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.

Flammini Talks about the Future of World Superbike

10/09/2012 @ 10:52 am, by David Emmett7 COMMENTS

Flammini Talks about the Future of World Superbike tom sykes inverted 635x471

After the bombshell announcement that Bridgepoint was putting Dorna in charge of both the MotoGP and World Superbike series, the media were keen to get a reaction from either of the Flammini brothers, the two men who had helped to grow the series into the success it is today, and who currently run WSBK. After an initial deafening silence, Paolo Flammini finally made an appearance at Magny-Cours on Sunday morning, to explain his, and Infront’s, point of view. Our friends at the Italian website InfoMotoGP.com were present to record the press conference on video.

Flammini did not say much – indeed, he started his speech with the words “I don’t have much to add to what is written in the press release,” – but what he did say helped clarify the situation a little. Starting off with an understatement – “This step represents a very big moment in the history of World Superbikes”, Flammini told the assembled media – the Italian was at pains to make clear that World Superbikes would face few changes for 2013. “Many people are worried for the 2013 season, but nothing special will happen,” he said, emphasizing that his aim was to keep stability in the series.

Flammini, his brother Maurizio, and his team at Infront had worked hard to make World Superbikes, and would continue to do what they could to ensure its success in the future. “We will do whatever is necessary for the good of the World Superbike championship,” Flammini said. “Whatever will be the end of the reorganization process, whatever will happen during the next weeks and months, we want that the World Superbike championship will continue to grow, will continue to be a very strong product.”

Flammini accepted that changes were inevitable, though he told reporters that he believed that the most logical step would be for the current Infront team who run the series to remain in place. Flammini emphasized that any changes to be made should have a positive effect on the series: “The only important thing is that the changes are for the good, and if we obtain that we are happy.”

He was uncertain about his own position, Flammini told reporters, but he acknowledged that it was a risk that companies run when they partner with larger companies. “Clearly, when you open your company to external investors, you give an advantage to your company, but you can lose power at a personal level,” Flammini said. “This is not a problem, as long as this reorganization process will bring a good result for the World Superbike championship, we will cooperate, we will push for the good whatever will be our position in the new structure, if there will be a position.”

The championship would not change radically in the short term, Flammini told reporters. The Superbike Commission – WSBK’s rulemaking body – was due to meet on Monday to ratify the changes discussed during the current season for 2013. Those changes include the adoption of 17-inch wheels and the application of fake headlights to bikes, as adopted by Kawasaki for the second half of the season and Honda for the last race of the year.

Another change Flammini mentioned was less expected: pit stops will be introduced during wet races, to avoid races having to be stopped and restarted. That was in itself a consequence of the introduction of a single bike per rider, a move which made running flag-to-flag races with bike changes an impossibility. The straitjacket of TV schedules means that Infront have had to explore alternative options, however.

Flammini would not be drawn on the future beyond 2013. “From what I can tell you, the 2013 season will go ahead as it is already planned. For the future, I cannot give you any information, this will be part of the strategy that will be implemented and we will see what will happen.”

That does not mean that other sources were not providing information. Though 2013 is set more or less in stone, or at least will be once the Superbike Commission publishes the minutes of its meeting today, the years after that look to be rather different. Dorna has made no secret of its desire to see the performance of the World Superbike machines limited, in order to maintain the gap between WSBK and MotoGP. With Dorna now in charge, it is widely expected – both inside and outside the World Superbike paddock – that such limits will be imposed.

Reducing modifications to Superstock level seems unlikely, though the regulations could be closer to Supersport than the current WSBK rules. Standard electronics seem almost inevitable, however, to contain the costs which are spiralling out of control in both WSBK and MotoGP. With a spec ECU to be introduced in 2014 in MotoGP, it seems likely that a similar measure could be imposed on World Superbikes at the same time.

Such a move would be unpopular with the factories currently involved in World Superbikes, but would be welcomed by the private teams, which have struggled to compete in recent years, with a few notable exceptions.

The most interesting rumor to emerge from Magny-Cours, however, concerned the future of the spec tire. Current suppliers Pirelli were rumored to be ending their tenure as single tire suppliers, with no extension expected. The rumors were not clear on whether they will serve out the full extent of their contract, which runs until the end of the 2015 season, or whether the contract would be terminated prematurely.

Nor was their any word on who would replace the Italian tire manufacturer. If the rumor is true – and it is a very big if – it would be a surprise, as Pirelli is also the sole supplier for the British Superbike championship. The series – both World and British Superbikes – are an excellent fit with the current consumer market: Pirellis remain a popular choice for sportsbike fitment, both as OEM equipment and as an aftermarket choice when riders replace their standard tires.

Source: InfoMotoGP; Photo: WorldSBK

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

Comment:

  1. Nick says:

    “Dorna has made no secret of its desire to see the performance of the World Superbike machines limited, in order to maintain the gap between WSBK and MotoGP.”

    Is the level of technology beginning to marginally diminish? Moto GP is split into essentially two series: proper prototypes and bloody CRTs. And now WSBK is scaling back as well in terms of what can be done to the machines. Here’s a solution if we’re going to continue down this path: Moto GP eliminates prototypes and calls itself “Moto Superbike” and WSBK turns into “World Super Stock”

    Problem solved Dorna, thanks for this, as a fan I’m so thrilled.

  2. Jimmy Smith JR says:

    Jensen,

    I noticed in the provisional WSBK calendar that WSS and WSS1000 will not be visiting Laguna in 2013, which probably means that AMA or whatever its called this week, will be supporting those races. Does this mean we will FINALLY see Moto2 and Moto3 supporting the Cali GP in July?

    Dig a little, let us know pretty please.

  3. Jason says:

    @Jimmy Smith JR: I’ve done some probing along these lines, and it seems the answer is not enough garage space at Laguna for Moto2 and Moto3. AMA seems quite happy to be relegated to whatever paddock they can fabricate on the tarmac that’s behind the main garages. It makes sense-AMA can truck in whatever temporary paddock apparatus they need, whereas the teams from overseas can’t/won’t do that and need a more turn-key garage solution. Yamaha and/or Mazda needs to kick in some more $$$ to double the garage space at Laguna. But then again, the straight part of the straight is so short, where would you put it?

  4. Jimmy: Moto2 & Moto3 at Indy and Austin only. AMA is coming to Seca twice.

  5. irksome says:

    Spec-ECUs in both WSBK and MotoGP?

    And so we reach the center of the shrubbery maze: Dorna is screwing Honda and WSBK is simply a pawn on the board. Pity that; it’s the best racing going, bar none.

  6. robin says:

    this is so much worse than the next batman series being developed, written, casted, directed by michael bay

  7. Jimmy Smith JR says:

    Thanks guys for clearing up the Laguna situation. Glad I bought my plane ticket for Austin the day you announced the calendar! :)