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.

2013 WSBK Official Phillip Island Test Day 1 Times: Camier Impresses ahead of Haslam

02/18/2013 @ 12:06 pm, by David Emmett5 COMMENTS

2013 WSBK Official Phillip Island Test Day 1 Times: Camier Impresses ahead of Haslam Carlos Checa enduo Phillip Island WSBK Ducati Alstare 635x422

Leon Camier has carried his strong form from last week’s private test at Phillip Island into the official test which started at the circuit on Monday. The FIXI Crescent Suzuki man used a race tire to lap half a second under Max Biaggi’s race lap record, then going on to post a strong race simulation.

The improvements the Crescent Suzuki squad have made, in conjunction with the Japanese Yoshimura company, are clearly paying off, the Suzuki lapping a second quicker than it did at the test last year.

Camier ended the session ahead of Pata Honda’s Leon Haslam, the Ten Kate team well on their way to mastering the new HRC electronics, with still some potential left to come. Haslam was within two tenths of Camier, and just a few thousandths behind Michel Fabrizio, the Italian impressing on the Red Devils Roma Aprilia.

The Italian privateer put his Aprilia RSV4 ahead of the factory machine, Eugene Laverty ending the day as 4th quickest, just two tenths off the time of Camier, and ahead of Marco Melandri, though the BMW GoldBet Italia rider is still struggling with his shoulder.

Melandri complained of a lack of strength in the shoulder after just a few laps on the bike, giving the Italian some concern for Sunday’s two WSBK races. A further operation could be needed to his shoulder once he returns to Europe after this weekend’s races.

Carlos Checa posted the 6th fastest time, the Alstare Ducati man the last of the close group stretching from 2nd to 6th. That the brand new Panigale should end the first test within three tenths of the fastest man is promising, given the fact that both Ducati men missed the private test, Checa due to illness and teammate Ayrton Badovini due to a massive crash. Badovini is also skipping this test, still resting from the huge highside he had at Lukey Heights.

Kawasaki’s Tom Sykes and Fixi Suzuki’s Jules Cluzel also ended last week’s private test badly banged up, Sykes having fractured the radius bone in his left wrist, while Cluzel has a very painful elbow from his crash. Both men got out and lapped, though both were clearly suffering. Sykes ended the day as 10th fastest, while Cluzel was 14th quickest on the first day of testing.

Testing concludes tomorrow, ahead of this weekend’s opening round of World Superbikes as the Australian circuit.

Official Times from the 2013 World Superbike Pre-Season Test at Phillip Island — Day 1:

PosNoRiderTeam/BikeTimeDiffPrev.
12Leon CamierSuzuki GSX-R10001:31.243 - -
291Leon HaslamHonda CBR1000RR1:31.3960.1530.153
384Michel FabrizioAprilia RSV4 10001:31.4010.1580.005
458Eugene LavertyAprilia RSV4 10001:31.4520.2090.051
533Marco MelandriBMW S1000 RR1:31.4850.2420.033
67Carlos ChecaDucati Panigale 1199R1:31.5230.2800.038
734Davide GiuglianoAprilia RSV4 10001:31.7010.4580.178
850Sylvain GuintoliAprilia RSV4 10001:31.9660.7230.265
965Jonathan ReaHonda CBR1000RR1:31.9800.7370.014
1066Tom SykesKawasaki ZX-10R1:32.0610.8180.081
1119Chaz DaviesBMW S1000 RR1:32.0770.8340.016
1221Jamie StaufferHonda CBR1000RR1:32.2310.9880.154
1318Ivan ClementiBMW S1000 RR1:32.7891.5460.558
1416Jules CluzelSuzuki GSX-R10001:32.8171.5740.028
1531Vittorio IannuzzoBMW S1000 RR1:33.1621.9190.345
1627Max NeukirchnerDucati Panigale 1199R1:33.5412.2980.379
1776Loris BazKawasaki ZX-10R1:33.6282.3850.087
1814Glen AllertonBMW S1000 RR1:34.0092.7660.381
1923Federico SandiKawasaki ZX-10R1:34.0942.8510.085
205Alexander LundhKawasaki ZX-10R1:34.6123.3690.518

Lap records:

Pole record2011Carlos ChecaDucati 1098 R1:30.882
Lap record2012Max BiaggiAprilia RSV4 10001:31.785

Photo: Ducati Alstare

This article was originally published on MotoMatters, and is republished here on Asphalt & Rubber with permission by the author.

Comment:

  1. Afletra says:

    Still…no R1 :(

  2. Bryan Niese says:

    Wow, Suzuki is taking their racing seriously again! Hopefully dropping the automotive branch of the company will allow them to be re-focused and bring new life back into their company.

  3. Bryan Niese says:

    As for the R1, it seems that Yamaha is reloading right now and preparing to switch to three cylinders very soon. Sport Rider has a very interesting interview in their newest issue (April) with Kunihiko Miwa. He confirmed that they were looking for a rules change to allow for a three cylinder to be greater than 1000cc. Yamaha will be back soon enough :)

  4. There is very little Suzuki in the Fixi Crescent Suzuki team — Yoshimura is doing most of the development work. Suzuki dropping their automotive business in the US doesn’t affect WSBK one iota.

  5. Aj says:

    So, I did a quick check. Last year, the Ducati MotoGp bike was running 1:32′s at Phillip Island. Rossi qualified 8th with a 1’31.661. Checa and the Panigale have now tested faster than Rossi qualifying on the motogp bike. Seriously, do you need to be an engineer to figure out that they should throw the motogp bike in the trash and build off the Panigale design? I wouldn’t be surprised if you shove the V4 into a Panigale frame and end up with a better bike than what they have now.