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.

WSBK: Indian Round Faces Severe Logistical Problems

01/10/2013 @ 12:36 pm, by David Emmett13 COMMENTS

WSBK: Indian Round Faces Severe Logistical Problems buddh international circuit track map elevation 635x381

The inaugural round of World Superbikes in India is under serious threat, which leaves Dorna facing severe problems just months after taking over the running of the WSBK series. Bureaucracy, customs formalities, and import bonds threaten to see the race, scheduled to be held on March 10th at the Buddh International Circuit near New Delhi in India, either postponed or called off indefinitely, according to reports over on GPOne.

The problem revolves around the difficulties faced by the need to temporarily import large quantities of material into India, and consists of two parts, GPOne is reporting. The first issue is one of timing: the Indian round of WSBK is due to be held on March 10th, just two weeks after the opening round of the series at Phillip Island in Australia.

The problem is that Indian customs regulations demand that the technical equipment (bikes, parts, tools, and other equipment) need to be in a customs warehouse in India 15 days ahead of the race, to allow the customs service time to inspect the goods prior to entry into the country. That would make racing at Phillip Island difficult, given that it would mean that the bikes would have to be in India at around the same time that the WSBK men need them to contest Superpole on the Saturday before the race.

The second problem could be even bigger. Normally, when goods are imported into a country, that country’s custom authorities levy some form of import duty, a tax on imports. However, in the case of goods which are only in the country temporarily before being exported again, as in the case of racing motorcycles to be used at a round of World Superbikes, the import duty is either waived entirely, or a temporary import duty is paid, to be returned (minus a handling fee, of course) once proof has been shown that the imported goods have left the country again.

The problem here is that the sums involved are large: import duty on a street-legal superbike is 105% of its new value, though what value would be used to calculate the duty on a race-ready WSBK machine remains to be seen. Similar amounts are due on all spare parts, tools and other equipment, meaning the sum required for each team in temporary import duty could easily run into the high tens or low hundreds of thousands of euros.

Though they would (eventually) see this money returned, it would mean that already cash-strapped World Superbike teams need to find very large bank guarantees for a period of several months. While WSBK budgets might just be able to stretch to covering those amounts, the much poorer World Supersport teams would have a real problem handling this.

The problem of temporary import duty is not unique to India, of course. Many countries around the world impose similar charges, but usually, political support for sporting events such as MotoGP, World Superbikes or Formula One helps smooth the passage of equipment in and out of the country. Customs procedures are shortened, temporary import duty requirements are either waived or reduced.

In the case of Formula One, for example, a separate internal department of FOM, the company which runs F1, deals with such issues for the championship as a whole. Dorna does something similar for MotoGP, while Infront Motor Sports has tried to do the same for WSBK. But while F1 is a global sport with an income in the billions of dollars, World Superbikes must work with a much more modest budget, which creates problems when faced with the gargantuan bureaucracy of countries such as India.

But dealing with India is not easy even for F1; the Indian Sports Ministry could have waived import duty requirements for F1 by designating the race an event of national importance. They did not, leaving the F1 organization to deal with a mountain of paperwork for the event. The situation was so complex that some teams, such as Ferrari, decided against flying in development parts for the Indian race, a decision which Fernando Alonso felt cost him significantly in the title chase.

Just months after taking over World Superbikes from Infront Motor Sports, Dorna faces its first major challenge. An emergency meeting has been called in Madrid for next week to discuss the situation. At the meeting will be Dorna, the Italian shipping company charged with transport, and representatives of the teams, according to the reports by GPOne.

The way this situation is handled will be a test of Dorna’s intentions towards the World Superbike championship, but it is also a test of Dorna’s future strategy for both WSBK and MotoGP. Dorna is very keen to break into the major Asian TV markets, seeing India and Indonesia as key to their future expansion.

This is a goal shared with the manufacturers, who are seeing increasing shares of their revenue being generated by sales of motorcycles on both the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia as a whole. Staging a race in India is the first step in Dorna’s Asian strategy, and having World Superbikes visit the country first would see WSBK paving the way for a MotoGP race in the country as well.

But while postponing the race would be a major setback for this season, it could well prove to be an advantage in the long term. The India WSBK race was probably the straw that broke the camel’s back in the battle between Dorna and Infront, which saw Bridgepoint, hand control of WSBK and MotoGP to Dorna, taking it away from the Flamminis, who have run it for the past couple of decades.

Early in 2012, Dorna had been in negotiations with the Buddh International Circuit to stage a MotoGP race in April, either before or after the race in Qatar. But Infront reportedly massively undercut Dorna’s offer, offering a round of World Superbikes in March for a fraction of the price Dorna was asking for the MotoGP race.

The offer was a political move on the part of Infront, the sanctioning fee being requested from the Buddh International Circuit way too little to make it a commercially viable proposition for either WSBK or MotoGP to visit regularly. Snatching away the Indian round was a victory for Infront, leaving Dorna without a race in India, the circuit showing no interest in organizing a race for the price Dorna was asking, now that they had the ultra-cheap WSBK round on offer.

Now that Dorna controls both series, however, they may be able to use their leverage to increase the price of both MotoGP and WSBK races in India to more commercially sustainable levels. This would be good for both series in the long run, with World Superbikes covering its costs for going there, and MotoGP perhaps even turning a profit. By threatening to call off the Indian WSBK round, they could hope to persuade the Buddh International Circuit management to increase the sanctioning fees they are willing to pay.

Much depends on contracts, however. If Dorna cannot blame the customs difficulties on force majeure – which seems unlikely, as customs procedures are well-known and well-established – then they may be forced to either pay off the organizers, or try to work whatever miracles possible to make the race happen. While Dorna should have been prepared to face the problems of dealing with the notoriously sluggardly Indian bureaucracy, the real problem lies in the conflict between Dorna and Infront.

While both sides were busy fighting for supremacy in the Bridgepoint board room, they were neglecting to ensure that the details of the race in India would be dealt with. In the bitterest of ironies, the battle precipitated by a conflict over the Indian World Superbike round could end up causing the Indian World Superbike round to be called off.

Source: GPone

Comment:

  1. Xlomotion says:

    Hey I got an idea! Skip India!

  2. Chaz Michael Michaels says:

    I have a better idea–just have the riders race against each other on Royal Enfields.

  3. aditya says:

    f****ing indian govt and authorities…bringing shame and bullshit to the country forever…people around here that are even mildly into racing and bikes have been totally stoked for 10th march ever since the official news was declared a few months ago and now this bullshit just 2 months from it…

    i dont blame the people who say the race should altogether be cancelled…i myself have half a mind towards the idea, seeing as how they dont seem to realise or have any appreciation for what a good business/tourism/exposure an international sports event like this brings…i dont expect to appreciate or like or even tolerate racing, but how hard is it to see this is good business for the country in the least.

  4. DeezToolz says:

    I like Chaz’s idea. Back in my college days one Bumble-bee leathered gentlemen posed that idea.

  5. MikeD says:

    Sorry for the Indian spectators BUT too much of a pain on the balls. Is not the second coming of a deity or something……….is just a motorcycle race………sheeeessshs.
    Dorna… call it off, regroup and replan.

  6. bemer2six says:

    what a bunch of BS find another track and go for it…

  7. Ian W says:

    I think Dorna are as much to blame as the Indian gvt. Indian import duties are no secret, so who agreed the contract in the first place without checking the no-so-small print?

    On the other hand it seems a little petty not to waive the duties. These are race teams who travel the world racing. Don’t worry they’re not coming to sell their (two) bikes and undermine your industry, they kind of need to take them away and use them again.

  8. Franxou says:

    First, I don’t know much about India and I don’t mean to offend anyone, I hope I don’t sound rude to anyone.

    What I get from reading that is that by fighting between each another for the indian round, old wsbk lowballed in order to keep motogp out of India. Right?
    I believe that old wsbk hoped to get some government help and comprehension in dealing with the paperwork and fees but even if it is not happening, wsbk, whoever rules it now, has to go by the contract that is signed, right? So I would understand that even if it is “old wsbk” that signed a contract with the track to race in India at bargain price (or even in the red) in order to secure the title of “the only world bike series in India”, now dorna has to deal with it but even if the takeover did not happen, old wsbk would be in the same situation, right?
    So to get to my question :
    Is the Indian government known to be greedy, corrupt, or both?
    If it is known to be corrupt or greedy, well there you have it, they want to milk the international circus for as much as they can get.
    If it is not, it is just that they just don’t deal this way. After all, if a government decides that it works in a single way and does not mingle with the private sector, especially a big player from another country, maybe they just don’t want to create a precedent.
    If it not corrupt but not completely closed either, dorna might only need some loddyists to get some traction in the governing bodies in order to make things go smoothly, probably by promising more events in the future (like motogp in the future, after wsbk has got some serious recognition over there) and promising tourism and international recognition.
    On the whole, if it gets cancelled, it’s going to be bad for everyone : India hoping for a quick buck on import tariff, for losing the import tariff (or fee if the tax is returned after the goods left), for losing the media revenue, for losing the tourism revenue. The manufacturers, for losing visibility in a country they want to woo. The Indian people, who gets no local round (in the future they might get a couple races, India is big and populous). For Dorna, who lose some notoriety in front of pretty much everyone for not being able to make that race happen.

  9. Robert Chase says:

    I’m on the “skip India” train myself. If their government can’t see that this type of event adds to their economy then just find some place else to hold the event. There are plenty of other countries that would appreciate the additional income.

  10. Jimmy Midnight says:

    Just bribe them, that’s what the F1 guys do. How do you think they pulled off an F1 race there in the first place.

  11. aditya says:

    Franxou

    “Is the Indian government known to be greedy, corrupt, or both?”

    both, in most cases…

  12. qstek says:

    cancel. Next

  13. David says:

    What! Don’t cancel, India is a HUGE market for motorcycles. It would be worth it to try and work something out with Indian customs. I’m sure if Dorna wants to have the race, than they will.