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 Superbike 1199 Will Have LED Headlight

06/30/2011 @ 10:48 am, by Jensen Beeler18 COMMENTS

Ducati Superbike 1199 Will Have LED Headlight Ducati Superbike projector headlight 635x475

After seeing the front fairing of the new 2012 Ducati Superbike 1199 last week, we idly speculated that the design included an LED (light-emitting diode) headlamp, as no bulbs or projector assemblies could be seen in the housing. Another tip-off were the slats in the headlight housing, which can readily be seen, and look very similar to the setup used by Audi on its R18 TDI Le Mans race car. Getting a few tips from our loyal readers, and following up with several of our sources, we can confirm that the new Ducati Superbike 1199 will use a completely LED-based headlight system — the first production motorcycle to use such an assembly.

There are several advantages for Ducati to switch to an LED system, with the biggest three being size, energy, and heat. LEDs are super efficient, and can produce a similar amount of light for a fraction of the energy used in halogen bulbs, with virtually none of the heat (RSV4 owners take note). While that factoid has the geek factor, what’s perhaps the most relevant to motorcycles is the size factor. LEDs don’t require bulky ballasts like HID systems, and they don’t require large and heavy housings like the more commonplace halogen systems.

Instead, it is a simple matter of setting up the circuit to the light-emitting diode (this actually isn’t that simple from a technical point-of-view), and securing the directional light source with the right vector. This makes the Superbike 1199′s headlight assembly not only super-compact (we hear it’s about an inch thick), but also super-light (less mass than two cups of espresso and one gelato — stracciatella if it makes a difference). If you were wonder how the 1199 lost 20 lbs over the 1198, this would be just one of many major areas where the bikes can trim some fat (the lack of a traditional frame probably helps too).

The issue with LEDs has always been the output in lumens, and the fact that LEDs only emit one frequency of light, making true-white LEDs virtually impossible (true white light is a mixture of all light frequencies). While there’s been some interesting research in that latter issue, which goes way beyond the scope of this article, the light output from LEDs has increased in leaps and bounds over the past 10 years, with prices dropping dramatically as well. With companies like Audi proving the technology under the rigors of the race track, we stand on the verge of major OEM adoption of LED headlights in the car industry, and with this news see Ducati being the first-mover in the motorcycle industry. Neat stuff, and better yet, no Bothans were injured while collecting this report.


  1. buellracerx says:

    only a matter of time before volume drove cost down enough to make this feasible. weight, I could see being the biggest factor; energy not so much (30W~.04-.05hp)

    looking forward to seeing what kind of bling factor this brings the new flagship duc

  2. If you’re Benelli the reduced energy draw from the alternator could be a big improvement…oh there I go again…

  3. Odie says:

    Actually, I think that 30w is way high. A normal automotive halogen bulb only pulls 50w or so.

  4. Giova says:

    I think, the MV Agusta F4 already has the LED lights. Ducati is not the fist in motorcycles to do it.

  5. RSVDan says:

    MV’s use a projector with LED running lights.

  6. 76 says:

    Really happy to see this move to full LED from a major player, this impacts the front facia greatly as to the size and how small the footprint of the headlamps need to be. Styling wise it provides much greater flexibility and packaging wise becomes much more effective and efficient, way to go Ducati

  7. hoyt says:

    This opens the door for a lot of original styling for both naked and faired bikes

  8. Yup, lot’s of bikes have LED markers, parking lights, and LED accents, but none have a true full-blown LED headlamp.

  9. smiffy says:

    The new KTM RC8 has LED headlights…not sure if they’re only running lights though.

  10. smiffy says:

    The article talks about the 1199 but the photo shows the 848 evo….does that mean they get the LED set up too??

  11. i’m waiting for LED ZEPPELIN headlamps on motorcycles.

    now THAT will be cool ;-)

  12. RSVDan says:

    Get back in yer corner, John.

  13. When the middleweight Superbike gets updated, I’m sure they’ll have LED headlights. That picture is to show the current projector setup on the Ducatis. There was no 1198 version.

  14. smiffy says:

    Jensen what do you mean there was no 1198 version?


  15. Of the photo (a good projector headlight shot) in Ducati’s official press kit.

  16. Jeram says:

    wont be long until the traditional round headlight is gone and replace with strips of LED’s or other stylish placements.

    I think it would be marvelous to have fully functioning strips on LEDs on the fork tubes of a naked bike… allowing full veiw of the triple clamps and frame headstock.

  17. Greg says:

    I have LED headlights on my streetfighter. They are vision-x solstice lights. Definitely brighter and more noticeable than the factory halogen. And they draw almost no current. Its about time somebody did this from the factory.

  18. I wonder just how many lumens these LED light stick out?