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.

Öhlins Brings Semi-Active Suspension to the Masses

12/12/2012 @ 3:05 pm, by Jensen Beeler21 COMMENTS

Öhlins Brings Semi Active Suspension to the Masses ohlins semi active suspension shock 635x532

Enticed by the idea of having semi-active suspension on your motorcycle? Then the latest tech from Öhlins Suspension might be the thing for you, as the Swedish company has developed an electronically controlled mechatronic shock for existing motorcycles, starting with the 2011-2013 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R.

Developing the system first in the  World Superbike Championship, Öhlins is the first suspension manufacturers to bring the technology to the masses, though companies like Bitubo, Marzocchi, and WP Suspension have similar units that will be available next year as well.

This technology is nothing new in the automotive world, though 2012 marks the first time that semi-active suspension has made its way to the consumer-end of the motorcycle industry. Featured on bikes like the BMW HP4 superbike and the current Ducati Multistrada 1200 sport-tourer, the semi-active suspension designs come from a multitude of companies, but function in a very similar manner.

Reading inputs from the motorcycle, semi-active suspension units make rapid and minute changes to the damping settings on the suspension. The result is a more dynamic range of suspension performance, which adapts to the road and rider conditions. Essentally, suspension settings are no longer static, hence the “semi-active suspension” nomenclature.

With the Öhlins unit, a modified TTX36 MkII shock absorber is plugged directly into a proprietary Öhlins ECU, which then connects to the ECU on the motorcycle. Reading signals from the bike’s ECU, the Öhlins ECU then makes adjustments to the rear shock.

For now, only owners of current-generation Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R will be able to use the new Öhlins semi-active shock, though Öhlins intends to bring other semi-active suspension kits out for other makes and models. It is also important to point out though that Öhlins is not offering a set of semi-active forks at this time, only the semi-active shock.

Presumably a feature that will carry-over to other motorcycles, what is of note is that the Öhlins system detects which user-selectable riding mode the ZX-10R is operating in, and adjusts the suspension to meet that category as well (“sport” modes get stiffer suspension, while “road” modes get softer settings).

As the technology improves, Öhlins says that upgrade possibilities for the programming will be offered. Like all Öhlins shocks, the TTX36 MkII mechatronic shock is serviceable at Öhlins service centers worldwide, in addition to being completely rebuildable. Pricing starts for the Kawasaki ZX-10R unit comes in at $1,625.

Source: Öhlins USA


  1. jeram says:

    thats not a half bad price for what it is!

  2. MikeD says:

    Call me CHEAP & ignorant but i don’t see how a $1625 rear shock is suposed to be for the masses.

    You know what a “shock” for the masses truly is ? THAT REDICULOUS M.S.R.P !!!

    But then u’ll hear me bitching about how a set of 4 KYB shocks for my old beater is almost $400.

    Danm you one percenters !!!! Jensen sure sounded like one when he came up with that title for this article.

    Why not come out with a matching set of front Boingers too ? LOL.

  3. Sorry MikeD, this motorcycle blogging celebrity lifestyle has gotten the best of me.

  4. JohnM says:

    I just happen to have one of those motorcycles. Hrm.

  5. Damo says:

    I would rather roll that $1600 into a used CRF250 to convert to supermoto…just sayin.

  6. MikeD says:

    I have to say…Man, that thing is PRETTY TO LOOK AT ! Not $1625 pretty but still.

  7. Kyle says:

    Why is the pricing so outrageous to some? Have you guys checked the price on a regular TTX shock lately? It’s hardly an increase over that, pretty impressive I think.

  8. MeatyBeard says:

    While not inexpensive I am surprised at how relatively low the price is. I was expecting a price tag in the $3-$5k range. If you’ve looked into Ohlins suspension before you would agree. Good move.

  9. jeram says:

    Yep, I’ve got a nitron fully adjustable race shock on one of my bikes, it set me back 1100 bucks and its not electronicly adjustable, and the equivalent ohlins would have set me back atleast 1500-2000 bucks!

    So for 1600 this ohlins shock is a bargain…. if your fast enough to take advantage of its features!

    the 99% as you call them will never be in the market for an Ohlins shock… the 99% are fully catered for by the stock shock!

  10. Faust says:

    @ MikeD

    A standard TTX36 MK II shock is over $1,200 bucks. Of course it’s not for the “masses” as most people don’t put TTX shocks on their daily driver. Go to some track days, however, and you’ll see TTX shocks on all manner of track prepped bikes. This is the first unit of it’s kind to be sold as an upgrade item on a bike that wasn’t designed with one already. $1,600 isn’t bad for what it is, and you should really get out to some track days. It would blow your mind to see how much money people sink into their track day bikes, and beleive me when I say these people are not the “one percenters”.

  11. David says:

    I can upgrade to a complete set (that’s FOUR) of fully adjustable coil over shocks for my Corvette for 1600 bucks.

    Just saying……

  12. Telford says:

    Unless the motorcycle is getting wet, the word is DAMPING, not dampening. That even applies to cheap shocks.

  13. Damo says:


    Yeah I have seen SV650′s with about $20k worth of kit on them in New Hampshire.

    Me personally I try to find a stock bike that suits my needs and riding style and try not to sink too much money on it. For instance Ohlins seals don’t stand up well in cold temperatures, my regular morning commute is done at below 20 degrees Fahrenheit on the regular, so most performance shocks are a no go period.

  14. meatspin says:

    it really is a nice looking piece of kit. Its useless for the type of riding I do, but I’m glad someone has gotten this out to market.

  15. GeddyT says:

    Telford beat me to it. Dampening =/= damping.

    Jensen, you’re a motorcycle blogger. To quote GOB Bluth: “COME ON!”

  16. MikeD says:

    After a couple of reads and the xamples put forward by Faust and Jeram i see how it’s priced “reasonable” for what it is.
    Well, is a good thing that they put this out there for the ones that can afford it and make proper use of it.

    Hopefully it won’t take 30 years for this “new” technology to become more feasible/mass produced/ mainstream in most production bikes 250cc and up.
    Semi-active suspension truly for the masses. LOL, who a my kidding…this will probably remain as xclussive and overpriced as the Queen’s Butt.
    I don’t see any Corollas or Civics wearing anything similar YET…LMAO.

  17. Faust says:


    Yeah, maybe for standard stuff, but try upgrading a vette to the MAG ride ecu controlled semi active suspension and it’s a 2k factory option on an already expensive car. If you want to upgrade to say, the the Eibach Multi Pro R Z51 setup, then you are looking at 3k. Of course you can get a less advanced product for less money, we all understand that, but you are comparing apples to oranges. What we are talking about here is technology that has never been sold as an aftermarket upgrade before, and represents the most advanced unit in it’s class. If it doesn’t fit your riding needs, don’t buy it. I’m sure some vette owners are perfectly happy without MAG ride suspension too, but that doesn’t mean it’s the same as coil overs(or as good). There are those out there that say that they are unwilling to spend extra money on lighter rims because they don’t need them (me, for example) but I wouldn’t sit here and try to make the case that stock rims are as good as lightweight forged units because that it clearly false, get it?

    Just saying……..

  18. David says:

    @Faust…..”Yeah, maybe for standard stuff, but try upgrading a vette to the MAG ride ecu controlled semi active suspension and it’s a 2k factory option on an already expensive car.”

    …standard stuff..you say. LOL…you should look at the underside of a Corvette sometime. They still run with leaf springs.

    In my post I mentioned upgrading. That would mean ripping out the leaf springs and adding performance coilover adjustable shocks. You can get quality performance coil over shocks from someone like LG for 2 grand. These are the most common track car upgrade for the Vette.

    Here: https://www.lgmotorsports.com/product_info.php?cPath=603_604&products_id=2176

    Or even a slightly lessor price coilover from Stance for 1400.00. Either way, it’s a big improvement in handling for a much more reasonable price for four shocks compared to 1600.00 for one Ohlins shock.

    The Ohlins Continuously Controlled Electronic Suspension (CES) uses faster-reacting hydraulic valves to adjust shock settings where the Magnetic ride system found as an option on some Corvettes is fully magnetic. So if your trying to compare the Ohlins to the MAG ride, then……fail.

    I’m not slamming the quality of Ohlins anyway. I have Ohlins on both ends of my dirt bike(because I found a great deal) and love them.

    All I’m saying is I think that’s a high price to pay for one shock, even if it is electronic controlled.

    So I guess I’m just saying……I ain’t a one percenter…..my fail. lol

  19. David says:

    I wish we could edit our post.

    BTW, the Eibach Multi Pro R Z51 setup is 2358.00.

  20. Faust says:

    Not from Ecklers it isn’t. And since this model is only a few hundred dollars more than the standard TTX, then is it really that absurd? If you don’t want to pay the money, then don’t pay the money, because I certainly won’t. But your arguments are a little off. I compared Ohlins to the MAG because there really isn’t anything else comparable bewteen the two vehicles that could even draw a comparison. The fact that cars and bikes are so different alone makes your initial argument invalid. Like comparing the cost of an Aprillia RSV4 engine to the cost of a car engine and trying to draw a valid conclusion. It just doesn’t work, no matter how many times you say “fail” it doesn’t make what you are saying valid.