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.

Michael Dunlop Announces He Won’t Race in 2014

11/19/2013 @ 3:18 pm, by Jensen Beeler10 COMMENTS

Michael Dunlop Announces He Won’t Race in 2014 24 Hours Le Mans EWC 2013 Kevin Warren 12 635x417

After failing to secure a deal that he was satisfied with, Michael Dunlop has announced that he will not be racing during the 2014 season. The news comes just weeks after the Honda TT Legends squad released Dunlop, after the two parties failed to agree on a contract after several offers from Honda Europe had been made.

The talk of the 2013 Isle of Man TT, Michael Dunlop had a breakout performance this season, which also saw him competing in the FIM Endurance World Championship for the Honda TT Legends crew. Replacing John McGuinness at the Le Mans 24-Hour endurance race, and besting Mr. McPint in the solo classes at the TT, it seemed like Dunlop’s coming of age had arrived.

Unfortunately with no ride in sight for the 2014 season, it would seem Dunlop’s momentum is about to grind to a halt.

At issue is surely the next-level performance Dunlop displayed this year, and the notion of being compensated more generously for it, though admittedly this is a topic we can only speculate upon.

From his language and general demeanor though, one can surmise that Dunlop is not keen to return to the grassroots racing program he has worked so hard to leave, especially when competing at world-stage events.

Citing a lack of opportunities on competitive machines as his main reason for sitting out the season, Dunlop’s position appears to be an all-or-nothing approach.

Whether it is his true position, or simply positioning at the bargaining table remains to be seen though. In his statement, Dunlop leaves the door open for the possibility of still signing a deal for the 2014 season.

Considering what a talent he has grown to become, we have a hard time believing that Dunlop will be on the sidelines for the 2014 Isle of Man TT. However as always, time will tell. His statement is as follows:

Just a quick message to let everyone know the situation regarding the 2014 racing season. There has been much speculation about my plans for next year and I have decided to let all my loyal sponsors, team members and fans know exactly where I am at currently.

I have not signed any contracts for 2014 mainly due to various complications attached to each offer put to me. I am disappointed to be in this situation, especially after the tremendous season I enjoyed in 2013 and the success I achieved.

However, I am as keen as ever to go race motorbikes but sadly at this moment in time I will not be racing in 2014.

If something materialises [sic] I might consider to come back if am ready and it’s the right package but till that i hope to be back in 2015 or if not 2016.

I have worked extremely hard to get to this level in road racing and unless I feel I have the right equipment and structure under me I won’t race at all.

Thanks to everyone who has supported me through thick and thin there is to many to name but I will see them to express my thanks and I hope we’ll be back on the top step as soon as am back.”

Source: IOMTT; Photo: © 2013 Kevin Warren / Digital Press Images — All Rights Reserved

Comment:

  1. KSW says:

    Michael,

    Good on you mate for taking a stand is how I’d like to start off with this little comment. I say having been lucky enough to now call my self a regular at the infamous Isle of Man TT and being lucky enough to photograph what some would think was Michael’s last race at this years 24 Hours of LeMans Moto. I don’t however think that is the case with the young lad from Ballymoney, Northern Ireland.

    For those who think top riders at the TT are some how making big money or much money at all they’d be wrong. Yes, the TT organizers pay riders a stipend for making the race but it’s not much. I’ll leave the names out of this but one of the top riders who won his first race at the 2013 TT is paid less by his top sponsor than they themselves spend on VIP hospitality. Yep, for three thousand pounds you could be the top dog on a top TT riders bike as a sponsor. VIP tickets are 1200 pounds for the full monty and tables are what many buy. That might get you proper accommodation for the entire fortnight if you’re not in a tent but probably not. I know my hotel bill for 17 days is more.

    So, do I think Michael can stay away from motorcycling. No way, he has a shop, is a amazing builder not to mention one of the best all around “road racers” on the planet. I don’t know why people refer to circuit racing like MotoGP/WSBK etc. as “road racing”, it’s not. What I think could be the best outcome of this is that teams and sponsors wake up to the fact that it’s riders like Michael and the others that are putting there life on the line every time they get the tap on the shoulder before heading down Breyhill at 160+ mph not the friends-broethers-cousin sitting in VIP hospitality. The sooner that the racing world starts realizing where the value in there dollar is and should be spent the better off the industry will be. Hell, umbrella girls at the MGP level make more than a TT rider and if that’s not the most twisted thing in racing, please list yours here in the A&R comments.

    Michael, I wish you all the best mate and look forward to seeing you again in 2014 with your head held high and those balls the size of watermelons swinging gleefully in those nattered sweat pants of yours.

  2. “If something materialises [sic]”

    The ‘sic’ is unnecessary, as it is not a misspelling. British English is like that. Same language, different colour. ;-)

  3. Bill says:

    While I have not seen the offers I find it hard to believe he does not feel the Milwaukee Yamaha, or Tyco Suzuki teams are not competitive. Guy Martin did beat him several times in multiple classes, in particular at the UGP and the Southern 100 this past year. Which makes it about money. Seems Yamaha had a truck load of cash they were throwing at him. Did he want McGuinness money for road racing? Maybe but one amazing year does not match over 20 TT wins. I like to watch him ride, I also love to root against him. I do hope he finds a ride and we can see some scraps with the other guys.

  4. KSW says:

    Bill,

    It may be about money or how much money those working on his behalf want for that. What he gets from product lines like clothing/hats/etc… What we end up knowing will depend on what Michael is willing to share and I doubt the man will ever share much with those he doesn’t trust and that would be but a few. In the end I still say we’ll see him on track at some point, sooner rather than later. I hold to my statement above about how little those guys actually get paid. John McG is the only exception and rightly so but John is more like Valentino when it comes to turning products into profits just look at all those TT Legends wearing fans v. the others on the Isle during the fortnight.

  5. TexusTim says:

    no doubt he will be on someones bike at the start of the season for 2014. ulitmatums are simply last ditch negoteations or letting the “world” know your available…he should try for a moto2 team..o waite is isnt spanish never mind…lol

  6. JackOat says:

    KSW, I agree. The fact that MD is unlikely to ever be like McPint is one thing, but his character is great to see and hear. Working for Honda and the TT Legends seems to have knocked some rough edges off and what pleases me about this story is that I actually thought he would not step up to the factory-type rides and stay a clubman all his life, as if to mimic Joey in what is now a very different world.
    As to the level of payment – how many people could do what he does? He clearly loves the sport and has the talent. To say he hasn’t yet earned it is a bit like saying you have to get 10 No.1 hits before you deserve a recording contract that pays big bucks. He’s there. He has arrived. Somebody please sponsor and pay the man. He’s a star and deserves the rewards. I think I would find watching a programme about MD a lot less grating than some of those Martin has done. MD would be like Ozzie Osbourne for road racing – he just needs a Sharon.

  7. Trane, I can hand the extra u’s, but s instead of z? That’s just too far!

  8. LOL, Jensen. :)

    Get out the tyre warmers, brollies and wellies!

  9. Rider says:

    Hope he gets the comeback he deserves. Defiantly one of the best road racers to watch.

  10. L2C says:

    “As to the level of payment – how many people could do what he does? He clearly loves the sport and has the talent. To say he hasn’t yet earned it is a bit like saying you have to get 10 No.1 hits before you deserve a recording contract that pays big bucks. He’s there. He has arrived.”

    @JackOat

    No doubt about that, but his celebrity status is most certainly not “next-level” . This is a cultural complication that he will either be fortunate/lucky enough to negotiate or not. The vast majority of next-level talents in the world are not so lucky when it comes to achieving mainstream success. How many great jazz musicians toil away their years to little or no commercial success? They are called musician’s musicians because generally their talent is only recognized by other musicians and local jazz aficionados.

    Same thing applies in Dunlop’s situation, with the exception that he has had been fortunate enough to be successful on the the global stage, but unless he can make the connection with mainstream fans and sponsors, he won’t achieve the financial security that he seems to deserve. Even the factory teams that he chooses to race for won’t do as much for him as a rider’s rider than they would if he were somebody that everybody loved.

    This is mainly a feature of Western cultures. If one has the ability to appeal to large masses of people, that could very well be the only thing that they would have to remain good at. Meanwhile, off camera, society would continue to punish others who are far more worthy of the rewards.

    I think it would be a major mistake if Dunlop sat out 2014. 2015 could turn out to be the year that many racings fans say, “Hey, remember that Dunlop guy from 2013?” I’m sure he doesn’t want that. He needs to keep building momentum.

    Being a racing fan, I only found out about Dunlop this year. From this site and the weeklong Isle of Man TT coverage on Velocity channel. I’m probalbly not the only one who found out about him this way.