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Tretta's AWD mountain bike

Although they’re very seldom seen, 2-wheel drive bicycles have existed in one form or another almost as long as their traditional rear-wheel-drive counterparts. While most of them have been one-off experiments or short-run production models, Japanese bicycle manufacturer Arte Co Ltd has decided to give the 2WD thing a shot nonetheless, with its Tretta AWD Bicycle line-up.  Read More

Lexus HB Concept 2WD pedal-assist, carbon-fiber racing bike

Designed totally inside Lexus by Lexus designers, this sleek electric pedal assist bicycle is among the many hidden gems to be unearthed at the 41st Tokyo motor show. Sporting carbon fiber everything – including the battery cover – the Lexus HB Concept has a 2WD system that uses a smaller electric motor on the front wheel and a larger pedal assist motor at the crank. Head on through to the video to learn more.  Read More

The side view of the EV-Cub electric motorcycle

Honda has released images of several new eco-friendly two-wheelers it will present at the Tokyo Motor Show later this month, including the EV-Cub electric motorcycle, the EVE-neo electric scooter and its previously-announced PCX global scooter, the first two-wheeler to employ an 'idling stop system'. The most interesting of the new eco-bikes is without doubt the EV-Cub, which employs what appears to be car2car and car2driver communications dubbed HELLO! (Honda ELectric mobility LOop) and a LOOP portable communication tool that fits in the palm of one’s hand and “allows people and mobility devices to communicate with each other.” The EV-Cub also appears to have electric motors in both front and rear wheels, indicating that it is almost certainly a two-wheel-drive (2WD) motorcycle. 2WD motorcycles are expected to become commonplace in the future as, like their 4WD automotive cousins, they offer traction advantages on loose surfaces and wet roads and improve rider safety, especially for learners.  Read More

TTX GP founder Azhar Hussain and the bike he commissioned, the prototype TTX01.

UPDATED It’s the first electric superbike and though its range is considerably less than the first modern four-stroke superbike, the 1969 Honda CB750, its top speed of 125 mph (200 km/h) is almost identical. Yesterday the first prototype of the TTX01 Electric Superbike was showcased at a press conference for the 2008 NEC Bike Show. Built to demonstrate the potential of electric sports motorcycles for the first emissions-free Grand Prix, the initial prototype is based on a Suzuki GSX750 frame and running gear and runs two 43 bhp Agni Lynch Electric motors arranged in line with the frame. Together, the motors produce 125 Newton Metres of torque and both have been modified to withstand high RPM using Kevlar-reinforced armatures. The vision is to create a lightweight, carbon fiber framed 2WD TTX02 with "hot swappable", 20 kilowatt hour battery packs, regenerative braking and a production run of 50 machines in 2010 with a target price of GBP20,000.  Read More

KTM 2WD hybrid dirt bike

Patents lodged by Austrian Competition Motorcycle Manufacturer KTM indicate that a hybrid 2WD dirt bike is not far away. Common sense dictates that a motorcycle with both wheels driven (2WD) will go around corners faster and with greater surety than one equipped only with the motorcycle’s traditional rear-wheel drive, much the same as 4WD cars offer superior traction to their rear or front wheel drive brethren. A lot of interesting development work has been done over the last decade with Yamaha offering Ohlins 2WD system on selected enduro bikes in Europe, Christini developing mechanical AWD (aka 2WD) kits for Honda and KTM dirt bikes and KTM talking publicly about its hydraulic 2WD development. Now it appears KTM is to employ a small electric motor on each wheel to supply additional torque when it’s needed. A recently filed set of patent applications heralds some exciting prospects.  Read More

BMW's f800-engined 2WD hillclimb special.

The all-wheel-drive revolution that has swept the off-road car racing world continues to gather strength in the vastly more conservative motorcycle market. Yamaha's 2-Trac and Christini's aftermarket AWD system are well established as proof that 2-wheel-drive is an effective and significant advantage to off-road motorcycle racers, and now BMW is using a two-wheel drive system in one of the toughest arenas of all - the European Hill Climb Championships, where despite star rider Christian Pfeiffer bowing out due to injury, a 2WD F800-powered hill climb bike took fourth place in its first competition outing.  Read More

Yamaha developing CVT enduro bike

Yamaha is developing a CVT (Constantly Variable Transmission) enduro machine according to recent patent applications. Conceived by Leonardo da Vinci 500 years ago, the CVT power delivery characteristics could well be a boon in slippery off-road conditions, particularly with some help from a computer. The CVT's biggest advantage is ensuring the motor is always running “in the power band” and as the infinitely variable gear ratios change, it should deliver one smooth rush of power from standstill to top speed.  Read More

Christini's AWD motorcycle system

Four Wheel drive cars have taken over at the top-level of off-road rally racing, but dirt bike racing is still predominantly fought out on single-wheel-drive vehicles that spin up, fishtail and slide wildly across rough terrain. Make no mistake though, the All Wheel Drive (AWD) revolution is coming to the motorcycle world – Yamaha and KTM have done significant work with hydraulic front-wheel-drive systems, and when new ideas like this successful all-mechanical AWD kit from Christini hit the mainstream, dirt bike riding will never be the same again.  Read More

Yamaha's radical adjustable electric motorcycle

October 28, 2005 UPDATED IMAGES For the last 125 years, motorcycles have been made up of two wheels and a motor, and they have all been arranged as a wheel, a motor and another wheel – in that order – all of them. But the freedom afforded to designers by the in-wheel electric motors which technology has recently spawned will make for some interesting changes over the coming years and Yamaha is the first of the motorcycle manufacturers to seriously look at alternatives available in the next generation of motorcycles. The Deinonychus prototype takes full advantage of the greater chassis design freedom afforded by an in-wheel motor, and offers a completely new type of two-wheel-drive (2WD) EV (electric vehicle) with "Stretch & Shrink" functions in the vertical and horizontal directions. Yamaha’s exhibition at the Tokyo Motor Show features a number of futuristic commuter vehicles other than the Deinonychus including a fuel cell prototype, a hybrid prototype and a production electric scooter. For the record, a Deinonychus is a lightly built, fast-moving, agile, bipedal, killer dinosaur. This article includes a full rundown of Yamaha's other electric, methanol and hybrid scooters shown at Tokyo  Read More

KTM shows a new all-wheel-drive motorcycle under development

The all-wheel drive motorcycle seems certain to become more widespread over coming years as yet another major motorcycle manufacturer has disclosed its activities in the area. Austrian motorcycle powerhouse KTM is working in conjunction with Swedish Company Ohlins in the development of a mechanical/hydraulic system for driving the front wheel. A 2WD equipped KTM 525 EXC has been race tested in Europe recently by KTM Sport Director and former Factory Rider Kurt Nicoll. Austrian motorcycle powerhouse KTM has been around longer than Honda, Yamaha and Ducati, but only really became a recognised international marque in the last 25 years, thanks to its fast and reliable off-road motorcycles.  Read More

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