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: Minimum Weights Changed to Rein in Fast Ducati(s)

05/25/2011 @ 8:10 am, by Jensen Beeler14 COMMENTS

AMA: Minimum Weights Changed to Rein in Fast Ducati(s) AMA pro racing Logo 635x435

AMA Pro Racing has  announced a change in  the minimum weight requirements for both the Daytona SportBike and SuperSport classes, biasing the weights to be more of a disadvantage for two-cylinder machines, i.e. Ducati 848 Superbikes. Decreasing both the four and three-cylinder minimum weights by 5 lbs (to 355 lbs & 365 lbs respectively), two-cylinder machines conversely get a 5 lbs increase (to 385 lbs), thus making the spread from four to two cylinders now a total of 30 lbs (it was a 20 lbs difference before this rule change).

The move is presumably to reel in the Ducati 848 race bikes that shocked the paddock with their speed early-on in the season at the Dunlop Test, though in terms of race results, the change in rules seems to be due more because of the domination by Jason DiSalvo, than anything else. The Team Latus Motors Racing racer has won every race thus far this season, with a close finish at the Daytona 200, and a blow-out double at Infineon Raceway.

Confounding though, Ducati’s results in the SuperSport class have been less impressive, with the 8th and 13th being the finishes for the Italian brand at Infineon.

While DiSalvo was the lone Top 10 Ducati at the Daytona 200 (winning by only three tenths of a second), his victories at Infineon were substantial, with a 7.6 second margin in Race 1, and a 4.5 second margin in Race 2. Infineon was clearly a Ducati track, as the Italian brand claimed first, second, and fourth place positions in Race 1 for Daytona SportBike, nearly making it an all Ducati podium. While in Race 2, PJ Jacobsen took a fourth place finish, thus putting two Ducatis in the Top 5.

For comparison, World Supersport minimum weight restrictions are pegged at 355 lbs across the board for two, three, and four cylinder bikes in the 2011 season, though other restrictions are in place to help balance the performance between the machines, i.e. intake restrictors. Full technical bulletin from AMA Pro Racing below:

AMA Pro Road Racing Technical Bulletin #2011-04

To: All AMA Pro Road Racing Competitors
Date: 5/23/2011
Effective Date: Immediately

Subject: Daytona SportBike and SuperSport Minimum Weights

5.2 Weight

A. Minimum weight in the exact condition the machine finishes any competition activity (qualifying or race) without the addition of fluids or other items of any kind:

  1. 4 cylinders 360 355 pounds
  2. 3 cylinders 370 365 pounds
  3. 2 cylinders 380 385 pounds

6.2 Weight

A. Minimum weight in the exact condition the machine finishes any competition activity (qualifying or race) without the addition of fluids or other items of any kind:

  1. 4 cylinders 360 355 pounds
  2. 3 cylinders 370 365 pounds
  3. 2 cylinders 380 385 pounds

Source: AMA Pro Racing

Comment:

  1. BikePilot says:

    That’s just silly. Why should a twin be forced to tote around more lard than a four? Surely there are more elegant solutions and ones that will still encourage mfg’s to use racing as an R&D effort to achieve things that will be useful on the street – not the least of which is weight reduction.

  2. Steveo says:

    So the listed Dry Weight is 370 on an 848…… Add a 2LBS battery, maybe a 1lt of fuel 3 quarts of oil and you can own a Full Blown Race weight DUc. 848…

    In all actuality being well under weight allows for ballast in critical areas.

  3. Dave says:

    BikePilot, based on your argument, shouldn’t the V twins then be the same cc as the inline 4′s?
    Why should an 848cc twin be forced to tote around extra weight?
    Well, why should an inline 4 not be allowed to run 848cc?

    Adding weight is probably the least costly measure to try to get parity and when teams are struggling financially, this matters a great deal.

  4. RRsquid says:

    Yea, so they get a 40% advantage on engine displacement (600cc vs 848cc) and a 10% disadvantage on weight. That’s ‘fair’.

  5. Damo says:

    Go back and watch the Infineon race. Danny Eslick was making the leaders look the fool anytime they hit the corners and then DiSalvo and Holden would burn him down on the straights making terrible lines and still taking the lead.

    The displacement advantage is just absurd, and even with this weight penalty the power to weigh ratio is totally imbalanced. I wonder how the Ducati 848′s would fare against a new GSXR 750? Not well at all, but Suzuki can’t field those.

  6. Shaitan says:

    The AMA continues to loose my interest. Power to weight ratios SHOULD be maintained, but such changes should NOT happen during the season — only before or after. I want fair racing, but I want good racing. The AMA continues to be reactive rather than proactive. Set your damn racing classes at the START of a season, set the rules (and make them strict), and stick to ‘em.

  7. Tony W says:

    I am OK with this as long as they restrict the inline-4s to max rpm of 12000.

  8. Mark says:

    I knew it was only a matter of time before this would happen. What happened last year when the Ducati 848 wasn’t nearly as competitive as it is now, the bike hasn’t changed. Why didn’t they ever add weight to Eslick’s Suzuki when it was dominating.

    This is nothing more than the AMA assuring that their big4 corporate masters maintain their advantage, and screw the privateers who have a chance of winning on a better bike.

  9. jtwind says:

    AMA hasn’t had a clue for years. Just another confirmations. This 10 seconds is the most attention I’ve paid to it in any respect for years, RIP!

  10. Damo says:

    @Mark

    Do you feel that there is a legitimate reason why any bike should be indulged a 40%+ displacement advantage over the competition in any race category?

    It has nothing to do with “AMA assuring that their big4 corporate masters maintain their advantage” and everything to do with the idea that an 848 racing in the AMA sportbike class is just plain stupid. (Not to mention half of the “big4″ don’t even have factory teams this year.)

    I also think that if the only way a privateer team can win is on a bike with a 40% displacement advantage, then they are just a bunch of backmarkers anyway. Like I said watch the race again.

  11. Other Sean says:

    I wonder, did Mladin and Spies have weight restrictions when they dominated AMA?

    AMA sucks, let it die. It will, you can tell by the empty seats at every race.

  12. Damo says:

    I would argue Mladin and Spies dominated based on talent, this year it is almost completely bike based (in sportbike anyway). Spies and Mladin weren’t rocking bikes with a 40% displacement advantage. Not sure why everyone keeps glossing over this.

    I do not understand why AMA can’t figure out a simple displacement and weight limit and call it a day. You don’t see 1.4 litre bikes is the superbike class do you?

  13. Richard Gozinya says:

    Maybe they should turn the Daytona class into a spec-class, like with the XR1200. Would eliminate all the constant crap with rules. Everybody would be on the same bike, so no more complaining (At least not about specific bikes). They wouldn’t even have to change the name, if they went with Triumph Daytonas.

    But I’m sure they’d find something else to constantly change rules about. Like rider minimum weight.

  14. Steve says:

    Just when yoy think there might be a glimmer of hope for the AMA ….reality sets in. Management by crisis. Fumbling bumbling fools…. but at least they are consistant. The AMA has been relagated to club racing at best and after 40 years in the sport, I have lost all my interest. I feel sorry for the young talented riders and the are many with nowhere to go. Sad.