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.

Where Are the Motorcyclists in the USA?

02/18/2014 @ 5:06 pm, by Jensen Beeler21 COMMENTS

Where Are the Motorcyclists in the USA? united states text map 2 635x425

Talking to a European colleague the other day, I had to remind him that the United States is just as big and diverse as the European Union, with our country’s states being as unique as the sovereigns involved in the EU. The same goes for motorcycling in the US, with our sport and passion taking different shapes depending on your geography of this Great Union.

It tickled my fancy then, when today I saw a breakdown of motorcyclists by state in the United States, especially when the results were displayed on a per capita basis. Of the 8,410,255 motorcycles registered in the United States (D.O.T. figure, as of 2011), which states have the most motorcyclists by volume? The answer shouldn’t surprise you as California, Texas, and Florida take the top honors, likely due to their mild winters and coastal routes.

But which states have the highest concentrations of motorcyclists? Now that is where things get more interesting: South Dakota, New Hampshire, and Iowa. You’re a no good dirty liar if you say you predicted those three states to be at top of the list — with each stating sporting 12, 17, 18 and people per bike, respectively.

You can scratch your heads about the per capita figures with us. Our colleagues at Motorcycle.com suggest that the states’ hosting of popular bike rallies could play a role in the per capita listings, meanwhile we have our own theories about the popularity of motorcycles amongst Libertarian/Tea Party minded folks.

Neither theory works outr perfectly well, as Florida should have scored much higher with its hosting of the upcoming Daytona Beach Bike Week, which rivals Sturgis as the biggest motorcycle rally in the USA, depending on who does the counting, and what year we are talking about when making the comparison.

Similarly, if politics were purely at play, Oklahoma and Tennessee would have scored much better in their per capita tallies, but instead they are firmly in the middle of the pack.

It would seem fitting generalizations to motorcyclists is just as difficult as fitting generalizations to the whole of the United States of America — no surprise there.

However, one stereotype plays well, and is perhaps the most alarming fact and figure that we see here: our lawmakers in the District of Columbia ranked dead last when it came to motorcyclists per capita — over 4.5x less than the national average. Now that says something, now doesn’t it?

If you have any keen observations of your won, please leave them in the comments section. Bonus points if you use an ANOVA in your analysis.

Ranking of Motorcycles per Capita in the United States of America:

RankStateNo. of MotorcyclesPopulationPeople per Motorcycle
1South Dakota69,284816,59811.8
2New Hampshire79,2661,316,80716.6
6North Dakota32,654674,62920.7
13New Jersey330,4708,799,59326.6
21New Mexico64,8632,065,91331.9
22Rhode Island32,9891,052,52831.9
25West Virginia56,2101,854,36833.0
39North Carolina223,2099,560,23442.8
40South Carolina107,8644,637,10643.0
47New York345,81619,395,20656.1
51Dist. of Col.3,523604,912171.7

Source: The Motley Fool via Motorcycle.com


  1. Mark says:

    As someone who grew up w/ motorcycles in North Dakota (#6), has family in SD, and in-laws in Iowa, and who has lived at various times in Texas and South Carolina, I have two theories:

    1. The worse the climate for motorcycling, the more passionate one is. You have to be if you want to ride more than about two months a year. A milder climate makes one a bit more blasé about riding. When the weather makes it tougher to ride, you really savor the chances you get.

    2. Relatively empty roads with little traffic make riding easier, more relaxing and more fun. They also tend to lead toward lighter law enforcement. Always a bonus, that last one.

  2. Renato Valenzuela Jr says:

    New York is surprising. Especially considering there are as many people that live inside NYC (roughly 10M) than outside of it (also roughly 10M). I wonder out of the 345k bikes in New York State, how many are registered in the city. Because they. are. everywhere.

  3. Richard Gozinya says:

    Far as lawmakers who ride, there’s really no corresponding affiliation that I can determine. Darryl Issa, Jon Huntsman, John Kerry, Gabrielle Giffords, Joe Manchin, Max Baucus, Tommy Thompson, Mitch Daniels, among others. Seems a more or less even split.

  4. Stu says:

    Half the bikes registered in South Dakota are probably in a different state because you can get a plate in SD from interstate quite simply.

  5. Norm G. says:

    re: “You’re a no good dirty liar if you say you predicted those three states to be at top of the list”

    i didn’t get the others but i called New Hampshire. see entry for Laconia Bike Week and the Loudon Classic.
    been around 90 years. that beats Daytona and challenges the IOM and for good reason. iirc correctly there’s no helmet law, no insurance requirement, and no state income tax. their state motto, Live Free or Die. see that should tell you something.

    also, there are other little things you gotta look for when assessing this stuff. i learned LOOONG ago, weather isn’t the slam dunk you’d think it is. something else to look at…? per capita income. know what else i use…?
    (and this is a big one) GEOGRAPHY.

    get yourself a relief map. you’ll see NH has the White Mountains. NY has the Adirondacks. NC has the Smokies (ie. home of the Dragon). Arkansas has whatever those things are…? and of course Cali from Redding down to Bakersfield is one giant narrow valley, but everywhere else is friggin’ Mountains. a friend of mine with family in Denver swears by the riding out there. can’t shut him up.

    it’s the 3-legged stool concept. wherever you have any 3 conditions intersect, you’ll tend to have sustainability. wealth, conducive laws, geography, weather, etc. outside the states, you have drivers like high fuel costs and city congestion.

  6. Norm G. says:

    i would also like to see this table sorted simply by sheer number of registrations. the top 5 would be CA, TX, FL (not surprising), but then #’s 4 and 5 would be PA, and OH… both averaging 400,000. surprisingly not very far off from the staunchly independent republic of Texas.

  7. paulus says:

    As a non-US citizen I have travelled and ridden in the states, by choice.
    My choices are interesting roads and scenery, scenery, scenery…. and the list supports that.

  8. Jason Bertin says:

    Jensen – it would be interesting to now overlay motorcycle accidents per capita. Wonder if those top states like SD, NH, etc would have a lower accident per capita rate?

  9. It’s no surprise that CA’s not at the top of the list. Once you take the Bay Area as the exception that it is, the rest of the state’s not really interested in bikes. LA is particularly *un*interested, which is surprising since they’re the only viable solution to ghastly traffic.

    SoCal *seems* to be a great place for bikes, but that impression is created because: 1.) the U.S. (importer) industry and moto-media are centered there; 2.) there’s a huge population and if you concentrate all their bikes in one place, like Rock Store, because they all just want to pose together, it can be impressive at first glance. But, I still have to wonder, is this road registration data? Maybe adding dirt bikes to the totals would raise CA above #43, which is pretty dismal.

    All in all, I’ve long known that the rest of the country is more into bikes than CA. SD and NH at the top? It shows that America is still all about cruisers. Sorry about that.

  10. Heyzeus says:

    California has about 30 states worth of population or more. Trust me we have rabid motorcycle people here just like everywhere else. The biggest difference is I can ride when ever I want on some of the finest roads in the world. Just watch out for the idiots on the road. Some who don’t have to have insurance because they are not here legally. The Rock store is a very small part of our riding culture. Trust me we ride.

  11. Kory L. says:

    I feel you have to look at two major factors.

    One is demographics. You would have to look at the average age in each individual state. You look at the South and you would see many are retirees. Obviously a demo that won’t buy a bike.

    Two, where are bikes manufactured. Look at a state like Wisconsin where Harley and Eric Buell have been building bikes for years. It’s part of the culture in the Midwest.

    However, there are other social factors at work, such as disposable income. Trust me. All of the marketing teams for the manufactures know all of these things and knows where every bike rider lives. You can thank Google and social media for that and us for responding to articles like this.

  12. philly phil says:

    The chart should have been done by the number of bikes per person…

  13. Baron Von Balzak says:


    You are correct on New Hampshire, except you are required to have insurance.

  14. Norm G. says:

    re: “except you are required to have insurance.”

    granted, never lived there, but has there been a law change…? think Italy and the adoption of a helmet law back in ’02. that’s another good cross reference. registrations to helmet law.


  15. KTM says:

    I haven’t seen so few motorcycles nowhere in the world as in LA. Considering the traffic and EU like abnormal city destroying huuuuge parking fees I have no glue why all those people don’t use scooters and bikes over there.
    Same time strange the only place you can see bikes and scooters is NY same time numbers show there is almost no bikes. Any way visible bike cluture is very minimal in US by some strange reason. Hope it’s getting better if not earlier then after the gas prices will start rising as next decade biggest rise will happen in US and this for sure will change transportation culuture and habbits in overal for the US. It will be good change and new progessive things will happen in normal way I expect.
    Same time there is already lot of bicycles in LA and of course NYC. More scooters please ;)

  16. Damo says:


    Yeah. I live 40 minutes from NH and know lots riders from there. Insurance has been compulsory for a awhile now. Great scenery to ride in that part of New England, just don’t do it on a race rep, the road are seriously choppy when you go off the beaten path.

  17. Norm G. says:

    re: “I have no glue why all those people don’t use scooters and bikes over there.”

    like London or Miami, why get around on a bike or a scooter, when you could drive a VEYRON…?

  18. Gennadiy says:

    The statistics might be affected by the registration regulations that differ by state. Plated dirt bikes and road legal ATVs may account for a good chunk of registrations in states that allow or require them.

  19. Dave says:

    As a NH resident I’m not surprised in the least, actually surprised NH isn’t #1. Come hang out in my front yard on any given summer weekend day and let’s count the bikes that go by. There are HD, BMW, Honda/Kawasaki and Triumph/Ducati dealers within 10 miles of my house that have had thriving businesses for many years. Personally I’ve bought a bike from all but one of them, in one case 3 bikes.

  20. Dave says:

    Now that I read some of the comments… Insurance is not required in NH. As Norm G said, NH is the Live Free or Die State. We don’t need no stinking helmets, insurance or seat belts. Although, personally I wear a lid and seat belt by choice. I also carry full insurance on my bikes and cars, all are paid for in full too.

    I just registered my bike 2 months ago and wasn’t asked to show proof of insurance. When I get it inspected I don’t need proof of insurance.

  21. Aleks says:

    This is some very interesting data. Thanks for sharing!