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: All in a Day’s Time

09/24/2013 @ 3:31 pm, by Kevin WarrenComments Off

Trackside Tuesday: All in a Days Time honda tt legends le mans 24 hour kevin warren 635x422

In the world of motorcycle racing the Isle of Man TT is indeed infamous, and as a photographer I have been lucky enough to shoot on the Isle in the Irish Sea. When my letter of credential for the Le Mans 24 Hour Moto arrived, I was beyond ecstatic — my charge would be to cover those same TT riders as they participated in the FIM World Endurance Championship finale at Le Mans.

An overnight flight from my home in Atlanta, and a train ride from Paris to Le Mans, and I was on-site 48 hours later. There are times when arriving at a circuit that I have never shot can be daunting, but one walk thru the door to the Honda TT Legends pits and I felt at home. As much due to the familiar faces, as to the more relaxed atmosphere of the team here at Le Mans versus the intensity at the Isle of Man.

You see, the Isle of Man is a race that harkens back to childhood adventures for the likes of McGuinness, Dunlop, Rutter, and Andrews — where each of these riders could only dream of being at all like their heroes rider like the famous Joey Dunlop. At the TT, these men are serious competitors on a team looking for individual glory and wins as individuals.

However, the Honda TT Legends squad that competes at the EWC level is one of individuals competing not against themselves, but the other teams…and there is a difference.

Looking back now, who would have guessed the team would have decided that Michael Dunlop’s reserve rider qualifying time would mean he would replace the venerable John McGuinness as the starting rider, leaving the 19-time TT race winner sitting on the sidelines.

I was told later, that with all due credit to McGuinness’s ability, that the youth of Dunlop, which allows him to maintain lap times over long periods of time, was part of that decision.

All was going amazingly well for the team of TT legends, with fast times each lap, and a bike that was performing at a pinnacle level – thanks to an amazing crew that is more like a group of friends, or family really, than just a simple motorcycle racing team.

It wasn’t until the 10 o’clock hour that a medical car made its way up pit lane with lights and siren wailing, causing everyone to take a moment to hope for the best for whomever is involved.

You see,  when a bike stops moving on the television screen, which shows each bike’s position on the course, it’s not good, especially when it’s your team member who’s number is frozen on the screen. But does that mean something is bad? Or, perhaps is it that he is just stalled off the track having avoided the incident?

I could see that Michael Rutter, who was awaiting Simon’s arrival for the next rider change, was now pacing around with his arms crossed. Elsewhere, Honda TT Legends Team Manager Neil Tuxworth was on his radio to Race Control, while Team Media Representative Beth Robinson was on her phone trying to get answers as well.

The tension was palpable in the pitbox. The live TV feed each team has in its pits was showing a mangled bike that lay in pieces on the side of the track, but with it being night and dust thick in the air as track marshals where sweeping up the debris, it was hard to make out whose bike had just disintegrated on the course. Whoever was on that tattered piece of motorcycle had surely been through something horrific, but was it Simon Andrews? No one knew.

It seemed like an eternity as the minutes became tens of minutes, then a half an hour, and all the while the team is wanting to know more. It was when I saw the look on the another TT Legends crew member, while she was talking to someone from Race Control, that I knew it was Simon who was involved, and it couldn’t have been good.

Everyone had questions about his condition, was it bad, and if so, how bad? It is at these times that you realize that even these men, who are fierce competitors, are closer than most are with there own family. Personally I had to leave the pits for a few minutes to walk outside and gather my own thoughts.

You see, I suffered a serious head injury during a motorcycle accident myself, which I deal with to this day, and have seen my fair share of bad news at the Isle of Man TT. But, I have never seen the news reach the Honda TT Legends team.

As time went on the question became what are the rules regarding wreaked bikes, and could the team continue on with John McGuinness as the third rider? Well according to the rules the frame and starter of the bike on track had to be used and unfortunately Simon’s CBR was damaged beyond repair, as the frame had been broken in two.

The level of professionalism to both have concern in everyone’s heart for Simon, but also at the same time to have the will to continue on, if possible, may be hard for an outsider to understand. But in the world of racing, it is understood.

This is a team after all that thrives on wanting to continue on and prove they can’t be easily defeated. As the pits grew quiet and individual team members talked among themselves expressing grief and concern things slowly got back to business.

The crew began to break down the pits, and all that means at a very late hour in the night and before dawn is that the number 18 pit at the 24 Hours of Le Mans Moto was cleared-out and the door locked just as the team had found it when they arrived.

It wasn’t until later that next morning now, that the extent of Simon’s injuries where revealed in the Honda Racing hospitality suite, where the entire team was gathered. A somber mood indeed filled the air as everyone had Andrew Simon, his health, family, and well being on their mind.

Photo: © 2013 Kevin Warren / Digital Press Images — All Rights Reserved

Comments are closed.