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.

First Impressions of New Indy Asphalt Leaves MotoGP Riders Unimpressed

08/26/2011 @ 11:24 am, by Jensen Beeler16 COMMENTS

First Impressions of New Indy Asphalt Leaves MotoGP Riders Unimpressed Ben Spies Indianapolis GP FP1 635x952

UPDATE: MotoGP riders after finishing FP2 said grip improved on the track, though anything off the racing line was quite slippery.

With MotoGP riders getting their first taste of the newly paved infield section at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the talk this morning after the Free Practice 1 session was about how the new track surfaces faired under the GP riders’ scrutiny. Though weather conditions were pretty much optimal, there is a virtually unanimous opinion that even without the bumps and curbing issues, the IMS track has worsened since last year. While most riders took issue with the virtually glass like state of the asphalt, the problem at Indy really is two-fold. Not only is the freshly paved tarmac devoid of any rubber to help aid the grip, but the infield, which is used almost exclusively for the Indianapolis GP, suffers yearly from dirt and debris.

“It is absolutely not improved. It’s very slippery, there is absolutely no grip. It was much, much, better the way it was before,” said a frustrated Dani Pedrosa. “You just can’t lean the bike on the corners…the tires were destroyed this morning. We hope with a little bit more running on the track, we can get a little bit better grip performance and tire wear, because at the moment it is completely horrible.”

Pedrosa’s sentiments were echoed by all the other riders we talked to, including the Yamaha Racing factory riders who had a dichotomy of results. Despite being fastest in the session, American Ben Spies was over three seconds slower than his pole pace from last year’s event. Having an even rougher time than his teammate, reigning MotoGP World Champion Jorge Lorenzo was down in ninth place on the session, just under two seconds behind Spies.

“I don’t feel safe on this new asphalt to be honest. I’ve never tried asphalt so slippery like this, and it’s very dirty,” explained Lorenzo. “Also, It didn’t improve much from the first lap to the last lap. I’m very disappointed about the new asphalt.”

“There are less bumps than last year, but the asphalt is so bad that I prefer the asphalt last year with the bumps. I hope, I really hope that it improves,” Lorenzo continued. “Like this, it is really uncomfortable to race, and I can’t imagine a rain race. It would be a disaster.”

Traditionally, the issue of dirt on the racing line lasts only in the early sessions, as the multiple volleys of motorcycles lapping the course helps clear a clean path around the IMS’s 16 corners. However, the issue of the track being slippery likely stems from the lack of rubber on the racing line, which helps give added grip to the motorcycles.

Because of the way motorcycle tires are shaped and corner through turns, bikes put down far less rubber into the course than a car would for example, meaning the bedding in time for Indy’s infield will take longer than traditionally at other events. We’ll have to see how over the course of today and tomorrow’s sessions the track improves, but right now there are some very skittish professional motorcycle racers in Indianapolis.

Photo: Yamaha Racing

Comment:

  1. keet says:

    i wonder if running some kind of race cars around the track when its not in use by the GP guys would help?

  2. tlzook says:

    Turn a couple rear wheel drive “Drifter” cars with CE2, NH or Rossi behind the wheel, they’ll put some rubber down. Gotta be a couple of IRL cars around there (“raid” the museum) that can get the “slip” off that new surface.

  3. Ted Shred says:

    Let Elena race. She wasn’t whining about the grip…

  4. Trent says:

    What does everyone think of the fact that Nicky said it was “perfect” a few weeks ago?

    http://superbikeplanet.com/2011/Aug/110805b.htm

  5. Dave says:

    Nicky was on a street bike on different tires so it’s not a good comparison. I think he was mainly referring to the smoothness.
    New asphalt will always be slippery. Hopefully it gets better as the weekend goes on but it sounds like for now it may be a one line track.

  6. shawndoh says:

    I am not a fan, but to be fair Nicky did say, “so I’m looking forward to getting back here on the race bike and laying some rubber down and cleaning up the racing line and trying it out.”
    Which could now be viewed as, it was slippery as hell! haha

    I was thinking the same about having cars running at all times the bikes are not- if I was in charge I would be trying to do anything to make them happy. I would view this race as the last chance to keep GP coming to the venue.

  7. MikeD says:

    Well, that blows…but like many mentioned already the solution would be race cars, lots of them lots of times…that’ll put plenty of rubber on the fresh asphalt.

  8. Shaitan says:

    Pathetic. I can’t believe race tracks can’t figure out the science to make tracks sticky and uniform for all types of racing. It would seem if you want to stay in business, that is YOUR business.

  9. TM says:

    By FP2 the top times were less than a half second off of last years. Maybe these guys should just keep their mouths shut until they are sure of what is going on?

  10. Sean in Oz says:

    Most of the time riders are answering direct questions not making statements out of the blue.

    Hayden was never going be a good indication of the quality of the track as he was adamant that there was nothing wrong with the track last year, when everybody else was complaining about it.

    MotoGP FP2 times are 3 seconds faster than FP1, so things are improving. Hopefully the 125 and Moto2 races will get enough rubber down off line for some decent racing in MotoGP.

  11. Spamtasticus says:

    Or, they could comment honestlh on the current state of the track when asked what they think of the current state of the track. Later…. If the track improves….. They can comment, honestly, on how it has improved. Hmmmmmm…

  12. Spamtasticus says:

    My comment was at TM

  13. Isn’t some of the new “quiet” asphalt made with some rubber within it?

  14. SissieRiders@MotoGP says:

    F-in A. I wish the complainers would man up and stop bitching about every little thing. “Oooh, too many bumps. We want new asphalt to smooth out the bumps. Waaah, new asphalt to slippery.” … what a bunch of sissies.

  15. Butch says:

    Well, I guess they can stop whining today. Two riders under the previous lap record in FP3

  16. Keith says:

    The problem with the track is it isn’t in europe…nor as sacred ground as other tracks. Elena seemed to find it just fine on a GP bike, peoples lap times are making liars out of them. So what is “the problem”? Ugly umbrella grrlz?