I realise that many of you in the northern hemisphere are not blessed with 30+ degree weather every day like we are down under (that’s 30 real degrees not that weird fahrenheit gobbledegook you lot speak in) and the forum is a little quiet while there’s not much riding going on so I have some musings to help tide over the exceptionally bored of you during your winter hibernation.
I recently read and watched some of the reviews on the new 2017 Honda Boring.
With the Yamaha Fish and Kawasaki Ugly already out there and the Suzuki Kindy being tested this week at the Island all the manufacturers have now shown their hands and electronic visions. (oh sorry, I forgot to mention the BMW Fkn Ugly!)
Looking at the new Honda and more specifically the SP version you will find the semi active suspension system. Of course as all Panigale owners know this isn’t exactly new but it was this that got the old grey matter contemplating the future.
You see, even with this somewhat basic system you have 1000 combinations to (inconveniently) play around with. As several testers said, if they had 3 more days on track they feel they could have got the settings nicely dialed in…….for THAT track at least.
Now add to this the other systems that are commonplace right now on road bikes.
Selectable ABS, adjustable TC, engine braking management, back torque limitation, slide control, launch control, rear wheel lift mitigation, wheelie control (do I need to continue?) and you have an aneurysm waiting to happen if you really want to get things dialled in to that magical sweet spot.
This could get a lot simpler in the future if we all end up with degrees in binary code but the manufacturers don’t have that much faith in us so fortunately they have a much better idea. They will let the bike and it’s vault of ECU’S and IMU’S and other assorted acronyms take some of the hard work out of it and make decisions for us.
(starting to see where I’m heading now?)
So for instance on the new Honda they have the wheelie control and TC linked together and they can not be separated or disabled. This is to make their operation more user friendly
(how considerate of you MR H). This feature copped a bit of flak from testers due to various limitations they experienced with it, although it was conceded by some that if you rode the bike in a particular way (the way Honda has deemed the most efficient) it does actually work quite well…….but most hated it.
So where does this kind of thing leave us moving forward?
The new systems already have the bike making assumptions on your behalf. At the moment you only find active suspension on high end models but there is little doubt that this too will trickle down to the general populace in the near future, further muddying the waters.
As more and more rider aides become available and ever more advanced, the ability of the average rider to correctly employ these aides to their best advantage will diminish. The only option is to remove the organic element (that’s you fella) and it’s flawed logic from the decision making process (Oh, you wanted to have fun? No, no! That’s not logical or the most efficient way of accomplishing task X. Here, let me help you, you poor little meat sack of puny intelligence).
Mark my words ladies and gentlemen, more and more the bike is going to be taking care of these decision making processes.
From there it’s not an unimaginable step to removing the real world and it’s inherent dangers from the equation altogether.
Of course I’m not saying this will happen tomorrow but give it a generation or two at most and VR will advance to a level that encompasses all 5 senses in a manner rivaling and possibly exceeding reality. The young'úns will be expelling the virtues of the “new” way and scoffing at our absurd notions that they don’t know what it’s like to REALLY be riding on the edge.
You may find these ideas mere flights of science fiction fantasy at the moment but the communicators in Star Trek were thought of similarly in the ‘70’s. I wonder how many of you could live without your cell phone now?
Those of us that have been around long enough remember 20 years ago when fuel injection wasn’t on your average road bike. More of you may well recall 10 years ago when electronics consisted of a selection of three primitive engine maps and even more will know it was only five years ago when traction control was beginning to make an appearance.
The speed of technological advancement increases exponentially so laugh at my ludicrous predictions if you wish but these things will come to pass I assure you.
So my advice to you all is, enjoy it while you can because it wont last forever.
Last day at work today as I’m off to Malaysia tomorrow for a couple of weeks hols. Think i've even scored a bike to use while i'm there
Catch you all when I get back