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.

Motus MST Drops GDI in Favor of Port Fuel Injection

03/13/2012 @ 2:49 pm, by Jensen Beeler26 COMMENTS

Motus MST Drops GDI in Favor of Port Fuel Injection motus mst prototype 635x425

It is a rarity that an A&R reader is better informed than us on a topic, but one of the great things about online media is that there is an instantaneous two-way dialogue on every subject we publish. As such, a special hat-tip goes out to commenter “Bob” who spilled the beans that Motus had dropped gasoline direct injection (GDI) for the Motus MST sport-tourer that the company is soon to unveil at the Daytona Bike Week. We followed up the comment with Lee Conn, President and Co-Founder of Motus, about the comment, where he confirmed that Motus would adopt a port fuel injection & ride-by-wire scheme instead of the heavily touted GDI setup.

“Having ridden the MST’s with GDI all over America, I can report that we pioneered a really cool GDI system and it works great,” said Lee Conn. “GDI is a modern, smart and efficient way to fuel an engine, but after a lot of discussions with dealers, customers, technicians, and tuners, we concluded that there is not enough support in the current industry to roll out this technology yet.” After seeing what bikes A&R commenters were using in comparison to the Motus MST, Lee made a joke about how the Motus team would have to rethink its product messaging, and then said something that is very central to the Motus MST ethos.

“We want the MST’s to be accessible, understandable, fun to work on, and easy to modify, so we are removing barriers for dealers and regular riders that like to wrench and tune their bikes. No big conspiracy, just makes more sense for our goals. We hope people will hold their fire until they ride the production MST’s, which will begin shipping to dealers this Fall and will exceed expectations in terms of smiles per mile, our benchmark of what a kick ass motorbike is about.”

Having never ridden the MST, I won’t get into the comparable products debate here, but this idea that a motorcycle should return to a form where a regular handyman could wrench and modify on his bike until his heart’s content has been a time-honored and common theme for the southern-based startup. This idea was one of the key elements in Motus’ decision to use a Corvette inspired push-rod design for the KMV4 motor, and it is the company’s hope that the familiar block will strike a chord with hobbyists and tuners alike.

When Motus first broke cover, it was right on the heels of Honda’s VFR1200F announcement, and I remember asking Lee about how his bike would stake up to the dual-cluch transmissions of the world. In a market segment that has become the proving ground for most of motorcycling’s real innovations, the Motus team is zagging with its back-to-basics approach while everyone else zigs with their sport-tourer designs. It is possible that such an approach could be Motus’ folly. Or, could it be that the American company is shining a light on the fact that we have strayed too far from motorcycling’s fundamental core of riding for enjoyment?

Source: Motus; Photo: © 2011 Jensen Beeler / Asphalt & Rubber – Creative Commons – Attribution 3.0

Comment:

  1. fail! what a short-sighted decision! the technical highlight is gone… :^(

  2. Jack says:

    Back to basics is exactly what’s needed, I don’t even like electric windows or locks on my car. Seriously, whatever they want to do is just fine. Back to basics should sell just fine, I’m just waiting for them to build one I can afford.

  3. MikeD says:

    @Enrico:

    Careful with those comments, the Motus Vigilantes could dissapear u in the blink of an eye.
    Seriously, the man seems to be very focused at the task at hand, seems to know what he’s doing and yet has the time to read,glance at our “crazy critics”…unlike vashing his product like i did on the previous Motus article lets give him a chance to a fair fight…then if it all fail, well…we’ll still be here to pound his product into oblivion with those “classy comments” we usually let out…starting by me. LOL.

    @Jack:

    +1 on affording. Broke schmoeks like me like 0 miles bikes too…lol.

  4. The lesson here is that you never know who may be lurking in the A&R comments section…I’m saving that disclosure for my novel. Ha!

  5. Brandon says:

    There is something to be said for taking that wild step, that leap of faith into the unknown regarded as genius by some, and foolish by others.

    It’s the stuff legends are made of, and apparently, it’s not Motus.

    (SELL GDI AS AN OPTION!!!!!)

  6. An uninformed reader says:

    Nice first sentence you pretentious douche.

  7. spytech says:

    i have to agree here, no GDI = fail… it should not be an option it should be standard. lots of hype on this motorcycle, which was the GDI, now no GDI it is a let down. if i was going to purchase this bike, i would no longer. it is borderline bait and switch. some customers may never be aware that it is not GDI.

    i love technology, and without GDI this bike is not very advanced. why pay all the money? are they running out of money and can not get GDI out in time because investors want to see a return on investment? who knows, the fact is that this bike with out GDI is not very impressive. does GDI make or break this bike, we will see.

  8. Rich Melaun says:

    I am rather stunned that you actually claim it is rare that reader is better informed than A&R. My list of motorcycle websites which I visit with regularity has now been reduced by one.

  9. AndrewF says:

    I thought what *was* central to their ethos was using the pioneering (for a motorcycle) GDI engine! Without it, there goes the one major factor that truly set them apart from all other brands. BTW, how many people buying toys in price range expected for this bike really want something they could wrench and tune themselves? My feeling is, not many… well, time will tell.

  10. noch says:

    @Rich Melaun

    Oh no. please don’t leave. no come back?! you will be dearly missed

  11. back to basic? hey, why not using a rigid frame and carburetors? that would be consequent! sorry guys, GDI-motors are state-of-the-art technology and no rocket science! For Europeans like me those push rod OHV engines are anachronistic low tech. don’t get me wrong, i’m a Buell XB rider (since 2003) and i love these oldfashioned HD lump, but putting the GDI in the KMV4 was the most awesome thing. wenn i pay 20K $ for a modern sport touring motorcycle i want something special! tuning a torqueful 1650cc engine with ~ 160 HP? why??? that is more than enough power for a sport tourer – you don’t need 20 extra-HP to be the first on the race track! and if yes, why not selling a MOTUS Performance Kit with Sport camshaft, Sport ECU and Sport exhaust?
    i am really disappointed with MOTUS’ decision.

  12. R. Davis says:

    I think the reason for not using GDI is more of a mechanical nature & would require further R&D than they planned. Possibly. I’ve read that FoMoCo had spent considerable time & effort on perfecting their GDI in the Focus because of intake valve deposits. The intake valves with GDI don’t get the fuel charge of port injection to cleanse the valve stems. They spent much R&D on valve timing to minimise these deposits as much as possible. Maybe MOTUS found after touring the country (the best real world test going) that the engines had these deposits & they just don’t want to go there…yet. Maybe.

  13. tbolende says:

    Jensen,
    Obnoxiously pompous even by your inflated standards. Not pretty.

    Tyler

  14. John says:

    As long as the KMV4 motor still makes its target power numbers, I don’t think the loss of GDI is as tragic as many above seem to believe. Considering all the Motus literature is still very publicly advertising a minimum of 160 hp and 122 lb-ft of torque, it would seem it will still make gobs of power without GDI.

    For me, the appeal of the bike isn’t one singular feature or aspect, but rather the total package of a machine that offers sportbike handling and acceleration, touring comfort/practicality, and a torque curve flatter than everything this side of electric drive. And in my opinion, if there were any single spec sheet goody to get excited about, it would be the option for full Ohlins suspension from the factory.

  15. Damo says:

    @Jensen

    “Nice first sentence you pretentious douche.”

    Wow, these guys have no sense of sarcasm do they?

    Do you guys even visit this site often?

  16. kevin says:

    @Enrico

    Whether it has GDI or it doesn’t it’s still a pushrod. If you think its antediluvian so be it but for many performance applications its great.

    The LS small block is lighter, smaller (dimensionally), produces more power and is arguably more durable. What’s not to like?

    The Gen V small block, which should debut within then next 18 months, will have GDI and by all indications will be an absolute terror.

    Europeans like you are a tad bit biased and maybe, just maybe a tad bit ignorant.

  17. Richard Gozinya says:

    One thing I’ve been curious about lately, and perhaps I’m in the minority on it. What’s the fuel economy on this motor, and how does the switch from GDI to port effect it? Dino juice is getting rarer and rarer, and more and more expensive (That’s why that Canadian oil sands, and whatever they’re getting out of North Dakota is now profitable) Fuel economy is becoming a greater concern.

  18. Uberbox says:

    I don’t think anyone is going to buy this bike soley based on it’s fueling system. The machine as a total package is still extremely impressive. I think their decision to use proven technology is a smart business move for a small start-up company. If all you Kips out there who love technology so much, go buy the bike that’s already there for you…the VFR.

  19. Damo says:

    @Kevin

    +2 points for using “Antediluvian” properly in a sentence.

  20. Bob says:

    Lots of uninformed opinions. An apparent lack of technical knowledge too. Combine the two and you get someone who is no more knowledgeable than the hole in my rear.

    I can think of many reasons why one engine design is better than the other and visa versa. What matters is the application in which that engine design is used, not the engine design itself.

    As for GDI, there’s a lot more to it than sticking a nozzle in the combusion chamber. The complexity is unreal and only the automotive segment has had the finances to R&D this technology. It isn’t simple by any means. Everything learned from port FI and carbs is thrown out the window. The same physics doesn’t apply.

  21. gebeme says:

    I don’t care one way or the other about GDI. If port injection improves performance/reliability/cost so be it. But if your operating principal is to create a machine that some dude in a shed with a box of wrenches can work on; that market is pretty well filled by Harley Davidson and about a half million bikes left over from the 70s and 80s.

  22. MikeD says:

    @R.Davis:

    U bring a good possibility to the table, i have heard from other “sources” that DGI does that to the intake valves…is it on the stem area or the seat ?

    @Kevin:

    Let me first make something clear, The SBC architecture is GREAT as in “smaller and lighter”, but not an END ALL for ALL APPLICATIONS kind of engine. Don’t let it go up to your head.
    I don’t see many if any Push Rod ICE making 100/Litre w/o braking a sweat like…i don’t know, an R6 Engine ?! It does 124hp to the crank…206hp/Litre…talk about power dense and EFICIENCY.
    Show me one…a production one…not some race engine.
    I think that’s Enrico’s reason to complaint, maybe im mistaken.

    Bob seems to have a ringer, all engines are great at one thing or two…but not all. Again, it all depends on the tint of the glasses u see the world thru…(^_^)…mines are DOHC, VVT and shim under bucket color…although sometimes im on the mood for hydraulic lifter color.

  23. irksome says:

    Losing the GDI might make sense in regard to their stated desire to create both a wrenchable bike and a crate motor for other applications but how many people who can actually afford the thing even OWN wrenches?

  24. Richard Gozinya says:

    @irksome:

    That is a good point. Fewer and fewer people know how to do anything mechanical. Even simple stuff like changing the oil, people go to the dealership to have it done. Shadetree mechanics aren’t exactly a huge demographic anymore. If they were really after that segment of the motorcycle market, they’d have better luck with 750 cc parallel twin crate engines.

  25. Jay K says:

    “We want the MST’s to be accessible, understandable, fun to work on, and easy to modify, so we are removing barriers for dealers and regular riders that like to wrench and tune their bikes.”

    I wonder how hard it would be to modify it to have GDI?

  26. Marc F says:

    MikeD, outside of racing regulations, displacement or power per displacement isn’t really a great way to judge an engine. Power density is really what you care about. So power per pound, or power per volume of the total package (rather than just the combustion chamber) are much better measures of what you can do with an engine on a motorcycle, and the pushrod V architecture (SBC) is one of the best in that regards, especially if you’re talking accessible power. The head is so compact and engine so light that you can swap a 5 or 6 liter V8 into spaces originally designed for 2-3 liter I4s and V6s, without messing up weight distribution and sometimes even saving weight.

    If racing regs were based on total vehicle weight and nothing else, I suspect you would see a lot more high displacement twins (power:weight) and pushrod heads (power:packaging size) than tall, heavy, complex multi-cylinder DOHCs which are architectures designed to extract maximum power from a given displacement.