AWD motorcycles are about to get real

For years the maker of custom all-wheel drive conversions, Christini is launching its own brand of production bikes. Two models will be assembled in the company’s Philadelphia facility for sale as 2012 models and it’s kinda hard to not be overwhelmed by awesome reading the spec sheets. In addition to a $6,895 four-stroke 450, there’ll be an $8,995 two-stroke 300 too. Affordable prices, AWD, high-end components and American assembly? Win.

By powering the front wheel, Christini’s AWD system increases traction available for acceleration. If the rear wheel spins, power is transferred to the front until grip at the rear returns. The other advantage is that AWD prevents the front wheel from washing out by applying power if it starts to push.

Achieving both those advantages sounds complicated, but Christini’s approach is simplicity itself. Power is transferred to the front wheel by a series of chains and drive shafts that run up through the frame, then down through the steering tube, bottom yoke, through telescoping driveshafts on the forks to a one-way clutch mounted in the front wheel. Under normal conditions, the front wheel is driven at 80 percent of the speed of the rear wheel, working, Christini says, like pedaling a bicycle down hill. If the rear wheel rapidly accelerates, the front tries to catch up and applies power. If the front slows down dramatically as is the case when it starts to push, the power plays catch up again and keeps it spinning.

Christini says that, unlike more complicated hydraullic systems, it’s mechanical solution, “is extremely efficient, resulting in less than 1% power loss while adding less than 15 lbs total weight to the motorcycle. 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.”

CHRISTINI AWD 450 SPECIFICATIONS:
• Twin Spar Aluminum Frame
• 450 cc Liquid Cooled Four Stroke
• 5 Speed Wide Ratio Transmission
• Electric and Kick Start
• Suspension: 12” Front Rear
• Link Suspension
• Ground Clearance: 14”
• 21” Front Tire
• 18” Rear Tire
• 2.6 Gallon Tank
• Seat Height 37.5”
• AWD Drive Ratio 0.64:1
• AWD Engagement Switch
• 1 Year AWD Warranty

CHRISTINI AWD 300 SPECIFICATIONS:
• Steel Frame
• 300 cc Liquid Cooled Gas Gas Engine
• 5 Speed Wide Ratio Transmission
• Kick Start
• Hydraulic Clutch
• Twin Cooling Fans
• Suspension: 12” Front Rear
• PDS Rear Shock
• Ground Clearance: 15”
• 21” Front Tire
• 18” Rear Tire
• 2.8 Gallon Tank
• Seat Height 39”
• AWD Drive Ratio 0.64:1
• AWD Engagement Switch
• 1 Year AWD Warranty

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