A Motorcycle Stands Alone
Harley-Davidson may have a solution to the issue of motorcycle weight. According to some patents that were recently spotted by Cycle World, the company is working on a self-balancing system for its motorcycles. This makes sense. While Harley generally does a fantastic job of keeping the weight low and manageable, there’s no denying the bikes can get quite heavy.
Weight isn’t much of an issue once you get moving, but at lower speeds, you can really feel it. That’s where this rider-assistance system would come into play. It would help riders avoid those embarrassing low-speed tip-overs. The idea is to add a gyroscope to help maintain balance.
Just like those toys we used to all play with, this gyroscope is a traditional spinning-mass gyro. It’s also the same principle that NASA used for guidance on the Apollo moon missions. The gyroscope will spin between 10,000 and 20,000 rpm thanks to an electric motor that is mounted in a gimbal. There will be speed and tilt sensors so that the gyroscope doesn’t impact normal riding.
When I first saw this, I thought Harley was creating a solution to something that isn’t really too much of an issue. Experienced riders know how to handle the weight, right? Well, as Cycle World points out, it could be a big deal for older riders who simply can’t deal with the weight anymore—a big part of Harley’s current customer base. It can also help newer riders who might be intimidated by a motorcycle’s weight to throw a leg over one of HD’s big touring machines. That said, I think this could be a good idea for The Motor Company.