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.

WSBK: Rule Changes See the End of Superpole Qualifying

11/15/2013 @ 1:00 pm, by David Emmett8 COMMENTS

WSBK: Rule Changes See the End of Superpole Qualifying tom sykes mr superpole 635x421

The World Superbike championship remains in a state of flux, despite the good news emerging today about the 2014 grid (Feelracing taking on the Ducati factory team, MV Agusta expanding into World Superbikes, and Michel Fabrizio joining Grillini).

The Superbike Commission met at Valencia to agree further rule changes to the series for 2014, as part of the push to revitalize the series. Some of the rules are cost-cutting measures, others are aimed at making the series a more attractive TV package, while some are aimed at providing a more homogenous set of basic rules between the World Superbike and MotoGP series.

The biggest change – and the change that will be mourned the most – is the loss of the current three-stage Superpole qualifying format. Instead of having three Superpole sessions, with the slowest riders being dropped after each session, World Superbikes is to adopt a system similar to MotoGP, where the fastest riders in free practice go straight through to the second and decisive qualifying session, the rest having a second chance in a first qualifying session.

The aim of adopting the MotoGP system is the same reason it was adopted in MotoGP: it gives much better TV exposure to the teams lower down the qualifying order, while still providing an exciting qualifying session. It also has the benefit of ensuring that the qualifying system in both WSBK and MotoGP is the same, making it easier for casual viewers to watch either series and understand what is going on.

The loss of the current Superpole system will be widely mourned. The three-tier system provided a superb mix of strategy and excitement, especially as the riders only had two sets of qualifying tires to use in three session.

Faster riders had to gamble on getting through to Superpole 2 using race tires, while slower riders could use qualifiers to pick up the pace and qualify further up the grid. The loss of Superpole opens the door for further cost cuts, as it removes the need for soft qualifying tires.

The other measure aimed at unifying the two series is the introduction of penalty points in WSBK. The system has been a success in Grand Prix racing, and extending it to World Superbikes and World Supersport is a logical step aimed at policing riding better in both series.

The announcement that points are to be introduced in WSBK was accompanied by news that the points system is also to change in MotoGP, with each penalty point being awarded having a validity of 12 months. This addresses the problem raised by incidents in the final race of the year, and discussed in our recent interview with MotoGP Race Director Mike Webb.

The schedule for race day is also to change, with the timing of the races to change. This is to fit in an earlier TV window, so that WSBK races do not clash with Formula One, MotoGP, major soccer games, or other big events. By changing the event schedule, Dorna are hoping they can make the series a more attractive package for TV, and generate more income for the cash-strapped series.

The full details of all the changes, as well as more details on the technical regulations, are due to be discussed in the next meeting of the Superbike Commission, due to be held in Madrid on the 10th December. Below is the press release with the changes thus far.

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

Changes to Regulations for 2014

The Superbike Commission, composed of Messrs Javier Alonso (WSBK Executive Director), Ignacio Verneda (FIM Executive Director, Sport) and Takanao Tsubouchi (MSMA Representative), met at the Ricardo Tormo Circuit on 08 November 2013 in the presence of MM Daniel Carrera, Gregorio Lavilla (WSBK-Dorna) and Paul Duparc (FIM).

A draft of the Sporting and Disciplinary Regulations taking into account the conclusions of the SBK Working Group composed of MM. Lavilla, Carrera and Duparc was submitted to the Commission. The goal was to harmonise the regulations of the FIM Grand Prix and Superbike World Championships and to have a set of regulations as similar as possible for both FIM series.

These SBK Sporting and Disciplinary Regulations were basically approved. However, some items remain pending and the SBK Commission will meet on 10 December, in Madrid, to finalise the FIM Superbike & Supersport World Championship and Superstock 1000cc Cup Regulations for 2014.

The main changes will concern the following items:

  • Practice restrictions will be applied for contracted riders and teams. (However it will be taken into account that the Superbike and Endurance Championships will provide teams and riders in each series thanks to the similarity of the EWC and EVO class technical regulations);
  • Time and practice Schedules will be reviewed: the SBK format of the free and qualifying practices will be inspired by the MotoGP ones (with a number of participants directly qualified in Q2);
  • Revision of the Start Procedure with a scenario for a quick restart (in case of a red flag caused by reasons other than weather conditions) with a very short time for opening the pit lane;
  • Superbike and Supersport Race distances will be reduced by the equivalent of two laps in case of wet conditions.
  • Sunday race timing schedule for Superbike, Supersport, and Superstock 1000cc Cup will be shortened from 10.30 am to 14.30.
  • Introduction of licence penalty points that will last for a period of one year (this system be applied in all FIM Road Racing World Championships).

For the Superbike Technical Regulations, a clarification of the rules will be made in view of the next SBK Commission to be held in Madrid in December, taking into consideration that the 2015 SBK Rules should last for a long period of time in order to give stability to the series. The MSMA is also expected to put forward joint proposals for ensuring a low-cost championship with fair and close competition between the different manufacturers on the track.

OTHER SPORTING, TECHNICAL AND DISCIPLINARY MODIFICATIONS WILL BE AVAILABLE AFTER THE LAST SBK COMMISSION MEETING ON THE FIM WEBSITE.

Source: WorldSBK; Photo: 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. TexusTim says:

    … “dont mess with it if its not broke”… or..”mess with it till it brakes” too many changes all the time and its not getting promoted due to all the tv bs…they have to stop worring about tv revenu and be more concerned about reaching the masses…all the other stuff is meaningless if you cant watch it or have to pay extra just to tune it in.

  2. Gutterslob says:

    That photo is spot-on.

  3. smiler says:

    So to make WSBK more popular they have got rid of superpole and added penalty points in order to ensure the racing is more bland. The kinetic energy a WSBK bike has is significantly less, as are corner speeds so if a rider does come off then the chances of serious injury are much less.

    How exactly is this going to make it better?

    Moving the timings is a good idea, as long as it is not 6am and 10am.

    In 2015 there will be a move to fill WSBK with ex motogp spanish riders in order to give them an extended career and pension.

  4. Dave P says:

    Did not know that Macklemore was a part of team green!

  5. Anvil says:

    @smiler

    So, let me get this straight. A bike that weighs more than a MotoGP bike and is only marginally slower in real terms has significantly less kinetic energy–and when I say signfincantly, I mean enough less that they’re somehow much safer?

    The corner speeds are lower, but lap times aren’t that much different, maybe two or three seconds and we know they’re a bit slower on the straights, so it doesn’t seem like a collosal difference in the corners. I don’t see a huge disparity in crashes, either, but I can’t say I’ve studied it very closely.

    Please explain this. I’m serious. Am I missing something?

  6. Norm G. says:

    re: ” The kinetic energy a WSBK bike has is significantly less, as are corner speeds so if a rider does come off then the chances of serious injury are much less.”

    F = m X a

    breaking news…!!!

  7. Norm G. says:

    more breaking news…

    welcome baby grinner…!

  8. FafPak says:

    @smiler
    | chances of serious injury are much less.

    Ah so! There is still a chance of serious injury then? lolol…
    1. You dont have all the parameters required for your “physics” analysis
    2. WSBK bikes lap closer to MotoGP bikes than you think: http://goo.gl/1jYAvN (“…The fastest production-based Superbikes are, at most tracks, faster than the CRT machines and at some tracks they’re faster than the slowest of the pure prototypes…”)