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.

Rumor: World Superbike to Have Pit Stops?

03/21/2012 @ 12:48 pm, by Jensen Beeler32 COMMENTS

Rumor: World Superbike to Have Pit Stops? marco melandri yamaha mmp wsbk 635x425

Fresh on the heels of AMA Pro Racing’s 2012 Daytona 200 (surely to be a race we will talk about all season), there is a fun rumor floating around that World Superbike is considering changing from its two-race format at select events to one longer race format that would include pit stops. The rumor comes about as Infront boss man Paolo Flammini allegedly told journalists that he was considering the format switch for WSBK, as it would increase the spectacle of the sport, and we presume help differentiate it from its rival series, MotoGP.

While it is hard to ascertain the sincerity in Flammini’s remarks (F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone has committed tree genocide pondering similar thoughts to the auto-racing press), the move would certainly add some diversity to the World Superbike calendar, and could be a boon both to fans and sponsors. In a sport where races often last less than an hour, the extra time on the track with fans watching in person and at home in front of the TV can only mean more marketing potential for sponsors, and by association bring more revenue into the sport.

Additionally, with the increased level of strategy necessary to compete and win in a multi-stop race, an extra layer of intrigue would be added to those WSBK events. Where more often than not the race winner is decided in the first few laps of the contest, the added necessity of fuel and tire stops could help create a more competitive race for teams and riders, while keeping fans engaged through to the race’s completion.

It has always struck me as odd that while World Superbike and MotoGP want to have the following that Formula 1 and NASCAR enjoy, the motorcycle series have never adjusted their race format accordingly to match those types of events. If this year’s Daytona 200 is any indication of how compelling a longer-format motorcycle race can be, it certainly is worth the scrutiny of Paolo Flammini & Carmelo Ezpeleta alike. Will we see such a change? Probably not, but it is an interesting notion worthy of some debate.

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

Comment:

  1. Minibull says:

    I hate it. Watching F1 or V8 Supercars or whatever it may be, the winner is always decided through pit stop strategy. You may have a driver who is blitzing the lap times, but as his strategy didnt work out or something went wrong, he ends up down the back of the pack.
    Its taking that “purity” out of the race IMO.

  2. Gritboy says:

    Not a fan. I love the current 2-race WSBK format.

  3. aaron says:

    I’m a huge fan of motogp and F1 (and a lapsed WSBK fan) and I’ve long wished that F1 would go for 2 sprint races per event. reversing the qualifying order or direction traveled would only sweeten the pot!

  4. Racefan says:

    I thought the Dayton 200 was awesome. The pit stops added some suspense to to the race, and you got to see the fast riders shine as they had to fight though the pack several times to catch back up to the lead pack. Not a Biaggi fan, but could you imagine seeing him doing what he did in Phillip Island this year several times in one race? :)

  5. Bob says:

    No way would I be interested in a race that could be decided in the pits. A team’s only involvement should be in prepping the bike. Endurance racing is another story.

    And what about safety? Race 1 is fatiguing enough. Doing double distance could needlessly tire the riders, become “highway hypnotized” and make a dangerous mistake risking not only a rider’s life and limb but the other riders around him. Not worth the risk.

  6. MP says:

    Personally, I think pit stops would make WSBK really interesting. Having a crew of my own, I’d be nothing without them. Every one of them is needed to go fast and that makes it a team sport.

    Perhaps WSBK should follow the indy formula – some street tracks and some speedways keep that interesting. Maybe in some locations WSBK does longer, pit-stop races and in others, they keep to the same format.

    that would keep it varied and interesting.

  7. Jake says:

    Absolutely hate this idea and if they change to it I won’t watch SBK anymore. I freakin hate gimmicks and that is all this is. I’m sorry I don’t find pit stops exciting. Not one bit. I want to see a race determined by the best guy on the best bike, not because some pit stop mishap. I don’t find it interesting. When I want to watch endurance racing guess what ? I watch an endurance race. This stupid crap about SBK needing to differentiate itself from MotoGP is just that stupid. People are either interested in the racing or series or they aren’t. I don’t see how someone who isn’t a fan of SBK is all of a sudden going to become a fan of SBK because of pit stops. How ironic is that…….. These great marketing minds think the way impress the speed of race bikes is to have them stop in the pits! just what we need something else to take the attention of the action on the track…..people walking around a pit. No doubt I’d rather watch gas and tires being changed then guys actually racing on the track.

    Here’s an idea why not just scrap the racing altogether and just have pit races?

  8. adam s says:

    …and maybe like the Daytona 200- you might get some underdog like P1A handing the the big boys their asses. hell, P1A didnt even have a “yamaha” sticker on their bike, and with an untried 19yr old at the helm beat the OFFICIAL FACTORY team of chuck graves. now that is what i call racing. not the everyone-get-in-line and finish to how big your budget is.

  9. Jake says:

    Also in the US if it is an issue of TV viewer ship given that there are 2 races per weekend for the main class, plus the Supersport……..if the question is length of the program you’d think the those great minds at Speed TV programming would put on a better programming scheduling and show the racing, qualifying, and some kind of REAL pre/post race show that actually provided useful insite into the sport? That would make too much sense I guess.

    So sorry Mr Beeler I don’t understand that comment about the “event” being too short

  10. Dr. Gellar says:

    If it was only a few WSBK races here and there having pit stops and a much longer distance to race, I wouldn’t mind.

  11. My biggest worry about a pit stop format is refueling. I’ve watched enough F1 cars catch fire and drivers/crew get injured over the years that I really don’t like the idea on MotoGP bikes. What could make it interesting, however, is a return to the possibility of real-time pit stops to deal with weather. Instead of red-flagging the race, you could make a dash to the pits to change tires. Get it right and you could win. Get it wrong and you’re yesterday’s news. That’s fun stuff.

  12. noch says:

    lot of complaints bout ‘purity’ of racing, but anything to get more overtaking and less processional races is ok by me. Except, WSBK is already pretty exciting as it is compared to GP snooze-fests

  13. Testiclees Giganticus says:

    I like the idea of having a couple races on the calandar that would use pit stops. While we’re changing things, let’s drop superpole and use heat races (ala dirt track and supercross) to determine grid position!!

  14. Keith says:

    In the intrest of keeping the so called PURSISTS happy I suppose we should eliminate all tracks and strictly race on streets or board tracks. Oh yes that’s just what the purists seem to want…meh. Racing has always involved pit stops, why they went away from it is beyond me.

  15. Minibull says:

    @Keith: Its not purist as in “shit, we should all have points ignitions and carbs”, but in terms of the actual racing. Pitstops are an “artificial” way of making a race exciting IMO.

  16. Rumor: World Superbike to Have Pit Stops? – http://t.co/Vitl9xKt #motorcycle

  17. ThatGuy says:

    I generally concur with Testiclees. I’d like to see the AMA run two extended races during the season. I like WSBK in the two race format as it is but, would appreciate an endurance races during the season. While I don’t disagree that races can be lost in the pits, which kinda sucks, I do appreciate that longer races are more mentally and physically demanding.

  18. Jake says:

    But isn’t that what endurancing racing is for? This is just gimmick like the bsb shoot out thing to add artificial excitement to a race. I personally don’t find anything exciting about pit stops and would prefer watching a bike going around a track then being serviced in the pits. I love the isle of Mann for what it is…same with Suzuka 8hrs or any other endurance race. But when I want to watch endurance I watch endurance racing

    I’m just sick of all these stupid rule changes simply for the sake of change. They claim it’s to improve the show but they rarely address the items that are truly killing the show. Whatever if they go this pit stop stuff then that will be my reason to quit watching like CRT is why I won’t be watching motogp anymore

  19. Rob749 says:

    I wasn’t aware there was a problem with WSBK spectacle. MotoGP on the other hand could definitely use this.

  20. Westward says:

    Maybe MotoGP should have all the bikes race two up, and the riders behind are supermodels wearing see thru leathers and lingerie… Obviously it would require some sort of new race protection technology…

  21. Dawg says:

    Go on. balls up a good thing. People just can’t stop meddling with things that work perfectly well can they?

  22. Minibull says:

    Watched an interview with Stoner, twitter questions and such things.

    He said, for cutting costs and making the racing far more “exciting”, cut some of the electronic aids. Its been flogged to death, but it always keeps coming up.

    Makes the racing more variable and it lowers the money pit that is software development (technicians, programmers, the software, ECU’s, etc) Dont bother with this ridiculous pit stop stuff, give the race some real excitement.

    This may be where the spec ECU comes in, but then that would just be used to cripple the GP bikes to the CRT level.

  23. Adam says:

    every weekend there is always about 3 hours of racing, this is divvied up between the support classes and main event. I like this I get to see several outcomes in one weekend. I don’t think that making it a longer race will provide additional advertisement time to sponsors at all, there is already 3 hours of coverage on TV if not more at the track. I have a limited attention span and so sprint races appeal to me, I don’t watch Nascar its boring please don’t turn motorcycle racing into this.
    I agree with a post above that rider fatigue would certainly increase risk and poor decisions especially with the big bikes. the Daytona 200 was run with 600′s not 1000′s I wonder how a rider would feel at the end of a 200 mile race on a demanding high speed high temperature track in Europe while riding a tuned up Super bike? judging by the responses and number of comments on this article I don’t think the audience wants this change.

  24. mxs says:

    Forget it, silly idea.

  25. BBQdog says:

    Pit stops and pace cars are race killers. I like the WSB as it is now with 2 races.

  26. sunstroke says:

    I think it’s a good idea to use middle-distance racing for some events. Adds a bit of flavor and unpredictability. However, I’m only cool with it, if they have a minimum pit stop time policed by the pit in transponder and the pit out transponder. I hate it when pit stops decide who wins, and free pit stops will only make the mechanics jobs more difficult. Plus, I care about rider safety, and the integrity of fueling and wheel swaps. If the min time is relatively low, the mechanics will still be hustling.

    Pit stops are pretty low on the priorities list though. SBK (series and the industry) has much bigger problems. Converting a stock machine into a WSBK wastes unbelievable amounts of money. Homologation specials. Solves many cost problems if a majority of the modifications are done by the factories. Let the teams do bolt ons and cylinder head airflow. Internals, blueprinting, cooling, homologated gearbox, fuel cell, etc at the factory.

  27. Minibull says:

    @Sunstroke: Exactly, I would love to see those specials come back. Plus it means there are a few real choice streetbikes up for grabs.

  28. arjay says:

    Yeah. I want to watch mechanics compete – not racers. Just like NASCRAP.

    WSBK is the best racing out there right now. It certainly should be changed.

    Maybe WSBK should start racing ovals, too.

  29. vonich says:

    I don’t find this as addition to the excitement on the race. I couldn’t watch the great race without dealing of so many commercials. Making the race longer by putting a pit stop during the race makes it worst to sit in front of the TV seeing more commercials than the actual race. Speed channel is notorious for doing just that. You often missed the action of the last 5 laps because the damn commercials.

  30. jj says:

    NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This ain’t NASCAR! What’s next, rolling starts? Remember when the AMA tried that, it sucked, big time.

    I love the 2 race format.

    Don’t screw with a good thing!

  31. jj says:

    re: vonich

    Worse yet is when they show the leader with a 10 sec. lead, crossing the finish line all by himself, then pan to his pitcrew celebrating , all the while missing a great last lap battle for 2nd/3rd/4th.

  32. Grant Madden says:

    Pit stops and longer races is what endurance racing is all about.Is it more popular than superbike racing?If it is then surely if you introduce it to the superbikes they will become more popular but if endurance racing is less popular then you could expect to see a reduction in popularity.I like the 2 race format and dont feel the need for a change.Superbikes and supersport complement each other well and pit stops would just complicate something that is already complex in the extreme with track conditions changing between races, its great !Keep it simple stupid!