Jon Parsons is a motorcycle enthusiast, but what he envisions as the perfect ride is not your average two-wheeler. Parsons, an engineer in the United Kingdom who is working as a designer for an aerospace company, is working on a prototype for an in-line three-wheel bike. He set up his own studio seven years ago and has been working on his concept bike ever since.
A New Design
The extra wheel can add stability, and Parsons believes a three-wheel bike is an improvement over its two-wheel counterpart. His radical invention is designed with two-wheel drive and two-wheel steering. Compared to a traditional motorcycle, it's a bike like no other.
It accelerates faster over gravel and slick surfaces.
Steering at the rear is improved, to take corners better.
The middle and rear wheels grip the road better.
Three wheels in a straight line reduce pitch over rough surfaces.
Parsons says three tires give a smoother ride and keep the bike from sinking on soft ground. Three-wheeled braking provides greater control when stopping on a downhill slope. Plus, its design makes it narrower than a trike or quad so it can be leaned into a corner.
There are some challenges of building a three-wheeler with independent suspension and the extra parts required need to make allowances for movement. The swinging arm, extra wheel and suspension unit take up extra space, but the motorcycle itself is basically the same length as a traditional bike. Linking all three wheels to the swinging arms on the frame also must be done correctly.
A Better Bike?
Rear-wheel steering is already used on the Nissan Skyline automobile, so the idea of building a bike with a similar design is not inconceivable. Others, however, who considered it for a conventional two-wheel motorcycle found it to be complicated. But Parsons says with the 3x2x2 design his three-wheeler has, it just might work.
His goal is to take what’s on paper and transfer it to the production line. The bike would be fairly easy to manufacture because it uses a standard engine and most parts are already suited for mass production. The parts that aren’t can be easily retooled.
His current design for a three-wheeler is best suited for off-road riding and sports bikes because of its excellent handling on rough terrain. The biggest hurdle would be to capture the interest of mainstream manufacturers and market the idea. Parsons wants to get input from other bike enthusiasts on whether his idea is feasible and if his ideas can be incorporated onto new motorcycles.