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.

Photo of the Week: There’s Always a Changing of the Guard

04/24/2012 @ 6:05 am, by Daniel Lo8 COMMENTS

Photo of the Week: Theres Always a Changing of the Guard ben spies indy motogp daniel lo 635

Ben Spies’s sophomore MotoGP season  of 2011 can only be described as a wild roller coaster ride. The former AMA and World Superbike champion finished on the podium four times in 2011 including a legitimate alien-slaying maiden victory at Assen, but was also tempered by an equal number of non-scores and several other generally forgettable weekends.

Indianapolis was the scene of a season highlight for the Texan. Running Yamaha’s red and white 50th anniversary GP colors for the final time, Ben sliced his way to a podium finish against track conditions that provided no real passing line to speak of and finishing behind only the lightning fast Hondas of Casey Stoner and Dani Pedrosa.

Having nearly won the last race of the 800cc era, Ben will no doubt be looking to challenge for the 2012 title. “There’s always a changing of the guard”, he has been quoted as saying on more than one occasion. Could he be referring to himself? Time will tell.

Dan Lo is a motorsport photographer who covers AMA Superbike, World Superbike, and MotoGP. His online portfolio is at CornerSpeedPhoto.com and he can also be found on Facebook and Twitter. For this year, Dan is looking to expand his coverage to the Isle of Man TT via Kickstarter. A big ‘”thank you” to everyone who donated, and helped send Dan to this year’s TT.

Photo: © 2011 Daniel Lo / Corner Speed Photo – All Rights Reserved

Comment:

  1. Westward says:

    Spies is by far the best talent coming from AMA and WSBK. (including Toseland, Bayless, and Edwards) He is also better than Hayden, even when he was in his prime. But I doubt Spies will have all the fortunate circumstances that Hayden or even Lorenzo had in winning their titles.

    If he wins it all in MotoGP, it will be a tough fight or a clear domination. Either way, his talent shows. He doesn’t necessarily need any luck, but he surely could use a talisman to ward off the bad luck…

  2. 76 says:

    Momentum and alittle luck and he can be up there, you can see in his riding that theres still some room for him to be more aggressive and confident and as stated has had his far share of bad luck in the last year or so. Spies has proven in the past to be mentally strong enough for whatever wall is in front of him and I think barring injury he will prove it again. Jerez should be good!

  3. Riccardo says:

    By Wesward…

    “But I doubt Spies will have all the fortunate circumstances that Hayden or even Lorenzo had in winning their titles.”

    Pure Rossi fan rethoric.

  4. ngads says:

    @ Westward:
    I’m a rossi fan and yes hayden may have been a bit “lucky” but he had his fair share of bad luck that season too and still came out on top. As for lorenzo, you can’t knock someone who nearly finished on the podium every race. Thats impressive with rossi there or not.

    On topic….Good luck Spies!

  5. Halfie 30 says:

    I actually see a lot of similarities in Spies and Edwards Westward. Colin in his prime on the RC51, if you put Ben on that bike he would probably ride it very similarly. In any case Spies is Americas big hope in the big class. Machinery will hold Nicky back, and Colin being the fastwst CRT Bike may not get him a rostrum this year. Any thing is possible though!!! Should be a great year! Let’s all sit back and enjoy!!!!

  6. Westward says:

    @ Riccardo

    “Pure Rossi fan rhetoric.” – Rossi’s retired from the races at Laguna and LeMans because of engine failure in 2006. At LeMans he was winning that race by a large margin, and the bike just simply stopped into the last corner of the last lap. Losing to Elias at Estoril can be attributed to Rossi, as was falling in Valencia. But when your bike’s engine just stops, that is not Rossi’s fault. Besides, Hayden also benefited from the debacle that was Catalunya. Rossi aside, had Capirossi not been caught up there, he would have more likely been the 2006 MotoGP Champion.

    @ ngads

    Lorenzo in 2010 benefited from Stoner not getting along with his bike, Pedrosa & Rossi missing races due to injury. Even De Puniet was surging to the front row on his satellite bike, and even he missed races due to injury as well. In the era of the Aliens, who else was suppose to triumph, if not Lorenzo…

    @ Halfie 30

    I see your point, but Spies has what Edwards has not accomplish, and that is a victory in MotoGP. He also has more podiums than Bayless. Should he be at this level as long as Hayden, or even less, Spies should have more podiums and victories than him too. He might even have the best chance to win it all, without it being seen as a fluke by the masses…

    I would like to see that…

  7. Damo says:

    @Westward

    If you look at Edwards resume, you’ll notice it is actually quite a bit more impressive than Spies. However, given time, I do agree Ben can surpass him.

    He better get some good results this season though if he has any hope to retain that factory ride.

  8. Westward says:

    @ Damo

    Really?

    lets repeat, Edwards never won a race in Motogp, and Spies has. Spies took 14 victories in WBSK, his first and only season he participated whilst taking the championship on a Yamaha, a bike that has never won it before…

    Edwards is an impressive pilot, and talented in his own right, he just is not nearly as talented as Spies…