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.

MotoGP: Michele Pirro Will Replace Ben Spies at Jerez – Ducati Desmosedici GP13 Development Bike to Debut

04/30/2013 @ 2:03 pm, by Jensen Beeler23 COMMENTS

MotoGP: Michele Pirro Will Replace Ben Spies at Jerez   Ducati Desmosedici GP13 Development Bike to Debut michele pirro ducati desmosedici gp13 development 635x421

With the news that Ben Spies will skip  the upcoming race in Jerez, and instead nurse his injured shoulder, Ducati has unsurprisingly tapped its GP test-rider Michele Pirro to help replace the American for the Spanish GP.

Taking one of his three planned wild card rides this year, Pirro will not only help maintin the ranks in the Ducati squads, but will also campaign the Ducati Desmosedici GP13 development bike during the race weekend for Ducati Corse.

A rolling testbed for Ducati’s technical developments in MotoGP, improvements made by Ducati Corse for the Desmosedici make a final stop on Pirro’s test bike before they make their way into the MotoGP teams’ garages.

A former GP-rider himself, Pirro is one of the few test riders capable of putting the GP13 under the same intensities as the four MotoGP riders in Ducati, and thus his laps and input are critical factors in developing the GP13 for Ducati Corse.

Spotted in the pre-season during the official MotoGP tests, Pirro’s development GP13 has been seen with noticeable differences to the chassis, and presumably even more modifications hidden within the engine and electronics.

Ducati corse says he will test a number of new parts on his machine during the weekend, which should bring some valuable data back to Bologna for the engineers. What will be even more interesting to see is Pirro’s results, and how they compare to the other three Ducati riders.

Source: Ducati Corse


  1. Chaz Michael Michaels says:

    This would sound hopeful, great, and exciting if only it were.

    Aren’t Honda and Yamaha doing pretty much the same, except their baseline is with a fast bike? Thoughout the season they test stuff, try new parts, etc.

    This is frustrating. What is the magic bullet(s) ducati is looking for? Why are they only better than the CRTs??

    Stoner won the whole thing only 6 years ago in convincing fashion and the next year he was still pretty dominant. Were it not for Stoner being sick or fragile he may have won the title again.

    When Nicky started with Ducati he could pull a 4th place any day of the week. Now 4th place is the impossible dream.

    So what the heck happened?

  2. smoke says:

    @chaz: tires.

  3. CTK says:

    Hoping and praying.

  4. david says:

    @smoke:bingo, nail on the head. spec tire SUCKS

  5. james says:

    I heard that Pirro will be riding for the factory team as official ‘wildcard’ status, therefore not using up Ben’s engine allocation…

  6. smiler says:

    Changes in the frame from trellis to carbon to aluminium, tires, and engine capacity changes.
    The irony is that Stoner asked for the new frame at the end of 07 and it debutted in 08.

    As well as Ducati focusing on expanding it’s range of road bikes. Same thing now happening to McLaren.

    Personally I think it is positive. Once they have a decent architecure for a bike. then Audi can start pushing funds in more rapid development of that baseline. Now there is little point.

  7. Faust says:

    I’m so sick of hearing about Stoner. What he did on a trellis frame 800cc bike six years ago has absolutely nothing to do with the 1000cc aluminum framed bike today. Ducati hasn’t been developing their bike in a vacuum. Honda and Yamaha have gotten faster. In Qatar on Stoners championship season, he won the race with a fastest lap of 1:56.5. Marquez’s fastest lap of the opening round this year was a 1:55.4, and he came in third place, well off the leader. The bikes are not the same. If you look at the hard numbers, the Honda and Yamaha in their current forms are just plain faster, and putting Stoner, or anyone else on this current version of the bike will not instantly fix that. This conversation is ridiculous. You could just as easily claim that Bayliss could come back and sort out the current bike because he won on the 990….. Stop living in the past people, these bikes are under constant development.

  8. Chaz Michael Michaels says:


    I was thinking of McLaren too, ironically. Time to pull a “McLaren.” Time for Ducati to send their spies (or in this case their “Spies”) into the Honda garage to steal their playbook.

    I’m sick of talking about Stoner too. But how can it be only 1 man on planet earth could ever make their bike the fastest? Tires.–see how this sounds like that Abbott and Costello skit?

  9. Faust says:


    You really don’t know what they are talking about? Ok, rather than respond with the dissmissive post I was about to write, I’ll actually tell you what they mean. They are saying tires, because it IS tires. Back in days of old, you had multiple tire manufacturers involved in GP. Dunlop, Michelin, and Bridgestone were all trying to get people to use their tires, and had very intimate working relationships with the factories and teams. Your chasis setup too stiff to run good at Jerez? No problem, we’ll come up with 5 special compound tires specific to THAT bike and selected by THAT rider to help fix it! (See where this is going?) The cost to use tires as a way to make up for chassis issues with the bike was high. So high in fact, that they started limiting the number of tires you could use in a weekend as a cost cutting measure. In 2007 there were still 3 manufacturers making GP tires but then the numbers per race weekend were reduced (although this number was ammended in 2008), but 2007 was the last year for Dunlop in the series, running on the Tech 3 team. In 2007 and 2008, there were some issues with the durability of the Michelins, which prompted riders like Rossi and Pedrosa to switch to the Bridgestones. As you may remember, 2008 turned out to be a good year for Rossi and he didn;t have the tire issues from the previous year. In 2009 they went to a spec tire for the entire grid. They offer you a few selections of tire per race weekend, then the team just chooses. Gone are the days when tire development was as critical to bike performance as developing the bike itself. If you note the years I listed above, you can see how as tire choices became more and more limited, issues with the Ducati’s chassis became more and more evident. So no, it does NOT in fact sound like an Abbott and Costello skit, and what people are saying makes a lot of sense. Understand now? The moral of the story is that the spec tires and how a rider adapts to them is a huge part, and as the bike changes it must be taken into consideration. Notice how last year when they went to the 1000cc bikes, all of the sudden Honda had all those problems with chatter? In 2011, there is no doubt that Casey dominated the sport. The next year the bike changed, and all of the sudden he wasn’t so awesome. As a result, there is NO WAY a person can claim that Stoner would be great on the current Ducati. It’s just not the same.

  10. Chaz Michael Michaels says:

    No, you misunderstand me. I know all that. We all do.

    I’m saying Ducati is the Abbott and Costello skit. The spec tire rule applies to everyone so how does Ducati find itself so far behind the others? Why couldn’t they adjust? Why can’t they find any answers? How did they fall so far behind?

  11. Chaz Michael Michaels says:

    Also before I forget, not a fanboy, trust me…but Stoner was all that. Like the article about Stoner recently, can’t recall where, he cut his teeth on crap bikes as he rose thru the ranks. Even in the days before spec tires he was making magic happen on that Ducati…lest you forget nobody else could during that time.

  12. Faust says:

    In the days before spec tires, he WAS making it happen. Exactly. Not so much afterwards. See why people keep saying the move to spec tires are making it harder for Ducati? What did stoner and Rossi used to say about the Duc? No front end feel. What are the guys saying as well now? That its hard to control the rear. Sounds like tires. It would seem that there is an issue with the chassis, since in the past several years they went from trellis to carbon fiber to aluminum. Nobody else on the grid has made changes like this. And what are the guys saying about the new version? That it only runs good on new tires. I have no doubt that there is a team of skilled people working on how to make the bike faster, and I don’t doubt that they are making progress. To say they will find it and suddenly be competitive is to ignore that Honda and Yamaha have even bigger teams working on how to make their bike faster as well. I would love to see Duc catch them, but I wouldn’t bet money on it.

  13. ctk says:

    Yea I dont know what the exact budgets are, but I would bet Honda and Yami are spending 10x what Duc is on chassis development. They can probably model the molecular interactions between the new tires and track surfaces and optimize things like the chassis’ natural frequency etc. The limits are endless.

  14. Chaz Michael Michaels says:

    I follow…it’s a money issue. Or is it? Isn’t Ducati shaking the bejezus out of the Marlboro money tree, and soon add to that the Audi money tree?

    Why is money the issue? Ducati sales have been really strong for several years in a row now while the Japanese continue to struggle. Is Ducati really that far below Honda’s budget? Wouldn’t you think the bean counters at Honda are running a tight ship and pinching the pennies of the motorcycle racing branch of the company?

    Could it just simply be Honda and Yamaha have better engineers and better ideas?

  15. Faust says:

    Of course Honda has more money to burn, they are the worlds largest engine manufacturer. They also make just about everything, and have a massive sponsor. Ducati’s sales are strong, but they are a tiny company compared to Honda and Yamaha. How many Ducati pianos have you seen? How many Ducati personal watercraft have you seen? Industrial equipment? Atvs? Passenger cars? Stereo equipment? Don’t tell me that just because they have been selling more bikes that they have enough money to compete with the other two. Audi purchased all of Ducati for 1.2 billion (and they were in debt). Honda made 1.7 billion in profits in the second quarter of last year….. I mean, seriously. The inject of money and the desire to win in motorsports from Audi will definitely move them in the right direction though. Will it be enough? We ll see.

  16. Damo says:

    @Chaz Michael Michaels

    Did you really just insinuate that Ducati has even close to the budget of Honda or Yamaha? You’re talking rubbish man.

  17. Chaz Michael Michaels says:

    I hear that Ducati doesn’t have anywhere near the budget of Honda or Yamaha.

    Well, before I accept an assertion with no analysis…I wonder.

    Honda and Yamaha have bean counters too you know. I’m willing to believe their budgets are bigger but should I be led to believe their budgets are exponentially bigger?

    Also, what’s the end game of the “budget excuse”? That Yamaha and Honda will always have bigger budgets and therefore will always be better, way better, than Ducati? If that’s the belief then I vote for pulling the plug. Why bother.

  18. dc4go says:

    It’s all about resources and $$.. Honda pulled all the stops to win the last 800cc title using/testing over 30 chassis in one year and blowing a $50 million budget.. Word around the paddock is Yamaha caps the budget around $30 million and Ducati spends $20 million including riders salary. Honda spends more in a 1/4 season than Ducati does the whole year.. Pay to WIN that’s what it comes down to who wants it more $$$..

  19. ZootCadiilac says:

    As I said in comments on the previous story when he announced not running, Spies will not be replaced. His bike will not be run. Pirro will race under his wildcard admission and will be running the development bike but it’s for Ducati not Pramac.

    Small distinction but it does mean Spies’ engine is saved for a round.

  20. Erik says:

    It’s all money and geography. Ducati does not have anything resembling the budgets of Honda and Yamaha at their disposal, and last I checked, Bridgestone is not a European company. This isn’t rocket science. I’m glad Ducati is now under the Audi/VW umbrella, and I’m hoping the fools at Dorna will allow Pirelli or Michelin back in to the MotoGP paddock. As it stands, only manufacturers from the land of the rising sun will get proper tire(tyre) development resources allocated to their accounts.

  21. Faust says:

    @dc + erik

    Apparently I’m not the only one paying attention, preach on gentlemen! I just wish the massive expenditure in Honda gp money would trickle down to production. I mean, unit pro link suspension? Some rc211v inspired bodywork years ago? Great, but I’d like to see more. Meanwhile, Yamaha went crossplane, ride by wire and brought the rear suspension setup of the m1 to the r1.

  22. MikeD says:

    Best of luck to the Italian Red Team…the Yamaha-Honda battle has gotten old long ago…rooting for Suzook too here.

  23. Minibull says:


    Yep, that MotoGP tech trickled down to the R1. For what though? The bike which is probably the worst to go club and national racing on. The bike that needs the most spent on it to get it to a competitive level in racing. The one that is fantastic in the AMA, but has a budget far above any other team.
    Meanwhile the Fireblade is still regarded as a bloody great bike. Not the fastest, or most powerful, or most tech filled bike. But the testers say it is easy to ride fast on and is just a really well balanced bike.
    BMW built a stunning bike without any MotoGP or SBK R&D. Kawasaki and Aprilia have done it with SBK. Hmm, and now Yamaha are moving to a 3 cylinder…

    In regards to the endless Ducati talk, same as what has been said above, tyres. The same things I posted when everyone was going insane about the Panigale when it was announced.
    There are people that still keep bleating on about “bring back the trellis frame, it’s so much better and has more feel”. We don’t know shit about that. Has more feel…on specially made tyres, funny that. I have read many times that Stoner hated the trellis frame. So many welds involved, each one is different. He could swap to his “identical” second bike, and it would need a whole different setup and behave so much differently. He wanted the carbon frame, where they can consistently control the process of making it and “tuning” it.
    The other Ducati riders did pretty damn well when they came back into GP’s, on a brand new bike. It’s a hard one though, bring back multiple tyre manufacturers…but then have riders having to deal with one brand being possibly shitty in comparison. Kinda ruins it…not that it’s any better currently though