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.

Thursday Summary at Sachsenring: On Rossi’s Return, Pedrosa’s Invincibility, & Riding Injured

07/12/2013 @ 12:04 am, by David Emmett2 COMMENTS

Thursday Summary at Sachsenring: On Rossis Return, Pedrosas Invincibility, & Riding Injured valentino rossi win dutch tt aseen motogp yamaha racing 03 635x423

The big question, of course, is can he do it again? After taking his first win in two-and-a-half years and 45 races (after Assen, there were a lot of tortuous calculations being made trying to squeeze the number ’46′ in somewhere) since his previous one, the question is, was it just a one-off or is Valentino Rossi capable of fighting for the win every weekend from now on?

It’s a tough call to make, but on the evidence so far, things are looking good for the Italian. Rossi’s braking problem appears to have been solved, allowing him to ride in the way he wants to. The front end tweaks which his crew chief Jeremy Burgess found at Aragon seem to have worked, and given Rossi confidence in braking again.

Just what those changes were? Matt Birt, writing over on the MCN website, has a full explanation of the changes made by Burgess, but the short version is that they found a solution to cope with the softer construction front Bridgestone tires introduced last year.

Revised fork innards, including changed shims, has made the first part of the fork travel a stiff enough to compensate for the softer tire construction, allowing him to brake harder, yet still turn the bike. Now able to enter corners as he wishes, he should be able to at least fight with the front runners from the start.

Being competitive and winning at the Sachsenring are two different things, however. While the Sachsenring is a track where Rossi has always done well – not like Mugello, perhaps, but still good enough – there is the small matter of Dani Pedrosa to deal with.

The Repsol Honda man has won the race for the last three years, and would have won a couple more with a little more luck. The man himself has no real explanation for why he is so fast around the circuit, other than remarking that he enjoys the corners around the track, but the fact remains that Pedrosa is nigh-on invincible around the Sachsenring.

Or is he? Asked if he thought Pedrosa was invincible at the Sachsenring, Marc Marquez joked, “no… why?” Pedrosa isn’t the only Repsol Honda rider to have won three in a row in Germany. Marquez himself won the 125cc race in 2010, then followed it up with wins in 2011 and 2012 in Moto2.

Asked if Honda had a problem having two men who have dominated at the track for the last two years, Marquez quipped “A problem? Maybe it’s a positive thing for Honda to have both of us be fast!”

Riding a MotoGP bike around the Sachsenring is not as easy as it seems, Marquez said. He thought the track was already pretty tight on a Moto2 machine, that will only get worse on a bike with twice the horsepower. He will once again be starting the weekend on the setting used by Casey Stoner, as his style most resembles that of the now-retired Australian. He has been studying the lines of Stoner, to see what he needs to do to be fast in Germany.

At least the finger he injured at Assen is now much improved. In Holland, Marquez had been forced to brake with just one finger, and had suffered arm pump as a result. His fingers were now much better, and he did not expect to suffer any problems with them. The only question is, can Marquez be fast enough at the Sachsenring? Given the exponential rate at which Marquez learns, the answer must surely be yes.

The other big question is just how fast Jorge Lorenzo can be, after breaking his collarbone at Assen two weeks’ ago. Lorenzo himself is confident, saying in the press conference that he had surprised himself both with the strength of his collarbone during the Assen race, and the speed at which he was recovering.

He is currently working with two physiotherapists every day to help speed his recovery, and despite how recent his injury was, he is confident of being better at the Sachsenring than he was at Assen. He described his collarbone as ‘not feeling perfect, but still feeling good’, and despite the many left handers around the German circuit, he hopes to be fast.

Lorenzo’s team manager Wilco Zeelenberg explained the difference between the two tracks, and their effect on an injured collarbone. ‘Everything below 200 km/h you do with your hips, everything above 200 km/h you do with your upper body,” Zeelenberg said.

Assen is a track with a lot of fast changes of direction – for example the Ramshoek, which you approach at over 270 km/h and then turn into at well over 200 km/h – which places a lot of strain on the upper body. The Sachsenring is all tight corners and slow speeds meaning you ride the bike more technically maneuvering the bike with your hips.

Assen and Mugello are terrible tracks to race with a newly-operated collarbone, The Sachsenring and Laguna Seca are much less of a problem.

Even if he was 100% fit, Lorenzo would have his work cut out for him. The factory Yamaha man has had nothing for the Hondas in the last three outings in Germany, and it is hard to see how Lorenzo could break that cycle.

Only if he was fully fit and at the peak of his performance could he possibly find a way to halt the Hondas, but with a problematic collarbone, he faces a serious challenge. Pedrosa’s lead is only likely to grow at the German circuit.

There was much discussion in the press conference about the role of injuries in the sport. Jorge Lorenzo was adamant that he should not serve as an example to other riders, and that they should not look at what he did, and believe they could or should do the same.

“Other riders should not take my race at Assen as an example, they should take their bodies as an example,” he said. Listen to what your body is saying, was the message he wanted to put across, and make the decision based on that.

Cal Crutchlow pointed out that whether he wanted it or not, Lorenzo would be serving as an example anyway. Any time a rider is injured, and forced to undergo a medical examination by a circuit doctor, riders would point to the example of Jorge Lorenzo and say ‘if he was allowed to ride at Assen, why can’t I?’ Crutchlow explained.

Arguments are almost certain to ensue at some point, and if a championship contender is involved, it could get very ugly indeed. What if Pedrosa were injured and prevented from riding? Crutchlow opined. The matter was surely likely to end in the law courts at some point, and that is not good for anyone.

The problem is that it is almost impossible to come up with a consistent guideline. Each injury is different, and so each injury has to be assessed individually, on a case-by-case basis. Any attempt at making a hard-and-fast rule is doomed to failure, beyond the existing restrictions that riders should not be allowed to ride within 24 hours of undergoing a general anesthetic.

Veteran journalist Dennis Noyes suggested in the press conference that the points system return to that used in 1991, and before that up until 1977, in which a rider would be allowed to discount two or more of their worst results. The idea, Noyes explained, was that allowing riders to skip a race without penalty would give them the chance to make more sensible decisions on riding while injured.

Sensible decisions are not in most riders’ vocabulary, unfortunately. Jorge Lorenzo’s immediate reaction was that riders were likely to end up crashing more, as they would take more risks knowing that a DNF would not be counted against them. That might make for more exciting last lap battles, Valentino Rossi commented, but it would not make the racing any safer.

Most of all, however, the riders agreed on one thing: a championship is 18 races long, and the measure of a champion is his ability to score strong results all season long. All races should count, as all races are equally important. ‘A championship is a championship,’ Crutchlow said. It is not the best 16 of 18, it is every single race.

Photo: Yamaha Racing

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


  1. crshnbrn says:

    “The idea, Noyes explained, was that allowing riders to skip a race without penalty would give them the chance to make more sensible decisions on riding while injured.”

    Not necessarily. Lorenzo finished fifth at Assen. How many MotoGP riders WISH a fifth place finish was their worst result?

  2. TexusTim says:

    can rossi be fast here ? yes will he podium ? thats between him and lorenzo. I think crutchlow may lose too much ground at the start for a tight track like this one. i am thinking pedrosa and marquez will run awaway from the pack leaving those two to fight for the last step and three if crutclow can regain enough ground in the later half of the race…MAY EVERY SINGLE RACE COUNT…ahmen