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: Close Racing Shakes Up the Order in Race 1 at Assen

04/17/2011 @ 10:42 am, by Victoria ReidComments Off

WSBK: Close Racing Shakes Up the Order in Race 1 at Assen Marco Melandri Assen WSBK 2011 635x558

Carlos Checa started on his third straight pole of the 2011 World Superbike season at Assen, with Jakub Smrz, Eugene Laverty, and Noriyuki Haga sitting beside him on the front row after Saturday’s qualifying. Despite similar cool temperatures and a grey sky, considerably less drama surrounded the paddock Saturday in Assen than three weeks previously at Donington Park.

A contrite Max Biaggi started sixth, while rival Marco Melandri crashed on his final run in Q3 and qualified eighth. Melandri was unhurt, though teammate Laverty’s position on the front row showed the sort of pace their Yamahas were capable of for qualifying.

Second place starter Smrz had led most of the early practice and qualifying sessions, only to be beaten by tire management, as Checa was the only rider with a fresh qualifying tire for the final Q3 session. Chris Vermeulen did not make Superpole, but did start the race, after spending most of his time between Donington and this race testing his recovering knee across Europe.

The also-injured James Toseland was replaced by Dutch rider Barry Veneman after a testing crash left him unable to compete. Sunday morning was sunny, with Camier taking the lead during the morning warm-up. Haslam, Checa, Rea, and Melandri completed the fastest five, while Smrz was fourteenth, Laverty eighteenth, and Vermeulen nineteenth.

The race got underway in the sunshine and in front of a large crowd, with a great start for Checa and Biaggi into second. Rea took second only to have Biaggi fight back and set off after Checa. Corser had an excellent start, ending the first lap in fourth, with Laverty, Sykes, Smrz, Haslam, and Lascorz completing the top ten. Meanwhile, Camier did not start until later, having been pushed onto the grass after the formation lap. Another Leon, this time Haslam, went down on the third lap, only to jump back on the bike and continue on, well down the order. At the front, the top five were quite close, with Checa having regained the lead. Soon, Rea came after Biaggi for second, then took the lead off Checa as well.

Checa was moving backward, as Biaggi also passed him for second, only to run wide and have to fight back for the position against the Spaniard. Sykes, Corser, and Laverty were close behind the top three. They fought over fourth, with Corser drifting back to sixth by the end of the fifth lap. At that point, less than a second covered the top five. Sykes soon made his presence felt, taking third from Checa, then Laverty slid into fourth under the championship leader.

The fighting continued, as Laverty passed Sykes to return to his third place starting position. Behind him, four riders were fighting over fourth, all of them attempting to enter Turn 1 at the same time on the eighth lap. Soon thereafter, Vermeulen reached the limits of his injured knee, and returned to the garage. At the halfway point, Rea still led Biaggi, with Laverty, Checa, Fabrizio, Melandri, Corser, Guintoli, Sykes, and Smrz the top ten.

Checa soon made his way back forward, getting around Laverty, and back into third. Laverty was soon under attack from his teammate, with Melandri setting up his fellow WSBK rookie to take the position on L14. Meanwhile, Checa was attempting to chase down the leaders. Though he would post quicker lap times, Rea would also match them. With three laps to go, Rea was a second in the lead, his largest margin over Biaggi of the race. In what had become a race of attrition, Smrz took out teammate Guintoli by having a highshide directly in front of him. Though Biaggi would push hard in the final laps, Rea maintained his solid lead to take his third consecutive race win at Assen.

World Superbike Race Results from Race 1 at Assen:

14Jonathon ReaCastrol Honda-
21Max BiaggiAprilia Alitalia Racing Team0.739
37Carlos ChecaAlthea Racing Ducati3.572
433Marco MelandriYamaha WSBK Team9.508
513Michel FabrizioTeam Suzuki Alstare9.892
610Tory CorserBMW Motorrad Motorsport11.120
73Eugene LavertyYamaha WSBK Team15.235
8111Ruben XausCastrol Honda30.081
916Ayrton BadoviniBMW Motorrad Italia32.071
1021Mark AitchisonTeam Pedercini Kawasaki35.000
1111Joan LascorzPaul Bird Kawasaki Racing43.287
1212Leon HaslamBMW Motorrad Motorsport45.289
1319Barry VenemanBMW Motorrad Italia45.298
147Tom SykesPaul Bird Kawasaki Racing50.764
Not Classified
96Jakub SmrzTeam Effenbert-Liberty Ducati4 Laps
50Sylvain GuintoliTeam Effenbert-Liberty Ducati4 Laps
2Leon CamierAprilia Alitalia Racing Team5 Laps
121Maxime BergerSupersonic Racing Ducati12 Laps
77Chris VermeulenPaul Bird Kawasaki Racing14 Laps
2Noriyuki HagaPATA Racing Team Aprilia16 Laps
44Roberto RolfoTeam Pedercini Kawasaki19 Laps

Source: WSBK

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