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.

Yamaha Considering Leasing M1 Motors to MotoGP Teams

11/08/2012 @ 3:50 pm, by Jensen Beeler15 COMMENTS

Yamaha Considering Leasing M1 Motors to MotoGP Teams Yamaha YZR M1 635x423

The battle for the future of MotoGP continues to gain intrigue, as Yamaha is reportedly considering leasing to private teams the motor found on the Yamaha YZR-M1. The news is being reported by MCN, which heralds the event as the end to the CRT experiment, and while that last part seems a bit hyperbolic, Yamaha’s move could have a profound affect on the series if it comes to fruition.

Currently on proposal for the 2013 MotoGP Championship is a grid comprised of 12 prototype machines (four from each of the three remaining factories), with the rest of the grid comprised of CRT entries (production motors in prototype chassis). That landscape could change however in 2014, as HRC has tipped that it has a production-racer, based off the Honda RC213V in the works, which it will sell to teams for around €1 million.

Adding yet another dimension to the bike line-up, Yamaha is said to be considering leasing the M1 motor to private teams, who in turn could use the prototype-based engine design in their own chassis design, much in the same manner that is currently being done with the production-based motors.

Since the motor would come with an electronics package (Magneti Marelli, we presume), as well as development support from Yamaha Racing, the move could potentially limit the number of CRT entries on the grid, though it seems a bit ambitious to think it would replace every CRT on the grid, especially now as the Aprilia ART is approaching satellite-prototype capabilities at tracks like Phillip Island.

That is not to say however that such a move wouldn’t be a huge coup for the Japanese manufacturer, who like HRC, is likely keen to keep the MotoGP landscape at its current status quo. One important aspect of the deal is that Yamaha would be leasing, not selling, the YZR-M1 motor to private teams, meaning like in the satellite prototype teams, the competitiveness of the private team’s entries will also be second to the factory effort.

With the future of MotoGP set to enter a new chapter in 2014, one way or another, Yamaha’s concession is the latest movement in the posturing over the quiet power struggle that is going on within the premier-class. Whether the move is being made in earnest, or just another attempt by the OEMs to hold onto control of the series remains to be seen.

One thing is certain though, there have been quiet rumors within the GP paddock that we may not see Honda’s production-racer, despite news of a consumer-level equivalent.

Source: MCN; Photo: Yamaha Racing

Comment:

  1. Mike Lew says:

    This is terrific news, actually. It potentially gives the privateer teams a legit shot at a competitive bike (and occasional podium). And, as these are prototype bikes, it prevents some of the blur from the line between MotoGP and WSBK. Everyone has been worried about what will happen to WSBK with Dorna at the bars. This might allow Dorna to leave WSBK as a production++ class, reduce the CRT clutter while keeping grid numbers high and preserve prototypes as top of the heap. If the real, unstated intent of the CRT class was to force the factories hands in sharing the technology, it looks like it might have been a savvy move.

  2. TonyS says:

    They should lease one to Ducati.

  3. Westward says:

    It would be nice to see satellite teams on the podium and even winning like the days when Melandri and Elias were doing it.

  4. Ken C. says:

    This would be a game changer, quite literally. The CRT experiment was interesting, but it was literally like running 2 different races at the same time on the same track. I got tired of seeing the CRTs get lapped at every race. I got tired of seeing Colin Edwards head back to the paddock in every race too. What a waste.

  5. Gritboy says:

    I’m frustrating with the current state of MotoGP. Much like Jonathan Rea stated last season, I think thing MotoGP is 100% about top-level prototypes bikes. Aside from some basic guidelines for power/weight I feel it has been diluted by the CRT stuff. We have plenty of spec and modified racing leagues around the world… MotoGP shouldn’t be about having any bikes be made out of “off the shelf” parts.

  6. anti says:

    A bit more like F1 right? Renault, Mercedes engines, different team with their own chassis etc. Could be a game changer for the better. Unfortunately, we’ll need to see MotoGP bring big sponsor money for it to take off, or Red Bull team at least.

  7. Cpt.Slow says:

    You mean Ducati should lease a chassis.

  8. dc4go says:

    Nothing wrong with the Desmo’s motor makes the most power on the grid.. Chassis and weight balance is the issue…

  9. MacGuyTpa says:

    @Cpt.Slow – So true.

    @anyone who thinks this will improve the situation – It will not. HRC’s idea of at least selling a production prototype racer is clearly a better option than this, even if I do personally think the price is a bit to high. At least the teams own it and are not under a lease agreement that will not allow them to do much to the engine and thus allowing Yamaha to keep their power and updates in check so those team could not provide a real challenge. All I see here is Yamaha making sure they can keep the status quo going and in the end all we get is the HRC and Yamaha in top five every race with one or maybe two of the factory satellite team bikes break in there too (unless Ducati actually does something in the next year or two).

    I am not blind to the fact that there is class system on the grid right now and it isn’t providing great spectating, but costs must be controlled soon or we won’t have must to watch at all before long. Is a full CRT grid the answer? Is forcing the factory teams to either lease or sell production prototype racers the key to success? And or will controlling the tyre, ECU, and other components be the key? I don’t know and I do not believe anyone commenting on this site has the answer either. The only answer I can provide is that I want to watch exciting racing that isn’t dominated by factory teams because I like not knowing at the beginning of each race who will win out of maybe ten riders and bikes and right now I am sick of watching two factories and two or maybe four riders with a change win or podium.

  10. MacGuyTpa says:

    Last sentence should read – “The only answer I can provide is that I want to watch exciting racing that isn’t dominated by factory teams because I like not knowing at the beginning of each race who will win out of maybe ten riders and bikes and right now I am sick of watching two factories and two or maybe four riders with a chance to win or podium.

  11. Daan says:

    @Macguy
    Leasing the engine would indeed be a mediocre idea, selling it would be great. But what would be even greater is if factories can get away with only producing a motogp worthy engine and not a whole bike. Sort of like how mclaren has been mercedes’ only f1 presence for years up until now. How great would it be to have a kawasaki suter out there with a big k logo which occasionally finishes on the podium or a suzuki ftr. That could bring all the big factories back to motogp for a lot less money.

  12. sburns2421 says:

    Moriwaki didn’t do anything in the early days of the four-stroke era despite having the V-5 from Honda. Team KR had very limited success once they had a Honda engine also, and they certainly had the resources and experience to build a great bike.

    These bikes will likely just be grid fillers, displacing a few of the worst CRT bikes. It is a romantic notion that someone else besides the factory could take their engine and build a bike around it that is better than the factory machine, but that is just fantasy.

  13. Ken C. says:

    I don’t expect this new breed of bikes to beat the factory teams, but it might even out the racing, so that there isn’t so much disparity between the factory bikes and the CRT bikes. Seems like if a factory bike runs off track these days, and they can manage to pick the bike up again, they’re able to pass the CRT bikes like they were standing still. That shouldn’t be the case.

  14. MacGuyTpa says:

    @Daan – I could see that method working if the factories were only allowed to build and lease engines and not actually compete themselves. The way I see it, if a factory team in also suppling engines to other teams they will just detune them or not provide any updates in order to keep the leasing teams at a competitive disadvantage.

    @sburns2421 – You are correct, Moriwaki didn’t get anything done in those early days, but I would not dimiss the limited succes KR had as a failure. If anything they showed what a well run private team could achieve. I can only imagine what could happen if teams like KR could get ahold of the same engine and state of tune the factories have access to.

    @Ken C. – It shouldn’t be the case at all.

    Three scenarios come to mind for me.
    1:) Only allow the factories to supply engines, either production or prototype based, and not to compete directly (essentially a complete CRT field so to speak). This could be a lease or buy system with either a support contract or a pay-as-you-go support system offered to each team. Whatever the case cost would still have to be reasonable.

    2:) The same as option 1 above but allow the factories to compete as well.

    3:) Have the factories sell or lease a complete production prototype racer package. Say two bikes and support for a reasonable enough price that teams could afford to show up year after year.

    My fear is that the factories will restrict anything they lease or sell in any senario to the point it does not allow a well run, managed, and talented team to compete anywhere near the level of their factory or satellite team bikes. And the factories (MSMA) have proven that they can not make a set of regulations that does not involve teams spending themselves out of the sport to win or even podium, much less a championship.

  15. MikeD says:

    @Cpt.Slow & DC4GO:

    +1.