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AWD motorcycles arrive

Christini AWDJust what you need for the Dakar … an all-wheel-drive bike!
Suzuki thought of the idea way back in the 1980s, Yamaha tried it a few years ago in the Dakar Rally, and KTM worked on the technology for a while, but all dismissed it as uncommercial folly.
Several companies continued to beaver away on the tech. Swedish company Ohlins worked on a hydraulic system, others developed electronic systems like KERS used in F1 and American company Christini Technologies developed a sophisticated mechanical system.
Christini made kits to convert customers’ bikes and produced development bikes for Honda, KTM, GasGas and Kawasaki with a view to full production, but nothing has come of that yet.
So they’ve gone it alone, producing completed AWD bikes for sale around the world, including Australia, with a distributor in Coffs Harbour.
Importer Jeff Gleeson says they’ve only had the bikes since November, but have only sold a dozen so far and generated a lot of interest at the Melbourne Motorcycle Expo. He’s currently looking to establish a dealer network.
“They’re all off-road only with no ADR approval, but we’re still working on that,” he says.
When he gets ADR approval, he will also import the dual sport and super motard models.Christini 2-stroke
There are 250cc and 300cc two-stroke enduros for $11,395 (add $600 for electric start), a 450cc base model enduro at $9295 and a 450cc performance MX bike with new carb and exhaust for $9995.
All are eligible for racing in Australia and a 450 competed in the Finke, finishing well.
The strokers are powered GasGas engines while the four-stroke is a Chinese copy of a Honda CRF450X.
They feature a special Christini-made frame that houses their patented AWD system that uses chains, shafts and one-way sprag clutches.
It adds only 6kg to the bike’s weight and can be used in most off-road and road bikes.
Basically, when the rear wheel loses traction, the front wheel kicks in at a slightly slower rate, so no more digging a hole with the back wheel when you get stuck. They also say the system provides better traction on the road, avoiding washouts or low sides.
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