Dropping your bike at a stop sign or during a low-speed maneuver is the fear of any new motorcyclist. It’s easy enough to keep your bike upright at speed, but sneaking through a parking lot, all that mass is dying to tumble. Honda seems to have the perfect solution, with a new concept bike that can balance itself either during a low-speed crawl or when stopped completely.
Honda Riding Assist was first demonstrated today at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. The system is brilliantly simple: When engaged, the system increases the fork angle, lengthening the bike’s wheelbase and, apparently, disconnecting the front forks from the handlebars. The system then uses minute steering inputs to keep the bike perfectly balanced, without the use of heavy gyroscopes or other mass-shifting devices. The concept bike Honda built to demonstrate the tech can even silently propel itself along, following its owner through a hallway like an obedient puppy.
Honda says the technology was developed as an offshoot of the Uni-Cub, the automaker’s nifty self-balancing mobility unicycle concept. At the company’s presentation at CES, Honda demonstrated Riding Assist by having a motorcycle slowly wheel itself onstage, following a Uni-Cub.
While Honda hasn’t announced any plans to put Riding Assist into production, we wouldn’t be surprised to see the technology included in a future Honda motorcycle of some sort. It’s not exactly an autonomous, self-driving motorcycle, but it’s a step in that direction—and one that, while slightly eerie to watch, would be a huge help to newbie bikers, or anyone who’s struggled to squeeze a 900-lb. Gold Wing out of a packed garage.