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 Smashes the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb Motorcycle Record – Declared Rookie of the Year

06/28/2011 @ 1:25 pm, by Jensen Beeler4 COMMENTS

PPIHC: Carlin Dunne Smashes the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb Motorcycle Record   Declared Rookie of the Year Carlin Dunne Ducati Santa Barbara PPIHC 28 635x444

Asphalt & Rubber spent the last week waking up at 2am everyday to muster up to the staging grounds for the 89th annual Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, and upon arriving at the second oldest running race in the United States (the Indy 500 being the oldest), we were surprised to see our old friend Carlin Dunne, owner of Ducati Santa Barbara, pitting in the motorcycle paddock with a Ducati Multistrada 1200 race bike.

Now, we’ve always known that Carlin was a wicked fast rider, as this humbled author recalls that at his last track day with Dunne just a year ago, the 28-year-old dirt and street racer lapped him about every third lap at Big Willow. Despite this fact, the hard part has always been describing to other people how fast Dunne truly is, that is until now.

Riding Pikes Peak for the very first time, Carlin Dunne not only stood at the pole position on Sunday’s race to the clouds, and not only did the Santa Barbara native also win the checkered flag in the 1205cc motorcycle class, but the Desmo Devil himself dropped some two-wheeled knowledge on Pikes Peak when he set the outright fastest time ever for a motorcycle on the fabled mountain road and its 156 turns.

PPIHC: Carlin Dunne Smashes the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb Motorcycle Record   Declared Rookie of the Year Carlin Dunne Ducati Santa Barbara PPIHC 2 635x444

Beating great Pikes Peak names like Greg Tracy, Gary Trachy, Tyler Cobb, along with a slew of more experienced Pikes Peak riders, Dunne’s race was dominating from the very start. Dropping the hammer from the first wave, Dunne had a rocket start from the line, and into the first corner was two to three bike lengths ahead of the second and third qualifiers. Perhaps the only thing that detracts from Carlin’s record win this past weekend, was the unfortunate circumstance of Cycle World‘s Mark Cernicky encountering a flat tire while closely chasing Dunne through the dirt section (Cernicky qualified second for the race, and was quick all week..this all after riding his race bike from Southern California to Pikes Peak). While Cernicky was uninjured from his crash, fan favorite Greg Tracy was a bit worse for the wear, after narrowly escaping serious injuries during his crash in the 1205cc class as well.

Tucking the front on the asphalt, the crowd waited with bated breath to hear news about the six-time Pikes Peak Champion. Though a little bruised and sore, news soon came down that Tracy survived the crash relatively unhurt, though the Southern-California native narrowly missed two rock clusters as he flew 10 feet up in the air and 100 feet down the course. While the veteran hinted at a likely return to the mountain next year, Tracy’s Spider Grips Ducati teammate Alexander Smith carried the team banner to the top of the mountain for 2011, finishing second in the 1205cc class on his Ducati North America supported Multistrada 1200 — making the weekend another 1-3 for the Bologna contingency.

Bringing only single shop mechanic, Sam Swain, from Ducati Santa Barbara to the race, Dunne competed, if you can believe it, on his store’s Multistrada 1200 demo bike. Removing the obvious street parts, the Ducati Santa Barbara Pikes Peak Multistrada 1200 was a relatively stock machine, with a custom bargain bin exhaust pipe being the only major modification. Dispelling any rumors that he was operating on a 200hp Ducati factory works motor (yes, the rumors were rife in the PPIHC paddock), Dunne described the secret modifications to his murdered Desmo exclusively to A&R.

PPIHC: Carlin Dunne Smashes the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb Motorcycle Record   Declared Rookie of the Year Carlin Dunne Ducati Santa Barbara PPIHC 18 635x444

“The Ducati Santa Barbara Multistrada 1200 consists of black spray paint, and a homemade exhaust system that I had a guy weld up for me two days before we left,” laughed Dunne. “Really it was about getting down to the nitty-gritty, and getting the suspension figured out. This is our shop demo, and when it gets back to Santa Barbara, it will continue to be our shop demo.”

Named the 2011 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb Rookie of the Year, Dunne accomplished a rare feat for a PPIHC rookie: winning. Still processing the race, Dunne had nothing but respect for the mountain, the race, and his competitors. “It definitely hasn’t sunk in yet, but it’s been an amazing experience. The whole week has been a whirlwind, and a rollercoaster — the bike wasn’t running the first day of the week,” explained Dunne.

“Really, no one was expecting us to do anything, and we weren’t expecting anything either, but it slowly started creeping up on everyone, and I couldn’t ask for anything better. Quite litterally, everything just fell right into place, right when it needed to.”

With multiple crashes in other classes requiring the Pikes Peak course to be shutdown, the 1205cc class, the last race of the day, started several hours behind schedule, giving teams and riders plenty of time to prepare and focus for their ride.

PPIHC: Carlin Dunne Smashes the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb Motorcycle Record   Declared Rookie of the Year Carlin Dunne Ducati Santa Barbara PPIHC 13 635x598

“We were probably about four hours behind schedule, and all I could do was run that low section in my head. I knew I had to get out in front, and I knew I had to get out ahead of Greg, or else once we hit the dirt, the visibility was going to make me fallback. So, before the race, I went over to watch the starter, and figured out the little pattern of what he was doing, focused, and didn’t leave an alternative on whether we were going to get that holeshot start.”

Despite his dominant victory, the course still proved to be a challenge for Dunne, who admitted to having more than one close call. “I’ve got to say, there’s about seven time where I almost crashed — I mean really I thought I was crashing, face of God, going off a cliff type of thing. But that’s how this race is, there’s no way to have it dialed in and know what’s left and what’s right…there were some spectators running out of the way in the dirt section.”

“I tell you, this race probably took a couple years off my life. I need to decompress and think about it, but it’s been an amazing experience all week. There’s nothing like Pikes Peak. Nothing.”

PPIHC: Carlin Dunne Smashes the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb Motorcycle Record   Declared Rookie of the Year Carlin Dunne Sam Swain Ducati Santa Barbara 635x425

“The best advice I got was from Greg Tracy, being a multi-time Champion, I knew I could trust him. Now keep in mind that he’s giving me this advice before I set pole-position, but he told me just not to race anyone else, don’t try to race it like you would a road race,” recalled Dunne. “Instead, you’ve just got to respect the race, and respect the mountain — do your best to link 156 turns together properly. The moment you try to get in a battle with someone or you try to push it like a normal road race, you’re going to crash. I really took that to heart.”

“Greg also told me that I have to respect the fear. I didn’t really know what he was talking about until I rode it, but it was true. It was great advice from Greg. That guy is a legend, and a hero in my book,” said Dunne with praise. “The fear is the only thing keeping you from getting killed here. Normally when you stop being scared, you’re done. There’s no room for error. Nothing, nothing.”

“Riding back down, I stopped, and I actually put my bike up against a rock and sat on the cliff edge for a second, and looked at it. I just thanked my lucky stars I kept it together. It’s the fear that pulls you back 10%. This is a serious deal here, it’s a serious race. We gave the mountain respect today, and she gave us a victory.”

PPIHC: Carlin Dunne Smashes the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb Motorcycle Record   Declared Rookie of the Year Carlin Dunne Ducati Santa Barbara PPIHC 26 635x425

Photos: © 2011 Jensen Beeler / Asphalt & Rubber – Creative Commons – Attribution 3.0


  1. joe says:

    What was Cernicky riding?

  2. Ducati Multistrada 1200

  3. Other Sean says:

    Jensen, I was at the fanfest tent Friday, were you there? Wish I woulda met you!
    Killer Weekend for Ducati, coming off my visit to the Factory one week before, I’m on a Duc high!

  4. I was at Fan Fest for all of 10 minutes before I decided an evening ride though Garden of the Gods sounded like a better idea.