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.

Battery Fire at Brammo HQ Causes $200,000 in Damage

07/09/2013 @ 2:22 pm, by Jensen Beeler14 COMMENTS

Battery Fire at Brammo HQ Causes $200,000 in Damage brammo empulse flux capacitor 635x425

July isn’t getting off to a great start for electric motorcycle manufacturer Brammo Inc, as the Ashland, Oregon company suffered a fire in the company’s R&D lab during the start of the month. The fire broke-out over the weekend of June 30th, as the EV company was doing extended testing to a lithium-ion battery pack.

Fortunately, Brammo’s automated sprinkler system was able to put out the blaze caused by the malfunctioning battery pack, but in the process caused roughly $200,000 in water-damage to equipment located in the facility.

Though a relatively minor event for Brammo, the news comes fresh on the heels of Boeing’s similar troubles with lithium battery packs, which ultimately grounded the Boeing 787 Dreamliner fleet worldwide.

The good news for Brammo owners is that the pack in question was not a production model, nor a model headed into production, and instead was merely a unit that the company was evaluating. It probably goes without saying that Brammo will choose to go a different direction with its future battery choices.

The fire is not expected to cause any issues with Brammo’s production or R&D schedule, as the room was isolated from the rest of company’s Ashland headquarters, and Brammo has duplicate testing equipment that was stored outside of the lab in question, which it can use for its R&D efforts.

Source: KDRV & Brammo


  1. Mitch says:

    It’s interesting, fire is also a danger with ICE engines, but since they have been around for about a hundred years now, those problems are fairly well sorted at this point. Battery powered vehicles are basically going through this same process, though with today’s technology it will be a much shorter time to get through it; still, some growing pains.

  2. Paul says:

    One of these days there will be a serious mishap with a battery powered vehicle (car or bike) with serious injuries, or worse, due to a battery-related malfunction. There’s a lot of power looking for a way out, and when it finds it, better stay clear. Then there will be a great hue and cry to regulate and control the genie that’s been sprung on an unsuspecting public. Just sayin’…

  3. Not really says:


    When exactly are you starting the clock for the “invention” of battery powered vehicles…2010?

    You might check some history re: electric vehicles before you write of ICE’s 100 year history..hint..electric vehicles are OVER 100 years old also, & have improved at a small fraction of the pace of ICE vehicles…because ICEs have the advantage of..oh..just being more practical by every rational metric.

    There has been a major (gov’t subsidized) push for over 50 years to make a viable e-car/bike & what have we gotten…silly flawed toys with the illusive dream of “rapidly improving” battery technology. Shorter time…compare battery energy density over the last 50 years…oh yes, that game changing battery they are working on at…….University…yep..any day…any day.

  4. Mitch says:

    Well, yeah. I meant that ICE vehicles, which basically won out as the best solution to the issue of transportation, have had a century or so of sorting out; I know about those early electric cars. I like how you jumped on me as an electrical evangelist; I actually find the marketing of electrical vehicles pretty reprehensible and dishonest, but I can’t deny that they will become a piece of the transportation puzzle as we head into times where energy needs become more and more critical. The issue of power generation, transportation and storage is one of this century’s greatest challenges and I’m curious to see how it plays out. Battery tech is cool, and so is a fire breathing 440 laying twin strips of rubber a foot wide. There’s no reason not to like all of it.

  5. William Roberts says:

    Its ok nothing to see here. Nothing happened someone spilled some coffee on a machine. Electric vehicles are still lovely. Rabbits even cuddle them if you park to near a field. Safe as houses

  6. Richard Gozinya says:

    @William Roberts

    Because gasoline never catches on fire.

  7. protomech says:

    “illusive dream”

    1997 GM EV1 – Panasonic lead-acid, 18.7 kWh, 594 kg, 31.5 Wh/kg
    2013 Tesla Model S – Panasonic lithium NCA, 85 kWh, 600 kg, 142 Wh/kg

    4.5x density in 16 years.

  8. Bob says:

    It would be interesting to know what caused the fire. It’s easy to assume it was related to a Li-ion battery, but could be something totally unrelated. I think Brammo should make a statement. Saying nothing leaves it open to speculation. As a potential customer, I want to know if there’s a chance of their ev motorcycle catching fire in my garage.

  9. Bob, it was a lithium-ion battery.

  10. Not really says:

    @ Protomech

    Lead acid battery…$.17/wh

    2.7X..your point?

    Look..its here at last….


    You want to buy an $80,000 Tesla, thats your business. It becomes mine when you take a $7500 subsidy from the public to assuage your eco-guilt.

    I don’t see anything cool in “battery tech”. It has absorbed $billions of gov’t funds & more importantly, diverted vast human resources in futile attempt to make an inviable technology viable. If in over 100 years of scientific exploration all that can be said is a paltry 145w/kg when gasoline generates multiples of that..

    Whats the point?

    Que in ..but…but..climate change?

  11. protomech says:

    A properly managed lithium ion pack can last for a thousand or more cycles. It can be discharged to 100% DOD, and it can be charged and discharged at high rates.

    Lead acid lasts for a few hundred cycles, much fewer if discharged to 100% DOD (even deep cycle), and can only be charged slowly.

    Much like a combustion engine vehicle, lead acid is proven and relatively cheap to buy-in. But the total lifecycle costs for lithium-ion are significantly lower .. and dropping fast. Tesla’s costs are probably half what you list, though that’s about right for smaller OEMs like the bike manufacturers.

    Subsidies are another issue. I’d prefer to see all the electric vehicle subsidies go away (AND see them pay their fair share of road tax), but at the same time I’d like to see expeditionary “defense” expenses related to protecting our access to foreign oil be included in a gas tax. I’d like to see a proper accounting of the indirect subsidies (yes, climate change .. and pollution-related health) granted to the fossil fuel industry (including coal and natural gas which power EVs) and include those in a fossil fuel tax.

    “I don’t see anything cool in battery tech”, “inviable technology”

    Do you not use a cellphone, laptop, or other modern battery-powered electronics?

    Beyond consumer electronics, better batteries have huge applications for military, space, industrial, and energy applications.

  12. twoversion says:

    @ Protomech – thank god you weren’t leading the race to the moon or we’d still be building models and waiting for the lure of asteroid mining to jumpstart the private sector.

    Maybe you don’t care that the single best all electric car in the world was designed and built in america in a plant that was abandoned by the japanese – maybe you don’t care that the money loaned was paid back or that the resulting company is offering free solar powered charging, or that with the revenue they are pushing the volume to build a car half as much money that will be more viable.

    All you care about is the bottom line for tax payer, so what do you think was the impetus for 1.5 trillion spent on 2 failed attempts at a gen 5 stealth fighter? – resources, like the kind we spend trillions fighting over, protecting.

    Not to mention the millions of people who have died over them.

    I can see why we should continue down the path to petrol when everyone knows it doesn’t pollute anyway….

  13. twoversion says:

    as for Brammo – I hope this has taught you an important lesson about using DuPont FM-200 or an alternative instead.

  14. protomech says:

    @twoversion – If we stop indirectly subsidizing fossil fuels by ignoring their externalities and the military cost of ensuring access to foreign supply, then renewables will be a clear and obvious choice.

    As is we’re just blithely passing costs along to future generations.