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.

Want to Have a Track Day at the Circuit of the Americas?

02/25/2013 @ 2:18 pm, by Jensen Beeler18 COMMENTS

Want to Have a Track Day at the Circuit of the Americas? circuit of the americas 635x423

If you are anything like me, you can’t wait to take a few laps around the new Circuit of the Americas (COTA) facility outside of Austin, Texas. The only purpose-built GP course in the United States, COTA will host MotoGP for the first time ever this April, giving motorcycle racing fans three races in the United States this year.

If MotoGP is anything like Formula One, then COTA will also attract a number of international fans as well, as last year’s F1 race attracted a number of Mexican fans, along with a number of fans from Latin and South America — so much so that CRT-rider Yonny Hernandez might have to consider COTA his home round.

While Asphalt & Rubber will make the trek out to Texas later this year to see MotoGP race at this new circuit, and witness first-hand the dinosaur-shaped observation tower, tastefully painted curbs, and general Southern hospitality, that fresh tarmac beckons us.

Taking a few laps on this 20-turn circuit will be difficult though, as COTA offers only a limited-number of dates for track rentals, and more importantly, the going rental price is $50,000 per day (lunch included). Ouch!

For that money though, one will get to apex on the same turns as Jorge Lorenzo and Sebastian Vettel, as well as the following perks:

  • Exclusive use of the Circuit of The Americas full Grand Prix road racing course.
  • Pit access, designated paddock loft access, garage access and track access for an entire day.
  • Bring your cars and your friends – your group can include up to 24 people.
  • Fully staffed track, including track manager, driving instructor, timing system, corner workers and emergency workers.
  • Create your own experience: structured race program with practice, qualifying and race session (timed or open racing) or create your own agenda.
  • Catered lunch.
  • Transportation to track from Austin area hotel.
  • Concierge service for hotel, dinner reservations, spa and shopping.

Source: Circuit of the Americas

Comment:

  1. Greg says:

    Wow. I’d love to ride that circuit, but those prices will likely make it out of reach for anyone but those with a well-endowed wallet. $50,000 divided by 24 people is ~$2,083 per person and that’s before there’s any overhead for the organization sponsoring the track day. Guess I’ll keep buying my lottery tickets!

  2. Erik says:

    I can’t believe that this will be the only option. It’s obviously tailored to a very high end enthusiast (i.e., concierge, hotel transportation, etc.). I don’t think there is any way they’ll fill capacity serving only this market. It seems like they’ll have to offer ‘normal’ dates that don’t have all the extras included – they’d be leaving money on the table if they didn’t.

  3. I wouldn’t be so sure about that. IMS doesn’t have track days either. When I asked IMS why, the response I got was something along the lines of it going against the prestige of the venue.

  4. L2C says:

    Wow, that sure looks purdy…

  5. Erik says:

    Well, that would suck…the best track in the country and almost nobody will get to ride it. Somehow, I don’t think the prestige of Laguna is diminished by allowing paying fans to ride it for sub $500 – and they have real limitations on how many days they can actually create noise.

    I think the real issue is nobody really wants to ride the hokey pokey part of IMS that turns right.

  6. Bryce says:

    Ride Smart has moto track days at CotA June 1-2 for $460…

  7. TexusTim says:

    well 460 isnt that musch for a track like this…I spend twice that much on every race weekend.
    I wonder how “slow” it will feel running around there on a 250 gp bike…the strait to turn one is a lot steeper than it looks on tv

  8. Heatsoak says:

    More proof that this sport is pricing itself out of reach for many.

  9. DeezToolz says:

    “Going against the prestige of the venue.” Arrogance at its best. Wouldn’t they be ablet o increase their market penetration by allowing some of the spectators to participate? Seems to work at Laguna Seca just fine. Albeit, only a very limited number of trackdays, and at that facility there are noise restrictions. However people continue to fork over some bux to make it out to that track. Same thing at Phillip Island…, right?

    Ride Smart sounds like they’ve been able to negotiate a more appropriate trackday. (and they have a V4 on their homepage. Bonus points.)

  10. From what I understand, Ride Smart and a couple other groups have days because COTA was forced to honor its earlier contracts. So, register for those days now, it’s probably your only chance.

  11. L2C says:

    Austin really does have high hopes for the new GP circuit: “Hotel prices in Austin for this year’s US Grand Prix are now higher than equivalent rates in Monaco, suggest reports.”

    http://www.crash.net/f1/news/188400/1/austin_pricing_itself_out_of_hotel_market.html

    (Hope it’s OK to post relevant links, JB. If not, apologies!)

  12. Dave says:

    It is asinine how hotels treat their guest by absolutely screwing them on the price of a room. Things are expensive enough as it is without being stabbed in the back.

    Just think if every business conducted themselves like this. During Thanksgiving the price of a turkey tripled. Or that barbie doll your daughter wanted is not $200. LAME

  13. Steve says:

    If I win a rude amount of tattslotto money, I think I’ll gain 23 new friends in the US :)

  14. Norm G. says:

    re: “More proof that this sport is pricing itself out of reach for many”

    more proof that what “fan-sumers” ultimately want is free lunch.

  15. Norm G. says:

    re: “Just think if every business conducted themselves like this. During Thanksgiving the price of a turkey tripled. Or that barbie doll your daughter wanted is not $200.”

    apples to oranges. all of that’s big business, motorycling is niche business.

  16. Bryce says:

    Bug business can consist of many niches, F1 will be #1, but motoGP will be the second biggest slice of the pie… That demographic is a pretty big “niche” to ignore.

  17. Norm G. says:

    re: “but motoGP will be the second biggest slice of the pie”.

    this is just something we DESIRE to be true, not something that IS true. a decade of denial is what’s gotten us in the deplorable state that we now find ourselves.

    re: “That demographic is a pretty big “niche” to ignore”.

    fox sports says different.

  18. Norm G. says:

    re: “Going against the prestige of the venue.” Arrogance at its best.”

    no, they’re actually trying to spare your feelings. what they really wanna say is we have wealth going back generations. the little pittance of money you and your group wants to pay isn’t enough to get us out of bed in the morning, nevermind bring us in off the golf course… you’ll have to come off the dime.