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.

New Rules for WSBK: All Superbikes to be “EVO” in 2015 & Winter Testing Banned for 2014

10/06/2013 @ 12:36 am, by David Emmett11 COMMENTS

New Rules for WSBK: All Superbikes to be EVO in 2015 & Winter Testing Banned for 2014 leon haslam pata honda laguna seca wsbk jensen beeler 635x421

The future of the World Superbike series is about to undergo a radical change. The EVO class to be introduced from next year onwards is to be the standard for all World Superbike machines from the 2015 season onwards. As the WSBK grids have dwindled over the past four years, World Superbikes have been looking around at ways to stop the decline of the series.

Former owners Infront were unsuccessful at stopping the rot, and now that the series is in the hands of Dorna, the Spanish series organizer has sat down with the manufacturers – previously excluded – and tried to find a way to cut costs drastically and increase participation.

In August, they agreed that a new subclass would be created, to be called EVO, which can be summarized as having Superbike chassis rules (which allows extensive modification) and Superstock engine rules (which does not allow much modification).

Now, the Superbike Commission have agreed that from 2015 on, all bikes must be EVO. The problem with EVO regulations is that without extensive modification, some manufacturers’ bikes are simply not competitive.

The current Superstock 1000 series is dominated by Kawasakis, BMWs and Ducatis, with the first Honda to be found in 13th place, the first Suzuki to be found in 25th place, and not a single Aprilia RSV4 – the bike 2nd and 3rd in the WSBK standings – having scored a point this year.

To address this, rules will be modified to create some kind of technical balance between the various manufacturers bikes. In a recent interview with the German Speedweek site, Dorna’s WSBK supremo Javier Alonso suggests allowing modifications to camshafts, while imposing stricter limits on electronics.

His reasoning is that there is a limit to how much you can spend on camshafts, while electronics have proven time and time again to be a bottomless pit for spending.

The introduction of the EVO rules will see the end of the firebreathing World Superbike machines as we know them. But they could also see the return of the homologation special, the specialist race bike produced in very small quantities at a very high price.

With the sports bike market in severe decline in almost every market in the world, providing much higher spec machines at a much higher cost to enthusiasts could be a better business model than selling large quantities of generic sports bikes to the disinterested masses.

Whether this is a viable business model will soon be seen, when Honda introduces its V4 Fireblade replacement. When that bike actually makes it to the showrooms is still up in the air. Below is the official press release from the FIM announcing the new rules for WSBK and WSS:

FIM Superbike & Supersport World Championship and FIM Superstock 1000cc Cup

Changes to the Regulations

The Superbike Commission, composed of Messrs Javier Alonso (WSBK Managing Director), Ignacio Verneda (FIM Executive Director, Sport) and Takanao Tsubouchi (MSMA Representative), met at the Dorna Headquarters on 1 October in the presence of Messrs Daniel Carrera and Gregorio Lavilla (Dorna WSBK Organisation). A unanimous decision was taken to introduce the following main modifications to the Regulations of the FIM Road Racing Superbike & Supersport World Championship and FIM Superstock 1000cc Cup:

Sporting Regulations

Application for 2014

Superbike & Supersport

Practice restrictions:

  • Winter test ban starts on 1 December each year and finishes on 15 January as per current rules.
  • Overseas testing is forbidden for contracted teams and riders. Dorna will organise Official Tests in Phillip Island before the race. Dates will be communicated as soon as confirmed.
  • No testing will be allowed from the first race of the calendar until the last race of the calendar for contracted teams and riders. Dorna will organise three Official Tests on the Mondays following three races, for the World Superbike class only. Dates will be communicated as soon as confirmed.
  • No testing will be allowed for Supersport after the first race until the last race of the season.

Technical Regulations

Application for 2014

Supersport

  • 6 engines per season only;
  • 1 gearbox option only.

Application for 2015

Superbike

  • All Superbikes will have to comply with the EVO technical regulations, in order to maintain the ongoing cost reduction process. The Superbike Commission is studying some modifications to those technical rules that will be announced by the end of 2013.
  • The new changes should allow all Manufacturers entering the Championship to be competitive, as well as providing an easier route into the World Championship for National Championship Riders and Teams, either as a wildcard or as a permanent entry.

Source: WorldSBK; 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.

Comment:

  1. Piston says:

    Dorna´s black hand…

  2. Bill says:

    This has worked well for say BSB, and some AMA feeder classes. Not sure about anything else at this point. The AMA Superbike is still dominated by Yamaha and the Graves team. Frankly the BSB formula seems to be the best of the bunch. You have Honda, Kawasaki, Yamaha, and Suzuki battling every race for the podium and the win. Ducati is improving in BSB but they just aren’t quite on it yet.

  3. johnpeeter says:

    Yes, the sharp fall in the market in sports bike market, high spec machines at a cost of activists provided a more disinterested than the typical sports bikes sold in large quantities to be a better business model nam

  4. socaldave says:

    I’m glad that DORNA is picking something relatively logical and deciding to stick with it. With the Ducati 1199 Panigale R Superleggera about to break cover, it looks like Ducati firing the first shot at applying the EVO rules to the 1199. Maybe we as consumers will benefit from WSBK using ABS, TC, WC, ect. and race-developing such interfaces for street use, not to mention 220 bhp. Interesting times for sportbike fans.

  5. Aj says:

    There should be a common set of rules for superbike with WSB being the realm of the best riders. That way team and riders can make their way up and the factories are making advancement through a much deeper group of riders rather than just the handful that WSB has now. As far as higher prices for sport bikes, that’s not a bad idea depending on the price.

  6. Jman says:

    Seperleggera homologation machine for the EVO class?????

  7. MeatyBeard says:

    The neutering of World Superbike.

  8. Rob says:

    Neutering? Hardly! If it makes for bigger grids and close racing, I’m all for it. Let’s face it, as of now, only Sykes’ ZX10, BMW factory and Aprilia factory have a chance at winning at any given track. The other guys may as well be riding around holding hands.

    If this gets more manufacturers to enter and be competitive, I’m all for it. And as far as some bikes not being competitive in stock form, MAKE BETTER BIKES AND BE COMPETITIVE. Seems like a simple solution. If not, there’s the homologation special all the sportbike fans love.

    Imagine a grid with all decently competitive bikes: Suzuki, Kawasaki, Yamaha, Ducati, MV, Aprilia, KTM, EBR, BMW, Honda etc. It would be incredible to watch, and to see some bikes have distinctive advantages at different tracks around the world. And being more closely related to street machines, the public could relate more.

  9. Gutterslob says:

    I was initially skeptical about this, but I have to agree with @Bill about the BSB allowing for a very competitive field of machinery. I just watched highlights of the most recent BSB race (Silverstone – Race 2) where we had Shane Byrne beat Alex Lowes by less than a tenth of a second and the duo now head to the final pair of races separated by a single point. Plus, we got six different manufacturers in the top 10 placings. I’d give the new Evo rules a chance, especially if it can put more bikes on the grid.

  10. BBQDog says:

    OK, so are we back now to the homologation of very small series of very expensive superbikes stuffed with all sorts of exotic materials en technical solutions ? Is that what the Ducati Superleggera was meant for ?