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.

Chinese Motorcycle Powerhouse Zongshen Eyes Mission Motors for Strategic Partnership

02/02/2010 @ 11:19 pm, by Jensen Beeler18 COMMENTS

Chinese Motorcycle Powerhouse Zongshen Eyes Mission Motors for Strategic Partnership Mission Motors Chongqing Zongshen China  560x391

Chongqing Zongshen Power Machinery Co. announced today that it has signed a memo of cooperation with Mission Motors, which could see the Chinese company link up with the San Francisco firm to develop electric drive systems for the emerging market and in other markets throughout the world.

In the memo, Zongshen outlines its intent to become a major shareholder in Mission Motors, and to also inject capital into the small startup after it presents a three year plan to the Chinese company. For Mission Motors the move would be valuable strategic partnership to gain a foothold in China, which already has a booming two-wheeled market and need for reduced CO2 emissions.

“Mission Motors has identified Zongshen Power as a potential partner in the Chinese electric motorcycle market,” says Mission Motors’ Jit Bhattacharya. “China is an enormous market for electric two-wheelers with a number of Chinese cities having banned gasoline-powered motorcycles and scooters. We are exploring how we can leverage Mission Motors’ technology with Zongshen’s strengths in high volume, low-cost manufacturing to create a lower cost electric powertrain for the Chinese market. As part of this ongoing discussion, Zongshen Power is also considering a strategic investment in Mission Motors, but nothing has been finalized.”

It is our understanding that this is a custom in Chinese business culture where companies sign a document which explains that they are considering a business transaction. While nothing is final yet, and we should be point out that other reports appear to over-state the current situation, suggesting that Zongshen has already acquired a majority interest in Mission Motors, while in fact Zongshen merely hopes to complete an investment in the San Franciscan company by the end of June this year.

Chongqing Zongshen is one of China’s largest motorcycle engine manufacturers, and marks yet another series of moves by American electric motorcycle companies looking not only for funding, but also looking abroad for business opportunities. Just last month we reported that Zero Motorcycles closed a $5.5 million round of investment, and Brammo also recently announced a partnership with Jackie Chan’s JCAM to distribute bikes in Asia.

Source: Scottrade


  1. Brammofan says:

    Photo Credit – the amazing and talented Douglas Sonders. When I get rich, I want hire him to make me look cool.

  2. John Adamo says:

    RT @Asphalt_Rubber: Chinese Motorcycle Powerhouse Zongshen Eyes Mission Motors for Strategic Partnership – http://bit.ly/bZVWIX #motorcycle

  3. RT @Asphalt_Rubber: Chinese Motorcycle Powerhouse Zongshen Eyes Mission Motors for Strategic Partnership – http://bit.ly/bZVWIX #motorcycle

  4. Chinese Motorcycle Powerhouse Zongshen Eyes Mission Motors for Strategic Partnership – http://bit.ly/bZVWIX #motorcycle

  5. An interesting development for sure. I wonder where Mission sees themselves in a few years. Agreed, that is a cool photo series.

  6. RT @skadamo: RT @Asphalt_Rubber: Chinese Motorcycle Powerhouse Zongshen Eyes Mission Motors for Strategic Partnership – http://bit.ly/bZVWIX #motorcycle

  7. CBontheMV says:

    Sounds like a deal with the Devil. I hope Mission closely guards their intellectual properties.

  8. Brammofan says:

    @CBontheMV Why do you think it sounds like a deal with the devil? To me, it sounds shrewd, visionary, and profitable.

  9. CBontheMV says:

    @Brammofan – because Chinese manufacturers have a history of stealing intellectual property in order to further their own business prospects. It’s well documented across industries that many manufacturers take the technologies they’re contracted to produce and set up similar knock-off lines or use the technology to advance their own products.

  10. Chinese Motorcycle Powerhouse Zongshen Eyes Mission Motors for … http://bit.ly/anqbtp

  11. Gildas says:

    I can confirm that; worked on 3 different projects with three different groups of Chinese companies… In the furniture, Optics and funiture again. They were presented as honest, independ auditors said the same, they were real nice and all… Got shafted three times… I refuse to work with China now.

    First project, they did a fine proto, then the pre-series was crap beyond belief.
    Second project; they tried to sell to the competition before even first delivery.
    Third time they tried strealing our client. Client not amused.

  12. Chinese Motorcycle Powerhouse Zongshen Eyes Mission Motors for …: Motorcycle news, Industry Rumors, MotoGP, Worl… http://bit.ly/cWIG3e

  13. Matthew says:

    We’ll see in the impending trade war between the US and China allows this to happen. I think it’s a good idea, except for the problem with intellectual property laws in China, which is a major issue. I would think South Korea or a similar country would be a better place to try this, just because of IP law.

    Either way, I hope it brings down the cost of Mission’s product. $68,995 is just ridiculous, even if it is semi-bespoke. What I actually think will happen, though, is Mission will have it’s ideas stolen, end up in a protracted legal battle, and fold because of legal expenses.

  14. Paul Smith says:

    Mission Motors e motorcycles are nearing a deal w/a major Chinese company, meaning millions of gas scooters off the road http://j.mp/b7wrLq

  15. RT@asphalt_rubber:Chinese Motorcycle Powerhouse Zongshen Eyes Mission Motors for Strategic Partnership – http://bit.ly/bZVWIX #motorcycle

  16. RT@asphalt_rubber:Chinese Motorcycle Powerhouse Zongshen Eyes Mission Motors for Strategic Partnership – http://bit.ly/bZVWIX #motorcycle

  17. RR says:

    It is interesting that the notion of “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery” exists in these cultures — however if they copy and sell, they will have hard time penetrating established world markets where IP/patent protection is strong.

    So the risk is really in China — and there even if you do not have this kind of deal, they will make copies anyway! i.e. internal Chinese market best case scenario is some market share for US company– for a short period of time!!

  18. Mary says:

    As part of this ongoing discussion, Zongshen Power is also considering a strategic investment in Mission Motors, but nothing has been finalized.”