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.

PPIHC: Carlin Dunne Sets Outright Best Motorcycle Time at Pikes Peak Tire Test on a Lightning Motorcycle

06/13/2013 @ 3:02 am, by Jensen Beeler12 COMMENTS

PPIHC: Carlin Dunne Sets Outright Best Motorcycle Time at Pikes Peak Tire Test on a Lightning Motorcycle carlin dunne lightning motorcycles thunderhill track test 635x423

The competitors for the 91st Pikes Peak International Hill Climb have just concluded a two-day tire test at the Colorado road course, and it should perhaps come as no surprise that our boy Carlin Dunne has posted the outright fastest lap for a motorcycle during the tire test (the Santa Barbara native set the outright two-wheeled course record last year on his Ducati Multistrada 1200 S).

What is surprising about Carlin’s result at the tire test is that he was on the Lightning Motorcycles electric superbike. That’s right, the fastest bike so far for 2013′s Race to the Clouds is a 200+ hp electric superbike that is refueled with solar energy. Petrol heads, eat your heart out.

Taking the course in parts, as is the race’s way, the motorcycles started on the bottom section on Saturday, and were on the upper section on Sunday. On the very fast and open lower course, Carlin unsurprisingly set the top time, with an impressive 4:34.03 section time (14 seconds quicker than Greg Chicoine’s 450cc supermoto).

On the tighter and slower upper section, Carlin continued his pace with the heavy “Flying Banana” from Lightning, with a 5:04.40 sector time — 3 seconds quicker than his nearest fellow two-wheeled competitor (Chicoine, again).

If those two sector times were combined to make a complete run up Pikes Peak, Carlin would have a 9:38.43 on his hands — in other words, he would be breaking his own record, set on a gas bike, by 14 seconds on his electric bike (an imperfect comparison, I admit).

However, I have been saying it for a long time now, so maybe electric motorcycle OEMs will finally take note, but the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb is a ripe event for electrics to outshine their ICE counterparts.

We’ll be cheering on Carlin, and the rest of the competitors, in person in only a couple weeks time. Keep an eye out for our coverage on A&R.

Source: PPIHC & Lightning Motorcycles; Photo: Lightning Motorcycles


  1. Stevenk27 says:

    I would imagine it has alot to do with the ICE competitors struggling at altitude while the electric bike obviously has no performance drop off as a result thereof.
    Were this down at the coast might have been a different story altogether as is demonstrated by the TT differences in performance between ICE and electric bikes.

  2. Ant says:

    Very good, but a note of caution. The two practise sections combined are not the full race distance. I checked when I saw that Seb Loeb’s combined times last weekend would have been 1 minute+ quicker that the existing lap record!

  3. Gutterslob says:

    That’s nice and all, but can anyone outlap Loeb on that ballistic Peugeot this year?
    Speaking of which, could someone point me to a link with the regulations? I’ve always wondered why the bikes seemed so regulated (seriously, an almost stock Fuglystrada won it last year) while the cages could go all out and mod every single component to kingdom come.

  4. TheSeaward says:

    Gutterslob, I’m not sure where the regulations are posted, but from my understanding the bike restrictions were inteded to keep full on sportbikes off of the mountain. Something about not being able to have clip-ons. Take all of this with a grain of salt because I haven’t personally glossed over the rules in quite some time.

    I’m ready to head up there now. Can’t wait.

  5. Nick says:

    Gutterslob and TheSeaward, I too have not read the regs as they pertain to bikes. However, I thought I saw that amongst its entries, Honda was entering a CBR1000rr this year. So now my question is if that is true, did the electric post a better time in testing or was Honda not present?

  6. Nick says:

    Bike entries include: R1s, CBRs, speed triple, Duc monster, Gixxer 750, etc this year. – http://www.ppihc.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/Competitor_List.pdf

  7. Random says:

    Isn’t the course entirely in tarmac this year, contrasting with the years before? I read something like that was the explanation for decreasing times on the car race.

  8. The course was fully paved before last year’s event.

  9. Faust says:

    I can’t take that competitor list serious because they spell Camaro as “Camero”… lol. But seriously, as I was looking over the entry list, the 1986 Ford RS200s jumped off the page at me. Awesome to see those still racing. But yeah, the Pikes Peak Superbike 750 class is new for this year, and there are already GSX-Rs, a CBR, a Daytona and a Ninja ZX-6R racing. The bigger bikes are in the Exhibition class along with the Lightning. If the Lightning can really beat an R1 or a CBR1000RR us the hill, I’ll be suitably impressed.

  10. mxs says:

    Why would you be surprised so much? … it’s very expensive electric bike, running a short distance high elevation race. If they cannot win in this application where else would they??

    Don’t get me wrong, I think they are achieving something as far as development … but to say “Hey you petrol heads see? ….

    I think most people are not against electric bikes, but many people are against electric bikes with a high price tag and short range, which is exactly what you get these days and for years to come. Not speaking about the fact that most people who are fixing ICE based bikes themselves and love doing so, will be stuffed in the future or will need a nerdy friend or an expensive dealer for repairs …

    I digress, but you can say I am not blown away as much as some other people …. :-(

  11. protomech says:

    @mxs PPIHC is in some ways an ideal test for electrics, for the reasons you mention. The bigger battery electrics will have a weight penalty (Lightning probably 500+ pounds) but should be able to run flat-out for the entire race duration.

    The significance is not that the electrics are more competitive at pikes peak than they are at a short circuit race or point-to-point race a la IOM TT, but that for the first time in recent memory an electric has a very good chance at besting all gas opponents at an international competition.

  12. Mr.X says:

    @mxs, you sound like an 1890′s horse-and-buggy blogger….
    “hrmph! All this talk of horseless carriages! Blasphemy!”

    Some people still ride horses 120 years later, it’s all good.