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 Q1 2013 Sales Drop 5% – Audi Dishes the Details

05/08/2013 @ 6:09 pm, by Jensen Beeler22 COMMENTS

Ducati Q1 2013 Sales Drop 5%   Audi Dishes the Details Ducati 1199 Panigale R COTA 635x423

Ducatisti: do you want the good news or the bad news first? The bad news is that the market for motorcycles 500cc and up is down 17% worldwide for the first quarter of this year, which means the “good” news is that Ducati is only down 5% for Q1 2013.

Not exactly the start out of the gate that Audi was hoping for its newly acquired two-wheeled brand, but what are you going to do? Western Europe is a mess, with Spain and Italy continuing to go down like a…well, you know.

Even the American market is on a slight decline for the first quarter, after showing signs of hitting rock bottom earlier last year. Accordingly Ducati sold 1,605 units in the USA — it’s the largest market by volume.

So why are we a bit giddy here at Asphalt & Rubber? Well while we don’t enjoy the misery of motorcycle brands, the fact that Ducati Motor Holding is now under the Audi AG umbrella means that we get far more detailed quarterly and yearly reports from the two-wheeled marque.

Want to know which Ducati model is out-selling them all? How about how many of each model were produced versus how many were sold? We’ve got the digits after the jump.

BikesQ1 2013 ProductionQ1 2013 DeliveredDiff.% Diff.
Diavel1827130951828%
Hypermotard1597567103064%
Monster3874304283221%
Multistrada2590189070027%
Streetfighter101190610510%
Superbike19212088-167-9%
“Others”015-15
Total1282098173003

For Q1 2013, Ducati built 12,820 units, and sold 9,817 of them. Compared to the 10,360 units that were sold in Q1 2012, this puts Ducati down 5.2% for the first-quarter of 2013, and holding roughly 3,000 units in inventory for the big sales push for the spring (assuming the company has no back-orders or inventory already, which is anyone’s guess).

Looking at the model breakouts, it is clear that the Ducati Monster is the brand’s bread and butter, which shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone who has followed Ducati, as the Monster has always been a strong seller with its “affordable” pricing.

More interesting is the Ducati Hypermotard sales, or lack there of. Clearly hitting a slump ahead of the 2013 Ducati Hypermotard’s dealership debut, only 500 or so motorcyclists picked up a 2012 model worldwide. We imagine the massive sales vs. production gap is related to sales figures being for the 2012 model, while the production figures are for the new 2013 liquid-cooled model (mega-gallery here).

Sales in the Superbike range appears to be steady with what we’ve heard from our sources, and it is interesting to note the volume being sold in the Multistrada and Diavel model lines.

Ducati really has become a brand defined on the sales floor by four models, and it will be interesting to see if the company can whip the Hypermotard and Streetfighter lines into shape, though when lumped together (as we imagine Ducati views them) the two liquid-cooled street-nakeds build Ducati’s fifth pillar of sales quite nicely.

No word on profits and losses for Ducati Motor Holding, though it might take zie Germans a bit of time to go through all that Italian bookkeeping.

Source: Audi AG

Comment:

  1. Damo says:

    I can see why no one would buy a 2012 Hypermotard with the all around superior model right around the corner with superior everything.

    The change over to a single model Streetfighter might add some confusion as well.

    I am still steadily watching the new Hyper and ready every review as a potential new bike.

    I wish they would jam that liquid cooled 821cc into a monster with no rider aides and sell it at a competitive price. THAT would be beyond awesome.

  2. I’d say you could read our review Damo, but umm…yeah.

  3. El Fuque says:

    Maybe buyers are waiting for a potential Panigale’d 848 and/or streetfighter replacement?

  4. Tyler says:

    Why do you need a 821cc monster when there is an 848 street fighter :) – and as for me, I love the 1100cc air cooled monster , I had one and it is some of the best fun on a road bike I’ve ever had. It much outperforms the hyper in my opinion for aggressive sport riding.. Or allows you to ride it more like a sportbike.

    However the good question is a new middle weight… That handles well, unlike the 848 at the track which always need geometry changes for race setup..

  5. John O says:

    While I’m guessing there’s a downsized Panigale in the future, if the past is any indication Ducati will keep going with the 848 motor for at least another few years or so.

    Ducati loves to re-use, re-use, re-use as much as they can of old designs before switching over to something new.

    They learned a valuable lesson with the Monster (practically built from the unused parts bin) and I see them sticking with that game plan for some time to come (848 H-Motard anyone?)

  6. GStar says:

    @Damo Your wish will come true, the new Monster will have the same motor that the Hypermotard/Hyperstrada have in it. Also, the 848 is going bye bye after the summer. Being that fall is the start of the new bike season then guess a new middleweight is just around the corner.

    @Tyler The reasons for a 800cc motor Monster even with an 848 Streetfighter is pretty obvious. The Monster’s engines are not as aggressive as the Streetfighters making them easier to ride, and the Monster is not as aggressively positioned nor as tall as the Streetfighter making it more appealing to people who want more of a standard or who are not tall enough to hop on a streetfighter.

    @John O The new Hyper’s 821cc is very formidable. The new configuration is working out quite well so even with the cc loss, the bike is extremely fun and powerful enough to ride.

  7. Damo says:

    @Jensen

    Oh, you know I read all the A&R reviews. You folks are one of the few sites that has never steered me wrong (although I wish you would do more gear reviews!)

    I have owned my RC51 out right for some time now and I will never sell it. I want a second bike I can throw the wife on the back of and do some 4 hours trips, but is a blast around town once I rip the bags off.

    @Tyler

    Try and ride a pillion on a Streetfighter. My wife is 5’11″ and I am 6’1″, hard to find a fun bike we can ride two-up on and I just don’t fancy most large sport tourers.

    I should just bite the bullet and buy a damn Multistrada…

  8. yung says:

    @Jensen what are the “other” models?

  9. akatsuki says:

    They could, you know, actually make the Streetfighter a better street bike rather than leaving it to the Monster and Hyper… that might actually help a bit.

    @Damo just buy the MTS – it is the most brilliant bike out there right now.

  10. travi says:

    Bring back the 1/2 fairing Supersport- CR. Air cooled. and Retro. Down payment is ready.

  11. yung says:

    @Damo if you go ride a Multi, you will buy it. Amazing machine

  12. Daniel Croft says:

    I have a 2012 MTS 1200 S Touring and have owned an M1100 Evo.

    The MTS is a really, really good bike, pretty much the only omission that I notice is cruise control (fly by wire throttle, factory bags, comfortable bike… wtf Ducati?).

  13. InTheKnow says:

    Not to worry….DNA was pretty much flat YOY through March, and post April they’re positive. No new 1199 this 2013 Q1 + everyone awaiting the new Hyper’s arrival in late April.

    Oh, and don’t expect the 848′s replacement to have the same engine/CCs.

  14. BikePilot says:

    @ Yung, I rode a Multi thinking I’d def buy one after a test ride. The test ride convinced me otherwise. It’s highly functional, but was very smooth and bland–rather un-ducati. Also there’s a weird ridge in the bodywork right where there should be a cut-out for my knee. Knees were hurting after 30 minutes.

    If they’d do a hotted up, stripped down Multi with better ergonomics I’d be down for sure. Love the concept and functionality.

  15. Westward says:

    Im essentially waiting for an 848 Panigale or the return of the sport classic maybe a 796 or 848…

  16. GStar says:

    @ Westward We have a very strong belief that the mini Panigale will be out at the end of this year in time for the new model year(August). And I’m with you hoping that they bring back the sport classic line. With a new Triumph Thruxton due out next year and the return of the Norton Commando line, lets pray it forces their hand to bring it back!

  17. The bike missing in the current line up is the new SuperSport Travis doesn’t know he wants yet.. The new HyperStrada engine and frame gives Ducati a cost effective basis to make a torquey modern replacement for the much loved SuperSport for the first time in many years. The 821 cc engine has been designed to mimic the style of performance delivered by the air cooled engines.

    Expect Ducati to unveil new water cooled engine Monster with a version of the 821 cc engine AND a new SuperSport based on the same engine (with possibly slightly larger diameter pistons to provide 900cc for marketing reasons) at EICMA in Milan this year. The SuperSport will be unveiled to gauge buyer reaction before making a production commitment.

    Ducati can keep the development of this bike secret until close to the unveiling as it shares SO MUCH of the new Hyperstrada platform…and for the same reason they can get it into production on the same production line very very quickly if they need to. They can also display this bike as a Milan University design exercise as MV Agusta did with an F3 variation in 2011 at the same show. This way they walk away from it with no embarrassment if they decide not to proceed.

    Ducati knows that a real world 110-120 hp, low revving, low maintenance sports bike that you can chuc a girlfriend ( or boy friend) occasionally, has a ready audience with all the old devoted SuperSport owners and all the customers who see a high revving 160hp sports bike as irrelevant.

    The obvious sense of this bike is kind of illustrated by why Ducati has both a distinct Streetfighter and Monster customer base….and a lot more people buy Monsters rather than Streetfighters. And a lot more people will buy the new SuperSport than a Panigale…..Audi ain’t stupid!

    Don’t get me wrong as a flagship product the Panigale is the most important product in Ducati’s range and it has proven no slouch on the sales room floor…but they will sell a lot more SuperSorts at $14,500 than Panigales.

    I am expecting a phone call from Audi to confirm my appointment to this projects marketing team….sitting by the phone waiting now……(it’s not ringing)….Audi have you lost my number?

    What does everyone else say, will my phone ring?

  18. 2ndclass says:

    Your phone will ring to the sound of deafening silence. That all sounds lovely, but at the end of the day how many people would actually put their money where their mouth is? Too many companies have been burned (in both the 2 and 4-wheeled sectors) by enthusiasts screaming that if you make it we’ll buy it, only to have them languish in showrooms, unloved and unsold.

  19. jackie says:

    Plastic on plastic, with more finicky little plastic covers all over the place…nuts & bolts made so cheaply you dare not touch them more than once…fenders shaved down as thin as they dare make it to save every last penny they can…motors so encased in crap it takes 20 min just to strip everything off before you even touch the engine itself, on a “naked” bike no less.

    That sums up my Ducati Monster Evo.

    I want to love it like my old 900ss, but the new bikes are just shite.

    They go great, they sound proper, and sure look lovely, but I’ve bought my last new Duc.

  20. RGR says:

    Re: Bikepilot…

    It’s funny to me how the only people that put down the Multistrada are those that don’t own them. I’m sorry but a demo ride will NEVER tell you what the MTS is all about, or what it can do. Un-Ducati-like, really? It has a freakin’ 1198 engine between its legs. The bike will keep up with any sportbike in the canyons. Top speed might not be up there with a superbike but the handling is simply amazing.

    Yes I own one. Yes I think it’s an amazing bike. Am I a Ducatisti? No, I’m not really a big Ducati guy. But I can’t name another bike that can do all the things the MTS can do, as well as it can do them. There’s a reason it’s Ducati’s 2nd highest-production bike…and it’s not a cheap motorcycle.

  21. Sean says:

    For me, a street bike means ABS and TC. I really like the air-cooled-naked look, and the two-valve sound, but I’m not that taken with the Monsters. A revived 900SS with half-fairing, or Sport Classic, with rider aids would be cool.

  22. Norm G. says:

    Q: “but at the end of the day how many people would actually put their money where their mouth is?”

    A: few. in the UJM world, less than zero.