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: “I’m Not Ready to Retire”

08/24/2011 @ 7:30 am, by Jensen Beeler5 COMMENTS

Colin Edwards: Im Not Ready to Retire Colin Edwards Monster Tech 3 Yamaha Scott Jones

Also joining Nicky Hayden at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway teleconference was the venerable Colin Edwards, who took some time off from scoping and loading his new 338 Edge rifle to talk to Asphalt & Rubber and a select group of other journalists about the MotoGP season and the upcoming Indianapolis round. By his own admission, Edwards is not having as good of a season this year in MotoGP as he would like, with many in the paddock wondering if 2011 is the Texas Tornado’s last year in MotoGP. Saying that he wasn’t ready to retire, Edwards hinted that some announcements were coming down the line, though probably not in time for the Indianapolis GP.

“Will we make any kind of announcement at Indy? Probably not. Misano, maybe, I don’t know,” mused Edwards. “We’ve got a few pieces of the puzzle laying around. We’ve just got to put those pieces together. Probably the worst thing is that I’m not ready to retire. That would make it easy for everybody. But at the moment, I’m still enjoying it. I’m still having a good time, and I’m still motivated. Until that goes away, I’m going to ride motorcycles.” Read the rest of the teleconference transcript after the jump.

MODERATOR: Colin, what’s happening?

COLIN EDWARDS: Oh, man. Just got a new gun. Putting a scope on it, that kind of stuff. What we do in Texas down here.

MODERATOR: What kind of weapon did you add to the arsenal?

EDWARDS: It’s a 338 Edge. That’s about a 2,000-yard gun if you really want to bring some meat home, I guess.

MODERATOR: How do you prepare differently for a race in America, especially at Indy? Is there any sort of mental preparation or things you do different than any other round of the championship?

EDWARDS: Man, I’m probably going to say the same pretty much as Nicky said. There’s definitely a bit more pressure, and if it’s even possible to ride harder, which we’re already doing, then, yeah. I tend to maybe be a little more carefree and maybe take a little more risk than you would because it’s at home, and hopefully you get away with that.

MODERATOR: Talk about your season this far. Where are you at in terms of where you thought you’d be on the grid and the team’s development has been this season?

EDWARDS: oh, man, sitting ninth in the points. I don’t think anybody can ever be happy about that. But at the end of the day, we had a bike quit on us sitting in a podium position in Jerez. There’s 16 points down the drain. Broke a collarbone, didn’t race at Barcelona, so there’s a few points down the drain. The one podium, obviously, being the highlight, at Silverstone. Apart from that, it’s tough. It’s just tough this year. You’ve got so many factory Hondas out there and Yamahas, and everybody’s riding good. You get in the top five or the top six, and it feels like you’ve done something. In the past, it was shoot for the podium. Maybe you just have to back that down a little bit.

Q: What in the world is going on with you and Yamaha for next year?

EDWARDS: We got way too many people listening right now. At the moment, I don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t think they know. Nobody knows exactly what’s going on. I have a little bit of an inclination now. I cannot say anything right now, no. Will we make any kind of announcement at Indy? Probably not. Misano, maybe, I don’t know. We’ve got a few pieces of the puzzle laying around. We’ve just got to put those pieces together.

Q: I find it hard to believe you won’t be riding next year. I think you’ll be riding somewhere. Am I off-base?

EDWARDS: No, you’re not off-base. Probably the worst thing is that I’m not ready to retire. That would make it easy for everybody. But at the moment, I’m still enjoying it. I’m still having a good time, and I’m still motivated. Until that goes away, I’m going to ride motorcycles.

Q: You’re renowned as a great development rider. These new CRT teams, claiming rule teams, it seems like a guy like you could do possibly quite amazing things over there. Your thoughts?

EDWARDS: I agree with you 100 percent. Right now I’m working on developing a new load for this new rifle I got. I’m going to stick with that development until somebody wants me to go ride motorcycles.

Q: I wanted to get your view on the tire allocation change by Bridgestone starting at Brno and for the rest of the season.

EDWARDS: You look at Assen, you look at Germany, there were just a couple of places where we were just catapulting the guys left and right. It’s basically just for safety. Just for safety, you have a little bit more in the barrel if you’ve got to reach down if the weather is cold, or whichever it might be, you’re actually going to have something that’s going to be halfway safe. It was a good decision. A little bit late, maybe. But at the end of the day, at least we have that option if the weather is kind of weird, we can run seomthing a bit softer.

Q: Otherwise no real change, though?

EDWARDS: No, I wouldn’t really say, “Wow, we’ve got more tires!” No, it wasn’t like that. We still do our work, do what we’ve got to do, run what we’ve got to run. If we’re ever in any bind, we can pull out the different allocation.

Q: Do you expect different tires for the 1000s or similar to what you have now?

EDWARDS: Yeah, we’ve been developing something a bit different. I don’t know what they want you to know or not know, but it’s basically on the safety side. You’ve got a little bit more feel, exit out of the pit. That’s where we’ve all been lacking a little bit. Hence the high sides to the Moon on cold tires. It’s got a little bit more feel. I like the tire a lot better. But it’s not that much different, to be honest with you. Just working on that feel for the first couple of laps.

Q: Maybe a broader temperature spread?

EDWARDS: It could be that. It could be something with construction. It could be something with compound. I don’t know. Something around there.

Q: I hate to introduce a downer here, but three riders suffered fatal injuries within an eight-day stretch starting here a year ago, Jesse Phibbs at the Indiana Fairgrounds, Peter Lenz out at the Speedway and Shoya Tomizawa in Italy. Did you know any of those guys? Were you friendlhy with any of those guys?

EDWARDS: Oh, yeah, sure. Peter was my protégé, if I can say that. I used to keep in contact with him and his dad and had a good relationship. He come to Laguna and hung out when he had the big halo around his leg when he broke his leg, and we shoved him around the pit and put him on the bike. We had a pretty good relationship. Last year was hard. When we found out he got killed, it was like, “Holy moly, man.” That’s a little too close to home. Being that he was so young, it was even more heartbreaking. Like you said, Tomizawa the next week. Both were freak deals, freak accidents. We know the risks, and you’ve just got to keep that in the back of your head.

Q: Was Peter really a good kid, a neat kid with a great future?

EDWARDS: Hell, absolutely. Great kid. Just the nicest kid in the world. 100 percent. Good family, good structure, good manners. Just being around him, you’d just smile because he was funny, as well. He was a great kid, and he’s going to be missed by everybody. And definitely had lots of talent. He was going places.

Q: How about Shoya? Another bright face with a quick smile?

EDWARDS: Um-hm. I didn’t know him too well. The “hi, how are you?” but nothing really any closer than that. I know what I felt when Peter had his accident, and I know there were a lot of people that felt the same way when Tomizawa had his. It definitely hits home at times.

Q: Ever think of doing a travelling Boot Camp, or is Texas the home for the boot camp?

EDWARDS: The Texas Tornado Boot Camp at the moment, this is where we all learned. We all learned our skills doing just this. Kenny, Kenny Sr., Kenny Jr., Valentino, Jorge. We all do this to really ingrain our fundamentals and get our skill level up. As far as a travelling Tornado, I don’t know. We’ve got something to build on. Our first thought was come up with a road-racing school once we build this and get it to where we want and get a little bit of the road courses in. We’ve got room to expand. The first year of it going, it’s going fantastic. So I’m looking forward to the future.

Q: Simoncelli got on the box last race. Does that change your bet with Ben?

EDWARDS: I think we got rid of that bet. It was just turning into way too many shots. We hadn’t been keeping up with it, and it just turned into a lost cause after a few races this year. Obviously, he crashed and crashed and had a few bad ones. Now, it’s tough. He’s tough. We did away with that bet, I think.

Q: Those videos you’ve been doing with Yamaha, you’ve showed some tremendous talent as an actor. Have you ever considered acting as a career post-racing?

EDWARDS: Oh, man, if you think riding motorcycles is hard, try being an actor. That’s not an easy business to get into, either. I’ve had the same comment. Guys have said, “You’ve got the ability to do this or do that.” If somebody comes knocking on my door and wants me to come be in their movie, fantastic. I’m all down with it. But it’s nothing that I’m going to move to Hollywood and going to pursue day in and day out, but there might be some possibilities down the road.

Q: Is there more development being done on the racing suits, leathers that might offer more protection? Air bag deployment, and such. Do you think that development will continue?

EDWARDS: I wish I could answer that question for you. I’ve been with SPIDI with since I think ’97 or ’98, something like that, I’ve never tested the air bag system. I know they have a road-going suit or some jackets that have it. I’ve never tested it or never been offered to test it. My suits are very much the same as they were, obviously a little bit here and there, the protection is getting a little bit better, but no major strides on my side. I think there is something there, but I think you have to ask somebody who wears one of those suits.

Q: You’ve never talked about your fears, at least with me. Can you talk about some of the things that scare you? Do you not like heights, snakes, spiders? What is it?

EDWARDS: My wife gives me shit about this all the time: I don’t like ants. For some reason, ants freak me out. It’s probably one of my biggest fears. As a kid growing up in Texas and who’s the tough boy on the block, you put your hand in the ant bed and see how many bites before you start freaking out. Just stupid games you play as a kid. And I think since then, I don’t know, man, I don’t really go good with them, especially if you look down and your whole leg is covered in them even though they don’t hurt that bad.

Q: No, really, what scares you?

EDWARDS: Other than that, no real fears, to be honest with you. I like to have my feet on the ground. I’m not a big flier or helicopter-type guy. You’ve got to do what you’ve got to do. I don’t choose to go out and get my pilot’s license or go fly a helicopter. I’m not really down with any of that.

Q: I know Nicky has Indy as his home race. For a long time, you’ve had Laguna. Once Austin rolls around, are you going to change allegiances?

EDWARDS: Well, of course. That’s only a couple hours down the road. At the end of the day, Laguna and Indy are both the home races for us. Can I get in my car and come on over? No, I’m still going to have to fly. But at the end of the day, it’s roughly the same time zone and same food and folks, and we all speak the same language. As far as Austin, I’ll be able to jump in my truck and haul butt. I’m ready for that.

Q: Nicky has had the opportunity the last couple of years to get a first look at the track, on a road bike. Do you ever wonder if he’s getting any advantage?

EDWARDS: No. You’d have to ride one of our bikes to really understand that question. There are no similarities. Maybe riding position, but everything else is completely different. If it was a brand-new track, you show up at a brand-new track, it’s hard to learn it. You need to go to sleep. It’s like snowboarding. You go to sleep, you wake up the next morning, and then it all kind of clicks. You can’t do too much the first day. But, yeah, if you had a road bike, that might be a little, small advantage to learn the circuit.

Q: How are you doing on engines at this stage of the season?

EDWARDS: I think I’m doing pretty good; I don’t think I’ve blown any of them. We have our engines we run in practice and qualifying, and we’ve got our engines that we’ll throw in Saturday night and kind of keep them fresh as race engines. I thought I blew one up at Jerez, but that was just a fuel pump issue. I think I still got them all in the barn.

Q: No worries about starting from pit road or anything like that?

EDWARDS: No. I think there are a couple of them out there that are struggling, but we’re not one of them.

Q: Indy is unique in that it’s the only combination oval-road course in MotoGP. Is there any change in the way you approach a track like this, either on your bike or in your setup?

EDWARDS: No, not really. For that matter, you could say Sachsenring. Sachsenring, that whole track you could fit that inside the oval that we race on in Indy. A little more elevation to it. But you don’t really do anything different. You know from years past what suspension settings might be, what springs you might use and especially what tires are going to work. Well, this year, if it’s anything like Mugello, they repaved it and we had so much grip. It was so much fun to ride on. And no bumps. That’s what I’m looking forward and hoping that Indy’s about. Smooth as a pool table and lots of grip. That’ll change the equation a little bit, but we kind of generally know a rough setting anyways.

Q: Because of the repaving, does that change some of the shifting or the gears you’re going to be in some of the corners?

EDWARDS: Our shift patterns probably are going to be the same. The main thing is stroke and springs. Obviously, if we have the same tires as last year, if they weren’t as good or better, how much load we’re able to carry. Then you’ve just got to basically back up from there and start adjusting spring rates and preload and chassis and getting the thing to work. Generally when you get new pavement, you get a lot more traction. So it’s more of a high-load racetrack that we’re just going to have to compensate with springs.

Q: In Turn 16, are you guys in first gear? Do you ever get into first gear?

EDWARDS: That’s a good question. I think that last corner might be first gear. Oh, man, I don’t know. I need my data guy here to show me the sheet. I don’t know. I just keep grabbing gears, and I go down a couple when I know I need to.

Source: Indianapolis Motor Speedway; Photo: © 2011 Scott Jones Photography – All Rights Reserved

Comment:

  1. johnc says:

    i’m not dead yet!

  2. Damo says:

    I am glad he isn’t ready to retire, I would love to see him head to WSBK and challenge for the front again.

    The young guns are getting nervous with all the MotoGP transplants. They realize, “Hey these guys can ride like Satan, maybe it was the bike that was holding them back after all.” Maybe Elias will do the same, poor bastard.

  3. RT @Asphalt_Rubber: Colin Edwards: "I'm Not Ready to Retire" – http://aspha.lt/s8 #motorcycle #MotoGP

  4. irksome says:

    When he does retire, I hereby nominate him for the IHoF (Interviewee Hall of Fame) along with Oil Can Boyd.

    (Oil Can, when asked about a game in Cleveland getting cancelled due to fog: “Well whaddya expect when you build a stadium on the ocean?”)

  5. RSVDan says:

    Please don’t go to a CRT, Colin!! We need to see you back in WSBK where you belong! I hear Ducati is going to need a good development rider for the 1199…