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.

Have You Signed the Petition to Stop the Funding of Motorcycle-Only Checkpoints Yet?

01/28/2013 @ 4:51 pm, by Jensen Beeler9 COMMENTS

Have You Signed the Petition to Stop the Funding of Motorcycle Only Checkpoints Yet? dont tread on me motorcycle1 635x423

We are getting to the home-stretch in our campaign to petition the federal government to stop the funding of motorcycle-only checkpoints, so the question is: have YOU signed it yet (and shared it with your moto-loving friends)?

First implemented by the State of New York, inspection checkpoints that apply only to motorcycles have become a more common practice across the United States, and are an act of discrimination that is primarily due to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) funding of the practice through special grants.

Implemented under the guise of operating for the public’s safety, states like New York have been able to target motorcyclists at checkpoints for vehicle and passenger inspection, even when the motorcyclists have broken no apparent laws, with no similar checkpoints being setup for automobile drivers.

An alarming trend in the unfair application of the law, some states, like California, have been able to preemptively ban the practice through their legislative branches; however, other states like New York have continue using motorcycle-only checkpoints, with the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit recently affirming motorcycle-only checkpoints as lawful in New York.

Over two years ago, the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) urged NHTSA Administrator David Strickland to cease the NHTSA’s funding of motorcycle-only checkpoints. After denying the request, the NHTSA has continued to provide federal funds to state and local police programs for the specific use of these checkpoints (the NHTSA’s response is here).

While the issue will be delayed for years in the courts, there is something that we as motorcyclists can do now in order to enact change. You may have already heard of The White House’s “We the People” website, a site where citizens can petition the federal government for specific actions, and if enough people sign a petition, President Obama and his staff have to take the matter under consideration. Click here to sign the petition.

The petition to the Obama Administration reads as follows:

We petition the Obama Administration to cease the funding of motorcycle-only checkpoints through the NHTSA and other federal agencies.

State and local governments have begun to implement motorcycle-only checkpoints that unfairly target motorcyclists for inspection by law enforcement officers.

Many of these motorcycle-only checkpoints are funded by grants given by the federal government, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

This petition calls for the cessation of the NHTSA’s direct and indirect funding of the motorcycle-only checkpoints through its grants and other measures, and asks that the laws for vehicle conformity and passenger safety be applied equally to motorcycles and automobiles alike.

Follow this link to support the petition for the federal government to stop funding motorcycle-only checkpoints, and be sure to spread the word with your motorcycle friends and riding groups.

Comment:

  1. paulus - Thailand says:

    Even not being American this frustrates me.
    Good luck with your fight on this one.

  2. anders eliasson says:

    Yes …

    ACE

  3. Westward says:

    I really don’t see what the fuss is all about, is this not the same state in the US that allows the authorities to stop and frisk minorities on a whim ?

    At least they are being consistant by singling out minorities (ie. Motorcyclist).

    When Americans are consistant about fighting and protecting their own freedoms, then the point would have more credibility and integrity. Otherwise it’s just a waste of grey matter…

    “First they came for the Communists
    And I did not speak out
    Because I was not a Communist
    Then they came for the Socialists
    And I did not speak out
    Because I was not a Socialist
    Then they came for the trade unionists
    And I did not speak out
    Because I was not a trade unionist
    Then they came for the homosexuals
    And I did not speak out
    Because I was not a homosexual
    Then they came for the Jews
    And I did not speak out
    Because I was not a Jew.”

    “Then they came for me
    And there was no one left
    To speak out for me.”

    – Pastor Martin Niemöller

  4. ZootCadillac says:

    I have not. I’m in the UK as you know. This is an incredible situation that should not exist. I wish you well with it.

  5. “Even not being American this frustrates me.
    Good luck with your fight on this one.”

    Indeed. As a Canadian in Japan, I’m watching this closely. Profiling, in any of its guises, needs to be ended. We simply cannot have individuals targeted due to race, colour, creed or chosen mode of transport.

    @Westward: Thank you for such a perfect prose for the topic.

  6. Tom says:

    Westward,

    Sadly, too many Americans are all talk when it comes to liberty. We’re even a Fascist empire that uses our military bases around the planet to project our power, and in the Middle East, to secure dwindling oil supplies and in Africa, to counter the growing Chinese oil investments and general presence there. Oh, some decry “No war for oil” while the tap away on their iPad and drink coffee from their plastic Starbucks cup. Conrad wrote about The Horror more than 100 years ago, but I just don’t see Americans really caring about it anymore. Anything to make them “safer” is fine by them.

  7. Spamtasticus says:

    I have signed and conveyed. That said I also carry a couple of business cards with me at all times for DUI checkpoints that will work for these as well. “I would like to go on my way. I concent to no searches of my vehicle or my person. I do not wish to go to secondary. I waive no rights and do not wish to converse with you or any other officer without my attourney present. I will be on my way as soon as you tell me I am free to go.” In my car I just crack the windo a bit and slide out the card. When they get it I close the window. So they cant make up some crap about “smelling alchohol” or something else. I’m not saying you may not get some psycho steroid monkey that break your window and drag you to jail but I personally roll over and put my tail between my legs for no one.

  8. Jorge says:

    I’m missing something here. Less than 5K signatures but AMA has 235K memebers? Why doesn’t the AMA banner this on their website? I’m in NC and never seen a stop just for bikes. If I did or was stopped I’d email our elected officials and get local bike shops involved. Get them to pool some coin and create a political action committee (PAC) and support someone who will represent our concerns. (If you run a PAC your email gets a quick answer.)

    I’m not trying to piss on your parade but Americans want change to happen because they signed some digital doc and then hope someone else does something about it? Not happening. Money talks, and I don’t know what the AMA does with $50 x 235K but it doesn’t seem too concerned with this issue. Maybe before anyone new joins or renews, putting pressure on the AMA to get much more involved is time better spent?

  9. Matt says:

    “Even not being American this frustrates me.
    Good luck with your fight on this one.”

    Indeed. I’m a Mongolian, of Zimbabwean dissent, living in Pakistan, and this upsets me as well.