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 Purchase Terms & Details

08/09/2010 @ 8:47 pm, by Jensen Beeler18 COMMENTS

MV Agusta Purchase Terms & Details MV Agusta Claudio Costiglioni purchase 635x476

After Asphalt & Rubber broke the news about the MV Agusta purchase last week, many of the details about Harley-Davidson’s sale of MV Agusta to the Castiglioni were known or rumored at the time of the purchase’s announcement later in the day; however the exact figures and terms of the agreement were not officially known. Having filed the appropriate forms with the SEC, Harley-Davidson (a publicly traded company) has had to disclose the terms of MV Agusta’s sale, which don’t paint a favorable picture for the Milwaukee brand, but show how Castiglioni “bought” his company back despite bids coming from other parties.

As we reported earlier, Castiglioni purchased MV Agusta for the nominal sale price of €1, but digging into the terms of the agreement, it’s Harley-Davidson who is really paying out the big dollar amounts. In their agreement Harley-Davidson agrees to leave MV Agusta with a dowry of roughly €20 million (+/- minus fees and profits incurred), with €7 million of that cash infusion coming up-front. The rest of the sum will be paid in escrow with equal monthly installments, over a 12 month period starting on August 20th, 2010.

In exchange for this cash, Castiglioni has agreed to waive any earn-out payments he would have received as a minority shareholder in MV Agusta. Owning 5% of MV Agusta before the sale, we can only guess as to how much this payout potentially would have been, but we do know from the sale agreement that Harley-Davidson agreed to pay for the earn-outs of Enrico D’Onofrio (Harley-Davidson appointed Managing Director of MV Agusta) & Eugene Guizzetti (MV Agusta Executive).

Harley-Davidson also agreed to pick up most of the tab on the costs and fees associated with the sale of MV Agusta, most of which do not apply to the €20 million sum Harley-Davidson agreed to pay. In exchange Castiglioni agreed to not take any dividends or unusually large payments out of MV Agusta, meaning the funds given to the company should remain for company use. Castiglioni also agreed to absolve Harley-Davidson of any legal proceedings and liability the Italian businessman had been pursuing related to the sale of MV Agusta, which left unresolved would have tied up the purchase of MV Agusta for years.

The lawsuit filed in Italian courts by Castiglioni is certainly the linchpin in this purchase agreement, as any lengthy legal proceeding would have cost Harley-Davidson considerably, regardless of the final judgment. As Harley-Davidson paid out its lawyers, the opportunity for any profit in the sale would have dwindled over the course of the legal battle, which also would have confounded Harley-Davidson, Inc.’s desire to hurriedly divest MV Agusta from its holdings. Knowing that Harley-Davidson was in-between a rock and hard place, Castiglioni seemingly has exploited his position with MV Agusta, and as we see in the terms of the sale, the Italian businessman was able to get considerable concessions out of Harley-Davidson.

In total Harley-Davidson has written off $162.7 million (net in taxes) in its two year ownership of MV Agusta, making this an expensive outing for the American company in the Italian premium sport bike market. However this failed experiment in motorcycling accounts for only roughly 69¢ per share of Harley-Davidson stock, or roughly 2% of the stock’s current market price (which is how much the stock dropped during the announcement of the divesture).

With MV Agusta now back in Italian hands, all eyes will be on Castiglioni and his new CEO Massimo Brodi to see how they turn the company around.

Source: Harley-Davidson


  1. MV Agusta Purchase Terms & Details – http://aspha.lt/19d #motorcycle

  2. Bike EXIF says:

    Looks like Harley has written off $162.7 million after its two year ownership of MV Agusta. Wow. http://bit.ly/awPeqA

  3. irksome says:

    As a life-long Red Sox fan, I can only hope that the Curse of Erik Buell hangs on HD’s head for several generations.

  4. Maas says:

    Our American corporations are the undisputed kings of pissing money away.

  5. Mark says:

    I’m hoping that HD eventually becomes a privately owned company, with a large portion of it employee owned.
    This company needs to be run by competent people interested in the long term future of the brand and not by corporate bean counters beholden to the Wall St. mindset of maximizing short term profit at any cost.

  6. joe says:

    If you took clothing and sticker sales away from hd I wonder what their stock would be worth?

  7. Joe R says:

    My pea brain is still struggling with the killing of Buell.

  8. Joe R says:

    Oh yeah, and the original purchase of MV.

  9. Fernando patrignoni says:

    In what moment the hd managers felt smarters than claudio castiglioni????!!!???

  10. joe says:

    Smart clearly doesn’t matter. To them, their large checks justify their actions, and their outlook on the future is their colon.

  11. hoyt says:

    your pic kind of looks like an MV trike, which would be about as bent as the last 2 years of HD management.

  12. RT @BikeEXIF Looks like Harley has written off $162.7 million after its two year ownership of MV Agusta. Wow. http://bit.ly/awPeqA

  13. Ex Elf says:

    Keith Wandell and the HD Board continue to astound everyone with their brilliant decisions. Apparantly their management skills are as good as HD’s innovative engineering

  14. buellracerx says:

    congratulations, indeed, Keith. This is why you get paid the big bucks, right??? good thing you really know the motorcycle market…

    1 murdered american sportbike brand

    3 factories full of scared union workers (not to mention the test sites)

    1 fiasco of a sale of the italian sportbike brand

    and still, 30-some-odd cruisers (some thinly disguised) making up the model lineup…way to be diverse.

    btw, EX ELF, I wish you knew what you were talking about. Then this comment board wouldn’t have to put up with your blatant ignorance. I know HD engineering. It’s good.

  15. Smith says:

    sexy motorcycle

  16. Tom says:

    buellracerx says, “btw, EX ELF, I wish you knew what you were talking about. Then this comment board wouldn’t have to put up with your blatant ignorance. I know HD engineering. It’s good.”

    Ahem…..good at WHAT exactly?

  17. unclewill says:

    Harley killed Buell because Buells didn’t sell – I know, I test rode three Buells two years ago when I was shopping for a bike. The XB9 and XB12 nakeds were smooth on the road but at idle shook unbearably. I also tried a bucking, snorting 1125R which had serious fueling issues right off the demo truck! Is this the good HD engineering you’re talking about? It was enough to send me packing…

  18. unclewill says:

    I also test rode the MV Agusta Brutale and found it to be a wild ride – very fast and fun but heavy vibes, noisy and a real handful to ride. Another bike crossed off the list. I don’t think I am alone in passing on buying both Buell and MV Agusta as both brands struggled/struggle to sell bikes in the US. I would assume that this is why Harley cut their losses with these brands. As much as motorcyclists would like to think that heritage and tradition play a part, in the end this is a business selling products and when times are lean, its time to trim the fat.