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.

Photos: 2003 Yamaha YZR-M1 Prototype

12/05/2011 @ 10:42 am, by Jensen Beeler8 COMMENTS

Photos: 2003 Yamaha YZR M1 Prototype 2003 Yamaha YZR M1 prototype 05 635x424

It seems only fitting that after reviewing the BRD RedShift SM prototype, that we should turn our attentions to another prototype machine…or should we say, a prototype of a prototype. A glimpse into how lost in the woods Yamaha was with its MotoGP program pre-Rossi, the 2003 Yamaha YZR-M1 prototype is the work of a company desperately looking for a solution against Honda’s very potent RC211V. Employing two Öhlins rear shock absorbers, Yamaha’s philosophy and process of handling over power is very evident in this prototype’s design, though the implementation seems a bit murkier.

Laced with linear potentiometers through out the M1′s chassis, it is at least interesting to note the unit extending from one of the rear shock mounting points to the front of the frame — presumably measuring the flex of the chassis from front to back. With all the data acquisition that is on the 2003 prototype M1, you would think Yamaha would notice one of the most obvious mistakes with the design, namely how the exhaust routing was cramped in with both shock absorbers, surely cooking both units as the machine came up to temperature.

Yamaha would finally settle on a more traditional single-shock suspension setup for 2003, though the Yamaha YZR-M1 still proved to be a basket case on the track. It wasn’t until Valentino Rossi came to the tuning fork brand in 2004 that its MotoGP racing fortunes started to change at the Japanese company. Turning the M1 from zero to hero seemingly overnight in the off-season, Rossi’s pedigree for developing bikes secured, with more than a little help from Jeremy Burgess & Co. of course. Now facing the same challenge in this MotoGP off-season, these photos seem to have a new relevancy.

With the Ducati Desmosedici GP12 already showing itself to be as much of a mess, if not more so, than the 2003 Yamaha M1, Rossi, Burgess, and Ducati Corse have a large task in front of them the next few months. Similar to Yamaha’s desperation in trying two shock absorbers, Ducati Corse has made itself open to virtually any possible solution under the sun, having tried more chassis variations this season than this author cares to count. GP11, GP11.1, GP12, GP0, and all the variations in-between, it is anyone’s guess as to what sort of frame Ducati will arrive with at the season-opener in Qatar. We’re pretty sure that there will be only one shock absorber though…but never say never.

Photos: 2003 Yamaha YZR M1 Prototype 2003 Yamaha YZR M1 prototype 07 635x854

Photos: 2003 Yamaha YZR M1 Prototype 2003 Yamaha YZR M1 prototype 01 635x424

Photos: 2003 Yamaha YZR M1 Prototype 2003 Yamaha YZR M1 prototype 02 635x424

Photos: 2003 Yamaha YZR M1 Prototype 2003 Yamaha YZR M1 prototype 03 635x456

Photos: 2003 Yamaha YZR M1 Prototype 2003 Yamaha YZR M1 prototype 04 635x424

Photos: 2003 Yamaha YZR M1 Prototype 2003 Yamaha YZR M1 prototype 06 635x499

Source: Yamaha Racing via Racing Café


  1. Cpt.Slow says:


  2. nace says:

    I don’t think anyone really gives Yamaha enough credit during their time before the Rossi years. It has to be said that big changes were already in store at Yamaha even before Rossi & Burgess joined. Furusawa had recently taken over Yamaha’s MotoGP project and was already in the process of making big changes to the bike, such as a switch to fuel injection and the crossplane crankshaft.

    In addition, Yamaha never really had competitive riders on their bikes. Their worst year in 2003 had Checa, Barros, Melandri (I think it was his first year in MotoGP), Abe, Nakano and Olivier Jacque.

    All this is not to say that Rossi and Burgess did not make a difference but I don’t think enough credit was given to Furusawa. If you look back at the 2005 and 2006 seasons when Furusawa had a less active role in development, Rossi was still competitive the results weren’t quite the same.

    It will be interesting to see how the 2012 season pans out with Lorenzo and Spies taking development roles and Furusawa being retired.

  3. 2ndclass says:

    Those units running front to back seem a bit to solidly mounted to be a potentiometer, maybe some sort of tuneable damper so they can have adjustable flex? Or for adjusting it until they can settle on a set spec?

  4. froryde says:

    Gotto love the low-tech inner tube rear brake pedal return spring amongst all the hi-tech gizmos!

  5. Skeptical says:

    @nace, you said it nice. I’m totally with you.

  6. Bob says:


    You may very well be right about the long ones being a hydraulic damper. I’ve used dozens of different make linear transducers at work. Neither end has a cable for the internal stroke readings. The small box on the left side one appears to possibly be a strain guage. If they are playing with flex adjustments, the strain guage is likely to measure twist instead of bending side to side.

    The others at the shocks are indeed linear transducers (pots). Depending on who makes them, they have stroke resolutions of .001″ to .0001″. As there are 2 of equal placement, they’re acquiring data on either flex of the swingarm from side to side transitions or if the separate shocks are extending and retracting at the same rate. Chances are one shock had compression and the other rebound, like the separate function forks you see on some dirt bikes. This was before Ohlins had a TTX type shock. I’m betting they are measuring both scenarios. If the shocks don’t extend and retract at the same rate, the swingarm is likely flexing as a consequence.

  7. Doug says:

    I wonder how hot the shock on the Panigale will get since it sits close to the rear cylinder?

    cool linkage design…


  8. Man, this beast is so fast on that bald, slick tires