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: Seeing is Not Always Believing

06/19/2012 @ 2:13 pm, by Scott Jones17 COMMENTS

Trackside Tuesday: Seeing is Not Always Believing Nicky Hayden Silverstone Trackside Tuesday Scott Jones

For the first quarter of the British Grand Prix, there was a Ducati racing at the front  in a dry race, something we’ve not seen for some time. Almost as soon as Nicky Hayden crossed the line with 15 of 20 laps to go, his GP12 changed from something that could match the pace of the leaders into something else entirely.

Hayden lost fourth place to Lorenzo, then fifth to Dovizioso, both times going wide as his bike suddenly wouldn’t turn like it had been doing for the previous four laps. Hayden said in his post-race media scrum that the bike had been great until it destroyed the soft rear tire.

Earlier, when I’d walked onto pit lane and headed for the grid, we felt sprinkles in the air and wondered if the volatile weather was about to change from cool-but-dry to wet-and-even-colder, as it had several times over the weekend.

It seemed unlikely that it would start raining hard enough to begin the race on wet tires, but up and down pit lane crew chiefs appeared from their boxes, looking up at the skies, wondering what to do. Soft or hard tires? Dry, cool, warm, damp, what would the track be like over the course of twenty laps?

Hayden’s crew went with the soft choice, as all but Rossi had done, and that tire lasted four laps before going off to the point that Hayden couldn’t stop the bike and it started getting chatter. He fought the rest of the way to hold as many positions as possible, ultimately ending the day 7th, top Ducati, and just over 15 seconds behind the winner.

After the race, Hayden tried to be positive about finishing only 15 seconds back and having kept race pace at the start. But if you look at this week’s photo, the eyes show that there is only one thing that really matters. While others of us can look at Sunday’s race and say it was a great result for someone on a GP12, for the rider, only a victory means that the job got done.

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. Cpt.Slow says:

    Without question, Nicky is putting in work (respect)!

  2. phs says:

    Nicky needs to get away from Ducati and on a bike that he can compete on. He is wasting his years at Ducati. Put him on something competitive and he will be towards the front.

  3. Tyler says:

    That’s the problem with MotoGP now isn’t it… only so many RIDES to go around, and only a couple factories able to compete at the utmost level. With the established “Maximum” number of bikes provided by each manufacturer, matters are even worse.

    What’s wrong with If You Can Pay For It You Can Race It? Why the unnecessary limit on the number of prototypes.

    This is ridiculous. You are encouraging less prototypes, less development, less sponsor involvement (in the prototype class).

    I fear the series truly is trying to manufacture a CRT dominance for the future…

  4. Jesse Cecil says:

    I think it’s pretty clear that Nicky is still capable of being as fast or faster than all but a couple of riders on the grid. In fact, he’s been working so hard on that Ducati, that I might go as far as saying that this is the best Nick that we’ve seen in GPs. Let me count the ways.

    He’s hungrier than ever before.
    He’s had to work incredibly hard (a Hayden forte) to adapt to the Ducati, but he’s done it — better than
    anyone save Stoner. Watch his Silverstone QP lap pre-crash. He was doing a very solid Casey
    impression, thrashing that bike to the ragged edge on every corner.
    Because he’s had to work harder to make up for the deficiencies of the bike, he’s grown as a rider.
    He and his crew are seemingly leading the development charge instead of Rossi, who admits Hayden can ride the bike in a way that he cannot (i.e. from the rear).
    When the bike is working, he’s at the front until the tire gives up the ghost. This has happened several
    times, but Nicky’s personal capability for speed is not at issue, IMO.

    I’m more and more confident that if/when the Ducati gets sorted, it’ll be Nicky that does it, while Rossi (hopefully) benefits from some good, ol’ fashioned Kentuckian hard work and determination.

  5. phs says:

    Jesse,
    I agree with everything you said.
    I just don’t think Ducati can turn things around anytime soon. The longer Nicky stays at Ducati the older he is getting. I wish he could get on some competitive machinery asap…he deserves it!

  6. Jonathan says:

    @ Cpt.Slow: Agree 100%. I like Nicky and he’s putting in long hours quietly and without fuss. In a parallel universe he’s just got the nod from Honda again, or maybe even the other factory Yamaha seat…

    Back to reality. The bottom line may read “7th”, but reading between those lines that spell trading punches in the front group suggests that Nicky regained a little faith in the Duke’s front end (even after a hard crash in gusty conditions on Saturday) and he responded by demonstrating that he still has the pace and the hunger. Here’s hoping he gets the tools to do the job – I’m not quite ready to see him racing the ovals again just yet!

  7. Laura says:

    Really great to see him at the front of the pack. Nicky has always had tons of class when it comes to his riding, whether he is winning or not. He is the epitome of class in my book and I will stay a fan!

  8. Jake F. says:

    Nothing would make me happier than to see my two favorite racers winning races on a competitive bike from my favorite marque. A boy can dream…

  9. benfaster says:

    Right on Jake!

  10. Anti says:

    Is it possible to say that Ducati as a small manufacturer just don’t have the money to throw into their bike, unlike say honda Honda.

    How much of a chunk would Rossi’s wage take out of Ducati’s research, development and testing?

  11. dc4go says:

    Not that much Anti cause Rossi is paid by Marlboro… that being said I wish Ducati would just release Rossi cause he and the Gp12 just don’t get along at all… Sad to say but that marriage is DONE!! Trellis frame anyone??

  12. JoeD says:

    I do wish Ducati had a better set up. Perhaps with the engine change, the rear tires may last longer with manageable power to the asphalt. BMW had teething troubles until they dialed back on the oomph. Clearly, Nick has the fire in the belly. Rossi seems to expect a perfect motorcycle to compliment his perfect self.

  13. Calisdad says:

    Am I the only one who thinks the tire rule needs scraping? Nick’s tire goes south after 5 laps? The Hondas even chewed them up . Its one of the very few components left from last years bike.

    Did anyone go out and buy a new set of Bridgestones because they worked so well on Sunday? didn’t think so.

  14. Neil says:

    Nicky has always been my favorite rider, his determination and positive attitude are examples of why he is so popular not only with fans but in the paddock as well.

    I would so love to see him win at Laguna on the Ducati and shut the naysayers up because if they don’t think the fire still burns, they’re crazy….

    Go #69

  15. Westward says:

    Ducati has Marlboro as a sponsor and soon enough will have the financial access to Audi/VW ass their new owners. Money is not an issue…

    I think Ducati should run four machines and have the Pramac team run the Screamer engines with a kalex chassis, after all this is prototype racing is it not…

  16. David says:

    Somebody mentioned Rossi salary. Rossi is number 20 on this years Forbes richest athletes list.

    30 million a year. Breaks down as 17 mill salary, 13 mill endorsements.

    Not bad. I could scrape by on that. lol

  17. @Calisdad
    no, yes, & no.