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Although no longer a dirt bike rider I do applaud this upcoming technology and hope in some way it transfers over to cruisers, tourers and other bikes as it could prove to make them safer.
 

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I'm still trying to bring myself to accept those fat tire dual chain drive jobs, powered by Briggs&Statton. All this newfangled technology is too much for me.



On a slightly more serious note, the bevel drive at the front comes across to me as a problem waiting to happen. If it's wide open, as on the prototype, I'd give it about two muddy water crossings or a day in the California dunes before it wore smooth. And if it's enclosed, there's no way to avoid having a bunch of unsprung weight in a place it's most definitely NOT wanted.
 

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Good point about the vulnerability of those exposed gears! Can't imagine this surviving the Dakar Rally like the Yamaha system did -- they just got a 7th place finish today -- only non-KTM in the top 25.



It is an interesting concept, and it is nice to see people thinking in innovative ways, but as you point out, looks like some more development work is needed.
 

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Yah, just what I need. Another drive system on my dirt (or street) bike to contend with. I can't imagine the maintenance this thing requires. I'm sure it helps the rider go faster and farther, and the top-ten finish of the AWD Yamaha in Dakar against KTM's assault proves. But it it practical and afforable for us peons? If Mike Lafferty starts winning races on one, I'll believe it.
 

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It sure looks fragile and exposed, on the other hand, the hydraulic system on the new Yamaha just netted them 7th place in the first Dakar for the bike as well as the rider.

Pretty respectable!
 

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Reportedly, Yamaha have track tested this on a prototype R1, in both wet and dry conditions. Every test rider reported much faster lap times and much more confidence in the wet, and the same, but to a lessor degree in the dry. There is a writeup in one of the on-line magazines I'll see if I can find.



The system allows the amount of power transferred to the front to be controlled to avoid overpowering the front tire.
 

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The hydraulic system does appear simpler and easier to make variable as well.



Maybe we're seeing a real revolution in power delivery here.
 

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John,



Just checking some of the comments. Our system weighs 7 lbs. It was designed around the previous attempts by Honda and Yamaha for a shaft drive system. Their barrier was getting it through the head tube without torque steer. We resolved this with counter-rotating shafts. The bicycle is exposed, but the motorcycle has completely enclosed, fully lubricated, spiral gearing. We will have some more pictures up on the site showing this. Take note of the fork lowers.



Pass it on. We appreciate all the comments... It helps us build a better product.
 

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dividing power over more wheels means that you're less likely to over-power a wheel. more of a safety margin for cornering traction while applying power, and more traction in slippery situations.. where one wheel might not be able to push you through.



 

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7th place overall, but that's plus 3 or 4 stage wins. After Fretinge won the first two stages (on his rookie Dakar!) I was seriously wondering if he was going to just sweep the whole thing. Not bad for a rookie on a bike with (at least) 200 fewer ccs than everybody else.



-Kawazuki
 
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