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.

Harley-Davidson Confirms 500cc Model – Electrics Too?

09/03/2013 @ 8:27 am, by Jensen Beeler23 COMMENTS

Harley Davidson Confirms 500cc Model   Electrics Too? harley davidson american legend 635x423

Two years ago I lamented on the fact that Harley-Davidson didn’t have a model under 800cc, which among other things, left the company at odds with its efforts to push into the emerging Indian motorcycle market.

Six-months after I wrote that piece, there seemed to be some hope for the Bar & Shield brand, as rumors began to circulate about a 500cc class motorcycle that was being designed with emerging countries in mind. It would seem now, those rumors were true.

Confirming that Harley-Davidson would soon debut a 500cc class motorcycle for the Indian market, Harley-Davidson Motor Company Chief Operating Officer Matthew Levatich revealed last weekend that the Milwaukee-based company had a 500cc model in an advanced stage of development.

Hinting strongly that the machine would be built in India, and be aimed specifically at that market, Levatich also hedged his bets on the possibility of the model arriving on US soil.

Taking into account the expected reaction from loyal “Made in America” Harley-Davidson fans, Levatich and the rest of the company’s Board of Directors are surely pitching different variations of the “Designed in America” tagline that companies like Apple have used to denote American design while using low-cost labor in China or elsewhere.

Marketing issues aside, the machine is quoted to be very Harley in its design and function. According to Levatich, the 500cc Harley-Davidson sits low to the ground, is lightweight, and has a good throttle response and braking feel. Insert a “that’s not a Harley” joke here.

Reading between the lines of the Levatich’s comments though, a true 2014 launch window may be a tough goal, but the important news here is that Harley-Davidson is realizing that if it wants to play in markets outside of North America and Europe, it needs to bring out smaller displacement machines — after all, in India, China, and South America, 500cc is considered huge.

With the market opportunities available abroad, one could forgive Harley-Davidson for choosing to side-step the marketing and branding issues it would have by bringing a “Made in India” machine to the US market; however, a 500cc motorcycle could do wonders for the company’s ability to get new, young, and possibly female riders on a Harley-Davidson.

As if all this news wasn’t enough already, Levatich left the door open to a future where Harley-Davidson produces an electric motorcycle (something again that we reported on two years ago).

“I am sometimes asked whether there will be an electric Harley. People would say, hell no. But why not? Our engineers are quite intrigued with the idea of what an electric Harley would look like, sound like and feel like. And would it be visceral, would it be emotional, would it be luscious. There’s a way to do that, I believe. And it would be very exciting.”

Source: Gizmag, Motorcycle.com, & Cyril Huze Blog


  1. This is great news for the ears!!! A 500 cc Harley Davidson would prove to be a magnet for all the cruiser starved of India!

    That being said, it would be crucial to ascertain this 500 cc would power a soft-tail or a 48 style motorbike.
    Looking forward to the 12th Auto Expo in India #2014.

  2. JW says:

    A made in India American Legend. Will this improve the brands loyalty in the USA?

  3. dream bikes says:

    I think they are going to reissue the single-cylinder Buell Blast only for the Indian market, but now with the Harley-Davidson name on the sides of the tank …

  4. Kenny says:

    What are the odds it’ll be a jap micro-cruiser clone?

  5. buellracerx says:

    Perhaps changing he statement slightly to read “feels lightweight” would be more accurate. Otherwise yes, current Harleys do sit low to the ground for rider comfort, feature excellent fuelling at a wide range of throttle openings for increased ridability, and linear brake feel. Not all bikes are built for the same purpose.

  6. JohnEE says:

    Water models this century, so we can expect an electric bike by the 22nd century?

  7. TonyC says:

    A small displacement engine or even an electric version without the straight pipes? There would be no more reason to buy a Harley if a wimpy or a silent bike are all you get in the end.

  8. irksome says:

    “An American-Indian legend”?

  9. JoeD says:

    They already make a wimpy bike-the 1200 sportster. In a class all of their own at racetracks near you. A 1200 V twin should be on par with the 1000 fours. WSBK made that case.

  10. dan says:

    well, at least an electric Harley couldn’t leak oil.

    maybe they will get a speaker to play the potato sound for the die hards…..

  11. Emptybee says:

    Rumor is H-D is going to the landfill where all those crushed Buell Blasts are buried and will use Indian workers to uncrinkle them.

  12. 2ndclass says:

    This will be most likely coming to Australia as a learner model: http://www.bikesales.com.au/news/2013/harley-davidson-to-launch-a-lams-bike-38506

  13. paulus - Thailand says:

    What could be more American?
    “Cowboys and Indians”

  14. ADG says:

    bamboo push-rods and coconut oil lubrication……..sounds sexy when you think about it.

  15. ADG says:

    The only thing H-D ever got right was marketing their shit product and merchandise to the ignorant masses.

  16. Cracker says:


  17. faisal says:

    The problem is,e even at Rs. 4 lakhs, it’s more than twice as much as the Thunderbird 500, Royal Enfield’s top spec model.

  18. smiler says:

    500cc harley with canvas bags foil instead of chrome, bicycle tires.
    And electric as well. Local power station required.


    Harley seem to be loosing their way. Having nearly drowned MV and killed Buell they are now looking to make under powered bikes.

  19. Rico Bustamente says:

    Again… I rest my case. The anti-Harley crowd can’t resist. I hope all you people went out & purchased new Suzuki’s, MV’s & EBR’s… you know…. cause those businesses operate so well & “deserve” (because they make bikes you like) your support… unlike Harley…. but NONE of you did support them, did you….. didn’t think so.

    But damn…..are you guys loud & obnoxious… just like the exhaust on an open piped Harley.

  20. Damo says:

    I am not a huge Harley fan, but even I admit this is a step in the right direction.

    Brand expansion should be a nice shot in the arm for them, glad to see they are finally trying new things.

  21. Jimbo says:

    I eagerly anticipate when the new Polaris owned Indian motorcycle company releases an Indian Indian!

  22. emptybee says:

    “Rico Bustamente says:
    September 4, 2013 at 3:13 AM

    Again… I rest my case. The anti-Harley crowd can’t resist. I hope all you people went out & purchased new Suzuki’s, MV’s & EBR’s… you know…. cause those businesses operate so well & “deserve” (because they make bikes you like) your support… unlike Harley…. but NONE of you did support them, did you….. didn’t think so.”

    I wish all the best for H-D and want them to succeed. Lord knows there are plenty of Milwaukee’s thundering finest clogging up the highways where I live. However, they don’t make anything I want to buy. I was going to give the Buell Ulysses a try, but then The Motor Company went and killed Buell, so I bought another BMW GS.

  23. Moped says:

    Don’t count China as a motorcycle market, watch this video below:

    China, How it is – Why Motorbikes are Banned in Cities