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.

Official: MotoGP Drops Rookie Rule & Single-Bike Rule – But Restrictions On Factory Bikes Introduced

07/02/2012 @ 5:08 pm, by David Emmett9 COMMENTS

Official: MotoGP Drops Rookie Rule & Single Bike Rule   But Restrictions On Factory Bikes Introduced Honda RC213V Scott Jones

Much was expected of this Friday’s meeting of the Grand Prix Commission, but in the end, the decisions taken were relatively minor. Dorna, IRTA, the FIM, and the MSMA agreed on a number of proposals which had widely been expected, but made no real progress on the major rule changes expected for the 2014 or 2015 season.

The rule change with the biggest immediate impact was the dropping of the Rookie Rule, as we reported during the Silverstone round of MotoGP. The dropping of the Rookie Rule, which prevents new entries into the MotoGP class from going straight to a factory team, opens the way for Marc Marquez to join the factory Repsol Honda team next season. Contrary to popular opinion, however, the rule was not dropped at the request of HRC, but rather of the Honda satellite teams themselves, both Lucio Cecchinello and Fausto Gresini fearing the disruption that Marquez would bring for just a single year.

While the Rookie Rule was scrapped, a couple of other proposals which had been feared were also dropped. The MSMA proposal to go to a single bike – as is the case in Moto2, Moto3 and WSBK – was dropped after opposition from the teams. A proposal to ban the use of carbon brakes was also dropped, especially after pressure on Brembo and Nissin elicited promises to examine the price structure of their products.

One rule that did get accepted was the limit on the number of bikes that each factory can supply. From 2013, each manufacturer will be limited to two factory entries and two satellite entries, though the wording is such that the spec of the machines is not specified. The two factory riders would naturally have factory bikes, but the satellite teams could also field a fully factory-backed bike, such as they did for Marco Simoncelli in 2011.

The most interesting rule change was the freezing of the bore and stroke of all MotoGP entries to the bore and stroke they are currently using. If Ducati are not using the full 1000cc, as many both inside and outside the paddock suspect, they would be stuck with the lower capacity until the end of the 2014 season. This could be the first step towards a freeze on engine development, an idea that is popular with some manufacturers and with the CRT machines. Whether an engine development freeze would be imposed on the CRT bikes is unclear, but if they escaped that freeze, it would give them a chance to close the gap to the factory bikes a little.

The restriction on the number of gear ratios is also in line with this idea. Restrictions already exist in Moto3, and the greater torque and wider powerband of the 1000s already makes the use of a lot of different ratios unnecessary. The teams barely touch the inside of the gearbox, so introducing a limit on the number of ratios allowed has little impact on the setup of the bike. Even though they don’t use the extra gearing currently allowed, they still carry it around the world just in case, adding expense to both the lease price of the bikes, and to the transport costs, the box or two of extra gear cogs a heavy item to transport.

Talks on the rev-limit and a spec ECU were pushed forward once again. A decision on this will probably only be taken much later in the year; whether that means the change will be made later or the restrictions more radical remains to be seen.

Below is the press release from the FIM containing the full details of the decisions made at today’s meeting of the Grand Prix Commission:


FIM Road Racing World Championship Grand Prix
Decision of the Grand Prix Commission

The Grand Prix Commission, composed of Messrs. Carmelo Ezpeleta (Dorna, Chairman), Ignacio Verneda (FIM Executive Director, Sport), Herve Poncharal (IRTA) and Takanao Tsubouchi (MSMA) in the presence of Javier Alonso (Dorna) and Mike Trimby (IRTA, Secretary of the meeting), in a meeting held on 28 June in Assen, decided the following:

Sporting Regulations

Effective immediately:

The same penalty that exists in the MotoGP class for exceeding the permitted number of engines used will also apply in the Moto3 class. The rider will start the race 10 seconds after the green light is on at the pit lane exit.

Effective 01 January 2013:

“Rookie” riders will be permitted to be entered by a factory team.

In the MotoGP class manufacturers are restricted to two direct entries per manufacturer and may provide material for a maximum of two entries per manufacturer operated by Independent teams.

Technical Regulations

Effective Immediately:

Machines entered in the MotoGP class are restricted to using unchanged bore and stroke dimensions throughout 2012-2014. Current dimensions must be notified to the Technical Director.

Minor changes to the regulations concerning Moto3 parts supply were approved. The effect is to ensure that upgrades are available to all entries at the same time.

Effective 01 January 2013:

In the MotoGP class machines may use a maximum of 24 possible gear ratios and four possible ratios for the primary gear.

Other Proposals

A proposal to restrict riders in the MotoGP class to the use of one machine was rejected.

A proposal to ban the use of non ferrous materials for MotoGP class brake discs was rejected.

A proposal to mandate the use of wheels with a standard specification for strength and durability, applicable to all classes, was postponed pending further discussions between factories and wheel suppliers.

A regularly updated version of the FIM Grand Prix Regulations which contains the detailed text of the changes may be viewed on: http://www.fim-live.com/en/sport/official-documents-ccr/codes-and-regulations/

Photo: © 2012 Scott Jones / Scott Jones Photography – All Rights Reserved

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

Comment:

  1. Westward says:

    I read a report that Marquez wants Rossi as a teammate, hoping that he would be more of a mentor as he grows into his role as a factory pilot in the premiere class…

    Limiting the number of bikes a manufacturer can provide seems a bit silly though…

  2. Official: MotoGP Drops Rookie Rule & Single-Bike Rule – But Restrictions On Factory Bikes Introduced – http://t.co/275cokt7 #motorcycle

  3. buellracerx says:

    @Westward – agreed, seems to be in contradiction of their effort to put more bikes on the grid.

    Restrictions on # of ratios seems to foster more strategy & less costs, well thought out, GPC.

    However, freezing bore + stroke, and the thought to move towards engine design freezes seems nearsighted and essentially kills all the fun of a prototype class!

    On the one hand, maybe mfg’s will settle on a design and tool it, making subsequent engines much less costly – but there are also structural requirements of the engines! As long as the chassis change, mounting points and rigidity requirements will always require the engines to be machined from billet.

    Loose boundaries breed innovation. If the engines become frozen, not only will the class lose its element of mystery, but it will put a damper on the technology push – in the end, among all the b.s., racing serves an important development purpose.

  4. Jimmy Midnight says:

    Who do think pulls the strings of the satellite teams. You can try and hide it anyway you want. Honda gets what Honda wants.

  5. I’m really surprised and disheartened to see the 4-bikes/factory ruling put into place. That gives us 6 competitive bikes at best followed by a field of CRTs? Really? At this rate, Rossi should head over to WSBK and get back to bashing fairings with Biaggi and Checa. My only concern is that it seems nigh on impossible for me to watch WSBK this season (I’m in Japan) since the WSBK site no longer seems to keep the Magazine current.

    Bah, humbug!

  6. AD says:

    it’s true that Honda seems to have to much influence on MotoGP. Remember the move to 800′s under the smoke screen it was about speed, yet all the rumour was about being able to build a smaller bike for Pedrosa!

  7. DarN says:

    Why do not just go to all CRT all the time already? At least we may see some competitive racing…

  8. AD says:

    No lets drop the CRT althogether and only have prototype racing! That is what it was when at its best and that’s what it should return to. Remember it’s the likes of MotoGP and F1 that have produced all the fantastic rider/driver aids that we now take for granted as consumers, prototype is the only way it should be even the bicycles we see at the TDF are not what we can buy in shops, but the technology eventually drips down for our benefit.
    Innovation and change is what we do otherwise we would still be racing billycarts and pennyfarthings!

  9. MikeD says:

    Freezing stroke and bore dimensions… REALLY DORNA ? ! LMAO, MotoGP is turning more and MORE into a 2 wheeled Nascar ABORTION.