By Jeremy Korzeniewski
There aren’t many motorcycles that offer a reverse gear (the offbeat Ural sidecar and big honkin’ Honda Goldwing being two examples that do), and many are small and light enough that they don’t really need one. That said, the heavier a motorcycle is, the more difficult it is to push around. And that’s where a new patent from Michelin comes into play.
The French company that’s normally associated with tires patented a rear fender and mudguard design that incorporates a tiny electric motor that can lock into place, coming into contact with the rear tire and allowing for electric-assisted movement. In theory, the motor could move the bike forward and backward, making low-speed maneuvering much easier.
There would be sufficient torque provided by a 3.6-volt battery pack (similar to the units used in lots of electric screwdrivers, we’d wager) to move a bike in parking lots or gas stations, or to assist in loading up a ramp into a pickup truck or trailer.
Because the design relies on a rechargeable battery pack and a friction roller, it’s fully self-contained and could be fitted to any number of motorcycles. An alternate design puts the motor in front of the wheel inline with the swingarm. Naturally, there’s no telling if an actual product will result from this patent, but either way, it’s interesting.