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 Pro Road Racing Announces Five, Maybe Six, Races on Its 2014 Provisional Calendar

01/08/2014 @ 11:54 am, by Jensen Beeler37 COMMENTS

AMA Pro Road Racing Announces Five, Maybe Six, Races on Its 2014 Provisional Calendar ama pro racing logo 635x425

The long-awaited AMA Pro Road Racing calendar for the 2014 season has been released, and motorcycle racing fans will be shocked to hear that America’s premier series has been reduced to just five race weekends this year, with the hopes of a sixth weekend being added to the mix.

As usual, the season starts in March at Daytona, and features the Daytona 200. AMA Pro Road Racing will then take a month and a half break, until it reconvenes at Road America at the end of May / beginning of June. Barber, Mid-Ohio, and NJMP then follow, with Laguna Seca hopefully being added to the list once that whole mess is resolved.

With television coverage still up in the air, 2014 could mark a critical decline for American road racing as a sport. Talking with riders, teams, and sponsors, the uncertainty around both the schedule and amount of coverage has caused a great deal of panic in the AMA paddock.

As a result, we have seen the departure of the Army National Guard and GEICO Insurance, two mainstay sponsors for the series in the past. We have also seen the exodus of top teams like Michael Jordan Motorsports and the Erik Buell Racing squad. Meanwhile, we have begun to see riders leaving the AMA for series abroad, with current AMA Superbike Champion Josh Herrin being the most notable defector.

2014 AMA Pro Road Racing Schedule:

  1. March 13 – 15 – Daytona International Speedway, Daytona Beach, Fla.
  2. May 30 – June 1 – Road America, Elkhart Lake, Wis.
  3. June 21 – 22 – Barber Motorsports Park, Birmingham, Ala.*
  4. July 19 – 20 – Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, Lexington, Ohio*
  5. September 13 – 14 – New Jersey Motorsports Park, Millville, N.J.*

*These events will feature the two-day event schedule

Source: AMA Pro Racing

Comment:

  1. Ken C. says:

    The writing has been on the wall for a while now, but this calendar is even worse than I expected.

    American road racing is on life support.

  2. Slangbuster says:

    The AMA will be offering discounts for “Family and Friends” tickets as those are the only people who will be showing up to their races. Pathetic.

  3. Joe says:

    If they add VIR or Road Atlanta to the calendar, I’ll go. I don’t agree with the many decisions DMG/AMA have made over the last few years, and their gaffs are a bit unbelievable at times, but the racing is actually pretty good. Unlike the attitude many seem to have concerning the AMA, I don’t want to see OUR national championship fail. We don’t have much young talent going anywhere, and instead of constantly slagging the series and jumping on the bandwagon of hating any decision that is made, which seems to be pretty popular amongst the moto press in the USA, I’d rather see this a rebuilding year to get the rules stabilized.

  4. proudAmerican says:

    I truly feel sorry for any racers still left in the series—who are hoping to get discovered, only to find there’s no audience and no scouts in the stands. And of course, no television cameras either.

    Congratulations AMA/DMG. You’ve successfully killed a big part of American history.

  5. SBPilot says:

    wow.

    The AMA, something Canadian racers use to look up to is now on par with the pathetic CSBK we have up here. Here in Canada the CSBK has been 5 rounds (4 venues) of mainly old farts that can’t let go of their “passion” and kids that are delusional (with equally delusional/rich parents) thinking they will get anywhere racing motorcycles in Canada. The only spectators at CSBK are…friends and family.

    I’m curious what kind of contingencies AMA has from manufactures..if any.

  6. Conrice says:

    Unbelievable….

  7. chaz michael michaels says:

    where did it all go wrong?

  8. Jaime says:

    As badly as the AMA managed this series, DMG has proven themselves even WORSE. Not sure of the licensing agreement between the AMA and DMG, but the AMA needs to look at severing the relationship and seeing if there is another promoter out there who understands the two-wheeled racing community.

  9. SJ Steve says:

    shocked? hardly…. why would anyone expect anything but this with the woeful state of AMA Pro Racing…..

    I wish some of the greats (Kevin Schwantz, King Kenny, Wayne Rainey, etc…) could get together & do this right!

  10. Josh Marsh says:

    This is really quite simple…we the motorcycle racing fans/enthusiasts are a dying breed. Television stations are in business to make money and quite frankly judge Judy reruns attract more viewers then motorcycle road racing. The blame lies very little on the AMA/dmg or whoever runs the series. All we do to contribute is complain about how much this sucks. Instead why don’t we all help exposé our sport to new fans. This is all probably too late but I just want to say it again….motorcycle road racing is not popular in the United States. Only 3% of the population rides motorcycles and most of that is gobbled up by Harley/cruisers who usually want nothing to do with sport going motorcycles…..again….if they air it will they watch? No! That is why the coverage sucks…nobody watches!!!!…we all need to stop complaining its nobody’s fault but our own for just complaining and not doing anything about it.

  11. Tom says:

    The AMA is becoming to motorcycle racing what the new ABA is to professional basketball.

  12. jet says:

    What’s up w/ Texas,Laguna,Sonoma,ca for starter’s.Who ever is diing the management suck’s at it..

  13. KSW says:

    I think the best thing to help readers understand all this would be a story on how racing works. An in-depth piece on how DMG doesn’t promote the series (not there job). DMG doesn’t pay to race at a track (tracks pay DMG for the event) so you can’t just add VIR/Road Atlanta/COTA/Laguna…. Maybe the ever busy Mr. Beeler could consider this and not just for AMA but MGP. They’re all basically the same now.

  14. Josh Marsh says:

    We also need to look at size of our country. It’s huge! Most European countries are no bigger then an couple of our states and the people of those countries have tremendous pride making rivalry a very big part of any sporting activity. Look at the nfl for example. Die hard loyal fans that pack the stadiums and beware the fan of the opposing team visiting that home field. And lets not even get into tiered licensing which I feel is a major factor in why motorcycling is more popular over seas considering learning to actually ride a motorcycle is encouraged. I find it a shame that our beloved sport isn’t more popular but it is what it is and I really don’t see how any changes made inside the sanchoning bodies will change it. It’s the sad truth.

  15. @SBPilot: “The AMA, something Canadian racers use to look up to is now on par with the pathetic CSBK we have up here.”

    That struck me, too. I’ve always been quietly mortified at the dearth of racing in the GWN. Back in the ’80s, I stood on the bridge at Shannonville and noticed my legs shaking as the superbikes (including a couple of TZ750s, no less!) revved up preparing to leave the line. The whole NIMBY thing eludes me (think fireworks and the noise that entails). Where Canada and the U.S. collectively have unimaginable land mass, racers have to travel vast distances to attend more than a couple of events/year. It boggles the imagination.

    Somehow, the marketing/pricing/whatever has been a complete failure. With 60+ states/provinces to host races over a HUGE land mass, you’d think that there’d be a reasonable representation of regional-class race tracks with acceptable run-off that won’t wind up killing the average motorcycle racer. Alas, no.

    It’s easy for me to moan that it could have been done better. Unfortunately, I don’t know how it could have been fixed. Bah.

  16. I guess virtual reality, AKA Survivor, is more appealing than reality reality, AKA seeing live racing. With Survivor, you can get all the business without ever venturing farther than your fridge for Yet Another Beer.

  17. Mitch says:

    Out of sight – out of mind. Since people freak out at tracks being built within 500 miles of awful suburban homes, they must be built in BFE, and no one is going to attend any event there on a lark. No fans – no support.

    My idea – small, electric super motard courses built inside/close to cities. People can sign up to learn how to ride, racing leagues established, $5 door fee for spectators. Costa Mesa Speedway packs the stands for flat track racing, so it can be done. You just have to have the track be where people can go without planning a journey. Once you feed the e-motard leagues, a percentage of those racers will explore other avenues, like road racing. Without exposing people to the awesomeness of two wheeled on road racing, it will remain at pilot light heat levels.

  18. Slangbuster says:

    Back in the 70′s American road racing had a following and a fan base after Dick Mann won the Daytona 200 on the new Honda CB 750 at the direction and management of Bob Hanson and Mr. Honda. As the years followed, there began a steady stream of riders from all over the world (Sheene, Reede, Agostini, Lansovori, Hailwood, Passolini etc…) who would come over to compete against the best American riders in America. Attendance was up, money was being made and times were good. The next years got more creative with the Match Races where the American riders would travel to Europe and compete against the best over there. The American team consisted of (Roberts, Baker Nixon, Bauman, Askland, Hennon, Aldana, Emde and a host of others. It was exciting. Fans loved it, racers loved it, and money was being made and spent. Things were good and the 70′s were a golden decade of racing. It was a simpler time but things were starting to change.

    The AMA had a very autocratic style of management that was not conducive to flexible to new changing situations and evolving customer base and market stratifies to regain their disinterested fans. If that was not bad enough, the AMA arbitrarily imposed overnight rules on factory teams and riders who successful eventually chasing Honda, Suzuki and Yamaha away from involving themselves with the AMA. Smart move there. Reasoning with the AMA at that time was like trying to reason with Perris Hilton after three day Meth Binge then calling Charlie Sheen to mediate. Not Good.

    This is a fairly complex problem that I will address later as I have run out of time now. just know…There are discussions occurring daily about this very matter by people who are in the know with some good ideas that have come forward to fix the damage that has been done to the sport we all love.

    While the AMA is sitting in the back of the cart looking at the horses ass as it goes down the road. There are some very competent folks riding next to the cart looking way down the road. Yep boys and girls, it’s broken. But I think it can be fixed with a little time. We’ll see. By the way (Mitch) you have some interesting ideas and seem to get some of the problem. Good job!

  19. zipidachimp says:

    Thank god i’m old enough to have seen the best of the best on a huge variety of bikes.
    late 60′s, early-mid 70′s. mosport to laguna seca, road atlanta to mid-ohio. 2-strokes, 4-strokes, singles, twins, fours, end of the european, start of the japanese. i’ve been lucky, and now it’s all gone to shit. moto gp has 4 racers, one of whom may retire, and a load of riders. The only series with a modicum of competitive variety is WSBK, and both the bikes and racers are squirrelled away so that even with a paddock pass you can’t see bugger-all.
    Maybe not so strange that Vintage racing seems to have a good turn-out. All us old-farts still have an interest!!!

  20. Mike says:

    and nothing west of Wisconsin. Sad. You think they could make a go of it in So Cal, considering the number of sport bikes running around. Both Willow Springs and Fontana have hosted before, and they were good races.

  21. Chaz Michael Michaels says:

    Can blame really be placed on low TV ratings and Americans not riding motorcycles? I say no.

    Has there really been a significant dip in the amount of Americans who ride motorcycles since the days of Rainey or Hayden or Spies? No.

    Delving into the not so distant past, has the (TV) coverage changed that drastically since Spies? Maybe. It’s changed but I believe one could argue its changed for the better with advances in TV/internet interface, more stations, etc…

  22. Chaz Michael Michaels says:

    and you don’t have to ride a motorcycle to be a fan of motorcycle racing–hell, I was a huge fan of CART and F1 when I was young and I didn’t own a car until I was 24!!

    Something is broken, big time. There is still an audience. How did they lose it and how can they find it again?

  23. Josh Marsh says:

    Chaz, I agree with you for sure. There are many many contributing factors to the decline of motorcycle road racing in the United States. Living in somewhat close proximity to New Jersey motors ports park I attend the races there every year and its always been one of the highest attended races of the season. Just like motogp attracts the most fans to Indy, it’s all about population and demographics. Njmp lies close to Philly and NYC and D.C. Indianapolis is a fairly large city and attracts people from the east cost and Canada because its not to bad of a drive so it can be and inexpensive trip. If I wanted to attended more then one AMA round it would be a huge expense for me. The tracks are too far apart. If there were more options like regional events it would strengthen the brand. One of the biggest obstacles is that while there are a ton of tracks in any given area for track days, very few are safe enough. Bsb on the other hand has its races on some super sketchy tracks yet the grids are full and attendance is off the charts. While very few riders in that series actually get paid its quite amazing. Going back to my earlier post though..it’s probably quite easy and less expensive for someone to ride in England considering its size. Work a sort of normal job during the week and race on weekends.
    On another note, one of the huge downfalls of AMA racing is the horrible horrible commentary that we have had to endure over the years! They usually involve a nerd, a generic sports commentator that probably never even rode a motorcycle, and someone with a southern accent that only NASCAR car fans can understand. This on top of the fact that they spend more time explaining how a motorcycle works rather then talk about what’s happening on the track with any excitement.

  24. GoNicky69! says:

    The DMG can’t solidify a television gig. Chose not to televise the finale last year. Don’t appear to be promoting a damn thing.

    Just… just don’t bother.

  25. Josh Marsh says:

    They didn’t solidify a tv contract because CBS makes money on selling advertisements. If nobody is watching then it’s a waste of money for companies to advertise on that channel for that time slot. Could the contract been stronger to ensure all races were covered? Sure, but AMA/dmg had to take what they could get..and no I don’t support dmg

  26. John D'Orazio says:

    It may be best for this series to just die. Once its gone along with all the contracts and other entanglements that go along with it, perhaps a new series can come along. The notion that Americans won’t attend motorcycle racing is just wrong. Supercross events fill giant stadiums with no problem. Its fun and exciting to watch. Folks ride what they watch being raced, so there is a close connection. That’s not the case so much in road racing. I believe that it is possible to produce an entertaining road racing series, just not under the present operators.

  27. Norm G. says:

    re: “where did it all go wrong?”

    how much time ya got…?

  28. Norm G. says:

    re: “You think they could make a go of it in So Cal, considering the number of sport bikes running around.”

    you mean piling into Mulholland guardrails.

  29. Norm G. says:

    re: “On another note, one of the huge downfalls of AMA racing is the horrible horrible commentary that we have had to endure over the years! They usually involve a nerd, a generic sports commentator that probably never even rode a motorcycle, and someone with a southern accent that only NASCAR car fans can understand.”

    pump your brakes kid. (Sgt. Lincoln Osiris)

    you were making sense right up to the point you thunk to disrespect guys like Despain, Spencer, and Russell. in fact, I spoke to Scotty less than 30 days ago and informed him of how “treasonous” and “cannibalistic” your mentalities all are (not that i was telling ‘em anything, he is of course aware).

    so be advised, no quarter will be given. for positive change to occur, you guys are going to have to first OWN this dysfunction, and that’s all there is to it.

  30. Norm G. says:

    re: “The writing has been on the wall for a while now, but this calendar is even worse than I expected. American road racing is on life support.”

    right then, the only question left to answer is what are you (YOU, none of your lil’ minions) going to do about it…?

  31. proudAmerican says:

    Norm G–”the only question left to answer is what are you (YOU, none of your lil’ minions) going to do about it…?”

    Norm, I see your standard response is to once again blame the frustrated fans for the demise of AMA racing.

    It’s getting old.

  32. smileblue27 says:

    Does anyone have any idea what the sixth (6th) possible track might be ?

  33. Norm G. says:

    re: “Norm, I see your standard response is to once again blame the frustrated fans for the demise of AMA racing. It’s getting old.”

    I agree, “fansumers” have been cutting off their nose to spite their faces for some time now.

  34. Norm G. says:

    re: “Does anyone have any idea what the sixth (6th) possible track might be ?”

    smart money says Willow Springs or Loudon.

  35. Are you on the crack? Read the article, I think it’s pretty clear where the sixth venue will be.

  36. “I think it’s pretty clear where the sixth venue will be.”

    We wouldn’t want facts to get in the way of internet prognostication! :-P

  37. Mad Hungarian says:

    I watch the AMA races for the great human interest stories and the wonderful rider interviews from Scott and Danielle. Brutal TV. And where can watch these races in real-time, in HD? I can’t. I have to wait and watch the races on the AMA website. Why can’t AMA put out a product like BSB?