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.

Does the 2013 Honda RC213V Have a 90° V4 Engine?

02/18/2013 @ 1:24 pm, by Jensen Beeler23 COMMENTS

Does the 2013 Honda RC213V Have a 90° V4 Engine? 2013 Honda RC213V 90 degree V4

The internets are a buzz today with photos from the MotoGP test a Sepang, which seem to suggest that the 2013 Honda RC213V prototype race bike has a 90° V4 engine configuration. The news should certainly come as a surprise for many Ducatisti MotoGP fans, as Ducati Corse’s front-end woes have often been attributed by couch racers to the Italian company’s 90° V4 engine configuration. Seeing how dominant Honda has been at the pre-season testing in Malaysia though, one cannot help but admit that the cylinder configuration is not necessarily to blame for Ducati’s troubles.

Talking to Spanish magazine SoloMoto, HRC boss Shuhei Nakamoto explains that the 90° V4 engine has benefits over the company’s previous 75° engine configuration, namely that the 90° engine doesn’t require a balancing countershaft. Nakamoto-san further explains that because of the balancing shaft’s absence, Honda’s 90° V4 runs with more power, and less vibration that its 75° predecessor, making the engine a formidable enhancement to the RC213V platform.

There is strong reason to believe Honda has been running the RC213V in a 90° V4 engine configuration since the bike’s inception in 2012, which perhaps gives us some insight into the Casey Stoner’s wry smile and his reply that the engine wasn’t the problem with the Ducati, when he was asked about Ducati Corse’s troubles throughout the 2012 season.

The photos taken at Sepang show that the Honda V4 engine has been rotated rearward a great deal within its frame, which may be part of the reason why HRC is able to make the engine configuration work in MotoGP racing. However, the Ducati Desmosedici was rumored to get a similar treatment with its V4 in 2012, making one wonder what else lurks in the Ducati Corse MotoGP platform that is amiss.

Whatever the case may be, all of this bodes to be an interesting development, as Honda is getting closer to unveiling its production-racer version of the RC213V (expected at the Valencia end-of-the-season test) as well as its new premium-market V4 sport bike (expected sometime in 2014). Somewhere in Bologna, some motorcycle engineers are having trouble sleeping right now.

Source: SoloMoto; Photo: GPone

Comment:

  1. ttxgpfan says:

    Seriously, is there anyone who knows more about 90 degree V4s than Honda? Sounds like they gave the narrower V4 a shot and it just didn’t seem to quite stand up to the tried and true. I wonder if the next VFR will go back to 90 degrees. For people to say that Ducati’s problems are the result of any one thing, is ludicrous. If it’d been that simple they’d have fixed it by now. The rearward tilt is interesting though. They messed up the RC45 with too far forward a tilt (the RVF750 worked right from what old articles have said). I’d love to know just what in modern geometry has caused the rearward tilt to become effective.

  2. TeeJay says:

    Honda slapped Ducati in the face. Again. :D

  3. L2C says:

    LOL! What a story…this qualifies as one of the big ones! Oh my goodness…

  4. David says:

    Look at that exhaust. Is that a work of art or what.

    Can’t you guys get them to remove the exhaust for a photo shoot?

    Along with some detailed build info.

    The F1 cars have amazing exhaust craftmanship also.

  5. Rich Melaun says:

    @ ttxgpfan – the crankshaft is by far the largest mass of the engine. Current tires and rider techniques favor a forward CG as this loads the tire which generates sufficient friction to get the tire up to temperature. The Ducati engine’s cylinders, being slanted into a more forward position, force the engine to be placed further back. This makes it difficult to get the tire up to temperature.

    One report I read stated that Casey Stoner would ride like the proverbial maniac on the first few laps to work the front tire to get its temperature into the working range. This bravado is said to be the reason for his success on the Ducati. The tires are *the* critical component when it comes to a decent lap time. Or so I’m told.

  6. ProudAmerican says:

    That picture (minus the engineer) would make a great porno centerfold!

    Beautiful.

  7. TexusTim says:

    honda veeeeee4mmmmm l want and need one….more than…anything. I mean that.

  8. dc4go says:

    Looks like a 90 to me!! there you go proof that a 90 degree v4 bike can turn, now Ducati get your head out of your A** and get it together.. Think now that Rossi is gone, and with a new management it will turn around for them. Ducati’s already testing new electronics, exhaust and frame mods @ Jerez and things are looking up. Really think not building their own frames isn’ the fastest way to get this done , hope im wrong though….

  9. GeddyT says:

    Second paragraph, Jensen, I think you had a bit of a brain fart. There is still a countershaft in that transmission, so I’m guessing you meant to type, “…because of the balance shaft’s absence.”

  10. CTK says:

    Somehow I forgot about Honda’s V4s. I think with this development it’s high time for them to bring back some V4 road bikes. Maybe even replace the CBR inline 4s with V4s. They could make a connection with the CBR1000RR and the new CBR500s by sharing (and obviously reworking) those heads.

    I still have faith in Ducati though. They just need time and money.

  11. All hail the 90° V4, which I think is the perfect choice for the new street bike line, but how do you fit a 1 L engine into those tiny frames and achieve the mass centralization necessary as well as the proper weight balance on and off the brakes?

    Of course Honda can do it, but can they do it and make it competitive, more importantly superior to the other bikes on the track? That is the question.

  12. tesla says:

    I loved the swirling exhaust! =))
    I wonder what sort of science lies beneath that design

  13. The loop in the exhaust is to equalize the tube length between front and rear cylinders, which creates consistent back pressure, simplifying tuning across the board.

  14. smiler says:

    That picture (minus the engineer) would make a great porno centerfold! and some scratch sniff as well.

    To be honest it looks like Honda doing another SP” on Ducati. To be fair Honda’s R&D racing dept is about the same size as Ducati’s entire company.

    if this is so why dont they just stick the Desmo L 4 back in the steel trellis & give that a try. At least the rider can understand the feedback, it is adjustable & Ducati will be where they know what they are doing.
    There is an aweful lot of stuff packed into a very small area on those bikes.

  15. Commentator says:

    Honda FTW!!!

  16. Schyler says:

    Somewhere in Borgo Panigale an italian engineer just jumped up and yelled “see I told you its not the problem!! How the hell does it work for them!?!” Now they just need to figure out the balance aspect of the bike.

  17. Jamon says:

    What is that thing on the front sprocket?

  18. Rich Melaun says:

    @ Jamon – that’s a rotating shaft torque sensor.

  19. david says:

    @jamon- referred to as a “torque-ducter” , they actually measure and adjust torque output in real time. this sophistication may be the difference between honda/yamaha and our friends at borgo-panigale, no?

  20. Norm G. says:

    re: “The news should certainly come as a surprise for many Ducatisti MotoGP fans”

    in your dreams.

    re: “Ducati Corse’s front-end woes have often been attributed by couch racers to the Italian company’s 90° V4 engine configuration.”

    pfft, laymen.

  21. Norm G. says:

    Q: “I’d love to know just what in modern geometry has caused the rearward tilt to become effective.”

    A: just because you SEE a tilt, it doesn’t mean the tilt is the “silver bullet” (see entry for VR46 ducati). it just means you are putting all your proverbial eggs in the “tilt basket” at the expense of things you CAN’T see, for no other reason than you can’t see them.

    “What the eyes see and the ears hear, the mind believes” – Harry Houdini

  22. Norm G. says:

    re: “Honda slapped Ducati in the face. Again.”

    more like imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

  23. MikeD says:

    Schyler says:
    February 19, 2013 at 7:27 AM
    Somewhere in Borgo Panigale an italian engineer just jumped up and yelled “see I told you its not the problem!! How the hell does it work for them!?!” Now they just need to figure out the balance aspect of the bike.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    ROTFLMAO, THAT WAS BLOODY FUNNY……..thanks, i much needed a good laugh.