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.

The Marquez Rule: MotoGP to Drop the Rookie Rule in 2013

06/17/2012 @ 4:35 pm, by David Emmett15 COMMENTS

The Marquez Rule: MotoGP to Drop the Rookie Rule in 2013 Marc Marquez Moto2 Silverstone 635x421

The rookie rule is to be dropped for the 2013 season. The Spanish daily El Pais is reporting that Dorna and IRTA have decided that the rule preventing MotoGP rookies from being signed to a factory team had to be scrapped due to the difficulties presented by the limited number of bikes available to ride. As a consequence, it was felt it was better to drop the rookie rule altogether, rather than create more problems for existing satellite teams by maintaining it.

The rule had outlived its usefulness, explained IRTA secretary Mike Trimby. “The situation has changed. There are far fewer opportunities for rookies now than there were when the Rookie Rule was introduced.” In 2010, the first year of its introduction, there were three satellite Ducati seats, two satellite Yamaha seats and four satellite Honda seats available.

In 2013, there will be just two satellite Yamahas and two satellite Hondas, with perhaps just a single satellite Ducati available, though Ducati team boss Alessandro Cicognani said that it was Ducati’s intention to keep two satellite Ducatis if possible, and the factory was willing to look at pricing to help achieve that goal.

The catalyst of all this is of course Marc Marquez. Though it appears as if Dorna boss Carmelo Ezpeleta has caved in to pressure from Honda, who were known to be keen to have Marquez go straight to the Repsol Honda team, the pressure to drop the rule also came from the satellite Honda teams themselves. As LCR boss Lucio Cecchinello explained, maintaining the Rookie Rule would have caused massive problems for both the LCR and the Gresini Honda teams had they signed Marquez.

The Spaniard has a very long-standing relationship with Repsol, and that relationship would have meant the teams losing their own oil sponsors, LCR with ELF and Gresini with Castrol. They would also have to lose staff to make way for the crew Marquez is currently working with. With Marquez almost certain to then leave for the Repsol Honda team the year afterwards, there would have been massive disruption to the long-term relationships the satellite Honda teams had already built up with sponsors and crew, with little prospect of being able to repair them afterwards.

With the Rookie Rule out of the way, Marquez’ path has been cleared to join Dani Pedrosa at the Repsol Honda squad. A HRC source said that no contract had been signed, though they acknowledged that talks were ongoing. They also affirmed that Honda were keen to retain the services of Dani Pedrosa, who they still consider vital to their Championship chances.

No announcement has been made concerning the Rookie Rule, but it is likely to be included with a raft of other changes to be introduced after approval by the Grand Prix Commission at Assen in just under two weeks’ time.

Photo: Honda

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

Comment:

  1. German says:

    Marquez and Monlau Team coula have used a FTR Honda like Pirro’s and problem solved, or even ride a satellite Ducati. I think Dorna agreed to trash the rule because Honda agreed on the control ecu and/or rev limit. Nothing is for free

  2. Jonathan says:

    So Marquez gets parachuted straight into the inner circle. There’s a surprise. I guess there’s no point in learning the Motogp ropes and being fast unless you can bring sponsorship with you. Still, no-one else wanted that Honda seat, did they?

    Someone remind me again why the big guys are limited to 2 factory + 2 satellite bikes in an era when sparse grids are being padded out with thinly disguised superbikes? I know all about the numbers but proper grown-up racing is never going to be cheap. And no-one is going to sponsor you for being last.

  3. sicfan says:

    How is that fair, what a load of balls, pol espagaro will probably win the moto2 championship and end up on a CRT lol, I truly hate that little repsol golden boy who doesn’t seem to have any track awareness

  4. BBQdog says:

    Spanish rider, spanish team, spanish organisation. Repsol. Honda. Do I have to say more ?

  5. anti says:

    He is a liability, I wonder which current MotoGP rider he will kill next year. Maybe he should be relegated to Moto 3 till he discovers respect for others safety.

  6. John says:

    Is there any better evidence of why MotoGP is in trouble?

  7. irksome says:

    Hopefully, he’ll have as much success as Tony Elias did…

    It amazes me that people are so willing to crown a new alien; has this kid even tested a 1000cc MGP bike?

  8. DareN says:

    sicfan has good point – seems like all those riders born with silver spoon in their mouths have problems when they encounter real adversary. Pumpered from the beggining of their carieers, they are not mentally prepared to claw their way to the top. IMO there are few riders in Moto 2 more or equally tallented – Espagaro, Luhti and especially, Andrea Iannone, who,I think , is totally ready to jump to MotoGP.

  9. Cpt.Slow says:

    My vote goes to crazy joe!

  10. MotoJoe says:

    This is getting as bad.

  11. Bucks Miaggi says:

    @Jonathan:
    These “thinly disguised superbikes” are not even on par with their counterparts. The reason is the engine limit: 12 for CRT in MotoGP, no limit in WSBK. Apparently Biaggi used 28 engines in 2011 (there are sources that even state 34). With the engine limit, the engines have to be detuned to last longer, and can’t rev as high and produce as much power as in WSBK. How much of this loss can you recover with a prototype chassis and carbon brakes?

    Regarding the Rookie Rule stunt: IMO MotoGP will hurt itself a lot with this rule change, because they will lose a good chunk of the little credibility that’s left. They could have moved Marquez to his own satellite team, and made one of the existing satellite teams switch to CRT for one year to be able to retain the mechanics etc while still abiding by the 2 factory + 2 satellite bikes rule (which is also stupid, but maybe really necessary to push CRTs, don’t know).
    This move is totally unnecessary, and will hurt MotoGP’s and especially Marquez’ reputation big time. Even IF he really is the next big thing, there is no way he will win the championship for the Honda factory team in his first season.

  12. Grant Madden says:

    Riders used to be able to move up when both they and the teams thought they were ready.why not.They are the guys who should know.Very unusual to win a class the first season.Taking a season to come to grips with the new class seems to make sense.Good luck to the man.At least this way he gets to stay with a sponsor who has faith in him.Sponsors are really hard to find!!
    Best of luck to you Marc,hope you take a season to come to grips with the new machinery and become a better rider as a result.

  13. Lindsay says:

    Who’s the last guy who jumped on a factory bike straight out of the top support class?

    A little known Spaniard by the name of Jorge Lorenzo you say?

    Well that guy’s not achieved much has he? I don’t see why they ever allowed it…

  14. Slangbuster says:

    What Honda wants….Honda gets!!! Hope he doesn’t chip a tooth on that silver spoon. “I’m not a Repsol Golden Boy! I’M NOT…I’M NOT…I’M NOT!

  15. Bryan says:

    Not at all surprised.
    @ BBQdog: Let’s add – We (Motogp) Need Ratings and Publicity….Badly.
    Since Stoner will leave a huge gaping hole; and I think we are seeing beginning of the end for Pedrosa. Was first ‘fiddle’, then second behind Stoner, now it will be second behind Marquez. Nervous much?