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.

Suzuki Out of MotoGP for 2012 Season

11/15/2011 @ 12:05 pm, by Jensen Beeler12 COMMENTS

Suzuki Out of MotoGP for 2012 Season Alvaro Bautista Rizla Suzuki Valencia MotoGP 635x422

After watching factory rider Álvaro Bautista jump ship to Team San Carlo Honda Gresini, it looks like the shoe has finally dropped on Suzuki’s involvement in MotoGP for the 2012 season, as it is being reported that Rizla Suzuki team members were emailed Friday that the factory squad would not enter next year’s MotoGP Championship.

Suzuki had been handed an ultimatum by Dorna, demanding that the Japanese company make a decision on its 2012 involvement by Friday of last week. With nary an announcement coming forth, the signs in the tea leaves pointed to Rizla Suzuki’s departure from the series, which has been further confirmed today. Though Suzuki is said to be continuing its 1,000cc MotoGP testing program, reports peg the company’s return to GP racing as soon as 2014, if at all.

The issue seems to stem from the highest levels of Suzuki’s corporate management who, after seeing historically lackluster results in MotoGP, have begun to question the expenditure of racing in the premier motorcycle racing series. Though Rizla Suzuki, with Álvaro Bautista at the helm of the Suzuki GSV-R, has made considerable improvements this past year, especially the latter part of the 2011 season, the effort might be too little, too late.

While Suzuki has been rumored to be testing a 1,000cc MotoGP back in Japan, the existence of such a program is doubted by some in the MotoGP paddock. Regardless of its existence, with no budget to field the team and to continue development throughout the year, Suzuki’s hopes of GP racing on a true factory level seem to be out of reach for the Japanese company.

As MotoGP is sure to get a format revamp in 2013, whatever bike Suzuki is or is not working on would have to undergo further modification, and there is always the lingering possibility that Dorna will do away with the factory involvement altogether.

Source: MotoMatters; Photo: Rizla Suzuki

Comment:

  1. Jake Fox says:

    This is sad news indeed. I dream of Suzuki, Kawasaki, and Aprilia competing in the premier class but it looks increasingly likely that unless something substantial changes in these next few years MotoGP could be relegated to the dustbin of history.

  2. Westward says:

    Not sad news at all. Suzuki lacks commitment. They lacked in MotoGP and WSBK (Just ask Haslem). I am tired of seeing space fillers, I want to see competitors with an actual chance for victory.

    In Suzuki’s golden years, it was more the passion of Schwantz, than it ever was their technology. Even then, if not for the misfortune on his greatest competition in Rainey, Suzuki may not have even won in that season of 93′…

    As for the CRT’s, if not successful in it’s first year, I give it three years total, until it is scrapped and something new is in place…

  3. Dan says:

    Hmm… Wasn’t Suzuki the championship winner 11 years ago. They just never really did anything in the 4 stroke era. Too bad too. It’s nice to see a full grid. Moto2 has been very entertaining.

  4. Westward says:

    Moto2 is made up of all Honda engines. So, I’m not missing Suzuki too much…

  5. MikeD says:

    Suzuki: I got 99 money- bike problems but a bitch ain’t one.

  6. Damo says:

    I would be upset if the whole MotoGP field changed to a CRT format, bold statement I know.

    But after watching two excellent seasons of Moto2, I can’t help but think the format creates some great racing. I am totally against a spec engine for the premiere class, though.

    MotoGP 2012 is shaping up to be the Dani and Casey show. I am pulling for Dani, poor sod can’t seem to catch a break. Always the bride’s maid never the bride and all that.

  7. Westward says:

    “Can’t catch a break?”

    He breaks something every year… Pedrosa has had every possible break a GP pilot can get, both literally and figuratively…

  8. John says:

    Let’s see….after effing around for the entire four stroke era with piss poor results, Suzuki finally begins making real progress in GP only to bow out at the last minute. I knoiw that times are tough and I can’t blame Suzuki for making this decision based on what it thinks is in its best interest, however, the way this has played out is pretty sad. Just say you quit and be done with it rather than stringing folks along. Good Riddance

  9. Steve B says:

    The half-hearted look from the outside is what you seen when there’s a big internal fight over a program. Some guys want to kill it, others want to expand it, and the result is lackluster.

    As for the future, word is Suzuki are testing an inline 1K along with the V, which would make better commercial sense than the V they’ve been running. Not much sales bump out of a bike you don’t sell anything like and never have. No one identifies V4′s with Suzuki after all.

    The inline makes sense especially if MotoGP goes the claiming rule route, which I think it will sooner or later. Heck I’ll go out on a limb and speculate that within a couple of years years WSBK and WSS will go down a Superstock path, with a lot more production components required than current, while MotoGP and Moto2 will not have spec engines, but will require production-based engines and probably spec ECU’s. Maybe even a requirement for engine suppliers to be willing to supply X number of teams with motors at a set price ceiling if they want to be approved for entry.

    Blasphemy, maybe, but consider the potential benefits. More teams, more external sponsors, better competition, and factory decision makers who can more easily connect the dots between the MotoGP grid and the sales floor. Not a terrible outcome, and it gets better when you think about the ensuing product trickledown that would be available on the showroom floor. Just look at motocross for the model…

  10. MikeD says:

    @SteveB:

    Yup, i have read those too. I hope they are doing so and stick to the I-4.
    U make some fair points as to why stick to the I-4…maybe not 100% on the $ but fair enough.
    Personally, i too see Suzuki as a leading I-4 builder…even if they made/make some stumpin V’s( i currently own a 2K3 SV1000N) so i would at least say they know a thing or two about V’s but im a little biased too. LOL.

  11. Greg says:

    Sad it is to see Suzuki go…not that I’m a fan particularly but like the competition nonetheless. As far switching to all CRT format, that is downright stupid! That’s like saying Ferrari, Mercedes, Renault etc are no longer allowed to run factory teams in F1. Why the frick would I want to watch F1 w/o the legendary factory squads duking it out anymore!? Same in MotoGP – yes innovative, challenging competition from private constructers would be awesome to see just as watching McLaren or Red Bull stick it to Ferrari in F1 is salivating – but I still love and desire to see big factory teams like Honda, Yamaha, & Ducati do battle on the blacktop! MotoGP should allow rules like in F1 where there can be many teams private & factory running whatever engine, etc they deem. Like Mercedes runs there full factory squad yet private constructors such as McLaren & Force India run the same drivetrain… Yet what is so sick about that is one hand you can have McLaren spanking Benz w/ their own power yet Benz can turn around & still outpace Force India w/ same engines… SO why can’t have several private teams in MotoGP all running Ducati L4s, Honda V4s, Yamaha I4s, Suzuki I4s, Aprilia V4s, Honda I4s, BMW I4s, etc etc using whatever chassis they want as long as they meet the minimum regs???? That would be perfection – MotoGP grid made in Heaven :) !!!!! Just a sick grid chalk full of CRT & Factory prototypes – no production based BS at all! Just let them fight it all out . . . Besides…then maybe private team could actually build a Ducati L4 bike w/ the right chassis, that doesn’t need Stoner to even win, and then b****slap Ducati Marlboro around w/ their own game (let alone the rest of the grid) ;)

  12. Steven says:

    This actually sucks. Suzuki was just now reaching a point for me where they were fun to root for. No one wants to root for Stoner. That’s to easy, of course he’ll win or at least get 2nd or 3rd. Its the rest of the grid that entertaining. Its just like F1. All the real action happens starting at 4th place.