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.

Rossi Tests the Ducati Desmosedici GP12 at Mugello

05/26/2011 @ 1:10 pm, by Jensen Beeler7 COMMENTS

Rossi Tests the Ducati Desmosedici GP12 at Mugello Valentino Rossi Ducati Corse GP12 Mugello test 1 635x434

Under normal circumstances, Valentino Rossi testing the Ducati Desmosedici GP12 at the Mugello circuit would be a big deal on the interwebs. But today with the combination of a “been there, done that” effect that setting in around the GP12, and the news that the new 2012 Ducati “Superquadrata” Superbike is also being tested at the fabled Italian track, Rossi’s latest outing on the 1,000cc class bike is taking a backseat. That’s not say we don’t want to show The Doctor some love, as Ducati Corse has eight more photos showing off details of the GP12.

Though not a big technical detail, one of the new things we spotted from the photos was the gravel guard on the exhaust pipe near the right foot, which matches the guard we’re accustomed to seeing on the GP11′s tail. The big question regarding the GP12 though is its cylinder dimensions, with Nicky Hayden recently quoted as saying he could talk about anything regarding the GP12, except its motor displacement. Interesting, no? Photos after the jump.

Source: Ducati Corse

Comment:

  1. Mark says:

    I’m very interested to find out if they rotated the cylinders upward into a “V” rather than the current “L”. I hope they did, as this is the major issue preventing the Ducati from improving, in my opinion.

    Photo’s from the last test in Jarez showed what looked like a dramatically different looking right side clutch case, indicating that there might be something very different under those fairings.

  2. hoyt says:

    Maybe the difference is a gear-driven cam instead of belt? ala the desmosedici engine?

    Rotating the cylinders into a v config. while maintaining a 90 degree primary balance still has packaging considerations.

  3. Mark says:

    @Hoyt, I am talking about the Desmosedici engine. Even tough it’s a V4, because it’s an L layout, it sits further to the rear in the chassis, causing the same issues as the L-Twin superbike.

  4. hoyt says:

    I know the v4 is still in an L config. & I am also talking about the sedici motor.
    Rotating the L to a V isn’t necessarily the end-all solution because it would then present different chassis and geometry challenges if Ducati sticks with a 90-degree motor. (if they do make that switch, in some ways it would be good, but it would not be without significant trade-offs is all that I am saying)…

    Refining the existing setup and suspension to solve the current front-end problems seems easier. Their current setup has a lot of advantages such as the airbox size & location between the L, while doubling as a cf frame. This config also allows for as small of a petro tank as possible on top.

    The WSB Ducati is doing pretty well this year.

  5. Jim says:

    @ Hoyt. When you write things like “Even tough it’s a V4, because it’s an L layout” and “Rotating the L to a V isn’t necessarily the end-all solution” I wasn’t so sure you knew what defines an L4 configuration as opposed to a V4. I guess that you do, but you infer the angle between banks is only a concern spatially. It’s not. Ducati’s brain trust have resisted rotating that horizontal head since March 1970. The only reason both cylinders are angled back at all was to aid cooling during the prototype phase.
    Might 40 years of tradition and nearly ideal dynamic balance be reason enough to stay with the 90 degree layout all these years? Who knows why precisely, they’re Italian. I for one am glad theres a bit of variety left on the MotoGp grid, the last truly exciting race series remaining.
    I hope the MotoCzysz GP1 would rise from the grave. The distinctive howl of its counter-rotating dual crankshaft inline 4 is decidedly un-Asian and therefor worthwhile

  6. hoyt says:

    @Jim -

    It is hard to tell who you are writing to because you referenced a quote from both Mark & I, respectively in your comment.

    I understand a cylinders angle separation has impacts on the overall packaging (spatial concerns) as well as the motor’s internal engineering & part count. Notice that I wrote in one of the comments above about primary balance of a 90-degree motor….

    “Rotating the cylinders into a v config. while maintaining a 90 degree primary balance still has packaging considerations.”

    I agree with the need & desire for variety in a prototype class. A prototype class that has minimal variety is self-contradictory in some respects.

    The Czysz effort seemed to close when there were some personnel changes. Too bad because I think they just made some advances in their head design to find more power.

  7. Jim says:

    @ Hoyt.
    My mother-in-law is visiting. I hate the very air she breathes, so if I did mix the comments, apologies.