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 Pays Back $297 Million in Loans

12/13/2010 @ 9:07 am, by Jensen Beeler10 COMMENTS

Harley Davidson Pays Back $297 Million in Loans Harley Davidson piggy bank 635x484

Harley-Davidson filed papers today with the SEC disclosing that the company has bought back $297 million in papers (essentially paying off a loan) from Davis Selected Advisers, L.P to the tune of $380.8 million. Taking the loan amount at 15% interest, Harley-Davidson borrowed roughly $600 million from Davis Select and Warren Buffett ($300 million each, despite what other blogs seem to think) back in February of 2009. This announcement marks the first step Harley-Davidson has taken in repaying that debt, and with the added $100 million in interest payments, it’s easy to understand why.

With the cash infusion by Davis Select and Berkshire Hathaway seen at the time as a vote of confidence in the Milwaukee brand, the cost of taking the loan levied a heavy burden on Harley-Davidson’s balance sheet. In just nearly two years’ time, this loan has accrued just under $200 million in interest; and rightfully so, Harley is seeing the wisdom in paying off that amount in partial today.

At the time, the $600 million amount coincided with the yearly burn rate (how much money the company uses in a year) of Harley-Davidson. With already roughly $600 million in cash reserves, Harley’s loan from Davis Select and Berkshire Hathaway represented the company’s new-found financial ability to do two years worth of operations without making any money. With that possibility nearly coming true, Harley-Davidson’s repayment of this loan could be a sign that the company feels confident in its ability to stay afloat in the coming markets.

Despite today’s transaction, Davis Select remains a shareholder in Harley-Davidson, owning over 10% of the company’s stock. Meanwhile Harley-Davidson still owes Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway its $300 million plus interest, which in February 2011 will close in on the $400 million mark in total debt. Harley-Davidson stock shot up about a dollar per share after the release of the announcement, mimicking the market openings

Full Disclosure: The author of this article has a financial interest in the Berkshire Hathaway company.

Source: Harley-Davidson


  1. Brij says:

    well good for them!

  2. irksome says:

    And in that two years they have: Sold MV back to it’s original owner for one dollar; screwed Erik Buell; blackmailed the State of Wisconsin for $25 million; begun the process of doing the same to Kansas City; screwed their union (read: customer base) members and blackmailed them into allowing “casual workers” (their term) at $17 an hr with no benefits and… wait for it… introduced zero new products or technologies.

    Wait, my bad. There’s several new bandanas available. “Arrrhh.” I will not mourn the demise of HD.

  3. Scooter says:

    What about the 3.2 billion HD got from Obama? I agree with irksome. Harley seems to spend a lot of money and then still sells the same old outdated motorcycles. I guess they are using the money on there new 2011 line of belt buckles, wall clocks and do rags. I wonder how much HD really owes. HD sold borrow some more money and use it to design a real motorcycle instead of the bar barges they sell now.

  4. irksome says:

    Reply to Scooter: See that picture at the top of the page? THAT’S HD’s new model.

  5. Richard Gozinya says:

    To be fair, they do offer the Night Rod Special in dayglo yellow now.

  6. Shrike says:

    They are paying off these high interest loans using money secretly given to them by our Federal Reserve. That money was literally stolen from the value of every dollar in existence in every bank account and in every wallet. Hopefully, now that Ron Paul has some oversight over the FED, this kind of bullshit will stop happening. Harley Davidson needs to die already. This is the second time the tax payers and the government have bailed them out. The last time the government even levied a protectionist tariff on other “Heavy” bikes so that importers could not compete against Harley on a level playing field. Here is my prediction for Harley’s death:

    Since the economy is in disarray thousands of bankers, lawyers and dentists must liquidate some assets and that two wheeled tractor in the garage will be the first to go. This will fill up the showrooms and Ebay with used Harleys for sale. Since Harley has done no innovation in 40 years, the used bikes are the same bike as the new bikes. Nobody will buy a new bike.

    The End.

  7. Couple things:

    1) These loans were private loans from private lenders.

    2) Harley was loaned $2.3 billion, not $3.2 billion, not that it really matters. This was a short-term loan designed to keep the short-term credit markets flowing. Not only have these loans already been paid off with interest, you’d have to chastise just about every major company in the United States, along with Harley-Davidson, for taking these loans.

    3) Irksome, Harley-Davidson ultimately didn’t take the $25 million from Wisconsin.

    I think Harley-Davidson is a broken company as much as the next guy, but you’re levying unfair criticisms at the brand with these remarks.

  8. buellracerx says:

    agreed, Jensen; though they do have issues, it’s not fair to blow things out of proportion (you don’t even need to, it’s bad enough as it is).

    & irksome, the only reason it appears they screwed over their union is because they’d been breastfeeding them for so long. I worked there, saw what was going on. It was unbelievable…time for change

  9. Scooter says:

    Harley Davidson counts a bike as sold when it leaves the factory. They are the only manufacture to do this and it gives a false impression to the public that there bikes are selling like hell. Really half of there 2010 production is sitting in a warehouse or on a showroom floor. Harley dumped Buell and the tax payers will pay for that huge mistake. The typical Harley buyer is heading for the nursing home or the grave yard. 90% of the young buyers will not have anything to do with a Harley. They are overpriced, over weight and 1960′s tech and young buyers do not want to have to dress up like a pirate to ride one or hang with the other Harley pirates. Every bar in my town has a Harley beached in front of it. Harley lost millions with there HD financial services. They were giving loans to anyone who could prove they were alive and that is the reason for the 600 million loan. It was to bail out HD financial services. I wonder how Harley dealers will do when the playing field is level and there buyers have to get a real loan like everyone else – not a HD financial services loan which are history now.

  10. LutherG says:

    The problem with Harley is they are a lifestyle accessory. I can’t tell you how many guys I know who have one parked in the garage. They get out for a spin once or twice a summer, and that’s it. People need money now, and for the non-rider, the Harley goes first. With the market flooded with used bikes, how will Harley sell new ones?