The technical achievements of the last 100 years have brought many science-fiction fantasies into reality. Motorcycles have not been left behind. Modern bikes are becoming wonders of physics and computing. Through advances in suspension, performance, and creature comforts the motorcycle has come a long way since it was just a bicycle with a motor bolted on. As we move into the next decade, the advancements are going to keep going. Here are some of the current technologies that are coming into play.
- Electric Bikes: Electric bikes are already around, and soon they will be everywhere. Their main limitations so far are range and charging. The advantage of electric bikes is the phenomenal torque available. As internal combustion engines start vanishing from the roads, you can be sure that we will see incredible advancements in electric vehicle technology. Ideas like swappable batteries are already being worked out. Potentially you will be able to go to a charging station and just swap your batteries for charged ones with a simple twist and pull. Only paying for the charge inside. It might be time to check out the used bikes at Wheels Motorcycles, and buy that bike you have always wanted. They might not be around for long.
- Helmet Tech: Motorcycle helmets are at the forefront of futuristic breakthrough. The original helmets were not much more than a leather bag strapped to your head. Today we are seeing features like heads up display, rear view projection, integrated app control for audio and photography. It is the closest you can get to feeling like a fighter pilot in some space adventure. Helmets are also moving towards full augmented reality, and perhaps we won’t need the motorcycles anymore to go for a ride.
- Anti-Tip and Self-Driving Bikes: Many companies are experimenting with anti-tip technologies and although most of these bikes are still in the prototype stage, there are some incredible innovations being created. Yamaha has a concept called the Motoroid that appears to use the electric motor as a counterbalance. Honda has demonstrated a technology called drive assist. Both systems have shown that motorcycles will soon be able to park themselves after they drop you off. BMW is also working on a concept called the BMW C1, with robotic control, as part of a larger autonomous vehicle project.
- Electronic Throttle: Possibly the most important technology being introduced to motorcycles currently is the electronic throttle. Previously almost all bikes had the same design. A twist of the right grip would pull a cable and open the throttle/throttles. But with the advent of the electronic throttle. So much more can happen. Electronic throttles create opportunities to introduce traction control and to offer driving modes like sport or economy. Electronic throttles can also be integrated with other hi-tech components, such as stability sensors, and the ABS, as well as opening the door to safe self-driving bikes.
The next ten years are going to be very exciting as we will see motorcycles increase in popularity because of advancements in safety and for the eco-friendly advantages. Hopefully, there will always be considerations for the traditional enthusiasts as well.