Concept J Moves Forward Another Notchby Harry Fisher, on LISTEN 02:29
First seen in 2013, Kawasaki’s Concept J took motorcycle design to the next level, with three wheel layout, shape shifting riding position and electric power. New details are emerging about the futuristic technology.
Kawasaki’s Radical Concept J is Not Dead Yet
Back in 2013, at the Tokyo Motor Show, Kawasaki debuted two new technologies, one of which would enter production and one that is still being developed.
The supercharged in-line four engine would go into production as the H2 sports bike. The radical Concept J motorcycle was clearly just that, a concept, but Kawasaki hasn’t abandoned the idea.
Featuring a three-wheel layout and an electric motor, it’s most radical feature was its shape-shifting chassis. Twin front swing arms were connected to individual handlebars so that, when cranked over in a corner, the bar connected to the the inside wheel rises and the other bar drops. Kawasaki has applied for many patents for the system in the intervening years.
To prove that the concept is not dead, a recent Kawasaki strategy document featured a three-wheeled superbike, albeit as a small illustration of future technology. Earlier this year, patent application documents were filed showing a revised version of the twin front swing arm set up.
While the Concept J was electric, could the latest version use the supercharged H2 engine? It would be a logical choice given the weight penalty the front suspension system and twin wheels would have. The latest patents show a tubular steel frame, similar to that of the H2 and mention a ’gasoline engine’, not that an electric motor has been completely discounted for now.
It appears that the front twin-wheel suspension has been designed to fit onto an existing frame, with the traditional headstock re-purposed as a front shock mount, which is mounted horizontally. When the bike leans, the shock is not compressed at all, but when the wheels move in a vertical plane, the shock is compressed.
Of course, the million dollar question is when will we see it in production? There’s no way of telling. With the 2021 Tokyo Motor Show cancelled, it won’t be seen there but there is a chance that the refined concept might make an appearance at the EICMA motorcycle show in late November.