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.

Indiana Considering Selling Motorcycles on Sundays

01/17/2012 @ 2:19 pm, by Jensen Beeler18 COMMENTS

Indiana Considering Selling Motorcycles on Sundays Captain America Harely Davidson chopper upside down 635x444

Indiana is on the verge of redeeming itself in the eyes of Asphalt & Rubber, as the Hoosier State is all set to vote on allowing motorcycle dealers to sell bikes on the Lord’s day (that’s Sunday for you heathens). Indiana State Senate Bill 192, which is sponsored by State Senator Ed Charbonneau (R-Valparaiso), would end Indiana’s ban on “buying, selling or trading motorcycles on Sundays.” The bill is a part of a larger national movement to do away with one of the motorcycle industries more puritanical customs of trade.

Perhaps realizing what all other B2C companies have known for decades, motorcycle dealers are finally warming up to the idea that most consumers do not have time to shop for a motorcycle during the nine to five hours on Tuesdays-Fridays (most shops are closed Monday as well), and as such, some motorcycle dealers nationwide are shining to the idea of having two, count them: TWO, days during the weekend where bikes could roll out the dealership doors. Naturally the abysmal economy is helping fuel most of this “Open on Sunday” fire, but a movement like this has been coming down the pipe for quite some time.

Pennsylvania recently passed a similar bill in 2011, as have other states in our great union. In an industry that still hocks the “race on Sunday, sell on Monday mantra” it will be refreshing finally to have dealers actually open on one of those two days mentioned (hint: it’s not the day where they’re supposed to be selling bikes). Clearly, A&R is of the mind that motorcycle dealers would be better off open seven days a week, and thus we are happy to see that motorcycle dealers are moving one more step closer to that reality.

If you ever wanted a reading on how the motorcycle industry is its own worst enemy at times, the issue of dealers opening up on Sundays is perhaps the best example. Indiana’s State Senate is expected to vote on the Senate Bill 192 later this month, and it is predicted that the bill will pass despite some push back from local dealers. Yes, there are actually dealers who don’t want the ability to decide what days their business should be open. For instance Tom Hartman, the Chairman of the Motorcycle Dealers Association of Indiana, wrote to the Senate committee to advocate that the bill be opposed, as most dealers in Indiana want Sunday off from work. Palm, meet face.

Source: Northwest Indiana Times via DealerNews

Comment:

  1. Shaitan says:

    As a heathen, I approve this message.

  2. jjrider says:

    Letting the dealers decide when they want to be open? How crazy is that? ;-)

  3. Mike D says:

    If you have ever met Tom, or been to his dealership in Evansville, you would not be surprised at his stance on being open on Sunday.

    Your point about dealers sometimes being their own worst enemies is spot on. It reminds me of a bad horror film sometimes… the girl is running away from the slasher…she has two paths to choose…”this way to certain death” or “guaranteed safety”.

    And its not just the motorcycle dealers. Why are all of the service departments closed on Saturdays, not just Sundays. When are we supposed to get our vehicles serviced? Funny thing is if you ask why they are closed on Saturdays they look at you like your crazy, because everyone knows that we all have all the free time that we need during the week to work around their schedule.

    It is truly amazing that they can complain about how bad business is when you ask, and yet these business practices are completely unacceptable in any other industry.

  4. next thing you know they’ll be allowing people to marry their pets!

  5. marty says:

    It took years for stores to open here on Sundays…not the stores I want to be open like a Motorcycle shop : /

  6. Kevin D says:

    “because everyone knows that we all have all the free time that we need during the week to work around their schedule.”

    So absolutely true, when will they ever learn that WE are THEIR customers. THEY need OUR money for them to survive.

    Most dealers here in the Philippines are open on Saturday, but only a few on Sunday… plus if they are, it will only be for half a day. Many people in Asia work 6 days a week and not 5, so it gets really irritating to have to have to skip work and adjust to THEIR schedules.

  7. Jake Fox says:

    One day a weekend is enough. Let them stay closed on Sundays to be with their friends and families. There are more important things in life than shopping. If no shops are open on Sundays then there are no sales lost unless people are going out of state to buy bikes on Sundays. When I was a kid most shops were closed on Sundays and somehow the western world didn’t collapse and we were all able to survive. It’s like when people decide to boycott oil companies by refusing to buy gas one day. It just means the gas stations will sell more gas before or after that day. And now most retailers are open on holidays. Why? Holidays should be enjoyed by all Americans unless you provide a critical service like transportation or emergency services. We need to quit bowing at the altar of the almighty dollar and get our priorities straight. Work to live, not the other way around.

  8. That’s fine, Jake, but shouldn’t it be up to the owner of the shop whether they’re open the whole weekend? Dealers who wish to be closed could remain closed, while those who were interested in making some additional money would, indeed, do so. Win-win, I say. Choice ALWAYS is the better way, and I cannot support those who would work to deny my freedom.

  9. doug says:

    “Let them stay closed on Sundays to be with their friends and families”

    So you’re saying that all grocery stores, Target stores, Wal-Mart stores, Best Buy etc. should be mandated by government to give their employees Sunday off? It’s a matter of choice for the owner of the bike shop- NOT OUR LOVELY GOVERNMENT!

    If I choose to buy a motorcycle on Sunday I will CHOOSE the shop that is open. If the motorcycle shop is open and sells the brand I want I will give him my hard earned cash. Ah, capitalism at it’s finest.

  10. James Schipper says:

    But what about teh fire and brimstoan!?!?11!!! OMG!!1!!! No!! It Buuurns!!!!1!!!

    It’s fun to see things change over time, and how far some areas of life (and the map) we still have to go. I had no idea there was actual legislation that prevented businesses from dealing in this kind of devilry on Sundays.

  11. Ervgopwr says:

    Indeed. As a life long west coaster, it amazes me to hear the strange laws of the other parts of the country. I’ve even heard that you can’t buy beer on certain day’s of the week. Why would anyone want to restrict god’s greatest gift to man? Her wisdom surely would not want any restrictions on that sweet nectar.

  12. Marc F says:

    Jake, how about closing on a Wednesday? Or Tuesday/Wednesday. Somewhat common practice in the ski industry. If you choose a business that caters to folks’ weekend activities, you probably should be available to cater to them. Want Sunday to yourself? Take any of the other 99% of jobs in this country.

  13. Spaceman says:

    I’m with Jake, but then again I work at a shop in PA. We’ve chosen to remain closed on Sundays, but we’re open the other 6 days of the week. I support the idea of businesses being able to choose whether or not to be open on Sunday.

    What I DON’T support is the mentality our culture has developed that mandates consumers have the right to ANYTHING at ANYTIME – regardless of how it affects anyone else.

    I can’t wrap my head around it. If motorcycles are your passion, how can it be such a huge inconvenience to get to your local shop during business hours? We make ourselves available to our customers for 50 hours over the course of 6 days every week. How can someone complain that we’re not “catering to their schedule”?

    The employees that work at the businesses we all frequent (motorcycle or not) are entitled to lives away from work. WE’RE all here to serve YOU 40+ hours a week…maybe do us a favor and “inconvenience yourself” during business hours.

  14. Spaceman, I fully support a dealer’s choice to be closed on Sunday. For that matter, I fully support a dealer’s choice to be closed whatever days of the week it chooses. If a dealer wishes to only be open on Saturday morning from 6-7:30 a.m., it might not get a lot of business, but that’s life. It’s all about choice.

    The problem isn’t when a dealer chooses to be in business or not. The problem is when government makes those decisions as law. When it’s illegal for somebody to sell on a Sunday, it indicates that the division between church and state is nowhere to be found.

  15. cds says:

    Let’s see, what day of the week am I most likely to need a widget for my bike and have time to go get it?
    If I’m 90% of the American motorcycling public, that’d be Saturday or Sunday. I don’t see many folks going out for a Wednesday morning ride, or spending Monday afternoon wrenching in the garage. If mc dealers are moaning about business being lousy, try taking a few steps to cater to your customers needs.

    Indifferent attitudes towards customers is what drives us to the Internet. Not being open when we need them is as good as not existing, which, if my city of 60k people is any indication, is the way things are headed. The local big-4, BMW & HD dealers all shut down in the last 2 yrs, leaving only a pair of niche Eurobike dealers known for lousy customer service. I won’t miss them when they’re gone, either, because they never really offered much.

    On the other hand, there’s an all-makes parts and basic service shop that’s open 7 days a week & has been thriving throughout the recession…

    The invisible hand of the market is a funny thing, innit?

  16. JSH says:

    @ Spaceman: Your shop may be open 50 hours a week but the key is which hours are you open. Are you open hours that are convenient for your customers or hours that are convenient for your staff.

    What I can’t wrap my head around are retail businesses that are open only when many of their potential customers are at work. My local motorcycle dealers are an excellent example. They are open Tues – Friday 9am to 5:30 pm and Saturday 10am to 2 pm. Considering that I work from 8am to 5pm that leaves 4 hours on Saturday that I can shop at the local dealers. Needless to say I don’t buy much from them. I buy my parts online and my riding gear online or from Cycle Gear. The key here is hours of operation.

    I can understand that a dealer may not be able to staff a store from 8am to 10pm 7 days a week. However I can’t understand why they can’t be open a few hours in the evening when people that work 1st shift could shop at their stores. Even 10am to 6 pm would be an improvement though I would prefer 12pm to 8pm.

  17. david says:

    yes, having a LAW that you can’t be open on sunday is silly, but the larger point is up for discussion. I work in a motor cycle shop,in the past the reason we were closed on sunday was because we were all out RIDING, going to races, motorcycle related events that all happened on, you guessed it, sunday. some of us even liked to go race ourselves, and for a long time the biggest customers of the industry was the industry itself. I miss getting to participate, but it’s a brave new world I guess..

  18. To that end, the obvious solution for shops that open on weekends is to hire staff who will be happy to work those days. When I was a parts manager, scheduling staff was sometimes challenging, but never impossible.