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.

IOMTT: SES TT Zero Race Results

06/05/2013 @ 3:28 am, by Jensen Beeler15 COMMENTS

IOMTT: SES TT Zero Race Results Michael Rutter MotoCzysz TT Zero Isle of Man TT Richard Mushet 635x423

You either love the technology and progress being showcased in the SES TT Zero race at the Isle of Man TT, or you hate the lack of sound, slower speeds, and fairly predictable outcomes that the electric race provides.

For our part, we love watching the electrics go around the Mountain Course, and if you have been following the practice and qualifying sessions for the TT Zero class, the racing is anything but a parade lap at the pointy end of the entry list.

With John McGuinness leading the field with his Mugen Shinden Ni going into the 2013 TT Zero, many wondered if MotoCzysz could make it four in a row at the 2013 Isle of Man TT.

To win though, McGuinness would have to defeat two-time TT Zero winner Michael Rutter, and the 2010 TT Zero winner Mark Miller, both of whom are on the brand new 2013 MotoCzysz E1pc this fortnight. Well, now we know the answer. Click through past the jump for our full race report 2013 SES TT Zero.

Fastest out of the gate, McGuinness took an early lead headed through Glen Helen, with a solid nine second lead on Michael Rutter, and a 10 second gap to Mark Miller. This would be the peak of McGuinness’s lead though, as Rutter slowly built up steam on his pace.

Rutter was quickest through the Sulby straight speed trap, touting a 142.2 mph top speed. Comparatively, McGuinness went 131.8 mph on the Mugen Shinden Ni, while Rob Barber did an impressive 122.7 mph.

Eight seconds back at the Bungalow on the top of the Mountain section, Rutter poured it on, astoundingly dropping the distance to McGuinness to only 0.791 seconds at Cronk-ny-Mona.

As they came to the grandstand, Rutter crossed the line first, and as the suspense built with each second, McGuinness arrived 21.672 seconds later (109.523 mph). With McGuinness starting 20 seconds behind Rutter, this meant a final gap between the two riders of only 1.671 seconds — advantage Rutter.

Making it a hat trick, Rutter also set a new Mountain Course record for the electric race bikes: 109.675 mph — just short of the 110 mph barrier by a few seconds.

With Mark Miller having to retire at Ballaugh Bridge, presumably because of a machine failure, Rob Barber with the Ohio State University student team rounded out the podium, with an impressive 90.4 mph lap.

For complete race results, click here. Follow the rest of our 2013 Isle of Man TT coverage right here.

Source: IOMTT; Photo: © 2013 Richard Mushet / Mushet Photo – All Rights Reserved

Comment:

  1. skadamo says:

    Congrats Rutter/Czysz! Nice run by McGuinness/Mugen. Great to see Barber on the podium for an IOM leccy race again.

  2. Wow! Great race and BIG congrats to Motoczysz on the victory! That was yet another BIG step forward in a single year – very, very impressive. Looking forward to seeing you at Laguna in July and proud you’ve represented Oregon and American ingenuity! Also props to the Ohio State team – on the podium with a mere fraction of the budget and experience of the big teams. Awesome.

  3. Gutterslob says:

    Uhm … why is Rutter riding the MotoCzysz in Honda leathers? O_o

  4. TRL says:

    Congratulations to the whole Czysz team!

    Lots of motorcycle industry noise out of SoCal but the action is in Oregon!

    (Anyone else note the vents on the upper fairing? Take that Terblanche haters….999 FTW!)

  5. jzj says:

    Small American company beats mighty Honda! Very neat.

    And, best wishes to Michael Czysz, who is battling a health issue and did not make the trip.

    The year-t0-year level of improvement in these bikes is remarkable. And with ever-improving batteries (there may be significant leaps in battery energy coming this year), I would expect continued lap-time improvements. If MotoCzysz would bring their bike to market, there would be three truly amazing open-class electric motorcycles on the market (along with Lightning and now Mission), and great opportunity for really fast competitive racing.

  6. TexusTim says:

    looks like cysz finaly found his nitch in motorsports…I believe in 10 to 15 years most bikes will be electric and yes at some point they will be in motogp either as an experment series or full on class of there own,,this technology is here to stay..bikes are the perfect platform as they will get around the same mpg on two tanks of gas out of one charge in the not to distant future…I like it.

  7. EvilTwin says:

    Go Buckeyes!

  8. Westward says:

    I don’t think we will have to wait 10 or 15 years for the electric revolution.

    18-year-old Eesha Khare won a major science award at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in Phoenix AZ. Her invention was honored as one of two winners of Young Scientist Awards. Khare’s invention, a little black rectangular shaped super-capacitor just over an inch long, can charge a cell phone battery in 20 to 30 seconds.

    “I developed a new supercapacitor, which is basically an energy storage device which can hold a lot of energy in a small amount of volume,” she told KPIX 5. The technology may also be used to speed up charging of automobile batteries, Khare said.

    The young lady is from the Bay Area CA by the way…. (Beeler, you should do a story on her for the electric interests of A&R)

    Brammo, Zero, and Tesla take note of this young whiz kid. SHe may have just made the future much brighter for the Electric Revolution…

  9. Tyler M. says:

    I wonder when Honda is going to man up for a real HRC effort like they know they can, as does everyone else in the world. We’ll know they are there to WIN (not compete) if they choose to put the HRC badge on it next time… *end rant

  10. Gutterslob – this was a practice lap during the week, so Michael had been on one of his other bikes before this session. Plus, he was probably saving his MotoCzysz leathers for the race!

  11. Updated the post with a photo from the race. Great shots from that Richard Mushet guy so far, eh? ;)

  12. Julia says:

    Thanks to everyone for supporting our student project team, Buckeye Current, from The Ohio State University. Rob is a great rider and a great insight into the electric race bikes. Yes, it was a shoestring budget so some compromises were made, but, with a fun-loving group of talented engineering students who came together? Our first appearance at the TT was, happily, with great success. We’re already talking about improvements and modifications for higher lap times. Keep watching! We have a few graduating, but more to train up teach and progress the sum total of this team’s output.

    :optimistic

  13. paulus - Thailand says:

    Wouldn’t it make more sense to be an ‘alternative power/fuel’ race.
    Bio-fuels are more of a practical alternative to electric for the energy transition.
    What about diesel or Bio fuels?

    I don’t think that the future is going to be solely electric.

  14. Scott says:

    Julia, is this program going to continue there? What students are working on it?

  15. Hi Scott – yes! the program is almost 3 years old and will continue. It’s called a “Motorsports Student Project”, a volunteer “club” outside of the normal school curriculum but supported by the university. We work in a building alongside our EcoCAR program, Formula SAE, Baja, and the Buckeye Bullet (land speed vehicle). Because our team is mostly undergraduate students, we’ll be recruiting new younger volunteers this autumn as some key members have just graduated. Check out our website at http://current.osu.edu or OSU’s CAR at http://car.osu.edu