Harley Davidson has been publicizing its troubles for the past couple of months, and in a nutshell, all their troubles boil down to two factors: a very old army of fans and difficulties in attracting younger buyers. Essentially the same troubles as other premium motorcycle manufacturers.
Well, the company deserves its fair share of criticism: while Harley remains a leader in many areas, including electric bicycles, for example, their main product, heavy cruisers and tourers, which generate the main profit and form the basis of their image, in fact, have difficulty in attracting new buyers, but for old ones are a challenge in themselves. Their size and weight, so attractive to people full of strength, are overkill for older users, especially at low speeds.
Self-balancing in place Harley Davidson
But what if Harley Davidson created a system that eliminates the possibility of falling at low speeds? One of the variants of such a system is described in the patent, which will be discussed below.
The idea described in the patent application is to install a gyroscope on a motorcycle to maintain balance while standing and at walking speeds. The gyroscope installed in the central case of the Tour-Pak is not the same as on modern motorcycles for measuring inertia, microelectromechanical. Harley will be powered by a traditional high-mass gyroscope, such as those used for navigation in spacecraft, not to mention airplanes and watercraft.
Such a gyroscope consists of a heavy flywheel spun up to a speed in the range of 10,000 – 20,000 rpm. with the help of an electric motor on a gimbal, which, during normal driving, allows it to move freely and rotate along all axes. This means that besides the slight extra weight, it will not affect the bike’s behavior at normal speeds in any way.
However, at speeds around 5 km / h and below, the gyroscope comes into action and provides balance. A special clutch connects the gimbal shaft to a computer controlled linear actuator. This allows the computer to tilt the rotating mass to one side or the other, creating a force that affects the entire bike. Sensors built into the case detect the tilt of the bike, and the computer counteracts this tilt by moving the gyroscope accordingly.
Tour-Pak center bag
This requires relatively little effort if applied before the bike is tilted too low, so small movements of the gyroscope are enough to self-balance the bike. For a beginner who wants to try a Harley cruiser but doesn’t have the experience to operate it safely, this can be a significant plus. It can also be useful for older riders or just small people who are worried that they lack the strength and mass to keep a large and heavy bike in the correct position. As soon as the bike reaches 5 km / h, the gyro actuator disengages and allows the bike to tilt and balance normally.
Special version of the Tour-Pak center bag
What makes this option especially elegant is that it is essentially removable. Instead of having a gyroscope built into a motorcycle, everything needed for the balance system to work is built into a dedicated version of the Tour-Pak center bag. So all that remains is to connect the power supply and the system is ready to go. This means that such a system can be installed on literally any bike made by Harley Davidson (and in fact, on most motorcycles in general). According to the patent, the system needs one more wire to transmit a signal from the speed sensor to the ABS, but the system can also receive information about the speed of movement from the GPS module.
For beginners, this means that the system can be disabled or dismantled when they have achieved certain riding skills, and for older motorcyclists, the system can be installed on their familiar and favorite motorcycles, and not give up riding on two wheels due to weakening muscles.
Of course, the filing of a patent does not mean at all that the idea will go into production, but if the stars nevertheless converge, then this design will be great additions to the company’s proposals.