If you have never heard of the SkidBike, it may take a minute or two to wrap your head around this machine. After all, with both skids and wheels, it is exceedingly different from a traditional motorcycle. Still, because the SkidBike is impossible to crash and offers an exhilarating ride, you should know a few things about the importance of this bike. In this article, we give you a brief look into the history of the SkidBike.
Start With a Car
Once you know about this innovative motorcycle, you may wonder, where was the SkidBike invented? The answer is more detailed than you might expect. In fact, the SkidBike did not start with a bike at all. Rather, the inspiration for the machine began with a car, the SkidCar, which originated in Sweden.
As you likely know, the climate is decidedly frigid and icy in Sweden. That is, a significant part of the country reaches into the Arctic Circle. Not to miss out on either the fun or the publicity that comes with racing cars, the Swedes started the World Rally Championship, which they hold on a snowy course. Because packed snow does not offer much in the way of traction, a Scotland-based inventor decided to tinker with a race car’s tires. To supplement the vehicle’s wheels, he placed castors on the four corners of the vehicle. When he did, the SkidCar was born.
Like with many prototypes, the SkidCar required some tweaking. An engineering firm acquired the intellectual property and then began research and development at a police driving school in Stockholm, Sweden. A race car driver in the United States also acquired rights to the SkidCar.
If you have never thought about how skids may affect a car’s responsiveness and performance, the idea may seem silly. Nevertheless, the SkidCar’s real-world utility quickly became apparent.
The Benefits of the SkidCar
You may be asking yourself, why would anyone want to put castors on a race car? The answer is quite simple.
When police officers, race car drivers and others train, they often need to simulate real-world conditions. While knowing how to drive on wet, icy or otherwise slippery roads is essential for many drivers, creating these conditions in a controlled environment can be challenging. The SkidCar solves the problem.
By adjusting the casters on the SkidCar, trainers are able to move most of a vehicle’s weight off its tires and onto the casters. The result is a car that behaves on normal pavement like it might on slippery roads. That is, when driving the SkidCar, you experience a loss of traction which creates a skid. In a safe and controlled environment, you learn how to correct the vehicle to avoid a collision or crash.
Those who own the rights to SkidCar in Sweden, the United States and other places have sold hundreds of vehicles to racing programs, driving schools and police departments around the globe. Meanwhile, inventors have continued to work on the product, turning the SkidCar into a SkidTruck and SkidBike.
Creating the SkidBike
Just as knowing how to correct a skid is essential for police officers, race car drivers and other motorists, motorcycle enthusiasts need to know how to control a skidding bike. Of course, cars and motorcycles are different types of machines. As such, when designing the SkidBike, inventors had to think about the fundamental difference in a SkidCar vs. a SkidBike.
While inventors originally thought turning the SkidCar into a SkidBike was not possible due to motorcycles having two wheels and significantly less weight, they built a prototype and tested it on a bicycle. The result was terrifying, as the bike’s two wheels made it difficult to control. Inventors knew they had to take a different approach when building a custom SkidBike.
When customizing the SkidCar to work as a SkidBike, designers had to overcome three hurdles. First, rather than having a complete frame, the SkidBike needed separate skids for each wheel. Also, unlike cars that do not lean, the SkidBike had to tilt to the left and right during cornering. Finally, the SkidBike needed a failsafe to keep it from turning over. To address these challenges, inventors added wings to the side of the bike. They also lifted the rear of the motorcycle and used heavy-duty gimbals to account for leaning.
Some of the SkidBike’s features, though, match the SkidCar. For example, users can adjust the skids to transfer weight from the tires to casters. The first SkidBike motorcycle prototype was fitted on a Honda CRF250L and premiered in Las Vegas to critical acclaim. Interestingly, the SkidBike comes with a remote control that allows users to adjust grip levels in real time.
Handling the SkidBike
Unless you are a training police officer or race car driver, you may never have the opportunity to sit behind the handlebars of a SkidBike. Still, you would probably like to know about the experience of riding one.
The first thing you are likely to notice is the weight difference of the SkidBike-equipped motorcycle. Because the hardware weighs approximately 160 pounds, the bike immediately handles differently. Nonetheless, after transferring weight from the tires to the casters, the bike feels like it is riding on a slippery surface. Further, even though the wings offer protection from a turnover, they limit the angle with which you can lean during your ride.
Mastering the SkidBike takes time. As you may suspect, the tires and braking system both perform differently after you adjust the casters. Still, because riding on wet or icy roads is also tough to master, practicing on the SkidBike makes sense. For police officers and motorcycle racers who routinely must ride during inclement weather, the SkidBike is an invaluable tool.
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