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: A Victory in Race 1 at Magny-Cours Brings About a Victory in the Championship

10/02/2011 @ 3:50 am, by Victoria ReidComments Off

WSBK: A Victory in Race 1 at Magny Cours Brings About a Victory in the Championship checa2 pirelli mc 635x421

Jonathan Rea (1:37.490) started the penultimate race weekend of the 2011 season on pole at Magny-Cours with a new lap record time. Completing the front row after Saturday’s Superpole sessions are Eugene Laverty, Carlos Checa, and Leon Camier. The championship leader had something of a fraught Saturday, with challenger Marco Melandri (who will start the races on the second row in eighth) taking provisional pole that morning. In the Superpole sessions, Checa was regularly near the bottom and managed only to move on with a couple of very late flying laps. He was also unable to best Rea’s time at the end of S3 and will start sandwiched between the teammates of current and former title rivals.

Max Biaggi, Camier’s Aprilia teammate and Checa’s recent title rival, again sits out this race weekend after his practice injury from the Nurburgring continues to heal slowly. Also missing in Ruben Xaus, Rea’s Castrol Honda teammate, whose neck continues to prove difficult after a practice injury at Magny-Cours on Friday. With Chirs Vermeulen still out and not replaced at Kawasaki and no wild card entries, the WSBK grid is down to eighteen riders this weekend. For the morning warm-up, Checa was back in charge, leading a fastest five including Corser, Guintoli, Rea, and Smrz.

It was a gorgeously sunny day at Magny-Cours for Race 1, as Rea got a shaky start, looking almost as though he had jumped the start, then stopping and getting off the line late. Laverty led while further back Aitchison had an absolutely massive highside, crashing out of the race. Soon Laverty and Camier had a gap back to Checa in third, as he had gotten around Sykes. Camier then had a moment in second, which slowed him enough that Checa bumped into him. Soon Checa passed Camier for second. At the end of L2, Laverty led Camier, Checa, Sykes, Guintoli, Melandri, Rea, Haslam, Haga, and Corser.

Smrz was the next to crash out, possibly touching a Kawasaki on his way down. Further back, Melandri was sliding backwards as Rea, Haslam, and Haga all made their way through on the Italian. Coming out of the final turn, Rea lost the front and slid out of the race, with attrition coming heavily in the first five laps. Laverty and Checa were running away at the front, two and a half seconds ahead of Camier. Meanwhile, Sykes gave up two positions to Haga and Melandri by running wide, then taking a turn straight on.

At the front, Laverty had only bike lengths on Checa, though they both had a comfortable three seconds on Camier. Checa had a taste of the lead underneath Laverty’s waving leg, but Laverty retook the position. At the next opportunity, Checa was in the lead just before L10 ended. Camier, Guintoli, Haslam, Haga, Melandri, Sykes, Corser, and Fabrizio completed the top ten, though Haslam was quickly up the inside of Guintoli. Just two laps after the pass for the lead, Checa had over a second and a half on Laverty. Into the Adelaide hairpin, Haslam took the final podium position from Camier.

A bit later, Melandri moved back up a position to fifth around Guintoli in the middle of the pack essentially fighting for third. Haslam led that group, with Camier and Melandri close behind. Camier took third from Haslam but couldn’t hold it. In the shuffle, Melandri was later able to take fourth from Camier. Meanwhile, Fabrizio crashed after running into the rear wheel of Sykes with six laps to go. The Italian managed to continue on, though.

Checa’s lead was up to over three seconds on Laverty with five laps remaining, as Haslam, Melandri, Camier, Guintoli, Haga, Lascorz, Corser, and Sykes completed the top ten. Meanwhile, the pack had caught Laverty. Haslam looked to take Laveryt, but ran wide and allowed Melandri through to take the final podium position. Next up on the Italian’s list was Laverty, whom he passed neatly to take second. As the final lap began, Checa had three seconds of clear track behind him to Melandri, then Haslam and Camier as Laverty’s tires continued to wear. Checa took the checkered flag to win the race and the 2011 WSBK championship, ahead of the current second-place points finisher Melandri.

World Superbike Race Results from Race 1 at Magny-Cours:

Pos.No.RiderTeamDiff.
17Carlos ChecaAlthea Racing Ducati-
233Marco MelandriYamaha WSBK Team2.201
391Leon HaslamBMW Motorrad3.218
42Leon CamierAprilia Alitalia Racing Team3.796
558Eugene LavertyYamaha WSBK Team5.602
650Sylvain GuintoliTeam Effenbert-Liberty Ducati9.634
741Noriyuki HagaPATA Racing Team Aprilia9.814
817Joan LascorzPaul Bird Racing Kawasaki11.387
911Troy CorserBMW Motorrad17.143
1066Tom SykesPaul Bird Racing Kawasaki24.523
11112Javier ForesBMW Motorrad Italia34.532
1284Michel FabrizioTeam Suzuki Alstare1:19.724
1344Roberto RolfoTeam Pedericini Kawaski1 Lap
Not Classified
121Maxime BergerSupersonic Racing Ducati13 Laps
4Jonathan ReaCastrol Honda19 Laps
86Ayrton BadoviniBMW Motorrad Italia19 Laps
96Jakub SmrzTeam Effenbert-Liberty Ducati21 Laps
8Mark AitchisonTeam Pedericini Kawaski

Source: WSBK; Photo: Pirelli (Facebook)

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