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.

America Expected to Continue Using Less Gasoline

01/03/2011 @ 1:14 pm, by Jensen Beeler4 COMMENTS

America Expected to Continue Using Less Gasoline oil barrels 635x421

Gasoline demand in the United States hit an all-time high in 2006, and ever since then has been on the decline. Aided by rising prices, more efficient vehicles, and a slowing population growth, the United States as a whole is not only using less gas than before the recession, but we as a country have entered into a continued trend of decreased gasoline demand, which government officials and industry executives believe will be a permanent trend from this point forward. While current usage is about 8% less than the 2006 peak, experts expect to see as much as a 20% reduction in gasoline use by 2030.

Experts agree that even when the economy rebounds from the recession, gasoline usage will remain below the 2006 figure, which should remain forever untouched barring any massive economic boom periods or drastic fuel price cuts. According to the Associated Press, Americans used about 8.22 million gallons of oil (344 gallons) per day in 2010, down 8% from 2006. That reduction can be attributed to a number of factors such as higher fuel efficiency fleet figures for manufacturers, a higher use of hybrids, an increase in bio-fuels like bio-diesel and ethanol, and continued high gas prices, among other factors.

While the USA might be using less gasoline, it is expected that there will be 27 million more cars on the road by the end of the new decade. Also, developing countries like India and China are expected to start using more fossil fuels in the coming years, which will actually increase the global demand for barrels of oil. In 2011 alone, an expected 88.3 million more barrels of oil are expected to be produced to meet this increased demand.

In the interim, the United States is still #1 both in outright and per capita usage of gasoline, but that status, and the associated buying power that comes with it, is expected to wane over the coming years as China (currently the #2 outright user of petroleum) surpasses us. It’ll be interesting to see from this news how companies like ExxonMobil adapt to the changing market for gasoline, both domestically and abroad.

As someone who dodged the bullet working for the world’s second largest public company (ExxonMobil also has the economy to make it a top 30 country by GDP), I can say that the corporate philosophy seem ill-prepared for a nationwide shift in fuel consumption, and is based on the assumption that a) there will always be a demand for oil, and b) the supply for that demand will never run out. After a discussion on finite resources, that 5 minute job interview concluded.

Source: Associated Press via Autoblog; Photo: antwerpenR /  Creative Commons – Attribution Generic 2.0


  1. Andrey says:

    Gas is still so cheap in the US it is a joke. What would really cut gas consumption here is if Americans paid similar prices to the rest of the world!
    On another note the writing has been on the wall about oil and gasoline for years. Way back after 1970′s oil shocks, everyone was up in arms about high gas prices etc etc. There was plenty of talk about getting off the dependancy on oil. Well almost 40 years later and exactly the same events are playing out. What the American public should do is ask why the warnings of the 70′s were ignored by the politicians who clearly could have done something?
    I think a huge opportunity has been lost by the U.S. ………
    Since the depression era of the late 20′s governments had the foresight (and balls) to build the dams, interstate road networks and develop the technology to go to the moon. Had someone had the vision and guts in the 70′s to take on big oil and the auto industry and develop a technology that made the internal combustion engine an out of date antique (like a steam engine) the U.S would now be getting a royalty from every single manufacturer in the world for every single vehicle made. The U.S would be selling its product overseas instead of being at the mercy of OPEC and the oil rich countries. The American public have foolish, self serving, greedy gutless people serving them in Government. It is sad to see a country that has done many great things, miss such a fantastic opportunity. The money spent on wars alone, since the 70′s would have paid for the it. One of the Japanese, European (or maybe even Chinese) companies may soon have a fuel cell vehicle running and people will line up to buy them. I wish Hondas’ fuel cell car was fully available. I would love to manufacture my own fuel from my household water supply and tell others to take a leap!

  2. Cobb says:

    Hopefully the last price jump was the wakeup call the American public needed

  3. GeddyT says:

    It’s not about paying what Europe pays so much as paying the REAL cost of the fuel. If our government didn’t subsidize oil companies both directly and indirectly via military protection and looking the other way environmentally, the price would NOT be $3.50 per gallon, and investment into alternative energy would be much further advanced.

  4. Tom says:


    Actully, the US pays more for gas than any other country. The only difference is that other countries can see the final price at the pump while Americans never see the breakdown per gallon in our “defense” budget.