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: Filippo Preziosi out of Ducati Corse?

11/11/2012 @ 1:29 am, by David Emmett12 COMMENTS

MotoGP: Filippo Preziosi out of Ducati Corse? Valencian GP MotoGP Sunday Scott Jones 16

A revolution is about to take place at Ducati, several reliable sources are reporting. The Bologna factory’s new owners Audi are pushing through wholesale changes, both MotoSprint and Moto.it are reporting, which include relieving Filippo Preziosi of his responsibility for Ducati’s MotoGP project and embarking on a parallel project to have Suter build a new chassis for the bike.

Who is to take the place of Preziosi at the head of Ducati Corse is unclear, but the name of Paolo Ciabatti, currently involved in World Superbikes and previously head of Ducati’s WSBK team, is being mentioned.

According to the reports in the Italian press, the removal of Preziosi is part of a wholesale reorganization of Ducati’s MotoGP project. The structure is to be altered to make it more ‘Japanese’ with the work divided up into separate divisions, and without tight central control of all aspects.

Suter has been commissioned by Audi to build a new chassis for the Ducati as part of a separate, parallel project to try to improve the bike.

Preziosi, as the head of the project, is paying the price for the failure of the Ducati Corse department to make the Desmosedici competitive. Audi had put a lot of effort into retaining Valentino Rossi for Ducati, and are said to have been very unhappy when it was announced he had decided to leave and return to Yamaha.

The loss of Rossi was probably the final straw for Audi, the German car manufacturer deciding at that point that drastic measures would be needed to rectify the situation.

The news had been intended to be broken after the Valencia tests have been completed, and Ducati spokespeople are still denying the truth of the reports. Filippo Preziosi is currently attending the race weekend, and will oversee the test efforts on Tuesday and Wednesday.

The reports from Italy suggest that Preziosi is to be forced out of Ducati altogether, but it is unclear whether a new role will be found for the man behind all of Ducati’s racing projects.

Source: Manuel Pecino (Twitter) MotoSprint, & Moto.itPhoto: © 2012 Scott Jones / Scott Jones Photography – All Rights Reserved

This article was originally published on MotoMatters, and is republished here on Asphalt & Rubber with permission by the author.

Comment:

  1. T.J. says:

    Well, I hope this will result a more competitive bike for Dovi.

  2. JoeD says:

    It is a shame these changes did not come earlier. Rossi winning on a Ducati would have helped every one.

  3. Halfie 30 says:

    Dovi is a smart guy is his is true! They should have done this after last season.

  4. michael uhlarik says:

    Totally unsurprising considering VW Group’s past takeover behaviours. With Skoda, Seat, Bugatti and Lamborghini, the top slots in the acquired company were filled with proven VW Group people or top executives poached from rivals, usually German speaking. Expect *significant* cash injection and restructuring over the next 24 months.

    It is also reminiscent of Rommel and the Afrika korps being flown in to take over from the failing Italian 10th army. Nominally, Italians were still in charge…

  5. TonyS says:

    Let’s not all forget who saved Chrysler’s ass….Fiat! CBRE, one of the biggest commercial real estate players in America (and the world) again Fiat is a major investor. Let’s not get to nationalistic about things…

  6. Crashmanjay says:

    Before Fiat bought Chrysler it was owned by Daimler…… ze Germans. They were smart enough to not pull another Stalingrad with that one and sold the company at a loss. (since we are on a WW2 kick). They wanted to keep Jeep I had read but weren’t allowed to or something. That is after our government bailed them out in the 1980′s. The MP’s on my base in the Marines drove K cars! You could hear that 2.2L screaming louder than the siren. It would be nice if we in the States actually got some more Euro equipment i.e. diesel engines in these mergers, especially considering the platforms are ‘world platforms’ now. Perhaps we can send some pushrod engines in vtwin and v8 styles back as a trade. Fat Boy and a Vette anyone? Or Duck and A8? Sigh……..

  7. “Preziosi, as the head of the project, is paying the price for the failure of the Ducati Corse department to make the Desmosedici competitive.”

    This is hardly surprising given that Italy recently jailed some scientists over their inability to accurately predict the country’s tragic earthquake.

  8. TC says:

    Ducati should go back to what they are known for and brilliant at. Building steel trelis frames!! Their 2006 Desmosedici had it and they could have won the title, if Capirex wasnt taken out, mssing a few races.

  9. Joey Wilson says:

    Nothing happens at VW (or more specifically, Auid) without the imprimatur of Mr. Piech. As the man who conjured the Porshe 917, he is not known for half-measures. Audi’s steamrolling dominance in LeMans, with that brilliant team headed by Dr. Ulrich, would set the tone for what they expect from Ducati. Their evolution of Lamborghini should demonstrate that they have gotten their sums right (Italian design/passion + German engineering) and operate in that culture very well.

    Don’t forget that Mr. Piech owns a 1098R, is a passionate rider, and surely knows of one V. Rossi. It is just not in their nature to campaign their racecraft in a bottomless circle of mid- and back-of-the-pack finishes for very long, if ever, nor to be turned down by great racers.

    Audi has stolen a march on a wandering Mercedes-Benz and a listless BMW, both of whom currently are only paying lip service to ‘The Best or Nothing’ and ‘the Ultimate Driving Machine’, by appropriating what the other two both embodied: Engineering first-class rides from the bottom to the top of their range. Over the next five years, in a changing motorcycle market, don’t be surprised if Ducati climbs to very high status as the Japanese fall all over themselves building 125′s for emerging central Asian markets (and Gold Wing Wide Glides ?!?!?!?)

    This is going to get interesting . . . . .

  10. MikeD says:

    I kind of admire the guy. He stuck to what he believed.
    Then he realized something was wrong with his flight plan…so much that he actually thought about stepping down and giving his position to the M1′s Father (Furosawa ?) if the guy accepted working for Ducati.

    That right there says a lot to me. Anyone who turns wrenches or design knows what im talking about. EGO, PRIDE, w/e………lot’s of it and it’s hard when u have to eat with a big side of Humble Pie.

  11. Mr.Truth says:

    VW where actually *trying* to buy Suzuki, but the Italians [FIAT Group] cockblocked it, this is a form of payback.

    If you think Japan Inc. is just going to lie down and let VW push them around, you have another thing coming

    I no longer support Ducati as its now GERMan owned, i will be behind APRILIA 100%, but will have to wait till 2014 for a proper factory effort

    Forza Valentino!

  12. JoeD says:

    Next time, let’s try the European Monarch Princess Givaway Marriage Alliance theme.