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.

WSBK: Dorna to Kill Superstock Classes & Add 250cc Class

01/07/2013 @ 12:36 pm, by Jensen Beeler23 COMMENTS

WSBK: Dorna to Kill Superstock Classes & Add 250cc Class yoshimura suzuki wsbk mmp 635x454

When Dorna took over control of the World Superbike Championship, speculation began to fly what the changing of the guard would mean for motorcycling’s premier production-based racing series. Always seen as the annoying little sibling to the prestigious MotoGP World Championship, many have expected to see Dorna cut out a clearer distinction between the two series, with WSBK returning to machines that are closer to stock-spec, while MotoGP continued to play with its CRT formula.

Now, reports out of Europe say Dorna is set to kill the 600cc and 1,000cc superstock classes in 2014, leaving only the superbike and supersport classes for 1,000cc and 600c based racing, respectively. Looking to switch to a three-race format, like in MotoGP, the World Superbike Championship would reportedly add a 250cc production-based class, which would serve as the development class for the series, and would help bolster the new fleet of small-displacement sport bikes OEMs have producing recently.

Always a bit of an oddity, the removal of the two superstock classes makes a great deal of sense for WSBK, and clears the way for the superbike and supersport classes to revert to more sensible and cheaper-to-run production-based specifications for race bikes. One of the major criticisms of the current crop of WSBK bikes is their detachment to what is actually being sold on dealership floors, with few parts of the production machines making their way onto the WSBK race bikes, and the top factory bikes costing near MotoGP prices, in the million euro range.

The addition of a 250cc production class makes additional sense, especially as OEMs like Honda and Kawasaki have developed quarter-liter sport bikes for the world market. With Yamaha and a bevy of other OEMs looking to produce similar machines, the class would have direct relevancy for the OEMs to support and help populate, not to mention the World Superbike Championship could benefit from a proper development class for young and rising stars in the sport.

The three race format is also said to be a package better suited for television, and with clearer distinctions between the classes, the championship would be more approachable for new and casual racing enthusiasts.

Source: Motosprint; Photo: © 2011 Jensen Beeler / Asphalt & Rubber – Creative Commons – Attribution 3.0

Comment:

  1. SBPilot says:

    That’s great to hear. Killing the superstock classes means the superbike classes can now reduce costs immensely by making them effectively superstock spec without conflicting with another class. With these new superstock rules for superbike, it relates even more so to the layman with the same bike as well. Overall it’s great, should also make it way more cost effective to run a team now.

  2. LeChatNoir says:

    Good thing i read this through, i was worried for a second, and this does make sense. in fact might make it very very good.
    i wonder why though, really, introduce a 250 class when it exists in GP.
    why not a 300 or a 450/500 supersingle class all the manufacturers make a moto which can fit and be modified to work very easily.
    and thus keep the separation and entrants-aspiring racers separate from the GP ranks.

  3. monkeyfumi says:

    There is nothing remotely sporty about the current 250 offerings from the major OEMs.
    Strongly agree the WSBK needs to reflect its’ production roots more closely though, even if that meant limited run homologation specials.

  4. Jake F. says:

    So really the headline is, “Dorna to replace WSBK with Superstock”

  5. Bob says:

    I wonder if there would be a cylinder number limit. Restricted to production 250 twins, only? If they allow 250cc multi-cylinder engines, it would be cool to see CBR250RR’s and ZXR250′s again. 20,000 rpm and valve heads the size of a dime? Yes, please.

  6. philly Phil says:

    better for television huh…
    They don’t show any of the Stock races in the states anyway.

    it does make sense however..

  7. singletrack says:

    Not a bad idea actually. I’ve felt the same way about AMA racing – on screen there’s virtually no difference between the classes. Merge the 1000 Super/Sport classes into one , and one 600 race, then it leaves room to add some new more interesting classes. A deep field (as long as lap times are competitve) would go a longer way to creating a good show.

  8. TexusTim says:

    250 mini, 600 supersport and superbike,……sounds like moto gp . and really those three classes are what people in the real world…but keep both series please. wsbk more on the real side and moto gp more on the prototype side this works for lots of reasons,sponsors,riders,teams and so on. but PLEASE DORNA DONT KILL OFF WSBK.

  9. BobBitchin says:

    I wonder how the superstock riders of the future will get a break into the tight WSBK field ?? 250cc is fine for midgets, some bigger guys can ride but would go nowhere in a 250 class. The number of available seats would be smaller in a couple of ways.

  10. Supersport like everywhere else?

  11. SBPilot says:

    @ LeChatNoir: They use 250cc is there instead of 400/500 because the manufactures have been making sporty 250cc mini superbikes for a while now, and those are the real bread and butter (profit makers) for companies these days. It re-ignited the sport bike/motorcycle riding culture so they will use that as the support class.

    The other factor is that many people start on these 250cc sport bikes before hopping up to 600cc and maybe 1000 down the road. But there is a clear distinction in the steps riders take nowadays (at least in North America). Buy the 250cc, ride for a year or two, do some riding schools, then pick up a used or new 600cc. So they are making the series follow the same steps. That’s my theory.

  12. TRussell says:

    Although the elimination of the Superstock classes and the addition of a quarter litre class intrigues me, I am not at all in favour of tinkering with a model that is not broken. The two-race format of WSBK is what endeared me to the series in the late 90s. I have absolutely no time for the rolling circus that is Moto GP. The drama aside, I more than once tuned in to watch my favorite rider crash in the first few laps, then wait for the next round to see them again. In WSBK we always have race two to look forward to if our rider has a mishap in Race 1. Hate to say it but I have a sick feeling this is the beginning of the end of WSBK.

  13. 2ndclass says:

    The two-race format won’t change. WSBK has been in this situation before, with runaway technical development pushing bike costs higher and higher, and this really needed to happen. It’s going to be a great thing for WSBK, especially for teams and riders in national championships who will be able to field wildcards who actually have a shot at a decent result and should hopefully see more bikes on the grid.

  14. neil says:

    Yes it does sound more like SBK and SS will be dropped in actuality. And it will be good to see the ‘real boys’ racing more stock equipment.

    I think it’s great if the 250 appearance creates a new demand and offering for nice light, cheap and realistically rideable 250′s. Bring it on.

    Come on down the 90′s!

  15. smiler says:

    It makes sense and Dorna were behind it, surely not.
    If they take WSBK back to a more production based situation like it used to be then that is good. \|It will reduce costs for the manufacturers as well.
    Dropping 600′s and 1000′s Supers makes sense if it is replaced by a large field realistic feeder series. I have seen 2CV racing and though slow it can be fun so 250′s perhaps or 500′s better.
    This would have implications for the status of BSB & AMA as the apprentice series for WSBK though?
    If costs are reduced in WSBK then they could drop this who CRT rubbish in MotoGP and focus on prototype racing as it should be. As it stands CRT’s in MotoGP are a joke. Its like having F1 and CART cars running in the same series.
    If they do it then I just hope they do not drop the 2 race format and no tyre changes pits stop format. Clearly the riders can cope and the supporters love it as well.
    Lets wait to see if Dorna then take a left turn and make CRT’s available to WSBK, delete 600s and 1000′s and add shopping trolley racing with MotoGP bike having to be based on Honda’s new V4 but in diesel, with 5 gal tanks, three pits stops and square profile tyres for MotoGP to reduce speeds.

  16. Craig says:

    It makes sense for many reasons including the economy and number of riders. If / when the economy picks up and the demand for more classes come up, then add them, but cutting them now is a good thing I think.

    AMA did it and made it simply. They have other issues, but at least you can explain the classes to the common person now.

  17. Marc F says:

    Going to be interesting to see the rules on the 250 proddy class – a lowered and faired 250cc motocrosser will run rings around a Ninja 250 or CBR250 if it’s allowed.

    Great news regardless. Dual 600 and 1000 classes was redundant. A 250 class makes a ton of sense for providing a path for junior racers, which was sorely lacking before.

  18. Forgot to mention it in the article, but I’ll be curious to see what happens to the European Junior Cup (EJC) once this all goes down.

  19. 2ndclass says:

    That had crossed my mind as well. Would this supposed new 250 class take over from the EJC?

  20. MikeD says:

    I just hope WSBK Machines start to resemble MORE AND MORE what is sold in the stealership’s floor.
    And im not talking about stickers and B.S but rather hardware…

    SuperStock were the only races i used to follow cause it were the ones closest to the street legal goods we are ABLE TO AFFORD.

  21. aditya says:

    well as someone who lives in india, i am so happy with the prospect of finally having serious 250 cc supersport machines on the roads here that this 250 class of WSBK will hopefully induce…yamaha already has announced their 250cc YZF-R in 2014, and now with 250s being raced in WSBK perhaps the european companies (aprilia, ducati, bmw and who knows maybe ktm, mv and triumph too?) will finally manufacture 250s and hopefully sell them here and everywhere and honda and kawasaki will finally stop lazying around with their diluted cbr and ninja 250s here and really tune them up towards racing..

  22. MikeD says:

    After some more shaking and stirring on the old head i think the new 250cc class is great news.

    Maybe we’ll see better (WAY BETTER) 250′s on the near future ? Hope so.

  23. smiler says:

    How will this affect the developent of the AMA series and BSB?
    Traditionally feeder classes for WSBK. Spies, Bayliss, Byrne, Nori Haga etc.
    If the 250 class is to be the feeder class will it upset the possible transition from these series as well.
    I guess it will bring WSBK bikes closer to those that these series and that would be a good thing.
    The current vogue for ex MotoGP pilots finishing their career with WSBK also makes coming over from other seies more difficult. Don’t have the answer.
    Good to see that it seems they are keeping the 2 race format.

    Still think they should just drop the CRT format. It will always be a race with some horses on 4 legs and others on 3.