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 Posts Best Quarterly Sales Ever

04/08/2011 @ 3:00 pm, by Jensen Beeler13 COMMENTS

BMW Motorrad Posts Best Quarterly Sales Ever BMW K1600GT engine cutaway 635x476

The BMW Group has released sales information for its motorcycle sales in Q1 of 2011, and the results are impressive. Posting its best quarter ever, BMW Motorrad sold 23,109 motorcycles in the first three months of this year, up nearly 11% from last year’s figures. True to trend, but still interesting enough, March lead the quarter, accounting for nearly half (11,675) of those sales for BMW (January had impressive numbers too though). BMW doesn’t state which models are responsible for this record number of sales, but educated guess would again suggest the hot S1000RR superbike and K16000-series tourer, along with the always well-sold R1200GS.

Sales for Husqvarna were also up for Q1, surpassing the growth showed by the main brand with an 18% figure. Husqvarna is still very much a niche brand though, with only 1,940 units sold in Q1 2011, and a paltry 676 units sold in all of March. Seeing these figures compared to BMW’s, it makes sense why the Bavarian company would want to see the Swedish brand make a bid for the street bike scene, churn out a bit more production. Still the BMW Group must surely be pleased with its revenue stream, which only adds to the argument as to why Mercedes-Benz should get off its duff and buy Ducati Motor Holdings already.

Source: BMW Group

Comment:

  1. j says:

    wow, the rich 1% have more money ever, and BMW is experiencing record profits you say? I would have never figured. Glad they are spending the tax breaks to “reinvest” in our economy.

  2. I think it has less to do with politics and more to do with having the most appealing offering in three of the most important street markets.

  3. deejay51 says:

    Bang on Jensen, a Boxer fan here, however I’m still amazed at the S1000RR and the SIX, literally came out of the blue, great stuff BMW!

  4. Willie says:

    Excess : an amount of something that is more than necessary, permitted or desirable.
    Having owned a few, I find no desire for another. Same for HD.
    My favorite posers (a person who acts in an affected manner in order to impress others) are the GS1200 fully Toutech’d riders in their “stich” attire basking in the self-illuminated glow of delusion at the coffee shops on everybody’s touring road. The most boring of these find great sport in deriding HD riders.
    Step back and notice the quaint similarities between each pack.

    BMW marketing prowess in coming on strong. The Germans have long enjoyed bagging swine.

  5. 76 says:

    Let the Good Times Roll, oh wait thats another company….

  6. simon says:

    Given that BMW has broadened it’s offering to cover additional segments it previously ignored – S1000RR being a case in point – and at a price that is directly competitive with the other established brands, it is less surprising that it has increased sales. BMW appeals to a younger rider after seeing it’s average rider age grow well into the the 40s over the previous decade or so, it is now able to recruit new customers to the brand. The quality issues from 3 or 4 years ago are receding while WSBK (and probably MotoGP from next year) all raise it’s credibility to the younger, future riders. The innovation, K1600 and S1000RR being examples, means it keeps it’s profile well raised in the US and Europe while the competition from the Far East has shifted it’s focus to Asian markets where the volumes of sales are mind boggling (1,000,000+ units a year for Yamaha in SEA) but the bikes are generally utilitarian fare below 150cc.
    BMW is doing well because the products are good.

  7. Sean in Oz says:

    The S1000RR isnt exactly killing them here in Oz. But i think thats down to the price. They only import the optioned up version, which is expensive compared to the jap bikes at the moment.

    http://www.mcnews.com.au/NewsArchives/2011/Sales_quarter/Top_Supersport.htm

  8. Willie says:

    Jensen,

    Allow me one more on this topic to suggest that J’s comment above holds a deeper message concerning realities beyond politics. Economic disparity is becoming more pronounced by the day. The BMW sales story highlights
    the growing inequalities. And while I too can appreciate the design and performance of Bavarian art and engineering (my Mother’s name was Hilda) I doubt whether 1% of the nouveau butt jewelry pilots will ever be able to use even 50% of their machine’s capability.

    Veblen’s conspicuous consumption defines more and more of what motorcycling is becoming. We readers understand your position and wouldn’t begrudge you a tasty lunch. But longer term we may all be better for remembering that motorcycles, at least in the developed countries, are about leisure and increasing – self absorption.

    As you jaunt around the lovely circuit with the fancy people, give a moment’s thought to doing something of lasting importance. Maybe a charitable project. Couldn’t hurt A&R’s PR, eh ?

  9. Willie, I honestly don’t know what your point was in your last comment, so let me tackle what I think you’re trying to say.

    There’s no issue of the have’s and have not’s in American motorcycling; as you pointed out, in the United States motorcycle purchases are consumer discretionary income. No one here NEEDS a motorcycle, instead we CHOOSE to purchase multi-thousand dollar toys. But before you start making an argument for the decline of the middle, remember the BMW S1000RR is priced against the “poor man’s” CBR/GSX-R/R1/10R. I think that fact that BMW is bringing that much motorcycle at this price point is the reason they’ve been selling these bikes like hot cakes (sorry to Sean in Oz, you’re getting hosed on import costs), and smashing sales records. End of story. So what’s the fuss about then?

    Yes, in other parts of the world motorcycles are about transport, and people who make literally just dollars a day depend on motorcycles to get around. But let us not forget that it is these markets that are booming right, especially for motorcycle sales. All the Japanese manufacturers would have posted devastating loses had it not been for the South American/Indian/Southeast Asian markets. This the same reason H-D, Ducati, BMW, etc are all trying to get a foothold in these countries. This is where the market growth is for the motorcycle industry. These countries are where companies will be profitable in the future, while sales in the USA, Europe, and other developed nations will languish.

    Whether or not BMW riders can use their machines is immaterial, it’s they’re right to buy whatever they want, and honestly it’s a criticism you can levy at virtually any consumer of a modern motorcycle. Let’s be honest, how many people can truly utilize a 200hp superbike? But again, these purchases are ALL aspirational like you pointed out, including your own (there’s nothing wrong with this by the way).

    As for your last comment, am I supposed to be one of the “fancy people” in you hold with such contempt? You must have me confused with another motorcycle blog whose editor is a trust fund baby, and has more interest in being a socialite playboy than anything meaningful to modern society. If you knew anything about me, you wouldn’t lump me in with these people that have been given the world on a silver platter by the lottery that we call birth. I think I’ve worked too hard and sacrificed too much to be given that indignity.

  10. Other Sean says:

    Well said Jensen. Is there any pocket of the interwebs that is safe from socialists bemoaning inequality? My Ducati, and yours, cost less than at least 70% of most Harly-Davidsons. You know, the bikes that champion the blue collar working man ethos.

    Seems Willie’s just got a beef with the high dollar image of the roundel.

  11. Other Sean says:

    I would add that this should be a huge DUH moment for BMW. For years, their cars have been known for performance and sportiness. I think it’s embarrassing they waited so long to enter the sportbike segment.

  12. Well I think for a long time there was the perception that they couldn’t build a sportbike because of their brand. Bold moves take bold people, which is my big criticism at Harley-Davidson. Harley is so concerned about holding onto its core demographic, they’re afraid to make move that doesn’t involve the same bikes with more chrome.

    Keep in mind that this is the same demographic that’s showing a massive decline in sales at H-D. There’s a phrase about a nose and a face that comes to mind.

  13. Willie says:

    Thanks for the response. And apologies for any offense taken. I merely offer an observation on the excess of current vicarious pursuits. Probably the wrong forum. Sorry. Viva the global elite !