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 Dropping Claiming Rule in 2014 – Goodbye CRT?

05/30/2013 @ 1:02 pm, by David Emmett13 COMMENTS

MotoGP Dropping Claiming Rule in 2014    Goodbye CRT? hector barbera yonny hernandez cota motogp jensen beeler 635x423

MotoGP’s Claiming Rule is set to be consigned to the history books. At the next meeting of the Grand Prix Commission at Barcelona, a proposal will be put forward to abandon the claiming rule altogether.

With the advent of the new distinction, between MSMA entries and non-MSMA entries, the need to claim an engine ceased to exist. The demise of the claiming rule opens the way towards the leasing of Yamaha engines to private teams without fear of those engines being claimed by other factories.

The claiming rule had been instigated at the start of 2012, to allow the grid to expand. At the end of 2011, with the departure of Suzuki, and both Honda and Ducati cutting back the number of satellite bikes they were prepared to provide, numbers on the MotoGP grid looked like falling to as low as 13 or 14 bikes.

The switch back to 1000cc engines meant a rich spectrum of engines was available to custom chassis builders, to produce affordable race bikes. To allow such teams to compete with the full factory efforts, such teams were allowed extra fuel (24 liters instead of 21), and double the factory engine allowance, 12 instead of 6.

To prevent new factories from taking advantage of the loophole, the MSMA members – the factories involved in MotoGP – retained the right to claim the engine of such teams. Hence the name, Claiming Rule Team or CRT.

The new rules proposed for 2014 make the claiming rule obsolete. With the introduction of spec-ECU hardware, the teams now have the choice of either running their own ECU software, and accepting the limitation of just 20 liters of fuel and an allocation of 5 engines, or running the spec software supplied by Dorna, and written by Magneti Marelli for their spec-ECU, and being granted 24 liters of fuel and 12 engines.

That choice dictates whether they are regarded as an MSMA entry – i.e. a factory or satellite entry – or a non-MSMA entry, allowing them more fuel. All entries are assessed by both IRTA and the Grand Prix Commission, with the GPC having the final say on whether to allow an entry as either MSMA or non-MSMA.

With these new rules already in place, a proposal is to be made to the next meeting of the Grand Prix Commission at the Catalunya round of MotoGP in Barcelona to scrap the claiming rule altogether, we have learned. All of the parties in the GPC are believed to be behind the proposal, and it is expected to be adopted without opposition.

The dropping of the claiming rule will come as a special relief to Yamaha. Their proposal to help expand the grid – leasing satellite-spec engines to private teams, to be fitted into chassis designed by builders such as FTR or Kalex – left them theoretically open to having their engines claimed by an other factory.

With Suzuki entering  MotoGP in 2014 with a big-bang firing order inline four, being able to examine a Yamaha engine, built to the same engine layout and design principles, would provide some interesting lessons.

The gentleman’s agreement among the existing factories meant that none of them have ever intended to actually claim the engine, and Suzuki would have honored that same agreement. But with the claiming rule removed, that possibility also disappears, should Suzuki, or another manufacturer, ever change their mind about such a code of honor.

It will of course also prevent the other factories from claiming engines from Honda’s production racer, to be supplied to teams in 2014. Though that engine is of a lower spec than the factory RC213V machines – it will lack both pneumatic valves and HRC’s seamless gearbox – there would still have been enough to learn for an interested factory.

The demise of the claiming rules does not mean the end of the CRTs, however. The name may no longer be accurate, but the machines and teams will continue, some continuing much as before. It looks like at least two FTR Kawasakis will continue to be raced in 2014, while Aspar looks set to keep racing Aprilia’s ART machines.

Those teams will cease to officially be called CRTs, and become instead non-MSMA entries. Teams opting to use Honda’s production racer, or a leased Yamaha M1 engine in an FTR chassis, will also be non-MSMA entries, the same as the former CRTs. The existing factory and satellite teams will then become MSMA entries.

In summary, there will continue to be two classes of entries in MotoGP: MSMA and non-MSMA. The deciding factor between the two types of entry will be the choice of whether to run Dorna’s spec software, or to continue to write their own custom software.

That decision will then affect how much fuel they are allowed and how many engines they can use all year. Given the central role of software in modern MotoGP racing, it is a far more rational and logical separation than the former criteria.

Photo: © 2013 Jensen Beeler / Asphalt & Rubber – Creative Commons – Attribution 3.0

This article was originally published on MotoMatters, and is republished here on Asphalt & Rubber with permission by the author.

Comment:

  1. That’s a lot of clever tap dancing to accommodate Yamaha’s engine lease program. It paves an interesting road for Aprilia with the ART though.

  2. TheSwede says:

    That ART bike is on the hot track to being a mid pack contender, at least as good as satellite Ducatis and where I imagine Suzuki will start out next year. I hope they stick around..

  3. Cpt.Slow says:

    Id like to see Ape’s pneumatic valve’d ART bike… can anyone confirm if the current ART’s are utilizing gear driven cams?

  4. TexusTim says:

    i hope they stick around too..the software thing is what drives this stuff…honda has so much more development in that regard…..should anyone even be trying to even the playing field ? or expect the other teams to step it up ? those without feel one way those with all feel another way about it….this I think is comon in most forms of motosports racing, someone is allways trying to catch up to what gives the winners and edge..for sure in motorcycle racing much has to do with the dna of the rider as anything else. back in the day some guys could ride a tin can and win but not so much anymore, electronics plays such a role…someone like mm who really doesnt know anything else, this gives him an edge the older guys just dont have, some adapt better than others but it must be totaly different to grow up racing with all the elctronics.

  5. CTK says:

    We will see what happens. The gap may shrink but it definitely won’t close. I kind of wonder if it would be a good idea to have everyone on leased bikes and do away with factory teams altogether. Maybe the tech wouldn’t be as exciting but the racing would. Riders and teams could work with the factories to exchange feedback and make for better bikes… but the gulf now is ridiculous.

    I’m wondering if the move to spec tires was the right one too. Every bike has its own engine and chassis. Why does everyone need the same tires? Let people design their own tires like everyone else, and build tires around bikes instead of vice versa.

    I don’t know. I don’t think I agree with their balance/selection of bespoke vs spec parts right now. A good season means you don’t know who or what will win. Right now it looks like anyone on a Honda will be a shoe in. They should be changing the rules to eliminate gross advantages.

  6. Maas says:

    Get rid of the spec tires and let each team use their supplier of choice. Ducati will be the first team to benefit.

  7. TexusTim says:

    if you close down the mono tire rule some people will get an unfair advantage by overzelous tire reps trying to get a rossi on there tire..they will promise late night shippments of tires for some solution that needs to be adreesed at some track..this is why the rules came into play..and across motorsports this is a dominating factor and why so many have adpoted the mono tire rule…I dont think it should be scraped..or we would see more lopsided races not closer.

  8. idroppedit says:

    Sad that so called professional bike journalists still call a cross plane firing order a big bang engine. … You should know better! (A big bang engine has 2 or more cylinders firing at the same time. … The m1 is not a big bang engine. )

    Otherwise a pretty logical step for the teams.

  9. smiler says:

    I cannot see the point of reinforcing a series where there are 2 distinct types of bike. It is like Le Mans where you have different classes of car in the same race. Except MOTOGP does it with 18 bikes, Le Man does it with 50+ cars.

    Reduce costs across the board like F1 whilst in recession.

    And why not allow 2 tire manufactures. After all it is a competition and the single biggest factor in that competition is tires. So why make that a monopoly that, as can be seen in F1 clearer favors some companies more than others. So all you end up with is motorcycle companies designing their bikes for the monopolistic tire maker. Tail wagging dog.

  10. marcus667 says:

    Thought the m1 was arranged in long bang firing order ? , and i feel sorry for the ART if they get rid of crt

  11. Dewey says:

    @idroppedit,
    They’re journalists not engineers. Not everyone can be Kevin Cameron.

  12. It depends on what you define as a “big bang” firing order, and whether you’re talking two-strokes and four-strokes…

    The idea is to space out the cylinder firings so there is a gap that helps hook-up the rear tire. That doesn’t necessarily mean two pistons need to fire at the exact same time on a four-stroke motor.