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.

Hands on with the MotoCzysz Battery Packs

03/02/2010 @ 3:38 pm, by Jensen Beeler24 COMMENTS

Hands on with the MotoCzysz Battery Packs MotoCzysz E1pc battery packs 2 560x372

By now you’ve surely read about MotoCzysz’s new eDD and it’s “suitcase” chassis design. Recently Asphalt & Rubber got a chance to take a peak into the Portland, Oregon based company’s service bay and take a closer look at the 2009 E1pc D1g1tal Superbike, with a specific interest in its quick-release swappable batteries and unique chassis design. We’ll be covering these innovations in a two-part series, starting today with a never before seen look at the MotoCzysz battery packs. More and photos from Peter Lombardi Kustom Photography after the jump.

As the only bike to arrive at the Isle of Man with swappable battery packs, the MotoCzysz E1pc was the only bike at the TTXGP that seemed capable of the presumed switch to a two-lap race in 2010, which would allow for racers to pit and exchange spent batteries for fresh ones. While the design certainly would have proved a benefit had the organizers of TTXGP had their way, the real purpose of the E1pc’s quick-release batteries was to aid in on-track research and development.

Needing a way to get a full day’s worth of testing out of his electric motorcycle when at the race track, Michael Czysz and his team incorporated a system to quickly change out battery packs; thus allowing for there to be fresh packs waiting on the charger, ready to be swapped out while the E1pc was taking laps. Of course, the more time the bike was out testing, the more data that could be gathered and learned from.

Hands on with the MotoCzysz Battery Packs MotoCzysz E1pc battery packs 5 372x560Despite a raison d’être far removed from the proposed two laps of the Mountain Course, MotoCzysz’s swappable battery design carries over with it practical applications into track and short circuit racing, especially with the refinements found in the new eDD suitcase chassis. While the first generation battery packs take only the turn of a safety screw and a jostling of the hand to be released from the E1pc’s frame, “they weren’t fully integrated” as Czysz explained to us. However, the next iteration of MotoCzysz’s battery design inserts into the frame with a mere push of a finger, and extracts with the pull of a lever. Total swap-out time, just a few seconds compared to the original minute and a half or so.

Based on a beveled cleat design, the 2010 battery packs build on where the 2009 packs left off. Instead of having manually to unplug the battery’s leads to the controller, the 2010 packs use what Czysz calls “super sockets”, which attach the battery packs into the suitcase and make all the necessary electrical connections upon their insertion. Speaking of connections, the E1pc has less electrical cabling than your standard ICE motorcycle, which is a counter-intuitive fact when dealing with an electric motorcycle. “All the energy is being put into what we call the spine, there’s basically a low-voltage connector and high-voltage component, and that’s it,” says Czysz. “You’ve got two wires in this entire bike that are high-voltage. You cannot have a wireless bike, but we have only two wires that are roughly 8-10 inches long.”

Hands on with the MotoCzysz Battery Packs MotoCzysz E1pc battery packs 6 560x372Another counter-intuitive advancement with the 2010 E1pc is the fact the bike sports more batteries by volume and more power by density, but remains 200mm narrower than the 2009 race bike. Helping achieve this feat is the eDD’s new chevron shaped battery packs, which allow for a more compact design element, and push the batteries closer to the front wheel, thus allowing for a longer swingarm design, while maintaining appropriate clearances with the front wheel and forks. The new LiPo battery cells take on a double entendre, and slim down what Czysz calls a “fat” bike when viewed from the rear. With the chevron packs in place, the 2010 E1pc is slim like a 500cc GP racer, and more narrow than the MotoCzysz C1…despite the fact the 2010 E1pc frame is actually wider than its predecessor’s.

Grabbing hold of one of the old battery packs, one is surprised at the weight found in these elements of the E1pc. Judging from just my grip, I’d place a single pack at roughly 15lbs or more. Multiple this by 10, add in the cells found under the tail section, and it’s easy to see where the bulk of these motorcycles reside, and where the biggest improvements can come from for future advancement. Check out the photos below of the 2009 MotoCzysz E1pc, courtesy of Peter Lombardi Kustom Photography.

Photos: Photo: © 2010 Peter Lombardi / Peter Lombardi Kustom Photography

Comment:

  1. Brammofan says:

    Pretty amazing looking. I’m guessing he didn’t want a video camera running… because that’s what I want to see — the swap.

  2. RT @Asphalt_Rubber: Hands on with the MotoCzysz Battery Packs – http://bit.ly/b1CT4M #motorcycle

  3. Love the photo with the C1 in the background! Not many companies can say they’ve built both a gas and electric “superbike”. Beautiful attention to detail as well. Check out the silver paint fade accross the carbon fiber chassis…

  4. Joe R says:

    So have they given up on the original C1? With Motogp going to 1000cc in 2011 maybe they can get back to the orginal concept.

  5. @brammofan
    We’ll try and get some video of the new packs. (hint Michael, hint, hint).

    @Brian
    Both bikes have amazing attention to detail. I didn’t realize the E1pc had a carbon subframe until I saw the fade too.

    @Joe
    Your guess is as good as any at this point, as far as I know this is the closest we have to answer: http://www.asphaltandrubber.com/racing/motoczysz-c1-motogp-2012/

  6. sry 4 the lack of tweets lately, but check out some pics i did at Motoczysz w/ Jensen Beeler @Asphalt_Rubber http://bit.ly/9m97fC

  7. RT @Asphalt_Rubber: Hands on with the MotoCzysz Battery Packs – http://bit.ly/b1CT4M #motorcycle

  8. Awesome crazy Electric Superbike – Pics by @peterlombardi on @Ashphalt_Rubber – Michael Czysz – Portland Or. http://bit.ly/a2AJvF

  9. Hands on with the MotoCzysz Battery Packs – http://bit.ly/b1CT4M #motorcycle

  10. caRRera says:

    The bike is beatiful, and it’s the first battery pack that can appeal a regular motorcyclist. But …. Is the battery pack suitcase a stressed member?. Very strange.

    If not, where is the swingarm linked?

  11. Nice article. Can’t wait to see one of these beauties in action.

  12. GeddyT says:

    It does seem like the “suitcase” is a stressed member, which I find odd as well. Even though the structure is boxed and almost like an I-beam, it still seems to be made of awfully thin metal. At first I thought it was just a hollow box, which had me REALLY scratching my head at how they expected the bike to not twist itself into a pretzel, until I saw the pics with the sheet running down the middle of the suitcase separating the two banks of battery packs. My only theory at the moment is that maybe this central dividing wall is thicker and stronger than I’m seeing. (To me it just looks like thin sheetmetal with a pattern of holes drilled out.)

    In the article for the modular system they’re selling, it was mentioned that some kind of top plate would be included to which you can mount a front end. It would be interesting to see what this looks like, as from what I can see from the pictures of the modular package, it would be crazy not to wrap a perimeter frame around it to link the swingarm pivot to the steering head.

  13. A&R gets never before seen look at MotoCzysz battery packs http://tinyurl.com/ykwmxrn

  14. Brammofan says:

    RT @Asphalt_Rubber: Hands on with the MotoCzysz Battery Packs – http://bit.ly/b1CT4M #motorcycle

  15. John Adamo says:

    Awesome article by AR and pics by @peterlombardi RT @Asphalt_Rubber: Hands on with the MotoCzysz Battery Packs – http://bit.ly/b1CT4M

  16. don_zielke says:

    RT @Asphalt_Rubber: Hands on with the MotoCzysz Battery Packs http://bit.ly/b1CT4M <– This is SO cool!

  17. Skadamo says:

    The suitcase is definitely a stressed member. I asked Czysz if the eDD could be put in a gaze chassis for example and he said…

    “If a team wanted to incorporate a MotoCzysz eDD into an existing frame it may be possible but the eDD is a frame, so I think most would feel this is redundant and not entirely space efficient”

  18. Skadamo says:

    “gaze” is obviously what Steve Jobs would have named the GSXR. iPhone auto correct error.

  19. Ralph says:

    So cool concept… well actually it’s reality but still!
    Gotta hand it to Czysz. Way forward thinking.

  20. RT @Asphalt_Rubber: Have you see the great shots that @peterlombardi did for us? (here: http://bit.ly/b1CT4M) More coming! #motorcycle # …

  21. RT @Asphalt_Rubber: Have you see the great shots that @peterlombardi did for us? (here: http://bit.ly/b1CT4M) More coming! #motorcycle

  22. Have you see the great shots that @peterlombardi did for us? (here: http://bit.ly/b1CT4M) More coming! #motorcycle #photography #ev #photos

  23. Wow, Jensen. Beautiful article. Looking forward to part two. Amazing access to MC and a great post.

  24. nige says:

    i just love looking at the future. Great job Motocyzs