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 Sells Husqvarna to Pierer Industrie AG

01/31/2013 @ 10:26 am, by Jensen Beeler10 COMMENTS

BMW Motorrad Sells Husqvarna to Pierer Industrie AG Stefan Pierer 635x907

Calling it a “strategic realignment” for BMW Motorrad, the BMW Group has confirmed the rumors and sold Husqvarna Motorcycles to Pierer Industrie AG, the holding company of KTM CEO Stefan Pierer. Saying the parties would not disclose the terms or purchase price of the transaction, the press release from BMW Motorrad was surprisingly light on any actual information.

Touting BMW’s commitment to urban mobility and electric vehicles, the German company will now focus solely on the BMW Motorrad brand. With reports saying that BMW Motorrad will not venture back into the dirt bike market, the company will maintain its on-road focus for the foreseeable future.

The divestiture of Husqvarna from the BMW Group shouldn’t be terribly surprising for anyone following the brand’s progress the past few years. Struggling on the product-end of its business, Husqvarna lost ground in the off-road market to its main rival KTM.

As the global recession took place, Husqvarna was then hit with a two-pronged attack as the dirt bike market was devastated by the economic downturn, and with the European motorcycles markets being hit the hardest and longest by the recession’s effects. For the European-centric off-road brand, the result had been a slaughtering to Husqvarna’s already tenuous motorcycle sales.

Hoping to right the ship, the BMW Group made an interesting move for the iconic brand, and began pushing the Husqvarna name on on-road machines. Debuting the Husqvarna Nuda 900, Husqvarna Strada, and Husqvarna Terra road bikes to a mixed market-response, the Italian-based Swedish brand also had the highly anticipated Husqvarna Baja and Husqvarna Moab concepts sitting in the wings.

Beginning to post positive signs of growth towards the end of 2012, diving through the numbers instead showed a worrying story. While Husqvarna was moving more units, the company was mostly being buoyed by its new model releases. Dirt bike sales continued to slump, and serious doubts could be made about the repeatability of the sales in the brand’s on-road demographic.

With the speculation rife that KTM would be the purchaser of Husqvarna, the news that Stefan Pierer is the new owner makes a bit more sense. Already having two off-road brands under its roof, KTM (and minority owner Bajaj) needed a third off-road motorcycle brand like it needed a bullet in the head.

Facing all the same problems, and more, as the KTM brand in its transition from a pure off-road brand to one that covers all motorcycle segments, Husqvarna was an answer to a question that KTM was not asking.

However, Pierer’s involvement raises some eyebrows, as the Austrian CEO can very easily translate his plan for restructuring KTM to the Husqvarna brand. We assume an announcement from KTM will be forthcoming, and will announce Pierer’s departure from the Austrian group, which will create a number of questions (even more questions if Pierer stays with KTM).

We’ll leave you with one thought though. What would Pierer’s departure from KTM AG mean for the company’s corporate structure, and Bajaj’s ownership minority?

Source: BMW Motorrad


  1. Robert says:

    Not to forget that KTM already owns Husaberg…

  2. When I said, “already having two off-road brands under its roof…” I was referring to Husaberg.

  3. Prasenjit Kumar Debroy says:

    Great :)
    Let’s just hope that there is a differentiation between all 3 Brands
    - KTM – Husaberg & Huqsvarna

  4. Archy says:

    to me the whole thing will work in only one
    way: pierer has to leave ktm and build up husqvarna
    on his own.

    three brands under one roof-how wrong
    is that!? every brands offers more or less
    the same bike, only in different colors.

    i’m pretty sure, he will go his own way
    and that’s good for husqvarna!

  5. Please please please bring back the 610!!!

  6. Andrew says:

    Recent sales numbers were clearly showing the future for Husqvarna was (and is) in road bikes and those were developed with a lot of assistance from BMW. I doubt Husqvarna would have the resources to develop and produce those road-going engines on their own and I really wonder what this sale means for the future of Nuda and Strada/Terra? Will the technological partnership with BMW continue?

  7. Franxou says:

    If Pierer steps down from KTM in order to be CEO of Husqvarna instead, it will be very interesting to follow in the coming years. By being intimately experimented with the market he is essentially having a “new game plus”. He knows pretty much what is done, has to be done and he has the bonus of being recognised in the industry and those traits should play in his favor.
    He will probably be trying everything he has not been able to do at KTM, but what bothers me most, will he keep husky off-road only or will it keep on pushing on-highway motorcycles?

  8. zipidachimp says:

    give me that MOAB, and give it to me NOW!!!!!!!

  9. Franxou says:

    I had a solid laugh this weekend at the Québec motorcycle and atv show when I saw some Husaberg behind the KTM stand and a Husqvarna kiosk inside BMW’s space!
    The show must have been planned long ago so even with that brand sold it’s still part of their lineup, but it was still funny. I should have asked a BMW rep about the Huskvarna sale…

  10. zipidachimp says:

    same at the vancouver show, but that was 2 weeks ago. I wonder what the hesitation is about the Moab? it looks way better than the BMW with the same motor. It should be the first offering from his new company.
    Hope floats!