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 Considering 250cc Learner Bike

10/03/2011 @ 11:26 am, by Jensen Beeler29 COMMENTS

Erik Buell Racing Considering 250cc Learner Bike 2007 buell blast white 635x423

Several sources have now confirmed that Erik Buell Racing is considering making a 250cc learner-style motorcycle to compliment its EBR 1190RS race/sport bike. Presumably filling the niche left behind by the crushed Buell Blast, the 250cc bike would be geared towards new and first-time riders, and would likely be MSF RiderCourse friendly. With bikes like the Kawaaski Ninja 250R / EX250 topping the sales charts as the best selling sport bike in the US, the folks at Erik Buell Racing are surely eyeing the market potential of a smaller, lightweight sport bike for the company’s growing product line.

With fuel prices only expected to get higher, the entry-level/around-town market for motorcycles is also expected to increase, especially as consumers rethink their personal urban transportation. Likely realizing the company needs to be more than just a sport bike brand, a similar concept Ducati realized several years back, a 250cc learner would round out EBR’s product line-up, and add some needed volume to the company’s production figures.

The road block for Erik Buell Racing going forward with this plan though is the fact that the small Wisconsin company doesn’t have the resources to develop a 250cc motor in house, and the options for building off an existing motor, like how the Erik Buell Racing 1190RS uses a modified Rotax lump, are extremely limited to the company. Of course if there’s one thing Buell & Co. have shown over the past couple of years, where there’s a will, there’s a way. More info as we get it.

Source: Bothan Spies

Comment:

  1. AK says:

    Real question is …….. Will it be cheaper then Kawa & Honda ??

  2. fazer6 says:

    Undoubtedly no. But will it be better?

  3. Shaitan says:

    Love the idea, but I think 350-400cc is a better “middle ground” for learning these days, so people still get light weight and good fuel econ, but have enough grunt — especially if they’re larger people — to want to keep their bike longer than a 250cc can provide. The jump from 250cc to 600cc + is pretty dramatic IMHO. Also, since it’s not a race class in the U.S., displacement parity with other manufacturers isn’t vital and they could carve their own nitch!

  4. johnrdupree says:

    Forget MSF friendly, how about making it Moto3 friendly?

    I know, I know, learner bike and all that, but it would be a great sales tool to have a Moto3 bike and a silhouette replica street bike.

  5. Matt says:

    I’m down with Erik and most of his machines, but I’m not sure that our market needs a $11,000 “learner” right now. Just sayin’… EBR isnt really positioning itself as a bargain brand here or anything.

  6. Skadamo says:

    Talk to Hyosung. They are always up for selling motors. Air cooled twin, back to roots.

  7. BikePilot says:

    HD is already in cahoots with ATK to sell small crappy Korean bikes, maybe they decided to get back together and sell them with Buell stickers?

    EBR may be eyeing institutional buyers, perhaps governmental-ish ones restricted by some sort of buy-America policy. I know that some riding schools have fleets of blasts, even now. I doubt its because they are less expensive or cheaper to maintain than the EX250, CBR250 or WR250 and power is similar.

    I agree with Shaitan that a 350+cc bike would be more useful. That way it could have a broader power curve and be less highly tuned — could be no heavier I suspect and considerably easier to ride. It might also give it just enough oomph so its not roadkill or buzzing its brains out on the freeway. Fuel economy at speed would be improved too due to not having to totally flog the little thing.

    I’d really rather he make an 1190-power Ulysses-like thing. I love my Uly, but I don’t know that I could say no to liquid cooling and twice the power :)

  8. MikeD says:

    Ok…continue…?

  9. Kevin says:

    The Blast was such a crappy bike. I’d love to see another 250, or a modern 400, but for fcks sake not another Blast.

  10. BBQdog says:

    Why not be more ambitious and make it a nimble 250cc sports bike ?

    At least they have some work to do at the overal looks because it looks
    like any far-east 250cc commuter on the picture above.

  11. A 250cc "learner bike" by Buell? Now that would be smart! http://t.co/XkgLSWXJ #motorcycles #harley

  12. Kelly Rogers says:

    Loved the Blast as a 1st bike –> RT @Asphalt_Rubber: Erik Buell Racing Considering 250cc Learner Bike – http://aspha.lt/v9 #motorcycle

  13. Tom says:

    Kevin, the Blast was awesome for what it was. Used, as a city commuter, there really was now better bike for the money.

  14. AK says:

    I never saw blast on street… but did use one in MSF class, really uncomfortable but functional bike car equivalent Hyundai Accent.

  15. Dave says:

    I for once am really excited about this. I love the Buell Blast( as a tinkerer and mad scientist), granted is a bit uncomfortable but is still an awesome bike, specially if you love modifying and fabricating stuff. I can’t wait to see what EBR dishes out, this time they have free range of design and control over the whole project, I can only expect the best for this bike. Glad to see the 250s are getting more love here in America, as a 250 rider and enthusiast, this news could not have come in a better time.

  16. RJ says:

    A 250cc GP-style sportbike would be awesome. But what Eric & Co. are prob looking for is a bike which could bring in some serious dough through volume sales. That way, they can keep the ball rolling on this little “American Motorcycle Company” adventure. Though we all love the idea of a 250cc GP replica, how many would dish out the money for one? Honda and Kawasaki market theirs at around $4,000 which is peanuts for a brand new product in the transportation universe. Heck, Vespa want over $8,000 for a trendy scooter?!! The chance of Eric meeting eye to eye price-wise with the big Japanese OEM’s is a hard ask. But if it was around $6,000 maybe it would be viable if equipped with top shelf components. I’m thinking his powertrain answer could come from Korea. Hyosung’s little air/oil-cooled 250 twin is a lot more advanced than people think.

    According to Wikipedia:

    “The Hyosung V-twin engine was designed in Hamamatsu Japan by a design team consisting of engineers who have previously worked in the research and development teams of Suzuki. Technical features include roller bearing camshafts, two-piece spring dampened bevel silent primary drive gears, dual squelsh combustion chambers; these features were previously confined to racing engines, and in the past have been uneconomical for manufacturers to incorporate into smaller capacity engines for street use. It utilizes a DOHC eight-valve engine configuration. Twin downdraft Mikuni carburetors were standard until 2008, when fuel injection became available.”

    Seems all it would need would be to not get stuck in a 500lbs+ cheap steel chassis, with even cheaper suspension components. If Mr. Buell could do what he does best (Chassis Tech) and utilized a slightly tuned version of this engine in a GP racer inspired street bike, then we might have a real winner here…

  17. heineken says:

    Well, the problem I see with trying to compete with Honda and Kawi is that though they may sell a lot of the 250s, they aren’t making any money when they do. For the longest time, Kawasaki made the Ninja 250 simply to get a bit of brand loyalty with beginning riders. They made no money on it, but they figured it sold more of their bigger bikes when those riders moved up.

    If he’s looking to build some brand loyalty and get the name out there with beginners, sure. But if they want to make money off of the bikes, they’ll have to price them higher, which in turn will push beginners to the Japanese brands.

    No matter, I wish him the best. I’d love to see him put some of his know-how into a smaller cc bike — so long as it’s not another Blast. It may have some fans out there but I’m definitely not one of them.

  18. MotoJoe says:

    I hope that they make a new american manufactured engine for it. Maybe they could talk to Cobra motorcycles or something. But please not another imported engine tagged as american made because it was put in a frame here in the states. I think many will agree that the engine needs to be american made to clasify the bike as american made.

  19. skadamo says:

    MotoJoe, that would be nice but I believe an American made engine will take 3+ years to make happen. Motus has been hard at work for at least that long.

    I think it’s Hyosung or the highway. Kymco might be game too. Or SYM.

  20. heineken says:

    Hmmm, well, Rotax does make a 450cc EFI motor hooked to a 5-speed…..

    http://www.brp-powertrain.com/en/desktopdefault.aspx/tabid-243/384_read-375/

  21. heineken says:

    Man, the more I think about it the more I think that would be the ticket (the 450). You’d be able to hit a price point above the 250′s but below the 600′s, and you’d most likely attract riders who ‘don’t want a measley 250!’ There are a ton of them…

    Some EBR bolt-ons to get it up to 50-55 hp and you’d have a bike that’s much more highway-friendly than the 250s and cheaper than a 600, all-the-while building the Buell name up and building a base of rider loyalty.

    And it wouldn’t be directly competing with anything currently on the market.

    Hmmm…

  22. Jason says:

    yes yes yes… rotax 450 :)

  23. fazer6 says:

    Nearly none of the Buell is built in the USA–That’s the reality of the global economy.

    Look @ Fisher’s (lack of) success.

  24. RJ says:

    The best part of the above twitter post is it’s from Guy Procter who happens to write the most ridiculous false stories for the equivalent of the National Enquire of the motorcycle world, MCN.

    Have you guys put your deposits down for your brand new $5,000 zx10-r yet? http://www.motorcyclenews.com/MCN/News/newsresults/New-bikes/2011/September/sep2811-did-you-put-a-deposit-down-on-a-cheap-zx-10r/

    Please… Plus though the story might not be true, Erik might be sandbagging too…

    Either way, MCN= Clown Shoes.

  25. My Alias says:

    Bike Pilot,
    HD is not in any “cahoots” to sell rebranded Hyosungs- that is well-known to be a deal between one of their dealers and ATK. Whether you like the Hyosung product or not, they are pretty nice to ride, with performance and reliability similar to any Japanese engine- they assembled for Suzuki for years so have learned quite a bit. Their factory is actually in the same industrial area- and on the same road- as Kia, Samsung, and Hyundai, so calling them “crappy” probably just comes from your not being exposed to their products, and promotes a common misconception. They are reliable.
    It continues to amaze me that Buell gets one penny of investment funding. A small army of loyalists aside, Harley lost about a BILLION dollars on that brand to no end. Lesson learned?

  26. No, I think the best part about that tweet is it shows how catty motorcycle journalists are about each other.

    The story is true, regardless of whatever MCN wants to insinuate, and what EBR wants to deflect. I think the hurdle is too high for us to see a 250 come to market from EBR (would like to be proven wrong), but the project exists in some for or another at East Troy.

  27. bhtooefr says:

    One thing is, going over 279 cc puts you into a different, more expensive emissions class.

    Still, 279, and calling it a 280, would be a slight marketing advantage over the competition…

  28. Andrew says:

    My alias,
    harely lost their money buying mv agusta and selling turds. Not from buell. They actually spent more to close shop than they had invested.