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.

Erik Buell Racing Eyes 450cc Off-Road Machine

11/29/2010 @ 7:41 am, by Jensen Beeler12 COMMENTS

Erik Buell Racing Eyes 450cc Off Road Machine dirt bike tire marks1 635x423

In an interview with Alan Cathcart, Erik Buell talks to the famed motorcycle journalist about his departure from Harley-Davidson, and what the future holds for Erik Buell and Erik Buell Racing. Perhaps one of the most interesting things to come out of the pair’s conversation (read a translated version at Motonline) is the fact that in late-2006/early-2007 Harley-Davidson killed off a project to build a 450cc Buell off-road machine. Still believing that there is a market for a Buell-branded dirt bike, Buell confessed to Cathcart that EBR is taking up the 450cc project again, which uses a special single-cylinder Rotax motor as its power plant.

While Harley-Davidson reportedly used millions of dollars to develop the 450cc dirt bike idea, EBR is developing the motorcycle for obviously significantly less money. Centered around a gas and oil in-frame design, Buell says the bike will be very light with its aluminum frame, although maybe not the lightest bike on the market. With a focus on reliability and ease-of-start, it’ll be interesting to see how EBR takes its track oriented brand, and applies it to the off-road world.

We imagine funding is the biggest issue right now in getting the EBR off-roader off the ground and into the dirt, as our sources tell us Buell has actively been looking for financial backing since his departure from Harley-Davidson. We have yet to hear of a major investor stepping in to help the innovative company, but rumors of a Bombardier acquisition have been heating up (who knows if this has anything to do with that).

Source: Motonline


  1. Interesting — and who wouldn’t want to see the great old Can-Am brand resurrected for motorcycles? Bombardier is a very creative company; sales-wise, that ‘Spyder’ is almost the only bright spot in the whole world of motorsports. Maybe Erik’s bikes could piggyback into distribution through the Spyder’s dealer network. My two-cents’ worth: an off-road 450 is great, but there should also be dual-sport and ultra-lighweight sport bike variants.

  2. BikePilot says:

    I’m a huge fan of off road riding and would love to see more options, but it is a curious move. The Japanese are incredibly good at making 4-stroke MX bikes and it would be very difficult to be competitive, much less successful in that market. The Japanese only pay secondary attention to off road machines and almost no attention to making street legal off road machines. This is where KTM dominates, with Husqvarna also making a very competitive showing. Then there are the attempts by BMW and niche bikes like the Beta, Husaberg etc. This is probably where EBR could make a dent in the market if it is able to produce and support a competitive machine.

    Oil in the frame is very common in this market. Gas in-the-frame hasn’t been done by an oem to my knowledge, though it isn’t uncommon to fill the frame rails with fuel as a diy thing to get more capacity.

    I’m dubious that an off-road suitable frame could be built with sufficient volume to replace the fuel tank. Such a large frame would tend to be very thin-walled (too fragile for off road) or very heavy.

    A better approach would likely be to use both the frame and a small tank for fuel or perhaps an optional accessory external fuel cell.

    A final consideration is that in this market a user absolutely must be able to select from a range of tank sizes, else the bike will be largely useless. Some of my off road rides require ~200 mile range while others only need a 35 mile range and many can be done with a 100 mile range.

    IMHO EBR should go win some SCORE, BITD and GNCC races on a prototype before trying to bring something to market. Off road is very different from street and I worry that EBR may lack the in-house experience necessary to make a competitive machine right off the bat. A couple of years of racing would probably be the quickest means of getting the necessary experience and perspective, not to mention a great way of establishing some credibility.

    EBR should also consider a >450cc machine as the Japanese have abandoned this market with the death of the XR650R. A competition-oriented, high performance >600cc bike would enjoy a unique market position. In fact, a 2-model range with 350cc and 650cc motors could be quite profitable. A 450 is too much for most people in tight, technical off road and can be a bit tiring and high strung for high speed desert stuff. A long-stroke, fast 650 for the desert and a light, manageable 350 for everywhere else could be highly effective and without much competition (so far – KTM has a 350 in the works, husqvarna just came out with its revised 310 and husaberg has the 390 – though the latter is based of the 570 motor and is a bit heavy for its displacement).

  3. MikeD says:

    I hope the guy gets those very needed funds to get him off the ground and running again.

  4. mark says:

    Buell would be smart to develop a dual-sport version of this bike as well — it’s a market that’s heating up, and the Japanese aren’t offering many interesting options while the Europeans are all rather pricey.

  5. dantheautomator says:

    That’s great news !

    100% ok with BikePilot :
    “EBR should also consider a >450cc machine as the Japanese have abandoned this market with the death of the XR650R. A competition-oriented, high performance >600cc bike would enjoy a unique market position. In fact, a 2-model range with 350cc and 650cc motors could be quite profitable. A 450 is too much for most people in tight, technical off road and can be a bit tiring and high strung for high speed desert stuff. A long-stroke, fast 650 for the desert and a light, manageable 350 for everywhere else could be highly effective and without much competition (so far – KTM has a 350 in the works, husqvarna just came out with its revised 310 and husaberg has the 390 – though the latter is based of the 570 motor and is a bit heavy for its displacement).”

    my only concern is… Alan is a journo ?

  6. Eric teaming with that Canadian company would be nice, as long as HD keeps its trap shut. I thought of Eric going with a Chinese company (they seem to have a lot of cash) but I hope not. Buells should be built in America by Americans just like they’ve always been. The future seems hopefull anyway.

  7. dantheautomator says:

    no but, seriously, “famed motorcycle journalist” ?
    you must be kidding me… right ?

  8. dantheautomator says:

    ok… well name one bike he “tested” in his “career” that he disliked ?
    Look closer to his relations with any company he reviewed… always sunny !
    Although I recognize his racing abilities, he’s a PR, not a journalist.
    big difference…

  9. If you want to argue over semantics, let’s grab a drink on Friday or something. Zeitgeist?

  10. Dantheautomator says:

    PM ?

  11. Rich says:

    “Gas in the frame”?, for off road that’s a bad idea. Even if it lowers the CG, you’ll never have enough capacity for everyone. Granted, if it held a couple gallons in the frame and a seondary tank could be used to supplement it, like the new BMW/Husky 450 then that may work. Oil in the frame is a 50/50 deal at best. Dirt bikes could use the extra cooling but the riders also come in physical contact with the frame and getting burned because you just hugged the 250 degree frame rails with your legs doesn’t sound like a design highlight.

    But in all honesty, if it was reliable and fun, and it carried a recognizable name like Buell or Can-Am, I believe that they would have buyers signng upbefore they even release their first model.