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 Returns to Profitability

04/20/2010 @ 2:32 pm, by Jensen Beeler19 COMMENTS

Harley Davidson Returns to Profitability Harley Davidson Road King speedometer 560x420

Harley-Davidson has announced its Q1 quarterly earnings today, and the Milwaukee-based company posted a $68.7 million profit. This news comes after Harley-Davidson posted a $218 million loss last quarter, and finished in the hole over $55 million for the 2009 year. Harley’s return to profitability is partially due to the company’s restructuring of its financial services, which are once again generating money for the iconic American brand. Harley-Davidson Financial Services posted a profit of $26.7 million this past quarter, almost a third of HD’s net income in Q1.

Harley-Davidson sales are still down 18.2% from Q1 in 2009, the company reports. Though international sales remained fairly steady, declining only 2.8% (US sales were down 24.3%). “We are encouraged by our progress in the first quarter,” said Keith Wandell, President and Chief Executive Officer of Harley-Davidson, Inc. “

We are seeing directional improvement in our dealers’ retail motorcycle sales as we enter the key selling season. At the same time, given the global economic uncertainty that still exists, we believe conditions will remain challenging throughout this year, and we will continue to factor that into how we manage the business.” Wandell and his crew are reportedly steering Harley-Davidson to find strength in overseas markets, while continuing to serve its core demographic here in the United States.

Revenue from Harley-Davidson motorcycles during the first quarter of 2010 of $808.8 million was down 20.0% compared to Q1 of 2009. Harley shipped 53,674 motorcycles to dealers and distributors worldwide during the quarter, compared to shipments of 74,670 motorcycles in the first quarter of 2009.

It should be noted that Harley-Davidson counts bikes as “sold” when they reach the dealer, not when the dealer actually sells the motorcycle. Harley-Davidson has a history of channel stuffing its dealers, so it’s difficult at this point to tell how many Harley-Davidson motorcycles are actually making it onto the road when looking at these numbers.

Revenue from Parts and Accessories totaled $149.1 million during the quarter, down 12.1%, and revenue from merchandise and apparel, was $66.3 million, down 11.9% compared to the year-ago period.

Harley-Davidson stock was up today with the news, with shares currently trading at $35/share, up 7% from yesterday’s closing.

Source: Harley-Davidson


  1. Patrick says:

    The term “stay of execution” comes to mind…

  2. froryde says:

    Oh darn. And I was hoping that HD will just go away…

  3. Skip says:

    Yawn!!! – Who cares? I am more interested in real motorcycle companies that work to improve there product. Harley puts single piston calipers on there disk brakes and call that an improvement. I really doubt too many people really care a hoot about HD.

  4. Willie says:

    Fat cutting, accounting gimmicks, buyout rumors. This will go on for some time. But the days are numbered. Years ago, Stanford proffered the now widely accepted concept of the Product Life Cycle. HD would make a classic case study.

    The inevitable march of time will wind down this story bringing it to a merciful end. In the mean time hope and a river called denial give the faithful something to cling on to even though they know in their hearts . . . its over.

    And the stock. Another classic: a chart formation known as “the dead cat bounce”.

  5. Harley-Davidson Returns to Profitability – http://bit.ly/b4jSsL #motorcycle

  6. Skip says:

    HD still owes Warren Buffet 650 million dollars at 15% interest. This was to cover there financial services division. They were giving bike loans to any pirate that walked in the door. That was the only way HD could keep the sales numbers up and keep the stock holders happy. I’ll bet most of the stock holders do not know about the 125 million loss on Buell that could have been covered by BBP. Harley is buried in bad debt and poor sales. There is no way they can design and build a new modern and up to date motorcycle without a major influx of new cash. The only way that could happen is a total buyout. The company could be bought and then fire the entire management and cut the current line of bikes by 80 or 90%. Put the V-Rod motor in the current cruiser line-up. I know the Harley crowd would hate this because the V-Rod motor does not sound “cool” with straight pipes. But lets face it – the straight pipes and loud exhaust days are numbered with many cities enacting a noise ordinance. My city has a new noise ordinance and the Harley crowd is crying foul. They think it is there right to ride and so off with loud exhaust. Harley can’t expect to sell motorcycles on the sound of the motor. Those days are gone. Harley needs a new V4 motor as the current air cooled twin is so out of date it is ridiculous. A 70 hp motor to power a 900 lb bike? get serious. Harley needs help to survive and stupid marketing with stupid bike names like Fat Bob and CrossBones will not sell an outdated, overweight and underpowered motorcycle.

  7. CarbonBigfoot says:


    this message brought to you by a disgruntled Buell owner.

  8. Doug says:

    I was pretty floored when, during the conference call with investors, CFO John Olin said H-D fully expects more of its dealerships to close their doors during the second quarter. He also said H-D lost six dealerships during the first quarter. Not something you’d really care to hear as an H-D dealer, eh?

  9. Sean Mitchell says:

    I live in one of the towns where the Harley’s per capita is the highest in the nation from what I’ve heard. I worked for a BMW and Ducati Dealership which struggled and lost money every year for 6 years. Even though those are profitable manufacturers, the big Harley Dealerships choked out the competition (part of the reason, anyway).

    Then when Harley started struggling, the HD dealerships bought our dealership in an effort to get some profitable bikes in showrooms. But they cut their own noses off. This is a Harley town and even though Ducati’s and BMW’s sell well everywhere else, they continue to sit in showrooms. Couldn’t have happened to a nicer bunch of guys…

  10. Butch says:

    The Harley dealer here went broke last fall and was taken over by another out of town dealer. It is still the same old crap though. I dropped by to see if there were any changes other than Buell being gone. The salesmen were just a rude as the prior bunch. I asked about a new XR1200 or a new V-Rod and the salesman looked at me like I had 3 eyes. He laughingly said “hay buddy we only sell Harley’s here”. It is now wonder that HD is in trouble. The old line dealer network killed Buell by refusing to sell them or ignoring customers who came in looking to buy one. Buell was a no go for dealers because they could not sell a Buell customer an of the Harley aftermarket crap which is where there profit really is. A Buell rider did not want a Harley do rag, t-shirt, belt buckle or wall clock. I was in a Harley/BMW dealership in Wisconsin. They have a few BMW’s stuck in the back corner. The salesmen are all dressed up like a typical Harley rider.

  11. buellracerx says:


    Unfortunately, you’re exactly right. Some people on the frontline (dealerships) are giving H-D the black eye by trying to appeal to the “badass” walking through the door. Conversely, I know quite a few good, helpful, and friendly dealerships that don’t discriminate; they have the “I don’t care what you ride as long as it’s got 2 (or 3) wheels” mentality.

    Growing up with H-D, it’s truly sad to see them kill their performance roots. It just isn’t a part of the company’s focus (e.g. their ZERO SUPPORT OF THE XR1200 SERIES). I’ll still have fun on my cafe’d sporty (& outrun quite a few squids). lol bring on the trashtalking

  12. XR1200 Buyer? says:

    I stopped at the Harley dealer in Waterloo, Iowa and they have 1 XR1200 on the floor. The salesman said “we don’t sell very many of THOSE” . It was real obvious that he did not care for the XR1200 as he walked away immediately after making that remark. I stood around for another 10 or 15 minutes then I left. I was interested in one but if the dealer is going to treat me like that I will look at another brand. The XR is the only Harley that I would consider buying.

  13. Doug says:

    @XR1200 Buyer?

    I enthusiastically second your comment on the XR1200 being the only H-D to consider buying.

    I’ve gotta find a Victory dealer near Madison, Wis. Those cruisers actually look interesting!

  14. XR1200 Buyer says:

    There is a Victory dealer in Waukon, Iowa which is near Prairie du Chien, Wi. I have looked at the Victory and they are far superior in quality and price than any Harley. More powerful and technically superior motor, better brakes – must I go on. I was looking at a XR1200 because the dealer is close to me. I am also looking at a Victory Hammer 8 Ball.

  15. Real World says:

    Harley just completed construction on a huge new manufacturing building for Buell Motorcycles. This building was built by a group of investors and leased to HD. That lease has to be bought by HD or paid out. That lease, the 650 million loan to HDFS, 125 million loss on the Buell shutdown and plummeting sales of there outdated line of bikes does not spell a good future for Harley. Still Harley refuses to see the light. They continue with there outlaw image advertising and no new products. HD needs a modern motor, lighter framed bikes, better brakes and they really need to attract the younger buyers. Right now there is nothing in the HD lineup to compete for the young buyers. Harley is 100% committed to the aging boomer bike buyer with only 1 bike to sell – the heavy cruiser. Harley Davidson will need a major investor to pump cash into the company so they can design a new modern motor and a new sport touring bike or sport bike if they expect to stay in business. Cruiser style bikes are heavy and not designed for twisty roads. Many cruiser riders find out too late that there bike is best suited for 4 land highways or in-town riding. Harley lack of a good braking system in a major flaw that the Harley faithful will not admit to. Take the Crossbones for example – a single disk front and rear and a single piston caliper in front and a double piston in the rear. This is way inadequate for a 700+lb bike. But with only 63 horsepower maybe that is all it needs if the rider stays in town only. Harley hired a non motorcycle industry person as CEO and the first thing he did was kill Buell. What an idiot as Buell was probably there light into the future. There current line up of out dated and way overpriced bikes certainly will not carry them into the future.

  16. Doug says:

    @Real World

    Buell never was allowed to even begin construction of their new manufacturing facility; H-D scrapped the plans just a few months before eventually discontinuing the brand. Up to that time, Buell occupied leased property in East Troy, Wis., which, yeah, obviously, H-D had to buy out when it pulled the plug.


  17. @Skip

    Harley-Davidson owes Berkshire $300 million, not $650 million.

  18. bruce willis says:

    all you guys babbling about how Buell could have saved Harley.
    Where were you clowns and what were you riding all this time.
    If half of you would speak with your wallets and not listen to the crap…. H.D. would still be doing well.
    As it is I still ride a harley and always will. I also own a Hayabusa and ZRx 1200 but I know if I had to sell them they are virtually worthless after a few years whereas my Harley is still worth 85% of what I paid for it 3 years ago.
    Harleys tell a story that you obviously can not hear.
    Harley said it best in their 2011 brochures.
    The trip on any other bike would just not be the same.
    When was the last time you were out riding and a group of people formed around you and your bike to chat…not on any jap scrap that is for sure.All H.D.’s money stays on these shores and pays hard workin Americans …not some foreign crap that must become a classic in 5 years or less or risk rusting in place and becoming even more worthlesds.
    HD rules…admit it!!!!!

  19. bruce willis says:

    I live in Canada and still think without Harley there would be no industry….after all who is copying Hd all these years.