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.

MotoGP: A Ducati Desmosedici GP13 Production Racer?

06/29/2013 @ 12:51 pm, by Jensen Beeler12 COMMENTS

MotoGP: A Ducati Desmosedici GP13 Production Racer? 2013 Desmosedici GP13 LCD dash Jensen Beeler 635x421

Speaking with MotoGP.com, Ducati’s MotoGP Project Director Paolo Ciabatti has revealed that the Italian factory is considering making a production racer version of the Ducati Desmosedici GP13 that will be made available to privateer MotoGP teams.

Conceived along the same vein as Honda’s RC213V-based production racer, the Ducati race bike would be available only to privateer teams in MotoGP, and would fall under MotoGP’s new rules, which make distinctions between factory and privateer bikes.

“Since the new rules came out for next year, where it is actually possible for a full MotoGP bike to run in what would have been the CRT class – using the single ECU and single software – we are considering to make available the 2013 bike with this package,” said  Ciabatti while talking to MotoGP.com

With MotoGP doing away with the “CRT” distinction, in 2014 the guiding light for determining factory and non-factory machines will be the ECU software. Seeing a spec-ECU introduced into MotoGP starting in 2014, the bargain that Dorna had to strike with the MSMA was that the factory teams could use their own software on the Magneti Marelli ECU’s.

To help close the gap to the factory outfits, privateer teams that are on the Magneti Marelli electronics will also get an additional four liters of fuel (24 liters in total), and will be limited 12 engines, instead of the five engine for factory teams, for the entire season.

With this distinction in mind, Ducati sees an opportunity to offer its current full-fledged MotoGP race bike, the Ducati Desmosedici GP13, to private teams with the spec-ECU and spec-software taking the place of Ducati Corse’s technology.

Since the GP13 has struggled in MotoGP to-date, even in the hands of Nicky Hayden and Andrea Dovizioso, some may question the feasibility of the project, and potential interest from race teams for a production racer variant of the Desmosedici, however the move might be a master-stroke from Ducati.

For the 2013 season, CRT teams have access to an even softer compound of Bridgestone tire than the factory machines, which has helped the production-based machines close the gap to the factory-built equipment.

Ducati personnel have made no secret out of the fact that the CRT tire would help aid them in their front-end troubles, so if the same tire distinctions are held in place for the 2014 season, a production racer Desmosedici could be surprisingly competitive.

It remains to be seen whether Ducati Corse follows through with its production racer plans, and whether any teams will nibble at the chance for an alternative to Honda’s similar project, but with HRC so far ahead of Ducati Corse in developing a production racer, one too has to wonder if there is enough time for Ducati to build and develop production racer variants of its GP13.

However, if the bike is kept very close to spec as the current GP machine, the development time may not take long at all, with the real R&D residing in bringing the electronics up to par. As always, time will tell, but it looks like Ducati will have a go/no-go announcement by the Laguna Seca round.

Source: MotoGP.com; Photo: © 2013 Jensen Beeler / Asphalt & Rubber – Creative Commons – Attribution 3.0

Comment:

  1. dc4go says:

    I don’t hate Ducati and I have 3 of them in my garage, but… Why on earth would any one buy a “PRODUCTION RACER” from Ducati when they clearly can get their own bike to work?? Every Ducati finished behind Alexi in a ART bike in Assen. I’d rather lease that out . Wonder how the Honda production racer and Yami leased bike compare to the current ART bike in terms of speed?

  2. TexusTim says:

    didnt you hear ? there about to solve there problems….just in time to sell a racer spec production bike ? whaat ?

  3. CTK says:

    The CRT front tire is a wildcard. It could be the key

  4. crab753 says:

    Perhaps a better idea would be for Ducati to lease or sell engines to a team like Marc VDS or NGM. Maybe someone like Kalex could shed a completely new light on the chronic under steer and pumping problems with that beast. Hayden and Dovi are both podium finishers. On the Ducati they’re lucky to finish 5th or 6th or scrapping with the CRT’s for 10th & 11th. Unless Ducati is developing a secret weapon I can’t imagine anyone investing in the whole package.

  5. Norm G. says:

    i’ll co-sign the engine lease idea. once ciabatti mentions lucky model year “2013″, that full bike idea immediately becomes a non-starter. :(

    like yam, put engines on lend and post a boffin with each team. and YES, some of these teams might be able to build a better ally chassis than you. ok, so you can’t build a frame, who gives a crap. but therein lies THE BIG IDEA.

    swallowing a little pride now will see them reap a HUGE windfall later. it’s a WIN/WIN. the teams get what they want, and they get the revenue stream, paddock proliferation, and product control THEY want.

    and if they’re really smart, they can even offer an OPTIONAL deal to the teams. ie. those willing to feed back chassis data to bologna…??? qualify for a reduced lease rate. it’s brilliant.

    remember, the goal here is for them to play to their strengths, and their strength is in the DESMO…!!! always has been. thank you Norm G, you’re welcome Ducati.

  6. Norm G. says:

    re: “Since the GP13 has struggled in MotoGP to-date, even in the hands of Nicky Hayden and Andrea Dovizioso, some may question the feasibility of the project, and potential interest from race teams for a production racer variant of the Desmosedici, however the move might be a master-stroke from Ducati.”

    perhaps they haven’t been keeping up with current events, but THE ENTIRE PADDOCK just watched their “lucky 13′s” suck wind in the Netherlands.

  7. Norm G. says:

    re: “Ducati personnel have made no secret out of the fact that they (think) the CRT tire would help aid them in their front-end troubles”

    and Honda have made no secret they’re engine is actually a 90V, and they’ve been able to make their kit work WITHOUT “stinkin’ badges” or “soft tyres”.

    best to assume worst case scenario, that when CRT goes away so will their special tyre allocation. it’s the only way to be sure.

  8. Westward says:

    Some of you clearly read the title of the article without actually reading the article. If you had then one would know why this could be a win win for Ducati, and maybe even an actual win.

    Both Hayden and Dovi have qualified well, as well as raced near the front. If the CRT tyre is an advantage, the Ducati would not have to change a single thing on the bike and they would gain better handling and enough fuel to full throttle it without being nearly as conservative.

  9. Westward says:

    @Crab753

    That’s what I ve been sayin’, Kalex seems to have found a solution in Moto2, which they seem to dominate.

  10. dc4go says:

    Ducati should follow Yami and lease out the motors. The Desmo is the most powerful bike in MOTOGP with the worst chassis. If Kalex or Suter can make the bike handle then it’s a WIN/WIN situation. They can help each other out and make it back to the front..

  11. paulus says:

    How about if Ducati cease their factory entry… and ‘support’ satelite teams only.
    More fuel, stickier tyres, still have race presence and possibly better results
    Just a thought!

  12. Norm G. says:

    re: “Ducati should follow Yami and lease out the motors. The Desmo is the most powerful bike in MOTOGP with the worst chassis.”

    re: “How about if Ducati cease their factory entry… and ‘support’ satelite teams only.”

    see dc4go and Paulus get’s it. gentlemen, I’ve scheduled your medal pining ceremony for 08:00 tomorrow and given you extended weekend liberty starting thursday. carry-on.