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.

Vito Ippolito Speaks on The Future of Motorcycling and the FIM’s e-Power Championship

03/25/2010 @ 6:17 pm, by Jensen Beeler1 COMMENT

Vito Ippolito Speaks on The Future of Motorcycling and the FIMs e Power Championship 3889833302 10d1991978 b 560x334

During at stop in Utrecht, Netherlands, David Emmett over at MotoMatters was able to have a sit down discussion with FIM bossman Vito Ippolito. In their conversation, Emmett gets a rare chance to ask Ippolito a variety of questions regarding the latest MotoGP rule changes, and inner-workings of the FIM, and its involvement in roadracing events.

The interview sheds terrific insight into how manufacturers, sponsorships, national and internationa pressures, and rule making shape the sport we all enjoy, and as the interview winds down, Emmett asks Ippolito about the role the FIM is taking in electric motorcycle racing, and how the FIM sees the future of motorcycling. With permission from MotoMatters we’ve reproduced this section of the interview after the jump, but recommend everyone to read the full interview transcript on MotoMatters.com. It’s well worth the read, and one of the best interviews we’ve seen in a while in the racing space.

MM: One last subject. Electric bikes. Last year we had the TTXGP, the first electric race, that went surprisingly well, I think it surprised a lot of people. This year it looked like we were going to have one international championship but instead we have I think three championships, with the FIM having a championship and the TTXGP organizers running a championship, and the TT also organizing a race. Where did it all go wrong between the FIM and TTXGP?

VI: I thank you for asking this question! The objective of the FIM is to promote and support all kinds of alternative energies, all kinds. And also not only alternative engines but also the kind of energy. The kind of fuels, etc, all in the direction of low emissions etc. This is the policy of the FIM.

Last year on the Isle of Man, a guy with a lot of ability organized the first race, and we supported it. We know that there are a few bikes in the world, a few manufacturers, really small manufacturers. But I think it’s a good manner to show that we can have new kinds of vehicles, electric vehicles in this case. We tried to have a deal with the promotor Azhar Hussein, but after a lot of discussions, we could not get a deal. Then he continued, which is good, and the FIM will continue to promote of course, because, for the FIM what’s really happened is that we spend money to promote this, we are not trying to have, “this is the gold and we will make a lot of money”.

Our policy is to show that we are very interested, which is true because we have an environmental commission, we have an alternative energy working group which we have had for many years. We are working, because in the future we don’t know if the factories will say “OK, guys, now this is the bike: No oil, no gasoline, now we use water.” Water? “Yes, it’s true, now no more gasoline.” Oh. Then we have a big problem at the circuit, you understand? Then we have to prepare our people and ourselves for the future. We don’t know if we will use hydrogen fuel cells or lithium ion batteries or any kind of new technology.

The idea of the FIM is to promote, because we are interested too, because it’s part of our social responsibility, it’s the sport and society. And we are concerned like many people around the world about the environment, it’s part of our responsibility. Then we support this type of new use of technologies with low emissions. We couldn’t get a deal with Azhar Hussain, but then we continue and say, OK we can have a series.

Because one of the problems is not only to have five or six races, the question is we need to show this technology. And the FIM has the world championship in MotoGP and World Superbike and World Endurance. Then we have this opportunity to show in these places where thousands of spectators and also the media, to show what is happening in the world with the new technologies with these kind of motorcycles.

MM: So part of the FIM’s job is to make sure that these races happen in front of large crowds, and you do that by having them as support races? If you have a separate series, then maybe only a few people turn up to watch?

VI: Yes! Then we can have the race here [waves at the car park outside] and afterwards we say OK, we support that kind of event, but that is not serious. It will be easier in the future when there are more national championships, because now there are very few bikes and riders. There are some industries in enduro and motocross with small but very real production, the numbers are very small, but they are production runs. There is one in Switzerland, in the US, they are small scale, but they are producing bikes for motocross and enduro.

MM: All over the world, people who ride off-road in natural settings, through forests and parks, petrol engine bikes have been banned from many such places. Here in Holland, it’s almost impossible to find somewhere to ride off road. Do you think that electric bikes could create new opportunities for off road riders?

VI: Yes! Yes! In case of off road, it is very important to have this kind of bike, because countries like Holland, of course there are motocross circuits, but the specifics of this country don’t permit to have bikes off road. So it’s a good opportunity to have people practicing the sport on this kind of bikes.

MM: You also talked about alternative engines, one of the things you see in boats for example, they use marine two strokes, because modern two-stroke engines are very clean. Do you see an opportunity for those kind of two stroke-engines to come back into racing somehow? Because right now, we’ve only got one two-stroke class left.

VI: Maybe, because I think that is possible, but the problem for the FIM is what the industry decides to do. Because we have to follow the manufacturers, we don’t produce the bikes, they produce the bikes. In my opinion, the two strokes, they have a new technology in two strokes that can produce very low emissions, I think the two stroke in principle is a good engine for the young because it’s less expensive, especially the maintenance is less expensive. The power-to-weight ratio is very good, there are some very good advantages, but …

MM: But your hands are tied by the manufacturers?

VI: Yes. We don’t have the technology! We don’t produce bikes.

Source: MotoMatters; Photo: rbnlsn (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic)


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