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.

eRoadRacing’s Miller Motorsports Park Round Cancelled

08/08/2013 @ 5:00 pm, by Jensen Beeler11 COMMENTS

eRoadRacings Miller Motorsports Park Round Cancelled Team Icon Brammo Empulse RR Steve Atlas 09 635x431

It’s been a while since we reported on the eRoadRacing World Cup series, the love child merger of the TTXGP and FIM e-Power electric motorcycle racing series, and that is for good reason.

While Asphalt & Rubber is a big proponent of the electric motorcycle uprising, and there are a lot of interesting things developing in this space (be sure read to our ride reviews of BRD RedShift SM, Mission RS, and MotoCzysz E1pc) the racing side of the equation has been rather lackluster.

So, it doesn’t surprise to hear that the FIM has cancelled the eRoadRacing event at Miller Motorsports Park, which was supposed to happen August 31st & September 1st.

Instead, the North American part of the eRoadRacing series will consist of only two rounds: last month’s Red Bull US Grand Prix at Laguna Seca, and this month’s Red Bull Indianapolis Grand Prix at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

With only Brammo being the only entry on the “prototype” side of things, and with the racing in the “superstock” class a bit *cough* underwhelming, the Laguna Seca round was a dud from a spectator’s point-of-view.

Considering that round’s previous success, there is serious concern for the upcoming Indianapolis round, and that yet again the Brammo Empulse RR race bikes will effectively be racing themselves.

With the MMP round without an FIM event to piggyback off of, and the expectation that there will be virtually zero media coverage of the event, the question isn’t why the race was cancelled, but instead why it was scheduled in the first place?

To be honest, closed-circuit electric motorcycle racing really hit its zenith at the 2011 Laguna Seca round, where Mission Motors won some hearts and minds with its nigh-supersport performance levels in the hands of Steve Rapp.

Also participating in that race was MotoCzysz, Lightning, Brammo, Zero*, and CRP Racing — basically the Who’s Who of the electric two-wheeled world at the time, which made for some intrigue, and even better racing for the otherwise devout petrol head crowd.

Fast-forward to 2013, and 2011 looks like an anomaly. Instead of the racing continuing to improve, it has arguably gotten worse, with the real developments being made elsewhere, namely by Mugen and MotoCzysz racing at the TT Zero event at the Isle of Man TT, and Lightning Motorcycles’ run this year at the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb event.

A much as I like to rib on TTXGP, the now promoter of the eRoadRacing World Cup, the fault honestly resides with the lack of commitment from the teams, who for a variety of reasons, have been unable to commit to the regularly running in these closed circuit events. It’s a shame really.

Source: FIM

Comment:

  1. Ray says:

    Was that paint job designed by a 2 year old?

  2. Jake F. says:

    I really think they need to do something to amplify the sound of those bikes. They make some pretty cool noise if you’re close enough to hear it. Racing sounds are a big part of the spectator experience. Any electric racing series would do well to remember that.

  3. twoversion says:

    They could either change it to a one make series or run different types of course that are shorter and more technical, bunching riders up more often to battle it out.

  4. TexusTim says:

    it is a shame this isnt catching on right now…it will soon enough

  5. paulus says:

    There are only limited bucks to go around… the TT and Pikes Peak are more effective for global marketing.

  6. Campisi says:

    The problem with electric motorcycle racing at the moment is that Zero just doesn’t seem interested. Brammo wants a competitive challenge, and without Zero providing genuine factory support to anyone Brammo has found racing in this or that AMA series to be more useful. Privateer teams go where their dollar will net the biggest return on investment; without a dedicated series with strong factory participation to solidify its firmament, one-off events like Pike’s Peak and the Isle of Man provide a bigger stage while simultaneously lending focus to their engineering dossiers.

  7. db says:

    It should be said that in Pikes and IOM close racing isn’t as important as it is with wheel-to-wheel, it’s just about who sets the fastest time. In these formative times, the wide variety of the speed of competitors doesn’t make for exciting wheel-to-wheel racing from a spectator’s perspective. Even in 2011 the race wasn’t close enough to be exciting from a racing standpoint, but setting records is exciting and is something we should be able to count on from IOM and PP year after year.

  8. Anvil says:

    I agree with a lot of the comments here, particularly db, Campisi and paulus. But let’s address the elephant in the room: there’s no money in selling electic motorcycles, certainly not yet. Racing, no matter what type, is relatively expensive. It’s particularly hard to justify when the racing itself is pretty awful. The e-bike manufacturers are probably putting most of their effort in keeping the lights on or the venture capital flowing.

    You can certainly make the argument that racing should be pretty important to marketing and R&D, but it’s a tough argument to make when you’re sitting infront of a room full of increasingly anxious investors. It’s better they stick with the time-trial-type events until you get a proper field of serious competitors, if that ever happens. The clock’s ticking.

  9. Norm G. says:

    re: “I really think they need to do something to amplify the sound of those bikes.”

    well put jake sully… err jake F.

    correction, THIS is the elephant in the room as I’ve said from the very beginning. the SOUND…!!!

  10. ManLabMay says:

    Come on guys. Changing the sound is possibly the stupidest argument i have heard. It’s progress. Bringing noise levels down is what is going to save the sport. Even Laguna is under STRICT noise restrictions 90% of the year.

    After watching this event at Laguna this year though i could not believe how much of a circus it was. Firstly, who the hell is in charge of the race budget at Brammo? WOW! They seem to throw cash away. Rumor has it that the race bikes they had Bostrom and Turpin on are in excess of $100K each. All that just to beat a handful of privateer Zero’s. Then they spend a fortune on a bike to have some girl ride around mid pack on. One of the Brammo guys told me her bike cost between $35K and $40K. That’s a great investment to go out and beat some weekend warriors on slightly modified and uprated Zero’s.