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.

Colin Edwards Makes CRT Debut at Jerez

11/25/2011 @ 3:46 pm, by Jensen Beeler5 COMMENTS

Colin Edwards Makes CRT Debut at Jerez Colin Edwards MotoGP CRT test BMW Suter 635x398

Likely to be marked as the start of significant chapter in MotoGP history, the claiming rule teams (CRTs) were out in Jerez the past three days testing their MotoGP machinery, which is comprised of production-motorcycle motors with custom-built chassis. While not the first time we’ve seen a CRT bike on the track, the outing was the first time that  a”top-tier” rider was on-board the new racing format motorcycles, as Colin Edwards lead the charge with his BMW/Suter machine with NGM Forward Racing.

Many in the MotoGP paddock have been waiting to cast their verdict on the CRT endeavor, withholding their judgments until a top GP rider took to the helm of a CRT machine and properly put the bike through its paces. With tests earlier in the year showing Mika Kallio on-board the BMW/Suter to be over six seconds off the pace of the 800cc-era machines, the CRT future of MotoGP looked to be in jeopardy. Those lap times improved over the year to be “only” four seconds off that 1,000-era bike pace, showing improvement, yet a gap  to the front-runners.

Now with Edwards finally swinging a leg over the BMW S1000RR-powered Suter prototype, surely more comparisons between the factory prototypes and CRT offerings are to ensue. Posting a best lap time of 1’40.188 at the Spanish GP earlier this year, Edwards was roughly 2.5 seconds off his own pace, finishing the three-day test with a best lap to f 1’42.6. That news seems discouraging on its face, though it should be noted that the team dropped 1.3 seconds between Wednesday and Thursday’s tests.

Edwards also rated the bike at about 65% of its potential, while the Texan’s own fitness was questionable, as Edwards was till recovering from the injuries he sustained at the Malaysian GP. WIth all those caveat, does this week’s test equate to excuses for a lackluster performance, or justify that more leaps and gains will be made before the start of the 2012 MotoGP Championship?

“Overall, it is better than I thought it would be, the potential is there. I think we are at about 65 percent right now,” said NGM Forward Racing’s Colin Edwards. “The chassis is set up, but the main thing is the electronics and getting the whole package to come together. With the electronics, every time we make a little change and make it better, everything just gets a little smoother and easier.”

“The bike reminds me a lot of 2003 when I went to Aprilia,” Edwards continued. “It’s got a screamer engine, lots of torque, somebody built the chassis, someone put an engine it, and it came a long way through the year. It was one of the first bikes with ride by wire and all the electronics. It reminds me a lot of that. But I know what I need, I know what I am looking for, I know what want, I know how to make the bike go faster, so the main thing now is just don’t lose focus and keep going down the right path.”

“I came here and I would have been happy with just yesterday’s times, being injured and all, but I did a ‘42.6 today, which is a little better than a second faster. I’m reasonably happy with that,” finished Edwards.

A second off the Moto2 bikes he was sharing the track with at the Jerez testing sessions, Edwards’ outing on NGM Forward Racing’s BMW/Suter machine is at best a mixed bag of good and bad news. It’ll be interesting to watch over the winter how the CRT effort progresses, not just with the BMW/Suter, but with all the CRT entries. With claiming rule teams seemingly the future of MotoGP, what that future will be now becomes the question on everyone’s mind.

Unofficial Best Lap Times from MotoGP/Moto2 Winter Testing at Jerez:
Randy de Puniet (Aprilia) 1’41”5 (WSBK Bridgestone Tires)
Colin Edwards (Suter-BMW) 1’42″6 (MotoGP)
Scott Redding (Kalex) 1’42″9 (Moto2)
Pol Espargaró (Kalex) 1’43″0 (Moto2)
Tito Rabat (Kalex) 1’43″3 (Moto2)
Iván Silva (FTR-Kawasaki) 1’43″5 (MotoGP)
Mika Kallio (Kalex) 1’43″5 (Moto2)
Bradley Smith (Tech3) 1’43″6 (Moto2)
Gino Rea (Moriwaki) 1’43″8 (Moto2)
Alex De Angelis (Suter) 1’43″9 (Moto2)
Yonny Hernández (FTR-Kawasaki) 1’44″0 (MotoGP)
Yuki Takahashi (Suter) 1’44″2 (Moto2)
Axel Pons (Kalex) 1’44″7 (Moto2)
Toni Elías (Suter) 1’44″7 (Moto2)
Nico Terol (Suter) 1’44″9 (Moto2)
Xavier Simeon (Tech3) 1’45”0 (Moto2)

Source: MotoWorld.es; Photos: MotoGP

Comment:

  1. MikeD says:

    God Speed to the Early Adopters and Pioneers. They are going to need it to fight in the same ring as the “Heavy Hitters”.

  2. That this ‘kit’ bike is six seconds behnd the factory MGP machnes in its shakedown is not a big surprise. Imagine the shock if it was half a second behind with an injured rider at the helm ! And let’s be honest, BMW is still sorting these things out in WSBK.

    I think that until you see back-channel ‘factory’ CRT bikes, there will be a gap. And I’d be surprised to see any, as the factories would be cutting their own throat vis-a-vis the M1′s and RCV’s. And the HRC CBR kits are not giant-killers, nor does Yamaha sell any ‘lightning-in-a-bottle’ parts for the R1′s. I just don’t see any Ducati / Althea ‘unacknowledged’ factory team situations with the Japanese. Although . . . . now that I think about it, Checa’s bikes from this year would murder the GP11′s ! !

    I really feel for Colin, though. The sad situation with Simoncelli, and this obvious end of his relationship with Yamaha must make these difficult days even for a hard man. My best to him, and here’s to better days ahead.

  3. Rob says:

    Very much a love/hate with these CRTs joining GP. I would love to see more bike on the grid, but I have a feeling this will turn into a ALMS race where there will be CRTs in a pack, and then 5 seconds ahead true GP teams/bikes.

  4. Tiago Neves says:

    To be honest guys i don t tinck this is the end… The realaty its that this bikes can be bad ass!! I love this new Designs of some CRT Bikes…
    And i also beliave in Colin and in Randy de puniet, for me great pilots and its like they said they now what they neeed to be fastest and for sure they will impreve this crt to very competitive times!! For sure will be history if we wach one CRT Bike winning a race but i tinck its not Impossible…

    The realaty its that for exemple WSBk bikes are preety close on times and the CRT Bike have some advanteges in regulations in orther to allow more Power to this engines.. This bike are in Part prototipes at the least the Material on Chassi..

    Prototipe engine or not what its need its Power and control.. Just take a loke at Randy de puniet Bikes it really seams like an evolution off the Aprilia RSV4 and for what Randy says he is only one secund Slower then its last Pramac Ducati Gp11

  5. Bob says:

    Currently, GP tyres and brakes require a certain amount of heat in them to operate at their best performance. If the CRT bikes can’t put enough heat and stress into the tyres and keep the brakes hot enough, lap times will always stay down. They won’t be able to brake as late as they want, therefore corner speeds wil be lower, which means less heat in the tyres, which means less grip, which means less corner speed and less corner exit traction, which means less top speed between corners, which means less need to brake harder before the next turn, which means less heat in the tyres and brakes, and the cycle repeats.

    I’m not hopeful in the least. Part of me is, admittedly, disappointed that the full-on prototype series is going to become a prototype-chassis-only series by 2014. I see myself no longer watching at that point since I’m really into the unobtanium hardware. I watch other series when I an interested in bar banging.

    I also see GP becoming absorbed by WSBK or the other way around. WSBK production based frames already have enough adjustments that there’s not much benefit to having a prototype chassis, other than to make them physically smaller for a 120 lb jockey. No point in keeping a series where the only difference is basically tyres and brake material. But I also see a safety concern when the CRT guys start getting lapped. And they will.

    Best of luck to Colin, really. By I really do hope the CRT concept fails miserably. You just can’t call MotoGP the pinnacle of racing when you aren’t running pinnacle quality hardware.