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.

Segway Returns to Sponsor MotoCzysz for 2012

03/26/2012 @ 1:53 pm, by Jensen Beeler8 COMMENTS

Segway Returns to Sponsor MotoCzysz for 2012 2011 motoczysz e1pc 100mph 635x425

For 2012, Segway returns as the title sponsor for MotoCzysz’s electric motorcycle racing program, with the team’s first race set to be the TT Zero event at the Isle of Man TT. Continuing the special sauce that lead MotoCzysz to a 1-2 victory at the Isle, Segway Racing hopes to be the first and fastest team to crack the 100 mph average lap speed barrier for electrics on the Mountain Course.

Rumored to be bringing another all-new 2012 MotoCzysz E1pc to the iconic road race, MotoCzysz’s biggest competition will come from a now more-developed Lightning “Flying Banana” and wild card Honda Mugen Shinden. Further entrant announcements are still expected as well.

“It says a lot about the program and the relationships when everyone returns,” said Team Principal Michael Czysz. ” Last year’s race was executed to near perfection, with Segway Racing MotoCzysz taking first and second, this year we hope to do even better. I think the TT Zero race this year will be one of the highlights at the IOM. We are bringing something very special,” added Czysz.

There is no word yet on whom will ride the Segway Racing MotoCzysz bike(s), though we would expect to see the return of Mark Miller and Michael Rutter to the team’s roster. Narrowly missing the 100 mph average lap speed mark, Czysz et al will be gunning not only to take home the £10,000 note from the Isle of Man government, but make three years in a row of TT dominance.

Photos of the 2011 MotoCzysz E1pc:

Photos: © 2011 Jensen Beeler / Asphalt & RubberCreative Commons – Attribution 3.0


  1. Rob says:

    awesome….can’t wait for this

  2. Dr. Gellar says:

    I’m with Rob…me too!

    Too bad though…if the IOM TT will indeed be the bike’s first appearance, it looks like MotoCzysz will be passing on the first couple of 2012 North American TTXGP rounds. Not surprising really (for a number of reasons, including the fact that the IOM is THE most important electric race of the year). But considering Round 2 of the TTXGP series is in Portland, it would be cool if MotoCzysz was somehow there.

  3. "@Asphalt_Rubber: Segway Returns to Sponsor MotoCzysz for 2012 – http://t.co/qAfLNAYZ #motorcycle"

  4. Richard Gozinya says:

    TTXGP has had a lot of problems, probably a big part of why Michael Czysz has mostly ignored it. The only track racing being done of much interest with electrics is Chip Yates, going up against ICEs. IOM, and Pike’s Peak, offer much better opportunities for electrics to play in a competitive arena. Who knows, maybe some day we’ll see an electric do the Iron Butt Rally.

  5. Dawg says:

    This TT is going to be really exciting with these electric bikes almost certain to crack the Ton average speed. With Rutter and Mcguinness riding hopefully it will be down to the wire! or cable!! Would be a real shame for Michael if he missed out as he came so close last year.

    These bikes are looking amazing too. I love that left bar… how uncluttered is that? No clutch, just a grip. Are these electric bikes taking everything back to simple?

  6. Bob says:

    Wake me up when the Segway hits 100 mph.

  7. protomech says:

    @Dawg Not all of them are – the Brammo Empulse will offer a clutch and foot shifter as on an conventional gas motorcycle. Unlike a conventional gas motorcycle, Brammo says selecting alternate gears is somewhat optional – you can start in say 4th (say it tops out at 80) and stay in 4th all day long, only shifting down if you need more low-end acceleration or up if you need more top-end acceleration and maximum speed.

    But yes, the Zero S is very easy to ride and operate. No clutch makes slow riding and stop-and-go traffic an absolute breeze .. and no gearbox means one less component to fail.

    I fully expect to see the MotoCzysz, Lightning and Mugen bikes all fighting it out for the 100+ mph completion speed. I think the question is not whether it will be broken, but who will break it and by how much. TT Zero will be very interesting this year.

  8. Westward says:

    Did not Mission Motors have some sort of association with Honda? I suspect the Mugen is the result of that cooperation, or Honda used them and went a different way with the technology…