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.

Erik Buell Racing in World Superbike for 2014?

10/23/2013 @ 4:47 am, by Jensen Beeler12 COMMENTS

Erik Buell Racing in World Superbike for 2014? 2014 Erik Buell Racing 1190RX 09

While debuting its EBR 1190RX street bike last week at the AIMExpo, Erik Buell Racing announced its intent to begin racing in the World Superbike Championship. At the time, details were light on that intent, though while talking to Greg White, Geoff May let it slip that he and another rider would be forming an American team entry into WSBK for next season.

Using the EBR 1190RX as its racing platform, Erik Buell Racing would be the first American marques to compete in WSBK since the series’ inception in 1988. However one of the big unanswered questions for Erik Buell Racing is how the company plans on meeting homologation requirements.

The relevant 2013 FIM regulation is Technical Regulations Appendix § 1.2.1:

A manufacturer that requests homologation for a motorcycle for Superbike, Supersport or Superstock, must observe the following rules:

  • The manufacturer must have produced at least a quantity of 125 motorcycles prior to the homologation inspection (this number may be adjusted upwards in 2013, for 2014 models). The motorcycle must be on sale to the public at that time. 
  • The minimum quantity of 500 units must be reached by the 30th June of the current year. 
  • The minimum quantity of 1000 units must be reached by the 31st of December of the current year. 
  • The minimum quantity of 2000 units must be reached by the 31st of December of the following year.

In relation to Erik Buell Racing, the FIM’s rules effectively mean that before Erik Buell Racing can even begin the homologation process, 125 units of the EBR 1190RX need to be built first (the rules above are for the 2013 season, so the provision of adjusting the pre-requisite higher applies to 2015 model year bikes being homologated for the 2014 season).

Once those 125 models have been deemed to meet homologation requirements for the 2014 season, Erik Buell Racing has several more production milestones it must reach in order to stay homologated for the season. The first is a June 30th deadline, where 500 “for sale” EBR 1190RX street bikes must be ready for sale to consumers. EBR must also meet  similar hurdles by December 31st 2014 (1,000 total units), and by December 31st 2015 (2,000 total units).

World Superbike provisions do not factor in actual sales, which should help the American brand, as it has had trouble moving its $40,000+ EBR 1190RS superbikes, but the road ahead isn’t an easy one for Erik Buell Racing if it wants to be racing in WSBK for 2014.

The biggest hurdle will be making the initial 125 unit provision for homologation inspection. Erik Buell Racing is still a small company, and has been hand-building its 1190RS machines to-date. With the first WSBK test at Jerez already done, the company is losing valuable time in developing its racing platform for the 2014 season.

With just four months until the start of the 2014 World Superbike Championship season, Erik Buell Racing will have to produce close to one motorcycle a day to meet a race day deadline, a tall order for a small company. To make matters worse, that pace will have to increase almost three-fold in order to meet the FIM’s second and third volume levels in order to maintain homologation. The short of it is, the biggest key to EBR’s racing future is the company’s ability to build an effective production line in a short timespan.

Surely with Erik Buell Racing’s AIMExpo announcement, the volume requirements, and what goes into those volume figures, has already been assessed and planned for in EBR’s future growth. Luckily, Erik Buell Racing will have the backing of minority shareholder Hero MotoCorp, which will be the World Superbike team’s main racing sponsor, as it was in AMA Pro Racing.

It’s not clear at this time if Erik Buell Racing will be racing under WSBK’s new EVO class rules. If so, it would be an easier path for the American company’s quest to be competitive on the world racing stage, not to mention a smarter move development-wise as WSBK will be use only the EVO class rules from 2015 and onward.

For Geoff May and his yet unnamed teammate, the hurdles will be centered around developing a new race bike, though thankfully May has experience on the EBR 1190RS, which should be sufficiently similar to the EBR 1190RX to be a quick-study. May will also have to contend with learning the World Superbike circuits, a not-so-simple task in its own right. As for May’s teammate, we can only speculate on whom it will be. Though, it will be interesting to see if Erik Buell Racing chooses to go with an all-American rider lineup.

One thing is for certain though, if EBR can make the jump through all of the FIM’s hoops, it will be great to see an American presence in the World Superbike series. Interest for WSBK in the United States will surely benefit from Erik Buell Racing’s presence…now if we could just do something about its availability on TV.

Source: Erik Buell Racing

Comment:

  1. Alex says:

    Wow i really hope it happens. Lovely looking bike and under evo rules i think this machine will be competitive for sure. Plus it would be nice to see more brands in WSBK :)

  2. Tim M says:

    As someone that remembers Mert Lawill racing Harleys this is certainly great news, but considering that Ducati is struggling despite their years of experience in WSBK, Buell has got an enormous challenge ahead. Maybe they should start with AMA just to get some organizational and mechanical stuff working consistently, cause when you throw in the factor of stuff that happens when you travel internationally, it makes everything that much harder. But hats off to Buell for giving it a go and I hope they do well.

  3. Anvil says:

    @Tim M, EBR has been racing the 1190RS in AMA superbike for a couple of years now with good results (Team Hero/Amsoil EBR). This season the riders were Geoff May and Aaron Yates. By all accounts, the team is pretty solid.

    @Jensen, I think you hit the nail on the head when you referenced the 1190RS. The RX is basically a less expensive version of the RS, so I think we’ll see something pretty similar to the RS in WBSK, which is being developed in the AMA. Lots more to do for the world series, but EBR won’t be starting from zero. And, yes, agreed, the EVO class is probably the way to go. If they indeed do this, 2014 will be a developmental year.

    Production for homologation? Good question. But three bikes per day isn’t all that much with some planning and a few more hands. I can’t imagine that they don’t already have that figured out given the RX is supposed to be more of a volume product.

  4. Grey Matter says:

    I’m going out on a very long limb here and say that this will “end” with a Hero MotoGP team. I’m not talking next year or the year after. Maybe 5-10 years down the road. Hero has much intrest on becoming a absolute wolrd dominant bike company. I’m sure that Hero and EBR will do everything in their power to make sure that the RX is successful in WSBK. There are things happening behind the scenes at EBR that most don’t know about like the engine research and design they are doing for Hero or maybe the development of a hybrid scooter for them as well. The story goes WAY deeper here folks so I would not count the RX or Geoff May out just because of the infantile steps they have to take. Last time checked, steroids are injectable and so is funding. I also highly doubt Geoff May’s team mate will be an American unless they find a person like Scott Russell to man the helm of bike #2. The smart bet is to sign someone already there, who knows the tracks, the riders and the bikes. Sure, I would love to see Rossi or Stoner jump on an EBR in WSBK. EBR can’t afford either but Hero certainly can. I would just hate to see to see their careers end similar to what happened to Russell on the ill fated HD VR1000 bike so chances are, there’s no way someone of their skill set would jump on board.

  5. Harb says:

    This is most likely wishful thinking, but…

    May/Spies 2014!

  6. Doctor Jelly says:

    Ooooo! Perhaps a worst case scenario for Spies? If Hero was already willing to take the gamble with a down and out American bike company, maybe they’ll throw the dice again with a down and (potentially) out American WSBK champion!

    Be still my beating heart for the stars have not yet aligned!

  7. glenn wilson says:

    The rules for homologation are only there if EBR starts winning races. And with the ever shrinking grid in WSBK they should be welcomed with open arms. Remember Troy Corser and Foggy Petronas bike and all the bikes they DIDN’T produce. While the Petronas bike was languishing back in 14 th place , no one really cared what the rules said.

  8. Kev71 says:

    I’m being optomistic and hoping this does happen. I can see Hero infusing massive amounts of $ into the EBR effort. Hero has deep pockets and probably wants to get into the American market down the road. I remember when japanese cars were “junk,” then Korean cars, now they are some of the highest rated. Don’t count out a huge company from India (2nd most populated country in the world and will probably overtake China). Hero can use EB’s technological insights to help develop bikes that would appeal to Americans. This is a very proactive move from a company that is looking well into the future. Thy have the $ and cheap labor on their side; not to mention they are loooking at what their rival Mahindra is doing and need to compete. Wonder who 2nd racer will be? Hopefully a WSBK veteran, NOT John Hopkins!

  9. jet says:

    Really.W/ the price’s he’s charging for his bike’s i’m sure he’ll have enough to pay his team and rider or go broke again….

  10. Halfie30 says:

    I actually think, if healthy, John Hopkins would be a good fit. He knows many of the tracks, is used to the travel and could be a great spring owed to start from. Again if healthy.

  11. Norm G. says:

    re: “May will also have to contend with learning the World Superbike circuits, a not-so-simple task in its own right.”

    just got a text from spies. he says… RUBBISH…!!!

  12. ghead says:

    GO EBR!!