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.

Federal Reserve Discloses $2.3 Billion Short-Term Loan to Harley-Davidson – $3.3 Trillion in Total to Others

12/02/2010 @ 4:33 pm, by Jensen Beeler8 COMMENTS

Federal Reserve Discloses $2.3 Billion Short Term Loan to Harley Davidson   $3.3 Trillion in Total to Others american flag eagle 635x476

The Federal Reserve made disclosures today that it quietly made short-term loans to major institutions and Fortune 500 companies during the 2008-2009 economic meltdown. Among one of the companies listed as receiving a 3-month Commercial Paper Funding Facility (CPFF) promissory note from the Fed is Harley-Davidson, which received 33 loans totaling $2.3 billion in aid to meet operational needs. Other companies who received economic help include GE (12 loans totaling $16 billion), Verizon (two loans totaling $1.5 billion). Commercial paper was also purchased from McDonalds, UBS ($74.5 billion), AIG ($60.2 billion) and Dexia ($53.5 billion).

The concept of “buying paper” has been mislabeled by other sources as a bailout from the Fed, despite the fact that loans made by the Federal Reserve differ from the bailouts we saw for the auto and banking industries both by being for a short-term duration, and because they only replaced other short-term cash flow loans that disappeared during the financial crisis (that’s what you get for getting financial news from a motorcycle site that spells Warren Buffett’s name like a meal from which guests server their own food, and then over reports his lending amount to Harley-Davidson by over three-fold).

If anything this news shows the great lengths the Federal Reserve had to take in order to keep the credit market open for major American businesses and institutions. It should be noted that because of the Fed’s efforts these companies were able to receive the cash flow and short-term loans to stay afloat during the crisis, and now that the CPFF program is over, the Federal Reserve reports that it not only was paid back in-full by every borrower, but also made money on the interest of all the loans ($849 million in total).

The recent financial meltdown and subsequent recession all stem from the collapse of the credit market here in the United States. While there were many factors at play in the economic collapse (Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps is a pretty approachable narration of how this crisis occurred…bonus points for a Ducati/MotoCzysz cameo), a major issue stemmed from the fact that companies could not get the basic short-term loans they need to operate the normal course of their businesses. Complicating matters further were issues of leverage, where companies burrow money against their assets and earnings, in order to earn more money.

For example a company could borrow $1 million at 10% interest for a one-year period to make a new product, if that product then makes them $1.2 million in revenue during the course of that loan, they just profited by $100,000 (paying back the $1 million principal and $100,000 in interest back to the lender). In the case of Harley-Davidson, that principal amount was $2.3 billion and used to produce motorcycles and make loans to buyers, and that lender was the Federal Reserve.

This doesn’t takeaway from the fact that Harley-Davidson saw an 87% reduction in its total corporate revenue, and made less money in 2009 than the tiny motorcycle news blog Asphalt & Rubber, but painting these loans as a bailout by the government and signs of Harley-Davidson’s impending economic collapse is simply not the case (although we do believe in the validity of that latter point), and furthermore is not a belief shared by the financial industry. Harley-Davidson stock is up 2.45% at the time of this writing.

Full Disclosure: The author of this article has a financial interest in Berkshire Hathaway, General Electric, and Verizon.

Source: Washington Post via The Kneeslider


  1. Some thoughts…
    1) Are you telling me that they didn’t have cash reserves to survive a downturn??
    2) I guess diversification of product IS better than targeting a single segment.
    3) Unless it wa a condition of the bailout, getting rid of Buell makes even less sense since the product line is even MORE homogeneous.
    4) It sucks to be a taxpayer when your government looks at you like an ATM machine
    5) Hold your nose and vote Republican..

  2. Willie says:

    HD common stock closed @40.94 – NINE AND ONE HALF YEARS AGO. We could get back to that level soon – we closed today @33.05. Yes, Jensen, UP ! on the day. And, we’ve even seen a modest rally in recent months, but -
    Oh Wait! volume has been falling as the price has risen. Is that bad?


    The “Lender of Last Resort”, indeed.

    Well, ’tis the season for giving. I really should go buy a Sportster but I’d have to drive buy the dealer’s McMansion on the way. Really, I actually believe in free market capitalism. You know, survival of the fittest, creative destruction. Can you tell me where I find that ? China ? India ?

  3. Greg says:

    Hey Steve, you may want to read the article that this is based on before going all political about things you haven’t researched.

    “By the fall of 2008, credit had frozen across the financial system, including the commercial paper market. The Fed then purchased commercial paper issued by GE 12 times for a total of $16 billion. It bought paper from Harley-Davidson 33 times, for a total of $2.3 billion. It picked up debt issued by Verizon twice, totaling $1.5 billion. ”

    First off, this was issued by the Fed, not congress or the White House. Secondly, if the Fed were to consult anyone in regards to these “loans”, it would have been GW Bush’s cabinet in the fall of 2008. Thirdly, our current deficit can be more attributed to falling revenues due to the lowest tax rates in 50 years in combination with the largest recession since the Great Depression than spending. Lastly, the largest budget deficit this country has faced was the FY2009 budget, proposed and signed into law by GW Bush. This would be the same guy who came into office with a surplus, and projected surpluses through 2008, WHEN HE TOOK OFFICE. My advice to you would be to turn off the pundits on your AM dial/cable news channel and research the facts, think for yourself, then come to logical conclusions.

  4. hugh says:

    Beat me to it!
    “My advice to you would be to turn off the pundits on your AM dial/cable news channel and research the facts, think for yourself, then come to logical conclusions.” few wiser words have been typed within a&s comments!

  5. andrey says:

    Greg… thanks for stating the FACTS and suggesting that the brain is put into gear before the mouth is set in motion.

  6. hoyt says:

    also worth mentioning is the cost of the wrong war that misplaced an immense amount of resources & talent. These insane costs, while simultaneously allowing Afghanistan to fall backwards, never seems to enter the mind of someone who carelessly uses “socialism”. Meanwhile, one of the few senators to vote to this invasion, at a time when it was political suicide to vote no against bush, is in the White House).

    Restore sanity

  7. Greg says:

    Although, Steve, I do enjoy your blog immensely, nice work!

  8. Tom says:

    Greg, we have researched politics and yes Republican policies are the source for the systematic dismantling of the Middle Class while transferring more wealth to the already rich. Since Reagan got the racist bible thumpers fighting racial integration of private christian schools in the South (ie. The “Moral” Majority) to join a crusade for a corporate selfish jesus, this nation has been on a crash course with bankruptcy.

    Naturally, this will become a my team (R) can beat up your team (D) as though the political parties “fighting” are any more than a facade for the rich to distract the rest of us from their pillaging of this nation’s future. Class warfare in the nature of civilization waved by the rich against everyone else.