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 H-D1 Factory Customization

01/03/2011 @ 5:35 pm, by Jensen Beeler12 COMMENTS

Harley Davidson H D1 Factory Customization harley davidson genuine parts 635x430

As much as we harp on the them, Harley-Davidson really is one of the few motorcycle companies that truly seems to grok the idea that motorcycles are about personal expression, and are an extension of a rider’s personality. This simple understanding has lead to the company’s brand marketing and lifestyle business strategy being taught in business schools around the world, tattoo parlors keeping a healthy array of Bar & Shield designs at the ready, and ensuring the State of South Dakota stays out of Canadian hands.

So it should come as no surprise then that the Milwaukee based company has started a factory-level customization program that will allow Harley-Davidson customers the ability to purchase a nearly one-of-a-kind motorcycle that is built from Harley’s 8,000+ genuine parts & accessories, which will then be built at the factory and shipped to the customer’s local dealer.

Called the H-D1 program, Harley plans on letting customers go wild with its parts bin, and when they need help, customization experts and consultants will be available to help advise on customization ideas. Slated to start February 4th, the H-D1 program is a clever way to get customers to think of Harley-Davidson for their customization needs, rather than going down the aftermarket route, although most smart dealerships are already active is pushing H-D Genuine Accessories on new buyers and current riders when they enter the store.

While this latest program seems to be just another layer being added into the Harley-Davidson “experience”, there could be some real potential for the H-D1 program if the customization consultants actually have a grain of originality and talent, and aren’t just dealers who sat through a slideshow presentation. If done right, Harley-Davidson could capitalize on a genuine opportunity to pull more of the custom chopper crowd back into its customer demographic, which could help breath some life and vitality into the stagnant company.

Of course things could just as easily go the other way, with this being the lipstick on the hog pig that Harley-Davidson is trying to dress up. So far Harley-Davidson hasn’t release a great deal of detail on the new program, other than some hype marketing and website with a countdown ticker. Our favorite phrase at A&R is back for 2011, as time will tell on this one.

Source: Harley-Davidson


  1. On a side note: The photo, while not for the H-D1 program, is perhaps one of the best ads to hit the industry in a long time.

  2. RGR says:

    Totally agree, that picture is bada$$.

  3. MikeD says:

    BadAss Picture Indeed !

  4. AFDK says:

    RT @MabuaHD: Harley-Davidson H-D1 Factory Customization http://bit.ly/e8lwo2 via @asphalt_rubber @Arifkaseptea

  5. freon says:

    What could cause the explosion? LOL ;)

  6. Jim says:

    What the program needs is an online configuration tool that allows the buyer to spec his/her bike and get the dealer out of the design process. Such a tool would ensure that no needed parts were overlooked, allow the buyer to view representations of the finished bike etc. The output would be a build sheet that would be submitted by the dealer as a custom order.

  7. Cobb says:

    Nice!! Up until now Harleys idea of a “custom” was offering the bikes in flat black

  8. Isis says:

    @ Jim:

    Like Mini Cooper right? First thing I thought of.

  9. Beale says:

    I dunno, that picture looks like an add for Loctite [shrugs]

  10. Scooter says:

    It seems that HD will do anything to keep from designing a new line of bikes. I guess they have run out of stupid names and colors so now HD is into selling an outdated bike that you can customize. Wow what a new idea.

  11. irksome says:

    Even though I have an aversion to all things HD, I have to say that this idea, while certainly not original, could help them to retain market viability. Let’s see if they can keep the bean-counters from screwing it up.

    This is the first positive statement I’ve made about HD since they asked the Reagan Administration to lift the tariff on Japanese competition so they could compete on the open market back in the ’80s.

    So for balance, allow me to add that that photo looks like what I see on the road when I ride with my friends from New Hampshire.

  12. Joe Reis says:

    I totally agree with this. It’s about time! Most car companies already have a customization tool that you can print out. Why now HD? Besides it will keep the local dealers from ripping you off on the “buy this one in stock or we’ll jack up the price if we have to locate one for you at another dealer”. They really have to keep the dealers out of it to make this work!!!