Pentagon Developing Stealthy Hybrid Off-Road Motorcycle

Usually we hear of hybrids as a defense against dwindling resources, but the Pentagon has commissioned a hybrid motorcycle to enable sneak attacks through difficult terrain by U.S. armed forces.

The two-wheel-drive bike is being developed by Virginia-based defense contractor, Logos Technologies, which was provided a $100,000 grant by the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).

Shown above is a photo of the donor bike, a rear-wheel-drive (only) BRD Redshift MX all-electric motorcycle, which according to Popular Science, Logos will use as the basis for its hybrid.

But don’t bother looking up the powertrain specs of BRD’s pre-production off-road racer. The powertrain to be grafted in for military duty is proprietary to Logos which is developing it also for use in drones.

In the bike, the powertrain will reportedly provide up to one hour of all-electric riding, with ability to operate on multiple fuels – useful in situations where ability to burn whatever fuel you can find may mean the difference between staying or going in territory where people may not like you very much.

On e-drive, the bike will run at about 55 decibels – about as loud as a quiet office environment. The engine part of the powertrain – which we’re told can run at least on gasoline, diesel, military jet fuel (JP8) or other combustible liquids – will make 75 decibels. It can also recharge the bike and serve as an onboard generator to charge soldiers’ electronic devices.

Logos told Popular Science no specific military operations are being planned as of yet, but in general, the bikes and soldiers could be dropped by helicopter in terrain thought impassible.

They could then ride in to surprise enemy forces, presumably in all-electric mode when they were closing to within hearing range.

BRD’s RedShift MX – with its stock batteries and motor – weighs around 250-260 pounds. It has 12 inches of front and rear suspension travel meaning it is a serious off road machine. It rides on 21-inch front, and 19-inch rear tires.

Info on the front-wheel drive part of the bike was not provided, and BRD does not offer this feature. One company that has developed this tech is Christini, but we don’t know if it’s involved.

Of its bikes, BRD says they are “tougher” without specifically naming competitors that it takes a mild poke at such as possibly from Zero or Brammo, or perhaps another brand.

“BRDs are pretty, but they’re not precious. This is a true off-road chassis, designed to handle being dumped, dropped, slid, tipped, and just plain crashed,” says marketing talk on BRD’s home page. “Motorcycles are made to be ridden and there’s no point in owning a bike for the trail or the city if you’re so afraid of scratching it, the poor thing never leaves the garage.”

Apparently this is true enough as the Pentagon gave these the nod in developing a two-wheeled stealth fighter.

What Logos does with this basic rolling chassis remains to be seen, but it sounds like special forces kind of hardware intended to be deadly effective.

Popular Science