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: Riders Give Mixed Reactions to Spec-ECU News

09/27/2012 @ 12:53 pm, by David Emmett3 COMMENTS

MotoGP: Riders Give Mixed Reactions to Spec ECU News Indianapolis GP Sunday Jules Cisek 04 635x952

With the MotoGP paddock assembled at the Motorland Aragon circuit, the press got their first chance to gauge rider reaction to the proposal of a spec ECU which Dorna is looking to introduce into MotoGP, most probably from 2014. The reaction was guardedly positive among the MotoGP regulars, though all five riders questioned in the pre-event press conference raised concerns over safety. Only Jonathan Rea, standing in for Casey Stoner in the Repsol Honda team for probably the last time, dissented, believing that MotoGP should be a pure prototype series.

“If everyone has the same electronics, this will be positive for everyone, more positive for the ones who do not have the best electronics,” Jorge Lorenzo told the press conference. He was the first to voice safety concerns. “I think we have to try it and to see if we still have the same security on the bike. Because now we avoid a lot of crashes, especially highsides, and maybe with the standard electronics the bike is a bit more dangerous. Because now, the bikes are more powerful, we have more than 250 horsepower, so we have to be careful of these things.”

For Dani Pedrosa, many unknowns remained, but the experience from Formula One was positive. “It’s hard to say now because it’s a new thing, and nobody tried it, nobody know which challenge this new electronics will provide on the bike,” Pedrosa said. “Obviously it’s a thing coming from Formula One, and it seems like there it’s working. I’m not sure really who is taking the advantage or disadvantage, but it seems like they don’t complain much about that. But obviously a car is not a bike, so everything is unknown.”

Monster Tech 3 Yamaha rider Cal Crutchlow was the most positive of the riders asked, but he warned that it won’t change anything at the front of the race. “I think it’s going to be the same for everyone, I don’t really have a big opinion on it,” Crutchlow said. “I think it’s a good idea, but it makes no real difference, you’re still going to see the same guys in the front. I think the guys who are fast in the championship are fast in the championship for a reason, not just electronics. I don’t think it’s suddenly going to make one guy at the back win the race. But I think it’s good for the championship, and especially the financial situation of everyone.” Never short of a quip, Crutchlow immediately spotted a business opportunity: “Maybe also a leathers manufacturer needs to make a parachute in the humps!” he joked.

Valentino Rossi, who has been critical of the influence of electronics in the past, was similarly cautious. “For me it’s quite early to say, to understand, because it depends very much on the product. I think it’s good to have everyone on the same electronics, but they have to study the right balance, the right level to make sure the bike is safe close to what it is now, but to have a bit less help and make the races more fun and have more fights, so we have to see.” The experience of Formula One was cause for optimism, however: “Like Dani said, when the idea first arrived at Formula One, there were a lot of people who said it was impossible, but at the end, it was possible, and also the races became more fun to follow.”

San Carlo Gresini Honda rider Alvaro Bautista’s main concern was with safety: “I think if you have the same electronics, for sure the races will be more interesting to watch on TV. But you have to see how safe those electronics are. I don’t know what will happen in the future, I think what is most important to the rider is the security, and it will be important to give us the security and the confidence to ride the bike.”

The lone voice of dissent was Jonathan Rea, standing in for the still-injured Casey Stoner, probably for the last time this season. Though he would enjoy racing whatever he was given, MotoGP was supposed to be special. “I’m a rider, I get paid to do a job and I do it,” Rea told the media at Aragon. “Whatever, I’m going to enjoy riding a motorcycle, but for me, it’s nice to ride the best a motorcycle can be, and that is with full electronics, full slick tires, the best of the best. It’s not about cutting corners because of this or that. For me, MotoGP is not spec ECU, it’s prototype racing at its best. But it’s pointless asking me, I’m not opinionated enough about it, but whatever happens happens, it makes no difference to me, it maybe makes some difference to lap time or whatever.”

Imposing a spec ECU could give Honda cause to consider their interest in MotoGP, Rea warned. “I think as a company, especially Honda – I’m not speaking on behalf of them – but it’s very important to develop new technologies so they can filter down to their customers. And they use MotoGP as that test ground. So if they have a spec ECU, maybe the grass will be greener in World Superbikes.”

Rea had an alternative suggestion for fixing the problem of boring racing in MotoGP. “I think the first thing you fix is the tire,” Rea told reports. “Because with the tire, the Bridgestone tire now, the level is so high, I think when you start introducing a tire with less performance – Bridgestone could produce a much worse tire – and let everyone go racing, and it will bring the racing together.”

Photo: © 2012 Jules Cisek / Popmonkey – All Rights Reserved

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

Comment:

  1. Brandon says:

    Tires that perform worse? That may work in cars but in motorcycles it causes crashes. Dumb idea.

  2. JD says:

    @ Brandon is that because you’ve ridden those tires? From what I heard from the racers first hand is that they are unreal and the name of the game is grip, but with, so much in fact that even if it breaks, grip still comes back and fast. (Lookup high-side). The worst feared of crashes. Havent you seen these guys rubbing their shoulders and elbows in the turns? So i believe his point is run nice DOTs or whatever non-gp and watch whos on pole every race and i bet times wont be .100 sec top five riders

  3. EM says:

    Moto GP is starting to look a lot like WSBK. More prototype less CRT please.