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.

Ducati North America Q3 2012 Sales up 24%

10/24/2012 @ 7:48 pm, by Jensen Beeler5 COMMENTS

Ducati North America Q3 2012 Sales up 24% Ducati Diavel engine 635x529

Ducati North America has some impressive Q3 2012 sales numbers, as the Italian brand is up 24% over the same time period from last year. Its ninth-straight quarter of retail sales growth, Ducati North America owes a great deal of its success surprisingly to the Ducati Diavel, which was Bologna’s strongest model for growth in September. Ducati North America’s sales were up 40% in September.

Ducati hopes that 2012 will be a record year for the company, with sales from the Ducati 1199 Panigale helping fuel that enthusiasm. While Ducati remains bullish about the Panigale’s sales, our Bothan Spies have hinted that the new superbike hasn’t exactly met the initially high-sales expectations.

“We have paid very close attention to the desires of our customers in North America and believe that we have successfully developed the most appealing product offering in the brand’s history,” said Cristiano Silei, CEO of Ducati North America.

“With this consistent, positive momentum in retail sales, we are confident that 2012 will finish as a record year for Ducati. And, we look forward to a great start for 2013, with the recent announcement of several new models.”

Ducati is expected to debut a brand new water-cooled Hypermotard at EICMA, along with an “R” version of the Ducati 1199 Panigale and other minor model revisions & updates.

Source: Ducati North America

Comment:

  1. Arghhhh says:

    I love Ducati but until they start releasing bikes in North America with metal fuel tanks, I won’t buy another one. I just had to sell my Streetfighter because of ethanol causing the tank to swell. Only the Panigale has a metal tank?! At close to $2,000 a tank, I can’t afford to deal with that problem. Fix it, and I’m back to Ducati!

  2. Andrey says:

    As an owner of a number of new Ducatis I too will not be buying another with a plastic tank. Ducati North America have pretty much turned a blind eye to this issue and the support offered to address the problem has been way below the standard one would expect from a “premium” brand. Again…. accountants focused on the bottom line at the expense of the customers ownership experience….. very short sighted. Don’t these people read any modern texts on business, customer satisfaction or brand loyalty?

  3. Alex says:

    Agree with the above, owned multiple Ducatis. Sold my Streetfighter 1098 as well (1 tank and 1 lower radiator replaced at 600miles). Love the bike ( I mean LOVE), but won’t open my wallet to Ducati until things are fixed. Even if they put that 1199 engine in some kinda streetfighter, we just lost that sweet fat torque curve down below and the 848 doesn’t scare me enough. Monsters aren’t doing it for me either, just personal preference and same tank material. Hurry up Audi, throw your monies into Ducati just like you did with Lambo. I am very pleased with the path Lambo went on with thier german buddies. Keeping the Italian style and passion…but then infusing the proper QMS and cash. So, now I’m forced to look foward to the KTM Superduke for 2013, or settle for the Tuono V4, but I hear the same tank issues for the Ape’s and Triumph as well. :O( Maybe we should all buy Confederate Hellcat x132s, you think they’ll give us a group discount? LOL

  4. Damo says:

    @Above

    All Ducatis manufactured after mid-2011 have addressed the tank swelling issue. There is also a proposed solution to the class action suit currently in process as a result of this.

    It should have NEVER (and I mean NEVER) happened in the first place, but they are aware of the issue. Aprilia had a similar problem with the first generation RSV4.

    Also the tank swelling issue is covered under the manufacturer’s warranty if you bought it new. If your dealer refused to fix it, they need to be reported to the BBB (assuming you are in North America).

  5. sburns2421 says:

    Ducati’s sales of the Diavel were no doubt helped by the cheap financing they had all summer on the bike. 0.9% for 60 months IIRC, basically free financing.

    They have that now on non-ABS Panigales and the 848 gets the first six months free (4.99%/72 month finance). So expect touting of big boost in Q4 sales numbers of those bikes in a three months.

    That Ducati already has to offer special financing to move the 1199 indicates to me it isn’t selling as well as expected.