The makers of what has been described as the “world’s greatest weapon”, the Russian Kalashnikov machine gun, were also pretty handy at constructing motorbikes, selling around 11 million of them since their formation in 1927. For many years, this Soviet motorbike factory ran second only to Japan in production numbers. One of its most popular bikes was the 1929 Izh-1, and this is a 2012 take on the motorcycle by designer Igor Chak. The concept design comes with more safety features than 10 Volvos combined and is aimed at making riding on the highways and byways safer than walking.

Some of the safety features include dual front airbags and a type of crumple zone for front-on crashes. There’s a radar system, on-board cameras for safe braking distances, traction control and ABS.

Like some systems in hi-tech cars, the bike would be able to detect vehicles braking suddenly in front and automatically apply the brakes safely. It would also include proximity side sensors to detect blind spots, and the handlebars vibrate to warn riders of potential collisions.

Chak has designed the bike to automatically adjust traction for icy conditions, wet roads and the front intakes double as aerodynamic stabilizers for high-speed riding.

Crumple zone

The motorcycle’s airbag system works similar to a car’s crumple zone, absorbing much of the impact and keeping the rider safer. The front airbag has a unique design – it’s pointy arms catch the riders’ shoulders as he/she is thrown forward. Installing airbags on a motorbike isn't as far-fetched as you might think.
Honda has been looking into installing airbags on its motorcycles for some time, and systems are in development that are

The skeleton fork design crumples on impact to take the maximum hit, not the rider.

An on-board computer keeps the rider connected through an LCD 3D touch screen that displays warnings, maintenance requirements and diagnostics, as well as which level the bike is being operated in – sport, comfort or manual.

The Izh 2012 concept would also connect with your smart phone to allow you to answer calls hands-free (but only when stationary, of course).

To ride this bike though, if it ever goes into production, you’d want to live nowhere near speed humps as the bashplate looks so low you’d practically have to dismount and carry your bike over one.

Other features include night vision camera display, a 140hp V-twin engine (50 percent plastic), a Lithium sulfide-powered 60W electric engine with two-speed gearbox (for emission-free riding), or an automatic or six-speed gearbox for the petrol-powered motor, magnetic brakes, hydraulic back-up system.

Pie-in the-sky stuff, but safety is always worth thinking about.

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