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.

Gas Prices by County in the United States

03/09/2011 @ 3:35 pm, by Jensen Beeler11 COMMENTS

Gas Prices by County in the United States Gas price heat map 635x421

In case you haven’t been to a pump recently, gas prices are getting more and more expensive lately, thanks mostly in part to the civil unrest in the Middle East (Libya in particular). While the current sticker shock on gas prices is due to temporary issues, the United States is still bracing itself for $5.00/gallon gasoline this summer, which our friends abroad would love to see in their home countries as they pay nearly double that price for only a litre of fuel. Curious to see how gas prices breakdown by state and by county? Check out this cool widget that Brammo is hosting on its website.

There’s two big takeaways we see from this map: 1) You’ll find your cheapest gas in the Rocky Mountain region and New Jersey, and 2) if you live in California, like most motorcycle riders, you’re basically hosed. California’s prices are so much higher than the national average, the map needs some more colors just to distinguish between the central valley and coastal prices of the Golden State (our trip today say near $4.00 gasoline in the SF/Bay Area). Ok New Jerseyans, you win this round.

Source: Brammo

Comment:

  1. Kevin White says:

    Most motorcyclists live in California? Hmm.

    Anyway, the actual price of gas has little to no effect on me personally. Gas is relatively cheap where I live, but my vehicles require high octane, which I always kind of use as a proxy for the national average. If gas goes from the $3.67 I pay in north Texas for 93 octane to $5.00, my average monthly gas bill goes from about $66 to about $90. A $24/month increase is not going to hurt that badly, and my fuel efficiency and usage is just south of typical for a lot of the people I know.

    It’s the downstream effects that are FAR more worrisome for me and for those less fortunate:
    A) widespread inflation significantly raising the cost of living across the board because the cost of transporting anything jumps so much

    B) a slow down and possible failure of the economic recovery leading to another round of contraction

  2. Kevin White says:

    I’ll also mention that there are some positive externalities too.

    1. more conscientious vehicle purchase choices (maybe including two-wheeled vehicles)
    2. fewer cars on the road taxing a hugely overburdened road system (I live in the third-fastest growing town in the US, it takes 30 minutes to go 3 miles away to a restaurant on a weekday evening)
    3. more interest and possible investment in alternative locomotion and alternative power

  3. 76 says:

    I’m fine with 5 dollars a gallon of high octane gas, with that said as long as its gas, not fcking ethanol, that crap needs to go, I cant even type about it I get so mad

  4. EM says:

    It seems the further away from the shipping ports and refineries the cheaper gasoline gets. The refineries are 25 miles outside of San Francisco, and the gas prices are through the roof there.

  5. ML says:

    Prior to the recent hike in gas prices, I spent about $10 to fill up my monster. Now I pay $12.
    Considering I fill up my bike an average of 6 times a month, I pay about $72 for gas each month.

    If I drove my car daily, I’d pay $80 per fill up with the recent price hike. I’d fill my car up 5 times a month. This puts me at $400 per month to gas up my car.

    $400 – $72 = $328 savings.

    Considering tires, oil, maintenance, and insurance for my bike costs about $120 a month, I am still ahead $208 a month on gas (let alone the wear and tear I save on my car).

    $208 a month over 48 months = $9,984.00

    Basically, the money I save on gas will pay off my bike in 4 years.

  6. Keith says:

    it’s funny. I don’t know of ANY motorcycle regardless of fuel requirements that doesn’t get better milage than all but the most useless pos hybrids. Heck mine was new in 79 and gets better milage than most cars out there. For once I’ve got some of the cheapest gas in the country, but the surface streets are packed snow and ice. Outside of town is clear. 8^( oh the dilema. Old wing or ninjette.

  7. @maatmann says:

    Come to Europe: US$ 8,75/gallon. Stop wining please.

  8. F1 says:

    there are no positives from this situation. If you didn’t “ride share” before, you won’t start now,. There will always be the same amount of commuters on the road regardless of gas prices. People will eat then pay for gas to get to work, in that order. They will stop paying other bills long before that pecking order changes. sad but true.
    And southern California is also the full sized pickup truck capitol of the US, lord knows why,, there is rarely more than the driver in them and nothing ever in the bed. Those pigs get between 10 ant 15 miles per gallon and I see a brand new one on the road every day.

  9. JSH says:

    My motorcycle has the highest cost per mile of all my vehicle (gas, tires, maintenance). The bike (02 BMW R1150R) costs $0.21 per mile. My car, a 03 VW TDI Wagon, costs $0.07 per mile. My wife’s car, 05 Toyota Prius, costs $0.06 per mile to run. While they all get mid-40′s mpg, tires are a different story. The BMW eats a $400 set of tires in 5K miles. The cars eat a $500 set of tires every 50K miles.

    Considering my commute starts with 7 miles of stop and go traffic that takes 40 minutes, I’ll keep my “useless” hybrid. Sitting is traffic is much more pleasant with A/C and satellite radio when it is 90F and 80% humidity.

  10. Kevin White says:

    Have to disagree that there are the same number of cars. For work? Perhaps. But we started seeing a marked decrease in evening leisure travel in the 2008 gas price spike.

  11. Max says:

    @Maatmann

    Crying when you are being raped isn’t whining. With all due respect.