Last year, Christini announced that it was getting out of the custom game and into manufacturing its own motorcycles. The Philadelphia, PA-based maker of “All-Wheel Drive” systems currently has a range of two dirt bikes. A 300cc two-stroke that uses a GasGas motor and a 450cc four-stroke; the latter forms the basis for this new supermoto. It’s the first time ever that a two-wheel drive motorcycle will be manufactured in volume for road use.
Two-wheel drive has been one of those just-over-the-horizon bike tech things for over a decade now. Yamaha and Ohlins co-developed an R1 equipped with a hydraulic system last decade, never resulting in anything consumer facing. Christini has, for years, converted dirt bikes to two-wheel drive using a more efficient, but rather complex, mechanical system. It claims that its solution results in “less than one percent power loss.” Advantages include an increase in traction available for acceleration and a decreased tendency for low-sides.
Christini’s system works like this a chain mounted to a secondary countershaft sprocket runs up to a gearbox mounted on the main frame rail; that drives a shaft which runs under the tank to a bespoke steering head; counter rotating bevel gears located within the head tube transfer power to the lower triple clamp; two small chains then send that power out to a counter rotating drive shaft mounted on each fork leg; those telescopic shafts run down to the front hub, spinning a one-way clutch freewheel.Power is sent to the front wheel at about 80% of the speed of the rear wheel. So when the rear wheel loses traction, the rear wheel spins faster than the road speed of the front wheel, engaging the one-way clutch in the front hub and sending power to the front wheel. A lever on the handlebar allows riders to discontinue use of the AWD system when desired.
The system, which adds about 15lbs of weight, sounds way more complicated than its intuitive reality. Just get on the bike, ride it, and appreciate the extra traction and increased confidence in the front tire. That latter aspect should be a massive boon to a supermoto, where extreme lean angles and slides are the norm.
“Traction and safety in wet and treacherous terrain both on and off road are dramatically improved by AWD enabling a broad range of riders to achieve performance levels far superior to a normal rear wheel drive motorcycle,” explains Christini. “An added benefit of AWD is that the front wheel does not want to wash out. When a front end tucks, the wheel stalls, stops turning, and begins to push. With the AWD system, as soon as the wheel begins to stall, power is delivered to the front wheel, forcing it to turn. With the front wheel under power, it is nearly impossible to wash out the front end.”
The Christini supermoto is priced at $8,195. No word on availability.