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.

Report: Indianapolis “Opting-Out” of 2014 MotoGP Race?

06/12/2013 @ 5:03 pm, by Jensen Beeler14 COMMENTS

Report: Indianapolis Opting Out of 2014 MotoGP Race? Indianapolis GP Sunday Jules Cisek 32

Talking to the Indy Star, Mark Miles (CEO of Hulman & Co, the parent company to Indianapolis Motor Speedway) has put some doubt into the historic venue’s commitment to host the MotoGP Championship.

Having a contract to run the race through the 2014 season, Miles said that IMS might opt-out of the final year in its agreement with Dorna (IMS apparently has this option for a brief window after the 2013 Indianapolis GP).

“We’re going to make the most of the opportunity,” said Miles talking to the Indy Star. “Our mindset now is that we’re going to go through 2014, but we’re going to look at this year and evaluate it right after.”

However while the news has focused so far on IMS’s ability to opt-out, both Dorna and Indianapolis Motor Speedway have options in their contract to go through with the 2014 round, and with a bevy of variables in the air, we may or may not see three American GP rounds next year.

For Indy’s part, the issue likely comes down to simple dollars and cents (or is it sense?), as the Midwest track needs to have the MotoGP Championship make a profit when it comes into town, and its a poor businessman that runs a race that is going to lose the track money.

With 2013 seeing the first time that Austin has hosted the Grand Prix of the Americas, there too is an x-factor as to how much pull the Texan race will have on the attendance at Indianapolis — though Indy crowd draws mainly from the region.

Other factors include the Argentinian GP, which may or may not come to realization in 2014, and one cannot forget Carmelo Ezpeleta’s interview with Reuters, were he correctly expressed MotoGP’s need to diversify into other markets, but then dropped a bomb that the United States may only have two races going forward.

With each entity now firing some very public shots at each other in the press, it will be interesting to see how the situation resolves itself.

We imagine the largest puzzle piece for  the 2014 round will be how the 2013 Indianapolis GP goes off for both parties. After all, both Dorna and IMS are racing to make a buck.

Source: Indy Star; Photo: © 2012 Jules Cisek / Popmonkey – All Rights Reserved

Comment:

  1. Starmag says:

    Indy is rightfully proud of it’s auto racing history. Too bad that doesn’t really transfer to motorcycles. Most of the riders don’t like the track. I wouldn’t lose sleep if they opted out. A better choice for motorcycle racing ( and scenery) would be Miller, Barber, or Road America.

  2. Of the circuits you listed, only one is FIM homologated, and it’s too close to Laguna Seca geographically.

  3. G.Irish says:

    Dorna may find itself in for a rude awakening if they get rid of Indy in favor of COTA. I suspect COTA is going to see a rather precipitous decline in attendance for next season after some of their reputed shortcomings this year. I could be wrong, but they [COTA] don’t seem like the type of crew that will quickly correct what didn’t go well this year. That could mean low crowds in 2014 and 2015. Then the next question will be how long will they continue with an event at COTA with low attendance. COTA is not like Qatar where they don’t care if no one shows up.

    We may well end up right back to only having one GP in the US. I suppose that’s better than nothing.

  4. Bruce Scholten says:

    COTA might assure more MotoGP spectators if Kevin Schwantz appeared as honorary marshall.

  5. Starmag says:

    Well, if Miller is too close to Laguna Seca, that’s a shame. The scenery is spectacular. Since I’m guessing Road America doesn’t meet FIM spec, that leaves Barber. Mr. Barber built it specifically to FIM spec. I did a search and couldn’t find anything other than that. Do you know anything about why it isn’t homologated by the FIM yet?

  6. Damo says:

    I love that we have three events here in the US, but I imagine Dorna may chop it to two.

    I wouldn’t blame them, Indy hasn’t been creating very good these past few seasons and has produced some scary moments for many of the riders.

  7. JoeD says:

    Indy is four wheel territory. Many other venues around with better surroundings and flowing layouts. American racing seems to be about 10 years behind the world. Blasphemy alert-I do not care for Daytona, either.

  8. John D'Orazio says:

    I’ve attended every GP at Indy and three at Laguna. Without a doubt, the folks at Indy know how to stage an event. Parking and track access are unsurpassed. But, even though Laguna is a smaller track, it just feels more like a special event. Vendor support is amazing and there is a total party atmosphere. That feeling, at least for me, just is not present at Indy. Every year, the event seems to get a little skinnier.

  9. John D'Orazio says:

    P.S. Barber is beautiful, but simply too small.

  10. Chaz Michael Michaels says:

    Just don’t lose Laguna Seca. Laguna Seca does everything right.

    Indy…open wheel oval track with a course frankensteined into it in a ham-fisted fashion. I think it works about as well as Daytona.

    COTA can be great. I had a fun time despite the boneheads who run that venue. I don’t know who “the deciders” are at COTA but clearly they “misremembered” a lot of the things that go into putting on a great GP.

  11. dc4go says:

    The event @ Indy is fine track views are so so (ovals aren’t the best spectator tracks) but outside of the track Indy is pretty lame. Making a trip just to see the race really isn’t worth it to some one like me I want a destination . Felt the same way about WSBK @ Miller great track but absolutely nothin to do once the race is over.

  12. Gonzo says:

    Well, Indy is not seeing any of my money. Why. Simple, I don’t enjoy being harassed by the cops just for being on a bike. Then I read about the journalist at the IndyGP two years ago who had guns pulled on him because he made an illegal left turn on his bike(the signal wasn’t tripping for him) and all the youtube videos of Indy police ramming bikes with squadcars at some gathering last year, even hitting people who had nothing to do with the gathering, so…Indy can rot away in economic hell for all I care. And COTA? Well, that has a few strikes against it also. One, it’s in that Sh**hole state, Texas. Two, after the way they AND Dorna screwed Schwantz, they don’t deserve ANYONE’S money.

  13. Variable says:

    @Gonzo

    The entire state of Texas is a “Sh**hole”? The whole place? Yeah, your argument is reasonable.

  14. MUSTAFA IBRAHIM says:

    Texas is that “Sh**hole” state? What paradise do you live in, Gonzo? For everyone else: Indy is simply not a good track for spectators. They should never have had MotoGP there to begin with. I have been to the races at Laguna Seca and it just works. Let’s give COTA another year or two before we pass judgment on them.