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.

Sticker Shock: Brammo Empulse R Priced at $20,000?

05/03/2012 @ 5:10 pm, by Jensen Beeler11 COMMENTS

Sticker Shock: Brammo Empulse R Priced at $20,000? Brammo Empulse RR 635x425

A Bothan spy just dropped off a note in the A&R inbox saying that the soon-to-be-released and recently-spotted Brammo Empulse R is to come with quite the price tag. Said to be priced just shy of $20,000, the R-spec Empulse would be commanding a $6,000 premium over the $14,000 MSRP that was quoted when the Brammo Empulse first hit the newswires 22 months ago. Considering the $13,995 price tag offered by the Zero S ZF9, the $20,000 figure being bantered about sounds very high to our ears, at least initially.

However, with roughly 10 kWh of battery pack on-board, along with some nice parts like Marchesini wheels, Brembo brakes, Marzocchi forks, a sachs rear shock, and of course the IET six-speed gearbox, the $20,000 price begins to sound a bit more reasonable (note: not actually reasonable), at least when one is comparison shopping between the two brands. With Brammo having to-date the better build quality out of the two electric motorcycle manufacturers, one can imagine the brand commanding a higher price, especially with some more premium components on its bike.

Another factor at play could be the general need of the company to start hitting financial profitability. Rumored to have been selling bikes at a loss in order to gain market share, the folks up at Ashland may be reassessing the shape of the demand curve for electric motorcycles, having only sold several hundred units in the past 3+ years. Whether or not that rumor has anything to do with the $28 million investment round that was lead by Polaris Industries we will leave up for you to ascertain.

Stay tuned for Tuesday, when official pricing and photos of the Brammo Empulse and Brammo Empulse R will be unveiled.

Source: Bothan Spies

Comment:

  1. paulus says:

    increasing the price…. that’s a sure fire way to sell more units and get economies of scale :(

  2. Not so much as a rumor about the regular Empulse. We get specs for the Empulse R, spy shots of the Empulse R, not a peep about the Empulse… very odd. Guess we will have to wait until Tuesday…

  3. Westward says:

    So let me get this straight, they are pricing it to compete with a Ducati 1199 Panigale…

    Tuesday can’t come soon enough, I for one hope it’s a rumour.

    Otherwise, good luck with that…

  4. Peter Ha says:

    Wrong! RT @Asphalt_Rubber: Sticker Shock: Brammo Empulse R Coming with a $20,000 Price Tag? – http://t.co/WemY2hi6

  5. Casey Palmer says:

    Why would they ever ask that much?? One, the bike doesnt look very good; two, it probably doesnt perform as well as you would think considering the stats they put up in the Electric GP. MotoCzysz is the bike to look at. It’s ten times the bike any other electric company can come up with. And with the right rider on it….. It’s unbeatable. Sorry Brammo….. You’re not quite up to par.

  6. Damo says:

    If this is true, the Brammo will be relegated to novelty status.

  7. Westward says:

    @ Casey Palmer

    Electric GP aside, Brammo does have a little something more going for it that can make them the consumer choice to beat. The Difference between them and Motoczysz, is that a MotoCzysz bike would cost you $40k – 100k, and the Empulse doesn’t have to be. MotoCzysz is almost totally original in it’s design and nearly borrows nothing from any other manufacturer. However, Brammo does, and should only cost a tiny fraction of a MotoCzysz.

    Brammo’s only downfall, is that they think of themselves as the Ducati of electric motorcycles, when they have not earned it. What they really are, are the Fischer Motor Company of the motorcycle industry, only the electric edition…

    We await to see what the future holds…

  8. mxs says:

    Wow … more power to them (no pun intended). Charge what the market can bear. If they intended production is 50 bikes a year, I think they will succeed … Leno will buy 3, Pitt might take few as well …. they will always find people with enough money to buy them. Short term win which will not last long enough.

    I think it might be an April 1 joke running a bit late?

  9. zinc says:

    Did Motoczysz go into production w/o telling anyone? Why are you even comparing them?
    Might as well throw in a couple of demo bikes from Mission…

    The Zero isn’t even in the same league…sorry…but belt drives are for Harleys…

  10. GhostErider says:

    @ Casey Palmer

    “..It’s ten times the bike any other electric company can come up with…”

    Really?

    http://www.asphaltandrubber.com/racing/e-power-ttxgp-laguna-seca-qualifying-2011/#more-23716

    If I remember correctly 2nd place was 38 seconds behind at the end of the race.

  11. Turing says:

    Don’t forget about about the tax credits you get. In CO, I’d get $11k in tax credits for buying that thing, which makes the price drop to $8k.