than that, you’re pretty much golden.

    Just a minor request from another one of those professional hacks. Yes, I understand your pain.

    Keep up the good work. I’ll be coming back every day, too.

  45. Anvil says:

    See, I am a hack. I meant, “…it’s a fair shade better than plenty of hacks who call themselves pros.”

    Ugh. Sometimes I really need an editor. And a proofreader.

  46. Tanker Man says:

    Congratulations! Is that you catching air? I, too, catch your website first.

  47. Tommy D says:

    Happy Birthday!!!

    And many more… I’ve been following this site almost since the beginning; keeping up with it daily through my RSS reader.

    Thank you very much for your efforts, stories, and ideas!

  48. Congratulations Jensen, I’m a huge fan of A&R and a regular reader. It’s been great to watch the site pick up speed and become a major force in the world of two-wheeled journalism.

  49. kaliberr44 says:

    Happy Birthday!!!

    Been regular reader since discovering this site few years ago. The quality and uncommon topics made me stay.

    Thanks for your hard work.

  50. Jean says:

    Happy Birthday !

    Looking forward another 5 years of great articles and galleries. When compared to what else is offered on the www, A&R really stands out.

  51. Jimbo says:

    Congrats mate, all the best from England!

    Love A&R

  52. David Hill says:

    I deeply appreciate the hard work that you’ve put into this site. A&R is my first stop when it comes to motorcycle racing news. The site is visually appealing and the articles are stellar. Your work continually deepens my understanding and appreciation of motorcycle racing. Thanks for everything!