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.

European Union Approves Audi’s Acquisition of Ducati

07/05/2012 @ 3:51 pm, by Jensen Beeler12 COMMENTS

European Union Approves Audis Acquisition of Ducati ducati meccanica logo 635x508

The final rubber stamp of approval to Audi AG’s acquisition of Ducati Motor Holding, the European Commission has cleared the transaction of any antitrust red tape. A deal that was over a year in the making, the German automaker bought the Italian motorcycle company for a cool €860 million, including debt. Positioning Audi, and its parent-company Volkswagen, to take-on the likes of the BMW Group, the deal was met with mixed-emotions in the automotive and motorcycling communities during its announcement.

The biggest question mark in the transaction is what exactly Audi plans on doing with the Ducati brand, as many view the transaction as simply a feather in the automaker’s cap (as was the case with TPG’s acquisition of Ducati in 1996). Though the VW Group has proven capable of handling premium Italian brands (e.g. Bugatti & Lamborghini), there has been some concern over how the Bologna brand will fit into the company’s overall structure. With some discounting any technical knowledge Ducati could teach Audi about small-displacement motors, the real boon for Audi in the transaction could reside elsewhere.

On aspect could come from averaged emission standards in Europe for vehicle manufacturers. With the EU cracking down on company-range wide CO2 emissions on vehicles, Ducati could help serve to lower Audi’s overall emissions score, in a similar fashion that BMW Motorrad affects BMW Automotive’s rating.

The reasoning could be even more simple than that though, as Audi could simply be looking at what BMW has been able to achieve with BMW Motorrad’s nearly quarter-million in yearly unit volume. Selling nearly 200,000 more units per year than Ducati, Audi could be seeing this marker as the growth potential of the Ducati brand, as the Italian company has an equally, if not stronger brand and more robust product line-up than its German counterpart.

A six-fold return on investment, now what company wouldn’t like that?

Source: European Commission via Motorcycle.com

Comment:

  1. Neil says:

    Good, now sign Hayden for another couple years with Ducati and make Bayliss his teammate in 2013 in MotoGp.

  2. Mike says:

    No way jose on bayliss let’s keep the kentucky kid and grab Cal Critchlow w/ them 2 that will work.

  3. European Union Approves Audi's Acquisition of Ducati – http://t.co/1AMNfces #motorcycle

  4. Does this mean Ducati can talk to Nicky now? RT @Asphalt_Rubber: European Union Approves Audi's Acquisition of Ducati – http://t.co/hThNBQxx

  5. Pierre Col says:

    European Union Approves Audi's Acquisition of Ducati – http://t.co/1AMNfces #motorcycle

  6. European Union Approves Audi's Acquisition of Ducati – http://t.co/1AMNfces #motorcycle

  7. Gutterslob says:

    Diesel Desmo with Twattro all-wheel drive…. Coming soon to a Ducaudi dealer near you!!

  8. Neil says:

    I know Bayliss has retired, it’s wishful thinking….I still would love to see him as Hayden’s teammate on the Motogp grid, I still think he could smoke ‘em all on the Duc….lol…

  9. Gutterslob says:

    Bayliss is a sorta “hero of the blue-collar people”, me thinks. Eats with his mechanics, never forgot where he came from (he was a spray-painter, I believe). Love the bloke, and I’m not even a Duc fan.

    Would be great seeing Baylistic ride again. Him winning the SBK season, then winning that one-off race in Valencia MotoGP the same year – gave me epic fuzzy feelings all over.

    Doubt it’ll happen though.

  10. Michael says:

    Hayden and Crutchlow is my hope and prediction, and it doesn’t hurt that their respective countries are two of the biggest markets for Ducati and have the most growth potential for them with their current line-up.

  11. smiler says:

    In the subsequent press photo……

    If you look at the picture. It is quite interesting.

    Ducati CEO Audi Suits
    Beeming smile No smiling
    Big red tie Small slightly dull coloured ties
    Blue suit Grey
    No glasses Glasses
    Holding arms No contact

    “Ducati stands for extraordinary engineering artistry, passion, precision, performance and the sheer joy of living”

    Audi stands for “progress with technology”. (Vorsprung durch Technik)

    Fiat should have bought them. Red will be banned from the colour range. Their bikes will likely never breakdown. There will be a GS competitor. The V2 will go because BMW use more efficient powerplants.
    Steel trellis will be replazed. In 5 years they will look like BMW?