Friday, 14 October 2011

  October 25, 2007 Yamaha is set to reveal a whole new class of four-wheel recreational machine at the Tokyo Motor Show that looks to combine motorcycle performance and maneuverability with four wheels worth of traction and road-holding capability. Details remain sketchy on the Tesseract hybrid four-wheeled motorcycle – ostensibly a four-wheel version of the Vespa, Piaggio and Vectrix three-wheelers with tilting mechanisms (dubbed “dual-scythe suspension”) at both ends making it a carving four-wheeler that retains the advantages of narrow width roughly equivalent to a two-wheeled machine. Powered by an electric hybrid liquid-cooled V-twin, the Tesseract promises ample torque and a top speed that will be theoretical everywhere but a racetrack, and when at rest, the machine will remain upright without the need for a stand via a dual arm-lock system.
Until I saw images of the Yamaha Tesseract, the vehicle I’d been most looking forward to seeing at the Tokyo Motor Show was Toyota’s i-REAL but now Yamaha’s intriguing hybrid four-wheeled motorcycle really has wrested my attention amidst a plethora of other interesting exhibits. Not a great deal of information has been released about the machine, so we’ll have to speculate a little about just what it might be like to ride, and how nimble it might be. It’s really a four-wheel version of the Vespa, Piaggio and Vectrix three-wheelers except the tilting mechanisms (Yamaha has dubbed them “dual-scythe suspension”) are at both ends, so it’s a carving four-wheeler with both front wheels and both rear wheels very close together and although I’m enthralled by the concept in three-wheel form, there’s something about four wheels which makes me think that the transition will be slow when getting out of one corner and into another but that might just be an aging mind - what really does hold promise is two fat and sticky tyres at each end and the G-forces that might be generated with this machine under cornering. One also wonders just how far the tilting mechanism will allow it to tilt? Given that more than 50 degrees of lean is possible on two wheels with tyres these days, my brain cell is really struggling to picture what will happen when you run out of lean angle. It’s probably some variation along the four-wheel drift theme and although there looks to be lots of traction available, thinking about the possibilities of getting it rubber-side-up looks frightfully expensive. Look at all those suspension components to bend. Modern motorcycles can be so expensive to crash and this one might be doubly so or worse.
There’s no power output mentioned for the liquid-cooled V-twin and its electric hybrid mate, but the Raptor-like visuals of the bike indicate a performance machine and a big V-twin with electric booster will mean more than enough torque to leave big black marks on the tarmac and a top speed that will be theoretical everywhere but a racetrack.
There is also a dual arm-lock system that keeps the machine upright when at rest without a stand.
Of course we’re being critical here because we’re still coming to grips with what is really a new class of four-wheel machine. On the surface it offers motorcycle performance, maneuverability and frugality with a machine width roughly equivalent to that of a two-wheeler but four wheels worth of traction and road-holding. Bonus - this is a new and potent form of recreational machine and we cannot wait!


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