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.

Up-Close with the Ducati 1199 Panigale S Tricolore

11/15/2011 @ 7:12 pm, by Jensen Beeler14 COMMENTS

Up Close with the Ducati 1199 Panigale S Tricolore Ducati 1199 Panigale S Tricolore EICMA 32 635x444

The pinnacle of Ducati’s Superbike offering for 2012 is the Ducati 1199 Panigale S Tricolore. Incorporating the key features from the Ducati 1199 Panigale S, like its traction control (DTC), electronic quick-shifter (DQS), forged Marchesini wheels, and Öhlins-made Ducati Electronic Suspension (DES) front forks and rear TTX shock, the Tricolore package adds anti-locking brakes and the GPS-assisted DDA+ Ducati Data Acquisition system as standard items to Tricolore’s technical list.

Add in bounty of carbon fiber, and a stunning three-color paint scheme (hence the name), and you’ve got a stellar motorcycle that should please all of a rider’s senses. Helping celebrate Italy’s 150 year anniversary of unification, the Tricolore is Ducati’s ultimate expression of Italian design and engineering. Up-close the Ducati 1199 Panigale S Tricolore instantly makes the plain Rosso Corsa-clad Panigale look pedestrian and commonplace, which is a shame. However, if this is the new Corse paint scheme for future bikes, we could get used to that.

Common to all the Ducati 1199 Panigale superbikes, the LED headlight really is something to behold. In its low-beam setting, the two groupings of LEDs near the center of the Panigale’s nose illuminate the way ahead. They are noticeably bright, with a slightly bluish hue. Flipping the switch to the high-beam setting though, and the lux value doubles by our estimates, with the entire headlight array projecting photons. Sources have told us that the entire headlight package is very thin, and surely there is some significant weight savings occurring here because of the LED implementation.

Especially intriguing is the Ducati Electronic Suspension (DES) by Öhlins and the new DDA+ data acquisition software. Having played with the DES on the Multistrada 1200, the package is really more of a convenience than something earth-shattering, and merely makes adjustments from preset settings easier and wrench/screwdriver free. Similarly the GPS-assisted data acquisition is also a step forward, but again is how all data acquisition packages should operate (who are OEMs kidding with manual lap timers?), since the DDA+ uses the GPS data to know what turn you are in on a track, and when you’ve crossed the start/finish line.

However what compels us the most about these two systems is the fact that now a motorcycle not only knows where it is on a race course, but also has the ability to adjust its suspension setup on-the-fly while on the track. At this point, it is only going to take some clever individuals to make the two systems talk to each other, and finally bring dynamic body control to the motorcycle industry. We imagine such a system already exists somewhere in Sweden, though it is anyone’s guess as to when the public will see it. Best guesses would be another 10 years. How long will it take a systems hacker to achieve the same feat? We give it 12 months.

Up Close with the Ducati 1199 Panigale S Tricolore Ducati 1199 Panigale S Tricolore EICMA 19 635x444

Up Close with the Ducati 1199 Panigale S Tricolore Ducati 1199 Panigale S Tricolore EICMA 33 635x444

Up Close with the Ducati 1199 Panigale S Tricolore Ducati 1199 Panigale S Tricolore EICMA 03 635x444

Up Close with the Ducati 1199 Panigale S Tricolore Ducati 1199 Panigale S Tricolore EICMA 08 635x444

Up Close with the Ducati 1199 Panigale S Tricolore Ducati 1199 Panigale S Tricolore EICMA 23 635x444

Up Close with the Ducati 1199 Panigale S Tricolore Ducati 1199 Panigale S Tricolore EICMA 25 635x444

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


  1. Jake Fox says:

    Enough already! Alright Jensen, you win. I’ll take one with one condition. Those girls must deliver it personally.

  2. MichaelL says:

    Maybe it’s because I am partial to the red, black, white, and exposed aluminum of the previous Corse liveries, but I’m not as overtaken by this Tricolore. Does it translate better in person than it does in pictures?

  3. Other Sean says:

    I’ve been a pretty rabid Ducatisti for 6 years now, but yeah, somebody’s drinking pitchers of Kool-aid on this bike.

    It was also named most beautiful bike of the (Italian) show. Luckily for it, the new MV triple was unveiled LAST year…

  4. Gary says:

    …still, I liked the in-your-face expression of Italia on my `86 F1 better than this watered-down paint scheme (same went for the 1098 version).

  5. Aaron says:

    I think the Tricolore is fantastic, as is the bike’s design. Rossi may not like it for the race track, but damn, it is hot. More supermodel than girl next door, with all those angles, sweet lines, and slightly different looks.

  6. BikePilot says:

    My fav would be that bike with the bare aluminum tank.

  7. Michael L says:

    I agree with BikePilot, I prefer the bare aluminum tank Superstock model, but I will reserve judgement on the Tricolore until I see it in person.

  8. aaron says:

    I’ll take the smaller version (when it comes out) in a senna colour scheme. until then, I’ll be bothering anyone who goes racing a 1199 for the headlights they obviously won’t be needing anymore – my speed triple will love the led look!

  9. Billy B.Tso says:

    apart from the protruding rear exhaust loop tumour, it’s a stunning bike!…and another thing i’ll say for ducati, is they know how to pic a good model to sit on a bike …virtual hi-five to ducati ;)

  10. SBPilot says:

    @ Billy B.Tso

    I absolutely love the rear exhaust loop tumour, it reminds of an exhaust from a stroker! If I ever owned a 1199 I’d take the exhaust cover off and fully expose that beautiful bent piece of metal. Actually scratch that I’d employ someone to make a high number pie cut purge welded titanium tubing exhaust. I can see it now!

  11. Shawn says:

    Rear Shock slider anyone?

  12. Spyker_May says:

    Will we see it on the WSBK circuit..? That should provide some answers re the notion of it being “unrideable” or otherwise…

  13. Telboy says:

    What a fantastic duke they sure know how to make a good bike 195bhp, and it looks great except not so sure about the wing mirrors , looks a bit antilopee , roll on March 20012 when mine should arrive.

  14. John says:

    Very nice bike! Wow! Can you say maintenance hog! You will need a computer lab to work on it. Way to complicated for the average rider. Better bring the wallet. Look fwd to seeing it on the track.