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: Sunshine Blesses Race 1 at Miller Motorsports Park

05/30/2011 @ 12:56 pm, by Jensen Beeler1 COMMENT

WSBK: Sunshine Blesses Race 1 at Miller Motorsports Park WSBK Race 1 MMP Scott Jones

After a rainy Saturday Superpole, the sun blessed the Miller Motorsports Park for World Superbike’s Race 1. Carlos Checa returned to the Utah track in dominant form, though problems early on in the weekend gave glimpses of last year’s mechanical snafus. With both the factory Yamahas and Liberty Ducatis looking very quick in Superpole and in the practice sessions, Checa’s dominance for this year remained to be seen, with the pre-race predictions being anyone’s guess. Having standing water still in Turn 5 or the “Black Rock Hairpin” as it is called here at Miller, and mud at virtually every run-off, the Outer Course had a few tricks still up its sleeve for this race day Monday, despite the improved weather conditions. Click past the jump for spoilers on how it all panned out.

As the green flag dropped, the Aprilia RSV4 Factory of Max Biaggi proved it had the power, as The Emperor took the holeshot going into the first turn. His lead would not last long though, as BMW’s Troy Corser was around the Italian almost immediately, and following in-tow was the PATA Aprilia of Noriyuki Haga, who had a great start from the third row.

The first few laps would prove to be eventful for virtually all the riders, as not only was there the typical shuffle in positions, but multiple big crashes ensued. The first mud children were Max Biaggi and Jonathan Rea, as the Alitalia Aprilia got ensnared with the Castrol Honda, as Rea took Biaggi out of commission. With both riders unscathed from the crash, Rea gave Biaggi an earful before the two racers went back to their pits to get ready for Race 2.

The second big incident happened in the fourth lap, as Ruben Xaus slid underneath Michel Fabrizio as the pair battled for the 12th position. Hit hard, Fabrizio was down in the mud snf on his back for more than a moment, which caused Xaus to come running over to the Italian rider, landing on his knees. Fabrizio would later get up and walk away from the crash, but will be feeling it tomorrow to be certain.

As the first five laps unfolded, it was a Corser & Haga show up front, as the two veterans battled for position, and opened a gap over the trailing Guintoli. With the lead group consisting of Corser, Haga, Guintoli, Checa, and Camier, Leon Camier began losing touch with the pack by the third lap, and was relegated to a distant fifth, though made the ground up to be third by the ninth lap (Camier would go on to have another moment, pushed farther back to seventh, finishing fourth).

With Checa biding his time, the Spaniard slowly moved through the ranks of riders, coming from fourth to first by the sixth lap. Once clear, the Althea Ducati rider never looked back and performed his patent-pending Checa Checkout maneuver.

The rest of the race focused on the battle for second, which saw two more Ducatis vying for podium position. Coming from third, Jakob Smrz battled with Sylvain Guintoli from the Effenbet-Liberty Racing squad for several laps, before the Czech rider finally got past his French teammate on Lap 18. Smrz would hold the position to the finish, beating his teammate by just over a second at the checkered flag. Though disappointing for Guintoli in some respects, the result made a 1-2-3 podium for Ducati, showing that the Italian bikes are appreciative of Miller’s 3-mile road course layout.

Leon Camier will perhaps not be happy about his fourth place finish, but the Aprilia rider has shown to be very fast here in Utah, and could be a podium contender in Race 2. Another strong showing was Eugene Laverty who finished Race 1 in the fifth position.

World Superbike Race Results from Race 1 at Miller Motorsports Park, USA:

Pos. No. Rider Team Diff.
1 7 Carlos Checa Althea Ducati -
2 96 Jakub Smrz Team Effenbert-Liberty Ducati 2.766
3 50 Sylvain Guintoli Team Effenbert-Liberty Ducati 4.093
4 2 Leon Camier Aprilia Alitalia Racing 8.885
5 58 Eugene Laverty Yamaha World Superbike Team 15.718
6 66 Tom Sykes Paul Bird Kawasaki Racing 20.477
7 86 Ayrton Badovini BMW Motorrad Italia 22.170
8 91 Leon Haslam BMW Motorrad 22.267
9 41 Noriyuki Haga PATA Racing Team Aprilia 24.087
10 33 Marco Melandri Yamaha World Superbike Team 27.150
11 121 Maxime Berger Supersonic Racing Ducati 29.422
12 12 Josh Waters Yoshimura Suzuki 33.428
13 11 Troy Corser BMW Motorrad 36.573
14 17 Joan Lascorz Paul Bird Kawasaki Racing 1’05.369
15 52 James Toseland BMW Motorrad Italia 1’14.382
16 8 Mark Aitchison Team Pedercini Kawasaki 1’14.736
17 44 Roberto Rolfo Team Pedercini Kawasaki 2 Laps
Not Classified
RET 84 Michel Fabrizio Team Suzuki Alstare 18 Laps
RET 111 Ruben Xaus Castrol Honda 18 Laps
RET 4 Jonathan Rea Castrol Honda -
RET 1 Max Biaggi Aprilia Alitalia Racing -

Source: WorldSBK; Photo: © 2011 Scott Jones Photography – All Rights Reserved

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  1. WSBK: Sunshine Blesses Race 1 at Miller Motorsports Park – http://aspha.lt/ko #motorcycle