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 Increases TV Viewers by 33% in 2010

01/14/2011 @ 5:50 am, by Victoria Reid8 COMMENTS

WSBK Increases TV Viewers by 33% in 2010 world superbike max biaggi 635x423

WSBK’s worldwide television audience grew by 33% from the 2009 to 2010 season. According to Infront, the “championship reached a cumulative audience of 498 million” for the 2010 season, meaning each WSBK race garnered around 40 million viewers. While still a considerably smaller number than MotoGP, which claims around 300 million viewers for each race, this is the sort of jump in audience that makes sponsorship dollars appear more easily. The official WSBK website had “a 30% increase of unique visitors compared to 2009,”with a total of four million individual visitors in 2010.

Though the overall television audience grew by 33%, the live television audience grew by a smaller percentage of 18%. It should be noted though that the live audience figure is not something determined necessarily by fans, but by the contracts between Infront and the various international broadcasters. As an example, there is no live coverage of WSBK in the United States on the SPEED channel. Even MotoGP only began receiving something approaching live coverage on that network for the 2010 season.

Live coverage or not, the most important news for WSBK is what the increased audience can do for sponsorships in the series. As the audience grows, WSBK’s attractiveness to companies beyond Western Europe grows as well. A growing television and online audience could attract more companies willing to invest in what otherwise could be considered a frivolous pursuit, and more sponsors can be wooed by logical appeals to their pocketbooks. Accordingly, these numbers are heartening for those involved in the sport.

As noted by Infront CEO Paolo Flammini, “The worldwide broadcast distribution and audience figures for the 2010 FIM Superbike World Championship clearly demonstrate the value of the series as a communication platform for established as well as upcoming brands. Its growing fan base and outreach of the motor sport series provide sponsors with an effective platform for targeting an attractive demographic within sport.” Still, one should look at them warily as they have been released by the group most likely to benefit from their positive nature.

Source: WBSK/Infront Motorsports; Photo: © 2010 Dan Lo / CornerSpeedPhoto.com


  1. Rob says:

    doesnt seem too much of a shock there. GP last year was a waste and WSBK was great racing as was WSS.

  2. Sloan says:

    They need to provide a HD feed to SpeedTV and I’d watch it more. It’s almost unbearable to watch a MotoGP race in high-def then try to watch a WSBK program afterward. Even AMA racing (which was spectacular this year, I might add) had a better picture. I like WSBK but I don’t HAVE to watch it if the picture is crappy.

  3. SBPilot says:

    They are extending HD coverage which is nice but I don’t even have it and I watch most of my stuff online anyway. I’m most excited about on-board footage. In my opinion that is what WSBK broadcasting lacked most to MotoGP. Some of the best shots and excitement is captured via on-board cameras.

    I won’t be surprised if WSBK viewing increases again significantly this year due to the on-board cameras and extended HD. MotoGP viewing numbers this year will be off the roof cause of Rossi going to Ducati amongst the other team switches though.

  4. Prich says:

    I’m with you guys. I’m always surprised at what a poor quality they broadcast the races. I can hardly tell the colors of the bikes apart, so I have to pay incredible attention just to figure out who I’m watching.

  5. Damo says:

    HD coverage would be nice, I mean ESPN broadcasts obscure European Kick Boxing championships in HD, why can I watch my WSBK as well?

    What channel do you cats watch MotoGP on in HD? I am still on SD up here in Massachusetts.

  6. dmclone says:

    Sad to say but I was a lot more interested in it the previous year when the U.S. was represented. I still watched every race but not having Spies was disappointing.

  7. Ricardo says:

    I have always watched WSBK regardless. Better to watch a hard fight in SD than most of the boring Motogp races in HD.

    I’m glad these numbers prove armchair racers predicting its demise were wrong.

  8. Sean in Oz says:

    Here in Oz MotoGP is broadcast live (because it is late at night) on free to air TV. To watch WSBK you need cable TV, which is expensive since there is very little else worth watching on it. We get a short highlights show of WSBK a week later on free to air.