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.

Carlin Dunne & Lightning Motorcycles for Pikes Peak

06/04/2013 @ 3:06 pm, by Jensen Beeler6 COMMENTS

Carlin Dunne & Lightning Motorcycles for Pikes Peak carlin dunne pikes peak international hill climb jamey price 635x422

While our attention is currently focused on the 2013 Isle of Man TT, the 91st running of the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb is just around the corner. Perhaps the closest thing to the TT that we have here on American soil, Pikes Peak is the second-oldest motorsport race in the United States (the first being the Indy 500), and features riders and drivers who risk it all during the Race to the Clouds.

With that in mind, our boy Carlin Dunne is returning to Pikes Peak again this year, though he is trading in his gorgeous Ducati Multistrada 1200 for the “Flying Banana” of Lightning Motorcycles. A two-time winner, and outright fastest man ever on two wheels at the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, Dunne will be gunning for the race record for an electric motorcycle at this year’s event.

“I have a chance to be a part of something even bigger, to prove something to the rest of the world by riding this amazing electric bike. And I have to say, I’ve been testing it for a month, and it’s insane. It’s power and acceleration is like nothing I’ve ever ridden. When you light that fuse, hang on,” said Dunne.

The carrot in front of his nose, Dunne will aim to beat the record that is currently held by Chip Yates (12:50.094 on the partially paved course), who was initially lined up to ride with Lightning this year at Pikes Peak as well. Yates and Lightning have since parted ways, just as Greg Tracy has swapped his electric motorcycle with Amarok Racing for the extra two wheels of the Mitsubishi MiEV Evolution II electric race car.

To add to the green-cred of its race, Lightning will be trotting out its solar charger, making Dunne’s race up the mountain a completely eco-friednly affair. “I still can’t believe our good fortune in teaming up with a guy like Carlin. Not only is he the top talent, but he’s a great guy,” said Art Haynie, Director of Marketing for Lighting. “I’d root for him even if he were riding for someone else.”

“But this is much bigger story than Carlin, or Lightning. This is a historic moment for the world. It’s the tipping point in global transportation as we know it. The very best guy in the world at this race who won and set records on gas bikes, has chosen us, an electric motorcycle company, to try and beat his own records. Combustion engines are long from dead, but they were just passed by in performance.”

Adding to that, Richard Hatfield, Founder and CEO of Lightning Motorcycles went on to say that “this technology will drive the future of racing. Gas engines have been around for over 100 years and pushed to their limits – and they’re at a late stage of development. But we’re just starting with this. It’s like we’re in the early 1900′s all over again when it comes to the development of electric racing – and we’re already breaking new ground.”

“We always knew what we had in the performance of our electric bikes, but it takes time for the world to comprehend and accept a huge change like this. It took 50 years for people to accept a car was better transportation than a horse. Now here is the top rider in the world at this race, at the top of his game, putting his seal of approval on us by leaving combustion and going electric.”

Source: Lightning Motorcycles ; Photo: Jamey “El Jefe” Price

Comment:

  1. Immodest says:

    “But this is much bigger story than Carlin, or Lightning. This is a historic moment for the world. It’s the tipping point in global transportation as we know it. …..Combustion engines are long from dead, but they were just passed by in performance.”

    I can see why Yates left…the BS got to deep.

    Riding up a mountain on an electric motorcycle has now reached the level an historic moment for the WORLD??? I expect there will be news crews waiting at the top to record for posterity when he says…..

    “One short ride for man…one giant ride for mankind”!!

    CLOWN

  2. protomech says:

    Well. I agree, let’s hold off on the self-congratulations until an electric is #1 going up the mountain.

    However, I don’t think Mr. Yates would shrink from any task requiring self-congratulations : )

    Yes, it will be a historic moment when an electric powered vehicle beats all gas-powered competition at one of the world’s premiere race events. Only a moment, but when and if it comes it will mark a turning point.

  3. At Pikes Peak, I think we’ll see electrics as the fastest way up the mountain in only a handful of years. The altitude changes play havoc on petrol engines. As for electric motors? Well they say honeybadger don’t give a fuck.

  4. Diminished return says:

    JB..you are falling for the classic..for the last 5 years we have seen a … second a year improvement each year.. argument.

    At some point (soon) the maximization of e-bike technology will be reached & the incriments will be smaller & smaller. Remember, there have not been any IC “Pike’s Peak specials”, just mainly production bikes. When someone builds a well engineered forced induction purpose built “mountain-bike”, e-bikes will be left for dead.

  5. Matt says:

    Amarok Racing (Canadian eBike company) is planning to go the the Peak too. If they can get funded that is…

    http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/getting-canada-s-first-electric-motorcycle-to-the-pikes-peak-hillclimb

    Would make for some interesting racing, so I hope they get there!

  6. 76 says:

    Forced induction like a turbo or supercharger are not permitted under the current rules for motorcycles at Pikes Peak.