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.

Friday Report from Laguna Seca: The Newbs Meet the Corkscrew – Corkscrew Wins

07/24/2010 @ 7:59 am, by Jensen Beeler2 COMMENTS

Friday Report from Laguna Seca: The Newbs Meet the Corkscrew   Corkscrew Wins ruined shot 560x390

Our in-person coverage of the Red Bull US GP continues, as the MotoGP paddock finally takes to Laguna Seca for the first time this week. The weather is perfect, the track is perfect, and the riders? Well with some meeting the crucible that is “the corkscrew” for the first time, we’re seeing some interesting lines through the famous turn. A testament to how tough of a nut Laguna Seca is to crack, Saturday we expect to see the MotoGP rider rise to the occasion, and show why they’re the best of the best.

For those that don’t know, Laguna Seca actually resides inside a county park, and is an area of open space that sees campers, hikers, and cyclists in addition to the normal flow of rabid weekend race fans. On a normal weekday, Laguna Seca can be quite peaceful, and the track goes to great lengths to maintain a balance with the tranquility that surrounds it. Today however, this zen of motorcycle racing went right out the window, as the Laguna Seca paddock came alive with the sounds of 800cc fire breathing monsters. With MotoGP bikes finally taking to the track for the first free practice, the unmistakable sounds of prototype motorcycles roared to life, and everyone within earshot knew it.

It’s hard to describe just how loud a MotoGP motorcycle sounds as it passes by you, so I’ll put it this way: you don’t just hear these motorcycles, you feel them. Adding to the experience is the distinct note that each model bike makes as it flies past you. You know when you’ve been buzzed by a Desmosedici, as opposed to a RC212V. The sounds is special, and watching these racers from one of the most famous turns in racing makes the entire moment sublime.

Contrast all this hyperbole with a more down-to-earth perspective, and you would have a very different experience. Have you ever seen a MotoGP rider drink from a fire hose? I have. Consider this fact for a moment: there are 17 riders preparing for Sunday’s MotoGP race, but 5 of these riders haven’t seen Laguna Seca before this week, and thought corkscrews only existed at wine and cheese parties. Watching these initiates to Seca try and learn one of the most technical courses on the MotoGP calendar, you have to remind yourself that these are the best of the very best in motorcycle racing.

Missing apexes, misjudging brake markers, and just generally being on the wrong side of the tarmac, Seca rookies found themselves off the pace from the veteran riders. With more than one person miscalculating his entry into the corkscrew, some riders found themselves on the wrong-side of the rumble strips on Turn 8B, unintentionally following the passing line Valentino Rossi made so famous two years ago. Taking its first victim, the enigma that is Laguna Seca proved to be too much for Marco Simoncelli, who crashed uneventfully early-on in the practice session. With the Italian no worse for the wear, and his Honda in seemingly good shape, Simoncelli finished the day a respectable twelfth fastest, although over two seconds behind the pace.

Setting that pace was Casey Stoner, who was within one second of setting the fastest lap at Laguna Seca and two-tenths of a second off the circuit record (for those who just raised an eyebrow on that math, circuit records can only be set during races). Casey’s top time came late in the session though, which was predominantly mastered by Jorge Lorenzo. Giving all credit to Jorge Lorenzo and his abilities, the Spanish rider still pales in comparison to his teammate in regards to star power in the Untied States. For a brief period of time Valentino Rossi held the top time in FP1, and the fans along the corkscrew and Rainey turn were simply buzzing with electricity. Rossi was back.

It’s perhaps too trite and obvious to talk about Rossi’s superstardom, but with the constant fervor abounding about the Italian rider joining an Italian team, it’s this x-factor of charisma and fan appeal that’s helping Ducati reach deep into its coffers to secure Valentino. Walking down the public portion of the MotoGP pits, fans have amassed around the Fiat-Yamaha team box like worshipers, lined up to pay homage to their motorcycling god. “I saw him…I was this close!” you’ll hear a fan exclaim. “He’s cuter in person,” cries another.

Heaven forbid that the Italian actually emerge from the team tent or pit area, as just a glimpse of the nine-time World Champion sends the crowd into cheers and an uproar. Yes, Rossi is back, and according to Laguna Seca, ticket sales sky-rocketed when news he’d make the Red Bull US GP emerged. With Rossi musing about finishing his motorcycling career in World Superbike, you have to wonder how MotoGP will continue on without the iconic rider, or how Fiat-Yamaha will fare without its star.

Just as it’s too soon to read into Rossi’s legacy in MotoGP, only one practice session has occurred at Laguna Seca. As such, it’s too early to vet the MotoGP field into “contenders” and “also-ran’s”. With the weather to remain constant through-out the weekend, and riders already setting blistering paces on the track, Sunday’s race, at least at this juncture, is looking to be a fast one. With Ben Spies fifth quickest today, the speculation of a podium for the American has already begun for America’s other MotoGP superstar.

As seen on MotoMatters.com


  1. Friday Report from Laguna Seca: The Newbs Meet the Corkscrew – Corkscrew Wins – http://aspha.lt/177 #motorcycle

  2. Brammofan says:

    RT @Asphalt_Rubber: "Friday Report from Laguna Seca: The Newbs Meet the Corkscrew & Corkscrew Wins – http://aspha.lt/177 #motorcycle"