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.

Friday Summary at Brno: Of Red Flags, Fast Ducatis, & Future Ducati Riders

08/24/2012 @ 10:22 pm, by David EmmettComments Off

Friday Summary at Brno: Of Red Flags, Fast Ducatis, & Future Ducati Riders dani pedrosa repsol honda motogp brno 635x421

Friday would prove to be an eventful first day of practice at Brno. Thrills, spills, and plenty of flag waving, mostly of the red variety, as crashes played havoc with the day’s schedule. It started in the morning, during FP1 for MotoGP, when Valentino Rossi ran wide in the final corner, and his rear wheel kicked up a couple of sizable rocks. The rocks hit Dani Pedrosa, on the top of his foot and the front of his fairing, destroying the screen. How fast was he going when he was hit by the rocks, one intrepid reporter asked? “I don’t know my speed,” Pedrosa quipped, “but the rocks were going like they were shot out of a gun.”

And they weren’t small rocks either. Asked what size they were, Pedrosa held up both hands, touching thumbs and forefingers together to make a circle. “Like this,” he said. About the size of a grapefruit, then. Pedrosa said he had been worried that the impact had broken a bone in his foot, and the Spaniard was limping visibly as he got off his Repsol Honda, but the pain subsided as the session continued, reassuring him that there was nothing broken, just banged-up and bruised.

It did not stop Pedrosa from being the fastest man in both sessions. The Honda was supposed to have problems at right-handed tracks, Pedrosa was asked. “We have a lot of chatter at the front and at the rear,” he agreed. It was worse in some corners, but he was making up the loss in others. Pedrosa is due to test some new parts on Monday, and even more new parts at a private test in Aragon in two weeks’ time. If this is how good the Honda is with chatter, it might be time for Jorge Lorenzo to start getting worried once Honda fixes the bike.

The incident with Rossi and Pedrosa caused the session to be red-flagged, for the marshals to clear the track. It would be the first of three: the following session, FP1 for Moto2, Claudio Corti flung his Italtrans Kalex into the air fence, destroying a section which then needed replacing. Yonny Hernandez repeated the trick in the afternoon’s MotoGP FP2 session, once again bringing out the red flags.

The falls causing the red flags were not the only crashes. In total, riders went down 21 times – that is 3 more than at Indianapolis on Saturday, a total which triggered a chorus of complaints that Indy was too dangerous a track – with Riccardo Moretti and Alan Techer being taken to the medical center with heavy bruising and a concussion, respectively. But for the most part, the types of crashes were different, riders lowsiding rather than highsiding, and generating more ignominy than injury.

Why the crashes? Was the track so greasy, as one photographer had noted upon his return from the track? Yes, most riders agreed, the track had been greasy, but it was more that the grip had not improved in the afternoon session as much as they had expected, and so riders were pushing harder, then being let down by the hot track temperature.

The track was also giving some cause for concern over tire choice. Most riders had tried both the harder and the softer tire, but few had been able to get the hard rear to provide any grip. Whether the soft tire would last the distance was a question mark. Dani Pedrosa was not so concerned; Valentino Rossi, on the other hand, was rather worried, and everyone wanted more time on the tires to check their durability. That may not be possible: rain started to fall just as night fell at the circuit, and it is predicted to keep falling through the morning and perhaps part of the afternoon. A similar pattern is predicted for race day, with a wet morning followed by questionable conditions for the afternoon.

For the first time in a while, Valentino Rossi won’t be praying for rain in Sunday. The Italian looked much stronger at Brno than he has for a while – “You looked like Valentino Rossi,” one veteran journalist quipped to the Italian – and the gap to Pedrosa was only half a second. The difference was not related to his decision to leave Ducati at the end of the year, Rossi said, explaining that the difference was much more about the track than anything else. Rossi has had problems in left-handers with the Ducati, and Brno goes the right way round for the Desmosedici. Brno was also one of the best races for Rossi last year, and that confidence is carrying into this weekend as well. They still have some settings to try tomorrow, but Rossi is confident of going well if it’s dry on Sunday.

Rossi also told reporters that he would no longer be working on developing the 2013 Desmosedici. The team were heading for Misano later this week for a private test, at which Rossi will try some parts that he will be able to use later in the season. But his role in developing the bike for the future is over, he said.

That role falls to Andrea Dovizioso now. “I don’t want to talk too much about Ducati,” the Italian protested, as he faced a barrage of questions about 2013 and whether he feared the same fate as Rossi and Marco Melandri on the bike. Would he be able to ride the bike? “You don’t know until you try,” Dovizioso reiterated. “When I switched from Honda to Yamaha, they told me many things about the Yamaha, which turned out not to be true.”

The feeling was different than he had been led to believe, Dovizioso explained, and so he would have to wait until Valencia to find out exactly how the bike would actually feel. While he had been reluctant to consider Ducati when he was forced out of Honda at the end of 2011, meetings with Filippo Preziosi and Ducati CEO Gabriele Del Torchio were what had convinced him. They had made him believe in the Ducati project, Dovizioso said.

First, though, Dovizioso is hoping for some good results at Brno. Ending the session less than two tenths from Dani Pedrosa – and assisted by the absence of Casey Stoner – the Italian could go one better than the brace of third places he has had. Really, he would like to win, Dovizioso said. “But still there is Jorge and Dani. This is not a small problem.” Just how close he can get we shall see on Sunday.

Photo: Honda

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

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