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: Five-Way Battle in Race 2 Thrills at Donington Park

05/13/2012 @ 12:53 pm, by Jensen BeelerComments Off

WSBK: Five Way Battle in Race 2 Thrills at Donington Park Race 2 Donington Park WSBK 635x423

With there being heated and close racing at Donington Park for Race 1, World Superbike’s second race for the day was sure to thrill as well, though we doubt anyone could have expected the race we got with Race 2. With the Kawasaki of Tom Sykes sitting on pole, and looking very fast, the Brit was a strong favorite for sure.

Though, no one could discredit the BMW’s of Leon Haslam and Marco Melandri, especially after their strong results in Race 1. Equally always a factor, Max Biaggi on his Aprilia is always a contender, even with the RSV4′s struggling at the English track. With the checkered flag being up for grabs, the only thing race fans were assured of was great racing. Click past for spoilers and results.

Hot off the line was Max Biaggi, though the Roman Emperor’s reign would be short-lived as a few turns later Tom Sykes would takeover. By the end of Turn 1, the race was already getting interesting. Jumping the start, Michel Fabrizio was given a ride-through penalty, while Carlos Checa and Jakum Smrz found the gravel trap after the reigning World Champion’s Ducati touched the rear wheel of Eugene Laverty’s Aprilia mix-apex.

With Sykes, Biaggi, and Haslam breaking away initially, a brutal battle between Marco Melandri and Jonathan Rea ensued for fourth place. That battle would come to a draw though, as the pair caught up to the front group, making it a five-way melee for the race lead, though Sykes remained firmly in control. As the riders shuffled around in their order, it wasn’t until seven laps remained that Sykes relinquished his lead, as both BMW’s mugged past him, putting Haslam into the front.

As Sykes again faded through the pack as he had done in Race 1, the two BMW’s had to contend with not only Max Biaggi, but a very strong looking Jonathan Rea. With Rea putting a hard pass on Biaggi during the last lap, the Englishman had his eyes set on the BMW’s going into the final turn of the race. Squeaking under Haslam, and making contact with his fellow Brit, Rea got clear while Haslam crashed into Marco Melandri, who had blown the turn and was quite wide.

With the BMW riders hitting the tarmac, Rea took the checkered flag, and in the process handed podium finishes to both Max Biaggi and Tom Sykes. A horrible finish to an otherwise magnificent weekend for BMW, Donington Park hosted some great racing, and has shown that the factory BMW’s will be serious contenders throughout the 2012 season. From Mother’s Day to Memorial Day, World Superbike returns May 28th for the US round at Miller Motorsports Park, where AMA Pro Racing will serve as its support class.

Race Results from World Superbike Race 2 at Donington Park, England:

Pos. Rider Team Bike Diff.
1. Jonathan Rea Honda World Superbike Team Honda CBR1000RR -
2. Max Biaggi Aprilia Racing Team Aprilia RSV4 Factory 0.508
3. Tom Sykes Kawasaki Racing Team Kawasaki ZX-10R 2.029
4. Leon Camier FIXI Crescent Suzuki Suzuki GSX-R1000 4.245
5. Sylvain Guintoli Team Effenbert Liberty Racing Ducati 1098R 6.595
6. Ayrton Badovini BMW Motorrad Italia GoldBet BMW S1000 RR 17.469
7. Chaz Davies ParkinGO MTC Racing Aprilia RSV4 Factory 17.788
8. Loris Baz Kawasaki Racing Team Kawasaki ZX-10R 21.093
9. Peter Hickman FIXI Crescent Suzuki Suzuki GSX-R1000 21.866
10. Hiroshi Aoyama Honda World Superbike Team Honda CBR1000RR 22.62
11. Niccolò Canepa Red Devils Roma Ducati 1098R 26.764
12. Lorenzo Zanetti PATA Racing Team Ducati 1098R 27.043
13. Michel Fabrizio BMW Motorrad Italia GoldBet BMW S1000 RR 28.39
14. Mark Aitchison Grillini Progea Superbike Team BMW S1000 RR 56.618
15. Leon Haslam BMW Motorrad Motorsport BMW S1000 RR 80.196
RET Marco Melandri BMW Motorrad Motorsport BMW S1000 RR
RET Leandro Mercado Team Pedercini Kawasaki ZX-10R’
RET Gary Mason Team Pedercini Kawasaki ZX-10R
RET Maxime Berger Team Effenbert Liberty Racing Ducati 1098R
RET Davide Giugliano Althea Racing Ducati 1098R
RET Eugene Laverty Aprilia Racing Team Aprilia RSV4 Factory
RET Carlos Checa Althea Racing Ducati 1098R
RET Jakub Smrz Liberty Racing Team Effenbert Ducati 1098R

Source: WSBK; Photo: Honda

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