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 Q3 Sales Up 23%

10/18/2011 @ 6:20 am, by Jensen Beeler8 COMMENTS

Polaris Q3 Sales Up 23% Arlen Ness Victory Vision 635x358

Polaris has just released its third quarter figures, with the American brand reporting a 23% increase ($35.6 million) in sales revenue for the months of July, August, and September when compared to the same time period last year. Those Q3 numbers continue the company’s upward trend this year, as year-to-date (YTD) sales for Polaris, when compared 2010, are up 37% overall ($111.4 million).

While sales have risen across all of Polaris’s market segments, its on-road vehicle segment, specifically its Victory Motorcycles line, has lead the growth for the company. With Q3 sales up 77%, and YTD sales up 83%, Polaris has been making strides against a market that has seen a massive decline from its Japanese competitors.

Polaris says international sales are the reason for the company’s success in 2011. While sales in the US have been up in Q3, Polaris reports those figures have only been in the mid-single digits. Meanwhile, sales abroad have increased by 74% ($97.9 million in company-wide sales), though International sales account for only 13% of Polaris’s overall Q3 sales.

Victory sales in Q3 were in the upper-teens for Q3, and Polaris is hopeful that its re-vamping of the Indian motorcycle line and brand will bring additional growth to the company.

Source: Polaris

Comment:

  1. Matt says:

    Whether you dig Victory’s style or not, it’s nice to see engineering making a come back in the American cruiser market. Hoping someday that will lead to some Polaris sport models as well.

  2. BikePilot says:

    ^ That. As far as cruisers go I suppose the Victory line is probably my favorite, but that isn’t saying much. It’d be awesome to see them make bikes designed more to be ridden first and polished second.

  3. Damo says:

    @Matt

    I dream of the day when I can walk into my garage and throw a leg over an American sportbike (I don’t have $40,000 for the new EBR, sorry!)

    Until then, “Viva Italia!”. lol

  4. Jake Fox says:

    If the Japanese segment of the market is seeing massive declines while Triumph, Ducati, and Polaris are seeing increases perhaps they should be asking themselves, “why?” The answer: today’s Japanese bikes are almost without exception fugly. Fire your design departments or at least instruct them to quit pandering to whatever graffiti loving, urban youth demographic you imagine will buy your bikes because it ain’t working. Return to sleek, uncomplicated lines and fairings unencumbered with “cool new graphics” and I bet you’ll start selling some bikes again.

  5. Jason says:

    @Jake: EXACTLY! it’s about what speaks to our soul. Not everyone likes the crazy Japanese Anime cartoons and robots and odd “futuristic” shapes they seems to be going with lately. Design, Style, and beautiful lines are probably the biggest draw to the sportbike segment as a whole as well when you consider the torturous ergo’s we live with to ride what we love. It MUST be beautiful to sell to the masses when utility isn’t usually the highest priority (in the U.S.) with motorcycles.
    Look at the Buell 1125. Great engineering and mechanically sound, with good reviews too. The stats put it against the big boys. Everyone wanted one when they were rumored to finally be replacing the Harley lump with a new Rotax… That is, until they saw the Huge, ugly fairing and side pods. Would it have really taken that much to style it better when engineering something so complex anyways? Sales flopped even though the performance was finally what so many had begged for.
    And look at the Yamaha R1 as an example of something that once had beautiful lines and nice proportions (especially 04-06, imo) without being weird. Beautiful from 1998 through 2008, it now has become quite ugly in comparison. My guess is it’s for the sake of ‘being different’…
    My brother-in-law just bought his first bike, a yamaha R6. He liked the engine and suspension, seating position, etc. of every other 600 he tried more than the R6, but he BOUGHT what he found more beautiful.

  6. Jason says:

    wow, sorry for the rant…

  7. Tom says:

    Jake,

    Don’t forget about in the Japanese quest for engineering perfection, their bikes have absolutely no soul. Japanese bikes are seen as disposable commodities in ways that other bikes (especially Italian and yes, even Harleys) simply are not.

  8. Shaitan says:

    Personal taste in motorcycles is subjective, and why something does/doesn’t sell in the States can be hard to understand. I’m not a crusier fan, but Victory definitely makes some pretty cruisers. Likewise, I think that adventure bikes are pretty and many think they’re fugly, so to each their own. Regardless, I’m happy to hear things are going well for Polaris.