This little motor could save you from dropping your motorcycle
The embarrassment of dropping your motorcycle in a parking lot or driveway while trying to back out to leave is something that takes some time to get over. The skill, strength, and balance required to move around even a medium-sized motorcycle takes time to acquire. Typically, I am in the camp of “if it’s too big for you to comfortably move alone, you shouldn’t be riding it” and thus have a pretty slanted view on rider assists that pop up from time to time. However, Michelin recently filed for a patent that has my interest.
The idea is pretty simple, a 3.6V DC motor capable of supplying about 1.5 to 3 lb-ft. of torque puts force directly on the rear tire to help move a bike around. The patent outlines mounting the drive wheels on a swingarm-mounted rear fender, which is nearly ubiquitous on most new machines and don’t look out of place on older machines. The small motor imparts rotational force directly on the tire, but Michelin claims the small motor would not cause additional or odd tire wear and has a top speed of just over one-half-mile per hour. They also have a second design that tucks toward the front of the swingarm, which then adds no additional clutter to the tail end.
It seems so frivolous to me at first blush, but then I flashback to one of the first group rides I ever went to. I had just purchased a used-but-not-abused Yamaha FZ1 and was absolutely in love but still adjusting to the higher bars and seat height compared to my even older Yamaha FZR600. The group began to leave the few parking spots we had filled to gather and while trying to push the FZ1 backwards my foot slipped on a small amount of sand and down I went. It was an embarrassing no-speed drop with everyone watching. This little piece of kit would have saved me that embarrassment.
Michelin also says that this small assist could help loading and unloading bikes in tighter trailers or truck beds. It seems unnecessary for my Honda XR250R, but the 770-pound GL1100 Goldwing I currently park between two cars in storage would be well served with an electronic nudge to help me move it around.
For once, I think tech might be helpful. Do you agree and see the use or think it’s absurd and overkill? Let me know in the Hagerty Community comments below.