Until now, motorcycle games and simulators placed a motorcycle or motorcycle-shaped object on a tilting apparatus that allowed the rider to lean to the sides, in an attempt to replicate the two-wheeled experience. One thing that anyone who has ever been on a real motorcycle very quickly realized is that hanging off the side of one of these leaning contraptions meant holding on for dear life, lest they fall right off the side. In real world riding, the forces acting on the rider’s body in a corner hold them up from falling, and at higher cornering speeds, will push the rider quite strongly into the seat of the bike. If a motorcycle simulator is meant to feel anything like real life, these forces would need to be taken into account.
Enter VI-grade GmbH, a simulator specialist based in Germany, which has applied for patents on a new motorcycle simulator design that attempts to apply these forces to the rider. The design shown in the patent images shows a full-sized motorcycle attached to a platform, surrounded by cage. Much like flight simulators and the more advanced automotive simulator designs, the VI-grade design relies on hydraulic actuators acting on the motorcycle, but the big difference between this and previous simulators is the apparatus connected directly to the rider. A frame worn by the rider like a backpack is connected to the cage by multiple cords.
By pulling on these cords, the simulator is able to replicate the various forces felt by a rider when leaning, braking, and accelerating, making the experience far more realistic. Presumably, the rider will no longer have to hold on tight when leaned over to prevent them from falling off the side, and will feel the pull of forces when accelerating and braking.
Combined with a large screen to project the moving images of the track or road, this simulator will be the closest thing to a real riding experience yet available. Potential applications range from manufacturers testing new ideas, to race teams trying to get an off-season edge.
Sources: cycleworld.com, vi-grade.com