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Enclosed Motorcycle

Solution to The Urban Traffic Jam.
(+4, -4)
  [vote for,

Imagine a motorcycle that has a total enclosure for the driver, complete with airbags, air conditioning, heater, radio, coffe holder, etc.

By utilzing gyroscopes, or a a stabilizing stand that activates when the motorcycle comes to a stop, the thing will stay upright without having to lower your feet.

The basic idea is, a comfortable means of commuting for one or two people, and because of its narrow profile, twice as many vehicles can fit per freeway lane. Dean Bowlus

songpro, Jan 25 2003

Didik Sun Shark http://www.didik.com/shark.htm
Can be powered by solar power or conventional motorcycle. [jurist, Oct 04 2004]

(?) Enclosed Car-Bikes from BMW and Benelli http://www.gizmo.co....asp?articleid=1549
Closely related to what you describe and already in mass-production. But it still looks to me like you're bound to get wet one way or another when it rains. [jurist, Oct 04 2004]

Here's a little more "beef," [songpro] http://www.iol.co.z...ewspic3e1a8ba47887e
[bristolz, Oct 04 2004]

Okay, so it's not enclosed http://www.iol.co.z...378871T520&set_id=1
25 Jan 03 | Chrysler Tomahawk [bristolz, Oct 04 2004]

(?) More About the Bede LiteStar http://www.angelfir...or2/5D3/design.html
History and photos of the original LiteStar, including blueprint plans and entire engineering history . Links to problems in manufacturing, marketing, etc. [jurist, Oct 04 2004]

Quasar http://www.angib.pw....uk/ff/quasar0.html
Very cool [hippo, Oct 04 2004]

(?) ecomobile http://www.polysoft...ecomobile/c01_e.htm
enclosed 200MPH production motorcycle [scrape, Oct 04 2004]

(?) Gyro-X http://www.cobb.com/gyro/
Completely bakes your idea (if you add a roof) [FloridaManatee, Oct 04 2004]

E-cycle http://www.halfbake...idea/www.ecycle.com
diesel/electric hybrid motorcycle 180mpg 80mph...:) [dharmabum, Oct 04 2004]

Baked: Tango is an electric car http://seattletimes...003/0727/cover.html
Jul 26 2003: batteries below the seats act as ballast to keep the narrow car from tipping over. 80 miles per charge. U.S. Patent No. 6,328,121 [krelnik, Oct 04 2004]

Pointer to Ecomobile review http://neobike.net/...ion/ecomobile2.html
US publication Motorcycle Consumer News ran a review of the Ecomobile last August (text not online alas) [pbx, Oct 04 2004]

The Schilovski gyrocar... http://www.dself.ds...rocars/schilovs.htm
...of which [KiwiJohn] spoke [angel, Nov 17 2004]

Acabion (pretentious website warning) http://www.acabion.com/
Just saw this one at the Geneva motor show the other day. It's very long so it's probably not very manoeuvrable. [Gordon Comstock, Mar 13 2006, last modified Jul 25 2007]

Carver http://www.carver-europe.com/
"I have got to get me one of these!" [Shz, Mar 13 2006]

John Ewan's Recliner http://www.voidstar.com/bff/ewan.html
Stunningly beautiful but definitely needs more development [PeterV, Jul 24 2007]

TECA concept http://www.concept-teca.com/
Looks promising; appears to have holes at the bottom for foot stabilization [PeterV, Jul 24 2007]

Dalniks http://www.hedonia.net/art/dalniks.htm
Some well developed models from Eastern Europe [PeterV, Jul 24 2007]

peraves http://www.ecogeek.org/content/view/486/
enclosed with automatic training wheels (found when trying to to hb it) [pashute, Nov 25 2007]

Lit Motors' C-1 electric motorcycle http://www.gizmag.c...g-motorcycle/21002/
[xaviergisz, Jan 19 2012]

Peraves https://www.youtube...watch?v=xT__fZYYxMI
updated link. The former one is dead [pashute, Jun 11 2021]


       The Didik Sun Shark took your idea a step further and made it powerable by alternative energy sources. The article does state that it can be powered by a conventional motorcycle, too. And instead of tricky gyroscopes, they relied on simpler retractable "training wheels" for stability when stopped. But for all intents and purposes, it is what you described. Link.
jurist, Jan 25 2003

       Not to mention the flying / driving / submersible bike we discussed last week very recently.
snarfyguy, Jan 25 2003

       Very interesting sites, I am glad you linked them here.   

       They are a step in the right direction, but we need something with more beef to get on the freeways. Something with a bit of a longer and higher profile, but still narrow. A Honda gas-electric hybrid, with air bags, and room for 2 passengers. It would easily get you 100 MPG."The Road Missle".
songpro, Jan 25 2003

       If you want an environmentally correct commuter vehicle that gets excellent mileage, is easy to maneuver, and works well in all kinds of urban environments , then you have a number of options currently in manufacture to choose from, including Honda's Civic Hybrid and the Daimler/Chrysler GEM. However, if you want it to be two-passenger AND two-wheeled AND capable of 80+mph speeds AND relatively safe, you may have just exceeded the bounds of good sense. Use an efficient motorcycle engine, but lose the two-wheel requirement, and suddenly you have a lot more engineerable options.
jurist, Jan 26 2003

       "Popular Science" magazine has a feature on their last page called Looking Back, where they feature a cover from their archives. This month's Looking Back cover is from the February 1938 issue. On the cover is exactly this idea, an enclosed motorcycle, a streamlined bullet-like cycle in fact. The accompanying article discusses how this technique was used to set motorcycle speed records in Germany (180 mph at the time).   

       So, baked since at least circa 1938.
waugsqueke, Jan 26 2003

       Jurist says: if you want it to be two-passenger AND two-wheeled AND capable of 80+mph speeds AND relatively safe, you may have just exceeded the bounds of good sense. Use an efficient motorcycle engine, but lose the two-wheel requirement, and suddenly you have a lot more engineerable options.   

       Reply: Respectfully, Then you have missed the whole point of narrowing the profile so twice as many cars can get on the lanes. No doubt this could be configured with air bags and a sturdy cage to be even safer than most cars on the road. Maybe by utilizing wider tires, like ATV tires (only better on paved surfaces), more surface area, lower pressure tires. But still able to go 80 MPH. I am confident this could be done in the time it takes Detroit or Japan to bake a cake. If the Germans could do this in 1938, imagine what could be done now!
songpro, Jan 26 2003

       There was an attempt at this from a British motorcycle manufacturer in the 70's - Can anyone remember what it was? I saw it recently in the industrial museum in Bristol but can't remember its name now.
hippo, Jan 27 2003

       Aha! After a few minutes digging in Google ... - it was the Quasar - a design so cool that if you saw one on the road today, you'd crash (see link).
hippo, Jan 27 2003

       I hope that sun shark has some sort of passenger cooling. I think you'd bake inside that thing.
RayfordSteele, Jan 27 2003

       Would anyone be interested in such a hybrid? BMW, as jurist points out, have something almost as you describe (OK, only single seater and not fully enclosed) but having spent millions they are now going to stop production because demand has been so poor.
Gordon Comstock, Jan 27 2003

       That Lite Star is bad to the bone. So is that BMW and Benelli, Sounds like there was a concern in Australia because you could'nt legally ride it without a helmet.   

       Seems like it could be as safe as a car with a little design.
songpro, Jan 27 2003

       That Quasar is very cool too, with a few minor modifications it could be fully enclosed with airbags, CD player etc.. Would be a perfect commuter vehicle for California.
songpro, Jan 27 2003

       I used to know a guy who built his own Quasar lookalikes based on Honda 250s. He had his own mould for producing the bodywork, and a workshop where he chopped the bikes. First one I ever saw was at a set of traffic lights in Bristol - I nearly fell off my pushbike. About two years later, having moved to Wales, I got chatting to a contractor at the office and it turned out to be the same bloke - those traffic lights were about a hundred yards from his then home. Last time I saw him he was busy bolting a 500cc motorcycle engine into a three-wheeled frame to make an off-roader for his eight year old boy. Complete nutter.
egbert, Jan 28 2003

       A few years ago, I saw an interview on the Popular Science television show. This man was a Swiss Airline pilot. He had designed and built a total enclosed motorcycle. It was built around one of the touring BMW motorcycle. It had stereo,air conditioning, wipers, the works on board. It also include two stands with wheels on the tips that where folded into the body and would come down whenever you slowed to a stop. This was one of the coolest ideas I've seen in along time. I haven't been able to find out much about the bike or the man that designed it. Like I say it was probably filmed in the early nineties.
Jonick, Apr 23 2003

       I was in Bristol at the weekend and saw the Quasar again - I'd recommend going to see it if you're there. It's in the Industrial Museum.
hippo, Apr 24 2003

       You were in Bristol and you didn't come to see me? Shame on you.
egbert, Apr 24 2003

       Oops. Of course, if all HalfBakers were equipped with some kind of proximity detector (haven't we done this before?) we'd have known we were both in the same city.
hippo, Apr 24 2003

       Dang. I just came up with that idea tonight.   

       Anyways, this is mostly baked, albeit componentially (some parts baked in different vehicles). However, I think it would just be better for people to travel less. Eliminating unnecessary trips would be a *huge* relief on the system(s).
galukalock, Apr 24 2003

       [Jonick] See [Scrape]'s link. Jeremy Clarkson's Motor World a few years ago when he went to Switzerland featured this bike. (He was also a prat back then but still vaguely bearable)
I'd always be worried about the stabilizer legs not coming down when you stopped at traffic lights. Happened to me once on a conventional bike when the kick start lever got caught inside my trouser leg. Really rather embarrassing.
Gordon Comstock, Apr 24 2003

       Happened to me on a pushbike when I forgot to undo my toestrap. I just lay in the snow unable to get up for laughing at my elf. Dear old lady in the car behind me was so concerned that she got out to check if I was OK. Bless.
egbert, Apr 24 2003

       This is completely baked, Ecomobile along with others. Could actually be MFD'd.
sartep, Jul 26 2003

       Wolsely made a gyro stabilised car before Word War One, so thats pretty well backed.   

       The car was pretty big with seating for about six people. Reports of the time said that with the engine idling passengers could get in or out without the car tipping over. Other reports said the car fell over at the first corner. I don't really know the truth.   

       The customer was a Russian aristocrate who dipped out in the Russian Revolution and never took delivery of his baby. The car was eventually scrapped.
KiwiJohn, Apr 17 2004

       There are several machines that meet or come close to this requirement.   

       The Carver is a cambering (leaning) 3-wheeler, about a meter wide, that hold 2.   

       BMW made a similar prototype/concept vehicle, as did GM (the "Lean Machine").   

       The Tango is a narrow, tandem-seating 4-wheel vehicle that looks like a cardboard cutout of itself. I think it's electric, with the batteries mounted under the floor. As far as I know it doesn't camber.   

       The HMV Freeway, another 3-wheeler, was manufactured in small numbers, but was only marginally a 2-seater. It's small and light (750 lbs) and with a 430cc motor got around 80 mpg.   

       Back in the 1970s, the TriVette was a high-performance, very stylish Fiat 850-powered 2-seater that out-cornered many of the day's perforemance cars. I think it got around 60 mpg.   

       There is, I believe, a Swiss enclosed 2-wheel machine that seats 2, and uses outrigger wheels to stay upright at low speeds or at rest.   

       I think I remember something called a "Gyro Hawk" from the '70s or '80s. It was a kit or a plans-built 2-wheel enclosed vehicle, supposed to have been held upright with some kind of gyro mechanism. Maybe ring laser gyros activating counterweights would work better than mechanical ones.   

       Maybe Segway-type electronics could be used to maintain a 2-wheel vehicle upright. At speeds under about 5 mph, outrigger ("training") wheels would deploy to keep it from falling over.
whlanteigne, Nov 17 2004

       <gormless> Egbert, you're also in Bristol? Half the UK bakers must live here...
david_scothern, Nov 17 2004

       I must belong to the other half then :)
skinflaps, Nov 17 2004

       This idea has been done and re-done...and the reasons I wouldn't buy one for open road use?..... 1. Wind in hair. Need nice hair at work? Take a comb in your pocket. 2. My son just bought a scooter version of this from a company that makes them all the way up to 250cc/75mph/45mpg. 3. Mainly! I would love to get all tiny cars on the road and save a million dollars in gas and pollute the planet less...but do you think that even ONE soccer mom would give up her freakin' SU-Monster million pound bone crushing killer that she can't even see around properly? Not likely...little Johnny just can't take the bus or a cab (cheaper than an SUV over a 10 year period if taken 30 miles or less each way) I don't want to be the stain shaped guy carefully scraped up off the freeway with my buddy after being unknowingly creamed by someone elses 4500 pound tank. Lastly...visibility...believe it or not, most of these hybrids out there have horrible visibility for watching out for little Johnny's mommy when she's gunnin' for ya.
legamin, Mar 03 2005

       In the Gyro-X version (with side-by-side 2-passenger), make this a TRIcycle, but keep the ability to bank on turns by having hydraulics-actuated variable angle between rear axle and body-carriage... with default reversion to horizontal. then when you stop, you dont fall over...
tx2346, May 16 2006

       // Reports of the time said that with the engine idling passengers could get in or out without the car tipping over. Other reports said the car fell over at the first corner. I don't really know the truth.   

       Yes, I've heard about that. I think the point was that you could get on without tipping the car over, but you couldn't turn corners. Gyros REALLY hate changing direction, either tipping or cornering (I think accelerating, too?). It gets them all steamed up.
TheLightsAreOnBut, Jul 24 2007

       Oxymoron Alert: If it is enclosed, it is not a motorcycle.
nuclear hobo, Nov 26 2007

       TEOTW [-]
Ned_Ludd, Nov 26 2007

       Wikipedia says: "A motorcycle or motorbike is a single-track, two-wheeled motor vehicle powered by an engine"...<r> No mention of enclosure. It does not say "A motorcycle or motorbike is a single-track, two-wheeled motor vehicle powered by an engine in which the occupant must either use bulky and expensive protective gear that cannot be stashed with the vehicle for fear of theft or suffer from inclement climate conditions, depending on their geography. Anything else is for wimps."   

       I'll allow that wikipedia is not authoritative, but what makes "enclosed motorcycle" oxymoronic? Is an open-topped car also an oxymoron?
TheLightsAreOnBut, Nov 26 2007

       //twice as many vehicles can fit per freeway lane//   

       Unfortunately that earnt you a bone [-]. I really cannot stand motorcyclists who think that just because they can fit two to a lane, or between lanes, that they should do so. One lane, one vehicle. If you're a thin motorcycle, you have more space on both sides.   

       You cannot push between two lanes of traffic when at the lights. You must wait behind the car in front of you, nicely centered in the middle of the lane, until the traffic starts moving again. If you want to overtake, you find a gap in the lane to the right (US=left), signal, go out there, overtake, find a gap in the lane on the left, signal, go back.
vincevincevince, Nov 26 2007


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