WSBK To “Return to Its Roots” — Race Naked Bikes

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 To “Return to Its Roots” — Race Naked Bikes

04/01/2013 @ 12:07 am, by David Emmett25 COMMENTS

WSBK To Return to Its Roots    Race Naked Bikes ktm 690 duke track 635x423

The news that Dorna had been handed control over the World Superbike series struck terror into the hearts of WSBK fans around the globe. The fear was Dorna would use its position of controlling both World Superbikes and MotoGP to widen the technical gap between the two series in an attempt to cut costs.

With Dorna having so often complained that World Superbikes was encroaching on MotoGP territory, and with MotoGP’s technical regulations becoming ever more restrictive, the logical step would appear to be to severely restrict the level of machinery used in WSBK.

Over the winter, and during the first round of the 2013 World Superbike series, talks between Dorna, the Superbike teams, and the manufacturers involved in the series failed to make much headway. The factories could not agree among themselves what level of modification to allow, while the teams were unimpressed by Dorna’s demands that a WSBK machine should cost 250,000 euros a season, stating that the money saved in the bike would only be spent elsewhere.

Talks had continued at the IRTA test at Jerez, with Dorna’s new World Superbike boss Javier Alonso present, and engaged in private discussions with the bosses of HRC, Shuhei Nakomoto, Yamaha Motor Racing, Shigeto Kitegawa, and Ducati Corse, Bernhard Gobmeier.

We have learned that since then, further telephone discussions have taken place with Kawasaki boss Ichiro Yoda and Suzuki’s Shinichi Sahara, while Alonso had previously spoken to Aprilia Corse boss Gigi Dall’Igna at the Jerez circuit, during their test there.

Under discussion is a radical set of proposals which will revolutionize the World Superbike series, we can now exclusively reveal. With sales of sport bikes slumping dramatically around the globe, WSBK is to “return to its roots” as a truly production- and sales-based series.

The fully-faired, near prototype machines which have sold so badly – some bikes, including the championship-winning Aprilia RSV4, have struggled to sell even the 2000 units required for homologation – are to be replaced by machines more like the ones which spawned Superbike racing in the late ’70s and early ’80s: big naked bikes.

With only Ducati and BMW selling serious sport bikes in any significant quantities, most of the manufacturers believe that it would be more profitable to race the bikes which they actually sell in large numbers. As the sales of sport bikes have plummeted, sales of naked bikes and roadsters have skyrocketed.

The seismic shift is in response to a number of factors, not least of all the drastic increase in draconian speed policing. With modern sport bikes capable of breaking national speed limits in 1st gear, and barely comfortable at anything under double the widely permitted maximum, bike buyers in Europe and the US have moved away from buying machines like the Yamaha YZF-R1, the Honda CBR1000RR, Suzuki’s GSX-R 1000, and Kawasaki’s Ninja ZX-10R.

Taking their place in the garages of ordinary motorcyclists are bikes like Kawasaki’s Z1000 and Z750, Honda’s CBF1000, Yamaha’s XJ1300, and Suzuki’s GSF1200 Bandit. In Belgium, for example, the Z750 alone sold 336 units in 2012, while the entire sport bike segment, comprising some 15 different machines, shifted just 683 units.

Dorna are very happy with the proposal, as it represents a clear differentiation between the prototypes of MotoGP and the clearly road-going bikes of what is to be renamed the World Streetbike Championship, retaining the WSBK logo. Having two such visibly different types of bikes racing will make the two series much easier to sell as different sports to TV broadcasters.

In a throwback to the muscle bike years of the ’80s, the naked bikes and roadsters will also provide even more visual spectacle than the current crop of WSBK machinery, bringing to an end the worrying trend of smoother, tighter race bikes which has so far reached its zenith in the 250-like Aprilia RSV4.

Two serious obstacles remain however. The first, and most thorny, is the question of performance balancing. The naked bike segment is extremely varied, ranging from 170kg, 160hp stripped-down race bikes such as MV Agusta’s Brutale and Ducati’s Streetfighter S on the one hand, to bloated 1970s replicas like Honda’s stunning new CB1100, which has a modest 90hp propelling a less modest 248kg.

Proposals currently on the table will impose a horsepower limit of 130hp on the class, with factories and teams free to either choose to detune a powerful bike or beef up a less powerful machine, free of the many technical restrictions currently imposed.

Minimum weight, too, will be set at 220kg, with teams free to add ballast or go on radical weight-reduction programs, as they see fit. Bikini fairings will be allowed, but fairing lowers will be strictly forbidden, though belly pans will be made compulsory, to act as oil catch pans.

The second obstacle facing the proposals is the response of the two manufacturers who do sell sport bikes in large numbers. Both BMW and Ducati manage to shift sizable volumes of their top-spec sports machines, despite both being priced at the very top end of the market. The power of their two brands is very strong, and this is what is giving their bikes such selling power, while others in the same segment struggle.

But at Jerez, Javier Alonso and Shuhei Nakamoto concocted an idea which they believe will help win both BMW and Ducati over. While replacing the top racing class machines with naked bikes is an easy and obvious move, the class to replace World Supersport presents a bigger problem. We have learned that on Monday, Alonso will hold a conference call with Ducati’s Gobmeier and BMW’s Berthold Hauser to present the proposed support class: Adventure Bike Racing.

The middleweight sport bike segment has suffered almost as much as the upper end of that market segment, while in the meantime, the Adventure bike market has exploded. Having Adventure bikes – machines such as BMW’s R 1200 GS, Yamaha’s Super Ténéré XT 1200 Z, Honda’s NC700X Crosstourer, and Kawasaki’s Versys 1000 – compete over a mixed course consisting of three-quarters tarmac with smaller sections of a dirt course, using unpaved parts of the circuit infield present at every track, and combining them with excursions through some of the larger sections of gravel traps, will add even more spectacle to a race weekend, Alonso and Nakamoto believe.

With both Ducati and BMW having models which are highly popular in that market segment – BMW’s GS series has been a bestseller around the world for many years, while Ducati’s Multistrada 1200 has gained a cult following among lovers of fast but versatile machines – Alonso believes that he can persuade both Gobmeier and Hauser to accept the deal.

Offering them a class they can easily dominate should compensate them for the loss of the World Superbike class. With Ducati also believed to be working on a retro roadster in the style of the 750SS, using the engine from the Hypermotard – the 1200SS, as the bike is to be known, has been developed under cover of Ducati’s so-called maxi scooter, which is being used as a decoy for the new roadster – the Italian factory could soon also have a bike capable of racing in the new World Streetbike class as well.

If the proposals are to be accepted, however, it is crucial that both Ducati and BMW get on board. If Gobmeier and Hauser reject the Adventure bike proposal, the whole house of cards collapses. By Monday evening, April 1st, the future of WSBK should have been decided.

Photo: © 2012 Sans / KTM – All Rights Reserved

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

Comment:

  1. Seth trench says:

    Please lord tell me this is April fools!

  2. MajorTom says:

    Right up til the adventure bike racing bit, I was thinking that it would be a fun race series; a bit like the Triumph Speed Triple cup a few years back. Not any kind of a replacement, but still fun…

  3. TexusTim says:

    man…this is what I was afraid of…my fear is this is the start of the end for wsbk…the biggest problem is the manufactors have tried to make race street bikes like the rc8 or aprilla rsv4…there over the top for an average rider with no deisre to race…the ducatti does well as it has a large established following that have disposable cash…there also expensive and not much fun to comute on…that being said if honda would make a new litre bike that is a little more user friendly then it would come back to the way it should be….but this high end v4 yea thats cool and all but isnt it going in the wrong direction economicaly speaking ? if peopel dont want to spend on it what will happen to it as a race homologation ? it will be more expensive than the aprilla or ktm and right about the price of a ducatti…are they not fighting over the same few customers and not reaching the larger segement with anything really “new ” since 08 ? cmon there killing the series off more than anyone.
    GET BACK TO BASICS !! dumming down the series will surely kill it off….it apears thats what they want… as a racer the series no longer intrest me…not enough true competiton with manufactors making ringer bikes no one can buy but the high income earners…this is why there not selling them and consider the change…wrong direction….so sad it used to be great to watch it when all the brands were there and making new bikes every three or four years…how old is the cbr 1k lets see 08.09.10.11.12.13 maybe thats whats wrong eh?

  4. dan says:

    nice 1st april story !!:-)))))

    but that is something which hopefully comes real: “With Ducati also believed to be working on a retro roadster in the style of the 750SS, using the engine from the Hypermotard…”

  5. smiler says:

    Rates quite hightly as an April fool but as it involves Dorns, I just hope A&R tell us so tomorrow!!

  6. Steve says:

    Ha, Nice April fool,

    I quite liked the idea of the ‘old’ Wes Cooley type bikes hitting the tarmac again, Perhaps we could have another race series put in to run with WSB or even MotoGP as their days at the track are very empty compared to a well run local event where you might get twenty plus races in a day. It’d make it better VFM which might get more people through the door with their money.

  7. Gutterslob says:

    Oh man, I wish this article (or half of it, at least) wasn’t an April Fool’s joke.

    If anything, it’d convince the Japs to make decent nakeds again, unlike their current overweight “tuned for torque” neutered offerings.

  8. paulus - Thailand says:

    too sensible to be anything other than an April fools day bit…. would be nice though!

  9. Alasdair says:

    Wow – really good april fools write-up. You had me up until the adventure bike support bit. I can’t say I wouldn’t love to see it though

  10. Skeptical says:

    It is good to feature motomatters’ articles but not to feature their april’s joke. Doesn’t serve the purpose, I reckon.

    no offense, Jensen…

  11. pooch says:

    I’ll give DE a C minus for that April 1 attempt. Really wasn’t plausible enough to fool anyone…

  12. mark says:

    The funny part is, none of this is actually a bad idea. Even the adventure-bike racing would actually be fun to watch — sort of supermoto on steroids. Too bad it’s an April Fools joke.

  13. G says:

    RIIIIGHT! and MotoGP is going to switch to prototype 50cc scooters because honda is selling a lot of those too. Nice try at the April fools joke.

  14. Dan says:

    Geez us…nice one! Carmelo Ezpeleta is a supreme moron so this is entirely plausible (replacing sport bikes altogether). Although, support classes such as these might be fun to watch!

  15. CTK says:

    You had me through about half the story

    I won’t lie though, with some tweaking this could actually work.

  16. L2C says:

    It was the very last sentence that let me in on the joke, but you had me until then. And, actually, I’m kind of bummed that it isn’t true because that’s the kind of creative influx that both WSBK and MotoGP need to raise more money.

    Sometimes you need to shake things up with crazy ideas to get the juices flowing. Both series could use a whole lot of that.

  17. PeteN95 says:

    Too bad, I really like the whole idea! Real superbikes again and giant Supermotos, sport bikes are kind of boring! Oh well.

  18. Uberbox says:

    I almost believed this up until the adventure bike racing thing. Too bad–I think most of the ideas in this article would make for an awesome series to watch. I personally think WSBK is more interesting to watch than MotoGP as it is, partly because of the wider variety of machines and makers.

  19. Ray says:

    I’m so glad it’s April fools day!

  20. A P R I L F O O L says:

    i guess here at a&r only 1 was fooled… go check motomaters… suckers… unbealivable

  21. Damn, you had me till the last line, good one!!

  22. mudgun says:

    Ok then. I wasn’t sure how I felt about all that stuff, so I came to the comments section to see what everybody else was thinking and what do I find? Not only are you the best at what you do, you’re the funniest too. Thanks a lot. It won’t be so easy next year!

  23. Norm G. says:

    not entirely implausible, they DO have a naked category down under in AUS-SBK which could dupe somebody into believing it.

  24. mattbnj says:

    oh thank you god – i almost vomitted in my mouth reading this.

    do not mess with the formula producing the best racing series on the planet – that is all