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.

KTM’s Pit Beirer Talks Moto3 Production Bikes, Cooperation With Kalex, & Two-Stroke Racing

07/12/2012 @ 11:44 am, by David Emmett6 COMMENTS

KTMs Pit Beirer Talks Moto3 Production Bikes, Cooperation With Kalex, & Two Stroke Racing pit beirer ktm 635x456

At the Sachsenring, after the introduction of KTM’s Moto3 GPR production racer, we spent five minutes with KTM’s Head of Motorsports Pit Beirer. We spoke to him about a number of subjects, including the evolution of the factory’s Moto3 chassis, the company’s cooperation with Kalex, and whether two-strokes would be better than four-strokes for racing.

The chassis of the KTM had undergone two evolutions since the beginning of the year, Beirer had explained during the press conference, with the final iteration being introduced at Silverstone. This revision of the chassis will form the basis for the production racer for next year, and was a good enough base for KTM to continue their development around.

What changed between the first two chassis options before you arrived at the final chassis in Silverstone?

Pit Beirer: We found out that our chassis was a little bit too soft in the torsion side, and we were very good in the flex along the length, we wanted to have a certain flex, and now we made a first step and improved big time. First we made with engine mounts and stuff everything stiffer, found a good step. A harder chassis, another good step which was at Barcelona. Then we made another, one more at Silverstone, and that’s where we feel our top level is right now. Our riders are completely happy right now. And we found out that lap times in both wet and dry conditions are competitive. That’s also important. That we are not fastest only in one condition.

You are using a steel trellis. One of the difficulties with a trellis frame is the number of welds, and each weld can create difficulty with manufacturing tolerances. How do you handle that?

We have a lot of experience with this type of chassis with the offroad, so the welding and the process, also for the factory bikes, is pretty precise. What was the main difficulty in the beginning to do our own chassis with our own people, without any comparison was the key to success in the next couple of months, because the base was really good, but now we do it in the same street, you know? It’s actually not KTM who are doing the chassis, they are done in the meantime in WP, but that’s in the same street, the same ownership, so we can really react very quickly, we don’t need to machine millions of parts, we can use different types of steel, different types of welding, different angles, and react on the chassis side so quickly. That is from now on our main advantage, that we have it so close in steel.

You also announced an exclusive relationship with Kalex. They will be the sole alternative to the KTM chassis for KTM engines from now on?

PB: We don’t want to have three or four different chassis using our engine. So we decided that Kalex is the only one that can have our engine, we will not produce our engine for other chassis manufacturers. So there is an exclusive relationship between Kalex and KTM, they can trust in us, there will be only the KTM or the Kalex KTM, but no other KTMs. It makes it easier, also because we have to open a lot of secrets to them, we send them drawings of the engine, we help them with the mapping, we share information about the exhaust, about the electronics, and there are many different small problems which we didn’t think of, that nobody thought of in this class. So that they are on this strong level, we need to open all our secrets to them. We trust Kalex, so that’s where it all ends, it will be a very close relationship between them and us.

The switch from two-stroke engines to four-stroke engines has raised some criticism from riders. For example, Danny Webb said that four-strokes are easier to ride, and this was making it harder for a good rider to make the difference. Are the four-strokes too easy?

PB: You see that in off-road and you see it in roadracing, that four strokes are easier in acceleration, you don’t have this power hole and then a big bump. You have just this nice and consistent acceleration. So once the riders are fully on four-strokes, it will be hard to go back on two-strokes. If they learn to ride a two-stroke, it’s always easy to jump onto a four-stroke. The other way would be difficult.

Four-strokes are the state of the art at the moment, it’s the highest technology. It’s not cheap, it’s expensive. I don’t know if it’s for the good of the sport that we use these highly developed four-stroke engines, but it is like it is, and we want to play the game on the top-level, so we have to do it.

Would you like to go back to racing two-strokes?

PB: It would make sense on the cost side, and you see we still have a really nice two-stroke family within our off-road field, and we see on the demand side, the demand from the customers is still there. But we cannot push now for two-strokes, because they will blame us for changing the history of motorsport, and we want to be in the top classes at the top levels, the FIM makes the rules and we follow them. So we don’t really push in this or that direction. But in KTM, there will always be strong two-strokes and strong four-strokes.

How long before the Moto3 bikes start beating the 125 times?

PB: I hope before the end of the season! But of course we are not measured on that. KTM right now is measured against the FTR Honda and Vinales, so that’s the guy to beat.

Photo: KTM

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


  1. MikeD says:

    All of the above is totally IRELEVANT until there’s word of AT LEAST ONE OFF-ROAD bike of them wearing DI and perhaps word of a possible street legal one…
    Until then i’ll say like Cartman………SCREW U GUYS (KTM and all the others for that matter), i’m going home…no $$$ for you.

  2. MikeD says:

    Crap…i know is kinda obvious but i meant to say——————— AT LEAST ONE DI 2STROKE OFF ROAD BIKE or possible street legal one.

  3. Jonathan says:

    It does rather give the lie to the whole “moving to four strokes ‘cos they’re cheaper” spiel.

  4. Ry_Trapp0 says:

    the reason we don’t have 2 strokes is based purely 100% on political bullshit.
    until one of these major manufacturers actually sacks up and puts Orbital’s DI technology on a real performance 2 stroke, then nothing is gonna change. we’ve seen it on a few scooters and other small bikes, but those aren’t gonna get 2 strokes back on the race track.

  5. MikeD says:

    HEYYYYYYY ! Nice article ! Thanks ! It just makes me a bit sad that is all VAPORWARE…at least on the U.S.A…hope some or ONE of the OEMs grow a pair and take a chance with DI Road Going strokers…and yes, screw Honda…i personally think of them as that girl that thinks that all that comes from her lowes back is Roses and Baby Unicorns…yeah…

  6. Ry_Trapp0 says:

    well that’s what’s most interesting about that article, it ISN’T vaporware. Orbital’s DI is being used in 2-stroke ski-doo’s, 2 stroke mercury marine outboards, as well as some 2 stroke scooters – including piaggio and aprilia models.
    the technology to not just improve 2 strokes but actually surpass 4 strokes in every area(weight, peak power, usable power['under the curve'], fuel efficiency, emissions, cost and reliability) not only exists but has been used in mass production applications since ’01-’02. and the major manufacturers know about this too, Orbital has been promoting their technology since the 90′s. why aren’t they using it? it’s all about the politics!