The motorcycle has always been one of those symbols of rogue American freedom, and for decades were the realm of people with a distinct passion for it. Robert Pirsig said it best “You’re completely in contact with it all.
You’re in the scene, not just watching it anymore, and the sense of presence is overwhelming.” [Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance] The motorcycle, no longer relegated to a statement of freedom, has become more mainstream, attracting a whole new class of people, from doctors and lawyers to mothers and commuters.
Aside from the feeling one gets from riding, there is also the savings in fuel. Considering that, unless one takes public transportation, they’ll probably find themselves alone in a car.
A motorcycle carries one or two people and gets up to 100 mpg. On the other hand, there are some who don’t see themselves making the switch to two wheels, thinking about exposure to the elements, the inherent danger of two-wheeled vehicles, and even the possibility of falling over.
Lit Motors founder, Daniel Kim, has a new take on the motorcycle, which offers the “romance of the motorcycle with the safety and comfort of a car.” The Lit C-1, an electric vehicle, is completely enclosed, offering protection from the wind and rain, so riders can enjoy emissions-free travel without fear of getting caught in the rain without a rain suit. Conventional motorcycles rely on their forward momentum to stay upright, so if the C-1 is fully enclosed, how do you get into it and close the door without it falling over?
The Lit Motors C-1 makes use of two electrically-driven gyroscopes, which is exactly the same technology that keeps the Hubble Telescope and the commercial aircraft stable in flight. The kickstands, of course, keep the vehicle stable until you turn the C-1 on, and when the twin gyroscopes reach speed, the kickstands retract and the motorcycle balances on its own. How good is the balance? Not even an SUV can push it over, as the computer-controlled gyroscopes automatically adjust to force the C-1 vertical. Could this make it even more desirable for commuters?