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.

Yamaha YZR-M1: 2013 vs. 2006

02/13/2013 @ 4:20 pm, by Jensen Beeler13 COMMENTS

Yamaha YZR M1: 2013 vs. 2006 2013 yamaha yzr m1 no fairings

It is hard to believe, but it has been eight years since Valentino Rossi raced a Yamaha in liter capacity in MotoGP. Without even getting into the 800cc era that started in 2007 and ended in 2011, it is safe to say that a lot has changed since Rossi’s 2006 Yamaha YZR-M1 and the still unofficially debuted 2013 Yamaha YZR-M1.

While we already have a pretty good idea what was under the fairings of Rossi’s 2006 M1, since Yamaha Racing made detailed high-resolution pictures of the machine publicly available, what lies beneath the fairings of MotoGP’s current crop of prototypes is a closely guarded secret.

That secret must not have been guarded closely enough though, because the eagle eyes at GPone have gotten a photo of the Jorge Lorenzo’s M1 in the buff, and the Pride of Iwata has some interesting secrets to share with us.

Most notably, the 2013 Yamaha YZR-M1 has an almost triangular frame that envelopes the cylinder head of the YZR-M1 engine. Contrast that to the almost pure twin-spar design that the 2006 model’s frame employs, and you can see a real evolution in the M1′s design philosophy, from arms the reach down to the lower parts of the engine, to the full-on aluminum triangle shape.

Almost a more conservative approach to Ducati’s “frameless” chassis design, the 2013 Yamaha M1 clearly builds a great deal of the chassis’s front end off of the motor, though where the Ducati GP11 had only the small subframes off the engine heads, Yamaha has maintained a more standard perimeter-style frame into the equation.

There is certain M1 a bevy of conjecture about how and why the new M1 chassis functions (be sure to read GPone’s own insightful opinion). Leave your thoughts in the comments.

Photos of the 2006 Yamaha YZR-M1:

Yamaha YZR M1: 2013 vs. 2006 valentino rossi 2006 yamaha yzr m1 20 635x476

Yamaha YZR M1: 2013 vs. 2006 valentino rossi 2006 yamaha yzr m1 18 635x476

Yamaha YZR M1: 2013 vs. 2006 valentino rossi 2006 yamaha yzr m1 17 635x476

Yamaha YZR M1: 2013 vs. 2006 valentino rossi 2006 yamaha yzr m1 11 635x476

Yamaha YZR M1: 2013 vs. 2006 valentino rossi 2006 yamaha yzr m1 09 635x476

Yamaha YZR M1: 2013 vs. 2006 valentino rossi 2006 yamaha yzr m1 07 635x476

Source: GPone


  1. Westward says:

    I’m a little surprised that they didn’t switch back to Termignoni pipes… As for the Chassis, maybe that is what Furusawa was eluding to with his talks with Ducati.

    Ducati’s failing point to date is in the chassis, methinks. They need to develop their own and not farm it out to anyone else. However, if they do, Kalex would be a better choice than FTR.

    Nothing wrong with the frame-less approach either, it simply needs to be re-imagined. It’s like they stole the idea from the Britten but got it all wrong…

    The 2013 M1 should be decidedly different in the way it handles than the 2006 M1. I think Rossi is going to only surprise the those who are not semper fidelis. But for those who are, it will be just like the days of classic Rossi…

  2. Ed Gray says:

    The frame looks quite a bit like the “monocoque”(sp?) frame of the original NR500 Honda from 1979 or 80.

  3. steve D says:

    i think they frames look remarkably similar. the engine pickup points 2 and 3 look also to be on the 2006 frame in about the same locations. the 2013 frame also has the downward extended legs to pick up the swingarm pivots. looks the same to me……….

  4. steve D says:

    forgot to add: that black piece on the 2013 looks to be some fairing piece. you can see you can see what looks like the actual silver frame just above the seat rail fwd attach on the far side of the bike.

  5. Ed Gray says:

    steve D you may be onto something there. The way it wraps over the top of the upper rad core is not very frame like. and there is a missing frame attachment point that was on the rear edge of the cylinders of the 2006 version. This could also indicate a different stiffness scheme in the frame.


  6. BBQdog says:

    We looked at these 2006 photo’s before and it seems some sort of black covers are laying over the frame.
    Best seen of the last photo in high res version. Looks like some plastic covers not nicely cut with some sort of knife.

  7. Ralph says:

    Termignoni pipes!?
    It’s just a sticker (Leo Vince, Akrapovic etc.) and a shape be it carbon or Inconel, the ‘muffler’ that is.
    MotoGP runs unmuffled since Ducati entered without mufflers/exhaust pipe.

  8. dc4go says:

    The motop bikes don’t run a silencer/muffler but the exhasut systems are changed and tinkered with to find more power and fine tune engine characteristics… Yamaha does run a small silencer and the Desmo does also thanks to Rossi..

  9. MotoCzysz says:

    This is consistent with a team striving for braking stability (longitudinal stiffness) while also striving for more mechanical grip in the corner/at lean (less chatter/more lateral flex) Note this same approach has been utilized on the swingarms for over a decade and is the same approach we use in our monocoque frames.

    A thinner material (z) cross-section gives more lateral flex while the larger surface area in the vertical plane (x/y) retains the longitudinal (and torsional) integrity.

    The standard twin spar frame is very limited in its ability to handle, uniquely, all the different forces as the deltas are great. This is a step towards a monocoque solution that ultimately is best rendered in (do I dare say)… composite.

  10. r60 says:

    2006 chassis = less cornering stability
    2013 chassis = more conering stability

    this is why kawasaki moved from the twin-spar over engine frame design of their 1st – 3rd generation zx-10r to the around the engine sides fixed together design of their 4th generation model

  11. noch says:

    very interesting. especially the explanation by @MotoCzysz . what is meant by the “deltas are great”?

  12. steve D says:

    i enjoy discussing structural design like this! alas, i still don’t think those black pieces are structural – i still think they are just airflow guides. i disagree with motoczysz: if the black pieces were structural, they would add to the section moment of inertia in the lateral direction, not reduce it. the classic multi beam design is much easier to analyze and to “tune” than a monocoque structure, especially one of composite. to often the phrase “composites are better and lighter” becomes a mantra rather than the result of a thorough analysis of the exact design scenario. does a composite sandwich F1 chassistub make sense? you bet! does a composite monocoque structure make sense here? my guess is no….

  13. MotoCzysz says:

    @noch Delta = differential; the loads enacted longitudinally verses laterally.

    I am not debating if this piece is structural or not as I cannot tell from the resolution of the photo.  However if not structural, I would image it would look like all the other fairings/covers on the bike (CF or painted) and not identical to the frame (anodized ally) I would also expect it would be more visibly attached and not so seamlessly integrated.

    None the less, @steve D, adding material may add stiffness but more likely and what I was suggesting is the entire frame has been made out of lighter/more flexible (smaller cross-section) material for more lateral flex and the new section was added to maintain the original longitudinal properties/stiffness.

    The one’s that find the next breakthrough will probably not find such on the path most traveled.