I'd been expecting this, ever since Harley-Davidson applied for a patent for a leaning trike. Given that a well-ridden Spyder can corner very swiftly already, a leaning Spyder would potentially be a serious challenge for any bike.
I don't think HD will go ahead with developing a working sample. I've been told by a reliable source that the mechanism won't work right if built according to the drawings. This from someone who has built leaning trikes. HD is also in the throes of the sales downturn, and unlikely to be squandering any cash on R&D.
If I read the reports correctly, HD have ceased production of sidecars, and decided to abandon their trike--or at least the Lehman connection.
I wonder whether BRP is taking the direction of 'free leaning" (roll controlled by the operator countersteering) or powered lean (where some computer would manage lean via some sort of powered actuator) The advantage of the free leaner is simpler, more direct control. The advantage of the powered lean is that if the tires slip the rig won't collapse.
BRP seems to favor very complex computer controlled systems.
I've got to admit that I'm getting a little queasy about the computerization.
Years ago I had a Guzzi/sidecar rig with manual lean via an electric-driven hydraulic pump. The sidecar frame stayed more-or-less level, just the bike leaned, up to about 20 degrees in either direction from vertical. The pump wasn't fast enough to lean through an S bend, but it certailnly helped in sweepers.
For a few milliseconds, I pondered how difficult it would be to add some cylinders to Sparky to be able to "trim" the roll angle. I decided the systems were so complex already, fooling around with lean would be asking for headaches.
Last edited by pmdave; 02-08-2011 at 09:38 PM.
The Guzzi leaner (circa 1975)
I test rode the Spyder when I was first wanting a big bike. I thought it was very neat, reminded me of riding a snowmobile. I really liked leaning the bike, so went that way with my RT. I could see owning one some day, it sure was fun.
Yup, it's kinda fun leaning a two-wheeler around corners. It seems simple, but actually the process is rather complicated, first steering one way, then steering the other way. Maybe the complex process of leaning the bike is a puzzle the human mind finds stimulating.
Driving a (rigid) trike is a lot more like a sports car. Left and right turns are about the same, and with a bit of drifting you can make haste.
Driving a sidecr rig is a bit more complex than either a trike or bike. Power, braking, drifting, etc. are different left to right. It's complex, but learnable, and I get a big kick out of herding my sidecar rig. I find it just as amusing as leaning a bike through turns, and a lot less stressful. With an aggressive bike, all it takes is a little too much throttle at the wrong time, and BAM!
I suspect that older riders are more likely to take to three-wheelers not so much because of physical balance degradation, but because we can ride like hoons with much less risk of a crash.
If that's true, then driving a "leaning" trike would lose some of it's appeal, because the ability to lean also includes the ability to fall down. There would be some additional traction with a leaning three-wheeler than with a comparable bike, since each front tire would be on a different part of the surface. Same as for the MP3. However, on a slick surface such as ice or pea gravel, I'd much prefer a rigid three-wheeler that can slide and drift without "falling down."