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.

Monster To Sponsor Yamaha’s Factory MotoGP Team?

12/21/2012 @ 3:04 pm, by David Emmett15 COMMENTS

Monster To Sponsor Yamahas Factory MotoGP Team? Valentino Rossi press conference MotoGP Scott Jones

It is looking increasingly likely that energy drink company Monster is to take on a role as co-sponsor of Yamaha’s MotoGP team. Spanish website Motocuatro is reporting that Yamaha has bought Jorge Lorenzo out of his personal sponsorship by rival energy drink maker Rockstar and that both Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi are to carry Monster sponsorship on their leathers and on the fairings of their Yamaha M1s for 2013 and 2014.

According to Motocuatro, the story started earlier this year, after Lorenzo renewed his contract with Rockstar, and Valentino Rossi announced he would be signing with Yamaha. Both Rockstar and Monster had been in talks with Yamaha to step up their sponsorship of their riders – both men have personal contracts with their respective energy drink brands – to increase exposure for the brand.

At first, Motocuatro reports, Monster showed an interest in moving up as co-sponsor on Rossi’s bike, gaining the same level of sticker coverage as ENEOS, the Japanese oil brand which also adorns the Yamaha’s fairings.

In response, Rockstar started negotiations with Yamaha to match Monster’s offer, meaning that both Lorenzo and Rossi would have equal levels of energy drink sponsorship on their bikes. Lorenzo would have Rockstar stickers, while Rossi would have Monster badges.

Having two competing brands on the two different bikes was an acceptable solution for all parties, each brand remaining with the rider they are associated with. But according to Motocuatro, at Valencia, Monster decided to make a counter-offer to Yamaha, to assume co-sponsorship for the entire team.

Their reasoning, Motocuatro suggests, is that Monster feared being on the least successful of the two factory Yamaha bikes, a reasonable assumption given that Lorenzo has just wrapped up his second world title on the bike, while Rossi returns to Yamaha after two barren years at Ducati.

Accepting the offer left Yamaha facing a problem: if they wanted to have Monster sponsoring both bikes, they would have to invoke the clause in Lorenzo’s contract giving them the right to veto his personal sponsor. Such clauses exist in nearly every rider contract; having a competing firm on the cap and leathers of a rider can dissuade companies from sponsoring teams. But getting rid of Rockstar comes at a price for Yamaha.

The Japanese factory must buy Lorenzo out of his sponsorship, said to be worth 1 million euros a year. Yamaha would be compensated for their pains, though: Motocuatro reports that Monster upped its offer to Yamaha from 1.5 million euros a season for just space on Rossi’s bike, to 4 million euros a year on the bikes of both Rossi and Lorenzo.

That, it is believed, is about what Yamaha are paying a year to Rossi to race for them, about a third of the salary he received at Ducati. The Monster sponsorship of the factory Yamaha team would have no effect on the title sponsorship deal with Tech 3, which will continue to remain the Monster Tech 3 Yamaha squad.

Just how reliable these reports are remains to be seen. No confirmation of the details of this story has yet been forthcoming, and even this week, Lorenzo was making public appearances in full Rockstar Energy regalia. The story does confirm rumors of Monster sponsorship of Yamaha which have been doing the rounds of the paddock for some time now.

However, in July, Motocuatro reported that Marlboro would switch its backing from Ducati to Yamaha, following Rossi to the Japanese factory. That story turned out to be false; Marlboro – or rather, Phillip Morris, the tobacco giant behind the Marlboro brand – will continue to sponsor Ducati for 2013.

Beyond 2013 is uncertain, sources close to Phillip Morris have suggested the tobacco giant is growing tired of the lack of success, and could decide to pull out altogether at the end of next year.

Any sponsorship deal between Yamaha and Monster would be announced in the first week of January, with a press release to follow. The first hint of a new sponsor for Yamaha could come at Jorge Lorenzo’s first public appearance. If he is no longer sporting Rockstar Energy caps and clothing, the Motocuatro’s reports will have been vindicated.

Source: Motocuatro; Photo: © 2012 Scott Jones / Scott Jones Photography – All Rights Reserved


  1. arkangel says:

    WOW – If Rossi dropped his salary by 2/3 to leave Ducati/join Yamaha .. that’s commitment !

  2. Spamtasticus says:

    Only if by commitment you mean desperation.

  3. FernandoARG says:

    And by desperation you mean sacrific of payroll to get back to winning? On a factory he helped come back from the same place Ducati is now? Don’t forget this 2003 MotoGP results Carlos Checa 7th, Alex Barros 9th. After that year Davide Brivio, Valentino Rossi, Jeremy Burgess, Masao Furusawa brought that bike from middle pack grid filler to an all time most competitive machine, hopefully the old dogs still have some fight left, sacrifice 2/3 out of his salary? Desperation? Sure I would be desperate too after not being able to ride a bike that only one person got a championship out of it, Casey Stoner did it once, then a domino effect of decline started in 2008.

  4. Mears says:

    It would also bring symmetry to Yamaha’s presence in the U.S. as Monster sponsors the Graves AMA teams. Prepare for super Monster edition R6′s and R1′s!

  5. Halfie30 says:

    @ “Spam”: Dont forget Ducati offered him a lot of money to stay. With Audi backing the numbers were in double digit millions. So there was no desaration for a ride in the paddock.

  6. Spamtasticus says:

    Fernando, That is precicely the desperation I spoke of. Desperate to be in a position to have a fighting chance again. I’ve seen his yacht in the med. He is set in the $ dept.

  7. Damo says:

    Not a huge energy drink fan, but I think Monster tastes better than Rockstar. So there is always that, at least.

  8. Tonyw says:

    Well hopefully he gets his desire to compete back. Perhaps a renewed rivalry against Lorenzo will be just what the dr ordered!

  9. Westward says:

    Desire to compete? It never waned. Rossi back on a Yamaha M1 immediately makes him a possible front runner for the championship. I would put Rossi down for six victories if not more in 2013.

  10. Faust says:

    +1 Westward

    The reason Rossi wants to get back on the M1, even if it costs him money, is BECAUSE of his desire to compete.

  11. Chaz Michael Michaels says:

    Did it ever dawn on anyone Val might just simply be past it?

    The Spaniard “aliens” are entering the prime of their careers and have no fear of Rossi.

    I see some 3rd and 4th places in his 2013 future.

    …aliens aside, you think Crutchlow will be easy to beat?

    Nothing will come easy for Rossi next year and the magic is gone.

  12. Faust says:

    Haters gonna hate. Why is it so absurd to make the conclusion that if a world champion (Rossi or Hayden) goes to a bike that is consistently the worst finisher, that they might do better on a better bike? Look at the dramatic change in Stoner’s riding after he switched. In 2010 on the Duc he crashed out like 5 times. In 2011 he was on the podium every single race except the one where Val crashed into him. Did his skills take a quantum leap forward, or could some of it be the bike? Once Duc switched to the carbon fiber frame on the GP9, it got worse and Stoner was saying so non-stop at the time. Some day maybe they will figure out what they are doing over there, but with Val and his team trying to help out and still striking out, who konws. I can’t wait to see what all the internet experts will say if Rossi starts winning again on the M1.

  13. Chaz Michael Michaels says:

    Faust I agree with you. Rossi is still great. But in 2013 will he be the greatest?

    Guys like Pedrosa and Lorenzo are waiting with baited breath to beat him in 2013. How much do those guys want to beat a no excuses Rossi riding a bike equal to theirs?

    Then factor in a very talented Crutchlow with something to prove, in his prime, and several years riding the yamaha.

    Rossi, not in his prime, no longer feared, playing catch up, will not be the dominating.

    It all adds up to a few 3rd place finishes…maybe a win…and a bunch of 4ths. …and retirement or a long Capirossi fade for several seasons to the middle of the pack.

  14. Racerx says:

    Crutchlow on Yamaha for several years????? Just been 2 years. What is wrong with you??

  15. Racerx says:

    LOL Monster has little faith in Rossi. Funny how Monster wants both bikes for fear Rossi stinks up the place and Jorge with Rockstar clean house in 2013. So now they still look good with Jorge winning on a Monster energy bike.