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.

Honda Goes 1, 2, 3, at Second Day of Testing at Sepang

02/23/2011 @ 10:01 am, by Jensen Beeler1 COMMENT

Honda Goes 1, 2, 3, at Second Day of Testing at Sepang Dani Pedrosa MotoGP Sepang test Repsol Honda.jpg 635x421

The Honda boys were out in full-force today, as MotoGP testing continued at Sepang. With only Toni Elias outside of the Top 7, Honda’s race package for the 2011 season is looking very stout, despite the fact that chassis selections still haven’t been finalized. While landing at the top of the results list is about as useful as yelling “first” in the comments section, Casey Stoner just barely snatched the honor away from Dani Pedrosa in his final lap around the Malaysian circuit, leaving only .058 seconds between the teammates.

Like yesterday, the Yamaha Racing factory squad looked in good form as well, with Spies showing marked improvements despite crashing in one of the sessions. Jorge Lorenzo spent some time on two different bikes, confirming the direction his crew was going with developing the 2011 Yamaha YZR-M1 for the new season.

Things weren’t progressing as well in the Ducati camp though, as all the teams struggled with front-end issues. Notably absent from the day was Valentino Rossi, who has come down with cold/flu like symptoms. He retired to the hotel, in the hopes of being well enough to ride in tomorrow’s last day of testing. Carrying the Corse flag alone, Nicky Hayden had a tough day that ended with gearbox problems. Still, the ever-positive American was hopeful for better fortunes on Thursday as the team seems to have worked out some chatter issues.

Pos.No.RiderBikeTimeDiffDiff Previous
127Casey StonerHonda2:00.171--
226Dani PedrosaHonda2:00.2290.0580.058
34Andrea DoviziosoHonda2:00.5310.3600.302
411Ben SpiesYamaha2:00.8240.6530.293
51Jorge LorenzoYamaha2:00.9310.7600.107
658Marco SimoncelliHonda2:01.0330.8620.102
77Hiroshi AoyamaHonda2:01.4391.2680.406
85Colin EdwardsYamaha2:01.7381.5670.299
9200T2 (with Lorenzo riding)Yamaha2:01.7921.6210.054
1040Hector BarberaDucati2:01.9091.7380.117
1119Alvaro BautistaSuzuki2:02.0351.8640.126
1269Nicky HaydenDucati2:02.2082.0370.173
13100T1Yamaha2:02.5962.4250.388
1414Randy de PunietDucati2:02.6042.4330.008
1565Loris CapirossiDucati2:02.6242.4530.020
1617Karel AbrahamDucati2:02.6762.5050.052
1724Toni EliasHonda2:02.9412.7700.265
1835Cal CrutchlowYamaha2:02.9842.8130.043
199Noburu AokiSuzuki2:04.5824.4111.598

Casey Stoner – Repsol Honda – 1st:
We tested a lot of different things, including the 2011 fork and new shocks, and we found quite a lot of chattering with them. We spent 90% of the day on one bike trying different configurations, changing the geometry to get the new fork working with the bike, but didn’t find anything that felt really good. But these things are necessary to do before the start of the season. We’re slowly starting to lean more towards the standard frame, but tomorrow will give us more confirmation on this. We found the new forks to be quite amazing in the braking points; in hard braking I didn’t need to use half as much pressure and I was able to stop for the corner much quicker, but found a lot more chattering in the last part of the corner. We managed to reduce this but we just seemed to lack the extra feeling that the alternative forks were giving.

Dani Pedrosa – Repsol Honda – 2nd:
Today we were testing mainly suspension parts, a new front fork in the morning that gives us a more positive feeling on braking, and a rear shock in the afternoon that improves the feeling with the rear tyre, so I’m satisfied with the work we’ve done together with Ohlins. We also tried different settings for the chassis and I’d like to be in the position tomorrow to decide which one we will use for this season. Now, both chassis give me a good feeling and I have to put my head down and think about it because it’s a very important decision. Since coming into MotoGP, this test together with the 2006 winter test on the 990cc bike, is the best pre-season. In 2006, I remember we had a very good last test that allowed us to face the first race well prepared and with a lot of confidence; and now it feels very similar. The bike is responding in the areas we need, although the first race is where you see clearly where you win and where you lose. I think Yamaha will be closer than they are now, so we have to keep an eye on them.

Andrea Dovizioso – Repsol Honda – 3rd:
I’m repeating myself, but I’m very, very happy. It was a surprise to do 2’00.9 in the first test and we’ve been able to do 2’00.5 today, which is great. Normally, I’m not so fast in testing, so to be competitive like this is very good. Today, the track conditions were better, as usual in the second day of testing, but another good point is that we have improved our lap times from the first test, and our rivals haven’t so much. In terms of tested items, today we did nothing in particular, just tried a few things that you don’t have time to test during the season, and we were consistent all day. The plan for tomorrow is to do a simulation, and it will be a good training to start the season in Qatar with more information about how the tyres and bike work in race distance.

Ben Spies – Yamaha Racing – 4th:
“I think we had a really successful day, we tried a little bit of a different chassis set up to try and improve the rear grip and we definitely succeeded in that. We did a few long runs and were quite fast on a hot track so it has been really productive finding how to be consistent in the heat. It’s a pity I made a small mistake at the end of the day however I think we’ve gained a lot, especially with the rear grip of the bike.”

Jorge Lorenzo – Yamaha Racing – 5th:
“It was a hard and hot day today, we tried the test bike as well as my 2011 bike to reconfirm a number of new developments. We confirmed that the directi on is right so we will continue tomorrow with this direction on my M1. We’ve definitely improved the traction a lot, although we could still do with some more power.”

Nicky Hayden – Ducati Marlboro Team – 12th:
“It wasn’t the smoothest day, as we had a couple of time-consuming glitches. We had planned to put on some fresh tyres at the end to see how good the changes we’d made really were, but we had a small problem with the gearbox near the end, and there wasn’t time to go back out. We still did 44 laps though, and it was a pretty solid day overall. The team really worked hard today, so thanks to them as always. Our gap to the front is still quite big, but we’ve definitely managed to get the chatter a lot better. It’s not completely cured, but it’s good enough that we can focus on some other stuff. I’ve got a lot of work to do tomorrow, so hopefully we can take a big step and leave here positive.”

Álvaro Bautista – Rizla Suzuki – 11th:
“It seems like at this moment the bike has better durability than the rider! This has been bad luck to get sick at two consecutive tests – I feel very drained but I am confident that I will be ok tomorrow after maybe 12 hours sleep! But there was also some positive points today – we tested a new rear swing-arm which improved the rear grip by a reasonable step and also a new engine map which helped the bike punch off the corner better. My best lap was with race distance already completed on the tyres, so for sure I can go quicker with new tyres but today my condition was not the best for a ‘qualifying’ style lap. I’m frustrated but happy – we have improved the Suzuki quite a lot since the end of 2010.”

Marco Simoncelli – San Carlo Gresini Honda – 6th:
Im really happy because ever since yesterday we have increased our pace and I am much quicker out on track. I found good consistency riding at a solid pace in the low 201″ bracket and a little bit higher. Im satisfied and we are only eight-tenths off the top spot and we still havent used the soft tyre as many others did this morning when track temperatures were better. My best time came on hard tyres and in very different asphalt conditions. During the day I had a small slide out which made me realise that I need to brake a little earlier into the final corner.

Hiroshi Aoyama – San Carlo Gresini Honda – 7th:
Today we continued the work we began yesterday on comparing various technical aspects of the bike to try and understand the choices we have to make before the season starts. Now we have a much clearer idea of the direction to go in I am happy with the work we have done, and I think that both the team and Honda are equally satisfied. Im not as happy with my lap time but we were too busy working through other things. I will try to do better tomorrow, and I am sure Ill manage to do so.

Toni Elias – LCR Honda – 17th:
We had another productive day, though it was very hard to ride in these tropical conditions. From yesterday I felt more comfortable with the bike like I understood the bike a little better, but as I said before we still have a lot of work to do. We managed to work on set-up, even today finding strong points and weak points. Actually, our base set-up give us the chance to make a low 202, but today we focused on different adjustments rather than chasing a fast lap time.

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

Comment:

  1. Andrew says:

    C’mon Casey!