Photos from 250+ Feet up COTA’s Petrolsaurus Rex

Standing 251 feet above Turns 16, 17, & 18, the COTA observation tower provides a bird’s eye view of just about every tun on the circuit, if you can stomach its subtle sway in the wind and clear-glass floor at the precipice. Officially called by COTA as the “Observation Tower” – it really needs a better name for casual conversation. We’ve heard COTA Cobra used a few times with some lovely alliteration, but the structure has always struck us as less snake-like, and more like a big dinosaur — we’re going to use the name “Petrolsaurus Rex” until I hear something better, or COTA sends me a cease and desist order. I climbed to the top of Petrolsaurus Rex (read: took the elevator) during the MotoGP Warm-Up session, and snapped a few photos in the process. Enjoy!

MV Agusta F3 800 Ago Now Officially Debuts

We already announced the bike last November, and brought you a bevy of hi-res images of the special edition machine. Although now that we think of it, MV Agusta never released anything on this Giacomo Agostini tribute motorcycle — better late than never, right? Back at the EICMA show launch, where the MV Agusta F3 800 Ago was first shown to the public (and Agostini himself), the Varese brand promised us two additional motorcycle launches in early 2014. MV Agsuta made good on half that promise with the Dragster 800 model, hopefully this Ago special edition isn’t the other half of that statement, and MV Agusta still has something waiting in the wings. That being said, the Tricolore & Gold paint scheme is gorgeous, and looks even better in person.

Isle of Man TT Gets TV Deal for Australia & USA

Want to watch the Isle of Man TT from the comfort of your non-British TV, but haven’t been able to in the past? A new TV from the Isle of Man’s Department of Economic Development will do just that. Inking a new TV contract with North One TV, the Isle of Man TT will be televised in the American, Australian, and of course British markets, making it easier than ever to watch the iconic road race. With a five-year contract with the Velocity Channel in the US, the American cable channel will show seven one-hour race shows. Each segment will air within 24hrs of each race, and be tailored for the American market.

Castiglioni Denies Fiat Buyout of MV Agusta Is in the Works

After reporting 22% growth in Q1 2014, Giovanni Castiglioni had some closing words about the rumors that Fiat could acquire MV Agusta — a popular rumor that has been swirling around in the press the last two months. Denying outright that MV Agusta had, or was in, talks with the Fiat-Chrysler group about an acquisition (some reports linked even MV Agusta to being bought by Fiat-owned Ferrari), Castiglioni said the Italian company solely was focused on building growth, and building motorcycles. “Moreover, I’d like to take this opportunity to deny rumours circulated by the media over the last few days concerning supposed negotiations vis-à-vis the sale of a share of MV Agusta to the Fiat-Chrysler Group,” said Giovanni Castiglioni, the President and CEO of MV Agusta.

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 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.

BRD RedShift SM Breaks Cover with Gas Parity

08/03/2011 @ 5:00 pm, by Jensen Beeler15 COMMENTS

BRD RedShift SM Breaks Cover with Gas Parity BRD RedShift SM alley 635x423

We’ve been following the guys at BRD since the beginning of the year, and this scrappy San Francisco company has finally busted out of stealth mode with its first electric motorcycle line: the BRD RedShift. With a goal of meeting or exceeding parity with gasoline-powered two-wheelers, BRD’s first foray into the motorcycle industry is an interesting one, as the RedShift line brings true 250cc four-stroke power to the electric realm. Producing 40hp from the company’s proprietary water-cooled AC motor, the BRD RedShift SM produces more power than a Honda CRF250R while tipping scales at less than 250 lbs in supermoto trim (less than 240 lbs in MX-spec).

The RedShift line is BRD’s first line of motorcycle, and will feature three different purpose-built trims. The Supermoto (SM) model will be BRD’s on-road city bike, while the MX model will be the company’s enduro offering. BRD has also factored fleet sales heavily into its business plan, and will have a vehicle, designated as the RedShift PD, that will be available for government and private fleet usage. Point of sale and warranty work will stem from a standard dealer model, which will be aggressively built out over the coming months, and plays back into the company’s mantra that electric vehicles don’t need to be different from gas bikes, just better than them.

“We just want to make faster motorcycles,” said CEO Marc Fenigstein in the company’s press statement. “We’re a team of riders and racers with high-performance gas machines in the garage. We’re building the bikes we’d rather be riding.”

With 5.2 kWh of battery pack on-board, BRD is estimating about a 50 mile range, based off other manufacturers’ claims, though the company is quick to point out that it doesn’t want to quote an exact figure until the RedShift’s performance specs have been fully-vetted. Another part that has intrigued us about this project since its inception is BRD’s proprietary machined-aluminum chassis design, which is absent of any welds, meaning that its production can be done in the company’s SF office for virtually the same price as anywhere else since its cost structure is dependent on machining time.

BRD RedShift SM Breaks Cover with Gas Parity BRD RedShift SM side 635x445

Attaching to the aluminum frame is a self-supporting plastic tail and seat section — yes, you read that right. When we first saw that design and inquired with BRD about the use of plastic for its subframe structure, the company explained that the high-strength polymer material was rated to significantly above the amount of force that is required to break one’s back from spinal compression. This means that the BRD tail section is not only extremely light, but your back will break from a big drop well before the tail unit does (this is all of course pre-production, with durability testing still needed to confirm the plastic’s use in the production model).

About the only thing that the BRD RedShift has that’s sub-par to its gasoline equivalents is the price, with early murmurings suggesting a $15,000 price tag (nearly twice the comparable ICE machine). With that much more power on-board (almost double the 3.1 kWh Brammo Enertia and the 4 kWh Zero S), BRD was sure to strike a hefty price tag with current battery costs.

Because of that reality, the company hopes to meet its sales goals with strong fleet sales, offering local governments and other public entities a motorcycle that can meet their green mandates without sacrificing performance by using an electric drivetrain. For the mainstream public, BRD, for now, will remain a premium, but attainable, motorcycle offering, and will come with high quality components not currently seen in the space (we hear rumors of OZ providing a special new wheelset to BRD’s on-road effort).

With OEM efforts like KTM’s Freeride now just a year away from hitting US soil, BRD is entering the market ahead of the wave of entrenched motorcycle companies. As OEMs enter the space, it will be interesting to see what sort of platforms they put together. As it stands now, BRD is the leader in the electric SM/MX class with its power-to-weight ratio.

BRD RedShift SM Breaks Cover with Gas Parity BRD RedShift MX render 635x355

Asphalt & Rubber will be seeing the BRD RedShift launch in person a couple hours after the timestamp on this article. Stay tuned for more pictures and an up-close analysis of the new electric machine in the coming hours.

Source: BRD; Photos: Todd Tankersley /


  1. TonyS says:

    Wasn’t it an OZ wheel that shore itself from the hub on that Ducati during a race earlier this year? Just sayin.

  2. Jake says:

    OZ wheels have run on hundreds of thousands of bikes with no problem. They also happen to be really feckin’ nice too.

    Ohlins and OZ’s, can’t go wrong on a bike (except for that one on TV).

  3. ossiesteve says:

    and wasnt that the cause of the nuts etc. not being tightened or screwed on at all?

    but seriously this looks like a pretty sweet bike except fort he price which makes it unatainable for most. KTM’s will prob be better in everyway and cheaper so i wouldnt be buying shares for this company

  4. Brammofan says:

    “As it stands now, BRD is the leader in the electric SM/MX class with its power-to-weight ratio.”

    Even I, as the electric motorcycle pimp extraordinaire that I am, choked on that one. On behalf of Zero and Quantya, who actually have bikes in production, and Brammo, who has fully-operational pre-production prototypes, I’m calling “puffery.”

  5. Because you know all those puff-pieces I write Harry. BRD’s prototype is fully-functional btw. KTM’s Freeride after currency exchange will be just under $15k, judging from the components they have on their bike (Arsenal), I’m not sure it will touch BRD in price, power, or pounds.

    The unfortunate part about the electric space is we see a lot of vaporware and over-promises, so when something comes along that’s the real deal, everyone is a cynic (I was as well, until I saw who was behind the company). Time will tell.

  6. Beary says:

    Well, I’ve got wood. What a gorgeous looking electric bike.

    Hopefuly performance and range follow if so, this is a Big Win.

  7. Greybeard says:

    102 degrees fahrenheit here yesterday.
    In two months it wouldn’t be impossible for it to hit 32 just before dawn.
    The hoped-for 50 mile range is gonna take a hit under either of the above circumstances. Question is, how much of a hit.
    (And where’s the damned amp-hour robbing headlight/taillight/turn signals?)

  8. Shawn says:

    It doesn’t appear the side fairings function as a cooling system for the bike. It’s funny how this was kept on there to resemble what we know as dirt bikes/SM. Otherwise, I see this as a negative on aerodynamics. As for the lights, I’d guess LEDs.

  9. Marc F says:

    Hi, all. CEO of BRD here. Quick answers to some of the comments and questions. It’s absolutely true that we’re not in production yet. Huge compliments to those that are, because as you can imagine, we know what that takes and it’s no small feat. The bike above is a pre-production unit (looks like, works like, and is mostly built like a production bike), but we still have quite a bit of work to do to deliver bikes for the 2012 season.

    On the “shrouds,” those are air scoops. The bike features a centrally-mounted radiator. There is nothing on this bike that isn’t functional.

    Thanks, everyone, for the interest.

  10. Brammofan says:

    Hey Marc – I was getting on Jensen’s case, not yours. You can’t declare BRD the “leader in electric SM/MX class” any more than you can declare Brammo’s Empulse the leader in the 100 mph/100 mile range sportbike class. It’s premature. The time to declare leaders is the day the first production bike gets delivered to the first non-dealer end-user/customer. At least, that’s my criterion. Based on the pics of your bike that are coming out (not the renders), you’re well on the way to that benchmark.

  11. TRL says:

    Thank you BRD for making me feel something when I look an SM/MX electric bike. This is what you get when you have someone around with design skill, not just the title “Designer” in their email signature. Very appealing. Hope the bike lives up to the promise of the design. Good luck.

  12. Shawn says:

    Wow, replies from the COE. Very Cool!

  13. Marc F says:

    Shawn, what can I say… I check A&R almost daily and I’m not about to skip over the comments section on our own bike.

    We’re trying really hard to be both humble and realistic about the bike. We know what it SHOULD do, but until we can verify that the production bikes WILL do (and when), we’re keeping the details to ourselves. I hope that the public can bear with us on that.

  14. Nice plug Marc, your check is in the mail.

  15. John Kirby says:

    @garrettnelson Yes, it is a very modern, tech filled bike –