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.

GHSA Praises Report Calling for Motorcycle Safety Changes

11/27/2012 @ 3:48 pm, by Jensen Beeler12 COMMENTS

GHSA Praises Report Calling for Motorcycle Safety Changes Mugello Italian GP MotoGP Saturday Jules Cisek 01

The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) has issued a press release that praises the Government Accountability Office (GAO) for its call to Congress for changes in motorcycle safety.

The GAO’s recommendation basically breaks down into two points: 1) Congress should give states more flexibility in the way they use funds that have been earmarked to tackle motorcycle safety, and 2) that the NHTSA should provide states with more comprehensive information about motorcycle crashes and injuries.

The second point is perhaps the most important, as it has become painfully obvious that the government, both at the state and federal level, has little concrete information about the causes of motorcycle crashes and injuries.

While we are still using information collected almost 40-years-ago from the Hurt Report, the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) has contended that the motorcycle landscape has changed so significantly in that timeframe that the Hurt Report was conducted that it no longer accurately quantifies the dangers and conditions present for motorcyclists.

A follow-up report by the Oklahoma State University’s Oklahoma Transportation Center was to be the next iteration of the Hurt Report, but after it became apparent that the study would examine only 300 crash scenarios (the Hurt studied 900, while Europe’s MAIDS report covered 921 crashes), questions were raised about the study’s actual statistical significance (the NHTSA says 1,200 crashes would be a more suitable number).

At the end of the day, there still remains a void and desire for a modern meaningful analysis of motorcycle safety that government agencies can then use to make better motorcycle-related policy regarding licensing structures, helmet laws, traffic analysis, road maintenance, etc.

The GAO’s first point then expands on the issue saying that states, not the federal government, should then be given the power to address the issues found in a comprehensive motorcycle safety report — a conclusion that is unsurprisingly backed by the GHSA, a group that is comprised of state-level officials. A bit of politicking, leaving such power up to the states could lead to more incongruence on issues, like mandatory helmet laws.

Will a proper modern motorcycle safety report ever be conducted? Only time will tell. A press release by the GHSA is below, click here to see the full text of the GSA’s report.

Press Release by the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA):

WASHINGTON, D.C.—The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has released its recent evaluation of federal and state efforts to address motorcycle safety. GHSA strongly supports the recommended changes, as these would lead to a more effective approach to this issue.

First, GAO suggests that Congress give states more flexibility in their use of federal highway safety funds to more broadly address the complex issue of motorcycle safety. Currently, states can spend these funds only on motorcyclist training and raising motorist awareness of motorcycles. States should be able to use their federal funds to support motorcycle advisory committees, development of motorcycle safety strategic plans, enforcement of helmet and other motorcycle safety laws, programs to prevent impaired motorcycling and speeding, licensing improvements, and programs to encourage voluntary helmet usage and greater rider conspicuity. GHSA supports a comprehensive approach to motorcycle safety, and we commend GAO for its recognition of the need for this strategy. We urge Congress to incorporate this change during the next transportation reauthorization.

Secondly, GAO recommends that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) provide states with information that could better enable them to effectively reduce motorcyclist crashes and injuries. GAO encourages NHTSA to conduct research that will resolve outstanding gaps in state knowledge about approaches considered most promising. Specifically, GAO recommends that NHTSA research how to encourage motorcyclists to increase their conspicuity and the value of a graduated licensing model for motorcyclists. GHSA appreciates GAO’s acknowledgement that an increased focus on research is necessary for states to operate effective, data-driven programs. NHTSA is scheduled to release a plan to guide its motorcycle safety research efforts by the spring of 2013. GHSA looks forward to this research roadmap.

Source: Governors Highway Safety Association; Photo: © 2012 Jules Cisek / Popmonkey – All Rights Reserved

Comment:

  1. GHSA Praises Report Calling for Motorcycle Safety Changes – http://t.co/IMPVnw8Z #motorcycle

  2. David says:

    Be careful what you ask for.

    The way Government works here in the USA, we will probably get mandated ( Special Interest group inspired) safety equipment like Airbag handlebars, Airbag safety suits, Automatic warning systems on bikes, Rollcages and other totally useless so called safety equipment.

    All designed to increase cost and complexity of motorcycles.

  3. anders eliasson says:

    Here in the US, if we could just take cell phones out of the hands of drivers, shove them up the drivers *ss, and force them to walk around all day like that as a consequence of their inattentive driving, we might reduce the # of accidents overall a considerable amount … :^) …

    ACE

  4. Damo says:

    @David

    Little sensationalist there?

  5. Daniel Croft says:

    More than that Anders, if only we could convince drivers as a whole that driving was worth their attention, we wouldn’t need to take anything out of their hands. That goes for motorcyclists too.

  6. MP says:

    I live and ride in New York City. If you think you’ve seen distracted drivers, you should come here and duel with the cabs! Their MO is to run you off the road to beat you to the next light. It’s really aggravating. It’s as if they don’t know the car they’re driving is a 4,000lb hammer capable of killing riders, pedestrians, pooches and everything else in their way. I mostly stick to the track now because of them.

    A serious driver education campaign focused on sharing the road with motorcycles would be very welcomed and, as you guys point out, the first and most important step to motorcycle safety.

  7. red says:

    I agree w/Anders, Daniel and MP. Most drivers just don’t seem aware of the consequences that could come from not giving the task at hand enough focus. Others don’t care because “it won’t happen” to them.

    A serious driver education campaign focused on sharing the road with motorcycles would be very welcomed and, as you guys point out, the first and most important step to motorcycle safety.

    I agree. The UK has some great programs and commercials, maybe we can get our own versions made for the States?

  8. JTB says:

    Start by removing the cheese grater cables along interstates, then require guard rails to use something other than cut I-beams for support. Both do more damage to motorcycles and in some cases are fatal to cyclists.

  9. Faust says:

    @Damo

    You didn’t know the shadow government is coming to take your motorcycle away? Duh, everyone knows that!

  10. Gritboy says:

    Just give all motorcycles mini guns and we can clear a path to safety!

  11. Rob04 says:

    2Things, Here in MA. & R.I. cage drivers couldn’t care less about sharing the road with motorcycles, they would just as soon cut you off and then flip you off rather than get home from work 30 seconds late. 2 IMO the biggest safety hazard we riders face by far these days is texting while driving, You have people who can’t drive worth a damn to begin with now typing as their driving.

  12. Damo says:

    @Robo4

    I am with you there. Route 195 from the Cape to Providence is a death run sometimes.