Tag Archives: patent

Honda plans airbags for smaller motorcycles

After the problems Honda had with the massive global recall of dangerous Takata airbags in their Goldwing, the company is now filing for a patent on a smaller airbag suitable for smaller bikes.

Instead of deploying in front of the rider like a big bean bag, it goes straight up to stop the rider being flung over the bars.

While the rider in this video says his airbag suit was a lifesaver, we wonder what effect a vertical motorcycle airbag would have had, preventing him being flung clear of the vehicle.

Airbags trend

Airbags seem to be the flavour of the times for the safety “experts”.

A host of airbag leather race suits is now available, airbags are mandatory in most motorcycle racing and some companies such as DaineseAlpinestars and Furygan, are now releasing aftermarket airbag vests that go over or under a normal jacket.

And Brooklyn start-up Airbag for Bike even has a patent pending for a motorcycle seat that ejects a rider in a crash and then cocoons them in a full-length airbag suit to protect them from injury.

Smaller airbags

As for motorcycles airbags, we can see they may be a safety device in crashes where the rider hits something head-on or is hit from behind, but not glancing blows or being hit from the side.

The Goldwing airbag in the “tank” area is bulky and would only fit big tourers.

Honda Goldwing GL1800 airbag radical Goldwings incentive smaller airbagsHowever, Honda’s new patent is for a much smaller airbag.

It would be suitable on smaller motorcycles as shown in this patent drawing of a scooter published by Visor Down.Airbag Honda

We imagine this will also be a cheaper airbag than the one in the Goldwing.

It’s not the first time Honda has considered adding airbags to smaller bikes.

In 2017, the company exhibited an airbag designed for scooters at the Honda Meeting in Tokyo. (See image at the top of this page.)

The danger of this type of cheaper technology is that safety experts will one day deem it as a mandatory fitment on all bikes just as they have with ABS!

Honda patent blitz

Honda has been having something of a blitz on patents in the past couple of years.

While this idea seems quite reasonable and may make it into some future motorcycles, a lot of the others are less likely.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Kawasaki leaning toward three-wheelers

Kawasaki seems to be following Yamaha and Honda in developing a leaning three-wheeler with its latest patent application in the US.

Yamaha already has the Tricity leaning three-wheeler scooter and Niken motorcycle as well as patent plans for more leaning trikes with two front wheels including a VMax!

Yamaha Niken VMax leaning three-wheeler coming AKO
Yamaha leaning VMax patent drawing

Honda has also applied for patents for leaning three-wheelers as has AKO who want to make an electric version.

Each model has a different idea of how leaning three-wheelers with two front wheels should lean and steer.

The Kawasaki design looks quite complex with horizontal links instead of conventional vertical forks and a mono shock like a BMW telelever arrangement.

Kawasaki leaning three-wheeler patent drawing
Mono shock

Here is how they explain it in the patent filing abstract:

A saddle type vehicles includes two front wheels, a left front wheel supporting member and a right front wheel supporting member which are turned around a left front wheel turning axis and a right front wheel turning axis respectively, an upper lean arm and a lower lean arm which are rotated around an axis perpendicular to a vehicle width direction, and a steering rod. The upper arm is connected to the left and right members via first and second connecting parts which are provided on the left front wheel turning axis. The lower arm is connected to the left and right members via third and fourth connecting parts which are provided on the right front wheel turning axis. The steering rod is arranged forward of the steering spindle. In a front view of the vehicle body, the steering rod is arranged between the upper and lower arms.Kawasaki leaning three-wheeler patent drawing

Simple!

It may look complex and heavy, but they claim it makes it lighter.Kawasaki leaning three-wheeler patent drawing

Pros and cons of leaning

The advantages of leaning three wheelers is that they feel very much like a normal bike to ride, but they double the contact patch on the front which improves cornering grip.

They can also be made to stay upright without having to put a foot down at slow speeds or stationary.

Yamaha Niken neowing leaning
Niken (Image: Yamaha)

This makes them ideal for novices or those who can no longer support a motorcycle because of leg injuries or age.

However, the disadvantages of leaning three wheelers are that they are ugly, heavy and more expensive.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Suzuki seeks 1440cc Hayabusa patent

It’s almost news too good to be true, but it seems Suzuki Motorcycles has filed for a patent for a new Hayabusa engine with 1440cc of tarmac-tearing oomph!

The former world’s fastest motorcycle is now in wind-down mode as it no longer meets the tough new Euro5 emissions regulations coming next year.

While some will still be made for the Australian and US market, the future of the bike depends on developing a new, cleaner engine.

There has been speculation for some time that Suzi would make a bigger donk.

1440cc donk

According to Bennetts of the UK, it will have a 1440cc engine which is 100cc more than the 148kW outgoing model.

They also say it will have a slimmer design, double exhausts like the current model and an evaporative emissions control system.Suzuki Hayabusa 1440cc

Third patent

It is no longer just rumour that the Hayabusa will be retained as this is the third patent for an upgrade.

The ageing Hayabusa has only had two major upgrades in its 17-year history.

While many are expecting turbo or supercharger technology, the first two patents were for a semi-automatic transmission.

The first patent in February 2018 detailed how actuators would be used to control clutch engagement and the shifting of gears.

Suzuki automatics patents in Hayabusa
Suzuki automatics patents in Hayabusa

So it’s not totally automatic as riders would still need to change gears but without the need to use a clutch.

While the patent application used a drawing of a Hayabusa, it was not necessarily meant for that bike.

However, the second patent described the gear position sensor, confirming that it was destined for the Hayabusa.

Hayabusa GSX1300 second patent
Second Hayabusa GSX1300

The rest of the drawings show the bike much as it is now.

Suzuki president Toshihiro Suzuki has confirmed that Suzuki engineers are working on the new bike, but has not said when it would be due.

He says it will follow the same style, but gain several electronic riding aids.

Fastest rider Beccie Ellis on her Hayabusa Turbo - wheelie second patent
Beccie Ellis on her Hayabusa Turbo

There is not much they can do with the styling as the bike was designed to be aerodynamically stable at high speeds.

It was apparently designed on paper by aerodynamic experts, but not tested in a wind tunnel until several years later when it was confirmed the aero theories actually worked.

So when it was updated in 2008 and 2017, there was no need to change the shape. 

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Honda patent suggests Blackbird return

Patent drawings seem to suggest Honda may be reviving its high-speed Blackbird sports bike with eight aerodynamic winglets.

In September, patent drawings of winglets that automatically deployed above a certain speed were accompanied by drawings of the Africa Twin and Fireblade.

Blackbird
Fireblade patent drawing

When both were unveiled at the EICMA motorcycle show in Milan last month, neither had these wings.

Blackbird drawing

Now the new drawing looks suspiciously like the CBR1100XX Super Blackbird.

Blackbird patent drawing
Blackbird patent drawing

It includes eight winglets which seems to indicate ultra-high speeds.

That would fit in with the ethos of the Blackbird as once the world’s fastest motorcycle.

Then along came the Suzuki Hayabusa named after the peregrine falcon, the world’s fastest bird, and natural predator of the blackbird!

Then manufacturers agreed to limit speeds to 299km/h after European officials threatened to ban high-speed motorcycles in the 1990s.

Patent blitz

Don’t get too excited about Honda returning the Blackbird, though.

This is only one of many patents Honda has lodged in the past year and we are not sure how many of these they will put into production.

This new Blackbird patent joins the following from Honda over the recent past:

Hayabusa patents

Meanwhile, Suzuki Motorcycles has filed its second patent for a major upgrade to its Hayabusa speed demon with semi-automatic transmission.

The ageing Hayabusa has only had two major upgrades in its 17-year history as the world’s fastest production motorcycles of the last century.

While many are expecting turbo or supercharger technology, the two patents so far have been for a semi-automatic transmission.

The first patent in February 2018 details how actuators will be used to control clutch engagement and the shifting of gears.

Suzuki automatics patents in Hayabusa
Suzuki automatics patents in Hayabusa

So it’s not totally automatic as riders would still need to change gears but without the need to use a clutch.

While the patent application used a drawing of a Hayabusa, it was not necessarily meant for that bike.

Second patent

However, the second patent describes the gear position sensor, confirming that it is destined for the Hayabusa.

Hayabusa GSX1300 second patent
Second Hayabusa GSX1300

The rest of the drawings show the bike much as it is now which means it could probably be powered by the same 1340cc in-line four-cylinder engine with 148kW of power.

However, there is talk of a 1400cc version and possibly forced induction.

Suzuki president Toshihiro Suzuki has confirmed that Suzuki engineers are working on the new bike, but has not said when it would be due.

He says it will follow the same style, but gain several electronic riding aids.

Fastest rider Beccie Ellis on her Hayabusa Turbo - wheelie second patent
Beccie Ellis on her Hayabusa Turbo

There is not much they can do with the styling as the bike was designed to be aerodynamically stable at high speeds.

It was apparently designed on paper by aerodynamic experts, but not tested in a wind tunnel until several years later when it was confirmed the aero theories actually worked.

So when it was updated in 2008 and 2017, there was no need to change the shape. 

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Honda lodges patent for retro Rebel

Honda has been releasing a raft of patents o√er the past year for futuristic products and innovations, but the latest is actually a retro design based on the CMX 500 Rebel.  

While the Rebel is a cruiser style, this is a more traditional bike like the Triumph Bonneville with a round headlight, bench seat and flat fuel tank.

It retains the Rebel’s 471cc liquid-cooled parallel-twin four-stroke engine, but has a modified chassis and sub-frame.   

While this could be a handsome offering that would do well, we would prefer Honda Australia just imported the retro CB1100.

Honda CB1100 cafe neo racer
Honda CB1100

Or even better, go ahead and produce the sexy Concept CB Type II which they unveiled at the 2016 Osaka Motorcycle Show or the CB4X from this month’s EICMA show in Milan.

While Honda’s current range of motorcycle lack flare, these concepts and patents show they don’t lack for design, only commitment!

Honda patents

This latest patent from Honda continues its blitzkrieg of patent applications.

honda patent drum brakes variable riding position emotions
Honda patent for variable riding position

This is one of many patents Honda has lodged in the past year and we are not sure how many of these they will put into production.

This new patent join the following from Honda over the past year:

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Kawasaki confirms electric bike project

Kawasaki has displayed its EV Project electric bike at the EICMA motorcycle show as the Japanese company gears up for the coming electric revolution.

The prototype electric features gears and a chain rather than direct drive or twist-and-go throttle like many other electrics.

Electric project

This official video from the company shows the work they have put into the project.

They say it is mainly proof of their technology and intentions, but have not announced any timeline for a production bike.

It’s been a long-time project for the green team.

Back in 2013, Kawasaki filed a patent for an electric version of its baby Ninja, but the patent has only been published this year.

The drawings showed the battery and motor to the left of the motorcycle to demonstrate how it can be pulled from the tubular frame of the machine.

Kawasaki electric Ninja patent battery swap

That seems strange because only the battery would need to be replaced, although it would make maintenance on the motor easier.

That’s also strange as motor maintenance is not an issue with electric vehicles. They tend to be long-lasting and have low maintenance requirements.

However, it is believed the four Japanese companies are working on standardising electric motorcycles and probably batteries so they can be easily swapped when flat rather than waiting a long time to charge them up.

In 2015, Kawasaki filed patents in the US for as many as 10 electric motorcycle designs.

In other Kawasaki patent filing for electric motorcycles, one has a substantial cooling element with a radiator.

Electric Kawasaki Ninja patents
Electric Kawasaki Ninja patent drawing

Heat is one of the biggest impediments to performance and battery life.

I drove an early Tesla Roadster around Queensland Motorway and the instruments flashed red alerts for the battery heat after just four “hot laps.

The oil-and-liquid cooling system in the Kawasaki patent drawings are certainly more substantial than we have seen on any other electric motorcycle so far.

That would not only provide more range, but also greater performance.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Electric Honda motorcycles may warn pedestrians

Future Honda electric motorcycles and scooters might feature an alarm to warn pedestrians unaware of the approaching quiet vehicle.

Japanese company has secured a patent through the Indian patent office for the device.

Honda’s compact alarm device fits under the seat with speakers on the front of the bike.

It features an audio processor that sounds the alert and controls the sound level depending on the time and the level of surrounding environmental noise.

We imagine it would be similar to the beeping tone on some vans and trucks when they are in reverse to warn pedestrians.

Most electric motorcycle and scooters make no more noise than a bicycle, so pedestrians could step out in front of them, causing a collision.

While it may be a safety device for both the rider and pedestrian, it could make traffic noise even more annoying than it is now.

Honda patents

This latest patent from Honda continues its blitzkrieg of patent applications.

honda patent drum brakes variable riding position emotions
Honda patent for variable riding position

This is one of many patents Honda has lodged in the past year and we are not sure how many of these they will put into production.

This new patent join the following from Honda over the past year:

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Honda patents head-up touch windscreen

Honda continues its blitzkrieg of patent applications with a head-display windscreen that is also touch sensitive.

The patent illustrations show both an Africa Twin and CBR1000RR Fireblade.

Head-up display of vital information such as speed and navigation has been in cars for several years and is now coming to many “smart” motorcycle helmets.

This is the first time a motorcycle company has considered it for their windscreens.

It features a projector that displays information on the windscreen.

For those who think this is a distraction, it isn’t. It works just fine in cars where you sit behind the windscreen and look through the information which is directly in line with where you view the road ahead.

Honda patents head-up touch windscreen
Africa Twin with head-up display touch screen

It would be fine on bikes with large screens such as Honda’s Africa Twin and their touring Goldwing.

However, on a Fireblade with a short screen, you would often be sitting up and not looking through the screen. We are not sure how it would work there, although it does seem to have a projector on the tank. Perhaps that is for the touch function.

Africa Twin with head-up display touch screen
Fireblade with tank-mounted projector

Touch screen

The touch technology in the windscreen also seems a bit strange on a motorcycle.

On most bikes, it’s a bit of a reach to the screen and it’s also quite a distraction to have to take one hand off the bars and reach that far forward.

Yet they have patented for a capacitive touchscreen layer in the windscreen.

Honda patents

honda patent drum brakes variable riding position emotions
Honda patent for variable riding position

This is one of many patents Honda has lodged in the past year and we are not sure how many of these they will put into production.

This new patent join the following from Honda over the past year:

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Honda patents artificial intelligence suspension

Several motorcycles have electronic suspension that adjusts to the terrain, but Honda has applied for a patent on suspension that works via artificial intelligence to predict and adjust damping.

Their patent application shows a CRF450R trail bike, so it is obviously designed for trail and adventure riding where the terrain can vary substantially.

Some BMW adventure bikes have accelerometers to scan the road surface and electronically adjustable the suspension to suit.

Artificial intelligence Honda patents artificial intelligence suspension

Honda’s patent is similar, but it also anticipates what will happen.

For example if the front wheel comes off the ground, it will compensate for the landing.

We are not sure how the artificial intelligence interprets the terrain, but it does include reference to time, so it can predict what is about to happen.

Maybe it softens the suspension to ease your sore back after you’ve been hitting the trails for several hours!

It uses sensors to measure the fork movement and automatically adjust compression and rebound.

Honda patents

honda patent drum brakes variable riding position emotions
Honda patent for variable riding position

This is one of many patents Honda has lodged in the past year.

While some of the others are fairly wild ideas, this seems much more sensible and should come to market in the future.

This new patent join the following from Honda over the past year:

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Is Kawasaki planning to axe handlebars?

Kawasaki could be planning to axe conventional handlebars and replace them with a fixed bar, according to a patent design they have filed for an electric motorcycle.

Instead of a moveable handlebar for counter steering inputs, the rider holds on to fixed bars with a throttle and simply leans.

The patent application says electronic sensors and accelerometers will detect what the rider wants to do and will steer the bike accordingly.

This is definitely not a design for lazy riders!

We’re also not sure how it would work at low speed when the rider doesn’t lean.

The patent drawings also show front and rear steering with the wheels supported by mono shock suspension and electric motors in the hubs.Is Kawasaki planning to axe handlebars?

Planning for the future

Like Honda, Kawasaki has been busy filing patent applications for all sorts of strange inventions.

None or all many eventually come to market.

It seems they are just planning for the future and trying to protect their intellectual property, no matter how zany the idea.

Some of the other recent planning ideas for which Kawasaki has filed patent applications include:

planning patent
Kawasaki hybrid patent

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com