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.

KTM Freeride Coming 2012 – Cheaper than €10,000

07/08/2011 @ 2:19 pm, by Jensen Beeler9 COMMENTS

KTM Freeride Coming 2012   Cheaper than €10,000 2012 KTM Freeride 635x490

As we reported back in March, KTM’s electric dirt bike is coming closer and closer to being ready for consumers, and now information has come out that it will be a 2012 model from the Austrian company. This information is in-line with a November EICMA debut that we’ve been hearing, but perhaps the most tantalizing news we’ve heard is the bike’s sub-€10,000 price tag in the EU. This would put the KTM Freeride (oh man, we hope that name gets changed) directly in competition with Swiss electric dirt bike manufacturer Quantya and American electric motorcycle manufacturer Zero Motorcycles, both of whom are in the sub-€10,000 category with their dirt bike offerings.

Don’t just expect to see a dirt model at EICMA though, a street-legal version of the bike, an MX version, and a supermotard version of the Freeride concept will also debut at Milan show. Other details on the 2012 KTM Freeride progeny is that they will make 31.7 lbs•ft of torque at 500 rpm, with 30 peak horsepower (10hp continuous). The frame will be a mix of steel and aluminum, while the battery pack will have 2.5 kWh worth of electrons in its lithium-manganese battery pack. These numbers should put KTM at the top of the heap performance-wise to its comparable competitiors, though it’s misleading to make comparisons from merely quoted figures.

Tech specs aside, perhaps the most interesting part about this news is that a major OEM is entering into the electric side of the motorcycle industry with a serious offering. When you consider how many dealerships worldwide carry the KTM banner, which means sales, service, and repair all within a customer’s reach, KTM should sell quite well out the door. If the performance and price specs remain this competitive at the time of the bike’s debut, we’d tip KTM to be the electric market leader in 2012. There’s a long time until now and EICMA, and an even longer time until the 2012 models start rolling out, but things are getting exciting in the electric dirt bike space.

Source: MotoMobil


  1. “KTM Freeride (oh man, we hope that name gets changed) ” …..

    wtf!? really!? that name rocks.

    btw, i heard rumors from a good source @ KTM that the edgar winter group will be performing the theme music at the US launch event. http://youtu.be/SQC1xodg-HU


  2. Zerofan says:

    The Freeride is definitely a burden for Zero. Right now there seems to be little incentive for people who are eager to ride an electric motorcycle not to wait for it. But I still hope that people at Zero are able to make the shift to a more buyer centered manufacturer.

  3. BikePilot says:

    I’m skeptical as to how useful it will be for off-road or MX, certainly way below ICE par, but if the range isn’t dramatically better than Zero it’ll be flat useless unless you’ve got a really long extension cord.

    A trials version, however, could be both very useful (8 miles of range would do, especially if batteries could be swapped quickly or charged in < 30 min) and competitive with ICE machines. In fact, I'd seriously consider plunking down cash for an e-trials bike right now, the other e-bikes don't yet spurn even mild contemplation.

  4. BikePilot says:

    Oh, and it needs fork guards, looks really silly without them (and it wouldn’t make it to the first turn without sustaining damage either – heavens knows it isn’t pulling a holeshot with 10hp;).

  5. GeddyT says:

    Thanks BikePilot. I KNEW there was something silly looking about it. Couldn’t place it. Definitely the fork guards.

  6. GeddyT says:

    Also, I don’t see how that battery’s coming out of there. That’s a big knock if it can’t be swapped.

  7. agree with bikepilot that the freeride needs fork protectors … but … holeshots are not so much about HP … they are more about torque.

    and, it would be rather silly to expect an EV to be competitive with an ICE at anything except perhaps fuel efficiency.

    so … think different here … think of an EV supercross series that can take place in major metro areas (in smaller venues than stadiums, right in city centers), as EVs don’t make the same level of noise that stops a lot of cities from allowing/zoning racing in their metro centers.

    and don’t stop at a metro center supercross series … one could also have a supermoto series, or (shudder to even think about it) … bring back board track racing. now THAT would be an exciting series to watch/attend/race in.

  8. Singletrack says:

    Enough talk (& posting). Let’s get them on the roads, tracks and trails for real world evaluation.
    Until then, it’s just hype.

    Personally, I think the real solution is a low emission, direct-injection, oil-injected, QUIET 2-stroke off-road bike. The technology is already here. No magic and false promises needed. And hopefully cleaner emissions would get 2 strokes back on the roads too.

  9. Hodgmo says:

    If I were a value investor (and had some capital to invest) I would think seriously about buying KTM stock. They are now consistently thinking and moving one step ahead of basically everyone else in the industry. Their development pattern is to introduce bikes based on a great concept and make significant improvements with every new year model. Example: look how they now dominate in off-road (enduro, GNCC). They’re beginning that path in road racing with the RC8. The way world politics, environmentalism, and economics are now, I have no doubt in a coming market for electric motorcycles. And yes, if I were thinking of buying an electric motorcycle I would wait to see how this one performs. And NO, I do not work for KTM! (I do have an old 380, the most dependable bike I’ve ever owned).