Motorcycles

Honda "Riding Assist-e" self-balancing electric motorcycle for beginners

The Riding Assist-e is the latest step in Honda's quest to make motorcycling more accessible to everyone.
The Riding Assist-e is the latest step in Honda's quest to make motorcycling more accessible to everyone.
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We're presuming that's the gyroscopic self-balancing device located below the seat and hence between the rider's thighs.
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We're presuming that's the gyroscopic self-balancing device located below the seat and hence between the rider's thighs.
The Riding Assist-e is the latest step in Honda's quest to make motorcycling more accessible to everyone.
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The Riding Assist-e is the latest step in Honda's quest to make motorcycling more accessible to everyone.
The instrument panel suggests the bike will be configurable for different levels of newbies, as it is pictured displaying "Mode 4", so there will be at least four modes, perhaps more. The number of degrees of lean is also displayed on the dash, perhaps indicating the bike can be configured to intervene at a particular lean angle and deactivate at a particular speed.
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The instrument panel suggests the bike will be configurable for different levels of newbies, as it is pictured displaying "Mode 4", so there will be at least four modes, perhaps more. The number of degrees of lean is also displayed on the dash, perhaps indicating the bike can be configured to intervene at a particular lean angle and deactivate at a particular speed.
The Honda Riding Assist-e  is an electric vehicle with a low center-of-gravity, a very low seat height, and a self-balancing technology which can be configured to intervene at very low speeds.
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The Honda Riding Assist-e  is an electric vehicle with a low center-of-gravity, a very low seat height, and a self-balancing technology which can be configured to intervene at very low speeds.
The Honda Riding Assist-e  is an electric vehicle 
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The Honda Riding Assist-e  is an electric vehicle 
The gyroscopic self-balancing device appears to be located between the rider's thighs, and though it is likely that power is delivered via an electric hub motor, the single-sided swing-arm seems disproportionately large and there may be additional Honda engineering magic contained therein.
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The gyroscopic self-balancing device appears to be located between the rider's thighs, and though it is likely that power is delivered via an electric hub motor, the single-sided swing-arm seems disproportionately large and there may be additional Honda engineering magic contained therein.
The instrument panel suggests the bike will be configurable for different levels of newbies, as it is pictured displaying "Mode 4", so there will be at least four modes, perhaps more. The number of degrees of lean is also displayed on the dash, perhaps indicating the bike can be configured to intervene at a particular lean angle and deactivate at a particular speed.
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The instrument panel suggests the bike will be configurable for different levels of newbies, as it is pictured displaying "Mode 4", so there will be at least four modes, perhaps more. The number of degrees of lean is also displayed on the dash, perhaps indicating the bike can be configured to intervene at a particular lean angle and deactivate at a particular speed.
The Honda Riding Assist-e  is an electric vehicle with a low center-of-gravity, a very low seat height, and a self-balancing technology which can be configured to intervene at very low speeds.
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The Honda Riding Assist-e  is an electric vehicle with a low center-of-gravity, a very low seat height, and a self-balancing technology which can be configured to intervene at very low speeds.

Honda will debut a fascinating new motorcycle built specifically to help learner motorcyclists coming to grips with two wheels for the first time. The bike will be one of the highlights on Honda's stand at the forthcoming 45th Tokyo Motor Show, which runs from October 27 to November 5.

Dubbed the Honda Riding Assist-e, the bike is an electric vehicle with a low center-of-gravity and a very low seat height, but its most interesting capability is a self-balancing technology.

For those who ride a motorcycle already, the concept of your motorcycle deciding how far you can lean it over might seem counter productive. But Honda's balancing technology, which is apparently derived from its humanoid robot research, only balances the bike at "very low speeds" – something that seems to make perfect sense.

Few details have been released at this stage and it's unlikely we'll know anything more until the bike is shown to the media on October 25, but here's hoping that Honda will do more than just show the bike and ask us to suspend disbelief.

The gyroscopic self-balancing device appears to be located between the rider's thighs, and though it is likely that power is delivered via an electric hub motor, the single-sided swing-arm seems disproportionately large and there may be additional Honda engineering magic contained therein.
The gyroscopic self-balancing device appears to be located between the rider's thighs, and though it is likely that power is delivered via an electric hub motor, the single-sided swing-arm seems disproportionately large and there may be additional Honda engineering magic contained therein.

From the imagery that has been released, the gyroscopic self-balancing device appears to be located between the rider's thighs, and though it is likely that power is delivered via an electric hub motor, the single-sided swing-arm seems disproportionately large, suggesting there may be additional Honda engineering magic contained therein.

Similarly, the trellis frame appears to be far more robust than one would expect of a low powered learner bike.

The instrument panel suggests the bike will be configurable for different levels of newbies, as it is pictured displaying "Mode 4", so there will be at least four modes, perhaps more. The number of degrees of lean is also displayed on the dash, perhaps indicating the bike can be configured to intervene at a particular lean angle and deactivate at a particular speed.
The instrument panel suggests the bike will be configurable for different levels of newbies, as it is pictured displaying "Mode 4", so there will be at least four modes, perhaps more. The number of degrees of lean is also displayed on the dash, perhaps indicating the bike can be configured to intervene at a particular lean angle and deactivate at a particular speed.

A close look at the instrument panel in the Honda-supplied images also suggests the bike will be configurable for different levels of newbies – it is pictured displaying "Mode 4", so there will be at least four modes. The number of degrees of lean is also displayed on the dash, perhaps indicating the bike can be configured to intervene at a particular lean angle and deactivate at a particular speed.

All said, the unconventional appearance of the bike conveys it isn't your normal learner bike, and that promises something quite special when the Honda name is involved.

Let's hope so.

The Honda Riding Assist-e  is an electric vehicle with a low center-of-gravity, a very low seat height, and a self-balancing technology which can be configured to intervene at very low speeds.
The Honda Riding Assist-e  is an electric vehicle with a low center-of-gravity, a very low seat height, and a self-balancing technology which can be configured to intervene at very low speeds.

13 comments
Mzungu_Mkubwa
Could they have made it any uglier? There's the "hi tech" look and there's the utilitarian look (think Rukus) but this buffet of design confusion is just grotesque, sorry. Did they just forget to include anyone from the design studio on this team? It looks slapped together from leftover parts...
kwalispecial
Honda usually makes well-designed and thought out vehicels, so I'm sure they've got it figured out... That said, I really hope the throttle and balance control work together well, because the last thing you'd want is to be going into a corner expecting to lean in, and have the thing prevent you from leaning as far as you need to - recipe for a high-side!
tommy
A closer look at the photos reveals the Honda motor is beneath the rider in a centralized location and that the single sided swingarm obviously houses a drive shaft from the electric motor to the rear hub. The styling is similar to the newest Honda Rebel.
Geared4me
Hmm, I love the styling! I could do without the gyro balancing but other than that I would love to own this bike.
Wolf0579
Self-balancing for beginners?!? I wonder how the hell millions and millions of young humans ever survived their first rides on bicycles, and later motorcycles, myself among them, without that self-balancing technology. Humans are getting seriously soft. We're just begging for a pandemic.
MD
Well most manufacturers of the "hyped" self balancing m'bike are gunning for the car driver market. They are also trying to place price in the Luxury m'cycle market with some strange looking machines that historically we haven't wanted to buy. (Such as LIT C1, which will likely never reach market)- EVEN if they are seriously cool (geeky/dawky) -monotracer-in a Bonneville streamliner sort of way, great for bombing the autobahn, not so for winding through back streets. Using self balancing device in a m'cycle which looks and rides kind of like a normal bike makes sense, if it can have some role in preventing accidents due to the stabilising effects of a gyro... A stabilising bike may change how we ride at low speed, it also may reduce the risk of falling off (most inelegant) if the rear wheel gets clipped by a car, or guard rail... OOK mostly it will be a POS gimmick, but as long as the entry price is right it may get some good tech onto the market. Don't mind the looks.. reminds me of a grown-up monkey bike. Give it some blistering off the line torque, moderate max speed, and usable range (150km would be a good start) recharge for pennies and we may get more people out of cages and onto 2x1. (No reason this can't be to market for well under $10k., no: AC/Radio/doorseals/interior to design/trim/large-battery/t-frunk) A decent electric m'cycle (not a poxy scooter) will be the environment's best friend all while keeping in touch with the wild west.
MarcJackson
Looks almost ok, can't see how it has enough energy storage especially given its running an extra motor for balancing. Hybrid would have been the go. Having all the known issues of telescopic forks for a learner to deal with kind off cancels out having a system know the physics of what's safe and limiting them to that. No racing vehicle has unsupported long beams and puts all forces through them. Hub Centre steering surely would have been the preferred system. If they're going for new riders give them a decent system not one we know is so flawed.
vince
Self balancing electric would be good for us old farts with weak legs and hernia's.
SheerHippo
I'm not sure the info about the gyroscopic device is correct. Honda demoed the Riding Assist technology some time back with an autonomous, self balancing motorcycle. The technology works using an adjustable-angle front fork and steering inputs, no gyro, and the last picture in this article seems to be highlighting the same type of fork.
Altairtech
This is the typical solution in search of a problem. The very fact that the seat is low from the ground and that the CG is low, renders the self-balancing system completely un-necessary! This is not a Motocross bike with a seat height of almost 4 ft.