Here Are 8 Ways Tech Is Transforming The Way We Ride

Nothing feels as good as cruising down your favorite country road on a motorbike. And now, you have all the more reason to enjoy riding your bike. In the last decade, we have seen a surge in the number of motorcycling innovations. And thanks to these incredible technological advancements, your daily ride is now safer, faster, and more comfortable. To give you a glimpse of some of these tech innovations, here are eight ways tech is transforming the motorcycle industry.

1. Airbags

Many people are hesitant to sit on a motorcycle due to safety concerns.  The airbag technology in bikes helps to keep such fears at bay as an essential piece of motorcycle safety equipment

Just like in vehicles, a motorcycle airbag keeps you safe during a ride. 

Bike airbags, unlike the vehicle ones, are found on clothing such as bodysuits, jackets, and vests. There is also a bike helmet airbag that bursts out in case of a crash. In case of an accident, these airbags absorb some of the impact cushioning your body from injuries. 

Some of the vest airbags like the Dainese Smart Jacket D-air vest and the most recent Alpinestars standalone airbag vest debuted at the 2020 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) are now accessible to riders. For instance, the Alpinestars standalone airbag vest can fit under any rider’s jacket, making it available to a wider audience. 

2. Aero winglets

Aero winglets solve the problem of instability and wheel lift that occurs when racing bikes are accelerating at more than 200 mph.  

Unlike early winglets that could only cut drag and increase speed, modern-day winglets extend rearward, producing lift as the airspeed increases. Due to safety considerations, the length of modern winglets is limited. To create downforce, designers have also increased the winglets’ numbers, creating a cascade of stacked airfoils. 

Such aero winglets are no longer an innovation for racing bikes as they can be seen on modern bikes such as the RSV4 1100 and Aprilia RSV4 RF LE.

3. Advanced rider assistance systems

Motorcycle manufacturers are investing in the production of radar-based safety systems for motor riders. Such Advanced Rider Assistance Systems (ARASs) use sensors in motorbikes that warn the rider using an advanced user interface of an oncoming vehicle. Riders also use them to avoid collisions with cars in their blind spot. 

Ducati and Honda are two examples of major motorcycle manufacturers that are developing such innovation to improve the safety of riders.

4. Quickshifters (QSs)

Quickshifters allow modern-day riders to seemingly change gears without the need to use the clutch or roll the throttle. This technology is the real deal for racing bikes, as a millisecond in speed can make a difference when it comes to winning or losing a race. 

However, today even smaller performance bikes can get this feature retrofitted on their bikes so long as they have ride-by-wire (RBW) throttle. Besides, more modern motorcycle manufacturers now fit their bikes with QSs.

5. Anti-lock braking system (ABS)

The anti-lock braking system is a handy innovation that makes your bike safer. ABS increases your motorcycle’s stability and prevents wheel locking. When you brake too hard, you can destabilize your bike, leading to your rear or front wheel locking causing your motorcycle to slide or overturn. Similarly, when you don’t brake hard enough, you could fall as you try to avoid a crash.

ABS is a safety feature that prevents your bike’s wheel from locking during braking with the help of speed sensors on your wheel. These sensors can detect the wheel speed and also determine when the wheel is about to lock. This feature changes the braking pressure preventing wheel locking and maintaining your motorcycle’s stability. Research has shown that motorcycles with ABS are involved in fewer accidents.

6. Cruise control

Cruise control is available in many luxury cars, but this technology is just taking shape in motorcycles. Cruise control helps keep your bike at a predetermined distance from the bike ahead of you. Adaptive cruise control, unlike the standard cruise control, allows your bike to set its speed in line with the vehicular moment at the front, leaving you to concentrate on the traffic. 

Adaptive cruise control uses sensors to measure the distance between you and other motorists. With the help of an electronic control unit, your motorcycle can collect data on its surroundings and use this data to maintain a safe distance from the vehicle or bike in front as set by the rider.

Motorcycles manufacturers such as BMW, Ducati, and KTM are already in the process of offering Active Cruise Control to allow their riders to experience a more comfortable and safer ride.

7. Electric motorcycles

Electric motorcycles are likely to take over the market, considering they are convenient, aesthetically pleasing, and more environmentally friendly.  Additionally, thanks to these electric motorcycles, riders can now avoid the hassle of changing the oil and forget the constant refueling costs.

In September 2020, MCN reported that the big four Japanese motorbike manufacturers, Honda, Yamaha, Suzuki, and Kawasaki, would partner to produce swappable battery technology for electric bikes. 

During the 2020 CES week, Segway and its parent company Ninebot showcased its electric sports bike dubbed the Apex, while Damon motorcycles revealed its first electric motorcycle during the same event. According to Damon Motorcycles, electric bikes make it safer for riders to ride their motorcycles. The company’s Hypersport electric motorcycle also has a CoPilot safety innovation and a shift adjustable ergonomics system. 

8. Vehicle to vehicle communication

Vehicle to vehicle communication (V2V) is a technology under development that promises to make driving and motorcycling safer. This innovation, once fully developed, could reduce accidents due to human error by more than 70%. 

V2V allows drivers and riders to send traffic reports on the condition of the road, the speed, position, and route direction through wireless networks. This information can be accessed by other motorists on the network, acting as a safety warning. This prompts other motorists to act in a way that prevents traffic congestion and accidents.

It’s estimated that there are over 3,000 accidents per year due to distracted driving, so this technology will be a huge help at determining whether a crash is likely and warn drivers to brake. Once launched, this technology will improve road safety tremendously.

Luke Fitzpatrick: Luke Fitzpatrick has been published in Forbes, The Next Web, and Influencive. He is a guest lecturer at the University of Sydney, lecturing in Cross-Cultural Management and the Pre-MBA Program. Connect with him on LinkedIn.
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