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.

Don’t Call It Vaporware – Brammo Empulse Coming May 8th

04/11/2012 @ 12:57 pm, by Jensen Beeler7 COMMENTS

Dont Call It Vaporware   Brammo Empulse Coming May 8th brammo empulse rr laguna seca 11 635x425

Taking nearly two years to go from vaporware to reality, Brammo has announced that its true second model in its lineup is finally ready for primetime. Set to be unveiled May 8th, with technical details to be released April 18th, the Brammo Empulse will finally become a consumer reality, as well as Brammo’s a six-speed gearbox.

Touting a 100 mph top speed and 100 mile range, the Brammo Empulse on paper should be a market-leading machine (the Zero S tops out at 88mph and 114 mile range). Though it will remain to be seen under what conditions those figures are achieved (Zero’s range figure is at in-town speeds only), as over-promising has been the calling-card of the electric motorcycle manufacturers thus far.

A long time coming, the Empulse is based partially on the company’s 2009 Isle of Man TT race bike. Though the Brammo Empulse RR missed its racing debut at the 2010 Laguna Seca e-Power race, the Empulse RR came back the next year to win the 2011 North American TTXGP Championship by being one of the only top-entries to compete at all three Championship races.

Expected to have 10 kWh of battery power on board, Brammo is touting the company’s temperature-regulating battery pack on the Empulse (Brammo’s BPM 15/90), which heats and cools the battery cells to maintain the optimal discharge temperature. Using a liquid-cooled motor, the Brammo Empulse will be the first production bike in the company’s line to use the IET six-speed gearbox, though there has been much debate in the electric community if there is an actual need for the transmission, or if it is simply a marketing gimmick. Because of the long duration to get the bike to market, According to our sources, Brammo is expected to unveil a completely revised look for the Empulse.

With Polaris now investing in Brammo, the launch of the Brammo Empulse street bike is perhaps not as mission-critical for the Oregonian company, though if Brammo wants to hold any more water with the discerning press and its patiently waiting customers, the company needs to hit a home run with the Brammo Empulse, and deliver on the promises it has made. Selling a couple hundred motorcycles thus far since its inception, Brammo has not mentioned any release dates for the Brammo Encite & Brammo Engage dirt bikes.

Source: Brammo


  1. EmpulseBuyer says:

    I think Brammo is going to pull a hat trick with the (redesigned) Empulse. The last model was beautiful but this will really surprise folks that thought they just slapped a 6 speed in there… cant wait for the full reveal.

  2. Westward says:

    Hope they addressed that swing-arm…

  3. Dr. Gellar says:

    Geeez…’bout time Brammo are finally getting the Empulse into production!! I reeeally hope this machine ends up being worth the wait. The fact that the Empulse in particular was starting to be considered vaporware, in my opinion, has done a fair amount of damage to the idea of electric motorcycles in the eyes of consumers and electric motorcycle enthusiasts in general. I know it has been frustrating to me. Hopefully the production version of the Empulse will be the game-changer many (including myself) are believing it can be, and will start to rebuild some of the damage it’s up until now vaporware status helped to create over the last year or so. I’m excited for it!

    That being said…hey Zero, where is this answer to the Brammo Empulse Scot Harden mentions you’ll have ready to compete with the Empulse once the it “exists”?? :-)

  4. Doug says:

    How many riders travel 50-100 miles just to get to the roads they really enjoy riding?
    So, the re-charge time is at the top of the list, followed closely by improvements in range and whether upgrades to existing bikes are easy/affordable when those 2 areas are improved.

  5. emotos says:

    @ Dr. Gellar: Zero is a lot better at keeping secrets than Brammo (I assume Brammo leaks everything they do by choice), so I imagine it’ll be a surprise when it shows up.

    @ Doug: Recharge times suck, and they will for a long time. There’s not many good options. You can either have the convenience of easy charging from a wall socket (which can only push about 1kWh, so ~10hrs for the big Brammo) or you can do what the cars do and use charging stations, that cost $2k, aren’t fully standardized, and aren’t as accessible as a normal 110V outlet.

  6. Dr. Gellar says:

    Of that (Zero being able to keep a secret better than Brammo), I have no doubt at all! It’s just that since Scot Harden mentioned this and a few other potential tid-bits in an interview over at Motorcycle.com a couple of months ago, I’ve been intrigued. I think a little healthy competition in the electric sportbike category between these two companies (and anyone else who’d like to join in, for that matter) will do electric motorcycles in general a lot of good.

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