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.

TTXGP Crowdsources the 2011 Rule Book

01/11/2010 @ 1:57 pm, by Jensen Beeler15 COMMENTS

TTXGP Crowdsources the 2011 Rule Book Brammo Enertia Racing IOM 560x420

TTXGP will be getting an added layer of transparency for 2011, as the Azhar “The Czar” Hussain has put his electric motorcycle racing series rule book up in wiki form, and invited competitors and experts to make, modify, and discuss the regulations that TTXGP competitors will have to adhere to in 2011. Acting as arbitrator and moderator over the wiki is lawyer Harry Mallin, which electric motorcycle fans might know better as Brammofan.

The move to open up and gather input from external sources is a big step for motorcycle racing, and rule making in general. In theory, TTXGP should be able to weigh and balance interests more effectively with a crowdsource writing method. The Czar is critical of the traditional manner in which rules are concocted in closed-door sessions by regulatory bodies (namely the FIM), and then pushed onto competitors with varying degrees of modest feedback.

Besides opening up the rule book, for TTXGP crowdsourcing comes with two distinct advantages. For starters it allows the small organization to focus its limited resources into other areas of the racing series, such as promotion, sponsorship, media, etc. Secondly, it help alleviate growing conflict of interest allegations, which were first brought up here on A&R, and later picked up by the FIM in its negotiations with TTXGP.

Having a rule book that presumably every competitor, supplier, and even fan could contribute to and discuss idea removes perceptions of impropriety in the regulations’s construction. With so many interests and perspectives able to join the discussion on electric motorcycle racing, TTXGP ensures not only that a 360º perspective is added to its rule construction, but also that the series will be able to keep pace with the rapidly changing industry and its technology.

Despite these advantages, the devil is in the details when it comes to implementing a crowdsourcing schema. TTXGP will leave the its wiki open until sometime in August, where it will then sift through the contributions. The finalized rule book will be released in Ocotber at the TTXGP finale in Spain. Hussain has indicated that not every suggestion is going to make it into the rules, and submissions will be initially moderated by Harry Mallin (aka Brammofan).

When he’s not blogging about the Brammo Enertia, Mallin serves as an Assistant Regional Counsel for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Mallin holds a Juris Doctor from The University of Kansas School of Law, and has been active in the electric motorcycle world with his writings. As a lawyer and writer, he makes for an ideal candidate for this chosen role, as a logically and clerically skilled eye will be required to make sense out of competing ideas. However in his selection of Mallin, Hussain again makes the error of mudding the TTXGP waters, and dilutes some of the power found in a crowdsourcing methodology.

Mallin has ties to Brammo CEO Craig Bramscher, and is an adamant fan of the Brammo powercycle. While Mallin’s role as moderator seems to be rooted mostly in weeding out spam, proofing, and other clerical duties, his unofficial involvement with Brammo could be of issue when heated discussions break out during the rule making process.

It should be noted that Brammo has not committed to racing in TTXGP racing series at this point in time.

Source: TTXGP via Ivar Kvadsheim

Comment:

  1. John Adamo says:

    A&R analysis of the 2011 TTXGP rule wiki. RT @Asphalt_Rubber: TTXGP Crowdsources the 2011 Rule Book – http://bit.ly/7vWVeA #motorcycle

  2. TTXGP Crowdsources the 2011 Rule Book http://bit.ly/5ut0Gb

  3. iron_cahoonas says:

    Czar is now a tag. Cool.

    ooh yeah, crowd sourcing thing is neat, but the world is full of idiots. Good luck.

  4. Brammofan says:

    Don’t I know it, @iron_cahoonas. Thanks for the good luck wishes, though.

  5. RT @skadamo: A&R analysis of the 2011 TTXGP rule wiki. RT @Asphalt_Rubber: TTXGP Crowdsources the 2011 Rule Book – http://bit.ly/7vWVeA

  6. Hurm, I wonder if you’re pressing a mite too hard on this button. It’s probably useful that you are questioning the potential for conflict of interest. There’s also potential to focus so much on this potential that you see conflict of interest where there is none.

  7. Quite right David, but I’d rather press too hard than too soft on something like this. Knowing Harry, I’m sure he will be fair and balanced in his role as wiki moderator.

    However, I think anyone covering this sector would be remiss in not questioning a racing body that is appointing someone for a job that is supposed to be neutral to all parties, when that appointee has close connections to a likely racing participant, and has expressed fandom (a little punning here) for that company.

  8. TTXGP Crowdsources the 2011 Rule Book – http://bit.ly/7vWVeA #motorcycle

  9. iron_cahoonas says:

    Some background

    http://www.egrandprix.com/news.php?id=49

    @Brammofan. Are you expressing fandom? How can you live with yourself being lord of the ring and expressing fandom?

  10. Brammofan says:

    It must be a typo. I told my wife I was “lord of the ring” and she informed me that I wasn’t even the “deputy of the remote control.”

  11. skadamo says:

    Yeah, Harry has shown love for electric motorcycles in general and never bad mouths non-Brammo’s. I think he is a good pick for the job. It’s a great evolution for Harry too. He has received checks from Brammo but has not financial stake in them. It was only a matter of time before another business looked to him for his skills and the Czar was smart to grab him.

    Beeler, I like the fact that your keeping an eye on things. It will be good for electric long term.

  12. Matthew says:

    Given that the electric motorcycle community is still quite limited, I don’t see how we are going to be able to avoid COIs, especially if we are to consider any connection to more than one body/group/company as a COI. I think the threshold needs to be raised. A&R is starting to come off a little paranoid where this subject is concerned. Just relax a little and let it play out.

  13. @Jensen: I’m on record in my own reporting that there is obviously potential for conflict of interest. It was so obvious that I asked Azhar about it in October during a conversation about the yet-to-be-unveiled Mavizen bike. For myself I’m satisfied with his answer then and since. The fact is the electric motorcycle market is rather small at the moment and there is a strategic need to jumpstart the industry. After thinking about the TTXGP/FIM split I don’t think it arose because of conflict of interest but instead an argument over money.

  14. McCarthy says:

    Jensen, its over. The reds aren’t coming. Up the dosage.

  15. LoJack says:

    This has to be the one of the most exciting ideas I have ever come across in motorsport.
    If it works, it could change everything. If it doesn’t…let’s just make this work.