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.

Yamaha Motorcycle Sales Down 12.8% for 2012

02/25/2013 @ 1:28 pm, by Jensen Beeler8 COMMENTS

Yamaha Motorcycle Sales Down 12.8% for 2012 2008 yamaha yzf r1 cutaway 635x406

While for the most part 2012 was a growth year for the motorcycle industry, not all of the OEMs faired the storm equally. Posting a 5.4% sales loss in 2012 compared to 2011, Yamaha also saw a massive decrease in net profits last year.

Generating ¥1,276 billion 2011, Yamaha saw a 5.4% decrease in revenues, with sales totaling ¥1,207 billion in 2012. While units sales and sales revenue were down only a modest amount, net income was down a massive 72.2%, ¥7.5 billion (2012) vs. ¥27 billion (2011).

Breaking things down by market, North America accounted for 71,000 tw0-wheeler sales in 2012, which was a 9.8% increase from 64,000 units Yamaha sold in 2011. This sales boost helped Yamaha make a 14.4% net sales gain in the US, with ¥41.6 billion in sales revenue.

The gains in US motorcycles sales were lost globally though, with Yamaha unit sales collectively dropping 12.8% worldwide. Leading the decrease were sales in the European Union, which continues to struggle economically. Sales also dipped in the emerging markets, like Brazil, Indonesia, and Vietnam, which Yamaha also attributes to the economic difficulties from the EU and USA.

India and Thailand were the only major emerging market to buck the trend in 2012, though part of that analysis has to take into account that Thailand was literally underwater for parts of 2011.

Source: Yamaha (PDF)


  1. ted smart says:

    Yamaha refuses to sell their 125 or any suitable learner in Canada ensuring a new generation of riders will skip their marquee as a 1st purchase. The CBR125 is Honda’s best selling machine here and I suspect the new CB500 series will clinch it those riders choices for 2nd bike as well.

  2. L2C says:

    Ya think they’re happy to have the illustrious Valentino Rossi back within their ranks?

  3. Andrew says:

    I think that Rossi isn’t going to make a lot of difference to Yamaha’s sales until they start producing motorcycles that their customers want. BMW had very good year despite their complete absence from MotoGP, and Ducati had actually very strong year as well, despite Rossi’s performance on their machines which was anything but illustrious. In short, Rossi might be a charismatic rider but he is not a miracle worker – if you think that Rossi alone can reverse Yamaha’s fortunes, you are dreaming.

  4. BBQdog says:

    Seems like Yamaha is loosing it in the emerging 250cc class. No alternative to the Ninja 250 or the CBR 250 R.

  5. smiler says:

    Each Japanese company seems to have produced 1 or 2 great bikes through modern history. Honda the RC30 & Blade, Suzuki the GSXR 1000 (recent) and the R1. Other than that they seem unwilling to be adventurous and better at copying other established names. They upstaged the Bonny, made reliable cruiers, eventually decent sports bikes.
    There seems to be little innovation & trying to access new markets for the Japanese. Triumph, BMW, Ducati, KTM & Aprilia are all nibbling market share from the Japanese. Their usual advantage with quality now fading into the background. Even Ducati now have similar service intervals to the fast Jap bikes.
    To be honest after 30 years of domination, happy to see the Japanese (no offense to Japan) not doing that well. The offerings of the companies above are just better, more interesting & priced accordingly.
    About time the Europeans got their act together and they have. Even MV seem to have got the point now that to survive they need to sell bikes.

  6. aditya says:

    “There seems to be little innovation & trying to access new markets for the Japanese.”

    last i checked, the japanese (Well to be precise, yamaha and honda more or less exclusively) were the only ones really giving a damn about making and selling quality but affordable motorcycles in the new emerging markets (india, southeast asia and south america)..and i am not talking merely about simple commuter bikes for the local people that cant afford a CBR or a YZF-R…i mean smaller capacity versions of their flagship series (YZF-Rs, FZs, fazers, CBRs, CBFs) or related…none of the european companies except KTM (duke 200) have anything for these markets so far, except their ultra-costly 600s or 1000s that are really unsuitable for these markets..

    the japanese(yamaha and honda only. kawasaki and suzuki are comparatively non-existent in the smaller cc markets as well) havent been concentrating on the european market anymore, hence the lack of updated R1, R6 or CBR1000..they seem to be concentrating much more so somewhere else where the europeans effectively havent even arrived in any proper form.

  7. aditya says:

    the european companies have been nibbling the market share from the japanese only in europe (and maybe a little bit in north america?). not so much anywhere else really. and those “anywhere else” places are where most bikes get sold increasingly every year… for once it’s good the european manufacturers are able to overshadow the japanese more so than ever in their own markets.

  8. L2C says:


    It was question not a statement, nor was it serious. But since you brought it up, you’re delusional if you think that Rossi won’t have a positive impact on the fortunes of Yamaha. Notwithstanding bitterness over past events – it’s a good thing that Yamaha favors a healthier approach to racing and marketing matters.