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.

Casey Stoner Leads MotoGP Testing at Sepang

02/22/2011 @ 12:14 pm, by Jensen BeelerComments Off

Casey Stoner Leads MotoGP Testing at Sepang Casey Stoner Repsol Honda Sepang test MotoGP 635x421

Casey Stoner set the pace today at MotoGP’s second off-season test at Sepang. The Australian, and the rest of the four factory Honda riders, proved to be very impressive on the Malaysian track, as the 2011 Honda RC212V seems to be hitting its stride just before the season opener in Qatar in a few weeks.

The Honda riders don’t have things all sewn up though, as the Yamaha of Jorge Lorenzo was looking very fast, as were Americans Ben Spies and Colin Edwards. Earlier in the day, nine-time World Champion Valentino Rossi even cracked into the Top 5 on the standings, and despite finishing the day just over a second behind Stoner, the Italian was upbeat about the team’s progress and his physical condition.

Pos. No. Rider Bike Time Diff Diff Previous
1 27 Casey Stoner Honda 2:00.987 - -
2 26 Dani Pedrosa Honda 2:01.360 0.373 0.373
3 1 Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha 2:01.468 0.481 0.108
4 5 Colin Edwards Yamaha 2:01.654 0.667 0.186
5 4 Andrea Dovizioso Honda 2:01.747 0.760 0.093
6 11 Ben Spies Yamaha 2:01.808 0.821 0.061
7 7 Hiroshi Aoyama Honda 2:01.939 0.952 0.131
8 58 Marco Simoncelli Honda 2:01.996 1.009 0.057
9 46 Valentino Rossi Ducati 2:01.999 1.012 0.003
10 19 Alvaro Bautista Suzuki 2:02.224 1.237 0.225
11 40 Hector Barbera Ducati 2:02.645 1.658 0.421
12 69 Nicky Hayden Ducati 2:02.680 1.693 0.035
13 24 Toni Elias Honda 2:02.779 1.792 0.099
14 14 Randy de Puniet Ducati 2:02.920 1.933 0.141
15 35 Cal Crutchlow Yamaha 2:02.936 1.949 0.016
16 65 Loris Capirossi Ducati 2:03.082 2.095 0.146
17 17 Karel Abraham Ducati 2:03.167 2.180 0.085
18 100 T1 Yamaha 2:03.676 2.689 0.509
19 300 Nobuatsu Aoki Suzuki 2:04.639 3.652 0.963
20 200 T2 Yamaha 2:04.958 3.971 0.319

Casey Stoner – Repsol Honda RC212V – 1st
“We had a really good day today. From the beginning I felt more comfortable with the bike again, like I understood the bike a little better. We managed to work on set-up, but we are still doing a chassis comparison, finding strong points and weak points on both. It’s difficult to choose one or the other. Whatever set-up we throw at them we seem to be able to run pretty similar lap times. We’re very happy with the progress we made today and everything and everybody seems to be working well.”

Dani Pedrosa – Repsol Honda RC212V – 2nd
“We made the most of the test today, which is a good job, because it looks like tomorrow we will get some rain. In the morning, we focused on some different electronic mappings to improve the entering and exit of the corners and in the afternoon we did some set-up modifications on the chassis to improve the stability on braking. The track temperature was high at the middle of the day and the track was quite slippery, but we did a good test and tomorrow we will work on smaller details. Also, physically my shoulder felt better on the bike than in the first test. I had two more weeks and I’ve become stronger from training, so my condition is getting better.”

Andrea Dovizioso – Repsol Honda RC212V – 5th
“I’m really happy about how we have started this second test. Honda engineers have made a very good job on the engine brake with the electronic system to improve the feeling on the rear and these are really good because, I have to say, that it was our main problem last year and we couldn’t make such a big step forward as we did today. We have decreased the chattering compared to the first test and the stability on the rear, so I’m very satisfied. We were able to be fast from the beginning and, even though we were not looking for a lap time today, we tried three different tyre compounds and we had a good pace with all of them.”

Jorge Lorenzo – Yamaha Factory Racing – 3rd
“Today was a good day for me, we worked on the traction to improve it from the previous test which helped us a lot in the set up, I’m now very satisfied with it. We have our chassis for 2011 now and we are working on it as well as our engine spec. With the improvements we’ve made we can now brake a little later and enter the corners a little more quickly as well so I was able to do some good fast consistent lap times this afternoon when it was still very hot on the track.”

Ben Spies – Yamaha Factory Racing – 6th
“Today we came to this test with the engine configurations we’re going to race with so both bikes have that. We just warmed up in the morning and spent the afternoon on one set of tyres. We set our fastest lap of the day when it was very hot and mid race distance on a hard tyre. We’re saving some tyres for the end of the test when the track’s good. We worked on some race set up an d I also worked on some different riding styles. We’ll start again tomorrow with plenty more to do. We tried a couple of shocks and found a few tenths and were still consistently fast on used tyres which was promising. It’s definitely a good day and I’m happy with it.”

Valentino Rossi – Ducati Marlboro Team – 9th
“We can be satisfied with today as a first day, because we’re a second from the top, like we were at the end of the first test but without trying a late ‘time attack’ with the soft tyre like the others did. For the most part today, I was between fifth and sixth place, which is the goal we had set. I’m still losing about three tenths due to the shoulder, because I’m still stronger in the left turns, whereas I’m normally the opposite; the rest we’ll have to find by working on the bike. I’m also happy because we spent all our time on the hard tyres, which we struggled with before today. In the end, we chose one of the two setups that we had settled upon at the last test, and that will now be our base to work from, and the one on which we’ll concentrate our efforts in the next couple of days.”

Nicky Hayden – Ducati Marlboro Team – 12th
“It’s good to be back at Sepang, working on and developing the GP11. We spent the morning checking a few things and confirming what we had learned the last time we were here. Everything pretty much went according to schedule, except I had a little crash in Turn 1 toward the end of the morning session. It was really hot, and I lost the front and tipped over, but I was going slow and didn’t do any damage to myself or the bike. Today we experienced less chatter than we had last time, so that’s quite good. We need to keep reducing that over the next two days and also find some more traction, so we’ve got plenty to keep us busy.”

Álvaro Bautista – Rizla Suzuki – 10th
“Well, I feel much better today than the last time I did some laps here – then it wasn’t so nice with the sickness! Today I wanted to ride in a calm way and concentrate on the details that we had to work on. Also, last time here in Sepang we really struggled to use the hard rear tyre, so we did many laps on it today and made some progress. Then finally we put in some softer tyres – the same as I used in the race last year – and the feeling was really smooth and very easy to make a low 2.02. We didn’t make an exciting lap-time today but we improved the bike, especially on corner exit where it now feels much smoother. I’m looking forward to pushing a bit harder tomorrow.”

Marco Simoncelli – San Carlo Gresini Honda – 8th
“We have resumed from the last test of twenty days ago always here at Sepang. Today the track conditions were not optimal and, in any case, I have not tried for a lap time, but we have engaged in many trials. We tested different set-ups and electronics and will continue to do so tomorrow. I’m pretty happy because the tyres had twenty laps and could make for interesting times of around 2 ’02. Honestly, we’re a little far from first because we have a gap of a second, but I am confident because I have not used the very soft rubber. I repeat, as a first step we are not far from the best and so I’m happy.”

Hiroshi Aoyama – San Carlo Gresini Honda – 7th
“I did a lot of laps and a lot of work. I have done several comparative tests and found a different feeling, but in the end I was feeling much better with the technical parts that I already knew. Tomorrow I will continue to do the work, but it certainly is not easy to find a good condition with new solutions and, anyway, we will see. In any case, it was an interesting day to understand which direction to take to continue to work successfully for the season that is approaching.”

Source: MotoMatters, HRC, Yamaha Racing, Ducati Corse, & Rizla Suzuki

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