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Stabilisers to Keep Big Bikes Upright?

Tall, heavy motorcycles – especially adventure bikes – can be a challenge for riders with shorter legs or less mobility. Get it wrong at low speeds, and 250kg of expensive motorcycle topples over, usually taking the pilot with it – potentially expensive, certainly embarrassing and not a great thing for rider confidence.
Some manufacturers have looked at how a big, weighty bike can be kept reliably upright at low speeds, but apart from the odd low-seat option, nothing has reached the market. But now Chinese brand Voge has patented an idea for hydraulically-operated stabiliser wheels, which might just work. The application shows a pair of tiny wheels (probably only suitable for sub-walking pace) mounted on arms which pivot just ahead of the rear wheel spindle. At a set speed, they would lower automatically, in theory helping to keep the bike upright before the rider can get a foot or feet on the tarmac.
It sounds good, but several questions remain. How would the stabilisers cope with an uneven surface, or a steep camber? How would they be affected by suspension adjustments which changed the ride height?
Still, the idea is there so we’ll see what transpires.

Meanwhile, BMF Chair Jim Freeman said this: “Deja Vue time. Remember the Oekomobil? The very ‘feet forward’ wingless aeroplane, from Switzerland, which had exactly this type of system for sub 15 mph traffic conditions. With the Oekomobil it was simple, there was no facility to put your feet down at all. Still a brilliant device if you’re prepared to throw pre-conceived notions of what constitutes a motorcycle into the long grass. I hope Voge have been looking closely at those old patents, those Swiss designers, I’d bet they know some good lawyers…”

Written by Peter Henshaw

Top image courtesy of Voge Motorcycles