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.

How Does Polaris View the Indian Acquisition?

04/25/2011 @ 1:31 pm, by Jensen Beeler8 COMMENTS

How Does Polaris View the Indian Acquisition? indian vintage Ralf Turander 635x370

Polaris released some interesting info this past week to its stockholders, perhaps the highlight of which was how the Minnesota-based company views its acquisition of the Indian Motorcycle brand. Disclosing a brief summary of its plans, it’s clear that Polaris aims to go after the heavy-cruiser segment with a two-pronged approach, much in the same manner as we postulated back on Wednesday after news of the acquisition broke.

More important than stroking our own egos, two pieces of interesting insight came from Polaris’s SEC filing 8-K filing. First was a glimpse into what the purchasing price of Indian could be, as a slide to investors shows Indian’s 2010 revenue as being $11 million, which would peg a baseline asking price of about $9 million, though the perceived brand value could raise that price. The second juicy morsel is how Polaris sees Indian fitting in with Victory, showing the potential of tripling Polaris’s motorcycle sales in the future.

How Does Polaris View the Indian Acquisition? Polaris Indian acquistion Victory slide 635x458

In the eyes of Polaris, the heavy-cruiser segment can be broken down into six groups, with Victory currently appealing to the performance enthusiast category. While that may seem like an oxymoron, the proof is in the pudding, and looking at Victory’s sales sheets, this segment group is growing. While Polaris only sees the performance enthusiasts accounting for 21% of the market segment, it hopes that the Indian Motorcycle brand can capture the attention of the “die-hard” riders in the category, a group Polaris pegs as comprising of nearly 40% of the market segment.

With a larger available market comes a larger sales potential, and with all things being equal this could mean a 3x increase in motorcycle sales for Polaris. Using basic industry revenue valuation multiples, this potential sales bonanza likely cost Polaris a paltry $8.8 million or so, which is a cheap price to setup a powerplay to go after Harley-Davidson.

It will be interesting to see what the actual purchase price of Indian will be, which will have to eventually get disclosed to stockholders. From that filing we’ll be able to see what sort of premium was put on the Indian name over the base revenue-derived valuation. It will also be interesting to see if this was a straight cash deal, or if Stellican Limited took some stock as well in the purchase (a strong sign in the seller’s belief that the purchaser will grow and add value to the company).

Source: Polaris; Photo: Ralf Turander / MC Collection – Icons of Motorcycle DesignCreative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic

Comment:

  1. joe says:

    Those graphs and charts are a joke, as is Polaris’s desire to make, nothing but cruisers.

  2. MikeD says:

    Im not a Cruiser Guy and would like Polaris to venture into other segments (non-cruiser)…BUT we can’t blame’em for trying to make a profit with w/e sells (cruisers)…after all…that’s the main reason for a “Company” to exist…make money ? Anyone ?

  3. MikeD says:

    P.S: To the author…

    This is not a FACT but rather a lame opinion… when i see both words “performance” and “cruiser” side by side the only images that comes to my head is a VMAX(wich was forced to “fit” as a cruiser by Star planners) or a Diavel (looks like cruiser with 1198 stinch) … Victory’s own Hammer S looks like a chopper rather than anything muscle/performance and more like a fashion accesory… or anything else on their line-up for that matter.

  4. 305ed says:

    What exactly were the parameters of “defining” these rider categories? What is the difference between an “Everyday Rider” and a “Die Hard Rider”. This is a high school level business class presentation at best and I’m surprised that you haven’t thrown the bullshit flag on it. The Indian brand, while storied, is tarnished beyond its’ current owners aspirational expectations.

  5. gnmac says:

    “Buuuuuuuullshit!” to quote Ahnold. WTF, more vintage cruisers? C’mon Polaris, Indian is the first and most iconic motorcycle brand in the US – now freakin’ use that heritage to make a well-rounded company which includes some kind of naked sportsbike at least! For pete’s sake, Indian use to dominate racing in its early days – can’t Polaris capitalize any on that?!!!! We don’t need a THIRD cruiser company in the US, and if they just make VMaxs w/ Indian’s name on them I’m going to cry bloody murder for wasting the opportunity and the investment money! SH*T Polaris, hire Erik Buell to build you a proper 21st Century Indian!!! Is it too much to ask for an American company other than EBR to build a respectable non-cruiser bike for us Americans???????????????????

  6. Keith says:

    heh irony is REAL Indians are more a standard than a cruiser. 8^) Yes some models had styling cues that today we call “cruiser”. Indian inveted that particular look imo. BUT mostly they had bikes you’d call a standard, they also had more power and reliablity than their peers. That is where Polaris needs to go with them…nice strong standards with vtwins that wont quit and make every other vtwin built in the states look like a wimp. But that’s just me, my family owned cheif’s and scouts until the late 60′s.

  7. Miles Post says:

    I would imagine the buyer and purchaser are the same entity.

  8. Tom says:

    So many people keep bringing up Buell’s name. Get real, this is fanboy talk and Polaris is not going to bring him in to do anything with the Indian marque. Polaris will go their own road, whatever it will turn out to be, without someone from a failed bike company that had to be taken over by H-D to stay alive. I’m a fan of Buell and I hope he can start a new comapny and do well, but lets be real about calling in Eric for every damn thing as though he is some great messiah that only he can save such-n-such company from being terrible.