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.

Wisconsin Offers Harley-Davidson Branded License Plates

04/15/2011 @ 7:09 am, by Jensen Beeler8 COMMENTS

Wisconsin Offers Harley Davidson Branded License Plates Wisconsin Harley Davidson license plateThe great State of Wisconsin has begun to offer Harley-Davidson branded vanity license plates to its four-wheeled constituency. With the words “Share the Road” wedged underneath a double-dose of Harley-Davidson branding, the proceeds of the new plates will go to help fund State-sponsored motorcycle safety programs (a worthy cause).

Admittedly, we’re having a hard time with this story. On the one-hand, we love to see that motorcycle safety courses and programs are getting funded. There is a need to educate new riders, and to generally be good stewards for our sport and industry. On the other hand though, we generally frown on the commercialization of public programs, and while Wisconsin is the home of America’s largest motorcycle manufacturer, the whole thing just feels dirty.

While the WisDOT website is quite quick to explain that “Harley-Davidson receives no financial benefit from the sale of these plates,” WisDOT makes no mention of how much money Harley-Davidson has plunked down to have its logo and initials emblazoned on any four wheeled vehicle whose owner pays $40 per year.

Although Harley-Davidson may not be getting a portion of that $40 fee, the company is getting a great advertising opportunity by having its logo on a license plate. Hell, these license plates are a steal in marketing CPM terms at virtually any reasonable. Like the Ford F-150 Harley-Davidson edition truck, we’re sure that Harley enthusiasts will want to brand themselves accordingly with this government issued item.

The whole issue feels like a desperate move made by both a distraught company and cash-strapped state, your mileage may vary though. Leave your thoughts in the comments.

Source: AMA

Comment:

  1. buellracerx says:

    no different than our Brewers-emblazoned plates. throw them under the bus too if you want..to me they’re both a waste of $$$, but hey let people express themselves if they want to

  2. irksome says:

    It should read “Share the road while we fuck the unions”.

  3. johnrdupree says:

    I wonder if any of the Japanese Big Four or any of the Euro brands could get their logo on a Wisconsin plate. That would be a test of dirtiness.

  4. @buellracerx: I thought someone would bring that up. I wouldn’t throw a baseball in the same tent as another corporation. Cities and States are intrinsically tied to professional sports teams. Some own the stadiums (some even own the teams), and almost all of them have a seat at the decision-making table.

    Of course, one could make that argument for Harley-Davidson. I’m not sure how many other billion dollar enterprises are in WI. This is of course the likely reason this deal was put together: let’s appease one of the largest corporations in the state.

    John, I think you’re right…I wonder if another moto brand would be able to swing this deal with WI.

  5. RGR says:

    Is this the same Harley Davidson that screwed the workers and threatened to pull out of Wisconsin if the state didn’t pony up with a bunch of tax incentives, etc.? It’s funny to me that people are so proud of Harley’s US roots. They are nothing but a money-hungry corporation with no loyalty to their employees, hometown, or customers.

    If it wouldn’t cause a major uproar, you know perfectly well they’d be first in line to move production to an Asian country to save money. HD is ONLY about the money. If you think otherwise, you’re fooling yourself. Personally, I think the tricks they’ve played lately are shameful and would never own anything with their logo on it (if they actually made anything I was interested in).

    If I could afford a $40k EBR, I’d buy it just to piss on HD.

  6. irksome says:

    @RGR: Hd has gone from a motorcycle manufacturer to a marketing firm and they’re now a financing company that just happens to produce motorcycles.

    A better idea than this plate would be a bumpersticker that says “Wanna-Be Pirate On Board”.

  7. buellracerx says:

    @rgr @irksome – have you ever been to walmart? if so you’re just as guilty for the hardships H-D has to endure as an American company as anyone else. H-D’s loyalty to its customers can be seen their high quality standards and engineering’s nitpicky attention to detail.

    If you’ve seen & understood the union from the inside, you’d be singing a diff tune…unless you’re one of those benefiting from the fat & waste…in which case you’d be turning a blind eye or marching on the capital right now…

  8. RGR says:

    Nice try Buellboy. I don’t shop at Walmart, and I buy from American companies whenever I can. HD’s bikes are more expensive than they’re worth, so don’t talk to me about “high quality standards”. For those prices, they better have high quality (although I think the bikes are crap and wouldn’t waste my money). Engineering???? I guess we must be talking about a different HD then. They don’t seem to spend much on engineering. They come up with cute paint jobs and option packages though.