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.

Cutaway Photos of the Ducati Superquadro Engine

01/31/2012 @ 7:05 pm, by Jensen Beeler10 COMMENTS

Cutaway Photos of the Ducati Superquadro Engine Ducati 1199 Panigale Superquadro motor cutaway 11 635x948

I was flipping through some photos from the 2011 EICMA show, and found these shots of the Ducati 1199 Panigale‘s Superquadro engine. Unfortunately at the show, Ducati had its 1199cc v-twin motor behind a Lexan case, which created a bit of a glare, reflections, and of course had smudges from the touchy-feely Italian crowd. But still, the photos give a good idea of what’s going on in Ducati’s most-advanced production engine to date, and are better than just looking at the CAD renders (photos & movie).

If you look at the shots very closely, you can almost see where the 195hp and 98 lbs•ft of torque is lurking inside. Visible are the gear/chain-driven cams, which help aid the 15,000 mile service interval (and help avoid the almost yearly Ducati tax that came with the old motor design). Also visible is the new wet slipper clutch ride-by-wire system, which help complete the Superquadro’s departure from what we used to think of as iconic elements to Ducati’s twins. Photos after the jump.

Cutaway Photos of the Ducati Superquadro Engine Ducati 1199 Panigale Superquadro motor cutaway 07 635x527

Cutaway Photos of the Ducati Superquadro Engine Ducati 1199 Panigale Superquadro motor cutaway 01 635x424

Cutaway Photos of the Ducati Superquadro Engine Ducati 1199 Panigale Superquadro motor cutaway 03 635x454

Cutaway Photos of the Ducati Superquadro Engine Ducati 1199 Panigale Superquadro motor cutaway 08 635x477

Cutaway Photos of the Ducati Superquadro Engine Ducati 1199 Panigale Superquadro motor cutaway 09 635x577

Photos: © 2011 Jensen Beeler / Asphalt & Rubber – Creative Commons – Attribution 3.0

Comment:

  1. Doctor Jelly says:

    I know people keep talking about how it’s Britton-esque in that it’s ‘frameless’, but I see a little Buell in there too with the upper frame bit being doubling as the airbox.

    I’ve got a question that’s been bugging me though: I still don’t see how it’s considered a monocoque design. I thought to be considered such, the pretty outside has to be structural as well…

  2. spytech says:

    the frame/airbox, is one structure made out of one piece of cast aluminum, that is your monocoque right there. it is the best engine out there in superbikes for sure. though i think with the higher in the rpm torque delivery, it might not be as good on the street than the 1198 was. we still have to see how fast it builds the rpm’s, i am just basing this on numbers.

    awesome bike!

  3. BBQdog says:

    Hope they tested it thouroughly, but that airbox doesn’t look very solid to me.

  4. Bob says:

    These pics reinforce what I’ve been saying the past 6 months. As someone who prefers to do all my own maintenance, this piece of machinery turns me off. I have no desire to pay a local shop $85/hr for a lot of hours of tedious work. This thing is way too complex for self servicing. It’s way too complicated for shop servicing. It could take 3-4 hours to do something simple that might take 30 minutes on an I-4. Pretty much have to take the whole bike apart to do anything beyond changing a spark plug. Maybe it is a fantastic track bred bike, but for the street… Forgettaboutit.

    Total cost of ownership will put this in with luxury cars.

  5. MikeD says:

    @Bob:

    Look twice…u still can change plugs and do valve checks and adjustments w/o having to split apart frame and engine.

    AND…UNLIKE my SV1000N wich to remove and replace the engine is an involved procedure + special tools…this Ducati seems pretty str8 forward to me… 4 Nuts and is all loose ? There may be more to it but i can’t see on first sight.

    Honestly…i thought there was going to be more fasteners conecting the frame/engine complex.

  6. Minibull says:

    Got to agree with Bob. We wont know till its out, but remember there is no other frame, trellis or anything to get in the way. Course you have cable, but thats standard.
    To take the engine out might be slighty tricky. Still, it dosnt look that bad…

  7. thneves says:

    Masterpiece! but Rossi didn’t liked much ?

  8. Bob says:

    Guys, keep in mind, when you remove the engine, the front and back halves are now separate pieces with nothing connecting them in the middle but wires. You now have disconnect all the wiring to get 2 whole pieces to carry to the corner of the garage instead of being able to roll it as a rolling chassis that uses an actual frame. Need to change out the worn timing chain guides? It looks like you have to unbolt multiple covers and remove othe components. This whole engine assembly is layer upon layer of stuff to take apart to get to something. Need to synch the throttle bodies? They’re buried inside the tight little airbox. Everything between the front and rear wheels looks like an absolute PITA to maintain. All I have to say to furure owners is I hope you have a large and available limit on your credit card because the labor to get these worked on by a shop will send you to the poor-house.

  9. Bill says:

    I have to agree with Bob, and to add something I noticed. How in the HE!! do you change the Air Filter. It looks like it requires a complete tear down of the front end!!!

    Beautiful bike, and great ideas. (@ thneves: at the level any mortal would ride this bike I doubt you would notice the problems Rossi had/has)

    But no thanks, I’ll keep my Aprilia. :-)

  10. MikeD says:

    @Bill:

    On plain sight…thru the hole under the “fuel tank”. No rocket science there…i think ?

    I think u guys are grabbing the torches and pitchforks up too soon.
    I can symphatize when the time comes to unload the engine…but other than that…i think is pretty much the same as any other run of the mill late model superbike…TONS OF CRAP in the way to get to any component.