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.

RotoR Camera System – We Can’t Wait to See a Sportbike Movie with One of These…

08/02/2011 @ 11:02 am, by Jensen Beeler12 COMMENTS

Asphalt & Rubber was recently up on Pikes Peak to watch the 89th Annual Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, and one of the things we notice there was the proliferation for digital video cameras on the race vehicles. Part of it had to do with the mountain’s fastest man, Nobuhiro “Monster” Tajima being sponsored by GoPro HD cameras, but the reality is that affordable high quality consumer video recorders are readily available and come in pint-sized packages. The Contour HD GPS cameras, which shot the great on-board video of the two MotoCzysz motorcycles that we brought to you yesterday, are smaller than your fist, while the GoPro units are even smaller.

With these tools, videographers are getting some great footage from places we never thought possible, and in ways we’ve never seen before. So when we saw footage of the RotoR system, a helmet-mounted, counter-balanaced, camera mount for GoPro cameras, we knew that the bar on how motorcycle videos got shot was just raised significantly higher. Creating what appears to be an exceptionally light rig, we’re still not entirely sure how RotoR achieves its sweeping shots, but the “right over your shoulder” perspective looks fantastic in the skiing and motocross videos that are waiting for you after the jump.

The videos are a bit surreal, and now all we have to do is wait for someone to mount this camera system to the top of a sport bike helmet while having some fun in the canyons. More videos after the jump.

Comment:

  1. irksome says:

    “Motorcross”? Really? You sound like my Dad in 1973.

  2. Ugh says:

    uhhh, you tell us about an amazing product, yet no link to where to buy or more info? Does anyone know where to get one of these?

  3. PD says:

    Wow, these are fantastic!

    Don’t know how cumbersome they are (though, at first glance, they don’t look to be bad at all), but, if they indeed are negligibly restrictive, the possibilities for amazing videos are truly exciting.

    What’s really impressive is how secure (rigid) the connection to the helmet seems to be – any flex between the camera and the helmet is virtually undetectable. You would expect a mounted “stalk” that is designed to be light enough to be unobtrusive to have some flex (bobbing motion relative to the helmet), but there is essentially none of that. Very impressive.

    Initially, it actually appears that the riders’/skier’s head movements may be somewhat impeded/limited by the existence of the mount/camera, but, upon reflection, that could easily be just due to the simple fact that the camera’s movement rigidly follows the head movement, i.e., independent head movement is undetectable, as any such movement directly results, due to the rigidity of the mount, a corresponding movement in the camera. You can see the body move around below, which obviously indicates that the head/body interface is behaving rather naturally; yet, due to the unusual nature of the POV, this doesn’t appear very natural. Again, it sort of gives the impression – falsely, I think – of unnatural (hindered – sort of like a person walking with a book balanced on top of her head) motion, but that may just be due to the “new” POV, particularly due the rigidity of connection between the helmet and the camera.

    Anyhow, again, impressive.

  4. Ugh, if I knew where to buy one, we’d already have a sportbike video made.

  5. LGHTSPD says:

    Please put me on the list, because I would like to buy one as well.

  6. bemer2six says:

    Thats F&%king awesome put me on the list I want one… thanks for sharing

  7. sp33dwagon says:

    fishing pole with a gopro on the end. im on this…

  8. GeddyT says:

    My impression is very different from yours when it comes to these “high quality” consumer video cameras. I have friends with GoPros, and I own a Contour 1080p. I was really excited about the Contour when I bought it, and therefore deluded myself for quite a while that it was actually a decent camera. Eventually I just had to accept reality.

    I ride offroad, and grew increasingly disappointed in the quality of the footage the camera was producing. The shaking was horrible, even with the camera mounted to my head. Suspecting that the problem was slop in the mount, I even went so far as to buy an excellent machined aluminum helmet mount from Xtreme Vu, but this only barely helped.

    After hours of research into the technical side of things, the problem with these POV cameras became plain as day:
    1.) Rolling shutter. Look into it. ALL POV camcorders (and nearly every digital camera and camcorder nowadays) have ditched CCD sensors for CMOS sensors with rolling shutters. Rolling shutters create awful distortions in any clip with lots of motion. PERFECT choice for an “action” camera, right?…

    2.) Low bitrate encoding. I get that they want the videos to fit on smaller, more affordable cards, but it’s exactly in fast motion scenes where low bitrate encoding falls flat on its face. Muddy video, macroblocking, pixelation, whatever you want to call it, is all you’re going to see. I fail to see the point in recording a video at 1920×1080 resolution when the results are so muddy and lacking in detail every time there’s motion in the scene that it looks no better than SD video anyway. (When the camera is held still, the detail looks decent.)

    3.) No B frames. These cameras encode with just I and P frames, which are less efficient than B frames. So, although it allows for a cheaper processor to handle the encoding, it also leaves less room at a given bitrate for image quality.

    4.) .MOV container. Ugh.

    Technical issues aside, it was also unfortunate that the camera didn’t even last a year before it went dead and wouldn’t turn on anymore…

    Maybe this isn’t the forum for this whining about this issue, but perhaps the POV crowd is reading. I’m far more concerned with being able to buy a decent POV camera than being able to buy novel and interesting mounts for current cameras that suck. If GoPro or Contour read this blog:

    Global shutter. At LEAST 24Mbps. B frames. .MTS or .MP4 container. Choice of focal length (maybe replaceable lenses?). Canon currently sells a camcorder out of Costco, the M301, that’ll do all of this except global shutter (although I find my VIXIA’s rolling shutter is WAY less intrusive than the Contour’s), has a ton more features than any POV camera–including touch LCD, easy photo mode, and manual controls and adjustments. It’s hardly bigger or heavier than a Contour and costs only $350. The video it produces DESTROYS anything any POV camera can produce. Ruggedize it and I’d buy one.

    Then I’d look for cool helmet mounts!…

  9. Joe says:

    I almost yacked in the first couple of minutes.

  10. Westward says:

    Is It me, or did I see essentially a bar of a couple of feet in length attached to a mount on the helmet… Is that even safe in case of an accident…?

    @ GeddyT

    Do you ahve any links to an example of the video quality you are referring too? I am looking into both the GoPro and the Contour, and have not really come to a conclusion which is better, or if at all…

  11. [Recommend] RotoR Camera System – We Can’t Wait to See a Sportbike Movie with One of These…: Asphalt & Rubber wa… http://bit.ly/qbgF4M

  12. GeddyT says:

    Westward, got an email address? I don’t want to bitch too much about a company’s cameras on a totally unrelated blog TOO much! I can fill you in in more detail off this board if you’d like.

    Short version, though, is that I haven’t fought this battle in a long time, so don’t have any example clips off the top of my head. You’ll do just as well searching as I can. Just search for “GoPro rolling shutter” or “Contour rolling shutter” or substitute “rolling shutter” with “shaky” or “blurry” in Google. You’ll see what you need to see.

    My impression that GoPro has slightly better image quality is purely my observation from looking at clips online. And by slightly, I mean SLIGHTLY. They both suffer from the same issues mentioned above. I think the form factor of the Contour blows GoPro’s out of the water. GoPro cameras just look silly when mounted on a helmet, whereas Contour cameras are very sleek and “tactical.” I didn’t like that there is no LCD on the Contour to set the camera up with (I don’t think the lasers were aligned that well), but sounds like they’ve fixed that with the Contour+. In fact, I’d buy the Contour+ in a heartbeat (even at the high asking price) if they upped the bitrate to 24Mbps at High/4.1 level/profile (B frames). This would require completely new internals, though.