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.

Visordown to Go Paperless – Online Only Magazine After September Issue

07/14/2010 @ 2:33 pm, by Jensen Beeler10 COMMENTS

Visordown to Go Paperless   Online Only Magazine After September Issue Visordown last issue1 560x484

British motorcycle magazine Visordown will sell its last hardcopy of its magazine this September, as the publication shifts to a digital-only format. Formerly Two Wheels Only (TWO), the magazine changed its name to Visordown in 2009. The move to an online-only format is result of the dwindling advertising revenue in the print world, which hit the motorcycling industry especially hard in the recession, and reduction in Visordown‘s circulation.

Most of the Visordown crew will remain at the publication, including long-term contributors Niall Mackenzie and James Whitham. The editorial staff of Mark Forsyth Ben Cope, and Tim Skilton will have their work cut-out for themselves as they build out visordown.com, and come to terms with this whole internet thing. Can an old dog learn new tricks? We have a feeling many other print publications will be watching this move closely. Welcome to the fray guys.

Photo: Twitter

Comment:

  1. skadamo says:

    Visordown, best of luck guys!

    BTW, did you ever give me credit for the table you copied/pasted from my blog? Just checking. HTML tables suck to build and I value my time. I’ll let it go now. :D

    Seriously, I hope you guys do well.

  2. Sean Mitchell says:

    I was always surprised that so many British mags were seemingly successful enough to sell througout the U.S. at major bookstores. Performance Bikes is my favorite, but Visor down is a close second.

    Will this online content be viewable only by paid subscribers? Or free to all?

  3. Visordown to Go Paperless – Online Only Magazine After September Issue – http://aspha.lt/15y #motorcycle

  4. Mike Werner says:

    They don’t understand the internet, so they’ll get to it with a mag mentality, and slowly die away. Maybe once they realize that the net has its own rules, they may make it. Linking back, quoting sources of material made & found by others, cooperating between sites, etc.

    They do none, thinking they are above us all. Readers can feel it…

  5. John Smith says:

    The guy who wrote this article clearly doesn’t know much about the UK bike magazine market. Visordown started way back in 2000(ish) as a website then formed a magazine,,

    more research please…!

  6. John,

    I actually did know that Visordown started out as a web community back in the ol’ .com days, but what does it matter? As you can see from the first few comments already on this post, the folks running Visordown have already burned bridges with some of the most prominent motorcyclists online.

    We’ve had our own work here at A&R lifted by Visordown, and I’ve seen the work of other sites on VD as well. Despite being from the Web 1.0 days, there’s a lot about publishing on the internet that remains to be desired from the magazine.

    I really hope they succeed, the more the merrier. But this is a game won on inclusion, not exclusion. Print folks don’t really get that concept fully. Like Mike said, linking, sourcing, cooperating, that’s how it works.

  7. Doug D. says:

    Shucks. Just bought my first newsstand copy two weeks ago and am still enjoying it.

    Websites like A&R are great for breaking news, but it’s so obvious that, on the whole, media outlets primarily invested in a physical publication (i.e., print outlets) produce far-superior feature stories than electronic-only media outlets. I appreciate the depth of coverage they provide.

    It comes down to the business model. Print outlets are better leveraged to invest in in-depth features complete with illustrations, photography and professional production. Mostly, sites like A&R aren’t able to fund the large group of professionals required to do this.

    A&R’s features are little more than glorified blog posts. I enjoyed reading about Harley-Davidson’s marketing woes awhile back, but the presentation was barely engaging.

    I’m not saying it will always remain this way, but I still see a need for magazines like Visordown, and Cycle World here in the states (though CW’s non-stop comparisons and shootouts is getting very stale).

  8. Mike Werner says:

    Doug, you’re right in saying that print magazines can invest in in-depth features, like extensive ride reports, reviews etc, using large photographs. That’s what I see as a role for print magazines. But in the “old” days, people bought magazines to find out what is going on, news, etc. That is something that the web has taken over. “Glorified” blogs, whatever you want to call it, can let the world know in seconds whenever there’s something new.

    Another feature that the web provides, is things like this… instant feedback and comments. People can react. In the “old” days, you sent a letter to the editor, and a week or two, your comment was printed, so very little reader engagement.

    Also, the web is global, magazines aren’t. So for print magazines, it’s changing rapidly. Many will fold, and only a few will remain. There will always be a market for magazines, but there will be a few only.

    Electronic magazines is a whole different ballgame. Several have recently seen the light of day. In Holland, there’s an excellent electronic magazine (MotorKlick) and it’s successful, but it’s web driven. This means, they play the web game, not the print game.

    Hopefully Visordown’s web magazine will work out, there’s plenty of scoop for it, and it could enrich the web. But players on the web need to follow the “rules”, if not they become outcasts.

  9. Le magazine moto 'Visordown' publiera son dernier papier en septembre http://aspha.lt/15y /via @Asphalt_Rubber

  10. Leigh Godson says:

    Well just to add to this, my team and I have been building Bikechatter.co.uk over the last 3 years in a similar vein to A&R and trying to have a unique swing at things, in the case of Bikechatter it is product reviewing rather than the motorcycles themselves.

    What I have seen in the Uk magazine market especially is that they all try and do the same thing, fill the same shoes and dont really offer a reason to buy one from another which is where I think Visordown has lost its footing having started as a forum originally that was individual and been swallowed up into print media, I dont really want to see a magazine go under but if Visordown’s departure from print brings even a touch more focus on us ‘net based outfits I support them (providing they play reasonably fair of course)

    What Doug says is true, print media can currently offer better articles, more ride tests and fund bigger staff levels but really only for a single reason and that is because the motorcycle industry is very much ‘old money’ when it comes to the internet.

    Motorcycle companies are only really dipping their toe into sites such as A&R and Bikechatter while putting more and more money into print publications that just cannot attract the diversity of the internet. That leaves online mags and news blogs in limbo – essentially fighting their corner until the industry wakes up and realises the internet is where it is at.

    Visordown may be going paperless but my feeling is they will feel the same pinch us other ‘digital only’ companies have been getting for years.