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.

FIM Hints at Homologation Rule Changes for WSBK

01/17/2014 @ 10:25 am, by Jensen Beeler11 COMMENTS

FIM Hints at Homologation Rule Changes for WSBK World Superbike logo 635x425

With the recent announcement that Alstare and Bimota are to join forces, and headed to go race in the World Superbike Championship, many wondered how the boutique Italian brand would meet the homologation requirements, established for WSBK racing, with the Bimota BB3 superbike.

A similar eyebrow was raised when Erik Buell Racing announced its intention to switch from AMA Pro Road Racing to World Superbike, as the OEM clearly didn’t have the manufacturing capacity to produce the requisite number of motorcycles according to the FIM’s timetable.

Well those questions seemed to have been answered, as the FIM has released a statement — well more a statement promising a future statement — that hints at future rule changes for homologation requirments.

Citing the sport bike market and current economy as its basis of reasoning, it would seem that the FIM is set to significantly lower the bar for homolgation in World Superbike, as a way to bring in new manufacturers. What this will mean for current OEMs, like Honda for example, and how they will game the system, remains to be seen.

Statement from the Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme (FIM):

The FIM welcomes new motorcycle manufacturers wishing to participate in one or more FIM World Championships. With reference to the FIM Superbike World Championship, there are rules and requirements which have to be observed and fulfilled. As a result, the required minimum quantity of produced units necessary to obtain homologation are reviewed periodically to run parallel to the motorcycle market.

As an illustration, the FIM and the Superbike Commission have in the past adjusted the minimum quantities of motorcycles to be produced to participate due to the worldwide economic market situation. Such a change was adopted in 2009. Another change was made due to the market situation in 2012 when the market situation for motorcycles in the sport section was of great concern. We have started discussions within the Superbike Commission to modify these numbers.

An official announcement will be made by the end of January.

Source: WorldSBK

Comment:

  1. JoeD says:

    Really good news. Please oh please let Benelli see this and consider a limited factory effort. Their triples are awesome. Relax the requirements and more can play. Good for every one. AMA/DMG with 4 races is hardly world class anymore despite having talented riders.

  2. Norm G. says:

    re: “What this will mean for current OEMs, like Honda for example, and how they will game the system, remains to be seen.”

    no worries, bimota drops to 100 units, Honda doubles to 4000. (gavel bangs)

    secretary, the court will now take a 10min recess. when I return from chambers, please have the next case ready for me to rule on.

  3. CraigG says:

    Great idea! More brands=more competition=more innovation!

  4. Bluey says:

    EBR has the manufactureing capacity to meet homologation requirements.

  5. derrrr says:

    KTM, Yamaha and Benelli, and we´re complete

  6. Mariani says:

    This should be interesting. If anything, changes like these could prompt the Japanese to up their game again.

  7. TexusTIm says:

    well i understand “bending” or changing the rules to have more manufactors in the game but lets be sure they actually make more than a “handfull” to race or otherwise only the super connected will ever see the street version or be able to afford it…this type of move makes for one off race bikes that do no come close to the street version…and WSBK is all about what you can buy…anyway lets see how competitive they are…BRING ON THE SEASON DAMIT.

  8. sideswipeasaurus says:

    This is promising considering the state of affairs in racing and the motorcycle market the last few years.
    Dorna making efforts to curb SBK racing from road bike derived “prototype by another name” towards a more realistic formula that allows smaller manufacturers and teams compete. Now the FIM tailoring the homologation rules to reflect where sport bikes are in the industry and economic climate today. More bikes closer to their street roots for a productions series with healthy good competition. A good direction I’d say. Fingers crossed.

  9. Norm G. says:

    re: “only the super connected will ever see the street version or be able to afford it”

    it’s a Bimota… this was always going to be the case.

    re: “WSBK is all about what you can…”

    …discipline yourself, delay gratification, and save up for.

  10. Norm G. says:

    re: “Dorna making efforts to curb SBK racing from road bike derived “prototype by another name” towards a more realistic formula that allows smaller manufacturers and teams compete.”

    not their motive, just a cover story they’re hoping you laymen will latch on to. mind your footing, this is not some “great savior to motorcycling”… this is the same principal/organization currently holding a subpoena with Schwantz’s name on it.

    (to paraphrase JB)

    so remember, every time you forget this God kills a kitten… you would do well to think of the kittens.

  11. TexusTim says:

    @Norm I do and I did..I am more than happy with my 2012 CBR1000RR HRC model, now as soon as these “bridgehards” wear down I will put on a set of sticky pirelli super corsa’s and I”ll be super happy.
    Never had to have a over priced superbike..sure there cool I guess but nothing’s like a well sorted out Honda.
    I think KS will come out on top of this thing in the end…very poor taste for COTA to throw him off the circuit..I did my thing there I wont be back.