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.

Dorna 90% Sure Japanese GP is a Go – Riders Disagree

05/23/2011 @ 12:18 pm, by Jensen Beeler18 COMMENTS

Dorna 90% Sure Japanese GP is a Go   Riders Disagree Valentino Rossi stern face 635x422

Depending on whom you talk to in the MotoGP paddock, you might get a different impression on the state of the Japanese GP, set to be held at the Motegi Twin Rings circuit this coming October. As we are all aware, the tragic events sustained by the Japanese people after their country was hit by earthquake, tsunami, and then nuclear disaster have been on the minds of citizens around the world.

While Japan begins the process of rebuilding, the country still has to contend with the Fukushima plant, which continues to leak radiation. While MotoGP won’t make an official announcement about its plans to race in Japan until later this summer, the camps are clearly divided on whether the series should abstain (for a second year in a row) on visiting the island nation, or make the flyaway race to Motegi.

Dorna’s Carmelo Ezpeleta, though still leaving the decision to Japanese officials, seems to be of the mind that MotoGP will race in Japan later this October. Ezpeleta is recently quoted as saying that he gave MotoGP a 90% chance of making the rescheduled Japanese GP date, which is about as much certainty anyone can have over the issue, all things considered. As for the riders, there is a visible apprehension about the safety and wisdom in running the Japanese round so close in time to the natural and nuclear disaster in Japan.

Jorge Lorenzo was quoted as saying, “I will not go, I’m young and do not want to risk,” while rival and former teammate Valentino Rossi echoed the sentiment about the uncertainty around the situation, saying “I’d rather not go.” Rossi would go on to say that the decision to race at Motegi is an unpopular one with the MotoGP racers, as everyone seems concerned about possible radiation exposure. Both Dorna and some of the GP teams have hired third-party experts to do the risk assessment of the situation at Motegi, but there are parties in the MotoGP paddock that outright refuse to participate in the Japanese GP, should it be given the final green light.

If Ezpeleta forces the situation, and goes forth with the race at Motegi, without first subduing the fears of teams, riders, and support crew, he very well could have mutiny on his hands. So far no credible reports have come back regarding the safety of the Motegi region, only those that show that the track is currently being repaired and would be ready to host MotoGP, on at least a technical basis. If you were the GP paddock, would you want to make the Motegi round?

Source: GPoneMotocuatro; Photo: Ducati Corse


  1. archer says:

    Japan needs this event. Japan needs to have some normalcy return. Japan will not stay kicked to the curb by what nature has wrought. This race is more than just another MotoGP race. It is part of the healing process.

    I hope it goes forward.

  2. Winger says:

    The solution is simple. They simply put a full radiation suit over top of their leathers and then they go racing :)

  3. I understand that this decision isn’t easy for all motoGP people (staff, crew, riders, officials…) but we must bare in mind that Japan is the land of nearly all motoGP bikes (except Ducati).
    It would be part of the healing process, but it would also be a way of showing motoGP support to Japan.
    I hope Motegi will see the race this year!!! But I’ll understand if it doesn’t…

  4. 76 says:

    Japan has bigger problems on its hands, this isnt about healing this is about the japanese acting like everything is back to normal and saving face, to who I dont know other than themselves, The riders will boycott this event, I put money on it

  5. Westward says:

    They should find an alternative site or cancel altogether. It is not fair to force the decision on the racers, their crew, the paddock girls, or anyone else that makes a living via the sport… Ten years from now, when the chef in the DUCATI hospitality tent dies of cancer, then what…? At least Japan saves face… Sorry, but not a good enough argument…

  6. iNcognito says:

    I’m prettttty sure that the organizers will assess the safety concerns and will decide accordingly. If it’s deemed safe then all riders should go.

    Talking about saving face is rediculous. Let’s not jump to conclusion and assume anything.
    Jorge rocks a sticker on his bike in support for Japan but he’s afraid to go? There are ways to check for radiation and there are studies that tells you what is safe and unsafe! Don’t be a wuss. This ain’t the ww2 era, most of the civilized countries act humanely now.

    I hope to see and hear the roars of the motogp bikes on their home soil! Let this be a positive for Japan during this difficult time.

  7. kumo says:

    Japan needs this GP. They need to heal, and they need to watch their brands racing and wining.

    Aside from that, the question is simple to solve: To measure the radiation levels and check if they’re ok.

    Think that the MotoGP paddok get easily more radiation levels from continental flights and broken bones x-rays than they could get in Japan by October .

    Thing also that most high radioactive particles has short half-life and from Fukushima to Motegi there are more than 160km.

  8. steveo says:

    visit a southern track I heard Suzuka is still paved and didn’t get hit badly??? There is no reason to Go to Motegi if its at all damaged or unsafe…

  9. Chester says:

    I think it’s very simple, if the riders are concerned about radiation, their fears should be addressed. If there is evidence that they could be in danger then obviously it should be canceled. If this isn’t the case then it should continue if possible.

    That said I live in Japan and am greatly looking forward to the event. With the Tokyo Motorcycle Show canceled earlier this year as well as other local racing events after the earthquake, it’s been quite boring.


  10. jr says:

    Radiation is not an issue for Montegi , the track is far away from the Nuclear Plant.

    The state of the track surface could be an issue if it sustained damage from quakes but then Montegi is that far away from where the big quake and the bigger afterquakes were, that it should not be an issue either.

    The world is full of wankers and obviously the GP circus has plenty of them. What a joke “I am young and do not want to take the risk” that comment from a GP rider is just too funny.

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  12. smoothcriminal says:

    The show must go on….

  13. kumo says:

    @Jr “The world is full of wankers and obviously the GP circus has plenty of them. What a joke “I am young and do not want to take the risk” that comment from a GP rider is just too funny.”


  14. 9fingers says:

    “The world is full of wankers and obviously the GP circus has plenty of them. What a joke “I am young and do not want to take the risk” that comment from a GP rider is just too funny.”

    Yeah, what a joke. There are people living there for the rest of their lives. The track is in a very populated area and they are “scared” to be there for 4! days?!

    I don’t buy this kind of worry for one minute, there must be an ulterior motive behind it.
    But they are making clowns of their-selves repeating it.

  15. Tom says:

    archer, Japan needs to shut off those damn reactors! I’m several hundred miles away, but I’m not to attached to the idea of living here long term. I have no desire to die of cancer just so I can go to onsens and eat sushi.

  16. JoeKing says:

    Here are the current radiation levels around Japan http://microsievert.net/.

    Motegi is in the Tochigi prefecture. Notice the 5/23/11 reading….060. When these fearless(?) MotoGP riders fly on an intercontinental flight they are exposed to 122X that level of radiation.

    Rossi recently called the current group of MotoGP riders pussies. Pretty accurate, he can now add ignorant.

  17. Taerkasten says:

    the best form for support the japanese are precisely doing the race, some riders put’s stickers for simpathy and support and they quotes sounds very hypocritical Lorenzo we are calling, did you show support to the japanese?, then race and show some professionalism, the guy has show the contrary actualy.

    Even in the bad moments, the race would make them happy for some time, the paddock needs to be positive.

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