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: Slippery Slope at the Malaysian GP

10/21/2012 @ 3:43 pm, by Jensen Beeler2 COMMENTS

MotoGP: Slippery Slope at the Malaysian GP Rain Sepang Dani Pedrosa 635x421

As was forecasted, the rain made its appearance for the start of the Malaysian GP being held at Sepang. The wet weather of course meant all bets were off for what could happen on this third-to-last round in the MotoGP Championship, and the adverse conditions increased the possibility of some “off-road excursions” by the riders. No one had more to lost from such a proposition than current points leader Jorge Lorenzo.

Sitting 28 points ahead of Dani Pedrosa, the factory Yamaha rider needed only to stay upright on his machine to retain control of the 2012 MotoGP Championship title, but with the rain in Sepang, that simple task could prove to be more difficult than anyone imagined. Needing to grab back as many points as possible, no one probably welcomed the rain more than Dani Pedrosa…well, except maybe the Ducati riders, which made for some high-stakes in the otherwise low-action race

Despite a race that saw five riders hitting the gravel traps, the Malaysian GP was a rather short on drama. Jorge Lorenzo lead the charge through the first turn, followed closely by Dani Pedrosa. The two broke away from the pack within a lap, and mid-race Pedrosa pulled the pin on his Honda grenade, leaving the factory Yamaha to fight for second. With Casey Stoner closing in on Lorenzo and his “soft” rain tire, the Spaniard was saved as the race was red-flagged, just moments after Lorenzo nearly hydroplaned off the circuit due to the building water on the course.

Conspiracy theorists aside, virtually all of the riders welcomed the early-conclusion of the race, as visibility was becoming very limited. The fact that so many riders found their way off the track also attests to the massive amount of water that was falling on the circuit.

As expected the wet weather was a boon to the Ducati riders, as Nicky Hayden and Valentino Rossi finished fourth and fifth respectively. The monsoon was not a good for Ben Spies though, as the American rider continues his eyebrow-raising, yet forgettable season, aboard the second factory Yamaha, which crashed on the ninth lap.

Sepang was a cruel mistress for the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 riders as well, as Andrea Dovizioso crashed out of fourth, after having a tremendous start. Cal Crutchlow also found the gravel, as he was in a trio of unrelated crashes that also involved Stefan Bradl and Randy de Puniet.

It would seem safe to say that a number of riders are looking forward to MotoGP’s stop next week at Phillip Island, though perhaps none more so than Casey Stoner, who continues to show signs of renewed speed ahead of his home round event, and despite his foot injury. Dani Pedrosa surely likes the prospect of a fast teammate as well, as now he only has a 23 point deficit to overcome in the Championship standings. A tall order, but not impossible.

Race Results from the Malaysian GP at Sepang, Malaysia:

Pos.RiderNationTeamBikeTime
1Dani PEDROSASPARepsol Honda TeamHonda29’29.049
2Jorge LORENZOSPAYamaha Factory RacingYamaha+3.774
3Casey STONERAUSRepsol Honda TeamHonda+7.144
4Nicky HAYDENUSADucati TeamDucati+10.518
5Valentino ROSSIITADucati TeamDucati+16.759
6Alvaro BAUTISTASPASan Carlo Honda GresiniHonda+17.276
7Hector BARBERASPAPramac Racing TeamDucati+50.282
8Aleix ESPARGAROSPAPower Electronics AsparART+51.585
9James ELLISONGBRPaul Bird MotorsportART+56.676
10Karel ABRAHAMCZECardion AB MotoracingDucati+57.622
11Danilo PETRUCCIITACame IodaRacing ProjectIoda-Suter+1’02.805
12Michele PIRROITASan Carlo Honda GresiniFTR+1’02.891
13Andrea DOVIZIOSOITAMonster Yamaha Tech 3Yamaha+1’28.989
Roberto ROLFOITASpeed MasterART0 Lap
Not Classified
Stefan BRADLGERLCR Honda MotoGPHonda2 Laps
Cal CRUTCHLOWGBRMonster Yamaha Tech 3Yamaha3 Laps
Randy DE PUNIETFRAPower Electronics AsparART3 Laps
Ivan SILVASPAAvintia BlusensBQR3 Laps
Colin EDWARDSUSANGM Mobile Forward RacingSuter3 Laps
Ben SPIESUSAYamaha Factory RacingYamaha5 Laps

Source: MotoGP; Photo: HRC

Comment:

  1. dc4go says:

    What a save for Lorenzo thought he was down for sure… Pedrosa’s on fire but think it’s going to take an engine blow up for Lorenzo in order for him to take the title…. Going to be tight…..

  2. Paul McM says:

    I like Ben Spies, but race after race he follows the same, predictable sequence.

    – Good qualifying and decent grid position
    – Reasonably fast and competitive for a few laps
    – Mental errors or inattention causing him to run wide in turns, losing places
    – Trying to push the envelope to make back lost places
    – Crash out of race

    The group of friends I watch races with has a betting pool on when Spies will crash…

    I honestly think at this point that his riding style (or brain) is just not suited for MotoGP. Get back to Superbikes Ben.