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.

Benelli to Go Under?

06/04/2009 @ 12:33 am, by Jensen Beeler5 COMMENTS

Benelli to Go Under? 2008 benelli tornadotre1130e 560x373

While Ducati is recording all-time high sales figures, times are significantly tighter at Benelli, that other Italian motorcycle manufacturer. With many of its workers on part-time status (and with the Government paying part of their paycheck), production at the Benelli factory has been scaled back to around 1,000 motorcycles for 2009, down from the 20,000 the company had anticipated to make when it set it goals back in 2007.

This year, Chinese owner, Qiang Jiang, is taking a closer look at the Italian acquistion, with the possibility of folding the company not ruled out. This just a few months after Qiang Jiang pumped $26 million into the Italian brand.

In 2005 Qiang Jiang bought Benelli, which was struggling to stay afloat with its one bike pony show. The Chinese company paid off the debts of Benelli, restarted production, and introduced new streetfighter TnT models into the company product line.

At that point in time, Benelli was only making a limited number of motorcycles, but by 2007, Benelli was on its way to making several thousand motorcycles per year. Not content with that, Benelli stated it’s new goal to increase figures considerably. Benelli announced that they would aim for 10,000 bikes for 2008, and 20,000 in 2009. For those doing that math, that’s almost a 50% year-over-year growth level, virtually unheard of in any business, let alone one as entrenched as Benelli.

Benelli bet these sales figures on the fact that they would be increasing their product line, adding a new parallel and single twin bikes into the mix. The first of these bikes, the Due, is essentially the same Benelli triple, with one cylinder taken away, thus the bike would have 756cc displacement. Styling is an evolution on the TnT streetfigher appearance, and generally pleasing.

Last year, a prototype Due was unveiled to the general public, where it also got a positive response, but the bike remains to be vaporware, with the occasional sighting here and there. While the world waited for the Due to be released, it kept itself busy by nose diving into the recession.

The current economic struggle has hit Benelli hard, and seemingly consumers do not have the extra cash laying around to buy an expensive motorcycle that has a parts problem worse than Aprilia’s (and that’s really saying something). To combat this affect, Qiang Jiang invested another $26 million into the Italian company, hoping the cash infusion would push the brand back above water. Water Wings would have been a better investment it seems.

Talking about the current state of Benelli, Gianluca Galasso, the former World Supersport racer who works as Benelli’s PR chief, said the following:

“The recent plan was to produce 5000 bikes this year, but we couldn’t achieve it. The Chinese owners understand the problems and there will be meetings soon to decide Benelli’s future. Scooters will be built in China and motorcycles in Italy, apart from some low tech parts such as mirrors. At the moment Qiang Jiang doesn’t have the same quality and technical levels in China. What we can do is help them improve their quality and design to produce a better product.”

Times are tough indeed. When was the last time you saw a Benelli on the road? A quick look at a local Benelli dealer here in San Francisco, and we see that they have two bikes left out of the 5 or so its been trying to sell for the last 2 years…with $5,000 taken off MSRP. Ouch!

Source: Visordown

Comment:

  1. Benelli to Go Under? – http://tinyurl.com/pokjwk #motocycle

  2. BikePilot says:

    I actually saw a Benelli on the road (2-up at that) in Cambridge about 3 weeks ago. Its a shame they aren’t doing better – the bikes seem to have a lot of promise. I suspect lack of a solid dealer network is hurting them more than anything.

  3. Jenny Gun says:

    Josh, I think you’re 100% on the point. Same problem goes for MV, although I think Harley might be able to help them there.

  4. Armando Marini says:

    Lack of dealers, plus the high cost of the bike, plus the low levels of performance. Why would anyone buy a bike that is heavier, less powerful, more expensive, and more challenging to fix than its competition? Its rarity, in this case, scares people off because where do you get parts if there is no company?

    The TNT is a good looking bike…but that there is the only thing Benelli has going for it.

  5. My name is Alex,i bought a Tre K 1130,i love this machine.I own a B King,ZX 14,and a busa. but my benilli brings me the most fun,i like bikes that everyone doesnt have.I regret selling my riverside 250,It is not going to happen again.I am keeping my benilli this time.You can buy because you are in to power and price,or you can buy something to stir your soul.Only normal people go thru life unnoticed.