Honda has filed an application for a patent for an aerodynamic tail that looks a little like those spoilers we see on “fully sic” fast fours and 1970s supercars.
Winglets have been added to the front of MotoGP bikes over the past couple of years to address aerodynamic issues.
Now Honda is looking to add some aerodynamic assistance to the rear of the bike.
Ducati’s Panigale V4 has a similar aerodynamic trail.
However, Honda’s patent features a removable tail-pack, where you can store small items such as your phone or wallet. That seems to indicate it’s not been designed specifically for race use.
It also appears to have movable wings which could be deployed at high speed for stability and under heavy braking to keep the rear wheel on the ground.
They could be deployed automatically or with a manual switch on the handlebar.
Now don’t laugh. Aerodynamic issues are more prevalent in motorcycles than cars.
The most aerodynamically “slippery” motorcycle is the Suzuki Hayabusa which has a drag coefficient (cD) of about 0.55 to 0.60.
Drag coefficient is the ratio of drag on the body moving through the air to the product of the velocity and the surface area of the body.
Even a Mazda6 sedan has a much better cD of 0.26.
Racing engineer Jeromy Moore says it is difficult for motorcycles to match a car’s aerodynamics, because they are too short.
“With aero, it will be hard to get a bike’s cD down as it is quite short so the air has to deflect at larger angles to go around and rejoin,” he says.
This is one of a blitz of patent applications by Honda over the past couple of years.
Some are quite weird and impractical, but others may actually make it to market.
We suspect Honda is just trying to dominate intellectual property on motorcycle inventions, rather than planning to put them all into production.
The patents include:
- Goldwing Hossack-style forks on smaller models;
- A telescopic side stand;
- Bikes that respond to your emotions by adjusting throttle and brakes and suspension;
- Active aero where winglets deploy above a certain speed;
- Direct injection;
- A bike with a variable riding position that converts from a sports bike with a crouched riding position to a street bike with an upright position;
- A small-capacity bike with non-ventilated drum brakes;
- A helmet that integrates with the bike and monitors for of an impending rear-ender;
- A helmet that recognises your face when you put your helmet on and acts as a remote key fob to switch on your motorcycle;
- A rider air-conditioner;
- A “climate seat” that blows hot or cool air;
- A leaning trike; and
- A hydrogen-powered motorcycle.