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: A Reshuffling of the Deck

04/30/2012 @ 12:01 pm, by Scott Jones18 COMMENTS

Photo of the Week: A Reshuffling of the Deck Hayden Rossi Jerez

As the 2012 MotoGP plot thickens, no chapter is more complex than that of Ducati. Trying to turn the GP12 into a red Yamaha has been unsuccessful, but along the way it has become something the team’s second rider likes quite a bit. This is the best Ducati Nicky Hayden has ridden according to The Kentucky Kid, and his 3rd place in Jerez qualifying and up-front pace at the beginning of the race makes that plain to see.

For Nicky, the job is about finding a setting that allows him to keep that pace over race distance, whereas Rossi has admitted he needs to regroup and redefine his approach to a bike that is simply never going to be a Yamaha. “I must get used to riding the bike a bit differently than I’m used to,” he said after the race. “A bit differently” may be an understatement, for if it were only “a bit” he’d likely have done that already.

The tension in Rossi’s side of the garage is thick, as it is not only the rider who is experiencing failure under the microscope of international (and Italian, most intensely) media. A formerly very successful team of Burgess et al. is growing more and more frustrated with the lack of results and their own inability to apply their years of experience to a machine that doesn’t respond to their touch.

This weekend one journalist asked if it was a mistake to bring his crew from Yamaha and if he might have been better off with an Italian crew who had experience with the Ducati. Rossi appeared not to want to talk about that and deflected the question, saying his team had always served him well in the past.

But as Ducati bends over backwards and spends and spends for an aluminum frame, and who knows how many other secret concessions intended to please the rider have been made, the lucky benefactor becomes the hardest working man on two prototype wheels, Nicky Hayden. Let us pause to enjoy the irony. HRC put their eggs in a talented but tiny basket called Dani Pedrosa, and built a bike too small for Hayden to ride. Ducati is now trying to please their star rider and has come up with something that instead suits Hayden.

We may be in for a very interesting 2012 if we get to see how well the Greatest of All Time can adapt himself to a package that won’t respond to a riding style that has claimed nine world titles, and at the same time see Juan Martinez sharpen a tool that suits Nicky very nicely indeed.

Scott Jones is a professional photographer who covers MotoGP and WSBK for racing industry clients as well as racing websites and publications in the U.S. and Europe. His online archive is available at Photo.GP, and you can find him on his blogTwitter, & Facebook.

All images posted, shared, or sent for editorial use or review are registered for full copyright protection at the Library of Congress.

Photo: © 2012 Scott Jones / Scott Jones Photography – All Rights Reserved

Comment:

  1. Faster1 says:

    ,,not hard to see why Nicky is more successful, Have more YEARS on a Ducati is paying off and in spite of the myriad of changes, a Duc will always be a Duc. , follow the leader, the photo says it all.

  2. Westward says:

    I read another article that implied that Rossi felt the Ducati was lower and longer. Does that mean that they need to make it higher and shorter ? Is that what we can expect after Estoril?

    Now that Rossi has stated that he will approach riding the Ducati differently, I sure hope it works out for him. They say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, but I don’t subscribe to that. Besides, what if it is an old trick that just needs to be polished like new…

  3. JW says:

    In the end Hayden will be respected as the hardest working rider in Moto GP with the greatest work ethic and good sportmanship. Who knows this may end him up with Yamaha…

  4. Cruz says:

    Nice article, especially going back to the Honda/Dani reference.

    “…..bring his crew to Yamaha” shouldn’t it be either “to Ducati” or “from Yamaha”?

  5. Scott Jones says:

    Good catch, thanks!

  6. Neilmatic says:

    Nciky’s dirt track experience serves him well on the Ducati. Casey was once a dirt tracker too. Could dirt track riders (think rear wheel steering) be better suited for the power the Ducati puts out at the rear wheel?

  7. Dc4go says:

    Good job Nicky keep up the good work… As for Vale hopefully he figures something out soon and get back to the front again… WTF happened to Spies this year??

  8. Steve Lang says:

    Good to see Nicky hauling Italian Ass-o and in the party. The first few laps looked like a gaggle of UFC fighters during a three day meth binge. “Holly Crap-o”, that was good.

  9. jamesy says:

    Good job with the “tag line” Scott, bound to suck us in on that.
    Yeah, a bunch of people who love Nicky’s steady and positive demeanor loved seeing him out front early.
    C’mon if that isnt the guy most fans would love to share a drink with,, then who is??
    And Westward; I AM an old dog and its only partly true about the tricks…
    Wasnt that a cracking start??? I loved Steve Langs’ analogy
    Im already more entertained than I was 1/2 way through the season last year, this is working for me!!

  10. Dr. Gellar says:

    I’ll second that regarding Steve Lang’s analogy. The first five or so laps of Sunday’s MotoGP race was some of the most entertaining stuff I’ve seen during a MotoGP race in a very, very long time. For a moment, I couldn’t believe it was a MotoGP race…the action was very Moto2-ish.

  11. John says:

    I have always been a fan of Nicky Hayden and have nothign but respect for him. His championship back in 2006 was no fluke! It’s amazing how HRC developed the bike solely for Dani Pedrosa while excluding the rider who won a championship with Honda! And did Dani Pedrosa deliver a championship? Of course not. I’m willing to bet that if you put Nicky Hayden on that bike this year, that he will be top 3 throughout the rest of the season. Who knows. Maybe another championship is waiting for Nicky. I certainly hope so!

  12. Jake says:

    fans forget Dani is Spanish and Repsol is Spanish petroleum company and they pay the bills so they must have a say in bike development

  13. Jake says:

    as for Nicky, great ambassador for the sport of motorcycling period. how many Nicky specials have been built to honor his contributions to the sport. Honda 04 RC51 and Ducati 848. It was odd no Fireblade was built to commemorate his GP title win.

  14. Westward says:

    I like Hayden, but 2006, a fluke…

  15. jamesy says:

    Westward, that’s sooo wrong. See you giveth and then you taketh away! A FLUKE is not defined by a carefully orchestrated effort by ALL concerned.. at least not at my house.
    The only Fluky thing about it was the dildo Pedrosa almost knocking him off the bike and costing he and Honda the championship.
    It wasnt easy beating Mladin before that either, even tho he had far superior horsepower, not everyone could ride that bike and it was something to watch. Mat NEVER issued any passes to anyone
    Not saying hjs effort has always been to the max of his ability, but cant say NOT so either. Lets face it sometimes you’ve got it more than other times.
    An altogether wonderfully talented young man WHO HAS EARNED IT!

  16. Jake says:

    I like Nicky, I really do, and I pull for him every time he’s racing. I believe he probably works harder and maintains a better attitude than anyone else on the track. That said, I don’t believe he’s quite on the same skill level as Stoner, Lorenzo, and Rossi. I just haven’t seen the evidence of an ability to click off perfect lap after perfect lap like I have with the others. He can set a blazing fast time when the conditions are right, but consistency under pressure is a problem.

  17. Westward says:

    @ jamsey

    Personally I do not consider the Pedrosa incident a fluke. If it were, than Elias knocking Rossi down that same year was a fluke too.

    The only true flukes that year, that determined the title were the Yamaha engine failures at LeMans and Laguna Seca for Rossi. His fall at Valenica, and Elias again being a factor and edging him out in Estoril (though a definition of a fluke) are arguably so, but are also just considered the hazards of racing.

    The final race at Valencia that years was a perfect analogy to the season the eventual title winner, in that Hayden did not so much as win, but rather Rossi lost it…

    Hayden’s efforts put him in the position to be the champion that year. However, it was the circumstances of others (ie. Rossi and Capirossi) that made it so…

    To be honest, even HRC knew it, that is why they still backed Pedrosa over Hayden every year ’til finally Hayden was pushed out…

  18. jamesy says:

    So then, to recap your premise; The entire year was a fluke? It was “flukier” that Nick won than Rossi lost due to falls? I remember Rossi riding very aggressively that year knocking Melandri down at one point when he could clearly see his wheel. I say it was Rossi’s aggressiveness that lost him the title both with his engine and with other riders.
    What Nick did was to handle his business in a championship winning manner rather than riding on the edge of disaster as his rivals often did.
    You claim to be privy to the thinking of HRC, perhaps that’s so. I see it differently again. I believe that Honda, who had proposed the 800 CC rule in the first place, bought odds on the tiniest rider they could find and in so doing were blowing smoke up their own arses. Pedrosa is not championship material as he has been showing us for years. I’m not in his mind but it looks like a lack of mental toughness to me, you know, of the type that has him wilting under extremes of pressure.
    No, I’m pleased to give Nick his full due on that championship, much as I do Lorenzo or anyone else. Heck we could re-write history under the guise of “flukism” if we set about to do so. Doohan didnt win it was the other guys that lost? Just sayin…
    And thanks by the way for the thought (and memory) provoking view of championships past, I mean it!