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 Newspeak of MotoGP’s Rules for 2014

08/28/2013 @ 6:49 pm, by David Emmett6 COMMENTS

The Newspeak of MotoGPs Rules for 2014 ministry of truth

At the same time the World Superbike rules for 2014 were announced, the revised version of the MotoGP rules, including updates for next season were also published. But unlike the WSBK rules, no press release was sent out to announce the new rulebook, as the minor rule changes had already been announced previously.

Yet this rulebook marks a sea change in the way MotoGP is defined. For 2013, MotoGP is still defined as prototypes competing with 21 liters of fuel, and an additional class of machines running under the claiming rule banner. From 2014, however, the roles are reversed. All bikes are classed as MotoGP entries, but an exception is made for teams entered under the ‘Factory Option’.

MotoGP bikes are allowed 12 engines and 24 liters of fuel, but must run the official ECU hardware and software. Manufacturers can choose to enter four riders as ‘Factory Option’ entries, who must run the official ECU hardware, but are free to write their own software for the standard ECU. Factory Option entries are allowed only five engines per season, and 20 liters of fuel per race.

It is a remarkable and shrewd rewriting of the rulebook. Although on the face of it, nothing concrete has changed, in effect, the MSMA entries have become the exception, rather than the rule. The concept of a single class has been reinstated, with a special allowance made for factories who wish to submit to the discipline of making do with 20 liters of fuel, in return for the freedom to write their own software.

Having the class redefined in this way is the first step on the way to the removal of that freedom. After all, it is easier to remove an exception than it is to change the rules. The next major rule change is expected to come in 2017, with the removal of the factory option the first priority, closely followed by the imposition of a rev limit.

The introduction of the Factory Option also slips another change under the radar. Where previously, a manufacturer was defined as a motorcycle manufacturer and member of the MSMA, now the link to the MSMA has been dropped. In its place comes an explicit reference to a manufacturer as being either a motorcycle manufacturer or a chassis manufacturer.

This recognition had been demanded by the chassis manufacturers in the series since shortly after the introduction of the Moto2 class. The MSMA was still making the rules, while the chassis manufacturers had no say in the rulemaking process.

The introduction of the Factory Option has another useful side effect. For a while, everyone involved in the sport had been wondering how to refer to the CRT teams now that the claiming rule was to be dropped. By redefining everyone as MotoGP entries, and manufacturer entries as Factory Option, there are once again two clearly defined and easily explained classes: MotoGP, and Factory MotoGP.

While the main change to the rules came in the form of the redefining of the entries to the class, a recently opened loophole was once again closed. When the minutes of the Grand Prix Commission from the Sachsenring were announced, it looked as if it cleared the way to allow a four-rider factory team.

That was never the intention of the rule, though a miscommunication meant that the minutes were so worded as to make it an option. At Indianapolis, that option was closed again, with each manufacturer allowed a total of four entries as a Factory Option, but only two in the factory team.

The full rules for both this season and next are available on the FIM website. For details of the 2014 rules – including full details of the spec ECU – search in the PDF file for “2014″.

Source: FIM

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

Comment:

  1. paulus says:

    ahhh… longevity and fuel efficiency.
    Obviously universally considered to be the 2 most important requirements of the world pinnacle of 2 wheeled road racing.

    ;-)

  2. Anvil says:

    The semantics do seem to be telling. If the result is a steady closing of the performance gap between the (now dubbed) MotoGP and Factory MotoGP bikes, then it’s a good one. If we can get to a place where the MotoGP bikes have a reasonable chance of finishng near or at the front, I’d be happy with that.

  3. jimmy smith jr says:

    Less fuel = Less of that HONDA Horsepower. Less fuel has no effect on Yamaha’s great chassis.

  4. Seb says:

    Less Fuel = less Yamaha horsepower too. Doesn’t change the fact that Honda has the engineering edge. This new limitation will actually make them stronger. And let’s not forget that Honda pretty much owns the series.

  5. damn says:

    24 litres vs 20 litres

    24 litres wil be slower in the first part of the race because of the extra weight. and after burning the extra 4 litres they wont be faster then the factory bikes. And Honda = already riding with 20 litres of fuel so honda wont produce less HP. i expect Honda to have even more HP for next year. As for Yamaha i don’t know if they use the 21 or 20 litres already this year. but i believe strongly that next year with the help of jorge vale and burgess that Yamaha come out with just another great chassis, and with the seamless it wil be a cracking bike to.

  6. mr. damn–i think the intent of more fuel was more bang.

    meaning, in theory, the ‘motogp’ teams can can add more air and make more power–relative to what they’re making now and hopefully approach factory level power (without the development or reliability costs). i’m assuming this was also the intent of the engine allotments.

    in addition, more fuel does not necessarily mean more weight. i’m not clear on the rules here but i’m assuming there is still a minimum requirement. the weight of 4 litres of fuel could be offset somewhere else making the overall weights the same.