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.

A Minimum Rider & Bike Weight Rule Coming for Moto2?

11/05/2012 @ 6:01 am, by Jensen Beeler18 COMMENTS

A Minimum Rider & Bike Weight Rule Coming for Moto2? Scott Redding Moto2 Phillip Island Scott Jones

Moto2 paddock rumors has it that the intermediary prototype class could put in place a minimum weight requirement that would combine both the weight of the motorcycle as well as the weight of the rider. If the rumor pans out to be truth, the move would benefit riders like Britain’s Scott Redding, whose size and weight have served as a hindrance in the tightly contested class.

With the Moto2 class comprised of machines that use nearly identical 600cc Honda engines, which have been said to produce between 130-140 rwhp, the racing results have been heavily influenced by rider skill, as well as subtler differences like chassis manufacturers. However, some in the Moto2 paddock believe some of the series’ results have been affected extraneous factors, most notably by rider dimensions, with taller and bigger riders at a disadvantage.

As such, Carmelo Ezpeleta is said to be considering a 220 kg (484 lbs) minimum combined weight rule, which would include the bike, rider, and the rider’s safety gear. If 220 kg is the magic number, Redding could see a gain on his fellow riders, though the British rider would surely still be at a disadvantage, with the current crop of Moto2 machines weighting 295 lbs or more.

Whether the criticism levied by Redding et al is valid or not is up to a bit of conjecture, but no one has been more vocal about the issue than Britain’s Scott Redding. The tall Englishman has been pushing for a combined minimum weight rule in Moto2 for the majority of the 2012 season, and now Redding and the Marc VDS Racing team may get their wish on the matter.

The issue has also been a favorite whipping boy for the British press, which has been anything but neutral on the issue, often attributing Redding’s results to his size and weight, and not his performance on the bike. At roughly 190 lbs in full-kit, Redding is one of the heaviest riders in the Moto2 class though, where he has to contend with riders nearly 40 lbs light than him, so there has to be some acknowledgment that there is definitely an advantage at play within the class, though the debate rages on as to whether it is an advantage that has affected podium spots, and also whether rider weight is even an issue that should be balanced via the rulebook.

When debating the merits of the case, it is important to note that such an imposition of a combined weight rule could lead to a new arms race in the Moto2 class, as chassis designers for larger riders could be pushed to find further weight savings to compensate for a heavier talent on board the motorcycle — and as we all know, there is an inverse relationship between bike weights and their corresponding price tags.

On the flip side though, allowing smaller riders, who are well-under the minimum combined weight, to gain a few pounds could help increase the safety of the sport, as GP motorcycle racing has become a sport occupied with wafer-thin jockey-esque riders, who seeming snap like twigs (one Dani Pedrosa comes to mind). By putting less emphasis on a rider’s weight, we may see healthier and more robust riders on the starting grid, which in the grooming classes for MotoGP, where riders tend to be of a younger age, the move can only be seen as a good thing for the sport.

It will be interesting to see if Moto2 gets this combined rider and bike minimum weight limit, which is already in place in the Moto3 class. However, what will be even more interesting is to see if this adds more fuel to the fire for a similar rule to be imposed in MotoGP — something that was of great issue when the class went to a smaller fuel allotment, and larger riders like the late Marco Simoncelli complained of having less power than smaller competitors because of fuel concerns.

Source: BSN & MCN; Photo: © 2012 Scott Jones / Scott Jones Photography – All Rights Reserved

Comment:

  1. Bill says:

    Should already be the case. Way too simple of a rule to make competition fairer and more interesting.

  2. DareN says:

    It is only fair. 40 lb difference on 400lb machine + rider? That is 10 % weight bonus for the little guys.This rule should apply to all classes.

  3. Marvin says:

    All classes should combined rider-machine weight limits.

    F1 has done it for years and they are as close to pure prototype/unlimited budget as any racing is in this modern era.

    If the right limit is set the small guys still have some advantage because they should come in under the limit and have the option to move ballast around the bike for balance. meanwhile, bigger and heavier riders can have actual muscle mass that might be an advantage for them in some sections of the track.

    Everyone wins, racing is closer, no brainer, why did they not follow F1s’ lead years ago?

  4. Anon 1 says:

    @Marvin; Remember that adding 4Kg of ballast created chatter on the MotoGP HRC Hondas. So the theory of advantage goes out the window. I cannot imagine a chassis being created for a weight of X Kg behaving the same way when you add ballast. 125 and now the Moto3 need it because they have 30-40 bhp and there are riders 16 (sometimes even younger) riding with 25 (or older back in the day).
    This rule will put in disadvantage smaller riders. They will have to muscle a bike with 20Kg more, while the big riders will have then have a size and strength advantage. Try adding 20 Kg to your road bike and then see how nice it feels to the handling. Now imagine that while on the edge in a race track.

  5. Damo says:

    Scott Redding must be one slim dude! He is 6’2″ and weight 190lbs in full gear. I am 6’2″ and weigh 196lbs in my birthday suit, carry 10% body fat and while I do carry a bit of muscle I am by no means in the Jason Statham range.

  6. 76 says:

    Long over due. Time for every class to adopt, yes it will create unique issues but this needs to be addressed to insure the future of the sport.

  7. Dr. Gellar says:

    I’m all for this. It would be nice to see more average-sized riders be able to compete and not be handicapped by not being the size of a hobbit, nor as skinny as Kate Moss.

  8. MtgR says:

    @ Anon.
    Adding ballast to make the minimum weight limits has been done by factory teams in SX, Indycar, drag bikes and cars, Formula 1, superbikes, and the list goes on. Yes it’s an adjustment that may need some time to get right, like any rule change but its just another rule adjustment like any other. After all, just look how uneffected Yamaha was adding virtually the same ballast Honda did this year.

    As for disadvantage to small guys, lets not forget they start with a huge advantage aerodynamically and in power to weight. That used to be evened out by ill handling hard hitting bikes that bigger guys could manhandle better but modern tech and increased speeds and aero needs have skewed the balance. Is it any less fair to ask Pedrosa to add some muscle mass than it is to ask an already leaned-out athlete like Spies to lose 22 pds just to try to match acceleration rates with riders who are still heavier than Pedrosa?

    I think the only race this year where Pedrosa didn’t pull a holeshot wad the one he started from the back of the grid and even then he passed half the field by the first turn. I’m sure he’s talented on the clutch, but so is Rossi and the Duc is notoriously hard accelerating and he never pulled any hole shots from the third row.

  9. A Minimum Rider & Bike Weight Rule Coming for Moto2? – http://t.co/JcWXVQla #motorcycle

  10. Sean in OZ says:

    What happens when Redding still isn’t fast enough, what to do then?
    Simoncelli won a 250cc title despite his size.
    Body size and shape are a variable in ALL sports.

  11. Gritboy says:

    Awesome!!!

  12. 76 says:

    Sean in OZ says:
    What happens when Redding still isn’t fast enough, what to do then?
    Simoncelli won a 250cc title despite his size.
    Body size and shape are a variable in ALL sports.

    If you would like to promote a sport that encourages riders to be far below the average height and weight of the current generation thats watching them then good luck with that sport. Think the world of horse racing? You wan that, name some jockeys ? it will be Manufac. only, marketing midgets isnt so smart.

    Again cant wait until this bleeds to both GP and Moto3

  13. J says:

    hmmm new ruling??
    Is this because the rookie made from 27th to 1st and down to 4th place @ Sepang moto2 few weeks back?
    What do u reckon?
    Im really curious…

  14. mike says:

    Why not give a little guy an advantage for once. Like horseracing, we don’t add ballast to the horse. Most things in the world advantages are given for being bigger or taller, let them race, or let the fat guys race in their own class, I’d watch that.

  15. 76 says:

    Like horseracing, when we dont give a shit about whos on top of the damm thing, sweet…

  16. Sean in OZ says:

    Money is a MUCH bigger barrier to becoming a Moto3/2/GP champion than physical stature … and country of origin (location +/- nationality) are also a bigger barrier.

    @76
    Professional basketball does not include people within the normal height range and includes a significant percentage of athletes who are at the extreme end of the naturally occurring height range. Nobody seems to have an issue with that.

    At the top of ANY sport you will find that there is a advantage to a certain body size/shape … and usually the odd individual that is an exception.

  17. Anon 1 says:

    @MtgR
    You make some nice points. The small guys have an advantage on power/weight ratio and aerodynamically, while bigger guys have an advantage on the manhandling of bikes. Moto2 bikes are still quite crude, so IMHO modern tech does not offset so much the handling issues. In MotoGP not sure if it becomes relevant, it’s a lot of power and a lot of tech for everyone.
    In Moto2 is all about frames. I cannot imagine that a Suter frame will behave the same with added 15 Kg or 3 Kg. Then we will have the guys either adapting all frames to suit lighter riders or different parts for different weights. The solution may be adding weight, but it should be carefully studied and not some knee-jerk reaction.
    Pedrosa’s last holeshot (getting to first corner first) was Indianapolis. I just checked all last races. Lorenzo got much better at the starts and he brakes later than Pedrosa nowadays. It’s all about finding your strengths and not worrying about your disadvantages. Redding can almost go play basketball so

    @Sean in OZ
    I agree with Sean in OZ. A much bigger part of the equation is the money/support you get. Bradl had a huge support from the frame builder, Marquez has huge support from Suter and his team. West took a long time until he became properly competitive as things moved much slower.

  18. Mark B says:

    Wow! Luckily the Spanish run series didn’t bring this regulation in this year, when a pocket sized Spanish rider on a Spanish sponsored bike might not have had so much advantage.

    Nah, I’m kidding, no way would Dorna discriminate in favour of one of their compatriots – right? I mean, they’d be dropping the No Rookies in factory teas rule next wouldn’t they?

    No, no, no…. two rule changes by the Spanish that could possibly be seen to favour the new rising son of Spain? That would just be too freaky coincidental.