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.

Infographic: Electric vs. Gasoline Motorcycles

04/06/2011 @ 3:48 pm, by Jensen Beeler25 COMMENTS

Infographic: Electric vs. Gasoline Motorcycles electric vs ice infographic title

If you’ve been out of the motorcycling loop for the past couple of years, and want a quick primer on what’s going on with electric motorcycles, this infographic by Family PowerSports may be of some help. The graphic focuses mostly on the Brammo Enertia, but most of the information crosses over to other electric models. There’s a lot of interesting points made on the infographic, but we take a little issue with the sales figures as correlated to gas prices.

Generally speaking, bikes sales go up as gas prices at the pump go up…of course, bike sales also tend to go down when there’s a credit crunch followed by an economic recession. Make your pick on which one you think played the bigger role in fewer motorcycles being sold in 2009-2011. The complete graphic is after the jump (click it for the full size).

Infographic: Electric vs. Gasoline Motorcycles electric vs ice infographic 635x2530

Source: Family PowerSports

Comment:

  1. zaphod says:

    What I would like to see: range, 0-60 time.
    If you want to do whats right for the environment (and your wallet), buy an efficient used motorcycle and maintain it.

  2. JR says:

    That’s a good looking infographic and it starts off as titled, but then it leads off into just information on electric motorcycles technology. If you’re doing a comparison between gas vs. electric, what about life cycle costs? battery replacement cost? maintenance costs? insurance rates? I think you need some more information to make this a comprehensive comparison.

  3. Jay says:

    yeah but i still like the rumble and grown of my bike :|

  4. Brammofan says:

    It’s an interesting graphic, filled with the kind of obsessive detail that I can appreciate. I agree with JR, however, in that it kind of leaves the title (and subtitle) behind. You’ll probably have some other ICE bikers who will want to debate what they mean by “Traditional Motorcycle.” Also, I can’t seem to find the graphic anywhere on their site.

  5. Terry Lemmons says:

    So what part of making these batteries and motors is GREEN?

  6. Keith says:

    Can I pull up to any plug in and have the batteries “FULL” in less than 10minutes? Not to nitpick but I’d be raising hell with the maker of my IC powered bikes if they were down 10% power/range after only 30,000 miles. 30,000 miles and a street bike is JUST starting to break in.

  7. Adrian says:

    You can get a Brammo in the US for six grand?
    You yanks don’t know how good you’ve got it, Zero recently set up shop here in Sydney selling their little dirt bike thing for fourteen thousand dollars!
    I predict Zero will live up to their name in the number they’ll sell at that price, I just wonder if I can find the auction when the liquidators clear the unsold stock.

    I have a ten-mile commute each morning and evening, for six grand I’d happily get a Brammo and charge it up overnight, just for my daily ride.

  8. 76 says:

    30,000 miles is just getting broken in? What world and bike do ride? “Broken in” is give or take about 1000 miles

    If you go 30,000 miles on a bike without multiple engine freshens than your really not so concerned with 10% performance in all honesty.

    I ride all I can on the weekends with some commuting here and there and manage what 15,000 max in a year split between 3 street bikes. With that even my street bikes will get cracked at 15,000 to 20,000

  9. Keith says:

    15,000 and tear down? what are you riding old pre 80′s 2stroke eastern euro crap? I’ve GL1000 30 years young and still goes the ton plus that cycle world rated it at in 79′. Well over 100k miles.

  10. Westward says:

    Here in California, I have seen this bike called a Zongshen GS250 on the road about 5 times. I know most people have never heard of it, and you guessed it, has 250cc. Well after digging around the net for all of about 5 seconds, I found it for $2999, with the price slashed to $2199, to make it look like a deal.

    With a 3 gal. tank, up to 70 mpg, a top speed of 75mph, and dual front disc brakes (also a rear obviously), that still gives a person $3400 to spare on gas, vs. a Brammo Enertia in Oregon @ $5600, or another $5100 for fuel anywhere else.

    Using that electric motorcycle cost calculator, you would have to ride the Zongshen Gs250 up to 74,134 miles before equaling the cost of the Enertia, plus you wouldn’t have to wait for it to charge for 8 hours after going 60 miles.

    If this Zongshen can make a bike for $2100, Kawi for $4000, and Honda for $4600, I don’t see why an Electric bike shouldn’t cost that or less, even with the current battery technology. Lets face it, all these bikes are being make in an asian country, so manufacturing costs are relatively equal…

  11. wbkr says:

    Handily all the data that would make the e-bike look bad has been left out.

    - operational range
    - refuelling time vs. recharge time
    - top speed
    - power / weight ratio

    Color choices 4 vs. 1, come on.

    Just another e-propaganda article.

  12. wilcon76 says:

    Range is the biggest one for me. I own a semi touring motorcycle that can roll 200+ miles or so on a tank of gas. I can fill at any gas station. Sure the electric can use any outlet but who is going to let you use it 50 miles from home? Mine had 2 color options, and that was enough. Electric is coming and that’s fine but call me when it’s not a novelty toy.

  13. Foreigner says:

    Colour choices…really?? This reads more like a shameless advertising leaflet than an infographic. As both a daily city commuter and long distance rider (I’m talking 500km+ at a time), I need two important figures to make a fair comparisson:

    - Range between ‘refills’
    - Charging/Refuelling time

    Quite a glaring ommission. Let’s talk practical issues too. I live in an apartment on the third floor. How exactly am I expected to charge this thing? Even if it takes 15 minutes, if you think I’m going to waste that much time charging before or after work, you’ve got another thing coming. I bought a bike to get to places fast not slow me down. The only country in Europe I know that has a recharging network is Portugal, and even there, it’s week, so where am I going to charge? And don’t get me started on the cost of the bike and batteries.

    I want electric bikes to be a -viable- competitor to gasoline bikes, and I want them to be fed by electricity based on renewable sources (anything less and it reeks of hypocrisy). Seeing as this doesn’t seem to be the case anywhere, I’ll be saving my pennies, thanks.

  14. Josh says:

    Conveniently leaves out the time it takes to recharge/refuel, range and virtually all factors related to performance. Brammo should be comparing to a honda metropolitan scooter or some similarly slow and range-limited thing.

    I think current ebikes could really sell as e-commuters/scooter alternatives, I’d even consider one for my commute. They are absolutely dreaming if they think they can compete with performance oriented motorcycles on current battery tech and available supporting infrastructure.

  15. Rob says:

    Between what it’ll cost in electricity to ‘fill it up’ and not being able to actually ride it very far at all, I’ll pass. I could see this as ONLY a commuter bike, and even then, I don’t want to spend $6k on something just to get to work on. As we said, thats what 250s are for!

  16. jackie says:

    Electrics (motorcycles) are still nothing more than expensive toys for early adopters, that are still filled with too much “can’t” and not enough “do”. They remind me a bit of the Smart cars I see rolling about…I always find myself thinking, one could have bought something for less money, that is infinitely more functional. Some like the “perception” of things more than the reality.

    The sad part for most of these manufacturer’s is that once the technology becomes functional to the masses, Honda, Yamaha, BMW, Ducati, etc. are all going to roll out their electrics, and the best some of these other companies (Bramo, Mission, Zero, etc.) can hope for is to be bought out, though who would be interested and why I can’t figure out.

    When these bikes are useful in the real world, and offer some semblance of performance and sex appeal, they’ll sell like hotcake. Sadly, all that are available today miss one if not all those marks.

  17. Brammofan says:

    @jackie – I don’t know, my Brammo seems pretty useful in my real world. It can make my round trip commute without a mid-day re-charge. Performance? Adequate for my needs. Sex appeal? That’s pretty subjective, but if it has anything to do with the looks and comments I get on the road and at traffic lights, it’s appealing to a majority of the people who bother to ask me about it.
    And it’s fun.

  18. protomech says:

    Appreciate the effort, but this infographic is not very good.

    * can be brought to 90% state of charge from fully discharged in 15 minutes — not on the Enertia. Brammo specifies a four hour charge rate for the Enertia on 120V, which is probably 2-3 hours to 80%.
    * the Valence Ucharge U1-12XP in the Enertia is rated at 3C 30s peak, 2C continuous – not 20C and 10C.
    * the Brammo Enertia Plus pictured at the top (the $9k 6kwh model) uses LiCoO2 batteries, not the LiFePO4 in the original Enertia (and discussed in the remainder of the infographic).

  19. Tom says:

    One thing Westward, the Zongshen is a Chinese bike and people won’t buy something that expensive made in China when a used Japanese bike will work much better for the same money. Its just better to spend money in the US than in China. And, electric bikes are good daily commuter bikes where the cost of not helping the environment/US economy is higher than actually doing something useful.

  20. jackie says:

    @Brammofan: (everything here is said as a friendly conversation) I hear ya. It’s good for some (like yourself) but not for many others though. That’s the trouble with all these current iterations of electric motorcycles.

    As a potential consumer, I’ve no place to plug in at home, no place to plug in at work, and no accommodation to remove the battery-packs and plug them in elsewhere; it would also run out of juice half way through my weekend short ride, and wouldn’t even offer an iota of the type of power/handling/performance I could get from even a Vespa, or larger Japanese scooter. Let alone any of the current motorcycles out there.

    Don’t get me wrong, electrics are the future. But the current crop isn’t there yet. Again, they are limited to early adopters who like the “idea” of these bikes more than what they truly offer…

    …Minus its electric motor, nothing about it is “better” than any number of other options out there. Whatever criteria you might list, I suspect I or someone else in the motorcycle community could point out another bike that you would LOVE…absolutely love riding. Better handling, better brakes, more storage, longer range, cheaper price, ease of riding…whatever category you pick. And that’s the problem with the Brammo/Zero/Etc. right now.

    And I think you know what I mean by sexiness. =) Don’t be a dork. =P

    I think you’ve also discovered one of the joys of two-wheeled transport…people always want to talk to you about it; be it a Harley or vintage scooter. Bikes are cool…and not in that “but cool is a subjective thing” way. =)

    Good on ya for riding! Enjoy. Be safe. Smile and eat lots of bugs.

  21. JP says:

    This info graphic is kind of lame. The copies the description of how a super basic motor works from here: http://electronics.howstuffworks.com/motor6.htm

    Under the section , “How the motor works”, they talked about batteries. Duh.

  22. LutherG says:

    i was really turned off by the way they hid the high fuel prices and falling bike sales underneath an inprint of a motorcycle. High fuel costs, and motorcycle sales go hand in hand. People aren’t buying bikes for economy in the States. They are a luxury good which sells when the economy is cooking along. High gas prices are as a result of high demand as well. The two are linked, but not directly as is indicative of the graphic.

    When the Large Bike (over 250cc) buying countries have a downturn, the small bike buying countries like china and india still might have a booming economy and have a need for oil which pushes world demand up. That’s why increasing domestic production doesn’t have a significant effect on domestic prices.

    What is of interest to me is what model bikes have plummeted in sales. I say its the “lifestyle” bikes which have dropped so much. That’s why harley has taken such a beating. But that is just a guess.

    As far as life of a bike engine goes, my triumph trophy has 38k and hasn’t needed a valve adjustment, doesn’t use oil, or water. There are a number floating around with 100k plus–and those are carb engined bikes. With fuel injection there is less gas washing the oil off the cylinder walls, and those bikes should last even longer–provided the rider is riding with some sense.

  23. LutherG says:

    Did I forget to mention the credit market collapse of 2008? Unless you didn’t need a loan, you couldn’t get on.

  24. matthew says:

    As with every other info graphic out there, this one distorts in order to promote the agenda of the people who put it together.

  25. Brammofan says:

    @matthew – I agree it distorts… I just can’t figure out what “family PowerSports” agenda is from their website. They sell lots of things for gas-powered bikes and don’t appear to be a Brammo dealer.