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.

Chip Yates On SWIGZ.com Pro Racing Electric Superbike Progress

02/09/2010 @ 8:22 pm, by John Adamo7 COMMENTS

Chip Yates On SWIGZ.com Pro Racing Electric Superbike Progress swigz racing electric 635x437

Last week I had a chance to ask Chip Yates some questions over email about the progress of the SWIGZ.COM Pro Racing Electric Superbike program. Chip’s responses tell us his team’s ambitious performance goals are on track and they are quickly signing on sponsors. SWIGS.COM Pro Racing remains the only electric motorcycle race team to put the cards on the table for 2010 in regards to target performance.

In late 2009, Chip announced he had assembled a team including two MIT grads turned aerospace engineers to develop an electric superbike to compete in the TTXGP race series. The press release mentioned some very impressive and somewhat controversial goals for the SWIGZ.COM bike including the ability to turn AMA SuperSport lap times (GSX-R600) and a KERS system to return braking energy back to the battery.

Since the announcement, the electric motorcycle racing landscape has changed dramatically with the entrance of the FIM e-Power series and the TT Zero race replacing TTXGP at the Isle Of Man. Some races have conflicting schedules that will force teams to choose one event or the other. Chip explains what series the team will run and which they will not. Unfortunately the team is not releasing any of the electric drive specs and vendors yet but some details should be announced next month.

See the full Q&A with Chip Yates after the break.

Interview with Chip Yates SWIGZ.COM Pro Racing – Electric Superbike Program

Skadamo: Have you had any sponsors sign on?

Chip: We have had some good founding sponsors signed on, we are currently in very active discussions finalizing deals with additional sponsors including a major sponsor, and we are finding the effort of convincing sponsors to help us invest in this green racing program is much easier than normal sponsorship negotiations – people seem convinced this is the right way to go for electric powertrain development. Even non-motorcyclists quickly understand when we explain the acceleration effect the motorcycle racing application has on technology. Firstly, racing itself accelerates development. Secondly, the motorcycle application is perfect because it forces a precise and optimized design due to the limited space and weight constraints – we can’t fill up a trunk with batteries to give longer range, so we are forced to innovate, and that “tension” combined with the fact that we’re racing on a world level, will advance electric powertrains rapidly. The motorcycle application is more closely related to aerospace because of size and weight, than it is related to electric cars. That is why we hired MIT engineers from aerospace who had recently designed electrical powertrains and control systems for helicopters. Of course, the benefits of such powertrain advancement can be realized by all transportation sectors including the car guys and will make electric vehicles more palatable to the general public by extending range, efficiency and performance.

Skadamo: Has your race schedule changed with the ePower and TT Zero announcments?

Chip: Our race schedule is to compete in all of the FIM e-Power rounds, plus the TTXGP North American championship. For 2010, we will not contest the Isle of Man TT or the other TTXGP events other than the finale in Albacete. The reason for not competing in the TT, is based on the design direction we have chosen for our superbike – namely to win on short circuits and that is our sole focus for 2010. Next year, we may study the design of a bike aimed at winning the TT. I discuss this issue in more detail in my upcoming monthly column in Roadracing World Magazine’s April 2010 edition, and I have a recurring column in that publication as well as in the FIM Magazine “Ride with Us”. It would be great if you encourage your readers to check out those publications as well. I also have an article in the current issue of Roadracing World Magazine (March 2010) on data acquisition with some mentions of our electric program.

Skadamo: How is the bike progressing?

Chip: The bike is progressing well, with motor, controller, ECU, data acquisition system and drivetrain set in our race shop in Laguna Hills, California. Our revolutionary KERS system is in design and patent phase and parts will be fabricated shortly. Our battery pack is designed and specified and we are in talks with several top suppliers, but have not made the purchase yet – one supplier may sponsor us and those talks are underway.

Skadamo: Many electric race teams including Brammo, Derbi, Zero have stated that regenerative braking does not provide enough energy to justify the additional weight and complexity to design it in. They also mention it can be dangerous with regards to maintaining traction. Are you still planning KERS on the SWIGZ bike?

Chip: We are absolutely planning to run a full KERS system on our bike. We do respect the decisions of other teams and we respect the engineering approach of “lighter is better”, but we have designed a bike that we feel is capable of winning on short circuits while delivering laptimes competitive with my AMA GSX-R600 and showing the crowd and any skeptics that electric power can be fast and exciting. Because of our very powerful drive system, we are deploying KERS to keep our battery pack weight to a reasonable level for 2010. We expect battery technology to migrate in a direction that is beneficial to us and as that happens perhaps we can back off KERS and use higher energy density batteries.

Skadamo: How close are you to your goal of building electric that can match the lap times of an ICE race bike?

Chip: Our bike is currently capable (according to MATLAB) of delivering AMA laptimes (albeit over a much shorter race distance – 25 miles).

Founding Team Members – Electric Superbike
(as of February 6, 2010)

Chip Yates Owner / Rider

Jimmy Summers Crew Chief / Trainer

Song K. Jung McKenna, Long & Aldridge – Program Executive

Lance Hagenbuch Program Manager, Human Assets

Matt Schweitzer Program Engineer – Software / Electrical

Ben Ingram Program Engineer – Hardware / Controls

Mitch Pederson MP Tuning – ECU, Data Acquisition, Network Integration

Chris Norris Swift Engineering – 3D CAD, FEA, Wind Tunnel

Casper van Der Schoot Swift Engineering – Race Engineer

Julie Yates North America Team Logistics

Marc Hoegee Hoegee Motortechniek – European Team Logistics

Renzo N. Rocchegiani McKenna, Long & Aldridge – Patent Attorney

Founding Team Sponsors – Electric Superbike

(as of February 6, 2010)

SWIGZ.COM Pro Racing

Chip Yates

McKenna, Long & Aldridge LLP

Swift Engineering Inc.

Ohlins USA

Yoyodyne (Brembo Master Distributor, USA)

Check out this video filmed late last year by On The Throttle to find out more about the SWIGZ.com Pro Racing team.

Source: Plug Bike


  1. Chip Yates On SWIGZ.com Pro Racing Electric Superbike Progress – http://bit.ly/9TAe2v #motorcycle

  2. http://bit.ly/GB4dq Chip Yates On SWIGZ.com Pro Racing Electric Superbike Progress: Motorcycle news, Industry Rumo… http://bit.ly/aFR9NP

  3. Andrew says:

    Why does this even make the news? There isn’t even a motor or batteries in that bike. They still have the rad in place (which obviously wont be needed). So from we can see here they have only modeled the bike performance/efficiency in Matlab which only translates so well into the real world.

  4. MTGR says:

    The rad may be needed. Just as in an ICE design, heat is a major limiting factor in overall performance and longevity with elecric motors. A few other electric designs out there already use, or state plans to use, liquid cooling to control heat under race conditions. I suspect it is just the first of several existing technologies that will convert over from ICE as the electrics try to up their performance.

    Electric power is not as different as many believe, power is still power and generating it at anything close to the level current mainstream bikes do or ravcing demands will still create similar issues.

    Everyone thought 4 stroke MXers would be lower maintenance and cleaner running than 2 stokes too, because everyones’ 4 stroke play bike was that way. Then they actually tried to get the same levels of power out of them and now they require more maintenance than a 2 stroke and it is not uncommon to follow a modern 4 stroke and have you eyes water due to the amount of raw fuel pumped out the exhaust. As the demands on a design increase many of the same issues start to crop up. You don’t ever get something for nothing.

  5. Andrew says:

    Well actually the heat produced by the electric motor is several times less than an ICE. Most electric motors are operating in the 85%+ efficiency level compared to >40% for an ICE. Often the really heat limited component is the batteries which lose capacity if operated outside their optimum temperature and voltage range. I have seen liquid cooled AC motors in electric vehicles but this is where an existing vehicle design is being used and airflow is limited. Using a liquid cooled system on a race bike seems silly as it is parasitic and the airflow over the motor and batteries should be sufficient.

  6. MTGR says:

    Noted Andrew. I don’t claim to be an expert on electrics and am not part of that team so clearly I was guessing as much as anybody else, but my point was this is not intended to be a normal electric application so the normal stats may not apply.

    These guys clearly stated intent to match 600cc supersport pace and to do that I doubt they will be able to operate anything at the current “typical” level for an electric. It all boils down to give and take, the extra drag of the rad would be worth it if the return in overall performance was enough.

    Consider that it takes something like 1200 hp just to turn the superchargers used in top-level drag racing, which sounds majorly parasitic and silly, until you consider that those same superchargers provide somewhere in the neighborhood of an additional 3000 hp. Bottom line is you end up faster despite the 1200 hp drain so it is still worth it.

  7. Christian says:

    Brammo and http://www.xxl-racing.de using watercooled AC motors too…

    Look at the plugbike blog from more comments.