Is Yamaha developing a production Tesseract?

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New patent filings dating from earlier this year seem to indicate that Yamaha is pursuing development of the bizarre four-wheel Tesseract concept. First unveiled in concept form at the 2007 Tokyo Motor Show, the Tesseract was shocking not only in its leaning four-wheeled configuration, but also for its completely unconventional styling. These patents are unusually detailed, suggesting that a production model could be imminent.

The Tesseract concept utterly lacks the anthropomorphic face that defines most motorcycles, instead pushing visual emphasis to the four wheels and spindly suspension components. That makes it more weird and futuristic than its configuration merits. It looks more like a futuristic robot death spider than un-intimidating, utilitarian transportation, which is what a production bike would likely be. Like the Piaggio MP3, the extra wheels will lower the barrier-to-entry for car drivers looking for an easier commute, while the leaning suspension and slim profile will deliver motorcycle-like performance and practicality.

This patent shows a vehicle that differs from that concept not only in its engine — which has ditched the v-twin for a parallel-twin — but also in its suspension configuration. Shaft drive replaces chains, moving the rear swingarms outboard of the rear wheels. This reduces their width and simplifies the drivetrain. At the front, a BMW Telelever-type configuration is employed, with a single A-arm and monoshock supporting uprights for both wheels. This also reduces complication and width.

Those shafts are essential to making this a production reality. No two chains are identical and would wear and stretch differently, requiring independent adjustment of the rear wheels. If those wheels got out of alignment, the thing would be terrifyingly dangerous to ride. If the chains had different tensions, drive too them wouldn’t be delivered evenly. Without those shafts, this thing wouldn’t be rideable.

Sean’s seen the concept bike in person. “To design a 4-wheeled motorcycle-that’s really what this is-Yamaha had to overcome some pretty ridiculous engineering challenges,” I made him tell me. “In reading just the background of the patent, it becomes clear that this machine was built with speed and performance in mind. They redesigned the shaft drive completely and came up with completely new suspension systems. I remember when I first saw it in person at the Laguna Seca MotoGP in 2009. At first, I thought it was just another lame show bike with ridiculous paint, a styrofoam motor and a lot of fluff and mirrors making up everything else. Then, I got up close andtook a long hard stare at it. I realized that what I was looking at wasn’t a model of some interns DMT trip, but actually a well designed machine with real components, that could actually be ridden and likely, ridden very fast.”

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There is precedent for such a vehicle, just don’t expect to see it in America: that Piaggio MP3 and now the man responsible for that design has also developed a four-wheeler with the same concept, the Quadro 4D. The whole idea is to create a more stable vehicle that’s less likely to topple new riders over, without compromising the ability to lane split or to take corners. The extra wheels also give these vehicles a legal loophole, allowing people in some European countries to operate them on car licenses. Sadly, US laws tend to prevent four-wheeled bikes from being used on roads here. In a country where lane splitting is illegal in all but one state and license loopholes for vehicles like this don’t exist, they wouldn’t really make sense anyways.

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So what does this patent mean? Well, at the very least, Yamaha has continued development of the Tesseract concept. Where that vehicle was essentially a flight of fancy, these drawings show that the company has been spending time refining it’s general theme into something that looks like it could be cost-effective to produce. Patents for motorcycle technology are typically filed for an individual component — a new suspension configuration or a new gearbox, for example — not a whole machine and certainly not in this level of detail, exposing the engine, frame, front and rear suspension, etc. This development will have cost Yamaha a significant sum of money at a time when non-essential budgets are being slashed. Does all that add up to evidence that this thing is going into production? Well, you be the judge of that.

via Moto Infos

  • Devin

    Training wheels for someone afraid to start out straight away on a two-wheeled motorcycle?

    • Cajun58

      Yeah you hit it right on the nail head that’s EXACTLY what this machine is for people who are afraid! Or you know who else could us it someone whose disabled but would still like to get out of a fucking cage and get in the wind.

  • Dan

    Why?

    • http://www.faster-faster.com fasterfaster

      The Can-Am Spyder is currently selling so fast they can’t keep production to pace with sales. Yup… I was shocked too since to me the Can-Am has all of the downsides of motorcycles with none of the upsides. But apparently there are a lot of people who want the perched-on-top, wind-in-face experience without the leaning, learning, and potentially dropping. Go to any off-road park, and half the riders are on 4-wheelers for the same reason.

      Not my cup of tea, but if it gets more people into the sport and helps build empathy on the road for riders, I’m all for it.

      • stephen

        this

      • http://www.thisblueheaven.com Mark D

        Why’d you have to go and be all mature and thoughtful and open minded about Can-Ams?

        Makes me feel bad about flipping one off the other day, and yelling, “Nice snowmobile, you jackass!” at him.

        • Jimmy

          Thumbs up for “Nice Snowmobile”, got me laughing

      • ike6116

        Is the Can-AM Spyder actually selling well?

        God damnit I hate this country so fucking much.

        Can we please just kill all boomers?

        PLEASE?!

        • Peter88

          I would like to show up at your house with a Platinum edition F150 trailering a CVO RoadGlide. Park, unload, rev the Harley a few times and ride off into the sunset.

          • Thom

            Peter88 – With his lady ( assuming numrod has one ) on the back !

            I’m guessing it wouldn’t take much convincing

        • Thom

          @ ike6116

          Hey nimrod ! This site is full of boomers ! Not a one of which owns or is considering the Can-Am .

          And if you don’t like it here . LEAVE ! You won’t be missed ( fact is the likes of you are 80% of the problem )

          Idiot !

        • Cajun58

          Maybe they could be made into an alternative full source. And you stupid ass narcissistic generation whatever the fuck assholes could be turned into some sort of processed food rations for the rest of us.

      • Cajun58

        How do you know why people ride ATV’s off-road? I know several people who ride 4 wheelers and it has nothing to do with leaning, learning, and potentially dropping it’s simply what they prefer.

  • http://theprojectbeta.com/ Anders

    I see quite a few Piaggio MP3′s used by commuters (here in Scandinavia you don’t need a motorcycle license for these three-wheelers.) I guess Yamaha is tapping into the same market? Or is this more sports oriented?

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

      Does no one actually read my articles?

      • dan

        I do. The guy is Scandinavian, give him a break.

        • http://www.brammofan.com Brammofan

          Give him a break because he’s Scandinavian? But Scandinavians are superior to Americans in every possible way. Just ask Ivar.

          • http://theprojectbeta.com/ Anders

            It’s just a myth. Just ask Ivar.

      • http://theprojectbeta.com/ Anders

        Eeh,sorry, now I’ve read it through. And yes, I got the answers..

        • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

          :)

        • Thom

          dad burned Scandahoovians !

          :o)

          Just joking .

  • dan

    That’s pretty wide to lane split, at least back here in NYC. The first time I tried to lane split in Manhattan with my hard side cases on it was like – yowza!

    • Evan

      Pssst…That’s illegal :)

  • Thom

    Looks like just about everybody is coming to the party hoping to introduce the Next Big Thing in …… ahem …. Motorcycling .

    Two wheels ( scooter m/c hybrids ) Three wheels and now maybe Four .

    Well ……….. If it keeps the company profitable , allowing them more leeway for innovation in the Two Wheel yes its a M/C category … well I say bring it on .

    I just hope they’re ( the manufactures ) not throwing all their resources at projects like this in lieu of further M/C development.

    • Cajun58

      Have you looked at Yamaha’s latest YZ450?

  • Myles

    Does this do anything better than a motorcycle except make $$ for Yameezy and not fall over?

    Do the four wheels increase maximum grip?

    When riding on the street is one supposed to wear a dirt inspired helmet with a visor to let everyone else know how much of a badass he is?

    Inquiring minds want to know.

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

      With the MP3, it makes it easy to take curbs at an angle and hit huge potholes and whatnot. But yeah, two wheels > four.

    • http://www.davidfolch.com david folch

      If this technology makes the Can-Am disappear from earth, I’ll sign today.

    • Ax

      Four wheels have twice the contact patch of two wheels. People need to stop thinking of this concept as “training wheels” and start thinking of it as basically a motorcycle with two wheels in front and two wheels in back. Check out the video of the 4MC on an oily track at http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=j127RX9S7vw .

      • Myles

        Thanks for the link, pretty cool video. Does this application hold any advantages over a standard motorcycle in more standard conditions?

      • http://www.facebook.com/beastincarnate Ben Incarnate

        Imagine, if you will… SIX wheels! Thrice the contact patch!

        This inspiration brought to you by Gillette.

        • Jimmy

          Can we get the webmaster to add a “Like” button to the comments?

    • Cajun58

      As long as it gives “real motorcyclist” another opportunity to look down on and criticize those goddamn poseur and wannabes then I think it’s worth it.

  • http://www.davidfolch.com david folch

    “There is precedent for such a vehicle, just don’t expect to see it in America”
    ????
    well apparently it IS in America (edit : at least developed) :
    http://www.wesllcorp.com/
    and nobody reads Moto Journal !
    or your own papers :
    http://hellforleathermagazine.com/2009/01/wesll-lean-on-four-wheels/
    ahahahah

    PS: still waiting to ride it !

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

      Dirt bike :)

      • http://www.davidfolch.com david folch

        Thomas said his system will be used by some “europeans” manufacturer for street bikes…
        But I think I harassed him too much, now he don’t give news anymore…
        :-o

        • TreMoto_Eddie

          David, I got something for you to ride…

          • http://www.davidfolch.com david folch

            Hi Eddie,
            I know, I missed my chance last year at Laguna Seca…
            :-(
            but I won’t be on the hill this year…
            sorry

            PS: how are things going ? Is the bike ready ?
            we can PM btw…
            :-)

  • jason

    Holy Giant Metal Bugs! Might actually be kind of fun in a sci-fi kind of way.

  • Ken D

    I saw an MP3 the other day with road rash down the side. I almost wanted to wait until the owner got back to ask him how the hell he/she did it.

    • http://www.lgdm.fr stempere

      They can actually fall on the side, a few month ago i had to help some old dude who was stuck underneath one (this jackass, wanting to avoid a stuck lane, started riding on the sidewalk and crashed head-on in one of these).

      • Ken D

        There is no margin of safety that, with a little effort and application, cannot be used up.

  • Glenngineer

    That front end isn’t anything like a telelever.

  • Gene

    So does anyone expect this to last any longer than the GTS-1000? Or the DN-01? Will they do the “make it only one model year, piss the dealers off by forcing them to buy one that’ll sit on floor for years, then cancel it when it starts to develop a following” bit?

    • Cajun58

      I expect it will last about as long as it takes Honda to manufacture a better one.

  • Ceolwulf

    Bouncing from one vid to another on YouTube I stumbled across this:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RwNGNN6sJo8

    It’s been there for a while, wonder what progress if any?

  • FFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFF

    Um, I love it. It has twice as many tires and its still narrower than a fully dressed tour barge. As long as you can split lanes with it, I’m down.

    • fearnow

      Phuk splitting lanes: i don’t like that jive but YMMV-sign me up for more contact, more traction control possibilities, i’m down just coz people are thinking outside of the box.

      Coz the racer/cruiser rut we have ourselves in the in these United States is BORING

  • Your_Mom

    That looks like a tilting Hossack front-end to me. There’s a second control arm in illustration 6 of 7: item 25/25L. As someone posted earlier, it is not a Telelever…

  • Keith

    I think it would be a blast to ride!
    Imagine the grip with 4 tires AND you get to lean.
    Just look at it as a new kind of vehicle instead of getting all bent out of shape about people who “don’t want to learn” or boomers that need to be killed ;)

    • fearnow

      This

    • Jimmy

      I think the hating comes from the fact that this is born out of the convention of motorcycling, and it is really only partially functioning under those constraints. If it were classified and thought of as something completely different, it might not offend the near religious sensibilities of what riding ‘is’ or the boundaries that it maintains.

      Personally, I’m hoping to see this thing get blown up this summer in Transformers 3.

  • Cajun58

    It’s a Hossack alright but the Tesseract has a different system in fact the whole thing is different from the bike in the patent application.

  • DoctorNine

    Actually, if I’m gonna ride ON a bike, I’ll want two wheels. But this suspension looks like it would be great for an enclosed single seater commuting machine. Light weight, maneuverable, and sporty.