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.

Twins Get 3kg Weight Reduction in World Superbike After Rules Threshold Reached

05/17/2010 @ 1:06 pm, by Jensen Beeler6 COMMENTS

Twins Get 3kg Weight Reduction in World Superbike After Rules Threshold Reached Ducati 1098R frame chassis

After public pressure from Althea Ducati and surely private pressure from Ducati Corse, the FIM has agreed to allow twin-cylinder motorcycles in World Superbike to have a 3kg lower minimum weight allowance. Effective at the Miller Motorsports Park round of WSBK, twins (essentially the Ducati’s) will be allowed a minimum weight of 165kg (363.7lbs), down from the previous 168kg minimum weight allowance. The mode of this change in rules comes about from how the rules were drafted, which allow for a continuous revision of basic components to the rules as the season goes forward. More on that after the jump.

In the WSBK rules, the FIM has created a simple formula that takes the two highest scoring bikes from one engine configuration (e.g. four-cylinder bikes), and the two top scoring bikes from another configuration (e.g. twin-cylinder bikes), and then measures the differences between the combined scores for each race. If the four-cylinders score an average of five points more per race in three races in a row, then the minimum weight restriction can be lowered. If changing the minimum weight does not make the twin-cylindered bikes more competitive, the rules further allow for the FIM to change the rules regarding the air restrictors.

World Superbike is now at the first threshold of these flexible rules, as this past weekend the four-cylinder bikes averaged a five point advantage over the twin-cylinders. Accordingly, the minimum weight for the twins has been dropped to 165kg, which is the first weight reduction the series will try. Should that not prove enough, we will likely see a minimum weight of 162kg imposed on the Ducati teams, before the air restriction plates are addressed.

Interestingly enough, none of the Ducati teams have been clamoring for a weight reduction, as few teams are believed to be running close to the minimum allowed weight. Shedding the excess pounds is an expensive endeavor, whereas increasing the air intake to the motors is a relatively easy task. Accordingly, teams have been pressuring for this modification to the rules, rather than the weight reductions, as the primary complaint is that the Ducati is down on power when compared to the four-cylinder bikes.

With the changed rules likely to have less of an affect as many Ducati teams would like, it still brings controversy around the WSBK series, which has long been accused of favoring Ducati’s technical needs to greatly. Is it more politics in racing, or further efforts for racing parity in World Superbike? Let us know in the comments.

Source: MotoMatters

Comment:

  1. Rob says:

    I dont think the 3kg weight reduction will make the ducati’s that much more competitive. Clearly seen in Kyalami this weekend (more so in the first race) the twins are clearly capable of running at the front on tighter circuits where speeds dont reach in excess of 165mph or so. But rewind to Monza and watch the Aprilia especially (although the yamaha and suzuki seem to be doing very well up top) run away from the Ducati’s by atleast 10-15kph. Either way, its a step in the right direction.

  2. Jaybond says:

    Most likely that will not help much on the top speed, except maybe a minor improvement on handling and acceleration.

  3. Twins Get 3kg Weight Reduction in World Superbike After Rules Threshold Reached – http://aspha.lt/10p #motorcycle

  4. Bjorn says:

    Twins like to breathe. While the weight reduction will aid the Ducatis, I don’t believe you will see them making big gains untill intake restrictions are reduced.

  5. Patron says:

    Let’s say the Ducati’s are not currently at the minimum weight allowed (168kg). Let’s say they are as light as they could possibly get right now at 170kg (just pulling that number out of this air). If they can’t get down to the minimum weight allowed now, either because it’s too expensive or it’s just not possible, how would allowing them to drop more weight they can’t lose do anything at all? That doesn’t make sense at all. Why don’t they add more weight to the 4’s, or allow bigger intakes for the twins? Doesn’t make sense to me at all.

  6. Si says:

    The thing with this 3kg reduction is that it’s very unfair towards the makers of four cylinder bikes; because the weighting system weighs only 4cyl bikes vs 2cyl bikes. There’s only one twin bike manufacturer, Ducati, while in the fours we have Yamaha, Suzuki, Aprilia… So for the weighting system to show that the two classes are ‘fair’ then the results obtained by Ducatis must be equal to the results obtained by all the other manufacturers combined. The result of this is ‘fair’ means Ducati will almost definitely be winning or coming second in the manufacturer standings.
    Ducati is third out of seven manufacturers, Checa is in fourth, and also tied for the top number of best laps. Out of seven manufacturers, that sounds pretty fair to me, the way things were.