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 5.1% Worldwide

10/19/2011 @ 3:38 pm, by Jensen Beeler17 COMMENTS

Harley Davidson Q3 Sales Up 5.1% Worldwide Harley Davidson urban 635x423

Harley-Davidson has reported its third quarter sales and earnings to its stockholders, and the Bar & Shield brand is showing a modest up-tick in its Q3 sales. Growing 5.1% globally (61,838 units) for Q3, compared to 2010, Harley-Davidison has had similar growth in the US, where sales were up 5.4% (42,640 units). Year-to-date (YTD) sales globally were up 4.9% (194,829 units), continuing the bottoming-out trend in 2011 (up 4.7% in the US, or 127,930 units). Despite the modest sales increases, Harley-Davidson’s financials are significantly stronger than before, with the company posting a 95.9% increase in income from continuing operations.

Nearly doubling its bottom line, Harley walked away with  $183.6 million in profit the last three months, up from $88.8 million during the same time period last year. YTD net income is up 155% compared to 2010, with Harley-Davidson reporting $493.4 million in profits made thus far this year.

“We are pleased with our sustained progress and we continue to realize strong momentum in the transformation our business,” said Keith Wandell, President and Chief Executive Officer of Harley-Davidson, Inc. “Two years ago we embarked on our strategy to focus solely on the Harley-Davidson brand, provide the flexibility required in today’s market and make Harley-Davidson lean, agile and more effective than ever at delivering remarkable products and extraordinary customer experiences. Today, we continue to see the positive results of the course we have charted. The changes underway in manufacturing, product development and retail capability will increasingly enable Harley-Davidson to be customer-led like never before.”

Harley’s bottom line growth is primarily due to the work of Wandell, as the company’s restructuring efforts have cut building and operating costs, and made Harley-Davidson profitable at its current volume structure. Harley-Davidson expects to ship between 228,000 to 235,000 motorcycles to dealers and distributors worldwide in 2011, with an expectation of 45,500 to 52,500 motorcycles in Q4.

Source: Harley-Davidson

Comment:

  1. MrFancyPants says:

    was there a mid life crisis boom?

  2. Will says:

    Whoop-t-f’n doo

  3. 305ed says:

    So much for the giddily predicted death of a great American company. Now all the haters can munch on a big ol’ slice of humble pie…LMAO!

  4. MrFancyPants says:

    @305ed can you define ‘hater’ without using the word hate in the description or have it applicable towards my dislike of eggplant?

  5. Richard Gozinya says:

    “and make Harley-Davidson lean, agile and more effective than ever”

    The first time lean and agile have ever been used to describe anything Harley, ever.

  6. Halfie 30 says:

    @V4 Thanks for the reality check for all the Jarley lovers. No where near out of the woods if they can’t sell bikes in their own back yard.

  7. 305ed says:

    @ Halfie – Buy, Buy, Buy!!!

  8. Most of the bikes aren’t for me, but is it just me or isn’t the 2012 Night Rod pretty sick?? I have a Ducati Monster 1100 so maybe I’m partial to naked/non-traditional style bikes.

  9. MikeD says:

    @Max:

    Dude, i would totally HIT THAT. The new Night Rod looks even better than the Muscle, and that’s saying a lot from me.

    Never liked the First Gen N-Rod tho…it looked like a Parts Bin Special for some reason.

    I would take a 2012 NR over a Diavel…foolish ? Maybe…lol.

  10. @MikeD

    OK so I admit I test rode one. Black matte with the orange racing stripes. GRIN THE WHOLE TIME! It was much easier to maneuver than I expected.

    Surprisingly, it was less powerful than I expected (then again this is compared to my Monster 1100). I suppose compared to another Harley it’s a serious rocket, so you have to be careful what the relative comparison is.

    It was super comfortable and definitely got some looks… The Diavel looks just… something’s wrong about it in my point of view. It’s not nearly as sleek-looking as the Night Rod, so yeah, no folly on your part in my opinion!

    The real question is if I could have only one, stick with the Monster 1100 I have now, go sleek cruiser with the Night Rod (2012 only, no prior years), or Streetfighter 848 in matte black.

    Aaaand debate! :)

  11. MikeD says:

    @Max:

    Your Call…Man. LOL.

  12. Richard Gozinya says:

    @Max

    Could always go with one of those Street Rods they had a few years back. Could probably find a good deal on a used one. Wouldn’t take that much work to get it looking like the new Night Rod. And yeah, the Night Rod line has always been the best looking of Harley’s offerings.

    The Muscle on the other hand, blech. That thing looks like absolute crap. I used to think it looked fairly ugly in photos and videos, then I saw one in the wild, and it actually managed to look even worse. Just this sort of cheap, cheesy, shitty vibe. Like it was thought up by a 9 year old boy, and put together by blind people with Parkinson’s.

  13. @Richard

    Haha, tell us how you really feel about the Muscle, buddy!

  14. Damo says:

    Good for Harley, not a huge fan, but I hope they keep going and keep some jobs in the US. Never a bad thing.

    Just never tell me how “fast” your sportster/v-rod is, just never :)

  15. Matt says:

    Harley is a great brand and a so-so bike but if I had a $20,000 Harley gift card I would be more inclined to buy HD stock. Then at least in the long run I would feel I was more likely to get my money’s worth.

  16. irksome says:

    “Product development”?

    Oh boy, they bought more paint and chrome.