New technology in the motorcycle industry is simply part of the process in creating today’s modern motorcycles. Within the last several years we have seen features transfer from the four-wheeled world into bikes of all sorts – ABS, traction control, selectable drive modes, GPS, dual-clutch transmissions, etc. All along this path, Yamaha has been there, sometimes leading and sometimes following, but always innovating.
Yamaha’s latest idea is certainly an example of when they are in the lead. For the first time, the Japanese company has applied an anti-vibration damper to a motorcycle. This technology has until now only been used in certain automobile models and, further, only since 2004. For its two-wheeled application, it has been named the Yamaha Power Beam.
The first application of the Power Beam will be in the European version of the venerable 499cc maxi-scooter, the TMAX. For the scooter crowd, the TMAX is considered a supersport machine built for performance, and the addition of the new damper is meant to give it that extra edge.
As anyone familiar with motorcycle frames is aware, a motorcycle frame always has someflex when the bike is in motion. As it corners or rides over the truly uneven surface that makes up the roads, the frame absorbs the energy put into it and will distort somewhat. These distortions cause handling issues for the rider and it can be dangerous if it is not accounted for in the design. It is not always apparent to the rider, but this happens all the time and controlling it can lead to a more stable motorcycle.
The usual way to solve it is to find a good compromise where the flex can actually work in your favor, if possible. However, with Yamaha’s Power Beam, which converts the frame flex energy into heat in order to dissipate it, the amount of flex can be tuned to provide a far smoother ride and a fully predictable behavior on the road.
Scheduled to be rolled out on 20 April 2011, the Yamaha Power Beam will be an option on the TMAX in all European nations in which it is sold. Once it is possible to order the new part from your local Yamaha dealer, it will fit on TMAX models back to the last update in model year 2008.
The current use of this new technology is very limited, but it is a sign of what may be coming soon. Perhaps using a chassis damper on a racing motorcycle is not very feasible, but on a large touring bike it could enable a more radical design providing superior stability. Many other commonly used systems on today’s motorcycles came to us through this route; the Yamaha Power Beam may be here to stay.
Courtesy of AllAboutBikes.com