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.

BMW Motorrad Dynamic Damping Control

07/01/2011 @ 4:31 pm, by Jensen Beeler7 COMMENTS

BMW Motorrad Dynamic Damping Control BMW Motorrad Dynamic Damping Control suspension 7 635x489

BMW Motorrad has been working on its next generation of suspension innovations, and at the 2011 BMW Motorrad Innovation Day the Bavarian company debuted its new Dynamic Damping Control (DDC) technology. An evolution on BMW’s electronic suspension adjustment system (ESA & ESA II), BMW Motorrad’s Dynamic Damping Control goes beyond merely allowing the rider to adjust suspension compression, rebound, and spring settings on the fly, and adds a computer-controlled automatic tuning element to the suspension components that adapts to the road conditions on-the-fly.

For some background, BMW’s ESA II is the forefather for copycat systems found on other manufacturer’s machines, perhaps most notable of which is the Ducati Multistrada 1200, which boasts a “four bikes in one” tagline with its different riding modes that use different engine mapping and suspension settings to tailor the bike to the rider’s needs. DDC takes this idea a step further, as it goes beyond just changing settings in different riding modes (as seen on the Ducati), and instead ties in the suspension system to BMW’s ABS and traction control systems (DTC), allowing the suspension to react when a rider accelerates, brakes, swerves, and fords the river Oregon Trail style (you’ll likely lose all your oxen doing this).

In all seriousness though, according to the press literature DDC sounds pretty sophisticated, as BMW has put a lot of thought into how to implement the automotive-derived system into a two-wheeled locomotion platform. For instance, DDC recognizes the control activities by the other systems, and adapts the damping rate as the situation unfolds, e.g. adjustments to damping depend on whether the springs are compressing or rebounding, with each process being controlled separately. All adjustments are electronically actuated at the valve, and can react within milliseconds.

Unlike BMW’s ESA II system, DDC does not employ rigid characteristic curves (preset settings for different riding modes), but instead uses characteristic maps that provide the optimal damper tuning within a defined range. In laymen’s terms, this means the rider can select from the now obiquitous “Comfort”, “Normal”, and “Sport” modes, and DDC then takes that input, and employs a range of tolerances for adjusting the suspension based on each of those modes. This allows a rider to still set the tone for their ride, but let’s DDC handle the finer-point tuning to optimize that experience, and work in concert with the rest of the BMW’s electronic systems.

It’s all very clever sounding on paper, and shows the progress being made on the electronics side of the motorcycle equation. It would seem electronics are already more than the new horsepower, they’re the new chassis, and new brakes…that now just leaves the rider to replace. I, for one, welcome our dynamic damping overlords.

Expect to see DDC appear on the next generation of R1200GS motorcycle, due out in November, along with future BMW models.

Source: BMW


  1. Rob says:

    It begins…..soon gone are the days of real ‘sport bikes’ just as the days of the real ‘sports car’ are gone. Ive driven so many new cars that have this automatically adjusting suspension on the fly and its just ridiculous the way they feel underneath you.

    Drive a new m3, and with its paddle shifters and EDC suspension, it feels utterly vague compared to the old style with manual gearbox and ‘non electronic – static controlled’ suspension. This type of gadgetry I will admit, does make for a better every day use car/bike, but it will also make true enthusiasts look at late model stuff for real enjoyment of riding.

  2. Richard Gozinya says:

    Yeah Rob, I hear ya. It’s just not the same since the days of hard tails and kick starters. All this “progress” making bikes “handle” better. Don’t even get me started on disc brakes. Or those damn kids always on my lawn.

  3. BBQdog says:

    @Rob: had the same thoughts. Making bikes heavier and more powerfull so they need ABS, tracktion control, anti-wheely control, etc, etc. I am not against technic making bikes safer but for me bikes are steadily drifting apart from the basic fun they can give.

  4. GeddyT says:

    FINALLY! I’ve been counting down the days until I could buy a 700lb. dual sport! Looks like I might not have to wait much longer!…

  5. Richard Gozinya says:

    GeddyT, I doubt this stuff is going to add anywhere near that much weight. Sounds more like an evolution of their ESA stuff. If this sort of thing added that much weight, MotoGP bikes would be considerably heavier than they are, as they’re not exactly low-tech machines. Besides, the bike in the pictures is the R1200R, not the GS.

    As to the rumored liquid cooled boxer for 2012. It’s not happening. BMW only just recently updated the R1200 motors to DOHC, and are apparently set for Euro 6.

  6. Jim says:

    Any weight gain is likely to be ounces. What I’m really interested in knowing is when the computer becomes confused, will the bike sink to the jounce bumpers, Land Rover style, and the motor go into limp home mode. And then will we need to take it to the dealer for a reset done by the unobtanium maintenance computer.

  7. GeddyT says:

    Yes, shown is the R1200R, but read the last sentence of the article (which I would tend to believe, considering ESA and ESAII both first appeared on the GS).

    Yes, this particular system may add only ounces (a bit of a stretch, but still). Which, when added to this system and that system and that system, add up to many pounds. Want a bike to handle better? Cut weight. It’s the simplest way.

    As to MotoGP bikes being incredibly complex yet still lightweight… well yes and no. ABS is not legal in MotoGP. Honda’s sport ABS system on the CBR (the best there is from what I’ve read) adds 20lbs. to the bike. From the look of that honkin’ huge ABS control unit in the above diagram, I’m guessing BMW’s does likewise. Electronically adjusted suspension is also against the rules in MotoGP. The performance/weight benefits of such a system must have been worth it or Rossi would not have been using the system in, I believe, 2008. Still, whereas a MotoGP bike can just make yet another part out of carbon or titanium to compensate and stay at the minimum weight limit, this is difficult on a street bike that is trying to stay affordable. It’s apples to oranges.

    Nobody needs a 1200cc twin to dual sport. Even the 1% of people that put these bikes to use doing what they were made for would probably be way better off with a 500-650cc thumper, way less sophistication, and 200 fewer pounds.