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 Says Sayonara to Volkswagen

11/21/2011 @ 3:13 pm, by Jensen Beeler26 COMMENTS

Suzuki Says Sayonara to Volkswagen volkswagen motor 635x476

Back in 2009 Suzuki and Volkswagen made some headlines, as the German automaker took a 19.9% stake in the Japanese manufacturer. The basic points of the agreement were that Volkswagen would get access to Suzuki’s small-displacement motors and Indian presence, while the latter would benefit from Volkswagen’s larger-vehicle technologies, etc.

Seemingly however doomed from the start, the partnership in motorcycle circles erroneously spurred some interesting thoughts of a Volkswagen motorcycle coming to fruition. While industry journalists spun gold out of hay, the two behemoth manufacturers failed to come to terms on any of their proposed partnership goals, leaving both parties to wonder why they were interested in each other, let alone financially intwined.

With that strife coming to a head the past few months, it comes with little surprise then that Suzuki has issued a statement saying that it was terminating its partnership with Volkswagen. As much of a lesson in cultural differences as it is one on business positioning, the news certainly doesn’t come as a shock to industry insiders, though it does shed some light on Suzuki’s recent withdrawal from motorcycle racing.

Looking to raise cash to purchase back the 19.9% equity stake Volkswagen holds in Suzuki, the Japanese manufacturer has reportedly been pinching every penny to once again become a sovereign company. The result could very well account for Suzuki’s withdrawal from World Superbike, and it more recent departure from MotoGP. Reading Suzuki CEO Osamu Suzuki’s statement regarding Volkswagen, some would consider Volkswagen’s position as a hostile one.

“Today Suzuki terminated the partnership with VW. Suzuki will be seeking the return of its shares from VW in arbitration,” said Suzuki. “I am disappointed that we have to take this action but VW’s actions have left us no choice. They have continued to refuse our attempts on numerous occasions to resolve these issues through negotiation. I am more disappointed that having shaken the hand of Dr. Winterkorn in agreeing to this partnership, he has not honoured his commitment to grant Suzuki access to what was originally agreed.”

“In the absence of VW’s cooperation and given its failure to do what was agreed, there is no basis for the partnership to continue. With the cessation of the partnership there is also no basis for VW to hold on to Suzuki’s shares. We will now work to restore the relationship between Suzuki and VW to its original state as independent parties who do not restrict each other’s business. I call on Dr. Winterkorn to honour this.”

Source: Suzuki & WSJ

Comment:

  1. fazer6 says:

    It never made sense anyway–Even if Suzuki might be on the bottom rung of Japanese auto builders, VW is at the bottom of the world’s auto builders, who would want to share technology with the company who makes the worst cars in the world?

  2. Volkswagen is the third largest producer of automobiles in the world. Not too bottom-rung in my book.

  3. fazer6 says:

    Largest yes–In the same way that Wal-Mart is a behemoth retailer/distributor.
    But VW consistently ranks at or near the bottom in quality, reliability and customer satisfaction.

    I’m sure Suzuki would love to see even half the volume of VW, but to do it through ‘technology sharing’ didn’t make any sense.

  4. Abazabazm says:

    “VW consistently ranks at or near the bottom in quality”

    lol

    don’t tell that to the guy in the Bugatti Veyron, or the Audi R8, or the Lambo Gallardo or the Bentley or the….

  5. fazer6 says:

    They’ve got enough money not to care.

  6. fazer6 says:

    BTW Jensen, no fair editing your posts if we can’t.

  7. MikeD says:

    the two behemoth manufacturers failed to come to terms on any of their proposed partnership goals, leaving both parties to wonder why they were interested in each other, let alone financially intwined.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    OH YEAH, i can totally relate to that…ROTFL…one of those “relationships”….Ahhh? LMFAO.

    Oh well, now they should know a bit better.

  8. 76 says:

    Fazer6
    You should also let the people know who bought those horrible cars like
    Audi TT
    A4 / A6
    Rs8
    VW bug
    Bentley Continental GT
    Lamborghini Murcielago

    Oh I mean the cars that changed the face of car design, and design in general, in lets see maybe alittle more than the last decade. Also better tell every other manufac. to stop copying them, they might end up in the bottom rung?

  9. fazer6 says:

    Most of them already know it, that’s why they report low scores to JD Power and Consumer Reports, and almost never buy another VW product.

  10. fazer6 says:

    Besides, if they just wanted to copy the exterior design of VW and Audi, they should have just hired away their designer … oh wait, Kia already did that.

  11. Halfie 30 says:

    I work on cars all day. Anything with a VW engine is crap. I won’t even go into how many warranties and unhappy VW customers I’ve had the pleasure of speaking with.

  12. @fazer6: Ummm….what did I supposedly edit?

  13. 76 says:

    A VW/Audi 2.7T & 4.2 V8 is far from crap, and the downtuned V10 is just awesome. I really dont like getting chatty about cars to begin with but I really cant agree with this idea they make nothing but junk, to me they are some of the few cars that get it, this also comes experience with each and about 200k miles between them all with few problems to remember, I just must have been lucky?

  14. buellracerx says:

    being a VW owner and original skeptic, I can honestly say build quality, value, and overall robustness in engineering design impressed me to the point where I will be buying another soon.

    too bad about this relationship, sucks when it has to come to “it’s not you, its….oh wait, no it’s totally all you…”

  15. Abazabazm says:

    Fazer
    can we agree that Vw is building better cars than Zusuki….?

  16. Damo says:

    @everyone

    http://businesscenter.jdpower.com/JDPAContent/CorpComm/News/content/Releases/charts/2011029-1.jpg

    fazer6 (like me) is talking EXCLUSIVELY in terms of product quality. No one is doubting that VW has a good design team per se, we are just starting that they make unreliable cars as a whole. Which is true. Hell the Audi A6 was the least reliable platform in 2010.

  17. Damo says:

    @Abazabazm

    “don’t tell that to the guy in the Bugatti Veyron, or the Audi R8, or the Lambo Gallardo or the Bentley or the….”

    All cars that will NEVER see north of 50,ooo miles. Also anyone who buys those cars, obviously doesn’t care about money.

    I am biased though, as a car is something I drive in between bike rides. It is exists solely for convenience and shelter from the New England Death Winter.

  18. Kevin says:

    I was waiting for someone to quote JD Power and Consumer Reports. Don’t you guys know that they speak the gospel? Ugg..

    I’ve never owned a VW or Audi, but have several friends who have owned several over the past 10 years….and they continue to love them. *Shrug*

  19. Damo says:

    @Kevin

    I love old Jaguars more than ice cream and puppies, but it doesn’t make them anymore reliable. The fact stands most “cheap” American and Japanese cars are more reliable. Which is all fazer and I said.

    These charts also don’t take into account the cost of repairs which is substantially higher amongst European boutique brands.

    Then again if all anyone wanted was reliability, we would all drive a 1980 Volvo 240 Diesel or a mid 1980′s Caprice Classic.

  20. mxs says:

    A lot of clueless, but surely opinionated people here … LOL

    I’d rather take less reliable VW over very reliable Toyota (no pun intended, you can replace that with anything you want) any day. There are other things like steering feedback, handling and quality of ride … besides reliability.

    It’s just a matter of preference.

  21. Halfie 30 says:

    Has anyone here who is backing VW ever had to do and serious mechanical work on one? Of course not! Because if you had you wouldn’t own one…

  22. Shawn says:

    That’s the exact FSI engine I am driving now. It’s approaching 100K miles and no major issues for me. Plus it beats up on compact Japanese cars with coffee cans, so that’s always nice. No major mechanical work myself, I leave that up to the experts, but oil change every 10K miles is also convenient. To each their own, there are lovers and haters for every brand.

  23. Damo says:

    Personally, my main requires for a car are as follows:

    -Reliability
    -All Wheel drive
    -Good Gas Mileage

    Things I can’t really get out of Germany.

    Like I said, a car to me is what I used when it is snowing out I need to carry something I can’t fit on the bike.

    I get all my sporting done on two wheels, because I would have to drop over $100k to get a car that could match the performance of a $5,000 bike.

    If I was a car guy I would be over on jalopnik, not talking to you hooligans ;)

  24. BikePilot says:

    Who cares which is best, they are just cages and neither mfg makes anything that’s much good at hauling racebikes (the only point in having a cage, obvi ). The usefulness of this article is to put to bed the stories about VW-Suzuki motorcycles.

  25. Simone says:

    BTW,

    - VW is a NAZI car after all.

    Founded by Nazis.

    Hitler`s favourite car.

    - Suzuki rep. says above

    They have continued to refuse our attempts on numerous occasions to resolve these issues through negotiation. I am more disappointed that having shaken the hand of Dr. Winterkorn in agreeing to this partnership, he has not honoured his commitment to grant Suzuki access to what was originally agreed.”

    this shows how much vw cares about ethic values or has honor.

  26. Ryan says:

    I work on Porsches for a living and I’ll tell you flat out. all we do all day long is regular maintenence. THEY DONT BREAK. (aside from early boxsters.. and v6 cayennes… but everyone knows those are terrible) Ive worked on Audis and VWs before and ok maybe I wanted to shoot myself in the face a couple of times but for the most part they arent that bad. the motors are stone cold reliable.. so yes if your seats stop working and the rubber coating rubs off in your interior, Itll still get you to work in the morning [NEWS FLASH: everyone go buy an 88 toyota pickup and never worry about car trouble again]