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: Sykes Fastest at Phillip Island Official Testing

02/21/2012 @ 7:47 am, by Victoria Reid20 COMMENTS

WSBK: Sykes Fastest at Phillip Island Official Testing tom sykes wsbk kawasaki phillip island 635x415

With Carlos Checa dominating Phillip Island during the private tests and the first day of official testing, Tom Sykes displaced the reigning World Superbikes Champion early on in the second day of official testing at Phillip Island. In WSBK’s final test before the season’s racing kicks off this weekend, the Kawasaki rider set the day’s fastest time with a 1:31.648, holding off Checa by just 0.004 seconds. Also setting their best times on Tuesday, Jakub Smrz, Jonathan Rea, and Max Biaggi rounded out the fastest five overall. Marco Melandri was sixth fastest overall, with his best time being set on Monday.

There were a number of crashes that tested both riders and available machinery, of which Leon Haslam was the most notable. The Englishman fractured his right tibia in a high side at the final turn on Monday, leaving the BMW rider to scramble for an available surgery. He tweeted Tuesday, “I’ve finally found a guy to sort things out booked in for a Op on Thursday morning there might be a chance to ride on Sunday,” adding, “fingerscrossed.” Rea also crashed heavily, but did more damage to his bike than himself, and was able to continue throughout the test sessions.

John Hopkins missed the test, after a crash during his private testing last week forced him to return to California for his twenty-ninth surgery. The American rider hopes to return to his Yoshimura assisted Crescent Fixi Suzuki team in time for Imola, but was replaced for this test, and this weekend’s racing, by Australian Josh Brookes. Regular teammate Leon Camier fared decently well at official Phillip Island test (eighth fastest overall), but Brookes had to work hard to find a pace.

As per usual, learning much of anything solely from testing times is a chancy proposition at best. However, consistency and ease of development go a long way in setting the tone for Sunday’s race. Sykes, Checa, Biaggi, and Rea were in the fastest five in all four sessions, even with the varying warm and cool temperatures in the mornings and afternoons. BMW seemed to be tweeting heavily about issues with electronics, while the factory Honda team was its usual coolly confident and sassy self on social media. The true test of racing begins Friday.

Overall Times from World Superbike Testing at Phillip Island:

Pos.No.RiderManufacturerTime
166Tom SykesKawasaki1:31.648
27Carlos ChecaDucati1:31.652
396Jakub SmrzDucati1:31.800
465Jonathan ReaHonda1:31.913
53Max BiaggiAprilia1:32.034
633Marco MelandriBMW1:32.232
734Davide GuiglianoDucati1:32.319
82Leon CamierSuzuki1:32.320
950Sylvain GuintoliDucati1:32.347
1091Leon HaslamBMW1:32.397
1117Joan LascorzKawasaki1:32.540
1284Michel FabrizioBMW1:32.605
1359Niccolo CanepaDucati1:32.746
144Hiroshi AoyamaHonda1:32.910
15121Maxime BergerDucati1:32.911
1686Ayrton BadoviniBMW1:32.948
1787Lorenzo ZanettiDucati1:33.136
1819Chaz DaviesAprili1:33.358
1944Davide SalomKawasaki1:33.385
2067Bryan StaringKawasaki1:33.418
2125Josh BrookesSuzuki1:33.632
2218Mark AitchisonBMW1:34.169
2335Raffaele  de RosaHonda1:34.341

Source: WSBK

Comment:

  1. Smitch says:

    Rollerball Rea crashed…no surprise there.
    And the Ducatis get weight restrictions, but none for Kawasaki? It’s a Kawayamandazuki conspiracy, man…

  2. Damo says:

    @Smitch

    Why would a 4 cylinder bike with only 1000cc get a weight penalty? If Ducati ran a 1000cc motor they would not get a weight restriction. Or you could just let the Japanese bikes run 1200cc, fair? let’s not start this debate again.

    I also have no idea why anybody hates on Rea. Guy just likes to push the limits, although I agree if he stays on the bike he would be a title threat. The man has serious speed.

  3. Halfie 30 says:

    Good to see Kawasaki being competitive. I’m not an fan of four cylinders, nor the Japenese big four, but I’ve always had a sweet spot for the smallest factory of the four .

    The weight debate is just silly. The Japenese are not fans of the Italians twins. Two cylinders will never push out as much horse power as four at the same cc with out being at a rediculous state of tune. Weigh an inline four at 1000 cc and then a v-twin at 1200 cc. I think that makes the point clear…

  4. Keith says:

    hmmm, not a fan but I’ve always thought of Mr. Rea as having a “win it or bin it” mentality. I can relate…

  5. Peter says:

    GO GREEN!

  6. 76 says:

    Rea pushes that Honda so far to the limit to make up for its deficiencies (HP for one), its almost like Stoner and the Ducati. Look at where Aoyama is on the very same bike, a full second behind him(And hes coming from motoGP). Rea is unfortunately doing what he has to in keeping the CBR competitive. That means constantly riding on the limit. He has always been the lone honda in the top 5 and thats why.

  7. MikeD says:

    @Damo:
    If only u knew HOW both beasts made power u wouldn’t ask such a question.
    W/E a twin lacks an I4 has tons of it and viceversa. Halfie 30 made good points. Xactly. Let’s not.

    Now back to the issue at hand…good luck to TeamGreen…seems like they found their pace ? or was it ALL just a rash of good luck ?
    P.S: WIERD, i find the race bike better looking than it’s street counterpart. The factory 3 spoke wheels suck ass big time and the street headlight cowl/windshield still screaming afterthought & fugly as ever…just like the ZX-10R generation previous to it…(just bitchin here, no big deal).

  8. SBPilot says:

    The ZX-10R definitely looks better in race/track trim than street but it was developed as a race bike first, road bike second, much like the S1000RR and RSV4.

    I wouldn’t call it luck for Kawi to be doing better so far. First they have a new team, something that doesn’t get mentioned a lot, and second, Kawasaki has decided to put much more factory involvement in the team. The Kawasaki team is probably more factory than the Honda team!

    Ducati and it’s weight penalty is…well stupid. Completely disregarding how engines work and all that mechanical stuff, Ducati certainly didn’t run away with the title in 2010 or 2009 so why put a weight penalty on the bike just because they won the title the previous year? It’s the same bike still, it doesn’t make sense at all.

  9. Damo says:

    @MikeD

    I am very familiar with how v-twins make power (an aprilia RSV Mille is my daily driver), I also earn my paycheck as a mechanical engineer, so the point is not lost on me. All my questions were rhetorical in nature, I guess that was missed.

    I have owned both Japanese I4′s and Italian twins (I prefer twins actually). The bottom line is there has to be a line in the sand. There is either a CC limit or there isn’t. I don’t think the weight penalty rule is the best way to do it either.

    The same issue happened in AMA last year when people were trying to argue having the 848 run up against 600cc I4 Japanese bikes.

  10. Afletra says:

    There’s no blue on the track, no tuning fork… is Yamaha really that bad so no private team wanna use their R1? I wonder…

  11. Damo says:

    @Afletra

    It is kinda sad, isn’t it?

  12. mxs says:

    What is it with all the crashes? More injuries and crashes then i can ever remember. I know it’s a speedy and tough track, but common. You cannot win a season in one practice or race, but you can certainly lose it ….

    The moto community surgeons must be going … “Alright … bring it on.”

    @MikeD
    I hear you that there’s cc limit. The problem is there’s no better way to compensate then weight balast. I hate when motoGP says it has to be max of 5cyl and 19K red line ….. You should be able to run what you bring, that’s the one series I’d love to watch. If Ducati believes in V2 power and torque delivery they should be let to go head to head with with I4 guys. Why should Ducati develop I4 engine if they don’t believe in it? Just because rest of the world does?

  13. Faust says:

    @ mxs

    The only reason there’s even an issue with the rules is to appease Ducati. They are the only ones running twins in the series, so the drama is purely of their own creation. Nobody says Ducati has to develop an I4 engine if they “don’t believe in it” (which has nothing to dowith it). Aprilia races, and won the title with a V4, not an I4. If Ducati didn’t beleive in making 4 cyl engines, then can you explain the engine in their Moto GP bikes and the production Desmo? In the GP series they don’t have a displacement advantage, so they made a 4 cyl engine to compete. And 5cyl engines? The new rules say:

    “A move to a 1000cc formula in 2012 is accompanied with further restrictions than during the 990cc era. The number of cylinders is limited to 4 and the maximum cylinder bore (the diameter of the cylinder) is 81mm for bikes with a minimum weight of 153kg” – Source: motogp.com

    That being said, the real reason that Ducati runs twins is to appease their target audience who prefer the twin due to the brand’s heritage. I admit that I also enjoy twins and I think twins make for better street bikes. Ducati will continue to make twins, and the ballast rules are needed to allow this historic company the ability to compete on a semi-level playing field. There simply MUST be special rules if they are allowed to run larger engines. And the ballast doesn’t seem to be hurting Checa anyway. Also, don’t forget that Honda played the V twin game with the RC51 and beat Ducati at their own game with it.

  14. MikeD says:

    @Faust:

    Even tho i still say “SCREW the B.S restrictions on Ducati” , I still +1 your comment. All decent valid points.

    It won’t end, NEVER, as long as they keep pushing the V2 format…and the organizers keep listening and bending to their whining and God knows what else they are pushing from under the table to get away with it so far.

    But to quote Damo, THERE HAS TO BE A LINE ON THE SAND…and could be as simple as:

    Make the best out of 1000 cc…
    or G.T.F.O”…
    or build/sell a 1000 cc V4 Superbike and shut up all the bitchin about how life is so unfair if u ride a 1000 cc I4 on WSBK.

    That last option…i think Hell will freeze before it happens on Earth.

  15. Damo says:

    @Faust and MikeD

    Both of you are spot on. Also can we all agree that it is a shame Honda doesn’t make a twin anymore? The RC51 was, in my opinion, the best sport bike to ever come out of Japan and had a reasonably rabid fan base. As Jensen eloquently pointed out in his editorial piece.

    I thought the RC51 was a milestone Japanese bike almost on the level of the CB750 in terms of impact. For Honda just to walk away from it was a crime against humanity.

  16. MikeD says:

    @Damo:

    Damo said: “Also can we all agree that it is a shame Honda doesn’t make a twin anymore? The RC51 was, in my opinion, the best sport bike to ever come out of Japan and had a reasonably rabid fan base.”

    Darn shame, nothing we can do but vote with our $$$ (Aprilia,Duc,etc).
    It has a crazy fan base, i used to lurk on RC51 and TL Forums.
    Let’s just say it is a good bike for what it brought and did back then…cause R & D has kept on moving….(1199).
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Damo said: “I thought the RC51 was a milestone Japanese bike almost on the level of the CB750 in terms of impact. For Honda just to walk away from it was a crime against humanity”

    I don’t know man, that some serious comparo right there…(^_^)…but yeah, like is been said, DARN SHAME.

    Let’s forget about the past that will never return and look forward to what the future has in store.

    New RSV4? Maybe a Liter+ Daytona(M.Y 2999?) Baby Panigale?…oh yeah…screw those pesky I4s…xcept the CrossPlane guy. LOL.

  17. Faust says:

    @ MikeD

    I hear nothing but good things about the crossplane, but I’m just not sold on the R1′s styling. At this point I really have no idea what my next bike will be. I currently have a CBR600RR and I am convinced that if I get a CBR 1000 then Honda will release something really great the following year just to spite me. I am still in shock that there are no Yamahas in WSBK this year. It’s sad.

  18. MikeD says:

    @Faust:

    I hear ya on the R1 styling. (O_o)…i doubt Honda comes out with some fancy super sport sharp tool…like all the other Nihongo Motorcycle OEMs they are on a HEAVY DOSE of Preparation H ’til the economy gets better…(Saddest part ? there’s no time frame on that).

    Yamaha called it quits fair and square [like a year ago ?] they even had their official anaouncement thingy.
    If u mean by some privateer team campaining them then im just lost as u are. Maybe cause there’s no more factory support (fancy factory speed parts) ?

  19. Faust says:

    @ Mike D

    Yeah, I remember when Yamaha announced their pullout from the series (oddly it was right after a great showing by Laverty and Melandri). The shocking thing for me is that after the success of ParkinGO BE1 Racing in WSS, and their obvious interest in representing Yamaha in WSBK that Yamaha didn’t jump on it. Look at what ParkinGO (and Davies and Scassa) did for the R6. They resurrected that bike in the 600 class, so I really don’t understand Yamaha not jumping at the chance to have them lead the team for the 1000s. It seemed to me that it would be a perfect chance to have the same type of success that Ducati had with Althea at a much cheaper price then running a full team. Especially since Spies, Melandri, and Laverty already proved the current generation of the R1 can be competative. I’m at a loss.

  20. Ricardo says:

    When Kawasaki wins as many run away races as Ducati won in 2011 then they should get a weight penalty.