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.

Movie Review: TT3D: Closer to the Edge

06/09/2011 @ 11:03 pm, by Jensen Beeler13 COMMENTS

Movie Review: TT3D: Closer to the Edge Guy Martin TT3D Closer to the Edge 635x357

Before one starts a review on the new TT3D: Closer to the Edge movie, one should note the film’s underlying purpose. Funded by the Isle of Man government, the hour and a half long movie is designed to promote the Isle of Man as a tourist destination, to promote the controversial fortnight-long TT racing event in a favorable light, and to cultivate potentially new fans of the TT by providing a primer to this year’s racing action. Part documentary, part advertising, there is accordingly an agenda with this film.

Now with that caveat of information brought to light and understood, I can go on to say that TT3D: Closer to the Edge is an enjoyably great film that makes you range the gamut of emotions as it follows John McGuinness, Ian Hutchinson, and Guy Martin through the 2010 Isle of Man TT. Though the use of 3D filming is gimmicky at best, the short version of this review is that this is a movie that will end up on my DVD shelf as soon as it becomes available.

If you’re a collector of the yearly Isle of Man TT DVD’s, or fortunate enough to actually be able to watch the nightly coverage of the TT in your home country, then you already know that the video footage coming off the Isle is absolutely spectacular. Accordingly the video sequences in the TT3D film don’t disappoint, with the slow-motion shots of riders jumping, sliding, and hanging on for dear life seemingly able to drop jaws at will.

I should preface further that outside of the movie Avatar, I’ve always thought the latest push for 3D films was dubious at best, as the movie industry is suddenly learning that charging $10 a pop for an experience that can be replicated at home is dying proposition. While Avatar was a truly immersive experience with its use of 3D, I find that movie just as enjoyable to watch in a regular two-dimensional format, and it’s been my experience that other 3D films seemingly use the technology to swindle you out of another $3 in glasses fees. Which group does TT3D: Closer to the Edge fall into? Probably the latter, but that doesn’t mean the film is devoid of substance.

There are moments where seeing the bikes in 3D is quite impressive, but where the movie wasn’t shot with a proper 3D camera, the gimmicky “we’ll float this trophy over a static picture” 3D effect takes over. Without actually measuring the time for both of those experiences, my off-the-cuff estimate is that there’s a 50/50 split between 3D gimmick and 3D immersion. While it doesn’t takeaway from the content of the film, it does at least confirm my fears in part about this movie when I first heard it announced.

That being said, the actually content, story, and videography for TT3D: Closer to the Edge is absolutely brilliant, and makes one proud to see another proper film about motorcycles enter the public domain. While the movie is about the 2010 TT and follows several riders, the Isle of Man TT clearly is trying to build-on the Guy Martin brand, thrusting the Lincolnshire rider into the spotlight of the film. It’s easy to see why, as the Brit is funny, witty, rebellious, and easily quotable as he talks about “having a wank” in his van. The irony is that the film plays on Guy Martin’s aversion to being a media personality, while at the same time is trying to do just that with the then Wilson Craig Racing rider.

Martin’s antics before and during the 2010 Isle of Man TT are well-covered in the film, and its hard not to root for Guy as he looks for his first TT victory. Unfortunately for those who follow the TT, they know the story the conclusion to the story already. But, those who don’t will get caught up in the moment, and there’s enough fresh perspective here that even die-hard TT fans will walk away with something new. TT3D: Closer to the Edge’s coverage of riders John McGuinness and Ian Hutchinson may not be as extensive as Guy Martin’s, but paint similarly compelling stories about both riders, though the gravity of McGuinness not winning a race in 2010 is somewhat lost in Hutchinson’s complete domination of the field. The film also touches on the story of other TT riders, though not as extensively.

TT3D: Closer to the Edge entwines and ends on a sober note, with the story of Bridget Dobbs, wife of Paul Dobbs who died during the 2010 TT. Bridget’s story is the counterpoint to the argument that a race as dangerous as the Isle of Man TT should be cancelled (a growing sentiment of main-landers). Her message is one that’s echoed in the film by other riders, and a viewpoint that you can readily find in the TT paddock: the riders who compete in the Isle of Man TT know the risks, and those who die on the TT course, die doing something they absolutely love. The film ends with her message about living life, and enjoying the fleeting moment we have on earth, which is something that not only resonates in motorcycling, but is an integral part of the TT message, allure, and culture.

It’s hard to quantify succinctly what the Isle of Man TT is about, since it spans such a large timeframe, and covers such a depth of issues about life, motorcycling, and sport, but TT3D: Closer to the Edge’s does an excellent job of creating that summary for us. For any avid motorcycle racing fan, this will be a truly enjoyable movie experience, and you won’t have to watch it alone, as the film is easy enough to follow had you never seen a motorcycle in your life. More importantly, TT3D: Closer to the Edge manages this feat without watering-down the TT experience, and instead counts on strong storytelling to lure the viewer into the TT fortnight.

I’d strongly argue that the movie is required viewing for anyone going to their first Isle of Man TT, as it primes the senses to what one experiences here on the Isle. For die-hard enthusiasts of true (note the extreme use of bold and underlined font here) road racing, it is a film that is equally enjoyable for the entertainment value, not to mention Guy Martin’s almost incomprehensible banter and antics. It would get my money in the theater, which is a rarity these days, and TT3D: Closer to the Edge is an absolute purchase item for my video collection when it comes out, as it should be for you as well. Of course, don’t blame me if you end up wanting to go see the TT after you watch this film. Afterall, that was one of the original purposes of making this film.

Comment:

  1. 76 says:

    Please tell us where we can see the film??

  2. subv3rt says:

    i still havnt heard of any release in the US though. im worried. i need to see this.

  3. Nivag says:

    I really enjoyed this film and as said above defo one to be added to the movie collection.

  4. Movie Review: TT3D: Closer to the Edge – http://aspha.lt/m1 #motorcycle

  5. 76 says:

    Beeler…..

    Beeler…….

    Beeler?

  6. GeddyT says:

    If they really wanted to boost tourism to the island, they’d have released the movie in places other than the U.K. in time for people to see it before the races this year.

    I’ve been desperate to see this movie, and it’s frustrating that I can’t. Especially considering that I can’t figure out why it would be any more difficult to release the movie worldwide–isn’t the hard part MAKING it? Even if it were limited to a few artsy theaters in a few big cities around the country, I’d make the two hour trip down to Seattle to see it!

    Oh well, maybe it’ll boost attendance for the 2012 TT…

    Jensen, if you get a tip on where to see this in the states or when it’s released on video, can you be sure to post up?

  7. jb says:

    Very frustrating to not be able to see this movie outside of the UK. Leaving out a big potential audience by ignoring the rest of the world. Even if they can’t get theater distribution worldwide, at a minimum they should release the movie on iTunes or Amazon or somewhere that the rest of the world can purchase it.

  8. Az says:

    I can’t find a theatre which is showing this show…. how do people get to watch it in the USA

  9. Derek Ackerman says:

    The film will be released in the US in November/December 2011 – it isn’t and never was intended as a promotional tool for the IOM, such comments insult the integrity of the film the people who made it and those who appear in it. Nice comments on the film but better research next time!

  10. Isaac Chavira says:

    @GeddyT

    Whidbey Island? I’d do it too. Your forgetting about the ‘Seattle Sludge’ (traffic). So, 3 hours would be more accurate, LOL.

  11. GeddyT says:

    Bellingham, but I grew up in Oak Harbor and still have family living there. Work in Anacortes.

  12. This review pretty much sums-up the film perfectly. I hope it gets released on DVD soon so you guys Stateside can watch the feature and re-watch it again and again!

    P.S. Pleasure talking to you at Ballaugh yesterday Jensen. Hope your shots came out nicely! ;-)

  13. Hah, you too Richard. I got a couple in focus, and then these bikes start jumping over the roadway, which really messed up my serene bridge photos.