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.

Polaris Acquires Indian Motorcycle

04/19/2011 @ 3:29 pm, by Jensen Beeler14 COMMENTS

Polaris Acquires Indian Motorcycle Indian Motorcycle cylinders 635x412

Polaris Industires has just announced its acquisition of the historic Indian Motorcycle company. Terms of the deal have not been disclosed, but the deal sees one of the most historic names in American motorcycling finding a home with a major player in the motorcycle industry. The move is an interesting one for Polaris, as the company already owns cruiser and touring motorcycle manufacturer Victory Motorcycles.

According to the company press release, Indian will function as an autonomous business unit, but will likely gett help from Polaris’s engineering department, along with the obvious supply chain and purchasing power of the larger brand.

“We are excited to be part of the revitalization of a quintessentially American brand,” said Scott Wine, CEO of Polaris Industries Inc. “Indian built America’s first motorcycle. With our technology and vision, we are confident we will deliver the classic Indian motorcycle, enhanced by the quality and performance for which Polaris and Victory are known.”

“We are delighted to have reached an agreement with Polaris. Polaris will utilize its well-known strengths in engineering, manufacturing, and distribution to complete the mission we undertook upon re-launching the brand in 2006: harness the enormous potential of the Indian brand,” said Stephen Julius, Chairman of Indian. “Polaris is the most logical owner of Indian Motorcycle. Indian’s heritage brand will allow Polaris to aggressively compete across an expanded spectrum of the motorcycle market.”

The deal is a win for Julius, who is likely seeing a profitable exit from his endeavor to reboot the once defunct American brand. Since he bought Indian back in 2006, the company has been producing only a limited number of near-collector status motorcycles. The deal also seems like a win for Polaris, who adds another vector of attack to its assault on segment giant Harley-Davidson.

What will be interesting to watch is how Polaris will manage the two brands of Victory and Indian, and whether they substantially cannibalize sales from one another while under the same roof. We have a feeling Indian will play to its historic past and be the vintage side of the Polaris’s cruiser equation, while Victory will continue its more modern approach to the cruiser design.

Interesting stuff, and we’re sure Milwaukee will be watching this one closely, as the announcement comes well timed with Harley-Davidson’s Q1 earnings report.

Source: Polaris Industries

Comment:

  1. gnmac says:

    AWESOME! I wish nothing but the best and hope to see Indian thrive under the new ownership. I hope they can infuse some much needed energy into the American motorcycle design scene.

  2. Richard Gozinya says:

    Would be great if they go with something other than just new Chiefs. The Scout would provide Polaris with something to go up against the Sportster, and the Four would be just plain cool to see. I big inline four, like Rocket III big. There was also the very short-lived 841, if they wanted to try and attract some Guzzistas.

  3. I see Indian as the boutique brand for Polaris, as Jensen stated above. Plus . . . . . imagine Arlen Ness working his mojo on an Indian !

  4. Richard Gozinya says:

    Joey, that’s a terrifying thought.

  5. Victor Pritzker says:

    The main issue here is that this instantly gives Indian access to a very large and well developed dealership network, the most important aspect of actual commercialization.

  6. damo says:

    Hopefully Polaris will help them expand their line a bit. Some Cafe-esque sporty Indians would be great and wouldn’t break tradition too much.

    Dammit I just want an American sport bike, is that too much to hope for? It is 2011 for crying out loud.

  7. hoyt says:

    Victor – which, in turn, gives Victory/Indian access to the legions of people that want a vintage look for their cruiser. That is something Victory couldn’t do no matter how well their cruiser matched HD. Victory still does well in attracting cruiser riders who want something “new” and/or not HD.

    Great move. Victory to HD: “check”

  8. Victor Pritzker says:

    Hoyt-Agreed. Clearly Victory out “Updates” the HD cruisers, and Indian out “Vintages” the HD cruisers. Very good positioning.
    Damo-who knows, now that it is clear that Polaris/Victory is bent on expanding their product category offerings… And therefore their market share- as BMW and Ducati have done successfully, a sport bike category by internal design or external acquisition does not seem all that far fetched.

  9. Victory to HD: “check”

    I’m stealing that reference hoyt.

  10. Tom says:

    An acquisition was inevitable. For all the haters going online bashing Harley in this economic implosion, virtually no one ever mentioned Indian. Indian always had a more precarious business model than Harley and was never going to ride out (no pun intended) this recession intact. The world is is simply not buying bloated, overpriced, underperforming cruisers any longer and its far past time for Indian to revisit the Eller ideas of the past – maybe not the exact designs but definitely the idea of being a full range company and not just a fashion accessory for poseurs.

  11. Damo says:

    @Victor Pritzker

    Hopefully that happens. Don’t get me wrong I love all manner of Sportbikes and have owned Japanese and Euro bikes (currently riding a 2003 Aprilia RSV Mille), but it would be nice to someday own a native soiled developed Sportbike.

  12. Chris says:

    Indian does have the new cafe style bike. Not my taste but it is something.
    Polaris just do not destroy the brand Indian. The asian knock off indians of the 70′s were just horrible. I have visited the Charlotte Indian store every year since it has opened. The Bikes are amazing. sad as it maybe – I am one of the few that just cant seem to come up with 36k to get one. Not even the 80 months zero financing can i afford.
    So if Polaris can drop the price in half i will get a new one tomorrow. But if the only way to do that is to make it an crappy assembly model without class then just kill the brand.

  13. Martin says:

    Damo said: Dammit I just want an American sport bike, is that too much to hope for? It is 2011 for crying out loud.

    You mean one we can afford.

  14. GOOCH says:

    has nobody heard of buell???

    erik has mad a 180hp twin cylinder race bike. a feat that jap bikes have to use 4 cylinders for.

    there is your american sportbike gentlemen.