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 Fighting for Race 1 at Brno

07/10/2011 @ 3:55 am, by Victoria ReidComments Off

WSBK: Close Fighting for Race 1 at Brno Biaggi Melandri 635x406

Max Biaggi started the first World Superbike race of the Brno round on pole after no one could touch him in the final Superpole session on Saturday. He was joined by Marco Melandri, Carlos Checa, and Eugene Laverty on the front row. Though Biaggi led at the end, Jakub Smrz, Checa, and Laverty all took a turn at leading a session in the Czech Republic. Much further back, neither Castrol Honda rider managed to move on to the Superpole sessions and will start on the fifth and sixth rows. Checa led the morning warm-up on Sunday, with Smrz, Sylvain Guintoli, Biaggi, and Michel Fabrizio the fastest five.

Though James Toseland did ride for Friday morning’s free practice, he was forced to sit out the rest of the race weekend, hoping to heal for the next round at Silverstone. He was replaced by Lorenzo Lanzi at BMW Motorrad Italia. Also sitting out the weekend is injured factory BMW rider Tory Corser and Jonathan Rea at Castrol Honda. Though Corser has not been replaced at this round, Rea’s recovery might be long-term, leading to his replacement by Alex Lowes.

Race 1 got underway under sunny and clear skies in Brno despite a previous forecast of rain, with Biaggi getting a lovely start, Laverty taking second from Melandri. The two Yamaha riders looked to swap positions, but Laverty kept second while Biaggi attempted to start a gap early on. Coming out of Turn 12, Xaus had a scary highside near the end of the field, lying in pain on the tarmac. At the end of the first lap, Biaggi led Laverty by three tenths, with Melandri, Checa, Sykes, Fabrizio, Smrz, Haslam, Haga, and Guintoli. The marshals had Xaus and his bike cleared by the time Biaggi had made his way back past the incident, and Melandri took second from Laverty on the second lap.

Next, Checa took third from Laverty with a neat pass, with Fabrizio pushing the Yamaha rider. Biaggi and Melandri had gotten away somewhat at the front, leaving more than a second for Checa to make up, with Fabrizio following. By the end of L5, Melandri was just under two tenths behind Biaggi, with Checa two seconds off the lead. Camier and Badovini had made their way around Haga to join the top ten and the Japanese rider began drifting further back.

Melandri continued to push Biaggi for the lead, though he did not attempt a pass. With thirteen laps, Melandri made his move and took the lead, sliding under Biaggi. Though the pole sitter attempted to fight back, there was no way immediately around for Biaggi. Behind, Checa had begun to gain a bit of time but was still a second behind the two two riders. After a couple of laps, Checa had visibly joined the two Italians.

At the halfway point of the twenty lap race, Melandri had just two tenths on Biaggi, with Checa another four tenths behind. Fabrizio was riding a solid race in fourth with Laverty completing the top five. Sykes led Smrz, Badovini, Camier, and Lascorz as the second half of the top ten. Meanwhile, word came from Castrol Honda that “Ruben in medical centre. Initial reports nothing serious, but full check underway,” adding later, “Seems nothing broken on Ruben – unlike the bike – but he’s pretty beaten up.”

Biaggi made a mistake looking for a way through on Melandri, sliding a bit wide to allow Checa through for second position. There was little space between the top three as Biaggi used the Aprilia top speed to take the position back from Checa at the end of the front straight. Biaggi made his move for the lead into and through Turn 3, only to lose the lead back to Melandri in Turn 4. Biaggi went for the lead again on the next turn, only he couldn’t maintain the position the entire way through the corner. Behind, Checa was in perfect position to take advantage of any mistake from the two Italians.

With five laps remaining, Melandri was in the lead, with Checa still right there. Fabrizio was over two seconds behind the leader as Laverty, Badovini, Sykes, Lascorz, Smrz, and Camier the top ten. It was a hot fight for seventh through eleventh, with five riders swapping positions through most of the turns. Biaggi and Melandri continued to push one another the lead, with the former holding onto the lead for the moment.

Melandri flicked underneath Biaggi to take the lead back with just over two laps left, despite the rear tires of the Yamaha looking pretty ragged. Though Biaggi ran a bit wide, Checa was unable to capitalize and take second from him. On the final lap, Melandri led a pushing Biaggi and Checa. Melandri looked to have just barely enough gap to hold off the Aprilia, and did keep the lead as Biaggi ran a tiny bit wide in a final turn, though he kept second with Checa completing the podium.

World Superbike Race Results from Race 1 at Brno, Czech Republic:

133Marco MelandriYamaha WSBK Team-
21Max BiaggiAprilia Alitalia Racing Team0.241
37Carlos ChecaAlthea Racing Ducati0.436
484Michel FabrizioTeam Suzuki Alstare8.448
558Eugene LavertyYamaha WSBK Team11.863
686Ayrton BadoviniBMW Motorrad Italia16.374
72Leon CamierAprilia Alitalia Racing Team20.075
891Leon HaslamBMW Motorrad21.399
917Joan LascorzPaul Bird Racing Kawasaki21.555
1066Tom SykesPaul Bird Racing Kawasaki22.330
1196Jakub SmrzTeam Effenbert-Liberty Ducati22.494
1241Noriyuki HagaPATA Racing Team Aprilia24.710
13121Maxime BergerSupersonic Racing Ducati27.958
1444Roberto RolfoTeam Pedericini Kawasaki31.724
1522Alex LowesCastrol Honda31.998
168Mark AitchisonTeam Pedericini Kawasaki34.771
1757Lorenzo LanziBMW Motorrad Italia36.582
1877Chris VermeulenPaul Bird Racing Kawasaki45.690
1913Victor KispatakiProp-tech ltd. Honda1:28.907
2050Sylvain GuintoliTeam Effenbert-Liberty Ducati1 Lap
Not Classified
2115Matteo BaioccooBarni Racing Team Ducati8 Laps
111Ruben XausCastrol Hondacrash

Source: WSBK; Photo: Max Biaggi Official Website

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