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.

Sunday Summary at Brno: Of Racing Like Champions, Bad Luck, & Replacement Riders

08/27/2012 @ 10:10 am, by David Emmett3 COMMENTS

Sunday Summary at Brno: Of Racing Like Champions, Bad Luck, & Replacement Riders Dani Pedrosa Jorge Lorenzo Brno Pass 635x425

Dani Pedrosa has something of a reputation. Blisteringly fast when out on his own, but put him under pressure and he crumbles. Once passed, he is history, and he will trouble you no more.

There has never been that much truth to that accusation, and the MotoGP race at Brno should drive the final nail into its coffin, for what the diminutive Spaniard displayed on Sunday was the heart and courage of a lion. The race did not have much passing – just three passes for the lead in the entire race – but it was a genuine thriller nonetheless.

Jorge Lorenzo and Dani Pedrosa broke away early, despite the best efforts of Cal Crutchlow to hang on – and impressively, he hung on for a remarkably long time – and the stalking began. Pedrosa hung on Lorenzo’s tail for 12 laps, then Lorenzo gave way, needing a breather. The roles where reversed, this time Lorenzo snapping at Pedrosa’s tail, waiting for an opportunity to appear.

It came in the very final lap: through the tightest part of the stadium section, Lorenzo used his line to cut under Pedrosa and take charge of the race. Pedrosa had seen him coming – he’d been catching glimpses of Lorenzo’s fairing throughout the last lap or so – but was unprepared for where Lorenzo attacked. Down the hill to Turn 10 there was nothing Pedrosa could do, but he knew he had an opportunity in the final chicane.

When Lorenzo moved over to prepare the wide racing line, Pedrosa was past on the brakes, leaving Lorenzo to hang on to as much corner speed as possible in a desperate if fruitless attempt to take the position back on the run into the final corner. Pedrosa took victory, one of the best of his career.

The racing may have been tense, but three passes for the lead are not a lot. The lack of passing, both Pedrosa and Lorenzo agreed, is because they are so close to the limit all race long that there is simply no margin for overtaking. Jorge Lorenzo’s team manager Wilco Zeelenberg begged to differ: Pedrosa had spent the first twelve laps probing at Lorenzo in the hope of forcing a mistake. “He was thinking, ‘if I’m up his ass enough, he might make a mistake, he might drop it’ and then he gets a whole bunch of points, not just the five extra for a win”. He went on to add that Lorenzo had been thinking along exactly the same lines, hoping to force a zero for his opponent.

But when it came down to it, both men were willing to risk everything for the sake of pride, however. Dani Pedrosa used his wits and his courage to attack, Jorge Lorenzo used his guile and his skill to defend. Both men rode like true champions today. Even Valentino Rossi was impressed: “We need a fight like this in MotoGP.”

With two wins in a row, and his third of the season, Pedrosa has started to swing the momentum of the season his way. Could this be a psychological turning point? Maybe, but Wilco Zeelenberg isn’t getting worried yet. “Worried? We’re 13 points ahead, not 13 points down!” Zeelenberg was keen to point out that Pedrosa really needs to win all of the races for the rest of the year if he wants to be champion. “This is only the third time that Dani has beaten Jorge,” he said.

It was a big day for Cal Crutchlow too, though the Englishman was looking positively sanguine about it. It had been coming for a while, he said, but what he was more happy about was his pace. He had made just a single mistake – running wide at Turn 3 on the seventh lap – and his pace had been good enough to stay within sight of Pedrosa and Lorenzo for most of the race.

“I think finally we didn’t have the full pace of them guys, but we weren’t that far away. This is a long track, and if you lose in a couple of areas, you’re never going to get it back in some other areas,” Crutchlow told reporters. He was watching the Spaniards closely, however, aware that this would be the first British podium for 12 years, but also aware that if they took each other out, he would be the first Briton to win a race in the premier class since Barry Sheene. A very, very long time ago.

Was the fact that he finally had a new contract anything to do with his podium? Crutchlow was insistent that it wasn’t: “Everyone’s always always going to say that I got the contract sorted and before it was on my mind but it doesn’t matter to me.” Like every sportsperson at this level, he had learned to compartmentalize and focus, Crutchlow explained. “I don’t mind blocking stuff out, I’ve had other things I’ve had to block out as well over the years of racing, you learn to deal with it, same as the other riders do. Jorge has had the same, on and off the track, he’s learned to block it out. It’s just part of what we do.”

After his strongest weekend for a while, Valentino Rossi did not have the race he had been hoping for. He got off to a good start, but on the second lap, his Ducati blew out a cloud of smoke, oil which had been dumped into the airbox, leaving oil all over his boot and footpeg. This made riding difficult for a while, and meant he lost ground on Dovizioso, and then had to let Stefan Bradl pass. Around Lap 7, his rear tire started to slide too much, a problem that Rossi has had with the Desmosedici since he joined Ducati, and which setup changes have failed to solve. The Italian was positive about the weekend overall, but it felt like he was putting a brave face on it.

For Ben Spies, it is well past the stage of putting a brave face on things. Another race, another weird problem, this time with an overheating clutch which lost him a lot of ground in the first couple of laps. As soon as Spies snicked his bike into second gear, the engine hit the rev limiter, and Spies knew exactly what the problem was. After the race, when his crew looked at his data, he did nothing out of the ordinary at the start that might have overheated the clutch. The clutch plates looked normal, with no signs of damage or wear. Normally, it took a couple of practice starts in a row to cook the clutch, but he hadn’t done anything like that.

Once his clutch had recovered – and Spies had recovered at least some of his composure – the Texan decided he would catch the group ahead of him and take 5th or nothing. It turned out to be nothing, pushing the front and lowsiding as he tried to chase down the guys ahead. Spies’ season is a bona fide disaster, and he has no idea where to look for solutions. Any solution would do: “Does anyone have a chicken with them we could sacrifice?” He joked to reporters as they filed into his media debrief….

Ducati have now packed up and gone to Misano, where they will run a private test on Tuesday and Wednesday, but most of the rest have all stayed on. Joining the Repsol Honda team is Johnny Rea, fresh from a very tough weekend at the Moscow round of World Superbikes. Rea is being rewarded for his loyalty, his effort, but most especially, for winning the Suzuka 8 hour race for Honda, a race of massive importance for HRC.

Rea is to replace Casey Stoner at the next few rounds – Misano and probably Aragon, at the very least – and some are whispering that it is also an audition for the Gresini Honda ride. However, sources close to the negotiation say that that deal could already be wrapped up by the time we get to Misano, giving Rea precious little time to show his potential. It won’t stop him from trying, though.

Photo: Yamaha Racing

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


  1. J W says:

    One of the best contests this year, the photo is desktop worthy and I am using it. It makes me want to watch another race, as I had lost my way, drifing and wandering off from the Moto GP straight and narrow path I once was on.

  2. anti says:

    Whoa! Look at that photograph! Amazing. Who shot it? Just supplied by Yamaha….

    Fastest short circuit riders in the world right now, on the fastest short circuit bikes in the world. Awesome. I’d be happy for either of these class riders to win the 2012 title…

    Everyone may dismiss MotoGP in favour of WSBK. Personally, viewing WSBK rider scrapping on street bikes with fake headlights doesn’t appeal to me as much as watching a masterclass in alien skills on unobtanium machinery.

    That shot made my day.

  3. That pass by Jorge on the inside of Dani was EPIC. And then the subsequent back-and-forth dash to the line. Best MotoGP finish I’ve seen in an age.

    One quick note to Spies: Love that you give 100% all the time, man, but getting points is better than binning any day. Just sayin’.