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.

Trackside Tuesday: Patience is a Virtue

06/27/2012 @ 10:44 am, by Scott Jones6 COMMENTS

Trackside Tuesday: Patience is a Virtue 2012 Silverstone Alvaro Bautista

One of the great things about the support classes in Grand Prix motorbike racing is the depth of the competition. While there are a handful of favorites in each class, we generally don’t have the Three Alien situation of MotoGP. Once a rider leaves that broader talent and equipment pool for the premier class however, his potential results are limited by the bike he lands on.

Alvaro Bautista paid his dues for two years on an 800cc Suzuki, finishing in lucky thirteenth spot for both the 2010 and 2011 championships. If Suzuki hadn’t folded up and gone home for 2012, Bautista might still have been on an uncompetitive bike with a crowd of fans who could only think fondly back to what an exciting 125cc and 250cc rider he had been.

But 2012 has Bautista on a Honda, and while the former 125cc World Champion is not yet fighting for wins as he did in the smaller classes, at Silverstone he provided us with the feel good moment of the weekend by claiming his first MotoGP Pole Position. There may have been a few hard souls who begrudged this result but the rest of us were elated for one of the nicest riders in the paddock.

Bautista couldn’t hold on to a podium spot and finished fourth in the race, in itself a fine result after two years in Rizla Blue. I’d love to see him join the Tech 3 battle for Best of the Rest on a regular basis, and perhaps his near-podium at the British GP will be the confidence builder he needs to do so. As the saying goes, it couldn’t happen to a nicer guy.

Scott Jones is a professional photographer who covers MotoGP and WSBK for racing industry clients as well as racing websites and publications in the U.S. and Europe. His online archive is available at Photo.GP, and you can find him on his blogTwitter, & Facebook.

All images posted, shared, or sent for editorial use or review are registered for full copyright protection at the Library of Congress.

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

Comment:

  1. @DaveMinella says:

    I always love to read news about my heterosexual man-crush, Alvaro Bautista. I couldn’t be happier that he finally has a competitive machine and is dicing it up towards the front where he belongs.
    Rock on, Bati!

  2. Jonathan says:

    Being a Brit I shouldn’t want Alvaro to be stealin’ points from Cal, but it was great to see him bring home a bit of bacon at Silverstone. He’s had a couple of lacklustre seasons on an uncompetitive bike prior to this one, but ironically he was just starting to look good when Suzuki pulled the plug (and it’s hard to look good in turquoise!) The tragic manner in which the Gresini seat became available must bring pressures of it’s own too, as do the dominance of Tech 3 so far in the “best of the rest” table.

    It just goes to show that nice guys don’t finish last! And how does he keep is hair looking so good?

  3. Scott Jones says:

    Glad to see you noticed this one, Dave–I’d have emailed you otherwise as I know Alvaro is your guy.

    @Jonathan–The strength of the Suzuki at the end of last season certainly thickens the irony of Bautista’s situation. Leave it to Suzuki to make a brilliant road bike and finally come back to form with their MotoGP machine just as the formula ends. Still, I’m glad that Bautista’s fate is no longer tied to Suzuki and their uncertain future in the premiere class. He now has a solid bike and an opportunity to show what he can do. Cal can take the competition from below, as he has his sights set firmly at the top.

  4. Westward says:

    He is on factory metal, I expected more. Hopefully he will be a regular at the front. Bautista, Dovizioso, and Crutchlow have only themselves to blame this season. Add to that list Spies as well…

  5. Frenchie says:

    @Westward: of your 4 riders list, there’s only one on factory equipment.

    Dovi and Crutchlow will never get factory-spec at Tech3, they’re always 1 or 2 steps down in engine and chassis.
    Bautista is on the first chassis HRC developed for 2012 (and it’s not going to be updated) and also the only bike equipped with Showa suspensions and Nissin brakes.

    These guys are no aliens but (except for Spies) they are doing a really respectable job on the slighlty less competitive equipment made available to them.

    Dovi scoring a podium after barely 6 weekends on a (satellite) Yamaha exceeds expectations (how often do we see satellite bikes on the podium?) and Bautista was merely one second and a half from his first podium (again, new bike it’s his 6th race on a Honda).
    No need to mention Cal or Spies, it’s been debated all over the web.

    Of these 4, Spies is the only one that disappointed, he’s on the same bike as Lorenzo, and can do much better than he’s been doing this season so far.
    The other guys can only regularly battle for 4th place (which means finishing in front of at least one official Honda or Yamaha rider) and the odd podium on satellite bike requires some serious skills!

  6. @Frenchie: You absolutely nailed it. Nicely stated!