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.

US Motorcycle Market Drops 14.7% in Q1 2013

05/21/2013 @ 4:14 pm, by Jensen Beeler23 COMMENTS

US Motorcycle Market Drops 14.7% in Q1 2013 united states text map 635x425

While we have mostly been lamenting the loss of the European motorcycle market, thanks chiefly to the Spanish and Italian economies, things here in the United States appear to be a bit tougher than was thought. While Americans contemplate whether or not we are headed into a double-dip recession, the American motorcycle market certainly seems to be headed that way.

While last year showed signs that motorcycling in the US had hit rock-bottom, and even posted very modest signs of growth, the first quarter of 2013 is anything but reassuring. With the US motorcycle market down 14.7% overall in Q1 2013, the MIC is reporting losses pretty much across the board (off-highway bike sales are more or less flat).

Breaking the US market down into categories, on-highway motorcycle sales are down 16.2% (64,706 units), scooters are down 34.6% (4,771 units), dual-sport motorcycle sales are down 14.9% (6,350 units), with only off-highway sales showing signs of life with 0.4% of sales growth(17,548 units).

The slip in sales is being attributed partially to the losses by Harley-Davidson and Polaris during the same time period, which account for a sizeable portion of the American motorcycle industries overall sales. However, the weather may be playing an even larger role, as the warmer weather earlier in the season last year likely caused an increase of Q1 sales in 2012.

Source: MIC

Comment:

  1. This has nothing to do with the possibility of a double dip recession, and much less to do with the last recession which we have already emerged from, and everything to do with the liquidation of the middle class. Over 150 million Americans make less than $26,000 a year, who can afford to buy a motorcycle on that? Nobody.

    Without an expanding middle class, every business In America is in trouble. I realize some of the corporate owned posers who post comments here (I know exactly who you are) and make enough money to buy 12 motorcycles a year as status symbols like cars and houses you buy, 12 motorcycle you’ll never ride, or at least ride properly :-). You end your friends can’t keep the motorcycle business going, or the rest of the economy for that matter. So stop listening to the people who own you like slaves, you’re just as expendable to them as everyone else.

  2. TexusTim says:

    geez…..if only the goverments of the world were transparent and honest this wouldnt happen.
    they keep telling us in America that things are getting better…this is just not true… the middle class ? it no longer exist….we have welfare,low income and then high income earners..o and all the new goverment employees !! thats right nearly two thirds of all jobs created in the states over the last 4 yeard have been for state or local goverment….they hire mostly minoritys….so ask me if your white 50 years old and built homes for humans your whole life what ya gonna do now ? all that good karma you thought would come back to you evaporated when we elected this ass clown

  3. paulus - Thailand says:

    Damn… a sad fact to start the day.

    Unfortunately (in developed countries, at least) motorcycles tend to be a pastime or luxury item and not the main method of transportation. More and more reasons to hold onto the existing bike.

    Until the economies return to strength enough to give disposable income this trend seems destined to continue.

  4. Brijesh jagan says:

    Could it also be attibuted to the used two wheeler market providing a wider and cheaper option to potential buyers? Once again the economy is partially to be blamed, but with so many “nearly new” bikes available to buyers at drop dead prices, it seems the motorcycle industry might be headed in the same direction as the automotive industry.

  5. Reality Raymond says:

    TexusTim Your spot on…
    It’s just too many choose to keep their heads in the sand rather than take a breath of reality. Facts are Facts any way you slice it! Current leader is a joke and the joke is on the working class!

  6. Faust says:

    It doesn’t help that performance bikes are getting pretty expensive now. Who the hell wants to spend 11.5k on a new 600 (the new CBR600 is now $11,490 base)? With the decline in wages, persistent unemployment, and higher cost of living, a lot of people are selling really nice bikes for not a lot of money. Why buy anything new when there really isn’t anything new worth buying? The top tier bikes like the 1199, and the HP4 are great and all, but for a fraction of the price you can get something great on the second hand market. I currently ride a 2009 CBR600RR and I’ve been kicking around the idea of getting something else for a while. My issue is that even though there are great bikes out there, there is nothing that makes me want to spend that kind of money. All the new cheap bikes are nice (ninja 300, cbr250r, cbr500) but if you already own a middleweight supersport, you aren’t going to buy one. And if you did have 4-5k to spend on a bike right now, why even bother getting a new bike? You could spent less than that for an awesome condition SV650S right now and have an amazing bike on the cheap. I think I’ll just hang on to my CBR for a while longer and wait until something I really want emerges. I wish I could help the motorcycle market out but not for the money they are asking for new 1000s.

  7. Jake F. says:

    How do these figures compare to the US auto market over the same time period?

  8. Jake F. says:

    YTD US light vehicle sales are up 6.9% compared to last year, according to the Wall Street Journal. I don’t know that we can blame an uncertain economy or the death of the middle class on this one. In this age of distracted driving, might it be that fewer Americans are willing to risk life and limb to travel public roads without the protection of a steel cocoon? Off-road bike sales remaining stable while on-road bike sales plummet suggest this might be the case.

  9. Damo says:

    Even if the economy is doing a wee bit better, people are not in a hurry to go into debt again.

    I have a reasonably high income and after I wrecked my daily driver, I opted to buy a beater for commuting rather than talking out even a small loan for a new car.

    I think people are getting smarter about spending on all levels. I work with some people with extreme wealth and they have been concentrating on carrying zero debt, rather than having tons of toys, even though they can afford them.

    Like Faust says, why buy a $17k Panigale when you know some rich squid will be selling one with 1000 miles on it for $10k next year?

  10. Jorge says:

    I think jake has it right. Bikes r more expensive but my concern is getting run over by some idiot on their phone.

  11. carboncanyon says:

    Millennials are driving much less than Boomers, and the average age of riders is still climbing. I’m less concerned about year-to-year changes; I’m looking at decade-to-decade or even generation-to-generation changes. Less than half of 17 year olds have drivers licenses. What percentage of 17 year olds had a drivers license 20 years ago?

    The MC industry has to wake up and realize that the competition for the incoming crop of customers isn’t other bikes or manufacturers; it’s other hobbies and diversion like smartphones, the next XBox, etc. Do you drive/ride to a friend’s house? No, you fire up Modern Warfare and play across the net. It’s cheaper, faster, less effort, less hassle, etc. How are the OEM’s going to compete with Apple, Samsung, Sony, and Microsoft?

  12. Bailey says:

    Pricing! I used to go into the dealers and drool. Now, I’m buying oil / filters and in absolute sticker shock on the cost of new bikes.

    I ride 80 miles round trip daily and ride either my 99′ TL1000R or my 90′ GSXR-1100.
    Incredibly cheap transportation.

    It’d be nice to have a shiny new BMW touring bike but not with those prices. yikes!

    Peace to all and happy riding.

  13. skadamo says:

    Went to my local KTM / Ducati / Triumph dealership yesterday and half the bikes on the floor had “SOLD” signs on them. Maybe Q2 will be better?

  14. kww says:

    It’s not just the economy, I think part of the blame can also be laid upon the feet of the industry as well.

    There is an absolute dearth of exciting mid priced motorcycles, imo. And the manufacturer’s have to contend with the very real rationale of the dealer – profit per unit sold.

    Why the hell won’t Ducati make and sell a Supermono (for 20 years now)? Why won’t Yamaha sell the 660 Tenere or MT-03 in the USA? Profit per unit.

    This is the same lemmings approach that forced GM and Chrysler into bankruptcy – the dealers were so obsessed with profit per unit that when bad times came, they had no back up plan and marched right off that fiscal cliff.

  15. Norm G. says:

    Q: “How do these figures compare to the US auto market over the same time period?”

    Q: “How are the OEM’s going to compete with Apple, Samsung, Sony, and Microsoft?”

    A: our tiny lil’ T-Rex arms are too short to box with juggernauts. while we cry for “free lunch”, unbeknownst our lunch boxes have been getting raided right under our noses.

    there’s plenty money out there, and people are still spending it, they’re just spending it on what they value. no different than in the year 2010, 2000, 1990, 1980, 1970, etc.

  16. Chaz Michael Michaels says:

    I blame the Republicans…no wait, I blame the Democrats. No, hold on, I was right the first time, I blame the Republicans. I also blame the rich people who can buy Ducatis. However, Guzzi riders are ok.

    It’s only Q1, let’s see what happens moving forward. I don’t understand why anybody here would be upset with poor sales figures because the outcome of that is great for the consumer. Motorcycles aren’t selling? Umm, motorcycles go on sale! who’s opposed to that?

    I would love to see the Japanese-bike sales tank like what happened to the UJMs in the early 80s. They were stacking up like cordwood and selling for cheap.

  17. Gerry Alden says:

    Waiting for stacked up cheap prices? 80′s UJM’s are rusting collections of junk left outside all over the Northeast. 80′s Ducati and Guzzi models are well stored precious treasures. When the 80′s buyer had to decide what was cheeper, which way did he go? Get it Chaz? This same paradigm exist today. In 30 years the cheap $5999 Honda vertical twin will be left neglected at little value, and the higher purchase price Guzzi 750 will be a highly fought over collectible item.

    What I see not happening in todays motorcycle showrooms is a lack of professional leadership, or “salesmanship”. It is a precious experience to be in the presence of a highly qualified individual sales pro. Todays sales clowns holding the smartest of smart phones, are hired to place birthday candles on unsold floor models. The reason sales suck, is not because of lack of exciting new products, or too high purchase price, is it because the sellers suck. No sales ability equals less sales. Let’s bring back the slick sales guys from the 80′s.

  18. Faust says:

    @Gerry

    I respectfully disagree. In the 80s you pretty much had to go to a dealer to find out new deals offered by a manufacturer, and to get some information about new models. These days, with all the print and internet media that is just not the case. Instead of going dealer to dealer without knowing much about the models, you can go and get most of the information via their websites. When I was in the market for a 600, the reason I went with Honda was because they announced 1,600 off MSRP and 1.9% financing. I was in the dealer to buy one the next day, and they didn’t even know about it. I had to tell them that their bikes were mislabeled, and they had to go online to verify it. I go into a dealer merely to sit on the bikes, and get some impressions on the ergos, because I’ve already read every review possible at that point. Saying that you want slick salespeople back leads me to beleive that you think the average customer goes into a shop not knowing what they are looking for and can be talked into a bike by salespeople. I just don’t think that’s the case anymore. I’m pretty sure when people go to a dealer, they already have an idea about what they are going there to look at. In addition, when the new models arrive, it’s unlikely that the salespeople have ridden them all, so their sales pitch on the bike tends to be generic and uninformed. It’s usually a regurgitation of the press kit, because they haven’t even been on the bike yet. I’d rather read an honest review from a journalist who’s actually been on the bike and has an actual frame of reference. When they do a press release on a new model, journalists are there, not individual sales clerks. The week after a bike comes out, you can’t ask a dealer how the new forks feel on the track, because there is no way they could answer you. Motorcycle journalists know though.

  19. jack says:

    Faust is absolutely correct. When I bought my last bike (Ninja 1000) not only had I read everything available, but I researched every option available that I would want. When the bike went on sale, I jumped on it and not only bought the bike, but all the options both factory and aftermarket that I wanted. Love this bike.

  20. Norm G. says:

    re: “I go into a dealer merely to sit on the bikes, and get some impressions on the ergos, because I’ve already read every review possible at that point. Saying that you want slick salespeople back leads me to beleive that you think the average customer goes into a shop not knowing what they are looking for and can be talked into a bike by salespeople. I just don’t think that’s the case anymore. I’m pretty sure when people go to a dealer, they already have an idea about what they are going there to look at.”

    touche.

  21. Norm G. says:

    re: “the dealers were so obsessed with profit per unit that when bad times came, they had no back up plan and marched right off that fiscal cliff.”

    there is no “obsession” with profit per unit. PPU is simply… business. anything other than that and you may as well register as a 501, then call a sign company and have ‘em come install a lighted red cross over your door.

  22. Chaz Michael Michaels says:

    Btw, you do realize I was joking about ducati buyers.

    Anyway the discussion that followed was interesting.
    To add to it, I recently bought a brand new Ninja 636 for a great otd price. The kicker of the deal was kawasaki’s offer of 0% financing for 48 months.

  23. Chaz Michael Michaels says:

    If sales are down that’s on the manufacturers. We don’t buy bikes from the goodness of our hearts.

    Bring us products we want, bring us prices we can afford. Make it too difficult for us to say no.

    I think for a good solid two years Ducati was leading the way with exciting products, but pricing finally caught up with them. BMW and KTM seem to be strong right now striking a good balance between price and product. Harley seems to be making headway bringing a younger crowd into their showrooms. …and from personal buying experience I really like what kawasaki is doing.