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.

Second-Generation Ducati Testastretta 11° Gets Dual-Spark?

09/19/2012 @ 4:50 pm, by Jensen Beeler13 COMMENTS

Second Generation Ducati Testastretta 11° Gets Dual Spark? Multistrada 1200 head comparison 635x323

If you are anything like us, yesterday’s announcement of the revamped 2013 Ducati Multistrada 1200 line left more questions than answers. Semi-active suspension on a Ducati? A Second-generation Testastretta 11° motor? Give us the deets Bologna! Surely both these changes are going to make it beyond just the MTS 1200 in the Ducati model line-up, yet Borgo Panigale is mums the word on what these changes are exactly, beyond their actual existence.

We do have some clues however, since Ducati released photos of the 2013 Ducati Multistrada 1200 S Pikes Peak2013 Ducati Multistrada 1200 S Granturismo motorcycles. A close look at the forward-facing cylinder head shows a feed for a second spark plug (2013 model on the left, 2012 model on the right), while the absence of the usual obnoxiously gold-colored forks raises some eyebrows as to whom Ducati is using to source its new “Skyhook” semi-active suspension.

The use of a dual-spark system on the second-gen Testastretta 11° motor is an interesting one, and likely more of a response to the ever-tightening European emission standards than anything else. The move should be a boon for 2013 Ducati Multistrada owners though, as the dual-spark configuration should for a more powerful and smoother motor on the adventure-tourer.

We assume the second-generation Testastretta 11° motor will find its way into the 2013 Ducati Diavel as well, with possibly the 2013 Ducati Streetfighter 848 and yet to be announced Ducati Hypermotard 848 also getting similar revisions made to their 849cc lumps.

Obvious from the pictures release yesterday, the 2013 Ducati Multistrada 1200 S models are sans their usual gold-colored Öhlins fork suspension, and instead use grey-colored units from an unknown supplier. With only a handful of companies offering electronically adjustable semi-active suspension pieces, the guess list is pretty short.

Our speculation would be internals from either WP or Öhlins are underneath the otherwise bland-looking fork tubes, but what will be interesting is whether this is the same unit developed for the 2013 BMW HP4 superbike, which also debuted semi-active suspension this year. As always, time will tell.

Photos: Ducati


  1. Rob says:

    Since when does spark travel through a rubber hose with a clamp on it? That seems to clearly be a secondary air injection port, not a second source of spark. You can be all but assured the DS days are over. However you were correct in your ever stricter emissions comment! Good find, I never even noticed this looking at the photos.

  2. Rob says:

    Also of note, it seems they’re ditching the Coil on Plug setup as well. The SINGLE spark plug on the new bike appears to have just the plug lead, indicating ducati is reverting back to older style coil, wire, then plug setup ala 1199. When I first saw this on the 1199, I imagined it was for package constraints, but this seems silly.

  3. Josh says:

    That is not a second coil. It looks to be some sort of breather valve. Why would they put a spark plug on top of the exhaust cam ???? Common sense guys.

  4. DucRacer says:

    Most likely what you’re looking at is a modfied version of the air system that is used on the 1199 to meet emissions. It uses air from the airbox through a control valve and a reed valve in the head to help burn unspent hydrocarbons…

  5. Richard Gozinya says:

    Since the suspension system uses the same name as Maserati’s active suspension, that might be a clue.

  6. Bas Huisman says:

    I have to agree with Rob, the setup on top of the forward cilinder looks exactly the same as the PAIR system on my honda RC51. Highly unlikely that it is a secondary sparkplug.

  7. Mark says:

    Me? I’m just waiting for the 11 degree 1198 to be dropped into the Streetfighter. The 848 Streetfighter is nice and reasonably refined, but a little more excessive power would be even better.

    If they build that bike, I’ll buy my first Ducati.

  8. Michael says:

    According to the MTS mini site it appears that Sachs is the official Skyhook suspension provider. I wonder how much this damages the perceived value of the MTS. I would certainly opt to pay more for a bike with Ohlins’ electronic suspension vs. Sachs. Who makes the BMW system?

  9. I should have taken bets on this one…

  10. mechelaar says:

    Ok, it turns out that MTS has a DS motor… I believe that is either a lucky guess or you had more information than you posted…

    By using those pictures alone, there’s no way to tell that that is a DS motor… Or at least you should have posted a picture with an OUTLINED difference because here you can just say “Oh, you guys just weren’t looking in the right combination of pixels…” LOL

  11. mxs says:

    Jensen Beeler says:
    September 20, 2012 at 10:44 AM

    I should have taken bets on this one…

    You really are lucky you didn’t, not if you thought it was a DS motor. The clamp on the hose gives it clearly up …

  12. Josh says:

    Ok so these guys are right. It is a DS motor for 2013 but what thu pointed out isn’t the second plug. They were pointing out the fresh air injection system which is almost identical to the setup on the 1199. The other plug is on the left hand side of the head. At an angle like it would be on a 2 valve motor. Just throwing out the facts I know ;)