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.

Bonneville: Lightning Raises the Electric Motorcycle LSR Up Another Peg with a 215.907 mph Record

08/17/2011 @ 2:12 pm, by Jensen Beeler17 COMMENTS

Bonneville: Lightning Raises the Electric Motorcycle LSR Up Another Peg with a 215.907 mph Record Lightning Motorcycles time slip 635x855

Lightning Motorcycles is still on the salt flats at Bonneville, looking for the ultimate in speed on an electric motorcycle. After already on Sunday setting the fastest speed recorded for any electric motorcycle, the Lightning crew set back to work on crushing its own 206.079 mph land speed record. Posting a 214.209 mph speed yesterday, Paul Thede had to once again back up the team’s accomplishment with another wicked fast run today, in order to get into the record books. Battling gusty cross-breezes, Thede put in an astonishing palindromic 217.712 mph time to set another LSR for Lightning, which officially comes in at 215.907 mph in the APS-Ω class.

Talking to Lightning CEO Richard Hatfield on the phone this afternoon, the team is ecstatic about its accomplishment, but is eager to break 220mph before leaving Utah. Though the salt conditions have been favorable, Hatfield explained that Thede got knocked around pretty good during today’s run; and under better conditions, the 200 MPH Club member could make a serious bid on 220′s door.

“The reception on the salt at Bonneville has been overwhelmingly positive,” said Hatfield. “We’ve just has some really great support from some really fast guys,” he continued, and was quick to point out the exceptional help from Jim Hoogerhyde, a fellow San Franciscan and 200+ mph two-wheeled salt flat goer.

Lightning has until Friday’s conclusion of the SCTA’s Speedweek to break the 220 mph barrier. As usual, we’ll be the first to let you know if/when the team reaches that mark.

Source: Lightning Motorcycles


  1. Brammofan says:

    Yay, Lightning! Really happy for you guys and– WTF… that’s one gnarly finger in that photo. :D

  2. skadamo says:

    Now those are the fingers of a real man building 200+ MPH motorcycles. Props. No mani-pedi BS going on in the Lightning camp.

  3. Those cheaters! You can hear their ICE motor power assist!

  4. skadamo says:

    Is Lightning going to come back for BUB week and make it official?

    Chip Yates said on twitter:
    “To set an Official FIM World Record for Land Speed, BUB Speed Trials is the way, and it looks like I’m the only eBike! pic.twitter.com/MTczXNU”

  5. What’s official? An SCTA record? An AMA record? An FIM record?

    Each club’s certification of a land speed record is a little different. I can find strengths and weakness in each one.

    Chip is right though, to set an FIM record, you need to go to BUB.

  6. Mickey says:

    Poor Jim Hoogerhyde. Both of his bikes had issues early on. I’m glad he found something to keep him interested out there on the salt. Breaking 220mph is no joke.
    On a side note: Speed trials is a place where the E-bikes might have an advantage. Something that amazed me as I learned (learning) about going fast in a straight line is how heavy the bikes are. They fill the swingarms with lead shot, and add lead bricks for both traction and stability. So having a bunch of batteries to power an monster electric motor is not a hindrance like it would be on a road race bike.
    You can place the batteries in strategic places to help where you need it.

  7. skadamo says:

    @Jensen, personally i’m not too worried about who records the record.

    @Mickey great insight, thanks.

  8. No issues with altitude too Mickey. 4,200 ft. sucks a bit of power from an ICE bike.

  9. elmotomadman says:

    Where is Chip Yates at TTXGP, FIM e-Power or Isle of Man. SCTA is a real record. The FIM is not the only game in town. I hope Lightning goes to BUB to answer the critics and set the FIM record too. If Chip Yates does 200 at BUB not 216 does that mean his bike is the only officail 200 mph bike and Lightning times do not count?

  10. elmotomadman says:

    The SCTA has been running since 1949 and BUB 8 years.

  11. Dr. Gellar says:

    Wow…216mph (more or less). Good job Lightning!

    I am interested to see what Chip Yates ends up doing. Whether he goes faster or not is not important to me. Just to see two big name electrics battling it out for top honors in the 200mph+ club is pretty sweet.

  12. Bonneville: Lightning Raises the Electric Motorcycle LSR Up Another Peg with a 215.907 mph Record – http://aspha.lt/rt #motorcycle

  13. Tom says:

    Impressive speed – there is no doubt. But for electric bikes to really make an impact and be taken seriously, go 216 miles between recharges with recharges taking less than 10 minutes. I understand the need to do something to market yourself, but I do hope that the behind-the-scenes focus is on this crucial area that will make the electric bike a player in the market or just an afterthought for the rich looking for a toy.

  14. skadamo says:

    “But for electric bikes to really make an impact and be taken seriously, go 216 miles between recharges with recharges taking less than 10 minutes”

    @Tom Electric bikes are already being taken seriously. Lots of money and time is going into them.

    If electric could do 216 miles and recharge in 10 minutes, yeah, customers would adopt them in mass in the US and everyone mfr would drop everything to build them. However, the current thought is an electric motorcycle manufacturer can survive today on a subset of riders who feel 30 to 100 miles is enough range and $7000 to $12000 is a reasonable price range (minus incentives). And these eMFR’s can sell bikes to China and other countries that already use millions electric bikes for transportation. They are making an impact and being taken seriously. The impact is just not as large in the USA yet.

  15. slcbike says:

    Stellar site. Tons of very helpful information here. I’m posting it to a few friends!

  16. GoinFast says:

    Good job Paul Thede and Lightning Electric Bikes. Lets give credit where credit is due. They are the First to break 200+mph on an Electric bike with a pass of 217+mph. So Chip we all anxiously await for you joining the club too, but don’t knock anyone’s accomplishment. He has you covered by 25mph. Good luck at BUB.