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.

AGV PistaGP Helmet – The Next Generation Helmet

03/23/2012 @ 3:26 pm, by Jensen Beeler8 COMMENTS

AGV PistaGP Helmet   The Next Generation Helmet AGV PistaGP helmet studio 19 635x476

Today at the MotoGP test in Jerez, AGV debuted its next-generation helmet: the AGV PistaGP. The fruits of the Italian company’s Project 46, the PistaGP is the first helmet to come from AGV’s new AGV Standards program, which seeks create products with an inside-out approach. You have likely already seen Valentino Rossi testing the AGV PistaGP in the recent Sepang tests, and I have already waxed poetic about how excited I am about this product.

Generally I am not a big fan of AGV sport bike helmets (though I do have a torrid love affair with the AGV AX-8 Dual Sport helmet), as I find the field-of-view (FOV) on AGV lids to be far too limited for my riding tastes, but the PistaGP promises a host of improvements to AGV’s helmet design, especially an improved FOV, which should allay my complaints. For AGV, the company hopes the PistaGP, and its progeny from the AGV Standards program, will reposition the helmet manufacturer once again as again the pinnacle maker of motorcycle helmets.

Releasing details on the PistaGP to the assembled GP paddock press at Jerez, we can finally publicly talk about this new lid and AGV’s new approach to designing motorcycle helmets. Details after the jump, along with more photos than you can shake a stick at.

AGV PistaGP Helmet   The Next Generation Helmet AGV PistaGP helmet technical 10 635x438

Since we have already broke down how AGV scanned Rossi and other riders’ heads into a 3D modeling system to create these custom-fitting helmets, we won’t rehash the process again, though there are some interesting diagrams and technical materials in the galleries below. Making a number of improvements over the company’s already well-selling GP-Tech, the AGV PistaGP’s main features break down into the following measures:

  • +15° wider field of vision
  • 9% larger visor area
  • 36% less g-force transmitted to the head (compared to the ECE regulation)
  • 48% less HIC index standard (Head Injury Criterion)
  • 71% smaller visor movement area (area devoted to visor movement)
  • 3.3mm visor thickness
  • -6% lateral section aerodynamics, -3% front section
  • -44% z-lift (force of helmet lifting because of aerodynamic forces)
  • 193% more ventilation area

“I consider the PistaGP helmet a tribute to Gino Amisano, an entrepreneur I admired for his ability to innovate, the records he achieved, and the competitive spirit with which he faced every challenge,” said Lino Dainese President of Dainese and AGV. “The new helmet is part of the AGV Standards project, which, in line with the qualities established by Amisano, revolutionises the way helmets are designed, setting new records for protection and ergonomics that are clearly evident. The next generation helmets arising from this project are intended to place AGV, once again, in a leading market position with its technology.”

AGV hasn’t explained how it plans on taking the AGV Standards methodology and expanding it into consumer-level products, which could create a challenge for the Italian company. Thus, there has been no word on availability or price, nor has there been word if this will be a custom-only type of product. More info on that as we get it, though we hope we won’t have to wait long to try a PistaGP out in person.

AGV PistaGP Helmet   The Next Generation Helmet AGV PistaGP helmet scan 07 635x423

AGV PistaGP Helmet   The Next Generation Helmet AGV PistaGP helmet Valentino Rossi 01 635x514

AGV PistaGP Helmet   The Next Generation Helmet AGV PistaGP helmet technical 16 635x438

AGV PistaGP Helmet   The Next Generation Helmet AGV PistaGP helmet studio 08 635x476

AGV Pista GP Press Conference:

AGV Pista GP Studio Shots:

AGV Pista GP Technical Diagrams:

AGV Pista GP Tested by Valentino Rossi:

Source: AGV

Comment:

  1. Ken C. says:

    If AGV can find a way to bring custom molded helmets to market, I will be first in line (assuming I don’t have to sell one of my children to afford it). My oddly shaped melon has always made picking helmets off the shelf quite difficult, although Arai has been kind to me over the years.

  2. Jake says:

    I just like the idea of being able to see out of the upper edge when I’m in a race tuck.

  3. MikeD says:

    Nice Lid, now…..where do we have to drop off our vital organs in order to afford it ?

  4. Keith says:

    I’m just worried that my ugly face would break the scanner…the cost wouldn’t worry me. I don’t mind selling a kidney and part of my liver and a lung.

  5. Westward says:

    The chin guard design not really that appealing, though it seems very aerodynamic…

  6. irksome says:

    @Ken C: For decades I wore only Bell helmets, not out of brand loyalty so much as they were the ones that best fit the shape of my head. In the years they were out of business (or making shite lids), I struggled with Arai’s giving me a hot spot on my forehead and other brands that were too tight on the sides or just prohibitively expensive (and AGVs just don’t let me SEE).

    I can understand why manufacturers don’t offer helmets in more incremental sizing than S, M, L and XL but why don’t they offer helmets as also R (round) and O (oval)? Head shape is as big a determinate in proper fit as diameter.

  7. Chris B says:

    Hey Irksome,

    Try Arai again; they now come in three different head shapes, (they used tohave a different shape for different markets; Asia, Europe and North America) depending on the model. Round, intermediate oval and long oval. the only downside is you are limited to the choice of designs that the particular model offers.

  8. DWolvin says:

    For the non-racers, has anyone heard anything about peripheral vision? I’ve noticed there is a fairly wide array of cutoff angles that are much more important on the street (if you shoulder check).