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.

Save the ‘Ring

12/27/2010 @ 2:29 pm, by Jensen Beeler3 COMMENTS

Save the Ring Nurburgring Nordschleife track map 635x476

No, we’re not encouraging you to step away from any planned New Years Eve wedding proposals, but the Nürburgring Nordschleife does apparently need your help. Known throughout the motorsports community simply as the ‘Ring, the Nürburgring Nordschleife track plays host not only to car and motorcycle enthusiasts, but also serves as a formidable test track used by many OEMs when developing new vehicles (recently the track has also been a place for manufacturers to lay bragging rights for quickest lap times in sports cars).

It seems however that the ‘Ring, despite its popularity with track enthusiasts, is not the profitable endeavour that the German government thought it would be. Four years ago plans began to be implemented that would see other attractions added to the Nürburgring venue, which have reportedly done nothing to help boost the profitability of the track, and now in May of this year the ‘Ring was turned over to the same pair of businessmen responsible for that transformation, with the goal of boosting the track’s revenue, and that’s where the controversy starts.

With prices to drive on the Nürburgring Nordschleife getting a substantially increase, Save the Ring proponents have been quick to point out that the ‘Ring’s new owners, Kai Richter & Jörg Lindner, have no racing background and have put non-racing elements, like a roller-coaster and hotel, in the property instead of building things like a new parking lot and completing track maintenance.

While we’re not sure what the lack of a racing background has to do with anything (racing licenses are rarely substituted for a business degree in the real world), other than it’s a similar argument made by Harley-Davidson fanatics who are still angry that Keith Wandell doesn’t ride a motorcycle, despite the CEO’s business acumen and ability to trim the fat from the Milwaukee company, the ‘Ring does seem to be in roughly €350 million of debt, and could face having its doors closed if revenues aren’t increased.

While the ‘Ring’s history as a motorsports park has brought the 12.93 mile German track to a special place in the hearts of car and motorcycle enthusiasts, the fact seems to remain that the Nürburgring isn’t a sustainable business adventure in its current form. At issue seems to be a tug-of-war between old school ‘Ring fanatics, who wish to see the Nordschleife remain a pure and cheap motorsports venue, and new-school profit seekers who see the ‘Ring’s massive property footprint as being useful for more than one purpose, and that the admission fee to the race course needs to adjusted to a more reasonable/profitable level.

At roughly €22 per lap (cheaper if you buy more laps at a time), we could see why skyrocketing ticket prices to ride on the ‘Ring would be an issue with both fans and professionals, who will see that change translate into less euros in their pockets (auto industry groups that rent the track out, are reportedly seeing a 5x increase in rental costs, according to the Save the Ring advocacy group). But still consider how expensive a traditional track day is for most enthusiasts, and the price to ride the Nürburgring Nordschleife is an absolute bargain.

With the amount of grandstanding that’s going on around this issue, it’s difficult to tell who really is fighting the good fight in this situation, and we imagine the truth is something closer to the middle. At less than one euro per kilometer, the Nürburgring Nordschleife is an extremely cheap track day option, that promises less hassle and technical know-how for riders and drivers to get on the track. From this perspective, a hike in track admission fees seems more than reasonable, but with unconfirmed news of over-reporting admission figures (to the tune of six-fold the actual numbers) does seem to suggest some mismanagement is going on at the ‘Ring. Regardless of your stance, the Nürburgring Nordschleife is in a financial predicament, and something in the track’s management directive needs to change in order for it to continue to operate and be profitable.

Source: Save the Ring, Jalopnik, & Autoblog


  1. Thank you for this weigthed article! Please consider you are NOT at a track day, when driving the Nordschleife on Tourist Days. Normal road traffic legislation applies. Even for that famous road that puts the price tag into a little different perspecitve.

    Please keep stay informed. We reckon it’s just the beginning of the end.

  2. Other Sean says:

    Sad story. This venue has gained a mythic quality about it, at least for me over here stateside. I’m going to Germany in June, but with no access to a proper bike or car, and not wanting to pay to rent one, a trip to see Sabine seems unlikely. :(
    It is a bit pricey, despite Jensen’s parallel to trackdays. I’m guessing it’s around $35 a lap. And that makes learning the track expensive. Sure, you can do one lap, but that’s no fun. You don’t know the course, and you’ll be getting run over by all the hot cars that frequent it.

  3. CeeDub says:

    As someone who has actually lapped the Ring, I can tell you it’s certainly nothing like a track day (disclosure: my track day experience is limited to NESBA). First and foremost, what Mike says above is correct, the Ring is not a track but a public toll road. An “off” on this track will come at hefty costs to the driver should you bump into anyone or anything (i.e. a barrier). There’s also no real regulation of drivers once they enter the “track”. So while traffic legislations techinically apply, it’s a free-for-all and you’re hoping those driving/riding around you have a clue what they’re doing since anyone that can buy a ticket can operate whatever vehicle they wish (i.e. a coach bus, I’ve seen it).

    I do have to argue a point that “Other Sean” brings up. A single lap of the Ring is more than worth the price of admission, which I guess is why the new owners are raising rates. It truly is an unbelievable experience unlike any other “track” oriented moments I’ve ever had. It’s the mix of danger, unknown, history, speed, etc that really gets the adrenaline going. And I WAS one of those who were getting passed by significantly faster cars. In fact, this is probably one of the few places you could operate a “slow” vehicle and still have a monumental time.

    Ultimately, I do hope there is a future at the Ring. It’s “mythic” reputation is an actual understatement. Don’t believe me, go experience it for yourself.