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 Sessions at Magny-Cours Nearly Prove Costly to Championship Leader

10/01/2011 @ 7:03 am, by Victoria ReidComments Off

WSBK: Superpole Sessions at Magny Cours Nearly Prove Costly to Championship Leader rea pirelli mc 635x421

Jonathan Rea won pole for the 2011 World Superbike round at Magny-Cours with a new circuit record (1:37.490), beating out fellow front-row starters Eugene Laverty, Carlos Checa, and Leon Camier. The latter’s teammate, Max Biaggi, is again missing this weekend. It is his third missed race weekend in a row, as a practice injury sustained at the Nurburgring continues to heal slowly. Though championship leader Checa starts on the front row for both of Sunday’s races, his Superpole sessions were touch and go. He was in the knockout zone in S1 until a post-flag flying lap put him fastest. He remained on the bubble for most of S2, only barely making it to the fight for pole. The championship hunt continues this weekend, after Melandri’s late race resurgence in Race 2 in Imola kept Checa from winning then. The Spaniard needs only finish three points ahead of Melandri to clinch the title this weekend.

Checa (1:39.013) started off the weekend quickest in the first practice session on Friday, leading Sykes, Corser, Haslam, and Smrz as the fastest five. Both Fabrizio and Xaus has minor crashes, with the former finishing the session. Xaus complained of neck pain and feeling dizzy, leaving him in the medical center and eventually declared unfit to race. In the first qualifying practice, it was again Checa fastest, with a near record lap to take the provisional pole. Close behind were Laverty, Guintoli, Sykes as the provisional front row.

In the final qualifying session before the Superpole fights to pole, Melandri was the happy winner of provisional pole. Despite having languished in the mid-pack to rear for the previous sessions, the Italian improved to go more than a tenth faster than Guintoli, with Smrz and Badovini completing the provisional front row. Checa was down in tenth, but he led the final practice session. Rea, Laverty, Smrz, and Melandri completed the fastest five in that final session before Superpole.  Knocked Out in Qualifying Practice: 17. Javier Fores, 18. Roberto Rolfo.

Superpole 1:
Camier was the last out of the garage to start the first of three superpole sessions, though it was Rea on top with ten minutes left. Laverty, Berger, and Halsam were on the provisional front row at that time, with Checa, Haga, Camier, and Fabrizio the bottom four. Soon though, Laverty had moved up to second fastest, then fastest of all, with Melandri third. Checa’s first fast lap put him fifth and safe to move on, leaving Guintoli, Badovini, Fabrizio, and Smrz in the knockout zone with seven minutes remaining.

Laverty remained on top, with Rea, Melandri, and Lascorz the provisional front row when five minutes remaining as the riders were back in their garages. The top three stayed in the pits while much of the rest of the field headed back out to move up and forward to S2. However, local French favorite Guintoli was the next to take the lead (jumping up from thirteenth), with Sykes and Camier also eclipsing Laverty’s time with a minute to go. At that point, Haga, Aitchison, Badovini, and Corser were the slowest men. Checa had dropped down to twelfth, then thirteenth in the final moments, only to post the fastest lap of the session (1:37.780) after the flag  to leap out of the relegation zone. Joining him on the provisional front row were Guintoli, Sykes, and Camier, with Laverty, Haga, Rea, Berger, Haslam, Lascorz, Melandri, and Corser also moving forward. Knocked Out in Superpole 1: 13. Jakum Smrz, 14. Michel Fabrizio, 15. Mark Aitchison, 16. Ayrton Badovini.

Superpole 2:
Haslam was the early leader in the second session, with Rea, Camier, Berger, and Lascorz the early riders to set times. Sykes, Checa, and Laverty had not yet set times with eight minutes remaining, though Sykes’ first fast lap put him on the provisional pole. He still led with four to go, as Haslam, Rea, and Camier completed the fastest five. Haga, Lascorz, Berger, and Corser were in the knockout zone, with Checa heading back out onto the track in eighth. Guintoli soon moved into second as the championship leader looked to stay safe. As the flag flew, the bottom four remained the same. In the end, Sykes (1:37.650) remained fastest, with Guintoli, Haslam, Rea, Camier, Laverty, Melandri, and Checa moving on to S3. Knocked Out in Superpole 2: 9. Noriyuki Haga, 10. Joan Lascorz, 11. Maxime Berger, 12. Troy Corser.

Superpole 3:
Once again, Camier was the last man out of the garage in the final session for pole. Rea led with just over five minutes remaining, followed by Laverty, Camier, Checa, Guintoli, Sykes, Haslam, and Melandri for the front two rows of the starting grid. Soon Checa moved up to third fastest as the riders finalized the bikes for the last moments of the fight for pole. Rea was back on track with a minute remaining, though Laverty, Checa, and Melandri remained in the garage. Checa also headed back out with seconds remaining. In the end, neither had time to make up time and Rea won pole with a new lap record for Magny-Cours.

Superpole Results from World Superbike at Magny-Cours, France:

1.4Jonathan ReaCastrol Honda1:37.490-
2.58Eugene LavertyYamaha WSBK Team1:37.6000.110
3.7Carlos ChecaAlthea Racing Ducati1:37.9320.442
4.2Leon CamierAprilia Alitalia Racing Team1:38.0060.516
5.50Sylvain GuintoliTeam Effenbert-Liberty Ducati1:38.0940.604
6.66Tom SykesPaul Bird Racing Kawasaki1:38.0940.604
7.91Leon HaslamBMW Motorrad1:38.3820.892
8.33Marco MelandriYamaha WSBK Team1:38.5621.072
Out After Superpole 2
9.41Noriyuki HagaPATA Racing Team Aprilia1:38.0.487
10.17Joan LascorzPaul Bird Racing Kawasaki1:38.0.554
11.121Maxime BergerSupersonic Racing Ducati1:38.0.697
12.11Troy CorserBMW Motorrad1:38.0.866
Out After Superpole 1
13.96Jakub SmrzTeam Effenbert-Liberty Ducati1:38.5240.744
14.84Michel FabrizioTeam Suzuki Alstare1:38.5650.785
15.8Mark AitchisonTeam Pedericini Kawaski1:38.6230.843
16.86Ayrton BadoviniBMW Motorrad Italia1:38.6870.907
Not qualified for Superpole
17.112Javier ForesBMW Motorrad Italia1:39.2301.059
18.44Roberto RolfoTeam Pedericini Kawaski1:40.9821.811

Source: WSBK; Photo: Pirelli (Facebook)

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