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 to Cut 10% to 20% of Its Motorcycle Dealerships

03/21/2013 @ 6:06 am, by Jensen Beeler12 COMMENTS

Suzuki to Cut 10% to 20% of Its Motorcycle Dealerships suzuki gsx r1000 cutaway 635x400

When news came that American Suzuki Motor Corporation was to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, the news was pitched that it would benefit the company’s motorcycle interests, as Suzuki would no longer be tied-down with its ailing automotive division in the USA, and instead would be left to focus on its powersports offerings.

While that general statement may remain true, Powersports Business has learned that the Japanese OEM plans on closing 100 to 200 of its roughly 930 powersports dealerships. This would mean a roughly 10% to 20% reduction in Suzuki dealerships nationwide — a decision that has more than a few dealers feeling a bitter taste in their mouths.

The move is perhaps less surprising though, as American Suzuki — now called Suzuki Motor of America — is drastically restructuring its business, not just to exist without its automotive lines, but also on a more fundamental basis.

Hit hard by the recession, Suzuki has been slow to rebuild its business back here in the United States, which is worrisome considering that the American motorcycle industry has recovered to a greater extent than markets like Europe and Japan.

For the average Suzuki owner, the reduction in dealerships is probably still a good sign though, as it is likely that Suzuki is getting rid of its poorer performing dealerships, and consolidating dealer positions in previously over-saturated local markets.

For some dealers though, the loss of the Suzuki brand could put their business operations in precarious positions — a sign at how fragile the current state of affairs are for powersports dealers and the industry as a whole. Is a dealer near you getting the axe? Let us know in the comments.

Source: Powersports Business

Comment:

  1. Alex MacPherson says:

    Suzuki…. circling the drain.

  2. Gritboy says:

    Makes good economic sense and makes this overly common brand (you can find one it seems every 10 miles) seem a bit more exclusive again.

  3. Norm G. says:

    re: “For some dealers though, the loss of the Suzuki brand could put their business operations in precarious positions — a sign at how fragile the current state of affairs are for powersports dealers and the industry as a whole.”

    gentlemen… WELCOME TO THE BLOWBACK. courtesy of devaluing mentalities, all the things you “never thought could happen” are in fact happening right in front of you.

  4. I was a lifelong die-hard Suzuki fan…..right up to the point when they joined with arch-nemesis Kawasaki. Now I ride a Honda. Because Suzuki doesn’t have the foresight to make a small displacement sportbike available here in the US. I’ll probably remain a Honda fan now. RIP brand loyalty — you sold out and I returned the favor.

  5. Tony C says:

    Brand loyalty is a two way street. If the brand can’t continue to put out good product to keep people excited, your base will simply walk away. Stale products in the showrooms and withdraw from competition translates to shrinking market share. Doesn’t take a scientist to connect the dots here.

  6. JoeD says:

    Momism # 132-Never put all of your eggs in one basket. (perhaps a less known but viable second or third line of product and service anything, not just your store brand.)

  7. Bruce says:

    When the economy turned sour, two strategies were taken. The Japanese four cut back on R&D, slapped on bold new graphics, reduced production and decided to weather the storm by hunkering down. Suzuki embraced this strategy the most and didn’t even release a 2010 line up. The Europeans released many new models packed with technology and innovation. Suzuki has now declared bankruptcy and the Europeans have gained market share. A case study for future business classes.

  8. Crsh&Brn says:

    Two local Suzuki dealers have closed recently – one of them just after the first of the year, and a multi-line dealer quit carrying them several years ago. It is now an hours drive to the nearest Suzuki dealer. I wonder how much the failed partnership with Volkswagen factors into Suzuki’s current situation. Does anyone else find it odd that there is a Suzuki add on the right side of the page?

  9. jeffc says:

    No!

    Suzuki’s are selling again. Yes, its true. Their financing program is the best in the business and it attracts all new buyers and returning riders. Since it started these past months they have gone from the worst sellers in our store to the best. and believe me, we are in a huge area to see this effect. they also go for good prices with profits higher than most other japanese brands.

    also, most new riders in the market are not in the ‘must be most changed’ game for bike shopping. they never saw any of them over the past few years and they see them for the first time as their first choice. think of it, if you never saw a gsxr and never knew how they havent changed much for a bit, you’d probably still count them evenly with the other choices based on bike and style. think about it. not all, almost any, customers in dealerships today that we can make a dime on are enthusiasts. almost none.

    think about it.

    Suzuki is coming back.. Already has.

    Jc.

  10. Tony C says:

    Not saying Suzuki isn’t trying. By god they are doing everything they can to stay afloat in the US. But gaining market share is perhaps the toughest thing to, with all your competitors pushing out new products and winning on the race track. I hope Suzuki does turn things around and attracts more buyers, not thru incentives to the dealers and buyers, but thru innovative and superior products. Winning a few more races in WSBK would help, too.

    I hope you are right, Jc.

  11. Norm G. says:

    re: “Suzuki embraced this strategy the most and didn’t even release a 2010 line up.”

    don’t mis-speak. they didn’t IMPORT a 2010 line up. this because there was already so much inventory on the books. would’ve been bad practice. and let’s face it, there was nothing wrong with the ’09 M.Y. we just suffer from devaluing mentalities and like the thought of being spoiled and having our every whim catered to even to the point of irresponsibility. we know full well we have ZERO intentions of coming off the dime. the euros aren’t doing anything that the japanese hadn’t already done 10 and 20 years ago when their kit was overweight and antique. in fact, if it weren’t for the japanese setting the benchmark so high, we wouldn’t have ANY of what we have now. as a group, we really have to smarten up.

  12. Phil Neff says:

    I would be sad if Suzuki quit all together. They have done some very nice customer/rider engineering. Take the Burgman for example, it was way ahead of its time with large engine, built in vast storage, nice touches like the ignition key popping up the seat and plenty of cubby holes for glasses etc. Just now the new BMW scooters are entering the market about 5 years late. Or take the Vstrom, it was the first universal reasonably priced bike for every day use. It puts together just the right amount of speed, torque, and comfort. Those in the know have been avid followers for the ten years that the Vstrom has been on sale.

    In sum, Suzuki makes well thought-out bikes. They deserve to be appreciated more. Perhaps it is their maketing that is bad? To me the bikes are great and I would be sad to see the brand disappear.