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.

There Are No Sacred Cows: Harley-Davidson Patents Cylinder Head Cooling System

06/20/2011 @ 11:54 am, by Jensen Beeler18 COMMENTS

There Are No Sacred Cows: Harley Davidson Patents Cylinder Head Cooling System Harley Davison water cooled cylinder patent 1 635x520

The rumors that Harley-Davidson has been eying a liquid-cooled motor design have always been in abundance, and 10 years ago we saw the company test the waters of that pool with the Porsche-engineered lump that was found in the V-Rod. While the VRSC line may not have been as big of a success compared to the other models in Harley’s line-up, the water-cooled bastard child of Milwaukee still seems to sell in the tens of thousands each year, even after nearly a decade of only cosmetic revisions.

Faced with an aging demographic, an uninspired motorcycle line-up, and 21 takes on the same motorcycle design, there’s a push internally at Harley-Davidson to break-out and find a new way to engage riders, especially younger riders. The core ethos of change seems to start at the motor itself, and Harley-Davidson has already done the rounds at various electric motorcycle and drivetrain companies. There also exists amount of external and internal pressure over Harley’s pervasive use of air-cooled motors, and now whispers of a water-cooled v-twin power plant have gotten louder in Milwaukee. With those rumors now reaching a boiling point (see what I did there?), Harley-Davidson has patented a very clever way of adding liquid-cooling to its iconic v-twin motor design.

Creating an intricate cylinder head that has channels that liquid coolant can flow through, Harley-Davidson’s shown solution to its air-cooled problem is a very elegant, and clearly centers around hiding the radiators, pumps, and hoses that normally are an eye-sore with liquid-cooled motors. However, it would seem the USPTO has granted Harley a fairly broad patent, which on its face seems to cover any sort of cylinder head cooling system for v-twin motorcycles, which makes this a nice piece of intellectual property for the Bar & Shield.

Putting the radiators in the leg shields of the bike, Harley-Davidson’s solution is to have the piping follow the forward section of the frame, and finally drop down from the fuel tank and into the cylinder heads. Once inside the cylinder, liquid flows around the valve ports before heading back out to be cooled again. With each cylinder head getting its own line of coolant it will be interesting to see if Harley-Davidson implemented any sort of system to account for temperature differences between the forward and rear cylinders.

Of course the bigger part of this news is whether we’ll see a liquid-cooled bike in 2012. Some rumors suggest so, though recent CARB filings haven’t tipped off any such model…yet. Once thought to be an untouchable element in Harley-Davidson design, the fact that the American company has patented this technology suggest that there are no sacred cows in Milwaukee. It will be interesting to see what comes to fruition now from this process.

Source: USPTO via Moto-Infos & Cyril Huse


  1. Balzaak says:

    Welcome to the 70s!

  2. Keith says:

    if true it’s about dang time they got into the 21st century.

  3. BikePilot says:

    Ducati did almost exactly this with the ST2 IIRC (air cooled cylinders, liquid cooled head more or less).

  4. Matt A says:

    What do you mean when you say “leg shields”? Do you mean the pods on the Ultra Classic? Those aren’t on very many models…

  5. Rob says:

    ST2 was air cooled, it was actually the ST3 that was 3valve (air cooled heads) and water cooled. Not saying this is going to sell any more Harleys, but atleast its a push in the correct direction.

  6. Odie says:

    @Keith – No, no. Not the 21st…that would be to much to ask.

  7. buellracerx says:

    …and the XR1200 was born (oil “precision” cooled heads)…3 years ago lol

    interesting, though, that the twin cam is depicted vs. the sporty EVO. Really an ingenious design, much CFD & testing, I’m sure.

  8. Greg says:

    ‘Merica, fuck YEAH!

  9. Nobody says:

    Now that standard Harley models are breaking into the 60hp club, water cooling is a must.

  10. Steve says:

    I would love to buy a Harley. If only they would build a motorcycle that would do something. Harley Davidson…..I know, a name change is in order….how about Hardly Ableton? Don’t get me started, I could go on for hours. I know,… lets play dress up and look like “Billy bad ass” with our stomachs pouring over our belts, week end go-tee’s and big scouls on our faces. We could pretend we are Marlin Brando or Dennis Hopper. We won’t tell anybody we got beat up alot in high school. C’mon it’ll be fun. Ok, I’ll stop….but I could go on……Leaking, slow, expensive, loud, obnoxcious, heavy, ill handling, dangerous piles of crap. Water cooling one would be easy. Ride it off a pier. Don’t worry about sinking, you can use the fat girl on the back for a float.

  11. Kevin says:

    This could be as revolutionary as the rubber engine mounts in the 80s!

  12. BikePilot says:

    Rob, the ST2 wasn’t entirely air cooled – it had liquid cooled heads.

    I think this, if ever implemented, is just a minor evolutionary change to allow the bike to tolerate traffic/Harley-rider paces with less overheating concern and meet ever more stringent emissions standards.

  13. Bad Ass says:

    Don’t be so negative Steve. If you work hard and quit running your mouth, you may be able to afford one before they push dirt over you!

  14. HOGFVR says:

    Hey Steve,
    It’s nice to hear all those ancientclichéss you’re digging up, they go farther back than I do. You really need to get a life, you must be real lonely in your sheltered world where you can only repeat myths and oldclichéss.
    Hope you have a happy life, I’ll go ride my ancient bike now…

  15. Tom says:

    Bad Ass obviously hasn’t been shopping for Harleys lately because affording one is easy. Now, being dumb enough to actually buy one that’s not the VROD, well, that is a totally different matter.

  16. Dave says:

    Wow…just a different style of riding for different folks with different strokes…and NO amount of stereotyping will make any sense other than to illustrate ignorance. ANY riding is good riding, ANY racing is good racing and just what is BAD sex, anyway?

  17. Quem gosta de motos/mecânica: Vazaram os esquemas do novo motor Harley-Davidson refrigerado a ÁGUA http://bit.ly/jNgQr4 #harleydavidson

  18. Robert says:

    Hate to tell H-D ….they are infringing on the patent of The Hull Effect Technology…
    I am Robert W Hull…inventor of that technology…that cools the engine and heads externally…
    at a much more rapid thermo-dynamics exchange…
    Any engine using radiators… oil …water …it does not matter…placed anywhere…falls under this patent.
    Something for the attornies to hash out.