R-Bike Shape Shifting Motorcycle

R-Bike Shape Shifting Motorcycle

Every motorcycle is a compromise of sorts, buy a cruiser and you can't ride off road, buy something for the back woods and highway riding becomes uncomfortable. Erik Brinkman, an inventor and designer with IDS (Interactive Design Studios) in Victoria, British Columbia, thought about the problem and came up with the R-Bike, a shape shifting motorcycle.

The key to the R-Bike is the frame which has a scissor action built in. It can be changed from a stretched out cruiser to a standard to a high clearance off road bike whenever the rider finds it necessary.

The bike has a multi link suspension on both front and rear and is designed around a single cylinder engine. The seat, footpegs and handlebars all adjust as the frame shifts giving the rider the correct riding position for each style of bike. A nice feature is the ability for anyone to easily mount the bike with the seat in the lowest position and yet still have the ability of riding a high seat off road bike when the frame adjusts.

The bike only exists in the computer at the moment while they look for investors. According to the web site they plan to produce the first bikes in March of 2008.

This is an interesting design. It would be nice to see a prototype to evaluate how well it actually works. If they get the funding that will probably be first on their to do list. Neat.

Link: R-Bike website

Lots more images below showing shape shift plus an update from designer Erik Brinkman:

Erik sent us a couple of corrections:

1. We are not based in Victoria. We are all over the world and based on the Web. It is hard to gather enough quality talents together in one place, so, thanks to the internet, we can spread all over the world and it still feel like we are in one place. I spend half my time in Victoria, although at this time of year, I'd rather be in Maui :>)

2. This is fully engineered and so is way beyond a design concept. That is what 9 years of work brings. We will be taking pre-orders hopefully by the end of this month.

We have one thing left and that is the variable valve timing I need for the Diesel version. Not a big deal. The patent on VVT has run out, so it is a matter of making it.

3. The only thing up in the air right now is a matter of how to structure the long term manufacturing. On the one hand we have had requests from bike builders for regional building, yet I worry about quality control in such a "Third Wave" decentralized approach. A central factory allows better control over quality. Quality is everything. Then there is the matter of whether we should build the military version in a special facility. We are in discussions on that matter.

R-Bike Shape Shifting Motorcycle

R-Bike Shape Shifting Motorcycle

R-Bike Shape Shifting Motorcycle

R-Bike Shape Shifting Motorcycle

R-Bike Shape Shifting Motorcycle

R-Bike Shape Shifting Motorcycle

Comments

  1. Alejandro Martinez says

    It is good to see people thinking out of the box, but I really don’t see a demand for such a product unless it was dirt cheap.

  2. Chris says

    Great concept, but I see that suspension, tires, and gearing would become a difficult hudle; to meet the full spectrum of those listed riding styles.

  3. todd says

    As long as it is better than a KLR650 it should do well. The KLR, XR650L, F650GS, DRZ650, etc. are already fully capable dual purpose bikes that look much nicer than this and probably much cheaper. I would think twice about a four foot jump on this bike lest it collapse and mash the exhaust pipe…
    -todd

  4. chris says

    if i look at it like an engineer, i think “holy cow! that’s awesome! look at how everything goes together” (lots of little details to drool over) but, if i look at it like someone who wants a bike i think “it’s kind of funny looking – and it seems like all of the different styles of bike would be somehow compromised by needing to allow the other configurations to also function.” cool theory, but it doesn’t seem like it would work in practice. it’d be great to be proven wrong though. . .

  5. M. Baker says

    Something like this would be good if the changes allowed you to go from reclined ‘cruiser’ seating to leant forward ‘sports’ style riding. And your bum would last longer touring

  6. palegreenhorse says

    i like the concept of a bike that changes. i enjoy riding to my dirt excursions and this would make highway riding / dirt riding loops more fun. hopefully the end product will look less like a show bike and more like a bike i would actually take places and get a few scratches on.

  7. says

    It’s a great concept and worth exploring further. Not sure if I’d want one but I really like the idea of an adjustable bike.

  8. says

    To: F451
    Yes it looks classic,1930′s classic, with wood and bronze etc but I wanted to pay respect to the best of the past while making large strides into the future, so Retirement Community, no, but classic, yes.

    To: Alejandro Martinez
    You should look at the lastest FRAME booklet in the REPORT and see the scope of what a ShapeShifting bike allows you to do, Look at the RIDE section where the on-the-fly ShapeShifting is discussed.

    To: Bryce
    We will be taking pre-orders probably by the end of the month, so you won’t have too long to wait.

    To: Chris
    The bike comes with three sets of wheels
    and are super quick to replace with 5-pins and one nut, just like an F1 racecar. The gearing is very wide with a granny-gear for 1st and an overdrive 6th and a reverse gear for the woods. On the topic of suspension, look at the SUSPENSION booklet to see how the suspension automatically changes its behavior as the bike ShapeShifts.

    To: Todd
    The other bikes you mention are trade-offs. Not too good off-road and not too good on-road, but a compromise. That means a less than satisfying overall ride. The suspension is 4 inches in full-stretch and 8 inches in full-scrunch. The spring is also progressive, so I wouldn’t worry about mashing the tailpipe :>)

    There is no other way for the bike to look in order to have the exact proportions it needs for each style.

    It is not cheap at all. It is a very expensive bike, but when you use only the finest materials and construction it adds up. It is unfair to compare it to disposable bikes out there. This is made to last for decades.

    To: Chris
    This design is about eliminated compromises. You may want to read the most recent upload of the FRAME booklet,
    especially the part about the RIDE and how you can shapeshift off-road while riding.

    To: palegreenhorse
    It looks nice and shiny so it is easier to rinse off the dirt. There are no rusting materials anywhere
    and the body parts (i.e. tank) are all very high impact poly-carbonate that stays shiny and will not scratch, so you can toss it around without worry. Not also the foor controls, brake calipers, folding handlebars, tucked headlight, etc etc all designed so you can drop it without having to replace parts.

  9. todd says

    Erik, I appreciate your response to everyones input. However, I don’t understand how your bike would not also be a trade-off or a compromise. Are you saying that it would be more capable on AND off-road than an XR650L -etc.? Are you suggesting your bike would be more comfortable and you haven’t even constructed a prototype yet? It also looks like you have an air cooled, push-rod single of antiquated design and also a diesel. You seem to suggest that your bike will be more capable (i.e. powerful) than a 40 or 50HP Japanese or German 650 overhead cam single. As far as I know, you can only reliably get at most 35HP from an overhead valve single with much development.

    Good luck to you and I tip my hat to you for giving it your all!

    -todd

  10. Gauge says

    I think the concept is very interesting yet i agreed to most of your opinions – the design needs to be considered to be more …..future. it needs to be more sexy i think. the engineering part was great, then i think you should hire some professional art designer and….re-do the design. As you can see, the concept itself is really interesting – just the design itself doesn’t come to us so tasty….

  11. Sean says

    It looks silly, yes. But I can agree that it needs to look like that to do everything. Good on you for giving it all this work, the best of luck to you.

  12. says

    This is a long response … sorry ’bout that.
    I can only visit this blog avery few days.

    To Todd (Feb 9)

    When you see QT shapeshifting videos, toggle one.

    1. The full scrunch is a barely reasonable trials setting.
    2. The second one is more cowtrailing in tight trails in hilly country.
    3. The third is Enduro and starts being best for gravel (the feet are at the center of mass)
    4. The next is good for around town traffic
    5. Then you have a more relaxed setting for the 35-45 mph suburban rides.

    That takes care of about half the shapeshifting range.
    The last half is all about cruising
    and how you want your legs stretched at that moment.
    Each ride usually covers a couple of images in the animation
    that would do represent a good choice for that ride,

    ShapeShifting ON-THE-FLY

    We are going to spend 3 years or so playing with some of these,
    hooked to sensors and using A.I. software
    to see where the comfort levels are in automating some of these.
    …. with a cut-off option (as with the ant-lock and anti-spin).

    Here is the list ….

    1. DOWN a Steep Hill
    As you start a steep slow descend, you stretch your bike out a bit
    with feet stretched on pointing downhill
    and the seat much lower and you tuck your body rearward.

    2. UP a Steep Hill
    As you ascend the hill,
    you start fairly stretchy and slowly scrunch as you go up
    to let the ShapeShift pull-it up
    and you need more tight control as you do those last few feet of climb.

    3. Tight Squeeze
    When the trail goes tight between trees you need squeeze it in a bit,
    then stretch it back on the other side.

    4. Sharp Curves
    You approach a sharp curve and need a little more belly clearance
    and you need a shorter more nimble wheelbase,
    so you scrunch into the curve and stretch back out of the curve
    pulling itself out of the curve..

    5. Creek Crossing
    You approach the creek and so you scrunch high
    to keep the nostril tucked high behind the side-pods
    and keep splashes of water deflected from the intake and the rider,
    and the tailpipe tilts down to keep water from backing up into it.
    Then you stretch to let the ShapeShifting help pull up onto the other bank.

    6. High Speed Cruising
    You are riding in your most comfortable position
    and you want or need to go smoother faster.
    You are only a 10-inch wide frame, so if you stretch it out,
    you have a longer faster more stable arrow in the wind.

    7. High Speed Braking
    You are stretched out and cruising the open road
    and suddenly a deer pops up onto the road and just stands there.
    So you clamp the binders full-on
    and the bike frame slowly shortens as the bike slows,
    because a shorter wheelbase stops quicker with better control.
    Stopping benefits from a wheelbase best suited
    for hard braking at that momenary speed,

    8. Lock-n-Stretch over a Log
    You kiss up to a log and plant the rear brake and then stretch
    and in so doing “crawl” the bike.
    The bike comes with a 21 inch front wheel to help in this option.

    9. Pulling out of a Hole
    There you are stuck in the mudhole. Seen it a thousand times.
    Now you don’t worry about pulling the bike out.
    You can stretch to both spread out the weight
    and use the stretch-crawl method of “inch-worming” your way out
    using the frame’s ShapeShifting.

    10. In a SideSlide
    The bike might want to scrunch a bit more
    to help make the SideSlide easier to control.

    11. If the Road gets Rough
    The bike might want to raise up a bit
    and shorten its wheelbase for better control.

    So ….
    to answer your question, YES,
    there is a setting which would compete with and exceed the abilities of any existing Enduro.

    After all, this is very light for its size and can cross a creek better than they can
    and adapt to the varying demands of the woods better
    and be more comfortable on the road ride back home after the woods.

    One thing people wonder about is whether it will feel squirrely
    or if it would be comfortable to ride.

    1. One reason the engine mass moves as the bike shapeshifts
    is to maintain the same center of mass
    and so keeps the center of mass and wheel pressure equal-front-to-back
    This is important for the rider’s stability,
    but also so that braking feel stays consistent.
    In a typical chopper, for example,
    you apply the rear brake and tether the front.
    In other configurations is is the opposite.
    There has been a lot to take into account.

    2. Addition comfort is assured because the engine and drive is isolated.
    It starts with all the vibration dampening technology
    and the rider is very isolated from vibration
    by mounting him on the short spar and using dampening gel pads,
    the feedback is controlled thru the seat suspension
    and the steering dampening adjustment.

    The bike was designed and tested in the computer.
    It is far more subtle and precise than physical prototyping can accomplish.
    There will be a need to fine tune the “feel”,
    but that should be over 90% accurate via the computer.

    The other part was about power specs ….

    regular
    1000cc (75 hp 75 lb-ft)
    750c (50 hp 35 lb-ft)

    hemi
    1000cc (100 hp 100 lb-ft)
    750cc (75 hp 50 lb-ft)

    diesel
    1000cc (50 hp 75 lb-ft)
    750c (35 hp 50 lb-ft)

    I also get the feedback that the function is nice, but it looks odd.
    If I moved any part even a half inch, it would not work as well.
    It is a giant puppet.
    Even the curves on the body parts are very specific in their function.
    I focused on off-road function first, because that is the most difficult.
    Then I focused on road needs and then I thought about look.

    Those who are about the bike, may say it looks odd, and not want one.
    People who are about the ride, will like the extra freedom and animation
    Shapeshifting brings it to bike.
    It creates a different find of rider-bike relationship.

  13. says

    PS-
    The distance between your hands and your butt
    stays exactly the same as you shapeshift

    So you in the same place
    and the bike shapeshifts under you
    as your feet move forward or back.

  14. David in AK says

    beauty…eye…beholder

    I’m just wondering how long I’ll have to pinch pennies before I get one of these.

  15. says

    “R” want one!What an amazing toy;I am still enjoying the inventiveness of the younger generation after nearly sixty years riding bikes.I wish them all success with their venture-pity tis that I am now too old for this sort of pleasure.

  16. bigsalamander says

    The strangest look in the design by far is the extra fuel tanks on either side of the main tanks. Can those and you have a much cleaner look.

  17. bigsalamander says

    A nuther comment: Is the seat sprung? If so, off road your butt is going to be launched to the moon (sorry).

  18. herrycandi says

    I allways visit your web i makes younger every i look the motor picture i am very interesting .

    I am form makassar, indonesia
    thank you, god bless u

  19. gtada says

    Unless this bike automagically swaps out its tires, I’m not interested (among other things)… there’s a lot more to the different types of bikes than just the shape.

    Also in the shape mode with maximum ground clearance, how does the front tire not slam right into the exhaust pipe?

  20. says

    Have a handle installed above handlebars, fold it up some more and then you’d be able to carry it like a suitcase..

  21. Erik Brinkman says

    Time for a bit of an update ….
    http://www.erikbrinkman.com/rbike

    BTW- if you don’t have QuickTime application in your computer,
    you miss out on all the neat videos in the “Gallery”.

    The most important part of the bike is the drivetrain.
    Merch is handling the 6 engines.
    They are tops in making very very strong motors.

    The drivetrain uses 3-inch helical-cut gears
    (stainless steel with a near-diamond coating
    …. 10 times slicker than Teflon)

    It will be tested and ready to install by late 08.
    The first bikes are for the Militaries and the Bike Shows,
    We also promised 2 bikes for Warner Brothers and others in L.A.

    Orange County Choppers show will be assembling one on TV.
    (almost half the parts are Harley-World aftermarket parts,
    so you will be able to service the bike at any Harley Dealer).

    They will be built in New York and in Medicine Hat.

    Public production will begin in 09.
    Prices will begin just below $20k for a stripped budget bike
    with a base $4k engine.
    and up close to $120k for the highest possible quality and detail
    and the $60k engine.

    We are designing a “Build-a-Bike” section on the WebSite
    where you can select almost every part on the bike
    and adjust the price/feature balance to what you want.
    You will have a choice of 6 engines and 3 transmissions.
    There are 3 front wheel sizes and 2 rear wheel sizes.
    There are 3 seat styles and 2 tank options. etc etc
    until the bike is exactly what you want and can afford.

    Then if you answer a marketing questionaire,
    we will email you a poster sized hi-resolution picture
    of the bike the way YOU designed it.

    Soon we shall begin taking pre-orders
    so you can save your place in line.
    This is a couple of weeks away.
    We have it functioning correctly.
    Now it is a matter of the “look”
    and then loading the hundreds of selections / options.

    We promise that when updates occur,
    they can be added any existing bike,
    so that the purchase is a lifetime relationship.

    Now, I know the idea of a ShapeShifter motorcycle
    is a little out of the box …. just a little,
    but the bike actually takes on the proportions
    of the top bikes in each riding style category.
    If any part of the frame were mounted or shaped 1/4 inch off,
    the entire “puppet” would not work well.

    There is much more to this than first meets the eye.
    This is all about the frame, and not just about the bike as such.
    We expect to license the frame to other makers in the future.
    Adaptive-geometry makes for a safer bike,
    and ultimately we want to see lots of them on the road,
    whether ours our eventually someone elses version.
    The bike takes on the exact proportions of top bikes in each of 6 categories. Tat’s the safe shape you need when you need it.

    PS-
    We shall also be activating the INVEST button
    (hopefully by Monday Oct 22nd)
    It will take you to an index where all the paperwork resides.

  22. Andii says

    This bike removes the need for 6 days of the week. My Dream Bike has always been to have 7. One for each day of the week.

  23. Dick Rice says

    Was the guy that invented this bibe at Daytona bike week this past week. I met him and would like to continue the questions he had on welding aluminun Thanks Dick

  24. Jon says

    A lot of people told Eric Buell he was completely nuts for trying to start an American sport bike company, and they were right. Buell failed more times than most people even think about trying something, and in the end because of his persistence he succeeded. However Buell was simply trying to make existing technology better and build it in the US. On the other hand you are trying to reinvent the wheel, so take all of the problems Buell had and multiply them by 100.

    I applaud you for the effort that’s been put into this so far, but I’m sure you realize you can’t go any further without a prototype. I work as a 3D designer for a living and I’ve had dozens of my designs created so I know that a pretty picture only gets you so far. Until you actually build that thing you will have no idea how much the frame twists and flex and how that will in turn affect the handling. For all you know at this point in time that bike might handle like a wet noodle. Build a prototype, tear it down, and rebuild it a dozen times and then you might have something worth investing in and talking about.

    For your sake I hope you can find some investors willing to throw money at nothing more than a 3d rendering and a dream. Because despite being the cynic that I am, it would be fantastic to actually see this thing produced.

    Best of luck.

  25. Joe says

    I like new concepts, thinking outside of the box type people. This is a new approach and I like it. I am not saying all bikes should be built this way of course, then we would be back to the status quo type thing where we are now. Variety is the spice of life. I would like to see a working model.

  26. says

    Erik,

    At the end of the day, there will always be two essential camps of riders: those who buy a bike for it’s looks and those who buy a bike for it’s function. I, myself, am in the latter group and can only applaud your unending effort to bring a multi-functional bike to market.

    I currently own a sport-touring bike and a cruiser (they serve different purposes!), and have been looking to buy a dual-sport next. So, I ask myself, why have three different bikes when one can do it all.

    I can’t wait to test ride one of your brilliant machines and I wish you every success with this project. Thanks for not only thinking outside the box, but for not acknowledging that a box even exists!

    Kindest Regards,

    Terry Kori

  27. Paul says

    Erik,
    I have been prototyping my ideas for years just to have what is not available on the market. My latest toy is the X19 250R, that I built to fit a need for a lower sport bike for my shorter legs. Then I have a dirt bike and next I will build a VT1100 Bobber low enough for me. Sounds like your bike will fit my needs for and all purpose bike that I might even be able to ride. I sat on cruisers that I can’t reach the front foot controls comfortably but the seat height was great. Dirt bikes are so tall these days, not like the enduros of by gone days. And sport bikes are all over 30 inches at the seat except for the Buell Thumper and the 250 Ninja. So I built my own. I hope some day I get to try out yours. Maybe I’ll have some room in my garage. Keep up the out of box thinking. Nay sayers haven’t tried it yet. Just like my X19 250R I raised it with bigger tires, stretched it and put in the right engine. Ok it was a whole lot more than I just stated but anyway, the only original parts are the body plastic. They just don’t know the pleasure of the ride and how I feel when it all comes together just as it was designed. I can imagine that with the software helping the shapeshifting of ride styles of your bike it might be as natural feeling a ride as any bike after you ride it for short time over the different terrains and surfaces. Riders will tell you they know their bike and how to ride it. Same here. Can’t wait.
    Best regards,

    Paul.