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.

Buell Swingarm Exhaust: Still Owned by Harley-Davidson

11/24/2010 @ 6:32 pm, by Jensen Beeler20 COMMENTS

Buell Swingarm Exhaust: Still Owned by Harley Davidson Buell exhaust swingarm patent 635x535

Math can be tough sometimes, especially when it comes to counting, so we can understand the confusion surrounding the news that Erik Buell has recently been awarded a patent for a design that incorporates a motorcycle exhaust system inside the swingarm of the bike (now that’s some engineering). However we have the unpleasant responsibility of saying that this patent is not in fact owned by Erik Buell and Erik Buell Racing, as the filing date and patent assignee information were clearly over-looked by early reports on Buell’s patent.

While the patent was published on October 28, 2010, its was filed by Buell last year (April 24, 2010), well before Harley-Davidson closed the company, and while Erik Buell still worked as a Harley-Davidson employee. As such, the patent is assigned to the Buell Motorcycle Company, whose intellectual property is still owned by Harley-Davidson.

Despite the fact that Harley-Davidson gets to keep this patent under its divorce agreement with EBR, Buell’s design is pretty impressive. It might be an answer to a question that no one asked, but when you consider the difficulty in the goal, you have to appreciate the creativity in working up a solution.

In the patent Buell outlines a multiple stage exhaust system that sees a intermediate muffler acting as lower chin fairing (presumably containing a catalytic converter as well), which is attached directing to the down tubes from the header. The intermediate muffler then attaches to a flexible pipe which serves as the link to the pivoting swingarm.

Once inside the hollow swingarm, a perforated pipe disseminates the exhaust gas into the swingarm chamber(s), which in-turn serves as secondary muffler of sorts (the patent provides that this could serve as the only muffler in the design if found to be adequate). The swingarm design includes exit ports for the gas to escape from, as exhaust fumes fill the swingarm cavity.

Presumably Buell’s design would reduce the overall weight of the motorcycle, with only a marginal increase to a bike’s unsprung weight. Pretty clever if not wholly unnecessary, but it’s this sort of outside of the box thinking that made Buells so intriguing to their riders.

Read the full patent at Free Patents Online


  1. Zoil says:

    Long Live Erik Buell.

  2. BikePilot says:

    Somehow I don’t think EBR will miss that one too much.

  3. Doctor Jelly says:

    Harley isn’t going to do anything with it so hopefully they let EBR develop the idea. I’d consider putting one on my 1125.

  4. Blueduc says:

    This isn’t new- Confederate motorcycles has had this feature (although not nearly as eloquently) on the Hellcat for nearly a decade.

  5. MikeD says:

    Meh, he’s done better. It looks like a doodle anyone with too much free time did while waiting for food.

  6. Dude says:

    How exactly would this REDUCE unsprung weight? Surely it would increase it

  7. Sean says:

    Im looking forward to his ashtray in the triple clamp design.

  8. 76 says:

    Cool on the “design” level and could allow for a very clean and integrated look. On the other hand I really dont know what it accomplishes on a engineering/performance level other than complexity in a swingarm. It seems to replace a silencer, a silencer weights very little compared to the amount of extra welds and walls needed to incorporate this function into a swingarm.

    Its like his single disc mega rotor. It reduces unsprung weight yet at the same time achieves the same as a stock wheel and worse than a aftermarket forged or mag dual coventional rotor setup because of the Moment of inertia (MoI) The increased weight towards the outside of the wheel is the cause. You would be better off with Mags and a aftermarket rotors. Again cool but not better

  9. aaron says:

    umm… Imme anyone? over 60 years old and I’m sure there’s still some awesome vintage German tech that will be claimed as their own cutting edge design by American boutique bike builders…

    sarcasm aside, does anyone else find it ludicrous that harley davidson owns a patent to a stealth exhaust?

  10. Other Sean says:

    Sean says:
    November 24, 2010 at 10:26 PM Im looking forward to his ashtray in the triple clamp design.

    I was hoping someone would capture the sentiment I was having trouble putting into words. And another Sean, to boot. Thanks for the laugh bud!

  11. Nob says:

    What is this man on ? I want some ;-)

  12. hoyt says:

    Aaron – thanks. A lot of people think Confederate were the originators of the exhaust in swingarm but they were preceded decades earlier.

    Dude- the article states, “Presumably Buell’s design would reduce the overall weight of the motorcycle, with only a marginal increase to a bike’s unsprung weight. ”

    Reduce vehicle weight? it seems an alternative front-end to the tele. is an area where a significant weight reduction could occur. It would be interesting to see what Erik Buell has brewing for alt. front ends.

    (James Parker’s design drops 22 lbs. off of a stock GSX-R)

  13. aaron says:

    hoyt – the imme’s single sided front is still ripe for the picking (although gilera did build it briefly for the cx125)

  14. irksome says:

    What the hell would HD do with non-’50s technology?

  15. License the technology to another company.

  16. Mike L. says:

    Technology? Is that what that is?

  17. hoyt says:

    James Parker’s RADD front-end dropped 22 lbs. off of the GSX-R by eliminating much of the bulk of the aluminum spars and stout steering neck. This would be difficult for Buell’s fuel-in-frame approach.

    Mike L. – I would say it is innovation whether you’re a Buell fan or not. Japan & BMW have adopted some of Buell’s mass centralization tech. If the above doesn’t make it to production, it doesn’t mean that other ideas won’t come from this type of thinking.

  18. akatsuki says:

    Hmm… if HD has it, then this is probably dead in the water since HD doesn’t actually care about innovation, unless you can find a way to make chrome shinier and even more expensive.

  19. GeddyT says:

    Three infra-red temperature sensors: what, a couple of ounces each?
    Three servo operated flapper valves: one pound?

    A rear tire that’s ALWAYS the exact perfect temperature on both sides? Priceless.

    I was thinking a few years back of trying to patent a system just like this, but got lazy. Figured it was probably already done anyway (every other great idea I’ve had has been…). Also I noticed that MotoGP made a new rule to ban active tire temperature monitoring (or maybe it was WorldSBK, don’t remember).

    At any rate, route the hot exhaust gas through the swingarm and use valves to meter the hot gases to the left and right sides of the rear tire to keep both sides in the perfect temperature range for optimal grip (as measured by the IR sensors). If the track or road is one that keeps the tire hot (and evenly hot), close both valves to the tire and open the one on the back of the swingarm that routs the gas out the regular way. You’d just have to make sure that the logic knows to have the same total opening between the three valves so that exhaust restriction doesn’t fluctuate and mess with the power smoothness. So if the main valve is twice the size of each tire valve, left side valve is at 30% open, right side valve is 70% open, then the main valve would have to be 50% open. If left valve is open 50% and right valve is closed, main valve would have to be open 75%. If both side valves are wide open, main valve would be closed. You get the point.

    Seemed like the predictable rear grip and improved tire life would be worth the slight increase in unsprung weight. And figuring out a way to make it work on the front tire as well? That would be the holy grail!

  20. steve_a says:

    The main advantage of this design is packaging: Trying to find a place to put a muffler on a streetbike is hard if you care about things like weight distribution, handling, and polar moment of inertia, particularly one with a wheelbase as short as a Buell’s. Also, modern mufflers are heavy, heavy . . . and if you can make a muffler share some structure with the swingarm, you are likely to be able to reduce overall machine weight. Also, this design works best for medium volume mufflers, such as would be required for a turbocharged large-displacement Twin or, say, a middleweight Triple. For the last bike, this design is as sweet as Sugar.