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.

Unions Put the Kibosh on Moto Morini Acquisition

05/18/2010 @ 2:18 pm, by Jensen Beeler11 COMMENTS

Unions Put the Kibosh on Moto Morini Acquisition Moto Morini 9.5 635x508

You have to love labor unions sometimes. Faced with the prospect of being completely out of work, the labor union negotiators have rejected a proposal from Paolo Berlusconi that would save Moto Morini from going completely out of business. Of course us Americans can relate to this plight, as we just recently watched the UAW try to pull the same tactic while the US automotive industry crumbled around them. The blocked agreement is obviously bad news for Moto Morini, but Berlesconi is likely not done pursuing the troubled Italian manufacturer.

For his part Paolo Berlusconi is expected to make another offer on the company, which will hopefully be more appealing to the labor unions. It’s unclear how soon that offer could be made, as it would seem Belusconi can wait indefinitely on the purchase of Moto Morini, while the trade union has workers without jobs to answer to during this waiting period.

Belusconi’s original offer was rumored to be for around €2.8-2.9 million, and included provisions for worker severance pay, new hires, and the new company leasing the current factory for the next six years, which would keep jobs in the Bologna area.

Source: MotoBlog.it


  1. wayne says:

    Let’s hear it for unions! In my own experience, I have yet to see or hear of an American labor union doing anything good for the rank and file guy. Unless you consider keeping lazy, overpaid, under-skilled laborers from being fired good for the rank and file guy. I wonder if European unions are that much different?

  2. I was a union man back in the day. I got paid over $40/hr to do unskilled manual labor, with all sorts of perks. I have friends with J.D.’s and M.B.A.’s who make less than that now, which is sort of disconcerting when you consider how much those programs cost.

    The EU is far more worker oriented than the US, and Bologna is the center of the socialist movement in Italy. Getting around the unions there is next to impossible…which just adds to the “magic” of owning an Italian motorcycle company.

  3. Jaybond says:

    To grow, Moto Morini needs to come out with a new Superbike!

  4. Unions Put the Kibosh on Moto Morini Acquisition – http://aspha.lt/10t #motorcycle

  5. Jaybond says:

    ..based on the existing Corsaro Veloce chassis of course.

  6. Anthony says:

    “Belusconi’s original offer was rumored to be for around €2.8-2.9 million, and included provisions for worker severance pay, new hires, and the new company leasing the current factory for the next six years, which would keep jobs in the Bologna area.”

    Apart from this paragraph we don’t really know what was offered to the workers. Many in the media think that workers should just shut up and accept anything that is offered.
    Yes, there have been crazy demands from Unions but until you know the facts why assume the Unions are the sole problem. What if Belusconi offered half pay for new hires, should the Union accept that?
    In addition, If you think the Unions alone destroyed GM and Chrysler you are a fool.

    Let’s stick to Motorcycles and keep away from politics, shall we.

  7. wayne says:

    @Anthony: Again, in my experience, if a union is involved, the union will be the issue. Which is not to say employers are always fair in their dealings, but when my uncle lost his GM job because the UAW and GM could not reach an agreement the “politics” of it became moot. The other union with which I am forced to contend with on a daily basis (whom I shall not name for employment reasons) makes it a point to go out of their way to get reinstated employees who have been fired for proper cause (assault, drugs, etc) and has even directed their chapters to file grievances for the sole purpose of extorting monies from the company. When the company is no longer able to afford to do business because of frivolous grievances and must shut down, who then is to blame?

  8. Fedro says:

    Union is just trying to defend workers. According to the italian media, no official offers were made in order to mantain the job of any of the present day emploees, just a verbal(!) promise to save 20 jobs out of ca. 60. Any solution proposed by the Union, which they say woud cost nothing to Berlusconi, was refused.

    Several people think that Berlusconi is interested only in the brand and would shout down the pruduction of bike in Bologna, hence fire all workers, and perhaps to it move abroad. His other company (Garelli) is in fact 100% “made in China”.

  9. hoyt says:

    Unions do need to improve, but unions definitely are needed. Without them, big business will not take long to do whatever to whomever. Best wishes on a mutually beneficial agreement and long live Moto Morini

  10. TL says:

    Its a shame that they are having these troubles. I’d love to see a larger selection of sport twins on the market. IMHO unions aren’t necessary – business, big or little are limited by the market quite nicely. This point isn’t universally accepted, but does have significant support – at least enough that it shouldn’t be quickly dismissed. I totally agree with the best wishes for all parties involved!

  11. Argie says:

    The workers have always been a liability to the CEO class, and unless your a CEO, you should back off of blaming unions or workers for this deal falling through.
    There are no published offers made from Belusconi or the unions. So when bashing unions or the workers, you show your own bias.
    How do you know it’s not the unions/workers insisting the factory stay there longer that the other side cant agree to? or firing the workers and rehiring for half the pay ala circuit city….
    its always the worker makes or wants too much money..what a joke.
    all the money ends up at the top, maybe one day the union bashers will realize they’re fighting for the owner class and hurting us all.