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.

A Postscript on e-Power at Laguna Seca

07/29/2010 @ 12:17 pm, by Jensen Beeler14 COMMENTS

A Postscript on e Power at Laguna Seca Richard Hatfield Lightning Motorcycles 560x439

Asphalt & Rubber got this email late last night from one of the competitors at the e-Power race at Laguna Seca this past weekend. It shows a rare glimpse into the electric racing scene, that even our own coverage can’t compare to in storytelling ability. The letter talks about sportsmanship: the sportsmanship that riders and teams share with each other, but also more importantly the sportsmanship that makes others take notice, and strive to be better. Read the letter after the jump.

Here is a little story from the recent ePower race. The last place finisher was a young man from Germany, by the name of Christian Amendt. This young man and his team had been competing in the epower series in Europe, on a bike they built themselves. Because FIM is seriously interested in promoting the electric bike series, they offered some small subsidies to European teams to help get them to Laguna Seca, which made it possible for Christian and his team to travel to the US and compete at Laguna Seca. That was the start of the saga.

Christian and his team bought their airline tickets from a small discount agency. Unfortunately, the agency went bust, and the tickets went with it, leaving Christian and his team high and dry. The FIM stepped in and loaned them the money for a new set of tickets. So far so good.

When they arrived in the US, they found that all of their riding gear had been lost. Somehow they were able to find leathers, boots and a helmet that fit and that they could afford. Somehow, they were able to make the grid for the free practice and were able to qualify for the race-day grid.

The day before the race, Christian took the bike out during qualifying to try for a better time and get in some laps, only to have their electronic controller fail. They did not have a spare, and this is not the sort of thing you can find at the local Home Depot. Basically, this final blow should have been the end for this team.

However, the story of this teams dreadful luck began to circulate in the ePower paddock, and reached the Lightning Electric Motorcycle pit area. As it happened, Lightning had a prototype electric off road bike in it’s van that had a very similar controller to the one that was needed. Without a second thought, Richard Hatfield, of Lightning, wheeled the bike over to Christians pit and offered to loan them the controller. All they had to do was break down the Lightning bike and remove the controller, break down their bike and swap out the controller, reassemble their bike, and get it to the grid in time to race.

Christian and his crew worked all afternoon and into the night, and were at it again early next morning. After all they had been though, no one would have faulted them for throwing in the towel at that point, but that is not what they did. They simply went to work, tore down the two bikes and reassembled their race bike with the Lightning controller. With only moments to spare, they rolled out onto the track and joined the grid. They went on to finish in last place, but they did compete, and they did finish.

At the end of the race they rolled their bike back into their paddock and began to tear it down once again and reassemble the Lightning bike. They returned it later that afternoon, fully assembled and running, to the Lightning paddock. They did not make it to the podium this time, but they certainly proved that they are winners.


  1. Cru Jones says:

    I bought an Ohlins shock off of Christian A. He’s good people. :)

  2. skadamo says:

    Awesome story, great show Hatfield!

    Somewhere I read that the part was loaned from the K Squared team but I guess that was wrong.

  3. mbiedka says:

    This is what I grew up learning about motorcycle people.
    That they are some of the best people you can ever know.
    Motorcycle people (of I am one ) will loan you the shirt off their back or their only back up motor if it means more people can play :)
    Bravo! Richard and Victor from Lightning in continuing our traditions and being the best in Electric sportsmanship,
    and Bravo to Christian and his team for exhibiting the internal fortitude and genuine stick tuitivnes ( sp?) it takes to be a Motorcycle competitor.
    This is why we do what we do…

  4. eric says:

    Pure class. Bravo to both teams. This is what it’s all about.

  5. Christian says:

    This is a real story, I can`t imagine that all this happend within the last two weeks.

    Two weeks ago I had no confirmed flight tickets…

    Just one correction, my boths and helmet arrived with the bike, but my leathers where lost by DHL Express in germany, so I bought a new set on monday (we started tuesday at 7a.m.)

    My motor blowed also of, so I bought a new Agni from Kenyon Kluge (Zero) for a very good price, the controller was from Lightning, many thanks to them!

    My mounting (cooling) plate was not big enough, so the controller was to hot and switched off twice, I had to stop and restart it. The controller was a very big kelly (1200Amps), the setup of the maximum amps was a gamble.

    My cooling system for the lmc motor was not working with the agni, so the temperature was very hot and I had to lower my speed. But I finished over 75% of the race and got eight points for the eight place, this was very important.

    I hope I will be back on the podium :-)

    My bike is great and the corkscrew was a lot of fun!

    Best regards

  6. David Herron says:

    Parts were loaned from both Lightning Motors and K Squared Racing. This sort of thing has been routine in the TTXGP North America races and I believe common also in TT-Zero, TTXGP UK, other e-Power and so on. Your article prompted me to write up a story from Mosport which I’ve been been wanting to tell. See: Cooperation while competing in both TTXGP and e-Power electric motorcycle race series

  7. Terry Lemmons says:

    Stood at the corkscrew for the face , they need to put playing cards in the spokes so we can hear them coming.

  8. A Postscript on e-Power at Laguna Seca – http://aspha.lt/18h #motorcycle

  9. Brammofan says:

    Helluva story. Go, @epo_bike_de RT @Asphalt_Rubber: A Postscript on e-Power at Laguna Seca – http://aspha.lt/18h #motorcycle

  10. Doctor Jelly says:

    Feel good story, yay, don’t care. Now tell me more about this banana dirtbike!

  11. David Herron says:

    Jelly, the other Lightning Motors bike in question was not a dirt bike but a flat track bike. I wrote an article about that very bike last spring: Making history with electric motorcycle racing It has an Agni motor and a 1000 watt Kelly controller in a very compact motorcycle.

  12. skadamo says:

    Glad you posted this. Lots of this in TTXGP pits 2 RT @Asphalt_Rubber: A Postscript on e-Power at Laguna Seca – http://aspha.lt/18h

  13. Are there any other articles you’d like to hock on here David?

  14. mom says:

    Im very proud of lighting motors and the work they have done to get this far with electric motorcycles. The sweat and tears pay off.