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.

UK Testing ‘Saferider’ Motorcycle Safety Driving Aids

01/27/2011 @ 9:14 am, by Jensen Beeler8 COMMENTS

UK Testing Saferider Motorcycle Safety Driving Aids Country Road Sunset 635x476

Our former-overlords from across the pond have begun a new study on installing driving aids to motorcycles that would increase the safety of riding on two-wheels. In the research that is being carried out at Mira (formerly the Motor Industry Research Association), the UK is studying whether having devices that alert the rider to speed limits, road conditions, tightness on road bends, and possibly even collisions with other vehicles (not unlike the system currently being developed by BMW & Volkswagen) would benefit motorcyclists like it has car drivers. Currently outfitting a Yamaha Super Ténéré and a Triumph Sprint with the electrical packages, researchers at Mira say the safety system could be available in as early as 18 to 24 months if the studies are successful.

Called Saferider, the electrical safety package is a part of an ongoing body of work thats includes Mira, Yamaha, Porsche Engineering, Fema, and others, and is also a part of the European Commission’s Seventh Framework Programme. At the heart of Saferider is a bevy of electronics that includes laser scanners, haptic handles and gloves, a vibrating seat, lights, smart helmet-cameras, radar, and a slew of electronics that decipher the input from these devices and alert the rider.

Some of what Saferider is doing seems fairly obvious, like its speed limit alerts, which take the bike’s location via GPS, corresponds it to known posted roadway speed limits, and alerts the rider if they are speeding. However, some of the technology Saferider is bringing forward is rather intriguing, namely its road tightness awareness.

Again using GPS data, Saferider plots where a rider is in relation to an upcoming turn, and then using analysis of how that part of the road is shaped, along with data relayed by other riders, Saferider estimates a safe entry speed for the turn. Of course we imagine sharing this sort of information with a “spirited” rider will have the opposite affect of what’s being desired, but still the technology behind the innovation is intriguing.

For us Saferider seems like an interesting piece of research being conducted by Mira, but also seems like an electronic remedy to an otherwise humanly-base problem. Many of the issues Saferider aims to address come to down compensating for a rider’s imprudent or improper riding decisions. For instance the radar-powered blind spot alert seems almost laughable, considering the almost unimpeded view riders have of what’s behind them, if they actually turn their head (we won’t get into why a proper fitting helmet shouldn’t reduce a rider’s peripheral vision as the study suggests).

For the UK though, motorcycle accidents are a growing trend, and account for 22% of the nation’s roadway fatalities. The question that doesn’t seem to be asked though is what percentage of all accidents involve motorcycles, and whether or not those incidents could have been prevented with systems like the ones Saferider is hoping to bring to market.

Despite our criticism, we’re still big fans of any electronics package that alerts cars and motorcyclists about the possibility of the two colliding, that part of Saferider’s research, along with BMW & VW’s similar foray into the subject, should be immensely helpful in increasing motorcyclist safety, and for that we welcome our two-wheel coddling overlords.

Source: BBC


  1. Keith says:

    Uneeded, unworkable and just another way to park motorcycles because the damn system is down. hmmph…try talking to people who actually RIDE! Perhaps they would be better served by talking to the motorcycle couriers in and around london.

  2. BikePilot says:

    Based on my experience racing with a hazard/vehicle alert system in Vegas to Reno I suspect this technology will make riding less safe. I found it a distraction that made it more difficult to focus on the race course. If there’s a hazard ahead, its best I’m focused on the track and controlling the bike, not trying to decipher a code produced by some electronic gizmo.

  3. monkeyfumi says:

    How long before the gps is used to log your speed, and a nice little fine is waiting for you before you even get home?

  4. Sean in Oz says:

    Eventually there will be systems that are useful to riders but so far, Ive yet to see any.

    While the corner entry thing sounds interesting its more likely to encourage increased entry speed unless the indicated speed is dramatically less than the riders intention.

    Many riders are already overwhelmed by mental inputs (Keith Codes $10 analogy) and more data will make things worse.

    Anyone who owns a GPS knows that even the most recent map data can be terrible and relying on it for speed limits etc is a recipe for disaster.

    Perhaps the best systems for riders will be systems that make both drivers and riders aware of each others presence. Both may be more careful if they realise that running wide/cutting a corner WILL lead to a collision.

    Fixing road infrastructure is a much better solution for both riders and drivers. For example the WYSIWYG roadside pole system trialed in the UK, Victoria Australia’s m/c black spot program. etc

  5. Paul M. says:

    Brilliant. More badly-conceived technology to distract the rider’s attention from what’s actually happening on the road in front of them.

  6. Keith says:

    My wife/pillion/ninjette rider, read this over my should and uttered a very famous phrase…

    “No good can come of this”

  7. Mr. Sweet says:

    Don’t we have road signs already in place for the speed limit and corner issues?

  8. CJ from OZ says:

    So they be using a GPS Sysytem?
    This would be the same one that told my friend he was “…at your destination.” White Cliffs and the sign in front of his windshield said “White Cliffs 120K”.
    God forbid there is another middle east conflict and the US shift their GPS satelites unannounced again………..