Kawasaki continues to explore interesting  technology with a new design that completely overturns existing motorcycle formats.

UK publisher BikeSocial has discovered a Kawasaki patent application for a motorcycle that uses electronic sensors to determine steering input, instead of handlebars.

It’s a complicated design, which involves accelerometers, the same gadgets that power existing leaning ABS systems and other electro-trickery.

Under Kawasaki’s design, the rider sits on a motorcycle in roughly the same position that current motorcycles use, gripping a pair of handles. But, these handles do not move for steering purposes; instead, they simply function as the throttle. Steering input is determined by the rider moving their weight around the motorcycle. The onboard accelerometers detect the shift in weight, and use that information to determine the motorcycle’s direction of steering.

Is this a patent application, or an anti-drunk driving ad? Photo: Kawasaki/BikeSocial

To make things even more complicated, the front and rear wheels are designed to turn at different angles. Instead of a traditional steering head, the front and rear wheels are connected to the bike by electric motor assemblies. The information from the bike’s onboard computer brains decides how much to turn those wheels, using the electric motors instead of handlebar leverage.

Judging by Kawasaki’s patent drawings, it seems this whole design is intended to be put on an electric bike, most likely with hub motors, as a way of working around the design challenges of the wonky wheel arrangement. So, no supercharger, but Kawasaki’s emotion-sensing Rideology artificial intelligence system? Maybe.

Or maybe we won’t see it at all—a patent application is no guarantee of appearance on showroom floors.

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