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.

Valencia MotoGP Test Preview: Valentino Rossi, Marc Marquez, Ducati, & The Future

11/12/2012 @ 5:24 pm, by David Emmett5 COMMENTS

Valencia MotoGP Test Preview: Valentino Rossi, Marc Marquez, Ducati, & The Future Valentino Rossi 46 Yamaha Racing 635x476

The sense of expectation in the air at Valencia is wound so tight it hums. Tomorrow morning, some time after 10am, some of that expectation will start to dissipate as we get the first glimpses of answers that have preoccupied MotoGP fans for the past few months.

Two things we hope to see: a glimpse of the past and a glimpse of the future. After two long, hard years, the army of Valentino Rossi fans will be hoping to see something they haven’t since 2010, or maybe even 2009: a flowing, comfortable, aggressive Valentino Rossi at one with the machine underneath.

That was something he never showed while riding the Ducati, the figure in the Rossi replica helmet sitting on the Ducati always looking more like a club racer had sneaked into the back of the Ducati garage to take the bike out for a spin, terrifying himself in the process. Rossi looked stiff, awkward, uncomfortable, his back arched like a cat negotiating a dog-infested yard.

The body language should be enough to judge the success of Rossi’s return by. The times may be a little slow on the first day, as he will need to reconfigure his brain again, to learn to trust the front end of the bike, and react more quickly and more smoothly to the things the bike is trying to do.

He may have picked up some unhealthy habits in his time at Ducati which take a little while to unlearn and slow him up while he does. But the way he sits on the bike, brakes, attacks corners, and walks to his chair after getting off the bike should tell the onlookers enough about whether the Valentino Rossi of old will show up at Qatar.

From the old to the new, and the future of MotoGP will take his first steps on the road which may eventually lead to superstardom tomorrow. Marc Marquez has been groomed, supported, and exceedingly well funded on his way to MotoGP, but the teenager’s towering talent need not be questioned. He has proven both in 125s and in Moto2 that he learns fast, adapts to new machinery quickly and has the bike control necessary.

He also has a merciless aggression, total confidence in his abilities, and a hunger, an insatiable thirst for victory. Leaping off a Moto2 with half the horsepower, limited electronic sophistication and rider-friendly Dunlops onto a fire-breathing Honda RC213V with the stone-like Bridgestones will be a shock to the system. But if there is one rider capable of filling the immense void left by Casey Stoner on the track, Marc Marquez promises to be that man.

Marquez has neither fear, nor respect for his peers – at least not while he is on the track – two traits which he may be forced to quickly learn. He will not find the limit of the Honda MotoGP machine immediately, but by the end of the first day he should have at least found his feet. A time to match Stefan Bradl and Alvaro Bautista should be regarded as an excellent debut.

A time close to that of Rossi’s would be outstanding. A time within a few tenths of Dani Pedrosa and Jorge Lorenzo would be sensational. With Stoner’s old crew chief Cristian Gabarrini overseeing Marquez’ entry into the premier class, the boy is in the best possible hands.

At Ducati, the fate of the two Andreas will be fascinating to follow. The two men enter Ducati coming off opposite trajectories, and with completely different backgrounds. In the factory team, Andrea Dovizioso enters with experience of both Honda and Yamaha, experience which may prove to be both a help and a hindrance. The time at Honda exploiting the drive off the corner will help him, as will Dovizioso’s strength on the brakes.

The confidence gained with the Yamaha’s front end will not, however. The front end of the Ducati is a problem to be ridden around, not a strength to be exploited, and Dovizioso will need to recalibrate his brain to cope with that. Fortunately for the likeable Italian, he has just gone through that exact same process with the Tech 3 Yamaha over the past year. He has been told by his friends to prepare for a shock, the question is whether he can cope with the scale of it.

The other Andrea, Iannone, does not require quite so much preparation. The Italian has already spent some seat time with the Ducati at Mugello earlier this year. He comes into the Pramac Ducati junior team without preconceptions of what a MotoGP bike is supposed to feel like, and can just concentrate on trying to ride as hard as possible.

Many believe that an open mind is the key to success at Ducati, riding the bike the way it needs to be ridden, rather than hoping to adapt it to fit a preconceived notion. Iannone is an almost entirely instinctive rider, and one who has quickly learned to adapt to the situation at hand. He will need to continue in that vein for the year to come.

A few more hours, and the tension will break, cracked by the roar of 2013-spec MotoGP bikes taking to the track with 2013-spec riders aboard them. The future arrives tomorrow.

Photo: Valentino Rossi (Twitter)

This article was originally published on MotoMatters, and is republished here on Asphalt & Rubber with permission by the author.


  1. dc4go says:

    Lorenzo’s going to wipe his butt his Rossi jersey and hand it back to him… And I’m not a Lorenzo fan at all but think Rossi’s toast…

  2. New Zealand Dan says:

    Like the article suggests, Rossi won’t be instantly fast.

    If you think he’s somehow supposed to be challenging (is that even a word to use in post season testing) then your expectations are too high. That said, let the lap times talk for themselves and try your best to be analytical in your praise or derision of riders.

  3. Skip says:

    “Lorenzo’s going to wipe his butt his Rossi jersey and hand it back to him”

    Good Engrish Bro

  4. smiler says:

    Will MotoGP be exciting for a while now until Dorna screw up the rules again. Interesting article in one of the bike mags with Burgess. Paraphrased.

    Engineers will always find a way round the rules. For example limiteing primary gear ratios. Engineers solution: more secondary ones, different front sprockets.
    ECU rule daft. Big companies have the moeny to overcome the rule. The reason the manufacturers are in MotoGP is development. It is becoming a entertainment show.
    Ducati – Development speed. Honda tried nine different frames in one season with Pedrosa. Yamahaha 8 different swing arms. Ducati using same frame nearly all season.
    However Doohan found Honda’s tinkering a pain.
    Engines. No engine tuning on the 1000′s compared to the 500′s which is a shame. No tyre competition either. So the manufacturers have to adapt the bike to the concrete tyres Bridgestone prepare, not as it should be.
    Rossi – looking for podiums but enough to win the championship….he does not know.
    4 bike rule – why if a company has the cash to put more bikes on…..

    He should know…….

  5. The spec tire rule in a prototype class is like requiring a variety of artists to use the same, single color to paint or single instrument to make music. Complete Masterpieces will never be achieved.