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.

MotoGP: Yamaha Debuts Seamless Gearbox at Brno Test – Shift Times 58% Quicker than Conventional Gearbox

08/08/2013 @ 1:22 pm, by David Emmett7 COMMENTS

MotoGP: Yamaha Debuts Seamless Gearbox at Brno Test   Shift Times 58% Quicker than Conventional Gearbox yamaha yzr m1 clutch 635x425

It had been widely rumored that Yamaha would have some important updates to test at its private test being held yesterday and today at Brno.

The biggest expected update to be tested was a seamless gearbox, but though Yamaha Racing Managing Director Lin Jarvis had hinted they might be testing the new gearbox, it was far from certain.

As the test at Brno was a private one, no media were invited who would be able to verify whether the seamless gearbox was being tested or not.

Fortunately, however, the Brno circuit was allowing visitors in to watch the test. And among those was Pavel, who runs the Czech Valentino Rossi fansite http://www.rossi-yamaha.cz/.

Pavel shot some video footage of the private test - thankfully not covered by the blanket ban Dorna has on all coverage of the official tests – and was kind enough to send us the audio from the recordings.

Armed with that audio, we were able to analyze the sound, as we have done previously (on both the Honda and the Yamaha), to try to judge whether Yamaha was indeed testing a seamless gearbox, and if it was, what advantage it was giving the riders.

MotoGP: Yamaha Debuts Seamless Gearbox at Brno Test   Shift Times 58% Quicker than Conventional Gearbox yamaha seamless shift 1 cutout

The answer to the first question is yes they are. Or at least, that is the picture which emerges from the data. Looking at the length of time the bike goes quiet, at the point when the gearchange happens, it is clear that the gearchanges are much faster.

Taking a random sample of clearly audible gearchanges, and measuring the duration the engine is quieter (see the image for an example), we can see that shift times are improved. Assessing the times, gear changes now appear to be taking approximately 0.016 seconds – sixteen thousandths of a second – per shift, rather than the 0.038 found from previous measurements.

That is an improvement of over 0.02 seconds, or 58%. Yamaha’s seamless shift is still not as quick as Honda’s: from measurements made at Jerez, the Honda RC213V was taking just 0.009 seconds to shift between gears, an incredibly short period of time. The Honda is still changing gear in just 56% of the time which Yamaha’s new seamless gearbox takes.

However, that may not be that much of a disadvantage for Yamaha. The real benefit of a seamless gearbox is not so much the shortened shift time – though clearly, that helps – as the extra stability the shorter shift brings to the bike. The difference is clearly visible from track side: the Honda stays smooth as the riders shift up the gears, even when still leaned over.

The Yamaha’s rear gives a little wobble, as the power is disengaged and then reapplied. The hope is that Yamaha’s new seamless gearbox will give the M1 the Honda’s stability, allowing the Yamaha riders to accelerate harder and earlier.

This would improve the one weakness the Yamaha M1 still has compared to the Honda, and give Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi a better chance of beating the factory Hondas of Dani Pedrosa and Marc Marquez once it is introduced.

When that will be is still unknown. Although the gearbox has undergone extensive reliability testing in Japan, whether the gearbox is race ready remains to be seen.

In a second video, Valentino Rossi was shown having run off the track, and struggling to get the bike back into a usable gear. The engine was still running (just audible in the video), but Rossi’s attempts to get the bike moving again appear to fail, and he has to wait for a Yamaha technician to help push him off the track.

Reports from the track were that the bike made a horrible noise as Rossi was downshifting, just before he ran off track, and that would appear to suggest that the gearbox may have been a problem.

Then there is the question of whether the new seamless gearbox can be retrofitted onto Yamaha’s existing engines. That is up for debate, but early reports suggesting Yamaha was already using the seamless gearbox may be the result of new gearbox casings being used, which have been redesigned to house both the seamless and the conventional transmissions.

Once the gearbox is in use, and when the engine allocation charts show both a new engine and an old engine being used, we will be able to analyze the sound once again, and see which bike is using which gearbox.

Measured times:

Audio time >Gear change length (seconds)
3:07.340 0.014
3:05.729 0.016
3:42.100 0.017
4:00.971 0.016
4:02.634 0.016
4:07.313 0.015
4:27.141 0.017
4:25.368 0.014
Average 0.016

Comparison with Yamaha’s conventional gearbox:

Gearbox Yamaha Seamless Yamaha Conventional Honda
Time 0.016 0.038 0.009
% Compared to Yamaha’s Seamless Transmission 238% 56%

Times are approximate, as the audio for the Yamaha seamless, and Honda and conventional Yamaha gear changes were recorded on different devices.

Though the audio should be the same, very small differences may occur. That means the audio could be out by a very small margin, but those differences will be less than 0.001 of a second.

Times are all rounded down to 0.001, meaning the percentages are slightly different due to rounding effects.

Yamaha Testing, Day 1

Yamaha Testing, Day 2

Photo: © 2013 Jensen Beeler / Asphalt & Rubber – Creative Commons – Attribution 3.0

This article was originally published on MotoMatters, and is republished here on Asphalt & Rubber with permission by the author.


  1. kww says:

    Nice article, but please go the extra step and calculate # shifts per lap, and how many seconds per lap Honda will still have…

  2. WTF says:

    Interesting article. Now all Yam needs is another rider to replace Rossi.

  3. L2C says:

    Kill the troll, please.

  4. Dc4go says:

    Yamaha had a young fast rider in Crutchlow but Yamaha could not commit to a factory ride so he’s leaving. But does Yamaha really want two riders fighting for the same spot? They have a super fast young rider (Lorenzo) and the most popular figure in Moto (Rossi) racing which attracts $$.

  5. twoversion says:

    @ Dc4go – cal crutchlow will be 28 by the time the 2014 season starts and 29 before it ends, Pol espargaro is only 22 and comes from the motogp feeder series like marquez and bradel. Yamaha probably made the best choice.

  6. smiler says:

    KWW, as was said in the article the benefit is not the speed to change gear as much as the extra stability. So if the Yamahahahaha changes gear in 0.2 secs and the Honda 0.1 secs and they do this 20 times. The lap time benefit to Honda if not 20*0.1 secs.

    The yam does not sound as good as either the Ducati or Hinda (as if this is important).

    Glad Dorna were not there as the coverage provided was better and also free.

    In other news….Apparently Dorna have also managed to get Aprilia thinking about quitting WSBK.
    Well done Dorna using a well planned strategy to trash WSBK in order to make MotoGP look better.

  7. Damn says:

    nice to see Yamaha has improved on the shifts.! what i like is that Yamaha makes thier own seamless gearbox, were Honda just bought the damn thing form a english company.! And Yamahahaha always gives me a big smile. with half the money they make honda crazy!!!