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 Q3 Sales Up 20% in the US, 15% Abroad

10/30/2013 @ 4:26 pm, by Jensen Beeler19 COMMENTS

Harley Davidson Q3 Sales Up 20% in the US, 15% Abroad Harley Davidson FLHTK 635x423

Signs of life are finally coming back to the motorcycle industry, as Harley-Davidson has shown strong gains in the third fiscal quarter of 2013. Posting an increase in sales of 15.5% worldwide, Harley-Davidson grew 20.1% in the United States the last three months, due mainly to its “Project Rushmore” line of water-cooled motorcycles.

“Rider response to the 2014 motorcycles we introduced August 18 was extremely positive. In fact, initial retail sales of the new Project Rushmore motorcycles sparked the largest year-over-year new model year sales increase in two decades,” explained Harley-Davdison CEO Keith Wandell in the company’s investor communique.

In the first nine months of 2013, Harley-Davidson has sold 214,964 units to consumers, an overall increase of 4.1% YTD. Harley-Davidson now forecasts that it will ship between 259,000 to 264,000 motorcycles to dealers and distributors worldwide by the end of 2013 (the Bar & Shield brand shipped 247,625 units last year).

The real important news though is that Harley-Davidson saw growth in its bottom-line figures. Up 21.1% over Q3 2012, Harley-Davidson reported operating income of $175.5 million, while revenue grew 10.7% over last year’s Q3.

Accounting for roughly half of the American motorcycle market, Harley-Davidson’s positive gains the last three months should help buoy the two-wheeled industry. However, the bigger point from Harley-Davidson’s news is that brands that continue to develop their product lines and release new models in this economy are seeing positive results. Hopefully other OEMs will take note.

Source: Harley-Davidson


  1. paulus says:

    Whether they are good or bad is not important… Well done for selling more 2 wheelers into the world.

  2. smiler says:

    No accounting for taste. Having closed and nearly finished off Erik Buell as well as MV, the mainstream (old) motorcycle population gets older and more are adopting chaps, tassles and getting on the most inefficient and outdated form of personal transport on the planet.

    God for them.

  3. K1200Rider says:

    let the harley hating begin.. and then the Buell sympathisers.. come on people, i dont care for harley any more than the next guy, but lets admit it, they know what it takes to sell bikes, T-shirts, cup holders and other shiny stuff!! If the japanese companies took a page out of harleys marketing books, they would be doing a whole lot better!
    Kudos to harley for getting more people on two wheels!! they dont just sell a bike, they sell a lifestyle!!

  4. Rico Bustamente says:

    Freakin H-D… all their bikes suck, they screwed poor Erik Buell…. they abandoned MV…… As soon as my tantrum is over … I’m going to go full on AGATT & jump on my trusty 650 Vstrom & go out riding in the 90 degree heat. ..what? I hope I don’t have to wave to any of those black t shirt wearing HArley riders cause they are flat out mean…. & I might cry….

    Washington should pass a law against Harley….. force them to make their riders wear AGATT & wave… & the bikes should have sewing machine motors installed instead of big twins…. I would feel better riding my weestrom then…. & if you bought one… then maybe I would… but I’m afraid to go into one of the dealerships alone cause I think they know I ride a veestrom & they’ll see the AGATT …. & they might laugh…

    & Erik Buell… damn HD…. closed down Erik in 1 night…. not that I would have bought one of his bikes… & I won’t buy one now…. but it is a good reason to keep trashing Harley, right?

    & look at the technology…. hahahaha… so old school.. so inefficient…. no switches that change the timing, no traction control, no electronic suspension…. hahahah… my other bike… an R1 has all that stuff. OF course, I can’t really ride it anywhere near its capability since I only know how to go straight… but I go straight really fast….. & I zip by unsuspecting cars & they give me the finger… hahahah… take that HD…

    So.. I am right with ya Brother Smiler…. let them keep the tassles & assless chaps… & we will keep are full on spacesuit AGATT & we’ll ride off on our 650 vstroms laughing together in the 90 degree heat…… poor dumb Harley Davidson….. hahahahhaaa…

  5. Gutterslob says:

    It’s not a surprising figure, really.

    Outside the US (or maybe in the US as well, I dunno), Harley’s are seen as luxury vehicles (Sunday morning ride types) and are often purchased by the richer folk. History has often shown that the rich tend to get richer faster during periods of economic downturn. If anything, Harley’s sales could be seen as lackluster compared to many other luxury brands that are experiencing record growth/profits.

  6. Grey Matter says:

    So the average Harley guy doesn’t read this site so bash all you want. Their usually to busy growing beards, sitting in a bar, holding up traffic in 20 bike packs while some others are busy being doctors, pilots, working Wall Street or being business owners. Let’s face it, the market is being flooded with HD and it will soon reach it’s saturation point. When that will be, who knows. I can tell you this, HD has the most diverse population of riders. The problem is that every swinging schlong is riding one and that can pose a problem, but not for sales. HD’s image is changing slowly but surely and if you want to be original, buying chrome is the only way you can get that in an HD which creates even more sales. My personal issue with HD is that the most advanced bike they have is the V-Rod and even that came out over ten years ago. Last time I checked, a company not willing to change with the times is going to slowly fail. The only thing HD has going for them is a set of watercooled heads. So, far, this has been their biggest change but it’s funny how deep you have to dig to get that info. Seems like they don’t want anyone to know about it even though the developement of these heads started with some guy named Erik who used to work for HD and they even owned part of his company.

  7. David says:

    I love HD topics.

    HD riders are such losers. Pretending to look bad ass.

    I much prefer Sportbikers and their actual hooliganism of blocking the interstates while doing wheelies and burnouts and yanking some poor SOB out of his car and beating him senseless in front of his wife and kid.

    The death of HD is such a tired argument. (of which I used to spout myself, LOL)

    More motorcycle sales is a GOOD thing….for everybody.

  8. John D'Orazio says:

    I really can’t understand this hatred for Harley Davidson. I have the good fortune to be able to own several street bikes and among them is (Oh my God!!) a Harley. Harley makes a very fine bike. Fit and finish are second to none and the bike performs flawlessly within its design spec. I also can’t understand this love affair with Buell motorcycles. If they were so damn good, why didn’t they sell?

    Fact is, there are a lot of great bikes on the market these days. Ride what you like.

  9. Chaz Michael Michaels says:

    I don’t think it’s hatred of Harley per sey.

    To me, Harley Davidson is like the Oakland Raiders (to Europeans, Harley is like Manchester United). I don’t hate the Oakland Raiders I hate their brain dead, moronic fans that think they’re bad-ass. They’re all fat, drunken, losers. Here’s the rub of my analogy–The Oakland Raiders do not tell fans to come to the games and act like hooligans drunk off thier asses acting like they’re hardasses. Harley Davidson, on the other hand, plays to the bad-ass biker image. They play it up, condone it.

    A harley davidson is a costume accessory. Leather chaps? check. Skull cap that won’t protect anything? check. Fingerless gloves? check. Leather vest with gang patch? check. Fat, middle aged, butt ugly pale white woman with tattoos on her kankles riding on back? check. Harley with super retarded loud pipes???? Of course! Now I can pretend I’m Sonny Barger! huh huh huh (in Beavis and Butthead laugh).

    That’s what I see as the problem with Harley Davidson.

    now on the other hand you have squids…

  10. Chaz Michael Michaels says:

    Point being–Harley Davidson motorcycles are pretty damn cool. Most of the people who ride them? uggg.

  11. Looter says:

    Harley haters are spitting on the grave of the VR1000. Pascal Picotte worked his ass off trying to appease you crotch rocketeers. Then Ford became a sponsor and the VR gave way to Harley edition pick-up trucks. The Harley hardcore then commenced to spit on said trucks. Spitting matches the image of the HD bad ass weekend warrior. I tried spitting with a full face helmet on once; to look tougher than what my 600cc’s afforded me. The Davidson should bring back the VR and hire VR to race as a new offering to sport biker sentinments. They should have made an MV Augusta edition F-onefiddy when it had the chance. :P

  12. Mike says:

    Good for American jobs, but the thought of more “custom” Sportsters toddling around like grannies already makes my ears and eyes hurt. Although getting the stink-eye from a land pirate because my KLR “isn’t a real motorcycle” does make me chuckle.

  13. Doctor Jelly says:

    Project Rushmore is all FL’s, air cooled and ‘Twin Cooled’ (aka liquid).

  14. sunstroke says:

    If HD is selling sportsters to younger buyers, we can be hopeful about a long term market recovery for the entire industry. If HD is selling $20,000 image-bikes on credit, this news is just the prelude to another bailout.

    I hope HD’s hipster marketing scheme works. Hipsters aren’t my favorite, but cultivating a counter-culture that doesn’t shut down highways and start bar fights can’t be bad for Harley in the long run.

  15. Bill says:

    I like HD motorcycles. I read this blog. I also like sport bikes, dirt bikes, naked bikes, touring bikes, electric bikes, and even scooters. I ride an ADV bike that actually gets dirty. Stop hating things that are successful just because you don’t get it. HD is also the number one seller of motorcycles to women.

  16. paulus says:

    @ Mike: “Land Pirates” LOL
    Now I will forever be stuck with the mental image.

    As Bill rightly pointed out… bikes are fantastic, whatever the flavour!
    I will spend the weekend riding on-road and off-road. Enjoy.

  17. Dewey says:

    It’s funny to hear all about how Harley Davidson builds the most outdated, inefficient, heavy, slow, etc motorcycles around.
    One has to keep in mind that what Harley Davidson actually is an sells an image/lifestyle and the bikes are basically the most expensive of the accessories that make up that image. To compare a Harley to any other motorcycle is to miss the point entirely.
    Ducati is successfully adopting a similar strategy and BMW has done it for years also.
    Some people like chrome, some like carbon fiber and others like aluminum luggage but it’s all the same wind.

  18. Tom says:

    John D’Orazio says:

    I really can’t understand this hatred for Harley Davidson.


    It stems from H-D being inferior technology being passed off as the best that America can do and that only their bikes represent REAL America and Americans. Its not the bikes themselves, but the BS religious cult based on lies that surround them.

  19. Grey Matter says:

    You want them to bring back a bike that was an epic fail? A bike that constantly blew up or had a mechanical? How many careers ended with the VR1000? I can count at least two. Pascal and Scott Russell. The machine was a blundering bomb of oil and engine bits. It was too heavy, underpowered and just a pile. The VR1000 won a couple of races….in the rain and everyother time, it would get it’s ass kicked. HD will never venture in that territory again because they don’t want to look like a bunch of idiots so they will keep making their inferior technology and you can go buy a bunch of chrome so it doesn’t look like your neighbors but wait, oh.. it still does.