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.

Chip Yates’ Electric Motorcycle Will Take On Gas-Powered Competition in WERA Race

12/09/2010 @ 7:31 pm, by Jensen Beeler16 COMMENTS

Chip Yates Electric Motorcycle Will Take On Gas Powered Competition in WERA Race Chip Yates SWIGZ electric race motorcycle 635x622

After first seeing the TTXGP and then FIM e-Power race series lower their maximum bike weights to 250kg, thus barring the 266kg SWIGZ race bike from competing, Chip Yates and his SWIGZ.COM race team seem to be making the best out of a bad situation, and have announced that they will compete in the WERA Pirelli Sportsman Heavyweight Twins Superbike class race being held at California Speedway on January 9, 2011.

Promoting an advanced KERS system, Yates has been touting his 194hp electric race bike as being comparable to gasoline-powered supersport machines, and now he will have the opportunity to prove that point on the track. With performance parity to internal combustion engine such an important issue with electric motorcycles, SWIGZ is the first team to take on the old guard head-on, with this first race being the first public working exhibition of the SWIGZ KERS design.

“Our bike weighs in at 266kgs right now,” explained Yates. “Clearly, these championships are more concerned with promoting scooter development, and our bike is so much faster than the electric competition that we feel far more inclined to push our bike’s unique technology platform forward in the ultimate competitive environment of gasoline bike racing.”

Fortunately for Yates, who holds an AMA Pro Racing license, WERA has allowed the team to enter its electric race motorcycle in the Pirelli Sportsman race being held right after the new year, where it’ll take on superbikes piloted by amateur racers. “Our electric motorcycle will compete head on with real racing superbikes such as the Ducati 1198 and KTM RC8 as well as other established manufacturers, and we expect to work hard to show the world that electric technology can achieve laptime parity with gasoline superbikes,” said Yates. “We’re not going on track to make up the numbers; we’re going out to compete in order to raise our game and catch up to these gasoline guys.”

While Yates is touting that the SWIGZ race bike has a better power-to-weight ratio than 600cc motorcycles, it will compete against 1200cc v-twins in the WERA Pirelli Sportsman Heavyweight Twins Superbike class. To help compete against the higher-powered twins, the SWIGZ team will increase the power to its 194hp machine by 20% after the first race in January.

“Our scheduled power increase will make our electric superbike more powerful than a MotoGP bike and will bring us extremely close to power to weight parity with the best 1,000cc Japanese superbikes,” continued Yates. “Those two facts are a simply outstanding reflection of the potential in electric power.”

Source: SWIGZ.COM Pro Racing


  1. Woody says:

    Pretty impressive power claim, but I can’t imagine a bike that weighs that much to be very competitive.

  2. Ilya.Scoob says:

    I still do not understand why so much noise about electric bikes?? they are heavy and they are working on electric power maded from oil and gas. If you really ecologcal bike – make it diesel or gas powered. N

  3. wedge says:

    Electric power has the potential to be better than gas for short bursts but the power loss as the batteries(Li-Po) are consumed is the real issue. Sure you get 194hp at full power, but as soon as the batteries get under 60% you are in trouble and start to lose the ability to deliver the desired power. Once the batteries hit 50% it becomes an exponential decay and below 40% you are pretty much done. Not to mention batteries wear out overtime and as they wear out, they lose their ability to deliver their rated power due to chemical breakdown. So what was a 194hp bike is now a 180hp bike. Lets not get into battery disposal, battery creation(not green at all) and of course the issue of explosion when you short out a Li-Po battery(see youtube for videos on that). I’ll stick with my FI 4-stroke engines for now, thank you very much.

    However, reality is that at somepoint down the road, gasoline will no longer be affordable for powering cars/trucks/bikes/etc… then maybe we’ll take a page from Brazil and go to Ethonal.

  4. Damo says:


    I agree with about 90% of everything you said. That being said, I think about 10-15 years from now we will be seeing electric superbikes in show rooms across the country.

    The feasibility of electric vehicles has seen massive growth over the past 5-6 years alone. Once batteries get smaller and safer, we’ll all be looking at the electric option.

    I just don’t know how I will feel getting on such a quiet bike after tooling around on my RSV100o.

  5. autogyro says:

    Brilliant machine
    I see another raft of all the same anti electric posts in support of obsolete ic vehicles.
    The oil and vehicle manufacturers has obviously been conning such people for long enough to dull their common sense.
    If we can replace the ancient liquid fuel infra structure with one for all electric vehicles, it will reduce CO2 output and pollution from road vehicles by over 50 percent, without even starting to think of alternate energy sources.
    Electric vehicles of all sorts have been pratical since before 1899, it is only governments manipulation of taxation and bail outs to banks, oil companies and vehicle manufacturers that has deluded and conned the vehicle buyer for all this time.
    Between 02 and 08 the US government paid over 70 billion dollars in grants and bail out to the coal and oil industries, it paid only 12,2 billion to alternates.
    GM destroyed the last workable attempt at EVs there is a film out next year to prove this to the public. ‘Revenge of the Electric Car’.
    Electric motorcycle racing is already successful world wide but is still suffering from continued attempts to stiffle media coverage.
    Let us hope this bike will continue to gain coverage and race results.
    The writting is now firmly on the wall and electric vehicle progress is now inevitable.

  6. Mark says:

    @Wedge, your statement “but as soon as the batteries get under 60% you are in trouble and start to lose the ability to deliver the desired power. Once the batteries hit 50% it becomes an exponential decay and below 40% you are pretty much done.”
    is simply not true.
    Li-ion batteries maintain their voltage throughout their discharge cycle, and fall off rapidly only once they have reached their capacity limit.

    Electric motors are vastly more superior in converting electrical energy into work than gas engine are in converting petrol energy into work, otherwise we would be powering our cake mixers, blenders and other household appliances by internal combustion engines. Electric motors are also far less complex, more reliable, much cheaper to produce, lighter weight and take up less space.

    The biggest obstacle is obviously, finding a way to store more electrical energy in a smaller and lighter space, with the ability to recharge the battery in 10-15 minutes. That is it!
    Once this is achieved, gas powered vehicles will have no chance of even coming close to the power and efficiency of an electric vehicle.

    Lithium-ion technology represents an increase in power density roughly 4 times that of Lead Acid, we need another 4 fold jump in power density to equal that of petrol. With all the money and effort pouring into achieving that objective , I would not bet against that happening sooner than you think.

  7. Matty says:

    Wow….is this the same bike that was the subject of a series of articles in Roadracing World? If so, all of that free press (free to you…perhaps you even got paid for the articles?) and not even so much as a sticker on the bike.

  8. gnmac says:

    I hope they get their asses handed to them!!

  9. Rolf says:

    Electric bikes being in their own wimpy short slow races always partially impressed me and I hoped this day would come. I hope Chip wins or at least doesn’t end last. THAT would prove a point in the whole “electric is the future” debate.

    Not that I’m going to trade in my noisy Triumph any time soon, but my hat is off to you, sir! Go get’em!

  10. dp says:

    Ilya.Scoob says:
    December 9, 2010 at 11:46 PM I still do not understand why so much noise about electric bikes?? they are heavy and they are working on electric power maded from oil and gas.

    In my area electricity comes from hydro dams.

    I think its about 9% in America and 56% in Canada. Some provinces and territories, such as Quebec, Manitoba, Labrador and Yukon, produce over 90% of their electricity in this manner.

    From March to November 19th this year, I commuted every day on a small electric motorcycle. It was fun and cost about 10 cents a day. Much better than a car.

    Keep an open mind. Every year the bikes get better. Test one out if you get the chance.

  11. Woody says:

    I read up more on it, all the batteries are in the tail and the bike’s never been track tested. Does ol’ Chip have any clue how to design a motorcycle? I don’t either, but I know I don’t want the majority of the weight at the highest part of the bike.

  12. gnmac says:

    I wondered why that tail was so gawdawfully fat!

  13. Jeram says:

    Im not a huge fan of 266kg, 194hp and ONLY ONE FRONT BRAKE DISC!!!!!

    good luck with that mate lol

    but seriously, best of luck taking on the petrol bikes :D

    Ill keep racing my 80hp,80ftlb, 100kg two stroke racebike until the EV’s get 100kg,100hp,100mile road bikes. and then Ill get one for sure :)

  14. Bjorn says:

    I’m pretty sure if we had internet forums back when Daimler et-al were developing the ancestors of MotoGP bikes, then we would have had this discussion in terms of horse vs motorcycle.
    The hide bound conservatives will always run down a new idea and then their spiritual descendants will defend that idea against the new one.

  15. FansMotoGP says:

    I have no idea if it will really provide a competitive advantage, but I think Chip is counting on the KERS to provide reasonable range for his motorcycle. Take a close look at the photo an you’ll see a stubby lever being covered by his left forefinger. From other articles I’ve read, this is the actuation lever for the KERS, which will allow the bike to recover energy that is otherwise dissipated when braking. Now I’m only an ex-club racer, but it seems to me that modulating two separate levers while braking _in a race_ might be difficult; but then, most of what really good racers do is difficult for me. ;) I love my ICE bikes, but I’d gladly ride something that makes less noise and opens up new areas (tracks and off-road).