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.

Big Dog Motorcycles Shuts Its Doors

04/05/2011 @ 5:42 pm, by Jensen Beeler17 COMMENTS

Big Dog Motorcycles Shuts Its Doors 2009 Big Dog Motorcycles Coyote 635x476

More bad news from the business sector this week, as reports are starting to come in that Big Dog Motorcycles has shut its doors after being taken over by the company’s creditors. With the banks halting the production line, this is effectively the end of one of the largest (if not the largest) custom motorcycle builders in the world. Cyril Huze broke the news on his blog on Monday that the company had closed its doors, but Big Dog President Mike Simmons denied that news on Monday.

However Big Dog dealers have since confirmed that company owner Sheldon Coleman has contacted them, informing them of the bank’s take over, and that the business and production would be ceasing. Coleman is reportedly planning on starting a new company that would supply parts to current Big Dog owners.

The recessed economy was clearly tough on the motorcycle industry, with even behemoth Harley-Davidson seeing its sales and revenues take a massive dive. With Big Dog Motorcycles operating in a more premium sector of the industry, the company’s customer base fell out from underneath them, and the low-volume/high-premium sales plan proved to be unmanageable in the economic climate.

Started in 1994, estimates put the total output of the company around 25,000 motorcycles in that roughly 18 year period. If it’s true that Coleman intends on supporting that market with his new business venture, it’ll be another tough business case to sell as the total available market shown there is extremely small. A sign that the chopper market is dying? Only time will tell. Thanks for the tip Dan!

Source: Cyril Huze, DealerNews, Wichita Business Journal

Comment:

  1. joe says:

    Definitely need after market support for the 40 miles a year each of those bikes will see. Its amazing this bubble took longer to burst than the housing market, they must have been doing something right.

  2. rashid says:

    All I can say is OMG !!!! :), Send me more info asap

  3. Earl Shives says:

    Does this bike make my butt look big?

    Later cruiser-tards.

    I just saw the next “big thing” on a magazine cover in a Kragen autoparts store today. Eight lug trucks. No joke. How do you assessorize your wardrobe for that look?

  4. Steve says:

    Yes, that bike makes your butt look big look big.

  5. tsweimer says:

    I can’t say that I’m surprised. As Joe said it took surprisingly long for the whole custom/chopper bike thing to die. It’ll be remembered as a crazy fad. Hopefully Harley is next ;)

  6. There’s a part of me that thinks, “Well any motorcycle is better than any car,” and that part of me wants to sympathize with motorcycle industry troubles that are clearly ongoing.

    But…

    As I type this, I’ve pretty much accepted the compartmentalization of U.S. motorcycle ‘culture’. People like me – sport bike background – really have nowt to do with the custom-cruiser set. If I was reading a story about the #1 supplier of those moronic lifted trucks (who would that be, Rancho?) going bust, I’d just think, “That’s where those shite vehicles should be; swirling in the toilet.”

    Entitled tea-party morons tooling (pun intended) around on their ear-splitting mass-produced choppers didn’t contribute anything to the sport of motorcycling. Sometimes less is more.

  7. Well does A&R contribute anything to the sport of motorcycling? Because the top three most visited posts on this site are the ones about American Chopper. Chi-ching!

    It is sad to see that nonsense hitting primetime TV, while it’s hard to find proof the Larry Pegram’s Superbike Family even made it on air.

  8. Bruce Monighan says:

    “Because the top three most visited posts on this site are the ones about American Chopper. Chi-ching!”

    Those visits are not about motorcycles or motorcycling, they are more about drama. Like watching a car wreck people become fixated on self induced destruction.

  9. Shaitan says:

    Woof.

  10. fazer6 says:

    What all those tea party cruiser riding yahoos did for motorcycling was take it more mainstream, and get (or at least keep) legislation in our favor.
    The more people on two wheels the better it is for all of us.

    Ever look at who votes? It’s NOT 20-somethings on the sportbike daddy bought them–It’s 50-somethings with a harley in the garage that they only ride to the bar on weekends.

  11. Chris says:

    Why would any motorcyclist wish for HD to fail? I”m sure that guy on cruiser has alot more in common with a guy on GSXR than someone who doesn’t ride at all.

  12. irksome says:

    This does not bode well for the Pirate Costume industry.

    As to the American Chopper posters, it’s the same 10 guys, wanking away for over a year. I pop in once every few months to tell them to just get a room.

  13. UlyssesRider says:

    These type of motorcycles are overpriced and are not good handling, comfortable, everyday bikes. So the people do not buy them, and why should they? There are plenty of used Oriental, and other nationality bikes that cost much less and handle better than expensive choppers. Are choppers dead? Probably for now. However, comfortable, good handling bikes will continue to sell at regular prices.

  14. jmz says:

    “Oriental, and other nationality bikes?” What nation would “Oriental” be?

  15. Tom says:

    Ducati and BMW are doing just fine in this down market so no, not every company is biting the dust. The chopper fad lasted longer than it should have because of television promotion. Lemmings like being told what is cool and what they are supposed to buy but it could not last forever. The chopper fad will be like the stupid paint jobs on cars/vans of the 1970s…..which is the age demographic market for a lot of the buyers of these atrocities.

  16. Damo says:

    The new custom hot sauce is going to be the rising fad of Cafe Racers. Which I think going forward is a more sensible/practical business and hobby.

    You can build a decent unique and reliable bike for around $1200 and your sport bike friends aren’t openly embarrassed to ride with you.

    I am a sport biker at heart (and always will be), but with people clamping down on spending you are going to see alot of old Honda 650′s getting the dust blown off of them and their tires planted firmly back on the road.

  17. joe says:

    Im not sure more people on motorcycles helps motorcyclist to be represented favorably, Hollister CA comes to mind.