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.

Suzuki Getting MotoGP Engine Dispensation

07/21/2010 @ 1:36 pm, by Jensen Beeler8 COMMENTS

Suzuki Getting MotoGP Engine Dispensation Rizla Suzuki Silverstone GP 560x371

It’s hard to remember sometimes that Rizla Suzuki is a factory team in MotoGP. Afterall with Rizla Suzuki often trumped by the top satellite riders, there is nary a Rizla rider in the Top 10 for the Championship standings. With Laguna Seca marking the middle-point of the MotoGP season, things are looking even more bleak for the folks at Suzuki, as both Loris Capirossi and Alvaro Bautista have nearly used up their six motor allotment for the 2010 season. As such, Rizla Suzuki is on its way to getting special dispensation from Dorna, and will see its motor allotment raised from six motors to nine, likely starting this weekend.

So far this season, Bautista has taken use of his 5th motor, while Capirossi will likely do the same at Laguna Seca this weekend. With MotoGP’s rules levying a stiff time penalty on teams that go over their allotment of engines, this dispensation is a huge boon to Suzuki. Without this dispensation, Rizla Suzuki would have to start 10 seconds behind the grid, and from the pits, during each race they were over the allotment. Already flirting with the back of the field, such a penalty would be a death blow to the team.

This dispensation as MCN’s Matthew Birt explains, comes from a verbal agreement between the teams when the rule for an engine cap was drafted. Knowing that it would adversely affect Suzuki the most, it was agreed upon before the start of the 2010 season that Suzuki could get a dispensation should their motor usage exceed the rules. The reading between the lines here is that Suzuki likely would have pulled out of MotoGP if they didn’t have this handshake agreement.

As the MotoGP season continues on, we suspect we’ll see even more importance stemming from this rule, and engine strategy playing a further role in the racing results.

Source: MCN & MotoMatters

Comment:

  1. I was not aware of the Suzuki ‘verbal agreement’ till now, interesting. My opinion is that the six engine rule needs to go NOW for all teams. MotoGP is struggling to get numbers on the grid and another incident like the Lorenzo ‘blow up’ could have major ramifications. The rule was too restrictive at this level of racing and I understand teams are not allowed to ‘lift the head’ to check a suspect engine that could be refreshed at minimal cost and resealed to FIM appro. The rule may have been gazetted for ‘cost cutting’ but the result to date is not worth the risk to the sport.

  2. Jenny Gun says:

    I don’t think anyone outside of MotoGP knew about this agreement until now.

    I actually really like how this rule is shaping the sport. It’s limiting the cost to the teams, which in theory would let more teams get on the grid (be careful to distinguish between teams and manufacturers).

    We’re working on the motor data now, but a quick tidbit…Spies got on the podium with fresh engines. There’s a whole new level of strategy underway in the sport now, and it’s pretty exciting. Yeah, if Lorenzo blew a motor, it could mean the Championship. Even though he’s running away with the season, he still has to be on his game because it could turnaround any minute. That excites me.

  3. Hi Jenny, understand where you are coming from, however MotoGP is the pinnacle of motorcycle racing and I cannot get my head around the fact that as the year progresses riders/teams whatever will be inhibited by the ‘engine miles’ of such a restricted batch of engines, engines which I understand cannot be opened for inspection or minor cost remedial work, a refresh if you will.

    I’m confident fans want great racing ‘throughout the season’ and have no idea, (and I’m sure they dont care) whether Ben, Vale, whomever has a ‘fresh or used’ engine, it is all about close racing. I think the rule stinks. Taking it to extremes we could have a last gasp procession in November at Valencia where a Suzuki ‘fresh engined’ bike might just win and all front runners engines fail, now that would look great for MotoGP (not).

  4. Jenny Gun says:

    You can make that same argument going the other way though.

    Do fans want to see the same rider(s) dominate the series? With the engine allotments, riders like Ben Spies have been able to get up near the front because they’re running a fresh engine against say Lorenzo’s older motor.

    Part of the impetus behind giving Suzuki an exception, is that their package is so uncompetitive. Even on fresh motors, Rizla Suzuki can’t touch even the rest of the teams.

    You have to realize the “limitations” as you call it has been going on all season. Most of the teams are on their 3rd motor, and have been juggling the motors around between the different sessions and tracks. Looking at the data, there’s clearly game plans involved here.

    At the 1/3 mark of the season, some teams had used only 1/3 or so so of their available motors, while it’s clear others are cherry-picking races they know they can do well in (Ben Spies being the more notable rider doing this).

    We should have an illustration of all this up in the next week or so. It’s interesting stuff to say the least.

  5. Suzuki Getting MotoGP Engine Dispensation – http://aspha.lt/16s #motorcycle

  6. Sean says:

    Darly Beattie on the local MotoGP broadcast speculated that Spies and Edwards had performed so badly in the last GP because they had used old engines to save fresh ones for Laguna Seca.

  7. Maxx says:

    Sean,

    Spies and Edwards are suppose to be getting same spec engines as fiat yamaha but they will be in last years chassis……..me personally yamaha should step up to the plate and supply more up to date “M1′s” for their #2 team I mean Honda helps their private teams a lot better even Ducati helps their other teams…..

    Rant over and breath……..

  8. mxs says:

    I wouldn’t blame Spies’ last two or three races on used engines. He made riding mistakes in parts of a circuit where it’s not about engine at all …