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.

AMA Checks Power-to-Weight Ratio on Pro Daytona SportBikes – A&R Checks the Math

05/07/2009 @ 12:47 am, by Jensen Beeler6 COMMENTS

AMA Checks Power to Weight Ratio on Pro Daytona SportBikes   A&R Checks the Math eslickfontana2 560x373

AMA Pro Road Racing officials dyno tested the 10 motorcycles that qualified for Friday’s Superpole session at Barber Motorsports Park, in an effort to maintain a more competitive balance among the hodgepodge of bikes competing in the series. In their study, they found that the bikes range in power-to-weight ratios from 2.65lbs/hp to 3.14lbs/hp, with a .28lbs/hp gap between first and second ranked bikes. What is interesting about the report from the AMA is that they never named which bikes were making how much horsepower, thus leaving it a mystery who had the supreme power-to-weight advantage. Never fear, math and common sense are here. We crunched the numbers to figure out what the likely results are in this report. Our conclusions may astound you, and/or confirm your suspcions about the series, and maybe AMA road racing as a whole.

For those of you that might not watch the AMA Pro Daytona SportBikes series, here’s a quick primer on its format:

  • Eligible Bikes: Yamaha YZF-R6, Suzuki GSX-R600, Honda CBR600RR, Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R, Buell 1125R, Aprilia RSV1000R, Ducati 848, Triumph Daytona 675
  • Minimum Weights:  365lbs (4 cyl.), 375lbs (3 cyl.), &  385lbs (2 cyl.)
  • Single spec fuel and tires (Sunoco 260GTX and Dunlop SportMax GPA Front (120/70ZR-17) and Rear (190/55ZR-17) respectively)
  • 1st place- Jamie Hacking (Kawasaki ZX-6r – no wins), 2nd place – Danny Eslick (Buell 1125R – 3 wins), 3rd place - Martin Cardenas (Suzuki GSX-R600 – 3 wins)

Minus the four-cylinders 600cc bikes, this group represents the bastard children of road racing, and the AMA has devised a clever formula to try (or to at least give the appearance of trying) and create a level playing field for these very different bikes to compete upon. The results of that effort however, have not gone without criticism, especially when it comes to the Buell 1125R’s inclusion in the series.

If it wasn’t for a needlessly disastrous race at Daytona (Buell started with two bikes in the Top-5, and with one on poll), Buell would be walking away from this series with a huge lead, which shouldn’t surprise anyone considering it has a substantial displacement advantage over the bulk of the competition (a criticism that’s occurred more than once in post-race interviews with riders). Adding more fuel to the fire is the fact that Buell is an official partner with the AMA (no other manufacturer is listed on the AMA website as a partner to the organization), and the fact that the Buell 1125R received a considerable number of special dispensations from the AMA to race in this series (more on that later). 

With only 20lbs separating the fat from the lean in the Pro Daytona series, the fact that there is a .48lbs/hp difference in the field means a huge difference in power output. To put it in perspective, if we held all the bikes’ weight at a constant 375lbs, that would mean the field is comprised of bikes ranging from 119hp t0 142hp (a 33hp difference). In that same scenario, the difference between the 1st ranked bike (142hp) and 2nd ranked bike (127) would be nearly 15hp.

Before we start talking horsepower, we would be remiss if we didn’t disclaim the fact that we are dealing with real-world, rear-wheel horsepower. Not the mythical factory numbers which are almost always crankshaft estimates with RAM-air included into the figure. That being said, let’s get down to it.

Using some basic intuition on race bike preparation, we can expect to see at least a 10% power gain in the Pro Daytona SportBike series bikes considering the class rules allow for the following: an increase in the motor’s compression, machining of the bike’s valve seats, cam timing adjustments, fuel-management computers (Power Commanders), and full-exhaust systems. Knowing this, we can take the following information, and begin to make educated guesses about power and weight.

Based on reported dyno figures for various bikes, and the presumption that all the bikes will weigh the class minimum, what we know so far is the following:

BikesWeightHP – 3.14 RatioHP - 2.65 RatioStock HPStock HP-to-Race Weight
Yamaha R6365116.24137.741043.51
Suzuki GSX600R365116.24137.741043.51
Honda CBR600RR365116.24137.741053.48
Kawasaki ZX-6R365116.24137.741073.41
Triumph Daytona 675375119.43141.511063.54
Aprilia RSV1000R385122.61145.281143.38
Ducati 848385122.61145.281163.32
Buell 1125R385122.61145.281302.96

With a stock Buell 1125R making around 130hp at the rear-wheel, it isn’t too much of a stretch to imagine the bike making another 15hp with the modifications allowed in the Pro Daytona SportBike class. Also, it would seem unlikely that with the given provisions the Buell would only improve on its power-to-weight ratio by .03lbs/hp. This would seem to confirm the fact then that the Buell 1125R is the top power-to-weight ratio bike in the class. A potent factor to be sure, but consider further the fact that the Buell has been given special dispensations to make the following modifications: magnesium rims, a larger airbox, front forks, connecting rods, and a converted chain drive, and it is easy to see why the little bike that shouldn’t, is becoming the little engine that can, with better suspension and less rotating mass than its competitors.

Knowing the controversy that has surrounded the Buell’s perceived unfair advantage, we cannot help but think that the AMA’s non-disclosure of power and ranking for the tested bike might not have had something to do with the fact the scales have been so greatly tipped into the favor of a series partner. We will concede of course the point that teams probably don’t want their technical specifications to be released to competitors, and the AMA’s desire to heed those wishes, but doesn’t that just seem to convenient of an excuse, especially given this situation?

*Editor’s note: While the article refers to power-to-weight ratio, it is important to note that the numbers expressing this ratio are in fact representative of weight/power, thus lower numbers indicate a better ratio, and theoretically “better” racing motorcycle package.

Comment:

  1. Bob Bryant says:

    AMA Checks Power-to-Weight Ratio on Pro Daytona SportBikes – A&R … http://tinyurl.com/ccmfr7

  2. RT @Asphalt_Rubber: #AMA Checks Power-to-Weight Ratio on Pro Daytona SportBikes – A&R Checks the Math – http://tinyurl.com/ccmfr7

  3. Interesting article. I took your numbers and graphed them to help me understand how you arrived at your conclusions.

    http://blog.mungosmash.com/2009/05/ama-supersport-and-buels-performance

  4. Jenny Gun says:

    Great breakdown, when you graph it you can really see the difference. Thanks for doing that.

  5. mog says:

    A bit looney I say.

    I have not seen (on any type of dyno) and certainly not with my 1125R (factory tuned up)
    anything near 130 BHP!

    120 with 124 max BHP. Anything other than that from a stock 1125R is because some
    troll is lifting the rear off the dyno drum or the rear is not synched down correctly.

    I have currently each major Buell model and have posted my XB9S and 1125R BHP on Sporttwin.

    You have lost my confidence in your base BHP numbers for the Buell.

  6. davo says:

    BUELLISHNESS!!!!! bahahahahaha!