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.

Gilera 600cc Supersport 2009 Fact or Fiction?

11/20/2008 @ 11:06 pm, by Jensen Beeler3 COMMENTS

Gilera 600cc Supersport 2009 Fact or Fiction? gilera 600 4 supersport rr 635x427

I’ve sat on this story for a few days now, trying to figure out what exactly is going on? Is Aprilia once again digging up the Gilera brand as a sportbike entry? Is this wishful thinking by an Italian designer known for “concept” sketches? Is this poor reporting by the motorcycle blogsphere? Or all of the above?

Let me start from the beginning, and in the end I’ll let you decide.

This all started with a post by Oberdan Bezzi, a well known motorcycle artist/sketcher and passionate motorcyclist. Bezzi has made a career out of drawing concept bikes, future bikes, and works of complete fiction, and this certainly wouldn’t be the first time one of his drawings has been mistaken as fact instead of fiction. While it’s sloppy journalism, I can understand where someone could fall in love with what they’ve seen on the screen and want it so bad to be a reality…that they go ahead and confuse the two. I do the same exact thing with Claudia Schiffer everynight (not 2008 Claudia Schiffer…more like 1989 Claudia Schiffer).

Gilera like most Italian boutique firms started out making high-power uber-sexy race breed motorcycles, and through the course of natural selection has become a part of the Piaggio Group. For the past few years (more like 10), Gilera has been playing little brother to Aprilia by filling in the small displacement gaps left behind by the Noale House of Motors. Of course, now with Aprilia offering 50cc-250cc sportbikes for its European market, that has kind of diluted Gilera’s market position (a topic fit for its own posting).

So where does that take us? Oh yes, this article where an Italian based news corp (and they’re not the only ones), has taken Bezzi’s original article and run with the idea that this 600cc bike is highly speculated and could be seen in early 2009. Motorcycle journalism being what it is (a highly intricate game of telephone), other news sources have latched onto the idea, changing words like “possible” to “definite”. Now you begin to see the problem.

Piaggio has yet to return our calls (my Italian is admittedly quite poor), but some deduction can help us in the matter. Known for it’s scooters more than it’s superbikes, Piaggio acquired Aprilia not too long ago. Holding now two race bread street bike brands, what is a large conglomerate to do? Identify key markets, and segment its offerings says this businessman. Aprilia’s line, until recently with the RSV4, has centered around 1000cc v-twin motors, and then single cylinder GP bikes and scooters. Aprilia does not play in the inline-4 market, nor in the “entry-level” 600cc market.

Gilera, known for its 500cc inline-4 race bikes of yore, could in theory fill this gap quite nicely. Focusing on the smaller displacement market, which is popular in the EU (not so much here in the States) Gilera could be the entry-level brand for Piaggio, having a model line-up that dovetails into Aprilia’s large twin (and perhaps soon to be all V4) offering.

So I’ll pose this question to you, dear reader? Gilera, 600cc, I4, 2009? Yes or No? Leave your comments below.

Source: MCN via twowheelblog


  1. [...] we have lamented about how Oberdan Bezzi is a motorcycle artist and not a motorcycle journalist, despite the fact he is often cited as if he were one, the Italian artist has posted information on [...]

  2. Paul Tipler says:

    It’s not the first time (since Piaggio ownership of Gilera) that a 600 sports bike has been tried. In 2002 the Gilera 600 SuperSport was originally intented using a Honda engine, but this was changed at the last moment to a Suzuki engine. 2 Prototypes were made but nothing further came of the project. The recent rumour of a ‘new’ Gilera 600 have not yet been confirmed. There has been a tie-up with Aprilia for some years now with the 2008 250GP winning Gilera being a re-badged Aprilia (as were the 125 Gilera racers). This has also happened in the reverse direction with the Gilera Ferro (850 twin automatic motorbike) never being manmufactured by Gilera but a few years later ‘suddenly’ appearing within the Aprilia range.
    Who knows what the future holds for the Gilera name as I can never get an answer from Piaggio.
    Paul I Gotta Gilera Owners Club of Britain

  3. Wow You did a actually good employment on this point.