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.

The Mission R with Its Clothes Off

01/18/2011 @ 12:37 pm, by Jensen Beeler10 COMMENTS

The Mission R with Its Clothes Off Mission Motors Mission R naked James Parker 635x469

The Mission R, the latest creation to come from San Francisco-based Mission Motors, looks like any typical gasoline-powered sportbike (well, any really good looking gasoline-powered sportbike), and that’s sort of the point behind the machine: an electric motorcycle that can excite petrol-heads and electron nerds alike. Although the Mission R was made to draw mainstream appeal, today we see further proof that any resemblance to modern ICE motorcycles was made to be only skin deep.

Beneath the carbon-laid fairings of the Mission R, we see a hint of the bike’s unique chrome-moly trellis frame that mates to a previously hidden headstock/front sub-frame unit that was made by Speedymoto and designed by James Parker (of GSX-RADD fame). With the Mission R’s mass centralized around the 141hp 3-phace AC induction motor, Parker also had to contend with Mission’s carbon enclosed two-tiered battery pack that comprises the bulk of the race bike’s weight.

Read after the jump as Parker walks us through his process and thoughts on designing the Mission R, and be sure to check out the photo galleries for an up-close look.

The Mission R with Its Clothes Off Mission Motors Mission R naked 2 635x952Any motorcycle chassis design combines three basic design elements into a cohesive whole.  The three elements are:  components, geometries, and packages.

“Components” are the basic parts of the bike: Motor, frame, suspension, wheels, brakes, bars, footpegs, and more.

“Geometries” are the spatial relationships, measurements and paths of motion of the parts: Rake, trail, wheelbase, wheel travel, center of gravity, and a lot more.

“Packages” are the spaces components and geometries have to fit within: The lean-angle package that lets the motorcycle corner at speed, the ergonomic package that gives the rider a place to operate effectively, the aerodynamic package that keeps the rider and motorcycle parts out of the airstream, and the assembly and servicing package that gives mechanics access to every necessary part and fastener.

In designing an electric motorcycle, geometries and packages need to be very much analogous to those in a ‘conventional’ motorcycle, but the components are very different.  Since the electric components need to work with, and fit within relatively conventional geometries and packages, there is a lot of re-thinking to do.

The Mission R chassis uses unique components to achieve the geometry and packaging demands of a high-performance motorcycle.  The battery is a large box surrounded on four sides by three different structure types.  At the front, a machined aluminum box serves as the steering head/fork mount and spans the full width of the battery. At the rear, the fully stressed “power unit” contains the motor, primary drive, and countershaft as well as the pivot for the swing arm.

On each side of the battery, connecting the steering head box and the power unit, are chrome-moly steel trellis sections. The battery is thus surrounded by protective structure to insure maximum safety.  An aluminum plate that is integral to the battery serves as a further chassis element, providing longitudinal and lateral bracing to the 4-sided structure.  In the stripped bike photos we’ve left a battery plate in place to show the structural connections clearly.  In actual use the entire battery, including the battery plate, is installed or removed as a unit, lifting from above.

The Mission R with Its Clothes Off Mission Motors Mission R naked 10 635x508

The power unit has several structural functions:  As well as a mounting for the swingarm pivot and the trellis sections, the power unit provides mounting points for the rear suspension linkage rocker on its bottom surface, and on the upper radius, provisions for the structural carbon-fiber seat base and the attached upper shock mount.

The single-sided swingarm, machined from billet aluminum, has a unique linear telescoping, rather than eccentric (as on other single-sided designs) chain adjustment, which allows adjustment without altering ride height.

The Mission R’s electrical and structural components work with superbike geometries and packaging requirements to reveal a unique approach to designing a high-performance electric motorcycle.  We’ve achieved a compact, mass-centralized design that uses new approaches to the problems of chassis design in harmony with new energy sources and new drive systems.

Source: Mission Motors


  1. joe says:

    The photos really make you wonder why it weighs 545 pounds. It’s a beauty though. What are the silver linkages beside the left fork, and left side of rear shock?

  2. Dude says:

    @ Joe: The “linkages” are linear potentiometers used to gather data on suspension movement.

  3. JP says:

    Love’n it!

  4. johnrdupree says:

    Oh, wow. That’s just hot, moto-nerd pr0n.
    The headstock, power unit, and battery plate are all machined, but it looks like they could all be productionized (if that’s a word) by making them with the controlled fill die casting that all the big manufacturers use. They could do aluminum side plates as well and skip the fabrication involved with the trellis.

  5. beeeemer says:

    what about safety, is that thing safe ?

  6. johnrudpree says:

    beeeemer, it’s as safe as any other prototype racing motorcycle.

  7. ds says:

    looks like a steering dampener to me on the front.
    keep the trellis for some character & light weight flexible but rigid structure.
    I like it better than the C-1

  8. Like the Dude said (he just wants his rug back), the linkages along the suspension pieces are potentiometers. The steering damper is along the left side, connecting the frame to the lower triple clamp (photo 3 shows this really well). If you didn’t get a chance to see it at Long Beach, you missed out. This is a very impressive motorcycle in person, the seat/riding position is not for the faint of heart though.

  9. hoyt says:

    Nice write-up and great photos.
    Was there any talk about using his RADD front-end on at least one prototype? Good spot for his vertical shock. The weight savings of the RADD design may not be as great because the Mission chassis looks light already.

  10. hyperducky says:

    Beemer… Safety? its a motorcycle, of course its safe :)