Riding a motorcycle can be great. It is not just the speed. That is certainly part of it to be sure, but that is not all of it. Despite the abject terror that can come with being a passenger, being a driver of such a vehicle, particularly if one is good at it, can be an entirely unique driving experience.
Think about it, motorcycles combine the direct control and exposed, part of the environment feeling of a bicycle with the power and speed of a car. This is also part of the reason that surfing is so popular in some quarters and is something that cannot really be understood by someone who has never done it.
The best way it can be described, particularly in the pre standing stage, is that it is like being part of the wave. Sadly it is not all fun and awesomeness. Because of their weight due to size of their engines and two-wheeled design, motorcycles are not widely renowned for their balance.
Tipping, or at least the risk of tipping, is something that every motorcycle rider has to deal with at some point in their riding life. And once a bike goes over, just try to get it back up. I dare you. Particularly if you are at a busy corner. A nasty situation to be sure, though it is also almost a right of passage.
Fortunately, like many similar defining moments, this has been done away with. Not only are three-wheeled motorcycles gaining popularity to the point that industry granddaddy Harley-Davidson have started producing them. For those traditionalist who still insist on two wheels there is hope also. The bright sparks over at Honda have come up with a self-balancing motorcycle that is easy to ride. Say hello to the Honda Riding Assist.
How well does the bike self-balance? So well that when it was officially unveiled at CES, the demonstration did not require a rider, the bike essentially riding itself, as though having gone sentient, Knight Rider style, or being ridden by a ghost. There are also images on the Internet, the harbinger of all things, of engineers testing the bike, their hands nowhere near the handle bars.
How Honda Riding Assist works
Unlike some designs such as the BMW Motorrad concept motorcycle which, taking a page from Segway, the new Honda bike does not use hefty, hard to handle gyroscopic technology to keep it upright, which is generally a good thing as motorcycles are pretty hefty on their own.
Going even farther into the realm of science fiction than that, the bike actually uses a similar system to that of the Asimo robot and the Uni-Cub electric mobility scooter. This is because the handlebars and forks are possessed of a spate motor of their very own that move them while disconnected when in steer-wire mode.
They remain synchronized so the rider remains in complete control even at low speeds. And that is very low speed indeed, conventional steering returning when the bike goes over 3 mph.