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.

PPIHC: Carlin Dunne & Lightning Set Fastest Qualifying Time Ever for a Motorcycle at Pikes Peak

06/28/2013 @ 10:38 am, by Jensen Beeler15 COMMENTS

PPIHC: Carlin Dunne & Lightning Set Fastest Qualifying Time Ever for a Motorcycle at Pikes Peak carlin dunne lightning motorcycles 635x423

In its second year of having a fully paved road course to the summit, it should come as no surprise then that qualifying for the 91st running of the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb saw the quickest time ever set by a motorcycle.

It should also come as no surprise that the man setting the record was Carlin Dunne, the 2011 race winner and rookie of the year, and 2012 race winner and outright motorcycle record holder.

Qualifying on the lower section of the Pikes Peak course, Dunne put down an astounding 4’13 lap time — putting him five seconds clear of his nearest two-wheeled competition.

While it is impressive that Dunne was able to beat out the Ducati Multistrada 1200′s in the 1205cc class, what is perhaps the most intriguing piece of news is that Dunne set the qualifying record while riding the Lightning Motorcycles Flying Banana*.

To put Dunne’s qualifying in perspective, the Santa Barbara native beat his own qualifying time from last year, a 4′:16.896, by over three seconds. On pace throughout the entire week, Dunne was noticeably more focused today, and got progressively faster throughout the morning’s qualifying.

Watching him flick the Lightning through Engineers Corner was an impressive sight, especially when you consider that the Lightning weighs near 500 lbs.

Things are shaping up to be a good race on Sunday, with a pair of Ducati Multistrada 1200′s on the pace, and with Dunne looking to make the fastest motorcycle up Pikes Peak an electric one.

*We have a good gentleman’s wager with Lightning CEO Richard Hatfield that if Dunne can beat his own race record of 9’52.819 on Sunday, then the Lightning superbike will from now on referred to as the “Top Banana” on Asphalt & Rubber — now that’s a bet we wouldn’t mind losing.

For the Full Motorcycle Qualifying Results for the 2013 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, click here.

Photo: © 2013 Jensen Beeler / Asphalt & RubberCreative Commons – Attribution 3.0


  1. alexssss says:

    in a field of 3 its not hard to be top banana – bring mugen and cyzs to the party next time and we’ll see who is truly king o the mountain

  2. Cpt.Slow says:

    “…quickest time ever set by a motorcycle”

    That kind of, ummm, pretty much makes him top banana.

  3. Tim M says:

    Dayum, Carlin OWNS the mountain! I’m thinking an electric engine isn’t affected by elevation changes like an internal combustion motor and maybe that’s an advantage.

  4. Asaf says:

    Is it legal for bikes with clip-ons to take part in the PPIHC?

  5. Gutterslob says:

    Great job, Mr Dunne and Co.
    … but how many seconds (minutes?!) behind Sebastian Loeb in that mentalist Peugeot?

  6. Asaf, yes the PPIHC has now made a racing class for bikes with clip-ons under 750cc.

  7. Richard Gozinya says:

    @alexssss Would need to add the Mission R into the mix, just to get a full picture. Now that both the Lightning and Mission are going to be available to the public, it’s only a matter of time before they’re pitted head to head.

  8. Rob says:

    I’m positive a 1000cc superbike would be faster.

    With that said the bike is quick but the battery range is still the biggest reason why I would not consider buying one anytime soon. With a 200-300 mile range I’m sure a lot of people would buy one.

  9. Richard Gozinya says:

    @Rob 200-300 mile range would give it at least double the range of pretty much every sportbike in production today. As for reasons for not buying one, the production bikes that can really compete against a modern sportbike cost around $30k and up. The stuff from Brammo and Zero really aren’t comparable to even a 650 twin, and cost north of $15k. So I think cost is the bigger hurdle.

  10. Asaf says:

    Thanks for the clarification Mr. Beeler!

  11. David says:

    Every sportbike I have ever ridden has unlimited range.

    I just pull in to a gas station and fill up in a couple minutes, then continue on.

    Try that with an electric bike. lol

  12. Richard says:

    Rob, the field had many 1000cc sportbikes and purpose built 1200cc racebikes. To the point of refueling, each practice day we ran 6-10 practice sessions in 2.5 hrs.

  13. Richard says:

    Rob, the field had many 1000cc sportbikes and purpose built 1200cc racebikes. To the point of refueling, each practice day we ran 6-10 practice sessions in 2.5 hrs.

  14. Westward says:

    If an electric bike had a range of 200-300 miles on a full charge, it would relegate all ICE bikes to weekend warrior use. I even think the two wheel community would increase significantly.

    The only thing holding me back thus far is the 15K price tag, for a third of the price I could get a 300cc Ninja, or for half I could get any number of 650cc bikes on the market. It would almost take a decade for me the spend the difference in fuel.

    Now, if electrics were less than 10k, plus government incentives, I’d have one in the house by yesterday…

  15. FYI, the 1000cc sport bikes are relegated to the exhibition class for motorcycles.