The shape of forks to come
Dutch designer Roel van der Heide reckons some day all bikes will be this way.
Called the Chiqane 2, the bike that uses his system is the result of years of development.
Van der Heide first developed a hub-centre-steered prototype in the late 1990s. The original Chiqane gained respect for its handling, but was let down by its 60bhp, 650cc V-twin motor taken from a Honda Bros.
Performance is one thing, however, that the new bike isn’t lacking.
A lightweight 950cc V-twin from Swedish firm Folan brings the grunt.
Fitted with Chiqane’s own fuel injection system, makes a claimed 130bhp and the bike weighs just 130kg in the race trim shown here. In road trim expect to add around 20kg.
The racer makes 1bhp/kg – almost as much as a WSB bike – while the road version promises 0.86bhp/kg, which is fractionally better than a Yamaha R1.
Both sides of the motor are gripped by machined aluminium frame sections, which provide a direct link between the front and rear swingarms. The seat and bars are supported by lightweight tubular subframes.
The front swingarm itself is made up of four separate arms – two on each side. These operate like a car’s double wishbone system – moving in unison and holding the upper and lower parts of the front hub.
The rear pivots of all the arms are on eccentric adjusters. This means the upper and lower pivots points can be altered individually – both vertically and horizontally – to allow significant alterations to the suspension geometry.
The bars are connected to the front wheel via a hinged linkage, which concertinas for vertical wheel movement.
A complex linkage connects the front swingarms to a shock mounted horizontally along the side of the bike. The conventional rear swingarm uses a similar linkage connecting it to a spring on the other side of the chassis.
Said van der Heide, ” We have lots of testing and racing to do this year hoping to launch the production model in 2002.
” We are also working on the looks of the road bike, but it will be similar to the racer.
It is likely to cost the best part of £20,000.