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.

California Drops Motorcycle Smog Check Legislation

06/02/2009 @ 12:20 am, by Jensen Beeler9 COMMENTS

California Drops Motorcycle Smog Check Legislation sacramento state capital house1 560x420

California State Senator Fran Pavley a few months ago made herself motorcycle public enemy number one in California after she introduced legislation that would have required smog checks for all motorcycles of model year 2000 or newer. The bill proposed to start enforcing the measure in 2012, but that has now been changed.

The proposal has been amended to authorize police officers to fine bikers who have removed catalytic converters, instead of requiring the emissions testing. The senate approved the amended bill which now goes to the state assembly. If it passes there, the Governator’s signature is all that’s needed.

We’d like to think that our recently arrival to the Golden State had something to do with the bill getting amended, but in reality the cost of policing the measure, in relation to the miniscule amount of pollution a motorcycle puts out, just didn’t make sense when the two factors were weighed out.

Source: San Jose Mercury News via The Kneeslider


  1. RT @Asphalt_Rubber: California Drops Motorcycle Smog Check Legislation – http://tinyurl.com/nodxvh #motocycle

  2. California Drops Motorcycle Smog Check Legislation – Asphalt & Rubber http://bit.ly/yjVuE

  3. Steve B. says:

    Thanks Asphalt and Rubber. We need to all stand together against this corrupt group of legislators; Especially when it comes to our 2 wheeled lifestyle.

  4. Ferniherst says:

    Information about California dropping the Smog Check provision in the revised bill appears to be in error. The Senate Transportation committee did pass an amended bill on 05/28/09. However a review of that amendment still very much includes mandatory smog checks for all 2000 and later Class III motorcycles (larger than 280cc) beginning in 2012. In fact, the bill passed the Senate 22 to 17 and is now in the California Assembly Transportation Committee with a scheduled hearing on 06/29/09. All can be verified through accessing bill status at senate.ca.gov and at assembly.ca.gov for scheduled hearings under the Transportation Committee agenda. Such misinformation also appears to be coming from various sources, resulting in a dangerous drop of interest being expressed to legislative representatives representatives by the California motorcycling public. If I am wrong, Hallelujah! If not, I feel it is important that you let readers know the correct facts!

  5. Mark says:

    “Minuscule pollution?” Motorcycles contribute to 10% of the smog-producing emissions in CA. Compared to cars, they pollute disproportionately. I’m not sure why this proposal “doesn’t make sense” considering the environmental effects…and this is coming from a guy with 4 bikes, 2 with exhausts. Yeah, I like the look/sound/power of an aftermarket exhaust system, but there IS a good reason for this law to become implemented, even if it isn’t ideal for riders.

    Rather than apply to year 2000 bikes, I’d rather see stricter regulations for motorcycle companies with no restrictions on the aftermarket myself, that way guys and girls that are really into their bikes are able to pollute a bit more w/ their exhausts and people buying bikes of the showroom floor to commute on will absorb some of the pollution.

  6. JP says:

    ” Motorcycles contribute to 10% of the smog-producing emissions in CA”


  7. Mark says:

    “This story is about emissions. More specifically, it’s about the surprising level of emissions spewing from on-road motorcycles and scooters. In California, such bikes make up 3.6% of registered vehicles and 1% of vehicle miles traveled, yet they account for 10% of passenger vehicles’ smog-forming emissions in the state. In fact, the average motorbike is about 10 times more polluting per mile than a passenger car, light truck or SUV, according to a California Air Resources Board comparison of emissions-compliant vehicles.”

    Source: http://articles.latimes.com/2008/jun/11/autos/hy-throttle11

    You, my friend, are either misinformed, high, or a moron. Like I said, I am an avid motorcyclist, but I am fully aware of the consequences of my choices, just like everyone else should be.

  8. JP says:

    Motorcycles And Pollution
    Should We All Drive Instead Of Ride?
    September, 2008
    By Andrew Trevitt

    Click to View GalleryA recent column in the Los Angeles Times painted a grim picture for motorcyclists based on emissions data. The story, “Inconvenient Truths About Motorcycles and Smog,” explained how motorcycles emit more nitrogen oxides-NOX, byproducts of combustion that contribute to smog-and concludes by claiming that “Motorcycles, even small ones, are more polluting than Hummers.”

    Saying that a motorcycle pollutes more than an SUV because it emits more nitrogen oxides is like saying soda is more healthy for you than juice because soda has fewer calories. There is a lot more involved in vehicle emissions than just nitrogen oxides, and the column in the Times is, at best, misleading. It claims that “the average motorbike is about 10 times more polluting per mile than a passenger car, light truck or SUV, according to a California Air Resources Board comparison of emissions-compliant vehicles.” I couldn’t find the referenced CARB document on the agency’s website, but I did find actual emissions test data for cars, SUVs and motorcycles on the Environmental Protection Agency’s website. Sure enough, many of the motorcycles are listed as discharging more NOX and other polluting byproducts than cars. In the EPA’s test data an ’07 Honda CBR600RR has an average of 0.08 g/km NOX over the various tests. A Lincoln Navigator, in comparison, shows 0.02 g/km for the same byproducts. Carbon monoxide, another smog-producing byproduct, is listed at between 1.7 and 2.4 g/km for the CBR, between 0.6 and 0.8 g/km for the Navigator.

    There are several factors that allow cars and trucks to have fewer harmful emissions than motorcycles. All the required hoses, canisters and catalytic converters fit relatively easily under a car’s hood, but not so nicely on a motorcycle. That paraphernalia adds cost and weight, which is more of an issue on a $10,000, 450-pound motorcycle than a $25,000, 3000-pound car. And catalytic converters generate a lot of heat, which can be dangerous as well as uncomfortable when they are exposed on a motorcycle as opposed to tucked away underneath a car. Whatever the reasons, the EPA and CARB regulations are more lenient for motorcycles, and as a result motorcycles do emit more smog-producing pollutants than cars.

    But the emissions data is just a small part of the overall impact each vehicle has on the environment, and I don’t think the situation for motorcycles is as bad as it’s depicted in that data alone, or as glum as it’s laid out in the Times article. Primarily, the carbon dioxide emitted by each vehicle must also be considered. CO2 is a product of combustion rather than a byproduct, meaning it is a direct result of the fuel burning. A vehicle that uses less fuel will produce less CO2, and as global warming becomes increasingly important, more emphasis is being placed on fuel consumption and carbon dioxide emissions. It’s safe to say that since motorcycles are, in general, more fuel efficient than cars-and especially SUVs-their CO2 emissions are less. In that respect, cars pollute more than motorcycles.

    One aspect not considered in the story is how emissions data relates to real-world driving conditions. The EPA measures emissions on a dynamometer using set criteria representative of a mixture of city and freeway driving. But during a typical Los Angeles commute most cars are idling along, no doubt spewing more bad gases than indicated by the EPA’s data. Meanwhile, motorcyclists are allowed to split lanes, keeping their emissions more representative of the testing procedures. On top of that, more motorcycles on the road means fewer cars, reducing congestion for everyone and, in turn, improving the automobiles’ emissions. Certainly these aspects may not be enough to offset the additional pollutants that motorcycles add to the atmosphere, but they improve the situation, perhaps considerably.

    Consider the tradeoffs: Yes, motorcycles generate more smog-producing pollutants than the average car. But they use less fuel, dump less carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and reduce congestion for everyone. I’m pretty confident that when I ride to work I’m doing less damage to the planet than most of the cars on the road. It’s frustrating that the local paper in a city that suffers some of the worst traffic problems in the country put a lopsided view on the topic when it should be doing more to encourage alternative transportation. I’m all for reducing pollution and saving the planet, and it’s unfortunate that motorcycles do pollute more than cars in some ways, but let’s be realistic: Motorcycles are more a part of the solution than a part of the problem.

  9. Auntie Smoggie says:

    Make sure you write to Senator Fran Pavley D-Agoura Hills regarding bill 435 to let her know you oppose it. Here is what I wrote:

    Senator Fran Pavley D-Agoura Hills bill 435 is well intended, but will do little to alleviate noise and will only anger the motorcyclists who already have a quiet motorcycle, which is most owners. Why punish the thousands of riders in the state for the abuse caused by a few? I am sure that the owners of bikes with loud mufflers will only put on their original stock muffler for the ride to the check point and get their sticker, only to ride home and spend 5 minutes putting on their loud pipes.

    To alleviate this, the noise levels should be monitored, not a required stamp that will do little or nothing to stop the noise. Set up a guideline that requires pipes to be less than so many Decibels at a set distance from the end of the tail pipe while the engine is revved to 3000 RPM’s. Not subjective, etc. No chance to defeat it in court, the decibel meter does not lie and some models cost less then 100 dollars. Then have the enforcement of each bike done by officers on the street. Putting a stamp on the bike will be useless and one more hoop riders have to jump through. I would support a bill requiring Smog Checking of motorcycles to fight the illegal removal of catalytic converters and other pollution control equipment.

    Use her address on the form or it will kick back to you!
    2716 Ocean Park Blvd.
    Santa Monica, CA 90405