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 Has Pope Bless Fuel Tanks – No, Seriously

10/03/2012 @ 2:59 pm, by Jensen Beeler23 COMMENTS

Harley Davidson Has Pope Bless Fuel Tanks   No, Seriously Pope Benedict XVI Harley Davidson fuel tank blessing 635x422

Harley-Davidson is in Italy this week, gearing up for the company’s 110th Anniversary event that’s being held in Rome in June 2013. Apparently part of the pre-party planning involved having Pope Benedict XVI bless two fuel tanks today, with brand ambassador Willie G. Davidson present. This is of course a practice run for the full-bike blessing that will take place next year in St. Peter’s square.

We were going to write a tongue-in-cheek article about how we have never seen a company get as excited about a 110th anniversary celebration (though, there should be some sort of record for making the same motorcycle for that long of a time period), and maybe lace it with some choice idealogical wordplay, but honestly the press release from Harley-Davidson provides ample fodder for the cynics without our help. And here we thought the Pope was more of a Ducati guy

Press Release from Harley-Davidson:

ROME, ITALY – October 3, 2012 – Next June, tens of thousands of Harley-Davidson riders and fans from around the globe are expected to make their way to Italy’s capital city to celebrate Harley-Davidson’s 110th Anniversary and the shared passion for freedom that unites riders everywhere.

Today, Pope Benedict XVI along with Willie G. Davidson, grandson of one of Harley-Davidson’s founders and his son, Bill Davidson, Vice President of the Harley-Davidson Museum, launched the countdown to Harley-Davidson’s 110th Anniversary event in Rome, June 13-16, 2013, by presenting two commemorative motorcycle gas tanks to the Pope for a blessing. The tanks will be signed by Pope Benedict, Willie G. and Bill, and mounted on two motorcycles – one will return to the company’s hometown of Milwaukee, and displayed at the Harley-Davidson Museum, while the other will be auctioned to support the Good Samaritan Foundation.

“The 110th Anniversary Celebration will be a rockin’ party and so much more,” said Ken Ostermann, Harley-Davidson’s General Manager of International Marketing Operations. “Along with next year’s 110th Anniversary events around the world, the event in Rome is truly the most epic way we can show our thanks for the 110 years of riding and fun our passionate fans have given Harley-Davidson.”

Highlights of Harley-Davidson’s 110th Anniversary Celebration in Rome next year include a party in the Port of Ostia, a parade through the heart of Rome, two headlining concerts at Stadio Olimpico and a papal bike blessing at St. Peter’s Square.

“We’re anticipating next year’s celebration in Rome to be one of the largest events we’ve ever held outside the U.S.,” said Ostermann. “That is a strong testament to our continued global transformation as we respond to our growing fan base all over the world.”

Source: Harley-Davidson


  1. Richard Gozinya says:

    So does this mean they’ve finally abandoned the “Bad ass, rugged individualist, tough guy” image? Or is having the pope bless those fuel tanks an effort to fully tap into the geriatric demographic? A foreshadowing of the Harley badged mobility scooter? Maybe they’ll get Phyllis Schlaffly to be their new spokesmodel.

  2. pooch says:

    Did Del Torchio kiss his ring ? Is that some sort of Papal leather tank cover being held by the dude in the background ? And I think someone is nailed up on that cross behind them…

    Never underestimate the power of ass-kissing and the Catholic Church.

  3. JW says:

    Is this what HD resorts to these days, that some sort of heavenly blessing will somehow cover over the mess they are in. funny how so much of what they sell is made in China yet they tout the made in USA BS . Ever been in a HD showroom? Yet the HD rider will not wave to metric rider because the metric is not USA made, yet the HD rider buys china jacket, boots, gloves, goggles, chaps, wall clocks, mirrors, pillows, bed spreads, beer, cigs, mugs, lighters, shirts, pipes, bandanas, with tat art designed in china, Japan tires forks, engine engineering and shocks. The most dysfunctional biker culture in the world. The HD brand is a circus in a town near you..

  4. smiler says:

    It is an attempt by Harley to stop them dripping holy water…….

  5. Brij says:

    So a brand which touts the “Made in America” slogan, decides to have its 110th anniversary celebration in “Rome”? Is this Harley’s way of saying “screw you Americans?” . 110 years of robbing Americans, by selling them overpriced pieces of junk.. But then again, i guess harley owners who spends insane amounts of money on the harley bling, wont mind ponying up cash to pay for that flight ticket to Rome to join in on the celebrations!!

  6. Jesus says:

    I disapprove of this!

  7. pooch says:

    @Jesus – forgive them, for they not what they do.

    @JW – you hit the nail on the head describing HD as the most dysfunctional biker culture in the world. And it’s not just in America that lack of wave or nod to metrics happen, here in Australia you wont get a nod or a wave from a Harley Rider either. You have to wonder why HD riders think they are above friendliness and biker-spirit on the roads, unless you’re also riding a Harley ? Overpriced, underpowered, go balance on your tailbone and vibrate for hours. You’re an amusing bunch of Gay Pirates. Oh and Good luck with the back operations you’ll all need in your twilight years, boys and girls. Don’t say you weren’t warned.

  8. pooch says:

    Damn the lack of edit facility, Jensen. I stuffed up my Jesus quote.

  9. JoeD says:

    Overpriced. You paid how much for that two cylinder paint shaker? Over-rated. Made in America from outsourced parts. Underpowered. Let’s have a racing series just for our wimpy a$$ XR because a 600cc whatever can do every thing better.

  10. db says:

    Perhaps this is a precursor to the resurrection of another classic American brand a la Excelsior Henderson (but with divine help): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pope-Toledo

  11. Bill says:

    Such vitriol from so many people against one manufacturer. Bike blessings are very common not just to HD. I doubt this is the only celebration they will have, they are a world brand, made in America. Owning 56% of the large displacement market year after year means they do something right.

  12. Starmag says:

    This is awful. There was a time I had some respect for Harley. This pope was directly responsible for covering up the pedophlia scandal under the previous pope. He should be in jail, not “blessing” Harleys in some cynical ad stunt. Harley on bended knee to this criminal makes me barf.

  13. Shawn says:

    Regardless of what I think of the product itself (which isn’t highly, to be honest) I really don’t understand what H-D, 110th anniversary, Rome, and the Catholic church have in common. Does this mean that H-D doesn’t want protestants, Athiests, Agnotsics, Hindus, Muslims, Taoists, Rastafarians, Mormons, etc, etc, etc riding their bikes? No great I’m sure, but still!

  14. Shawn says:

    “No great loss I’m sure” rather

  15. irksome says:

    So this is what they do when they run out of chrome options and ideas for “factory customizing”?

    It’s official: HD has jumped the shark.

  16. JW says:

    @ Jesus

    Thank you

  17. Faust says:

    Really? And nobody is going to mention the fact that the Vatican Police ride Ducatis, not some POS Harleys? Maybe the pope wasn’t blessing the tanks, maybe he was instead absolving them for the sin of robbing people with high priced low quality bikes. I wonder how many hail marys HD would have to say to make up for sucking so bad.

  18. frogy6 says:

    Both failing institutions that refuse to change, acknowledge or use modern ideas trying to prop themselves up.

  19. Damo says:


    100% Correct Sir!

  20. Perhaps this will cut down on their propensity to detonate on impact, the lawyers at HD can only hope. :-)

  21. jeram says:

    When this tank goes onto a HD with ape hanger/high bars it will be the closest thing to feeling like your being strung up on the cross. Arms splayed out, sharp pains in your hands from the abominable clutch…

    but I also find it also ironic because I though the catholic church denies the existence of dinosaurs, yet here they are blessing one that’s right in front of them.

  22. JoeD says:

    A person I know paid almost 30K for one new a couple of months ago. He had to wait over two hours while the oil seal at the starter was replaced before it ever left the lot. THIS is quality engineering? Perhaps we should discuss the Rider’s Edge program. 300 clams to be walked through the boutique while being told what to wear to what funcion. Meet your dealership staff. What does that have to do with safe riding practices? Why did tuition go up and state funds be removed for the local community colleges that teach the MSF courses? Who would pay more to HD for something taught elsewhere for half the cost? And done properly. What brand gets the most free adverts? What style bike is used in commercials? I am a motorcyclist, not a biker.

  23. JW says:

    Pain does have a way of bringing one to the truth, seems we all have been pained by HD in some way or another..

    Any moron can drop money down on the brand. A wise enthusiast knows his money is better spent elsewhere