April 8, 2009 In today's peaceful, safe and buttoned-down Western world, people go to all sorts of lengths to get themselves the charge of adrenaline they crave so much - whether it's BASE jumping with a wingsuit instead of a parachute or strapping high-powered motors to things not normally associated with motors at all. We need to dice with death and danger, we say, in order to feel alive - and our creativity in coming up with new ways to scare and test ourselves is quite amazing. Take this odd contraption from Hungary - the Standbike SuperBikeBoard is a 250cc scooter with a custom-built rear section. It comes with a seat mounted on a pole, but that's entirely removable so you can take it to a tight track and ride it something like a motorized wakeboard, moving your body around the bike to balance, steer and stabilize it. You'd need thighs of steel to enjoy it for any length of time, because it looks like a very physical riding experience - and with a top speed over 140kmh, you'll want to keep your wits about you.
The Standbike SuperBikeBoard is the bizarre brainchild of Budapest's Janos Nemeth, who came up with the idea, then convinced engineer Zoltan Szilagyi to build a prototype. Why? Because they could. The Standbike is never going to be a more practical mode of transport than the Aprilia scooter it's based on, Nemeth freely admits, but it's a unique and physically challenging riding experience for anyone game enough to take one for a strop around a closed circuit.
The physical element comes in due to the fact that you no longer have a tank and seat to anchor your body to - so your whole body needs to brace for braking and acceleration, and hang out to negotiate the turns. With a reasonable acceleration punch and scooter-quick steering, you'll have your knees bent and braced for most of your ride, so those without killer quads need not apply for longer sessions.
In a nod to road practicality, there's an attachable seat unit that might (in some areas) let you ride the Standbike on the street. Nemeth says there's a second, 'flexible' seat attachment in development too, that takes the weight off your legs but still lets you move your bodyweight around to keep things crazy in the corners.
Here's our brief (lightly edited) email Q&A with Standbike creator Janos Nemeth - we like the enthusiasm in his tone:
What gave you guys the idea to make this machine?
I guess nobody start to make scientific investigation to find out such a madness... The basic idea just came during a bad sleep at night :-) I dont know really, fortunately (or not) I have sometimes unique ideas, most of them are never completed, some of them are waiting for me to make it. The SuperBikeBoard is not the first madness in the vehicle arena I made, the Standbike V8 Concept is much more crazy. Although it also operates, the V8 is really not for road but a technical study and technological work of art. So later when the SuperBikeBoard clicked in my mind I decided to complete it as this is much more comprehensible and makes really unique funny feeling for anybody who has the heart to stand it up.
What's it like riding a scooter standing up?
If you stand up on a scooter, the handle bar is too low, you stand too close to the front and all together it's very unstable, you cant hold your body securely during hard breaking. The SuperBikeBoard is unthinkably stable, it is impossible to round over to front, and as you MUST be in balance all the time when riding you also can not get off to the side also - as long as you don't lean it over too far and slip out of course (physics still works).
How far can you lean the standbike over before you run out of ground clearance?
This first prototype was designed more to be handy than sharpened for extreme hard riding. The board surface is relatively wide and we wanted it to be as low as possible. So you can lean it to some 35-40 deg. from vertical (depends on your mass also) so it may sound boring - but when you sit into the corners this practically raise leaning angle.
How does it compare to riding a snowboard or surfboard?
You have the handle bar to hang on to, which makes a stable operation and feeling. Not so agile like surfing ( I practiced windsurfing only which also have the bum). You will not get wet :-) but fall harder if you lose control. You need protector suit anyway, when I fell once without a helmet it was a really hard feeling ...
Can you go faster around corners with the seat on, or standing up?
If you put the auxiliary seat on, it is more comfortable for longer run to keep your mass, more stable for hard leaning. You still can move your centre of gravity quite freely - but altogether it's less fun. We are investigating a flexible seat also, which is useful for less fit riders and holds up the mass of your body. This seat is not fixed but leans freely so you must keep the balance like you would without any seat device. This is a very exciting accessory to ride with!
What sort of "extreme moves" can you pull on the Standbike?
You have to change the arrangement of your legs and the upper body continously depending on whether you are cornering, accelerating or breaking. You can cruise of course without tricks just simply standing at a center position.
How long until a production version is available?
It is depending on YOU guys, if many of you feel your adrenalin level skyrocketing just looking at the SuperBikeBoard video or images we may launch - but I dont think it would be tomarrow.
How much do you expect it to cost?
No calculations recently. But I gess if somebody would have some mony only for a factory made scooter he would do better to buy that instead of a half SuperBikeBoard.
Are you building it from the motor up, or modifying an existing standard Aprilia scooter?
The prototype was built using some parts of the factory scooter (some front parts and body elements) but the back is hand made. The first enthusiasts may be provided with rebuilt hand made second generation prototype (depending on the importing state, safety laws etc). A complete new model could be manufactured only in higher volumes of course, I can not give you any target date right now. Orders will be completed in the order of application so if you seriously think you wuld like to have a SBB sign up at our site at www.standbike.com without any obligation.
See the video below to watch the Standbike in action - thanks to Janos Nemeth for his time and putting this extra video together for us!
Standbike: the SuperBikeBoard from Loz Blain on Vimeo.