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.

MotoGP: Ben Spies Will Skip the Italian GP at Mugello

06/01/2013 @ 2:04 am, by David Emmett10 COMMENTS

MotoGP: Ben Spies Will Skip the Italian GP at Mugello Friday Mugello Italian GP MotoGP Scott Jones 04 635x423

Ben Spies has decided to pull out of the Mugello round of MotoGP, after struggling on the first day of practice at the track. The Texan continues to have problems with a weak shoulder, as he recovers slowly from the surgery performed to correct the damage done in his crash at Sepang last October.

This is the second time that Spies has been forced to withdraw after returning to action too early. After a short period of physical rehabilitation, Spies went straight into winter testing, and then participated in the first race at Qatar, in which he struggled.

He tried again at Austin, but was forced to withdraw from that race after developing severe strain in his pectoral muscles as they struggled to compensate for the lack of strength. Spies then decided to skip both Jerez and Le Mans, to recover from both the chest strain and the shoulder surgery, before coming back at Mugello.

Mugello’s fast changes of direction have proved to be too difficult to handle, especially maintaining the fine control of throttle and brake while he muscles the bike around. In consultation with his team, Ducati, and the physical staff, he has decided to withdraw from the race at Mugello, in order to have further medical checks on his shoulder.

Doctors told Spies after Austin that it would take at least three months to get back to full fitness, but Spies was determined to come back as soon as possible. He told reporters on Friday that he had felt strong during training, but riding a bike turned out to be a lot harder than he had estimated, especially at Mugello, with its fast direction changes.

The Ignite Pramac team have not announced when they expect Spies to return, though it seems optimistic to expect him to be at Barcelona. An announcement will be made once he has consulted with medical specialists.

Source: Ignite Ducati; Photo: © 2013 Scott Jones / Scott Jones Photography – All Rights Reserved

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


  1. Shawn says:

    I hate to say it, but it sure seems like Ben Spies is becoming a liability. Teams are paying a lot of money for him and receiving very little return on the investment. The whole idea behind the Pramac team hiring him was to help develop the Ducati, and to date he’s not really done that. I’m sure that the Yamaha people had to feel at least a little bit the same way. For one reason or another, the man just can’t seem to come to grips with Moto GP.

  2. Saucier says:

    I’m not even a big Spies fan but I wouldn’t say he can’t come to grips with MotoGP. He’s had several podiums, won a race, and nearly won another. 2012 was a crap year that ended with a pretty horrific injury. I mean, they replaced his shoulder joint! I’ve never raced a MotoGP bike but I can’t imagine what kind of strength it must take to throw those bikes around, especially under heavy braking. I say give the man a break and lets give him the length of the contract to prove that he belongs in paddock. Let’s think long term.

  3. Jason Marshall says:

    Spies has moments of greatness followed immediately by epic crashes. He is a good rider but part of being good is consistency and he lacks that. I don’t see him don’t much more in motogp and I don’t see any of the factory teams picking him up especially when Yamaha is shopping for younger riders to compete with Marquez in the future.

  4. Faust says:

    I really wish he’d stayed in SBK so we’d have an American champ to root for there. I understand the desire to move to GP, but some people are much better at riding superbikes than GP (Troy Corser, James Toseland, Troy Bayliss, Max Biaggi, Carl Fogarty, Colin Edwards to name a few) and there is nothing wrong with that. I’d much rather see Ben dicing it up with Sykes, Laverty, Guinters, and Melandri for a superbike title than see him circulating mid pack. But hey, money talks and if they weren’t paying him good money, I’m sure he wouldn’t be there.

  5. TexusTim says:

    he wasnt a big crasher before these injurys

  6. CTK says:

    I dont know what the deal with his contract is, but dude is not of much use injured. They need to let him recover. The shoulder joint is probably the most delicate & damage prone joint in the body. You can’t half ass the healing process on it like an ankle or elbow or something. He should just sit out the rest of the season and focus on rehab. WSBK might not be a bad idea either.

  7. dc4go says:

    Hope Ben is looking for a new ride in WSBK cause i think his chances of keeping a MotoGp ride are all done……….

  8. TexusTim says:

    @ctk yes he may need to rehab for the next 6 months..he’s pushing his recovery..he’s under the gun right now
    @ dc4go he is way to big a talent to toss out of the game..I’m for major rehab and hit it with suzuki next year..or stay were he is, that may be tougher cuz all his ducatti rivals will have this year of seat time ahead of him…better for him to start with a clean slate next year on suzuki..they have some history and there is a world championship left in this guy. I still believe in him.

  9. @Saucier: ” I mean, they replaced his shoulder joint!”

    Correction: They reconstructed coracoclavicular ligaments with donor tissue from a cadaver and reduced the separation of the acromioclavicular joint using a suture-based “twin tightrope” system. Due to the use of cadaver tissue to reinforce the ligaments, one would assume that Spies is now on a permanent diet of immune suppression drugs. Nasty.

    I enjoyed the same 2nd-degree injury to my left shoulder some 25 years ago, but never underwent surgery to correct the damage. Even without corrective surgery, recovery from the injury was measured in months. The weakness and pain using the shoulder during the recovery period simply cannot be imagined (or underestimated). I really, really, really hope that Ben gives his body all due respect and opportunity to fully heal. Whether he’ll manage results to make Pramac happy in time to renew his contract remains to be seen.

  10. Westward says:

    Race when completely healthy, when you feel like you could make a podium and win.