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: Superpole Qualifying at Portimao Builds Confidence for Hopeful Rider

10/24/2009 @ 7:31 pm, by Jensen BeelerComments Off

WSBK: Superpole Qualifying at Portimao Builds Confidence for Hopeful Rider Ben Spies Qualifying Portimao WSBK 560x369

It’s the qualifying session we’ve all been waiting for: the last Superpole of the 2009 season at Portimao, Portugal. A vetting process for tomorrow’s races, today’s Superpole gives us a glimpse into how this amazing season might end. How close would Ben Spies and Noriyuki Haga be on the starting line come Sunday? Who would be faster? By what margin? And lastly, would Ben Spies be able to take the outright pole record for World Superbike racing? Those answers after the jump.

Starting with our last question first, we’ll save you the trouble of scrolling down, and just come right out with the fact that Ben Spies will be sitting at the #1 position of tomorrow’s grid. Winning the Superpole by over half a second, Spies has once again taken the pole position in a World Supebike, making that 11 pole starts this season, which sets a new record. Speaking of records, Spies’ qualifying time is also now the fastest that anyone has lapped at the Portimao track. Two birds in one stroke, maybe there is something to the Spies method.

While that would be big news on its own merit, the bigger story from Portimao has been the noticeable struggling of Noriyuki Haga. Almost a second off the pace, Haga was unable to even make it into the final Superpole round, and will thus start from the 10th position on the grid. The Japanese rider will have to fight from the third row if he wants to catch the ever elusive World Superbike Championship title, that has twice evaded his capture.

Haga will also have to contend with a very fast field of rivals if he wants to gain on Spies during the races. Johnny Rea and Max Biaggi have been very quick all week, and Haga’s own teammate, Michel Fabrizio found a way to get his Ducati 1098R to fast around the Portuguese track. Perhaps this might bode well for Haga, who can build off his teammate’s settings, but judging from the way Fabrizio has ridden all year, the Italian is more than likely to make Haga earn every corner, and every pass. Still Fabrizio has said he will do whatever he can to help Haga win the Championship, which we hope doesn’t mean crashing into Spies again.

It doesn’t matter who you’re rooting for, we guarantee you’ll be on your chair tomorrow yelling at the television while the 2009 WSBK season concludes itself. Here in the States, The SPEED Channel is listing its WSBK races as being televised from 3-5pm EST, with 250GP and MotoGP following right afterward.

Superpole Results from World Superbike at Portimao, Portugal:

119B. SpiesYamaha YZF R11’42.412-
267S. ByrneDucati 1098R1’42.9960.584
384M. FabrizioDucati 1098R1’43.0150.603
465J. ReaHonda CBR1000RR1’43.1260.714
591L. HaslamHonda CBR1000RR1’43.5231.111
63M. BiaggiAprilia RSV4 Factory1’43.5261.114
710F. NietoDucati 1098R1’43.5531.141
811T. CorserBMW S1000 RR1’44.7192.307
Out after Superpole 2
996J. SmrzDucati 1098R1’43.2400.672
1041N. HagaDucati 1098R1’43.3770.809
1150S. GuintoliSuzuki GSX-R 1000 K91’43.4060.838
127C. ChecaHonda CBR1000RR1’43.4610.893
1322L. CamierAprilia RSV4 Factory1’43.6711.103
1471Y. KagayamaSuzuki GSX-R 1000 K91’43.7171.149
15100M. TamadaKawasaki ZX 10R1’44.0501.482
1615M. BaioccoDucati 1098R1’45.4392.871
Out after Superpole 1
1714M. LagriveHonda CBR1000RR1’44.4531.397
1823B. ParkesKawasaki ZX 10R1’44.4581.402
19111R. XausBMW S1000 RR1’44.4831.427
2099L. ScassaKawasaki ZX 10R1’44.8511.795

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