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: Shuhei Nakamoto Talks Tech Specs & Development of the New Honda RC Production Racer

05/22/2013 @ 2:07 pm, by Jensen Beeler12 COMMENTS

MotoGP: Shuhei Nakamoto Talks Tech Specs & Development of the New Honda RC Production Racer exhaust qatar motogp scott jones 635x422

A return of the production racer to the Grand Prix Championship, Honda’s RC213V-derived race bike for private teams is seen by many as a welcomed alternative to the current CRT formula. Based off the V4-powered bike that HRC’s factory and satellite teams race in MotoGP, Honda’s new RC-whatever-it’s-called is a slightly watered-down version of its true prototype progenitor, and comes with the distinction of being a purchased machine, rather than a lease from HRC.

Talking to MotoGP.com, HRC Executive Vice President Shuhei Nakamoto explains that the project is behind on its development schedule by about a month (paddock chatter says Big Red had to scramble a bit to formulate the production racer in order to appease Dorna’s Carmelo Ezpeleta) though the machine should still be ready in time for the 2014 season, as HRC hopes to catch back up in its development.

Discussing the features that will, and will not, come on the Honda RC production racer, the most notable differences between the bike and the Honda RC213V are the lack of pneumatic valves and a seamless-shift gearbox. The prior guarantees that the production racer will be short on revs compared to its prototype counterpart, while the latter suggests a tenth of a second or two in slower lap times are certain tracks.

Per the CRT rules, the production racer will have 24 liters of fuel, which could help the bike achieve similar power figures to the RC213V, though that will depend on how much tuning HRC does to the machine. As it stands now, Nakamoto-san says the V4 engine is still being dyno’d by HRC, and will move onto the next phase of development once Honda has achieved its power and reliability benchmarks.

While the engine differences have been known for some time, it is interesting to hear that Honda will fit Nissin brakes and Showa suspension to its production racer, calling the bike an “ideal platform” for the two brands, which is not entirely surprising as both companies are owned by Honda Motor Corp, though does nothing to help the positioning of Nissin and Showa against Brembo and Öhlins.

In this regard, Nakamoto is perhaps unintentionally fueling the perception that Nissin and Showa are inferior products compared to their European counterparts — a perception that is shown in the component choices made by a vast majority of teams in motorcycle racing. While Brembo and Öhlins may dominate the GP paddock if for no other reason than the massively conservative nature of motorcycle teams, it is worth mentioning the tremendous amount of data both companies have when it comes to racing motorbikes — a formidable advantage, to say the least.

Once the Honda production racer hits the tarmac and begins testing, expect there to be much said about the fastest motorcycle money can buy. We expect the same sort of excitement will occur for its consumer-oriented street bike version as well, but that’s a completely different story.

Source: MotoGP.com; Photo: © 2012 Scott Jones / Scott Jones Photography – All Rights Reserved

Comment:

  1. I think the Nissin/Showa combo makes perfect sense. With Bradl and Bautista both using the brakes, plus Bautista using the Showa forks, it’s a no-brainer for Honda to pursue those components on a privateer/customer bike. That’s just good business sense.

  2. 2ndclass says:

    Yeah, having a few more guys out there racking up more track and race data with the expectation that they won’t be as competitive as the satellites actually sounds like a pretty canny move.

  3. GeddyT says:

    Not to mention these are purchased bikes. Any team that purchases them can just bolt Brembo and Ohlins components on if they want.

  4. Phil says:

    Anything has to be better than we currently have ?

  5. Joey Wilson says:

    I really like Nakamoto-san. Of course the ‘turnkey’ RC will be a bit shy of the Repsol rides, but the depth of his BS can be a hoot coming from an HRC principal.

    I always laugh thinking of his response when asked how Stoner joining the Repsol team had changed the dynamic in their garage: his response (paraphrased) was along the lines of ‘other rider(s) can’t complain bike slow’, after the hair-raising riding clinics Stoner was capable of right off the bat. And the idea he was moved to tears (again, not very HRC-like), offering CS a seat if and when he ever wanted to come back, tells me a lot.

  6. Chaz Michael Michaels says:

    Ridiculous idea, dumb enough to work: why not just release it now and let whoever wants to go racing with it have at it? Let the R&D be on the someone elses dime.

    I’m betting a half baked RC213V derived bike would still crush the other CRT offerings. …because in the end you’re not releasing something that will beat your factory bike and your target is the CRT field. Therefore, release the kraken!

  7. Autolegend says:

    Hope Yamaha joins this club and the CRT will finally die. Nothing has annoyed me more than watching these useless bikes.

  8. sideswipeasaurus says:

    GeddyT has it right. These are just the components delivered with the PURCHASED bike. They can Ebay those and the run what everyone else is if they care too. Not mentioned in this article is that even though the sold RCValike will qualify for 24L of fuel as the CRT’s Nakamoto said it will not come with a 24L fuel tank. He says 20L is enough and the bike cannot carry that much fuel. He may be speaking sideways a little and that Honda doesn’t want those bikes running the full 24L and accompanying ECU tweaks that might help. I wonder if an enterprising team could fabricate such a fuel cell for it to try or is the form constraints of the RCV limiting them to do so? Will be interested. Reminding me of the NSR500V2. Will probably see similar comparable results to the full up bike.

    JoeyWilson-Dude. This article has FA to do with Stoner. If you’ll notice he’s not even racing bikes let alone Hondas, let alone MotoGP anymore. Please keep your fan fapping to the bathroom with the door closed.

  9. proudAmerican says:

    On an unrelated note, can I get a copy of the picture at the top of this story in fold-out, centerfold style?

    Amazing how a piece of machinery can be so beautiful!!

  10. You can, contact Scott!

    http://scottjones.net/connect/

    Tell him A&R sent you, so he’ll have to buy me lunch next week.

  11. CTK says:

    O man I would love to buy the Nissin/Showa parts off of this. “Ninja 650R… MotoGP suspension and brakes… $5000 OBO”

  12. Joey Wilson says:

    Appreciate your input, sideswipe, always nice to get expert advice from someone with hands-on experience.