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: Bikes To Be Price-Capped at €250,000 per Season?

01/14/2013 @ 11:17 am, by David Emmett13 COMMENTS

WSBK: Bikes To Be Price Capped at €250,000 per Season? fat cat cash 635x483

Now that it has the World Superbike series under its control, Dorna is turning its attention to the question of costs. It was an issue that, WSBK insiders claim, the Flammini brothers and Infront spent too little time on, preferring to focus on trying to compete with MotoGP instead. The series’s critics charge that this obsession allowed bikes into the series that were more like MotoGP prototypes than production road bikes.

The Aprilia RSV4 is one of the bikes most often named in this regard, though perhaps the most extreme example was the Foggy Petronas FP3 machine, of which the entire homologation run is rumored to be stored in a warehouse owned by the Malaysian oil company in Kuala Lumpur. As a result, grids have shrunk from around thirty starters in 2009 to just twenty in 2013.

Dorna’s solution is a mixture of methods gleaned from their recent experience in MotoGP: price caps and pressure on the manufacturers to reduce costs of their own accord. In an interview with the German-language website Speedweek, Carmelo Ezpeleta said that his aim is to have all manufacturers supply teams with bikes at a cost of €250,000 per rider.

Included in that amount would be two bikes per rider, and full support to complete an entire season. Only crash damage would be excluded from the quarter of a million per season, that being a cost that is outside the control of the factories. In addition, Ezpeleta said each manufacturer had to be prepared to supply up to six riders with equipment, should there be sufficient interest, a measure currently being enforced in Moto3.

How such substantial price reductions – according to the Speedweek article, a competitive WSBK machine currently costs around €300,000 per bike – are to be achieved is entirely up to the manufacturers. Ezpeleta has told the MSMA that he expects to receive proposals from them in the next three or four months. If they cannot come up with a set of technical regulations which would reduce costs to the required level, Ezpeleta will impose his own rules, bringing the machines pretty close to Superstock level.

This is very similar to the tactic which Ezpeleta used against the factories in MotoGP. Since 2009, Dorna had been pressing the MSMA to provide affordable machinery, either by building production racers or allowing engines to be leased at a much lower cost than entire satellite machines. The MSMA members consistently refused, saying that they had no interest in making a production racer, and putting the minimum price for leasing an engine at around 70% of an entire satellite machine.

But with the introduction of the CRT machines, and the threat of a rev limit and spec-ECU software, the manufacturers finally succumbed, realizing that Ezpeleta was prepared to race in MotoGP without any factory involvement. A compromise was reached, whereby Honda promised to start building a production version of its RC213V for sale to MotoGP teams, and Yamaha agreed to lease engines to teams at a much reduced price.

Ezpeleta’s hope in World Superbikes is that the factories will find a way to cut costs of their own accord. The Japanese factories especially fear a Superstock-based series, as Ducati and BMW have dominated Superstock for many years now, with Kawasaki the only Japanese manufacturer to get close.

Threatened with a series which would put them at a disadvantage – or make them invest heavily in a manufacturing segment where it is very difficult to recoup the investment, without leveraging the premium commanded by luxury brands such as BMW and Ducati – Dorna’s hope is that the MSMA can come up with a set of technical rules which would cut costs back to affordable levels again.

Cheaper bikes should also see a return to fuller grids once again, and the requirement for each factory to supply six riders, if they have the requests, should mean that there is more parity between the officially-backed teams and the privateer WSBK squads.

Though the manufacturers will want to avoid a completely Superstock set of regulations for World Superbike, it is unlikely that the bikes will continue at their current spec. Dorna also wants to make the distinction between the MotoGP and World Superbike machines much more clear, and reducing the performance of WSBK is part of that goal.

Bringing WSBK closer to Superstock spec will also make it easier for national wildcards to compete in WSBK rounds, as most national series now have their Superbike classes running in near-Superstock trim.

Source: Speedweek

Comment:

  1. JTB says:

    The gutting begins :( Maybe if we are lucky WSBK can be a support race for Moto GP :P

  2. Cpt.Slow says:

    Just use AMA SBK as a platform already…

  3. John says:

    Closer to stock is fine with me. That will allow privateer teams to be more competitive. The fact is that stock, the superbikes are pretty amazing machines, so why not race them that way and see what gives.

  4. Robert Chase says:

    It will be nice for the racing to be more about skill and less about who has more money for super exotic parts.

  5. Jon says:

    @ Cpt Slow

    Yep, AMA or BSB spec would be interesting. It would likely allow a decent amount of ‘crossover’ for riders and teams in WSBK races in their own country while also allowing riders/teams to move up more easily from the national to international levels.

  6. RJJR says:

    Maybe these d bags wont ruin moto racing?

  7. JoeD says:

    Advertised and sold as Superbikes. With a few mods such as exhaust and fueling race it off the showroom floor. Run what ya brung. If you want to race exotica, sell it as well on every day machinery.

  8. tyler says:

    This is world class development racing, with production machines – these developments directly attribute to future models by every manufacturer who races in WSBK. Limiting WSBK down to superstock spec is just plain and simple a bad idea.

    WSBK has been one of the most competitive series to spectate for several years now, with multiple manufacturers having a shot at the title every one of those years.

    WSBK’s formula is quite simply, not broke. Aside from (some) cost cutting to allow more team entries WSBK should largely remain the same.

  9. jet057 says:

    I don’t know,just hope it all works out.Just start racing so i can get my fix…..lol

  10. Personally, I think blurring the lines between superbikes and prototypes is a bad idea. Currently, there seems to be little real differences between WSBK spec machinery and MotoGP bikes. Whatever the factories can slip into WSBK to dominate is okay? It seems to miss the spirit of what a superbike used to be.

    Once upon a time, a privateer could build his/her own competitive superbike to run at the national level. That’s no longer the case. WSBK bikes are as alien to what you can buy in the showroom as a factory prototype. Having a similar fairing and a headlight sticker doesn’t cut it.

  11. David says:

    Idk, as long as the racing stays competitive not like MotoGP where is only 3 dudes, than I’m ok with it.

  12. 2ndclass says:

    @tyler,

    Given the current level of modification allowable in WSBK (and how much of that engine modification is done by parties other than motorcycle OEMs), moving WSBK back to a Superstock spec would increase the level of development going back to road bikes. The manufacturers would need to make better parts for their standard production machines for them to have a chance of being competitive. That’s why Ducati and BMW have been dominant (and Kawasaki very competitive) in WSTK of late, because those companies put a lot of development into standard production machines and created great bikes. If the manufacturers can fit better forks, brakes, swingarms and modify cranks, cylinder heads, replace pistons etc etc then they can build those components down to a price for a road bike.

  13. JoeD says:

    @2ndclass
    My point exactly. Prototype Tech for MotoGP with the end result refined and built for the showroom. Take those stock machines devoid of EPA type restrictions and race them in a SuperBike event. Costs come down for all if the manufacturers honestly play fair.