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.

Interview: Scott Redding On Aiming For The Championship, Not Going To MotoGP, & Weight Rules

03/05/2013 @ 2:05 pm, by David Emmett2 COMMENTS

Interview: Scott Redding On Aiming For The Championship, Not Going To MotoGP, & Weight Rules Scott Redding Qatar 2012 Moto2 Scott Jones 635x422

One of the more intriguing things about spending a few years in a racing paddock is watching people grow and mature. Young riders come in to the Grand Prix paddock as exuberant 15 and 16-year-olds, certainly with the anachronistic maturity of all dedicated sportsmen and women; but still clearly young teenagers, that explosive mixture of energy, hormones, and sheer joy driving them into paroxysms of hyperactivity. A few years later, those young boys (and now girls as well) turn into young men, and a fuller, more mature personality emerges.

Such is the case with Scott Redding. Three years ago, when he first moved to Moto2, he was still a teenager with an impish grin on his face, looking like he was either planning trouble, or just returning from it. At the launch of the Marc VDS Racing program last night, at the Belgian team’s workshop a stone’s throw from Charleroi airport, a different Scott Redding was on display, calmer, more mature, more serious but without having lost his sense of fun. More focused, too.

Redding knows that this year, he is playing for keeps. The goal is to either win the Championship, or go down trying. This is his best chance, perhaps, with the introduction of a combined rider/bike minimum weight removing some of the advantage of the lighter riders, though the new limit of 215kg for both rider and bike still favors riders closer to 60 kg than to 70kg. His preparation has changed, spending the winter in Spain, riding, rather than in the dull English winter, where MX tracks are open on Saturdays and Sundays only, for a couple of hours each day.

Scott Redding is ready to become Moto2 champion. A conversation with the young Englishman follows after the jump.

David EmmettThis is your fourth season?

Scott Redding: It is my fourth season isn’t it? I was a bit worried that I’d done one year more!

DE: It’s championship time isn’t it?

SR: Yes, definitely, for me that’s the target this year, to actually really fight for the championship. Last year we said we would go top five every race, and the majority of the time we reached that. Whereas now, we decided, I decided in myself that I really need to go for a championship before moving up to MotoGP.

DE: That was one reason to decide to stay for another year in Moto2?

SR: Yeah. The weight limit also kind of made me stay and it gives me a bit more of a chance, it makes it a little bit more fair. Because last year, if I was maybe 8-9kg lighter, you know, the difference it would make would make me a regular podium finisher. The races I seemed to lose by a little bit here, a little bit there. I’ve always been fourth; if it was a little bit less, I could have maybe been higher up in the championship.

DE: I made a chart of top speeds for the race at Motegi, because Motegi was awful because of the back straight.

SR: Yeah, it was terrible.

DE: You were always 7-8 km/h slower. Was there anything you could do about that?

SR: The only thing I could try and do about it was to try to pass the lighter rider and just try to block them, but that corner, straight out of the second gear, low RPM, I just didn’t really have a chance. I’d get halfway along the straight and they’d already be coming alongside me so they’d pass me back, but then we’d get to the fast bit and I can’t pull away, because they’re in front of me. It was the same at Misano, I was with Kallio and Rabat, and that was the worst race I had to do, because I was passing them all round the circuit, but every straight we’d come on to the back straight with the fast right, always going into there they were passing me, but there was nothing really I could do about it, it was just something out of my control.

DE: How much difference do you think the weight is going to make?

SR: To my opponents like Luthi and Espargaro and Simon, not a big difference, but to people like Mika, Rabat and the real smaller riders? Maybe they won’t be there at the places like Motegi, Misano, the stop-and-start circuits. So maybe I won’t have to worry so much about them coming through at the end of the season at certain tracks.

DE: You say this year is the championship, how do you change your approach ?

SR: Just being more relaxed, and enjoying it still. Not to be too focused on it. If you enjoy it, you’re also faster, and for me, being in Spain all the winter, having fun, training with the Supermoto, motocross, I feel really happy, like no stress or anything. And it just makes riding a bike just like an everyday thing, instead of going to race, it’s like going to more ride the bike but just do the best I can on it.

DE: So in fact, to focus on the championship, you focus on the championship by focusing on it even less, almost it’s almost like a paradox.

SR: Yeah, because the more I seem to think about it, the more you get into too much detail, but at the end of the day, you’ve got a pretty good set up anyway, and in the end you just have to ride the best you can on the day, it comes down to nothing else.

DE: So far, Pol Espargaro has looked pretty impressive. What can you do about him?

SR: Yes he’s fast, but it’s always just one lap. He is fast, but always with the new tire, always the first three laps he is fast. And we need to try and close the gap a bit, but also, he’s never trying anything, he’s got his set up and he just goes chasing lap time, lap time, lap time, whereas we’re trying to find a good set for all season round, which we’re pretty close to, and just to try and be ready for the season, instead of just at the test. I was fast just in the test last year all the time, and pretty fast the year before, but when it came to the season, it was a different story. So you know, I just want to be ready for the season, not just the tests, which is the big thing I’ve changed.

DE: Last year, the Kalex was clearly a fantastic package, it seemed to be the best bike, except in the wet. All of a sudden, in the wet, it didn’t work…

SR: For me, in the rain, if it’s properly wet-wet and the track grip is not bad, the Kalex is really good, but if there’s not so much track grip, like Malaysia, Valencia in the mixed conditions, it really doesn’t work. This is why the mixed conditions at Jerez were good for me to get confidence in the rain. I was fast in the rain as well, and that was just a confidence thing. But for the mixed conditions we had some things to try, but then you have to have the right conditions to try them.

DE: Does the bike produce too much grip?

SR: I think it’s just like you say, the rear grip’s really good on the Kalex, and it’s just destroying the tire, and in the beginning it’s alright, but then you start losing the rear on corner entry, and stuff like that, which was the problem with me. But on the other hand, Mika could ride the mixed conditions really well, so it was a bit of a Catch-22. Like, if he can ride it, I can’t, what’s sort of going on? Is it me, is it not? But then Espargaro was struggling. It just comes down to, I don’t know, maybe too much weight transfer from my body size. Mika also runs a set up which is quite a lot different to many other riders because he is one of the smallest riders, so maybe it helps that he’s not getting the weight transfer as much. The problem is in this game it’s all questions, you know? To find the answer, you have to keep trying and failing and learning.

DE: How disappointed were you not to move up to MotoGP?

SR: I was a bit pissed in the beginning, but then I thought, like, I’m not there, but it’s not a big deal. At that time, I was 19 years of age, I’m now 20, and if I go there, I’ll be there for a long time. Better to maybe do a year here. And I want to get a championship, you know, I’ve been there or thereabouts, but I want to be the guy on top. Then move up, I don’t think I’d deserve it unless I’m second or third, but been challenging all season, Then you deserve it. You don’t really deserve it unless you’re fighting from the class below. So, I also put that into consideration, and it also made me think to stay. And another reason was the bikes, you know, not knowing what bike I would get. I wasn’t really willing to go with the Ducati that strongly, so, you know I think we did the right thing in the big picture.

DE: When do you start thinking about next year?

SR: It all starts from through the winter, you’re always thinking about the following year, because it all starts from the fact that every time you go on the bike, they’re all looking at you. But the main thing is the results. They don’t care what else you do, if you can’t do the results, they have no reason to want you. So it comes down to being there, and there when it counts, which is in the race and in the championship.

DE: We’re going to Austin this year, new track, what are you like with tracks you’ve never seen before?

SR: I kind of thrive off it. I like a new challenge, like new circuits for me where I’ve definitely got a really good chance of winning. Every time we go to a new track I just seem to adapt really well, because I’m more motivated because I want to be the fastest guy at the new track. It’s just something different, and you’ve never rode it before, you’ve got different track conditions, corners, it just gives a big atmosphere to the whole weekend which I really like. You know, I looked at the track on the net, it looks pretty awesome, but we have to see how it is when we get there, see how the tires are working, the bike set up…

DE: Marc Marquez has gone up to MotoGP. You raced with him last year. Two questions: first of all, what do you expect him to do this year, and the second question, when you watch him on a MotoGP bike, are you watching him with half an eye measuring yourself against that?

SR: To start with how I feel how he’s done, I feel that’s how the Moto2 world champion should go into MotoGP. They should be going straight away, pushing it, it’s still a bike with two wheels, you know? And I think he’s doing a really good job, and I think that’s how I would like to go. He is doing a really impressive job at the moment, but in the race, we’ll have to see how the pressure goes. I think he might find it a bit harder. But you know, he is fast, and that’s the whole point of being in MotoGP.

DE: So he’s not faster than you expected, he’s what you expect a champion to achieve?

SR: Yes, a lot of people were saying about Bradl last year. He did do a good job, but should have been better in my eyes. It was a good job that he’d done, but the guys who were behind him were guys on Ducatis, stuff like this. Marquez is mixing with the big guys. You know, we all cook with water, so he should be there like he is.

DE: Seeing what he’s done, and know how close you were too him, you think you can be able to match that, or at least get close to it?

SR: It’s just there’s so much a mix of things, with the bike and stuff. He’s got one of the best bikes, so he has a little bit easier. But you know, if you give me the same bike or a good competitive bike like that, I’d want to be doing the same. You should be like top 5, that’s what I would like to do. Which is what he’s doing, he’s even top 3, you know mixing it with the guys. That would be the sort of performance I’d be wanting to put in. You can’t do that with a Ducati, in my eyes, you just wouldn’t be able to do it, so you know, it’s to do with the bike, the rider, and how it sort of mixes, and he’s got on that bike and he’s gelled with it straight away.

DE: Finally, a prediction, where you going to end at the end of the year?

SR: For the championship? Hmm. I think it’s going to be close, to be honest. But like I said, obviously I want to go for the championship, but that’s quite a hard call to make now, because anything can happen, especially when it’s so early. I think there will be two people fighting, but yeah, I think it’ll be top 2, top 3, and I just want to be there every race, on the podium and fighting for the victories.

DE: There’s going to be you and Espargaro, who else do you see that can be there? Obviously Thomas Luthi has a problem with his elbow, but who else?

SR: When Luthi comes back, he’ll be strong. Simon seems not bad at the moment, he’s also floating around, same as Terol. But again, with the tests it’s hard to sort of say, because some guys are with Supersport engines. So do you want to take the big risk in testing, and not make the first race because you crashed then OK. But in my eyes, I don’t want to do that this year, I want to be the guy that’s maybe on the top step in the first race. That means more to me than being on top in testing. It’s just all a little mixture of all the little things that you need to make to be at the top.

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

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

Comment:

  1. Kevin says:

    Great pic by Scott and the use of vignetting to showcase Redding. Sorry, I’m a photo fan. Good story on never giving up.

  2. Mark says:

    Bradl wasn’t exactly on factory supported machinery for the most part of last year, was he? If not it’s a little unfair to compare him and Marquez, even if I believe Marquez to ultimately be the faster (and more gifted) of the two on the same bike.