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Honda show off Scooter airbag in Japan

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Here’s an interesting conversation piece. Airbags.

For years we have been using cutting edge systems in our cars, protecting drivers and passengers from every angle. We’ve moved on from the simple driver, steering wheel system and now have this technology in the door panels, passenger, and rear seats. Drivers are also given control and can disable certain airbags, such as the passenger seat when taking small children on journeys.

Of course, those of us who ride bikes haven’t been able to benefit from these safety features, until now.

The powerhouse of innovation, Honda, believe they have come up with a solution to the problem. Working with safety systems company Autoliv Inc. they have created a cutting edge system which sits in front of the driver on the scooter and deploys when an acceleration sensor detects a head-on collision. The airbag extends upwards and protects the head and upper body from a hard impact.

Developing this technology for motorbikes is more tricky than for cars where you have a steering wheel and dash to counter the force of the occupants being thrown forward. With a scooter, Honda and Autoliv had to use the support of whatever the rider hits. It is an incredibly smart solution and can deliver protection to the driver in just 0.04 seconds.

“In many sudden motorbike accidents, a motorbike crashes into the side of a car. So, the air bag can contribute to reducing the number of casualties.”

Initial testings suggest that the airbag can protect a driver’s head when a scooter traveling at 50km/h hits a parked car and will offer additional safety for hard impact crashes, especially those where the rider isn’t ejected from the bike. Such as hitting a car from behind, or losing control and hitting a solid, static structure.

The discussion point here surrounds the practical benefit of this system. By adding weight and cost to the bike, is it going to offer riders a better solution than the development of airbag motorcycle wear?

Both Alpinestars and Dainese have developed their Tech-Air and D-Air ranges respectively to provide complete upper body protection of the back, shoulders, kidney area and chest. In a street crash, these are the main areas exposed to injury. On-track systems often inspire manufacturers to develop and adapt solutions for the road, but as we know an accident on track is very different to a road and needs to be programmed for.

And – as when these rider devices were first introduced there are concerns about possibly doing more harm than good. Could the use of this device add risk in the event of a sensor failure for example? Does all of that extra mechanism and gadgetry actually convert into extra safety?

While Honda must be applauded for their constant drive to keep riders safe and ensure complete protection, is an airbag system on the bike the best way to do this?

We’d love to know your thoughts and to see how this story develops.

Source: Nikkei Technology

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Is the Manx Missile Cavendish about to trade cycling lycra for motorcycle racing leathers?

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Could the Manx Missile hang up his lycra and pedals for something a little more petrol propelled?

Mark Cavendish has been the fastest thing on two (pedal-powered) wheels for a while now, but in recent interviews, the Isle of Man native and good friend of Cal Crutchlow has expressed an interest in two-wheeled vehicles of a motorcycling kind.

Speaking in an interview with Esquire Magazine from when he was in Abu Dhabi for the Formula One last year, Cavendish shared his love of fast cars and bikes, telling the interviewer that he’d ‘always loved anything to do with motors, or machines… Vehicles really. Just love them’. Before being asked if he’d ever considered being an F1 driver?

‘Nah. I don’t think I’m good enough. Everybody thinks that it’s like driving a car down the promenade, it’s totally not the same. To be honest, I prefer motorbikes more; I would like to race them instead.’

Ok, so it’s not a huge admission or a massive surprise – it’s something we’ve all probably dreamed of and one time or another, but when pressed on the issue he does seem to have considered the possibilities more than just in passing.

When asked if motorcycling racing might actually be next for him he replied with an emphatic, ‘In all seriousness, I think so’.

Adding fuel to the fire have been comments from him earlier this month made during press conferences in support of the Dubai Tour.

When asked explicitly if he’d consider hanging up his cycling blocks for motorcycle leathers, he certainly didn’t dismiss the idea, ‘Anything is possible, you know… I will just look at my options for the short term and the long term and see what I do with my future’.

So that’s definitely not a no.

For cycling fans fearful that he might be closer than expected to making the jump, there’s probably not any immediate cause for panic. In the very same Esquire feature he also explicitly stated that he had a ‘fair few years‘ left in his professional career.

Could a cycling pro move over to motorcycles with any expectation of success? Multi-discipline racers aren’t unheard of. Rossi loves his car racing and Lewis Hamilton has always expressed an interest in a taking turn in MotoGP.

But that’s from a motor vehicle on short track racing onto another motor vehicle on a similar track. We’d imagine that the speeds and skills involved from pedal cycle to internal combustion engine are a little less transferable for any moral human.

But then Mark Cavendish isn’t your average human being and reports suggest that the times that he has spent on track have been pretty impressive.

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Indian electric Emflux claims 120mph, over 100 miles range for under £8,000

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Photo: Emflux

Startup company put its first electric sportsbike concept on display, alongside some impressive claims.

The Emflux can hit 62 mph in 3 seconds and charges to over 80 percent in half an hour. Couple that with a range of around 115 miles and a top speed of 120 mph and you have an electric motorcycle to pique anyone’s interest. Throw in a claimed price of under £8000 and you get the room to take notice.

That’s what the Indian startup Emflux did this week at the 2018 Auto Expo in New Delhi.

The 25-strong company has completely developed the machinemachine i and the team have designed everything except for the brakes, suspension and tyres.

Featuring a steel-trellis frame and single-sided swingarm, the chassis of the machine certainly looks the part, and along with the 60kW motor and 9.7 kWh lithium-ion cell battery the entire package only weights 169 kgs.

Alongside the mechanics, the technology on-board features a built-in GPS system, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and 4G connectivity – all alongside an NVIDIA Jetson TK1 core processor. That’s a mighty big brain to go alongside some mighty big claims from the startup firm.

The company say that they are planning to build 199 of the bikes for the local, Indian market, with another 300 for export.

Oh and if you want Ohlins suspension, forged alloy wheels and carbon-fibre bodywork, then the price will go up by another £10,000 or so.

With new companies coming out with interesting designs and ideas for new electrically powered motorcycles almost weekly now, surely it’s time for one of the major manufacturers to step in? Isn’t it?

Source: Emflux

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