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.

MIC Establishes Standard to Test Range on Electric Motorcycle – Self-Policing with a Prelude to OEM Entry

05/04/2011 @ 6:12 pm, by Jensen Beeler2 COMMENTS

MIC Establishes Standard to Test Range on Electric Motorcycle   Self Policing with a Prelude to OEM Entry lead battery 635x444

The Motorcycle Industry Council (MIC) has taken it upon itself to establish a new standard on how to gauge the range of electric motorcycles. Since their entry into the market, we’ve seen some interesting performance claims from electric motorcycle manufacturers — some more misleading than others. Doing a little self-policing, the MIC has stepped in and established a universal standard that will attempt to quantify the real-world range of electric two-wheelers.

This news is important for two reasons, with the first being the obvious need of some sort of apples-to-apples comparison between the electric motorcycle brands, and the MIC’s desire to intervene on the nonsense occurring in this space before things get really out of hand.

The other major takeaway from this news is perhaps more subtle, as the MIC’s interest in regulating electrics is incredibly telling of what’s coming down the pipe from the major OEMs. A group comprised of executives from the largest US motorcycle brands, one has to wonder why this organization would be interested in regulating this budding segment in the motorcycle industry, that is unless it was setting the groundwork for OEM involvement in the E2V space…and boom goes the dynamite.

The MIC’s City Riding Range Test Procedure for Electric Motorcycles standard doesn’t come right out and say it, but clearly sets two different measurements for electric motorcycles and electric scooters. Based off the the Urban All-Electric Range Test used for electric cars under California and federal regulations (notice the name parody going on here), an electric two-wheeled vehicle would start with a fully-charged battery, and then have its range measured using the distance that can be traveled before the E2V is no longer able to keep up with a specified speed-time profile.

While the test sounds simple enough, the criteria for each segment is a bit confusing, and while a debate can be made about the relevancy of these values, the key point is that it would be applied universally, and aid in consumer comparison between models. For electric scooters, the test is conducted with a top speed of 36.5 mph and an average speed of 17.7 mph, and only applies to vehicles with a top speed under 56.7 mph, but not one below 20 mph (presumably keeping out electric mopeds from this test). Conversely the protocol for electric motorcycles sets a top speed of 56.7 mph, and average speed at 19.6 mph.

Developed with input from Brammo, Quantya, and Zero Motorcycles, the MIC anticipates that all electric motorcycle manufacturers will adopt the range estimation protocol, and is even hopeful that Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) will adopt it in its standards. “It’s vital for electric motorcycle manufacturers to have standards that we can agree on and that customers will find useful,” said Scot Harden, V.P. of Global Marketing for Zero Motorcycles. “We appreciate the much-needed efforts of the MIC, and everyone connected with the Electric Vehicle Task Force, as more and more electric motorcycles emerge on the market.”

Range standards like this are the first step in bringing some order to the electric motorcycle space, but standards on power figures also need to be set in-place, as values between nominal and consistent power outputs vary widely, especially by various designs. One such example is the commonly-used Agni 95 motor, which is often quoted as having a 100hp output, but in practical applications can only withstand extended 50hp loads before failure. This self-policing by the MIC is seemingly one of the first proactive measures the organization has undertaken in a while, and perhaps one of the best in shaping and guiding motorcycling down a more responsible and credible path.

It hasn’t been made apparent whether current electric motorcycle manufacturers like Brammo, Quantya, and Zero have had to update their range claims because of this new standard, but it does seem telling that the space, once dominated by garage hobbyists, is becoming more tightly controlled by larger players. The MIC’s involvement surely comes an indication that not only are OEMs getting ready to enter the space (KTM is close to releasing its electric dirt bike, and Honda is rumored to be racing in the Isle of Man TT’s TT Zero event this year). It shall be interesting to see what happens when the 800 lbs gorillas of the industry enter the electric space.

The entry of OEMs with electric or hybrid powertrains would not only add legitimacy to the space, but would be a maturation of this fledgling part of the industry. It also goes without saying that the R&D heavy brands would likely boost the rate of development in electrics, bringing practical ICE parity to electrics in a more rapid fashion. Stay tuned electric fans, this bodes well.

The entire text of the MIC’s new City Riding Range Test Procedure for Electric Motorcycles is available here (http://www.mic.org/downloads/MIC_EVCityRidingRangeTestProcedure_Rev042811.pdf)

Source: Motorcycle Industry Council

Comment:

  1. Andrew says:

    I wholeheartedly support the idea of standard, as the ridiculous claims regarding range of electric vehicles have been a thorn in my side ever since the first Vectrix. But I insist the test should be not only standard but also relevant to real world riding conditions. In particular it has to account for the fact that real street/road riding consists largely of series of near stops and sudden accelerations rather than steady runs at optimal speed.

  2. BikePilot says:

    Awesome, the electric bike industry needs this badly. As a cynic I typically assume the claims by the mfg’s are mostly BS, and, to date, this has largely been a safe assumption.