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: Landslide Win in Race 2 at Miller Motorsports Park

05/30/2011 @ 4:38 pm, by Jensen BeelerComments Off

WSBK: Landslide Win in Race 2 at Miller Motorsports Park World Superbike Race 2 Miller Scott Jones

The weather gods were appeased this Memorial Day weekend, as not a single drop of water rained down from the heavens on the World Superbike Race 1 and Race 2 that were being held at Miller Motorsports Park. This statement is of course only true if you’re not watching WSBK according to Oregon Trail rules, as riders still had to ford the river at the “Black Rock Hairpin” in Turn 5 of the Outer Course. While no oxen were lost in the attempt to cross the water feature, a bull was on the loose in the form of Carlos Checa. Would 2011 be redemption or disappointment for the Spaniard? Find out after the jump.

Not one to bother waiting, Carlos Checa took the holeshot down the front straightaway of Miller Motorsports Park, taking the lead into Turn 1, and never looked back. Busting a commanding lead over the World Superbike field, the Althea Ducati racer won Race 2 in Utah with a comfortable 7+ second margin. Though a poignant moment for Checa, it was joined by fairly dull racing, as the grid spread fairly evenly over the pace of the race.

Trailing Checa was Leon Camier, Eugene Laverty, Marco Melandri, and Noriyuki Haga. Both Camier and Laverty pulled large gaps over their nearest competitors, and only Max Biaggi in the second lap would get past either rider. The battle for fourth though was quite close in the early laps, and in Lap 2 Biaggi would find his way around Haga and Melandri, later passing Laverty in Lap 3, though unable to touch his teammate who rode to a comfortable second place podium step.

Lap 3 woke up the paddock, as both Ruben Xaus and Troy Corser went down in the same turn at the same time. Corser would retire for the day, while Xaus remounted his Castrol Honda and finished the day 18th. Noriyuki Haga also hit the tarmac in Lap 3, as the Japanese rider seemingly decided to get an early jump on packing his bags for his trip out of Utah. Chalk that one up to an unforced error, as PATA will race for better results next race weekend.

The next several laps saw little action in position, though Melandri, Guintoli, and Fabrizio battled for ownership rights to the fifth place position. By Lap 10 the battle was in full-swing, and by Lap 11 Michel Fabrizio was through on both Guintoli and Melandri. Fabrizio would continue to be the one of the fastest riders on the track up until the race’s conclusion, often swapping that title with race leader Carlos Checa.

The next big melee was between Jonathan Rea, Ayrton Badovini, and Tom Sykes, as the trio mixed it up over several turns in their battle for 9th position. Badovini would be the victor in that battle, finishing ninth for the day, followed by Sykes and Rea, respectively.

Cruising to a seven second victory, Carlos Checa is now 61 Championship points ahead of Marco Melandri, who now holds only a solitary point over current World Champion Max Biaggi. World Superbike goes back to Europe on June 12th, where the series will be racing at Misano.

World Superbike Race Results from Race 2 at Miller Motorsports Park, USA:

Pos.No.RiderTeamDiff.
17Carlos ChecaAlthea Ducati-
22Leon CamierAprilia Alitalia Racing7.194
31Max BiaggiAprilia Alitalia Racing8.734
458Eugene LavertyYamaha World Superbike Team14.214
584Michel FabrizioTeam Suzuki Alstare14.750
633Marco MelandriYamaha World Superbike Team21.634
750Sylvain GuintoliTeam Effenbert-Liberty Ducati24.079
896Jakub SmrzTeam Effenbert-Liberty Ducati25.688
986Ayrton BadoviniBMW Motorrad Italia29.621
1066Tom SykesPaul Bird Kawasaki Racing30.681
114Jonathan ReaCastrol Honda31.033
1217Joan LascorzPaul Bird Kawasaki Racing37.063
1391Leon HaslamBMW Motorrad37.455
14121Maxime BergerSupersonic Racing Ducati40.509
1512Josh WatersYoshimura Suzuki40.894
1644Roberto RolfoTeam Pedercini Kawasaki48.989
178Mark AitchisonTeam Pedercini Kawasaki52.388
18111Ruben XausCastrol Honda1’18.485
Not Classified
RET41Noriyuki HagaPATA Racing Team Aprilia19 Laps
RET11Troy CorserBMW Motorrad19 Laps

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

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