Old dog, New trick - motorbike with two front wheels!

Submitted by Jeff Buster on Mon, 03/16/2009 - 16:31.


piaggio three wheel motor bike scooter leaning steering two front wheels
There will always be new mouse traps…
This bike has two front wheels.    Have you ever seen  a motor bike with two front wheels?   I hadn’t until this last fall and today I fortunately bumped into Mark as he parked in front of a local store.  
Here’s what I found out: 
Up to 6 mph the front suspension is locked – so when you are stopped at a light you don’t have to put your foot on the ground to stabilize the bike – you just sit there supported by the 3 wheels.   As soon as you accelerate over 6 mph the front suspension becomes active, and you can lean the bike over when you corner – just like a regular two wheeled bike.  I looked underneath the front  and there is some fancy suspension under there. 
 I’m sure computer engineering helped design a system of suspension pivot points and linkages that got this bike from concept to the street.    Every area of mechanical endeavor – no matter how “legacy” it seems – is open to radical new ideas.   Just as I commented about new types of kites which weren’t around when I was a kid,  we will be able to build new types of wind turbines, solar panels, electric cars, etc.   Advances in one area - like computer engineering or robotics or metallurgy - will allow advances in other areas like transportation design.
Mark told me that  because there is more rubber on the ground, and more brake surface, the bike stops considerably faster than a two wheeler, and there is less tendency for the bike to jackknife or tail-around in an abrupt stop. The engine is over the rear tire – keeping the rear of the bike from going up and over the front wheels in a sudden stop. Two helmets can be stored under the seat. 
The bike is made by a the Italian manufacturer Piaggio, a division of Vespa – who has made motor scooters for decades -  and costs $7,000 and gets  70 mpg.
Looks fun, but motorbikes are not for me…one left-turning car that doesn’t see you, and your fun is over.


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