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: Qualifying with a Message at the Malaysian GP

10/20/2012 @ 10:25 pm, by Jensen BeelerComments Off

MotoGP: Qualifying with a Message at the Malaysian GP Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha Sepang 635x418

With the weather constantly the x-factor in the 2012 MotoGP Championship, the Malaysian GP unsurprisingly has seen Mother Nature play an integral part at Sepang. Limiting on-track practice time, things were surprisingly dry for MotoGP’s qualifying session, though riders came out of the pits immediately to bank some solid lap times. As the session wore on though, and the weather held, a display of talent proceeded, and another track record succumbed to the 1,000cc prototype machines.

The story from MotoGP’s qualifying session is not that Jorge Lorenzo was the fastest man on the track, though he was, but rather how the Spanish rider rode during the session is what should be talked about amongst GP fans. Trouncing the Best Lap Record at Sepang, and setting an outright circuit record in the process, Lorenzo had things buttoned up for a pole-position start in the Malaysian GP with extra time to spare — though, that wouldn’t be enough for the factory Yamaha rider.

Ahead in the championship, Lorenzo needs only to keep tabs on rival Dani Pedrosa over the next three races in order to be assured of another World Championship title. With Pedrosa showing a whole new racing persona, and his teammate Casey Stoner returning back to racing from his foot injury — and now showing again his racing pace — there remains a considerable amount of doubt to worry Lorenzo, and so an example had to be made.

Dropping the Best Lap Record by almost a tenth of a second, Lorenzo was not content to stop there, despite Dani Pedrosa accepting his second-place starting position. Dropping his time again by another tenth of a second, Lorenzo shattered the course record, and his fist-pumps afterwards showed something more than the time sheets let on. Lorenzo needed this shift in the momentum.

With Dani Pedrosa winning plenty of races that started with Lorenzo on pole, the Repsol Honda rider seemed able to hunt, stalk, and kill his prey at will on the Honda RC213V, now that the V4 machine has come to grips with its chattering issues. Holding the momentum in the series, question marks started to form as to whether Pedrosa could overcome Lorenzo’s seemingly insurmountable lead. “Pedrobot” even seemed to be winning over fans and critics alike with his new-found hunger on the race course, and the riding that came with it.

Using a soft front tire to make the difference, it remains to be seen how much of an actual advantage there is come race day, but on the psychological battlefield, Lorenzo has fired an impressive first volley. Sunday awaits Pedrosa’s response in kind.

Qualifying Results from the Malaysian GP at Sepang, Malaysia:

Pos. Rider Nation Team Bike KM/H Time Diff.
1 Jorge LORENZO SPA Yamaha Factory Racing Yamaha 323.8 2’00.334 -
2 Dani PEDROSA SPA Repsol Honda Team Honda 325.9 2’00.528 0.194
3 Andrea DOVIZIOSO ITA Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha 324.6 2’00.567 0.233
4 Casey STONER AUS Repsol Honda Team Honda 321.6 2’00.811 0.477
5 Cal CRUTCHLOW GBR Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha 320.0 2’01.178 0.844
6 Ben SPIES USA Yamaha Factory Racing Yamaha 320.3 2’01.185 0.851
7 Hector BARBERA SPA Pramac Racing Team Ducati 316.4 2’01.294 0.960
8 Stefan BRADL GER LCR Honda MotoGP Honda 322.6 2’01.491 1.157
9 Nicky HAYDEN USA Ducati Team Ducati 323.3 2’01.526 1.192
10 Alvaro BAUTISTA SPA San Carlo Honda Gresini Honda 320.3 2’01.640 1.306
11 Valentino ROSSI ITA Ducati Team Ducati 322.8 2’01.783 1.449
12 Aleix ESPARGARO SPA Power Electronics Aspar ART 304.7 2’02.842 2.508
13 Randy DE PUNIET FRA Power Electronics Aspar ART 306.2 2’03.389 3.055
14 Karel ABRAHAM CZE Cardion AB Motoracing Ducati 313.6 2’03.774 3.440
15 Michele PIRRO ITA San Carlo Honda Gresini FTR 300.5 2’04.152 3.818
16 James ELLISON GBR Paul Bird Motorsport ART 303.9 2’04.515 4.181
17 Danilo PETRUCCI ITA Came IodaRacing Project Ioda-Suter 300.8 2’04.726 4.392
18 Colin EDWARDS USA NGM Mobile Forward Racing Suter 306.1 2’04.941 4.607
19 Roberto ROLFO ITA Speed Master ART 303.1 2’05.100 4.766
20 Ivan SILVA SPA Avintia Blusens BQR 299.1 2’05.921 5.587

Source: MotoGP; Photo: Yamaha Racing

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