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: Actions Speak Louder Than Words

07/17/2012 @ 3:43 pm, by Jules Cisek13 COMMENTS

Trackside Tuesday: Actions Speak Louder Than Words Stefan Bradl Trackside Tuesday Jules Cisek 635x423

The somewhat thin crowds at Mugello this past weekend were in a way reflective of the lack of Italian domination in Grand Prix racing over the last few seasons. With Spaniards taking all 3 GP Championships in 2010, three non-italian nations doing the same in 2011, Valentino Rossi unlikely to win a race for the second season in a row, and inconsistent results for Italians in the lower classes, things look bleak for Italia in 2012 as well.

And while this didn’t stop those present from showing the energy and passion that this racing mecca is so well known for, it shouldn’t be too surprising that despite the incredible Moto2 win by Andrea Ianonne and the endearing swagger and impassioned ride to 2nd of Romano Fenati in Moto3, I pick a non-Italian rider to spotlight after attending the Gran Premio D’Italia TIM.

That rider is the reigning Moto2 World Champion, and MotoGP rookie sensation Stefan Bradl.

In 2011, Stefan Bradl won the Moto2 Championship in what some waved off as a gift due to the Marc Marquez accident at Sepang (much like Nicky Hayden’s 2006 Championship was for many years tied to the terrible luck experienced by Valentino Rossi that season).

But here lies the truth. While we love the bravado and passion of the Italian riders, the very pinnacle of which may have been reached by Marco Simoncelli, there’s a new breed of riders who can dazzle with bravado…and brains. Bradl’s Moto2 World Championship suddenly doesn’t look so lucky anymore as he could very well become the most successful MotoGP rookie since Andrea Dovizioso in 2008.

Stefan’s best ride of the season came this weekend at the Autodromo del Mugello as he missed the podium by a whisker, beating two works Ducatis in the process, and surprising everyone in the paddock and on the hillsides alike.

Bradl provided one of the best spectacles of the race as he hounded Dovi for seven laps before making best of a rare mistake from the Yamaha rider, who outbraked himself in San Donato. Staving off attacks from the much more experienced Dovizioso for 11 laps, Bradl finally lost out to the Italian by 5/100 of a second over the finish line.

In 2008, after nine rounds, Andrea Dovizioso stood 6th at 79 points. At the conclusion of the Italian GP on Sunday (the 9th round), Bradl is 7th with 75. It should also be noted that LCR Honda is coming off an absolutely abysmal season with Toni Elias in 2011. Bradl’s results have galvanized the team (I expect we will see that trend continue), and I will not be at all be surprised if we see Stefan Bradl on the podium before the end of the season.

Plus where the previous Moto2 Champion embarrassed himself in MotoGP, the current one shows that mature riders can succeed in moving up to the premier-class, despite assertions to the contrary voiced by Casey Stoner and a growing number of insiders, who are concerned with whether the Moto2 class can be a good feeder for MotoGP.

Meanwhile Luccio Cecchinello could not be happier.  But not only does he praise Bradl for his skill, courage, and tactics, he also told me that he holds Stefan in the highest regard as a man. High praise for a 22-year-old rider whose name barely rang a bell two seasons ago.

And getting back to the Italians and the mecca of motorcycle racing that is Mugello, while they definitely love their local boys, every rider is a god in Italy.  Several members of the Stefan Bradl fan club present at the track were decidely dark haired and possessed a native affinity of Italian. As I swam with them through the track invasion after the MotoGP race ended, their loftily held flags were met with total respect.

Jules Cisek is a race fan and photographer. He is also the producer and presenter of the MotoPod podcast. You can follow him on TwitterFacebook, or on the MotoPod Facebook page.

Photo: © 2012 Jules Cisek / Popmonkey – All Rights Reserved

Comment:

  1. SBPilot says:

    I wasn’t rooting much for Stefan in Moto2 last year as I wanted Marquez to win, but I have been going for Bradl since he came to MotoGP. His riding is very calculated, little step be little step. He doesn’t make big risks and it’s paid off by not being injured, not costing the team money fixing bikes, increasing confidence level, and increasingly becoming faster on the MotoGP bike. In a sense, he’s riding very…well…German!

    I hope he gets a podium this season. Next season will be very interesting as his arch rival will be riding the factory version of his bike. However, Bradl will have a whole season of experience ahead of Marquez. Unless Marquez is immediately on the pace, we may very well see a satellite Honda ahead of the Repsol Honda more often than not. This can play mind games with Marquez, but can also motivate Bradl. 2013 will be interesting, I see them swapping paint!

  2. musashiwasajedi says:

    Small correction – I think you meant ‘beating two works Ducatis in the process’.

  3. SBPilot “In a sense, he’s riding very…well…German! ” – well said :)

    “musashiwasajedi” – at least in theory, bautista is riding simoncelli’s factory bike. “works” was probably the wrong word tho…

  4. musashiwasajedi says:

    Sorry – you were right (I’m not THAT picky!). I miss counted.

    Since Stoner and Bautista both had such a rough day the fact that Bradl beat them both doesn’t stand out quite as strongly – although it shouldn’t be overlooked. He beat them both.

    I was thinking it was an even more impressive feat that Bradl had fought very hard and decisively with Nicky on that last lap and stayed ahead of the fast approaching Rossi/Crutchlow train to keep his 4th place.

    Despite some bad days for others – he still had to earned it.

  5. MP says:

    I flew to Mugello to watch the race last weekend and my seat at Poggo Secco, giving me clean site of turn two through four. Last season, I came to love watching Bradl ride because he seemed to carry himself with a tremendous amount of maturity for such a young rider. At Mugello, Bradl was incredibly entertaining. He would get on the throttle just a little faster, move around on the bike just a bit more aggressively and though I’m a big Hayden fan, it was great to see him get aggressive when he needed to. He’s a fantastic rider and once he’s on a factory ride, I think the rest of the paddock has to really worry.

  6. Frenchie says:

    Bautista is certainly not on “Marco’s works bike”. That deal was for Marco, not Gresini.
    Alvaro is on the satellite version (first spec frame and engine) and the only Honda (or even MotoGP bike) equipped with Nissin brakes and Showa suspensions.

  7. Frenchie: you are correct it is NOT simoncelli’s factory bike, my bad. however, it is also not a pure satellite spec using many 2011 works parts and definitely better bits than LCR is getting. described by gresini himself as “almost factory spec” – almost being a very wide variable. point is Gresini rcv213 > LCR rcv213

  8. Frenchie says:

    Thanks for the details, I didn’t know they were using some factory bits from last year.
    Can’t be that important though given they switched back to 1000 with different engine, chassis and the fact Gresini uses Nissin and Showa.
    I guess it could be in the electronics gizmos.

  9. Adam says:

    I for one thought last year that Bradle would make a great addition to MotoGP and he has. he has a good head on his shoulders and doesn’t make silly mistakes… like the ones that cost Marques last year. Bradles championship was well dissevered last year, nothing is gifted to anyone especially at this level. I hope Marques can grow for next year and show the same maturity as Bradle as I’m sure he will be another great rider in MotoGP

  10. pooch says:

    Bradl is a future GP winner for sure. His rookie year has been very impressive, he’s been clean and fast. I liked him better than Marquez in Moto2 last year, and the eventual season winner showed who had a better racing head on their shoulders.

    I’m really looking forward to seeing him battle with Marquez next year again!

  11. SBPilot says:

    @Adam – the only “mistake” that cost Marquez the title last year was the marshals mistake. Fortunately it didn’t cost Marquez his career. If you’re talking about the first 3 crashes he had, they were not all his fault and they were in my opinion necessary for him to learn the limits of the Moto2 bike (which he did extremely quickly). What Marquez did last year was almost unbelievable. To be that far ahead in points with 3 DNFs, first year riding Moto2, it’s quite amazing. Like you said nothing is just given to you at this level.

    Marquez is just as mature as Bradl. Marquez is not a crasher or an overly aggressive rider, he’s just as clinical and calculated as Bradl. He was mature last year and he still is this year, and he will be even more so next year. I think Marquez has an edge on Bradl in outright speed, but that was in Moto2, we’ll see about GP next year!

    Frenchie: LCR also uses Nissin brakes, but they use Ohlins forks/shock instead of Gresini’s Showa.

  12. Damo says:

    Stefan Bradl has done nothing but impress me this season.

  13. Yeah, Bradl has been very impressive this season. I think he was somewhat overshadowed by Marquez last season, but the tables will probably be turned a bit next season as Bradl will already have a season in the premier class under his belt. It will be very, very interesting to see them dicing with each other next season. Neither of them will be the rider that the other remembers.