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: Crashes & Fighting Mark a Hot Race 1 at Silverstone

07/31/2011 @ 4:51 am, by Victoria Reid2 COMMENTS

WSBK: Crashes & Fighting Mark a Hot Race 1 at Silverstone Carlos Checa Silverstone1 Althea 635x422

Former MotoGP, current British Superbike, and this weekend’s wild card rider John Hopkins (2:04.041) started the 2011 World Superbike round at Silverstone on pole after dominating multiple sessions throughout the weekend, including setting a new track fast lap. The American rider led the first practice, the second qualifying practice, and ended the final Superpole session on Saturday on top of the timesheets and on track whilst much of the rest of the field resignedly remained in their garages. He was joined on the front row by Eugene Laverty, Leon Camier, and Carlos Checa. Max Biaggi crashed in Superpole 1, hurried through to Superpole 2, and was unable to qualify higher than eleventh on the starting grid.

For Silverstone, home rider James Toseland was back and barely squeaking through to Superpole, though he would only qualify fourteenth. Over at Castrol Honda, it was a bad weekend with both official riders out with injury. Alex Lowes continued to replace Jonathan Rea, but could not make it to Superpole. The worse drama came with Ruben Xaus’ newly-diagnosed L3 vertebrae fracture. Karl Muggeridge was to replace the Spaniard, but he injured his wrist in a mountain biking accident, leaving Fabrizio Lai to take the place of the replacement. Tom Sykes also had trouble in Saturday’s free practice, in the form of a crash that left him with a sprained ankle and minor concussion. He did not participate in Superpole, but started sixteenth. In the morning warm-up, Biaggi as fastest, leading a top five of Berger, Camier, Haslam, and Hopkins.

Race 1 got underway under sunny skies, with the track temperature surprisingly warm. Laverty barely took the lead from Hopkins into the first turn, with Checa taking an inside line to sweep into third. Fabrizio had a massive crash, with the bike sliding in to the barrier to end his race, though he appeared unhurt. Haga, though snuck through on Checa to take third and push Hopkins for second. At the end of the first lap, Laverty led Hopkins, Haga, Checa, Melandri, Haslam, Camier, Biaggi, Aitchison, and Berger as the top ten. Laverty soon had a few tenths on the rest of the top four, as Haga took third back from Checa, then drafted past Hopkins to set off after the leader.

Checa was the next to force Hopkins back, as the championship leader looked to Haga ahead. The Spaniard made his way through on Haga, looking to regain some of those points lost in a couple of poor weekends. A bit further back, Melandri and Hopkins had begun to dice over fourth, with the Italian taking the position, losing it, and continuing to fight Hopkins for it. Five laps in, Laverty still led, but over a catching Checa, Haga, Melandri, Hopkins, Haslam, Camier, Biaggi, Aitchison, and Corser as the top ten. Lowes was the next to drop out, highsiding out as he had been losing grip in the front all weekend. Whilst Lowes was crashing, Checa neatly took the lead from Laverty.

In the fight over fourth, Hopkins soon emerged a clear victor, with Camier taking Melandri for fifth. Melandri was next in danger of falling back to sixth, with a feisty Haslam working him over for the position. Meanwhile, Haga had slid well back to seventh. At the halfway point of the eighteen lap race, Checa had nearly two seconds on Laverty, who had his own two second gap back to Hopkins. Camier, Melandri, Haslam, Haga, Lascorz, Badovini, and Guintoli completed the top ten, after Biaggi slipped down to thirteenth.

Haga was the next to retire, crashing out after running very close to the front in the early part of the race. Soon, Hopkins had also faded slightly, getting passed by Camier for third. He next dropped to fourth as his earlier nemesis Melandri took that position from him. Checa’s lead continued to increase as the laps ticked down, with Laverty, Camier, Melandri, and Hopkins the top five. Haslam, looking to put more British riders in the top five, was the next to take position from Hopkins while Checa blithely increased his gap on Laverty. The Yamaha rider was increasingly coming under pressure, as Camier was within a half second on him with four laps to go.

However, Camier was soon raising his hand in defeat, with an issue somewhere on the bike. He continued to circulate without retiring, but did not have the pace to run even with Biaggi. Checa still led with a lap to go, followed by Laverty, Melandri, Haslam, Hopkins, Guintoli, Lascorz, Berger, Corser, and Badovini the top ten. In the end, it was Checa, Laverty, and Melandri on the podium, with much of the serious fighting early in the race slowing down as rear tires deteriorated and riders crashed out.

World Superbike Race Results from Race 1 at Silverstone:

Pos.No.RiderTeamDiff.
17Carlos ChecaAlthea Racing Ducati-
258Eugene LavertyYamaha WSBK Team3.304
333Marco MelandriYamaha WSBK Team4.782
491Leon HaslamBMW Motorrad7.116
5211John HopkinsSamsung Crescent Suzuki11.057
650Sylvain GuintoliTeam Effenbert-Liberty Ducati21.899
717Joan LascorzPaul Bird Racing Kawasaki22.308
8121Maxime BergerSupersonic Racing Ducati22.734
911Troy CorserBMW Motorrad25.491
1086Ayrton BadoviniBMW Motorrad Italia25.725
111Max BiaggiAprilia Alitalia Racing Team25.844
1252James ToselandBMW Motorrad Italia45.578
1344Roberto RolfoTeam Pedericini Kawasaki51.650
1410John KirkhamSamsung Crescent Suzuki57.310
152Leon CamierAprilia Alitalia Racing Team1:36.457
Not Classified
32Fabrizio LaiCastrol Honda6 Laps
8Mark AitchisonTeam Pedericini Kawasaki8 Laps
41Noriyuki HagaPATA Racing Team Aprilia9 Laps
96Jakub SmrzTeam Effenbert-Liberty Ducati12 Laps
22Alex LowesCastrol Honda13 Laps
84Michel FabrizioTeam Suzuki Alstare

Source: WSBK; Photo: Althea Ducati

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