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.

MotoGP: Ducati Corse Will Have “Totally New” Bike for 2012

01/10/2012 @ 10:43 am, by Jensen Beeler8 COMMENTS

MotoGP: Ducati Corse Will Have Totally New Bike for 2012 Valentino Rossi Wrooom 2012 Ducati Corse 635x489

Ducati Corse’s winter break is finally over, as the Italian MotoGP squad has assembled in Madonna di Campiglio for Wrooom 2012, the team’s season kick-off party jointly held with Ferrari’s F1 contingency. Traditionally the ski-filled week-long media event involves interviews with the riders, an unveiling of the Ducati race bike, and a technical briefing, but this year is a little different.

With nary a Ducati Desmosedici GP12 to be found, today’s interviews, with both Valentino Rossi and Nicky Hayden, explained the current state of Ducati Corse, and set the expectations for the 2012 MotoGP season. Announcing that a new Ducati race bike had been designed (apparently existing only in the computers of the Italian company), the team is optimistic about its chances, but also cautious about it’s likely results, especially early on in the season.

Hopping to make forward-progress on Honda and Yamaha at the Sepang test later this month, Ducati’s focus is to make logical steps on its competition, and hopes that its new GP12 (we’re not even going to hazard a guess at it’s internal designation), provides the answers on track that the team struggled to find last season.

The new Ducati Desmosedici GP12 is said to be completely new, which almost certainly means a new chassis design, and possibly even a revised engine. Echoing a sentiment often heard in the MotoGP paddock, the GP12 is reportedly better-built around the Bridgestone tires that will be used in 2012, the failure of which last year was a major factor in the team’s front-end woes.

“For this year, Filippo [Preziosi] designed a different bike, and they’ve made a big effort at Ducati to have it in time for the start of the winter tests,” said Valentino Rossi. “I visited the factory and saw it on a computer, and it’s beautiful. We’re not expecting it to be immediately perfect at Sepang, but rather to understand if we’ve worked in the proper direction. We’re very realistic, and our goal is to reduce the gap to our competition, step by step, working in a logical way, and from there to be able to refine the details in order to be competitive and to try and win.”

“One of the most important things for going fast is to make the tires work as they’re able to, so together with Filippo, we’ve tried to come up with a bike that will let them perform as well as possible,” continued Rossi. “We’ll see if we’ve managed it. I like working with Ducati. I feel good here because there’s a nice atmosphere and we all have faith.”

While Ducati has seemingly taken a more clean-slate approach (we will know more about the changes that have been made when the finalized GP12 is debuted at Sepang), the return to the 1,000cc format will likely not change the sport as significantly as many fans are hoping. Cautiously expressing as much in his thoughts, Nicky Hayden reminded the assembled press that the because of the advances in tires and electronics, the extra horsepower of the 1,000cc bikes will be tempered, and not exactly like what it was during the 990cc era.

“I never made any secret that I prefer the new displacement to the 800s,” said Hayden. “Although I think things will be much different than in 2006, beginning with the tires, and the electronics have also come a long way. We’ll have more power, and we’ll have to find the right balance between controlling it while still taking as much advantage of it as we can.”

Source: Ducati Corse

Comment:

  1. Halfie 30 says:

    Ummm… Clean slate!? I’m smelling a 2004 repeat season for Rossi. Before all the haters get mad I’m not even a huge fan of his, nut a healthy Rossi and bike is a dangerous combo…

  2. Westward says:

    Semper fidelis,

    I also hope that, the new jackets and sweaters, means there will be a more refined look to the liveries than last years design confusion…

  3. MikeD says:

    Good luck Ducati and company…because as of lately u sure need all the luck u can get.
    I really wish the “cool” frame design works for them on the Panigale…and any other future models.

  4. Damo says:

    I hope everything works out for Ducati. I am a huge Honda fanboy and I love watching them win, but MotoGP needs better competition and everyone knows it.

    Unless the other teams pull a rabbit out of the hat, it is going to be the Casey and Dani show all season.

  5. Cpt. Slow says:

    I can’t wait for the season to begin: AMA, WSBK, and Moto GP interest me greatly.

    I fear Yamaha has become stagnant.

    HRC has finally got it together for the last year of the current formula and it appears that “1000″ RC will inherit it’s form.

  6. Beary says:

    Rossi will be fortunate if he gets a single podium this year, again. Ducati are a long way from being competitive in motogp. I would prefer to see Spies and J-Lo firing fhan Rossi. I’m sorry but he really is yesterday’s hero, people need to let go !

  7. I think Rossi could do very well with the new bike, assuming that they can achieve the balance that he needs to feel comfortable. There’s no question that the new kids on the block are wickedly fast, but all the experience under VR’s belt will definitely hold him in good stead. It is, of course, possible that he’s past his winning years. If so, I hope he can retire, as did Capirossi, before he gets badly hurt.

  8. Hodgmo says:

    Only a fool would give up on Ducati and/or Rossi when it comes to road racing. They are in it for the long haul. That kind of commitment has produced many championships from them. They are two reasons why I love this sport!