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.

How Jason Pridmore Scared the Crap Out of Me…Twice

05/29/2011 @ 7:09 pm, by Jensen Beeler10 COMMENTS

How Jason Pridmore Scared the Crap Out of Me...Twice Jason Pridmore two up ride Dan Lo 635x423

It all started innocently enough, as I was having dinner with some friends from Dainese before the West Coast Moto Jam, they suggested that I do a two-up ride with Jason Pridmore on the National Guard Suzuki Superbike. “Yeah, that’d be really cool,” I said in response, trying not to burst with excitement as to how awesome and unique I thought the experience would be. Barely sleeping the night before, I arrived Saturday morning at Infineon Raceway, and got decked out in the Dainese/AGV gear that was provided, and headed over to the National Guard Jordan Superbike team pits where we met up with Jason Pridmore.

I was accompanied by several National Guardsmen and some fans (you can win a two-up ride by following Jason on Twitter), and before we got started the AMA & FIM World Endurance veteran introduced the program to us. “Before we start has anyone here been drinking?” asked Pridmore – the day had been hot, and this was a NASCAR venue after all. Raising his hand and looking at the ten of us, “Oh, so just me?..let’s get started” continued Pridmore. Yeah…it was going to be like that.

Swinging my leg over the pillion seat on the Suzuki GSX-R1000, Jason gave me a run-down again on the instructions, and asked me how I was feeling. “I’m pumped,” I replied. “Go as fast as you can.” Now let us take a moment to evaluate who this is the point where I made my critical error in the day, as I suspect Pridmore takes a special joy in scaring the life out of hapless moto-journalists who find themselves on the back of his motorcycle.

Actually, Jason makes it a point to say in his briefing that the goal is to make the ride fun for every passenger, and consider that a goal achieved, as you’d be hard pressed to find someone getting off the back of Jordan Suzuki without a grin that stretches ear-to-ear. However, I suspect that if you’re a motorcycle blogger with more ego than commonsense, this whole concept is forfeit, and it’s at this point in time that I would like to apologize to every pillion I’ve ever had on the back of my street bikes (you know who you are).

How Jason Pridmore Scared the Crap Out of Me...Twice Jason Pridmore two up ride Infineon 635x474

Going into Turn 1 at the track formerly known as Sears Point, I became keenly aware of the air whipping around my back and ass, and realized that unlike the driver’s seat on a motorcycle, which typically has a bucket shape to it, I was really just hanging in the breeze on the pillion position. It doesn’t sound like much, but for someone that’s never been a passenger on a motorcycle before, the entire experience goes against roughly a decade’s worth of motorcycle riding.

That concept would become amplified as we apexed through the first turn. “I have no control,” I thought to myself, literally along for the ride at this point. This should have of course been painfully obvious before I got on the National Guard Jordan Suzuki, but the idea really sunk in when I lost my telepathic battle with Pridmore on where the first brake marker should be.

It should be noted that Infineon Raceway is an undulating race track, with a wide mix of technical turns. On-camber & off-camber turns, changing elevation, kinks, bends, hairpins, the Sonoma race course has it all. It’s one of only two race tracks California that I haven’t ridden before, which made each turn a bit of a surprise, but what struck me the most was the G-forces we were hitting. With handles built into the tank, it really is quite easy to brace yourself on the Suzuki, and still give Pridmore plenty of room to move around on the machine — though going through The Carousel I regretted just about everything I ate for lunch, and my stomach potentiometer told me we hit at least 2G’s going through the downhill left-hander.

I should preface at this point that our pace is probably faster than what I, an avid track day rider, would consider prudent. I don’t know if this is because of the whole lack of control issue, the fact I have no clue what turn is coming next, or if Jason’s 50% race pace really just is that much faster than my best efforts. If I were a betting man though, I’d factor all three pretty heavily into my assessment, with an extra emphasis on that last point.

Gripping with all my might, we navigated through the rest of Infineon’s turns, as Jason gave me a truly unique perspective on the race course. Making our way through the Esses, and coming into the back straight, before the kink that the AMA runs to keep speeds down, my perspective goes from asphalt to blue sky. Yes, we’re doing a two-up, 75+ mph wheelie that feels like it went on for days. Please sir, can I have another? Our front wheel touches down as we go through the kink, and then it’s ludicrous speed through Turn 10 towards and towards the bus stop that is Turn 11.

Have you ever done a push-up while a small adult sitting on your back? That’s really strange if you said “yes” to that question, but I have a slight understanding of what that must have been like for you (seriously though, seek help). Pushing against the tank with all my might, we go through T11, and back onto the front straight. Our lap isn’t a flying lap, so we stop midway through the straightaway to lure the next unsuspecting passenger onto Pridmore’s Suzuki. Truly awesome, and truly horrifying at the same time, I doubt I’ll ever take a lap around Infineon quite like that again…and if I do, I’ll keep my mouth shut about wanting to go full-tilt.

How Jason Pridmore Scared the Crap Out of Me...Twice Miller Motorsports Park two up ride 635x474

How horrible my memory is would quickly get tested on that last point though, as unfortunately the video of my Infineon two-up ride got lost to the great DOS-prompt in the sky…and let’s be honest, there are more than a few people that want to see A&R‘s creator careen around a race track with tears in his eyes. No longer able to plead ignorance, I readily agreed to go for a second two-up ride, this time during the Memorial Day weekend at Miller Motorsports Park. Joined by more of our fine serviceman from the Army and Air National Guard, and a few AMA rider’s significant others (I may our may-not have helped coax Roger Lee Hayden’s girlfriend into joining us…sorry Rog), I again climbed onto the back of the Jordan Suzuki GSX-R1000.

There really is no better rollercoaster than a two-up ride with Jason Pridmore, and much to the ire of my moto-colleauges, you can’t pick two better venues than the mountain ringed Miller Motorsports Park and the dynamically-flowing Infineon raceway. Since I know it’ll be a hit with some of my more inscrupulous readers and fans, find the video our lap around the Outer Loop of Miller below – there’s a glutton for punishment hidden behind that dark-smoked AGV helmet.

Big thanks to Jason Pridmore for the biggest thrill I’ve had on two wheels, and also to the Michael Jordan Motorsports Team which runs the National Guard Jordan Suzuki squad, and Dainese for putting the program together and hosting me. More importantly though, a big thank you to the men and women who serve our country in our National Guard, especially to the few I got to meet these past few weekends. You’re what the BigM weekend is all about.

Photo: © 2011 Dan Lo / CornerSpeedPhoto.com – All Rights Reserved

Comment:

  1. Ades says:

    I had the pleasure of doing this @ Philip Island on the back of the Team Suzuki Factory Australian Superbike with 3 times ASBK Champion Shawn Giles……… Let me tell you, Turn 1 at 180kmph 2-up is an intense sensation. The braking forces compared to when you are the rider are insane.

    Still………….I love my pic of us going over the top of Lukey Heights with my boot about an inch off the tarmac.

  2. wreckah says:

    awesome Jensen, quite jealous here :)

  3. david says:

    the action pic shows you in the position to drop your crap on the track man !
    :-)

  4. I wish all the photos of me taking a crap looked as dynamic as this one David ;)

  5. david says:

    you can’t have a photographer following you in the bathroom everyday unless your name is a french capital and your last name is an hotel…
    :-p

  6. Sounds like an avant garde project…I know just the person for it.

  7. david says:

    Man, THAT would sell !

  8. How Jason Pridmore Scared the Crap Out of Me…Twice http://fb.me/WdJ91so4

  9. Alex says:

    I just love this article!
    And especially the “…the idea really sunk in when I lost my telepathic battle with Pridmore on where the first brake marker should be.”
    I totally understand that felling of no control!
    +1 A&R

  10. Wonder what it's like to take a 2-Up lap with @jp43? Excellent article by @Asphalt_Rubber tells the story http://t.co/PB6Yb018