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.

MV Agusta Will Debut Two More Motorcycles in 2014

11/22/2013 @ 12:00 pm, by Jensen Beeler9 COMMENTS

MV Agusta Will Debut Two More Motorcycles in 2014 mv agusta logo 635x423

MV Agusta had only a single new model to show at the 2013 EICMA show, its new sport-touring machine, the MV Agusta Turismo Veloce 800. An important brand extension for the Italian company, CEO Giovanni Castiglioni admitted that MV Agusta scrapped its original design for the Turismo Veloce, simply stating that the produce design didn’t have the same “wow effect” that the MV Agusta motorcycle should evoke. Developing the current iteration of the MV Agusta Turismo Veloce in just eight-months time, time will tell on whether the Turismo Veloce has been rushed to market or not.

MV Agusta has cleverly spun its recent history of releasing half-baked motorcycles to market (the press debut of the MV Agusta F3 675 and its horrible fuel-mapping are still fresh in our memory), by saying the company has adopted a strategy where its machines are in “constant upgrade” from the MV Agusta’s legion of engineers. There is an interesting story there about the sophistication of electronics now, though we would just prefer the bikes work properly in version 1.0, not 1.1.

Now raising its own bar on sophistication, the Castiglioni says that the MV Agusta Turismo Veloce 800 is the most advanced model ever to come from Varese. Time will soon tell how the sport-tourer rides (we hear it was a non-runner in the company’s promotional video), but as for the future of the Italian company, it is still full-speed ahead on other projects, which brings us to where we are today.

Some news that seemingly got lost with all the other announcements at EICMA, Giovanni Castiglioni shared at the Milan show that his road map for the future of MV Agusta includes two more yet unannounced new models, in two new market segments, which will debut in the first-part of 2014.

Our expectation is that MV Agusta will build off its Turismo Veloce sport-touring platform, and extend that line to include an adventure-touring model as well. We also expect that MV Agusta will release a power cruiser model, similar in vein to the Ducati Diavel — a bike that has already been hinted to by the company’s trademark filings.

The push into new model segments is not too dissimilar to another Italian company’s transition from a sport bike brand to full-range motorcycle brand, as MV Agusta’s plan reads exactly like Ducati’s playbook from several years ago, which is itself an adaptation of the strategy run by a certain German car manufacturer.

In outlining his plan, Castiglioni quoted the transition made by Porsche, as the German carmaker moved from a company that only made sports cars, to one that had a full-range of performance vehicles — Ducati made the same comparison during its own effort. The plan is sound in principle, and one with a proven track record of success.

In its effort, MV Agusta can draw upon reusing its 800cc three-cylinder power plant, as well as its 1,000cc four-cylinder engine for these new models. With the Italian company investing much of its future in its three-cylinder program, middleweight offerings would seem to be the more logical offering from the two possibilities, though anything is possible.

A pair of middleweight bikes could be an interesting approach, as while larger displacement machines have better margins, the premium-level middleweight motorcycle segments are relative untapped by brands like Ducati and KTM — an opportunity does exist here.

The trick here for MV Agusta isn’t the strategy though, it will be the implementation. Castiglioni and his crew have a tight time-table to deliver results and build volume, a pressure neither Ducati nor Porsche faced in their efforts. Distribution also remains a huge factor for MV Agusta, as the Italian company had poor dealer networks outside of Italy. Quality is of course an issue as well, as company’s in-house electronics package, MVICS, shows equal helpings of promise and growing pains.

As always time will tell, though in the case of MV Agusta, we won’t have long to wait for these new machines to break cover. Good stuff.

Source: MV Agusta

Comment:

  1. RL says:

    Don’t get me wrong, I really want to like MV because of their heritage and spirit, but I think they should focus on making at least one current bike that actually works well. So far they have come out with flashy, expensive, uncomfortable bikes with terrible fueling and no street manners. Perhaps some narrowing of their attention is needed more than new models? Or, kick ass in WSBK and and earn back some cred.

  2. MikeD says:

    I have a ” perfect ” solution as for the powerplant in the power cruiser.

    Ladies and Gentlemen, i give you MV AGUSTA’s first power plant with balls the size of The Sun:

    TADAAAAAAA ! TWO 800 Triplets joined at the Hip (crankcase) !!!!!!!!!!!!! A 1.6L monster of a V6 befitting of any bike that dares call itself a power cruiser !

    DIAVEL WHO ? LOL.

    Ok, ok . . . back to reality now.

    Good to hear more news about MV but i’m afraid that they are going to go the way of the DODO in no time.

    Biting more than they can chew and swallow. Too much sand for their truck. You get my drift.

    Too much ” new ” product TOO SOON, half sorted, kicked out the factory’s door and no real support behind it at least here on the USA.

    C’mon MV make a fool out of me and prove wrong (not that it takes much anyways) , LMAO.

  3. Jw says:

    I like how they stuck it to HD

  4. Superlight says:

    RL, let’s set the record straight, shall we? I agree MV should slow down on their model expansion long enough to 1), get the bikes sorted before introduction and 2), build their dealer body so a buyer can find them close to home, but as an F3 owner, the situation is not as bad as you make it out to be.

    My throttle response was never that troublesome and the ECU updates have pretty much resolved that issue. You missed the fact that the riding experience is way more involving than any Japanese 600 or even the excellent Triumph 675, not to mention design integration no other manufacturer has equaled.

    The racing success? You must have missed WSS this year, where the F3s improved at every outing and finished on the podium several times this season.

    Rather than believe every Internet opinion, you might consider actually riding the machines before making your comments.

  5. RL says:

    Superlight: What exactly makes riding a MV F3 “more involving” than riding a Triumph 675R? And, is that even a good thing?

  6. DDD says:

    This story is not profesional. Please take it down go ride, inspect MV and when we talk.
    From the design side there is hands down go and beat this, same about materials, electronics was one time thing and fixed year ago other brands had dozens of times BMW, Ducati etc in way wore manner even. It’s like journalist killed 999 in a time without slightest reason and when they where happy when Ducati released cheap old bike instead. MV quallity and product intelligence is bar to none we can say freely. Veloce is highest level transportation design you can see on industry level why the hell is necessary to kill it in US where customers don’t think but read only this kind irresponsibe articles. Engineering and materials you get are best possible from MV. It’s like if KTM has some plastic failure the bike is complete rubish if Yamaha gearbox flys to the moon every week it’s a motosport and pushing the limits. What a hell is wrong with you people. MV is most exclusive industrialy made quallity motorcycle you can buy, you can’t argue that and it’s nice there more few options or you buy shameful uglyness disaster V-storm and editor will be happy.

    Yes dealer are the biggest industry problem for everybody, specialy in Europe and sure dealers or lack of dealers and poor business model behind it will kill motorcycling before politics can. So this is where cahnges are need most and right now as everyone has a big problem is this area!

  7. Superlight says:

    RL – OK, I’ll answer your question. I suspect you’ve not ridden either bike, so I’ll explain it to you. It starts with design, where the MV has better detailing from every angle:
    - from the front, look at Triumph’s “parking light” design above the ram air intake (overstyled, cheap), then feast your eyes on the poorly placed turn signals on the fairing
    - from the sides, the Triumph’s alloy frame is a jumble of elements going every which way (it may work, but it doesn’t have any design flair) versus the F3′s trellis tube frame (simply elegant)
    - to continue on the sides, that Daytona rear subframe looks “plasticky”, especially those black inserts
    - the new exhaust looks just like the Honda CBR1000RR, which is not a compliment
    - from the rear, the tail section is OK, but the MV actually styles this piece, which looks much better

    OK, so much for the subjective side. What are they like to ride? The Triumph is a great bike, with broad midrange torque, but listen to the primary gear whine at slow speeds, absent in the MV. Both triples sound great, but the F3 takes that attribute to a much higher level, with a pairing of exhaust/intake sound that is breathtaking, especially over 10,000 RPM. The MV engine also revs up much faster than the Triumph, which I think is appropriate for a Supersport bike.

    The MV has an urgency about it that is missing in the Triumph, which leads to the MV being the more “involving” choice. More interesting design details to take in from every angle and a more exciting engine from the moment you start it up to the time you run it through the gears at high RPMs. I respect the 675R, but my money went to the F3 and I’d make the same choice again, over a year after purchase.

  8. RL says:

    Hey SL, nice post. I can buy that logic and honestly (having ridden both) I too would buy the F3 over the 675R. But, it would not be a logical choice. I do get the idea of a more engaging ride (I own a 998), I just wanted to hear what that means to different people. Every bike I have bought because it made logical sense has ended up being sold. It’s all about the experience. Enjoy your F3!

  9. Superlight says:

    RL, buying a motorcycle has rarely been “logical”, as few of us use them as daily transportation. They are “toys” for most of us, meant to stir the soul. It also makes a difference if you have one machine or multiple (I also have a Ducati). The F3 replaces a dearly loved 748R I sold a few years ago.