Isle of Man TT Gets TV Deal for Australia & USA

Want to watch the Isle of Man TT from the comfort of your non-British TV, but haven’t been able to in the past? A new TV from the Isle of Man’s Department of Economic Development will do just that. Inking a new TV contract with North One TV, the Isle of Man TT will be televised in the American, Australian, and of course British markets, making it easier than ever to watch the iconic road race. With a five-year contract with the Velocity Channel in the US, the American cable channel will show seven one-hour race shows. Each segment will air within 24hrs of each race, and be tailored for the American market.

Castiglioni Denies Fiat Buyout of MV Agusta Is in the Works

After reporting 22% growth in Q1 2014, Giovanni Castiglioni had some closing words about the rumors that Fiat could acquire MV Agusta — a popular rumor that has been swirling around in the press the last two months. Denying outright that MV Agusta had, or was in, talks with the Fiat-Chrysler group about an acquisition (some reports linked even MV Agusta to being bought by Fiat-owned Ferrari), Castiglioni said the Italian company solely was focused on building growth, and building motorcycles. “Moreover, I’d like to take this opportunity to deny rumours circulated by the media over the last few days concerning supposed negotiations vis-à-vis the sale of a share of MV Agusta to the Fiat-Chrysler Group,” said Giovanni Castiglioni, the President and CEO of MV Agusta.

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 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.

Hands on with the MotoCzysz Frame

03/18/2010 @ 3:31 pm, by Jensen Beeler2 COMMENTS

Hands on with the MotoCzysz Frame MotoCzysz E1pc frame peter lombardi 1 560x372

Ending our two-part series that looked at the the MotoCzysz E1pc, we ask ourselves: why do motorcycles look the way they do? Probably the best answer to this question is that motorcycles today represent an amalgamation of 100 years of design evolution centered around the internal combustion engine. When we look at motorcycle racing, we see the design in its purest embodiment of function over form. While surely some semblance of aesthetics remains, the ultimate goal is to shave the next tenth of a second off a lap time. Each minor improvement adds up, and these aggregated can translate into substantial improvements when racing the clock and the competition.

So it surprises us when we look at electric motorcycle racing and see so many teams approaching their designs with the same ideas and concepts that were born out of this century of internal combustion engine (ICE) racing. While the two offshoots of the same branch carry over with them many similarities, the fundamentals of attaching wheels, suspension, and seat to a running motor has changed, and with that change surely there would be a large movement to rethink the way we build motorcycle frames. The fact of the matter however is that many electric motorcycle designers choose to pursue cramming an electric motor and batteries into a frame, and ultimately into and architecture, that was refined for a gasoline pumping motor and doesn’t fully integrate the chassis’s from with its function.

In an industry that rethinks motorcycles from the ground up, the biggest paradigm shift has been left out by all but a few teams and manufacturers. Looking for the next generation in motorcycle chassis design, Asphalt & Rubber recently got to sit down with Michael Czysz to get an up-close look at the 2009 MotoCzysz E1pc electric motorcycle, and also got a sneak peak at the 2010 frame and chassis. As one of the few entities to rethink how a motorcycle should be design and produced, Czysz’s insights into his design give a glimpse as to what the next 100 years of motorcycle evolution will look like.

Hands on with the MotoCzysz Frame MotoCzysz E1pc frame peter lombardi 5 372x560Conventional motorcycles have to contend with how a frame should attach and work around a combusting motor. These twin-spar/deltabox/trellis frames all contend with the same problem, there’s a big piece of metal (the motor) at their center that they must go over, around, or under in order to make a complete motorcycle. This basic problem is what every mechanical engineer has to contend with when making a motorcycle frame, and from this complication has come the need for people looking to improve and refine this coupling.

With electric motorcycles however, all of this goes out the window. The powertrain component of an electric motorcycle is its batteries, motor, and controller. Connected by wires, and not with some simple mechanic machine (in the gear, lever, pulley sense of the word), electric motorcycles have the ability to have their propulsion components split apart rather than be centralized together. Centralized mass still of course is a part of the equation, but the subtle difference between an ICE unit and electric one allows us to see a new generation of frame design and understanding.

You have probably by now seen the MotoCzysz eDD chassis, or “suitcase” as Czysz calls it. This is in essence what future motorcycle frames will look like it. Made of pieces of welded aluminum, the suitcase frame functions more like an anatomical backbone, than the exo-skeleton of its ICE counter-parts, and was made with the purpose of housing hot-swappable battery packs.

Instead of trying to adapt a feat of engineering that was designed with a different goal in mind, Czysz explains that “the frame was designed to accommodate that function (hot swap batteries), and trying to insert something where there was no ground clearances to do so, or having to jack the bike up didn’t make any sense. The obvious solution was to bring batteries on, and take batteries off.”

“That then opened up a couple strategies on the best way to hang a relatively important, expensive, dangerous component that could come off real quick when you intended it to,” continues Czysz. The batteries are the largest and heaviest component on an electric motorcycle, and with their suitcase frame design, MotoCzysz has made their successful integration of this ‘relatively important’ component into the machine mission one for the company.

Hands on with the MotoCzysz Frame MotoCzysz E1pc frame peter lombardi 7 372x560Looking outside of the cubical suitcase design, one has to realize that everything about the E1pc is built off this single unit. Connecting the front-end of the motorcycle to the suitcase is a carbon fiber subframe that also incorporates the tank and dash. Similarly, hanging off the rear is another carbon fiber piece that consists of an integrated tail and seat design, sans any need for a metal subframe.

These pieces can be virtually changed at will to suit the preference of the designer or customer, without making modifications to the suitcase frame. Czysz places his controller and motor within close proximity of the battery packs, and needs only a few wires to connect these three essential pieces together. The result is a basic frame that sits about one half of the size of your conventional motorcycle frame.

Perhaps the most inspiring part about the suitcase frame is how easily it could be translated into new applications. Adding new mounts and components could just as easily make the eDD a dirt bike or street-tourer, all with zero core-frame revisions.

Over the past 100 years, the goal of designers has been to make the most integrated and effective motorcycle design possible. Watching others retrofit a motor and batteries into a (insert liter-bike name here) frame has created a dichotomy in the industry, with those who are pushing forward with an integrated motorcycle design, and those who are still trying to push a square peg through a round hole.

Hands on with the MotoCzysz Frame MotoCzysz E1pc frame peter lombardi 3 560x372Despite this trend some relics of past designs carry on, such as the fuel tank’s no defunct role of carrying combustible liquids. In our closing moments with Czysz we looked at the tank design on the E1pc and postulated why such a design was still needed. Explaining that the shape was necessary for rider grip and positioning, Czysz also hinted that the now vacant space could be used for other purposes like storage. Then of course there is a the possibility that without the tank design, electric motorcycles might venture too far from the preconceived norms we have about what a motorcycle should look like.

At the end of the day, it’s the marketplace that will determine what is successful and what is not. MotoCzysz hopes to make available its eDD to racing teams, and it’s telling indication that companies like Brammo and Mission Motors use similar back-bone style frame architecture. Enjoy some never before seen views of the E1pc frame courtesy of Peter Lombardi Kustom Photography below.

Photos: © 2010 Peter Lombardi Kustom Photography


  1. Ian says:

    I’m not sure why you’re surprised to see “so many teams approaching their designs with the same ideas and concepts that were born out of this century of internal combustion engine (ICE) racing”.

    Let’s remember that most of the teams that competed at TTXGP for example, were small operations and university courses with relatively tiny budgets and a timescale of about 5 months. You want to get a motor in a bike that will handle reasonably well straight off the bat then you butcher something that exists. Simple.

    From a commercial point of view, bikers won’t admit it but we are a very conservative bunch in general. New technology is largely greeted with suspicion and radical changes often flop. As you say, the ‘tank’ on the Ep1c helps it look ‘like a bike’ and I’m sure something like this is the way forward. The right mix of new technology in a familiar form. I just hope this doesn’t go the way of the previous bike in a state of perpetual development that never makes it to market or a podium.

  2. Hands on with the MotoCzysz Frame – #motorcycle