Would you enjoy riding a hybrid motorcycle? News stories about hybrid cars and hydrogen cars and alternate fuels are coming out daily. It’s only a matter of time before these same technologies become available for motorcycles although, in some sense, things are beginning to change already with more development of diesel motorcycles that could run on biodiesel fuel.
But just suppose someone came up with an engine totally different than the engines we have today. It would look different, perhaps sound different or even be almost silent or vibration free, would a motorcycle still be fun to ride? Suppose, too, that performance was on a par with today’s engines, would riding still have the same appeal? Most of us have grown up with the look and sound of engines and our minds have attached visual and aural pleasure to the appearance and sound of a big V twin or an inline four winding up at the racetrack. What if the bike was silent or had a quiet whine? How much of the riding experience is wrapped up in things like sound and the feel of the vibration of the engine? How much of our attraction to motorcycles is connected to the fins of an air cooled cylinder?
These are not idle questions because changes are coming and I wonder how we’ll react. Try to imagine a different powerplant, picture yourself on a brand new FutureBike 1000, what would it feel like? Makes you think, doesn’t it?