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 Motegi: Of Team Orders, Relative Strengths, & Title Chases

10/11/2012 @ 7:27 pm, by David Emmett4 COMMENTS

Thursday Summary at Motegi: Of Team Orders, Relative Strengths, & Title Chases Dani Pedrosa clutch lever Scott Jones

The press conference room at the Motegi circuit was a busy place on Thursday. The assembled press filed in twice during the afternoon, once to hear the head of Dorna talk about the long-term future of both motorcycle racing world championship series, and then again to hear five world champions talk about this weekend’s racing. There was much to digest.

What Carmelo Ezpeleta had to say about Dorna’s takeover of the World Superbike series has been covered elsewhere, though the irony of Ezpeleta hosting a press conference to talk about what was essentially an end run around HRC’s threats of a withdrawal at a facility owned and operated by Honda was not lost on everyone. The significance of the occasion was clear to all, and the groundwork has been laid for the future of both WSBK and MotoGP, though many fear the outcome.

An hour later, a much lighter mood prevailed when the riders filed in for the usual pre-event press conference. The long term was forgotten for a while, as everyone concentrated on two items: the return of Casey Stoner, and the impact of the Australian’s return on the championship. Will Stoner help Dani Pedrosa in his battle with Jorge Lorenzo for the 2012 MotoGP title? And is he fit enough and fast enough to be able to help if he wanted to?

To take the latter question first, the jury is still very much out. “We won’t know what to expect until tomorrow,” Stoner told the press. Walking around the paddock on the ankle he damaged so badly in the highside at Indianapolis was one thing; the pressures of riding, and the rapid changes of direction required to get around the Motegi race track were something altogether different.

Stoner hadn’t even tried testing his ankle on a bike, he told the press conference. The danger of damaging the ankle somehow, even only slightly, had been sufficient to keep him sat at home on the couch, bored and frustrated, his only relief the occasional trip to see a V8 Supercars race. His fear was that he would miss Phillip Island, something he is simply not willing to countenance. In his last season – and given his personality, I believe that this truly is his last season, with a return completely beyond the realms of possibility – Stoner is determined to race at the track he loves, in front of his home crowd, even if they have to duct tape him to the bike, as he told the crowd at a recent V8 Supercars event.

Given Stoner’s performance the day after he suffered his ankle injury, it seems likely he will be quick from the moment he takes to the track. But being fast enough to mix it with Dani Pedrosa and Jorge Lorenzo is another matter altogether. Even if he is, the second question remains: would he be willing to sacrifice his own chances in his final year of racing to help his teammate win his first MotoGP championship?

Despite the wave of imploring requests emanating from Spain, the answer appears to be no. Asked if Honda had requested Stoner help Pedrosa win the title, the Australian was terse. “They haven’t and I don’t believe they will.” That, Stoner said, was not the way to win a title. “As I’ve said in the past, championships are won fair and outright, and not because of the result of a teammate helping out.” The chances of Stoner helping Pedrosa? “There’ll be none of that.”

Nor would Pedrosa want such help. At Aragon, the Spaniard had already made it clear that he expected nothing from Stoner, nor would he dream of asking. You win championships on your own, Pedrosa had explained, and there was no point in hoping for help from other quarters. “Casey is a winner,” Pedrosa had said. Expecting Stoner to throw away his own chances was entirely unrealistic.

But Pedrosa may not need much help. The Repsol Honda man has been getting stronger as the season has progressed. Pedrosa has been getting more and more competitive, and, according to Casey Stoner, the tracks in the last part of the season suit the Honda better than the tracks in the first half. At Motegi, Honda’s home track and the place that HRC bring the RC213V for testing, Pedrosa should be even stronger than normal: the stop-start nature of the track favors the Honda’s fearsome acceleration, with few places where the bike is on its side for long enough for chatter to be a significant problem.

Motegi holds a bad history for Pedrosa, though. This was the circuit where he crashed so badly in 2010, causing the injury that came close to ending his career. Asked if he had bad memories of the track because of that, Pedrosa showed some of the humor he has been less and less shy in displaying this year. “For me, this is common in many tracks!” Pedrosa joked. Motegi is not the only track where Pedrosa has been hurt…

Jorge Lorenzo remains confident, however. The factory Yamaha man is far more sure of his M1 than he was last year, the bike proving massively more competitive than in 2011. Leading the championship by 33 points gives him a comfortable margin, if he can keep within sight of Pedrosa. “At this moment it is difficult to fight for the win,” he told reporters, “but we can still do it, we can still be competitive for the victory.” His goal was to win another couple of races before the season was out, and the bike is good enough to do that.

A win would be hard at Motegi. Acceleration, never Yamaha’s strong point, is where he believed he would struggle, Lorenzo said. But there were plenty of points where he can make up for that: the outstanding stability under braking and excellent corner entry mean that Lorenzo can leverage those advantages in the many areas of hard braking that are such a feature of Motegi. He may lose on corner exit, but there were plenty of opportunities to make it all back up again, on the way into the following corner.

A thirty-three point deficit is large, and Pedrosa is not confident of being able to close it. He knows he cannot rely on his teammate Casey Stoner, whether the Australian is fit or not. But with four race still left to go, everything is still to play for. At Motegi, the title race could close up just a little bit more.

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.


  1. Mark says:

    An injured Casey may not be fit enough for first place but perhaps second, relegating Jorge to third. Would that be enough? Total respect amongst those three riders even though they don’t give an inch on the track. I don’t need theatre off track, I need it on the track. Interesting times ahead however.

  2. Kk says:

    Funny how Honda is throwing threats around when dorna had to change the rookie rule so Honda could pull up Marquez. Ill never stand behind Honda because of stuff like this. Seems like Honda thinks they are the only manufacturer that matters….

  3. Rider says:

    Dorna let Suzuki around the rookie rule while it was still in place..

  4. “Dorna let Suzuki around the rookie rule while it was still in place..”

    Yeah, and you can bet that Dorna learned their lesson very, very well thanks to that particular outcome (Suzuki backing out of the championship altogether).