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New Tech show- stoppers | NEWS

In dozens of giant exhibition halls each year we get a glimpse into the dealership showrooms of the future. Here are the standout advances from last year’s shows

1. TFT display

Was there a production-spec 2018 model on show at EICMA that didn’t boast a full-colour TFT display? Thin-film transistor displays are the buzz tech for the new model year. Not dissimilar to your standard LCD (liquid crystal) display, except each pixel is controlled by thin film transistors. They offer excellent resolution and backlighting to improve user experience in all riding conditions. Once relatively expensive, but manufacturing costs have dropped dramatically, which is why they’re now everywhere you look.


Electronic riding aids have a new name: ARAS. That stands for Advanced Rider Assistance Systems, which is a notch or two above today’s average ABS and electronically adjustable suspension. It’s also an umbrella name for the next big thing in motorcycle technologies – connectivity. In a bid to make SMIDSY a thing of the past, both Bosch and Continental debuted various ARAS technologies that can transmit your speed, position and direction of travel to other vehicles well before their drivers have clapped eyes on you.

3. Swap ’n’ go

With range and charging times the biggest limitations for an electric vehicle future, Honda became the first major manufacturer to unveil a swappable battery pack system on a production two-wheeler. The all-electric PCX scooter appeared at the Tokyo show and featured Honda’s Mobile Power Pack, new technology it hopes to standardise across the industry. And one of the world’s oldest and most recognisable brands, Vespa, revealed an all-electric production scooter. It still employs a rechargeable on-board battery set-up, but it’s a relatively fast-charging one, taking four hours from flat.

4. Force fed

The show season was strangely devoid of force-fed tech, which had been tipped to be the best way to reduce emissions without sacrificing horses. We know that Kawasaki, Suzuki and even Honda are quietly beavering away on turbocharged and supercharged offerings, so it was surprising that Kawasaki’s SX was flying the flag solo. Only six months ago Suzuki filed more patents for its turbocharged parallel-twin Recursion concept, after all.

5. Three wheels

There certainly wasn’t a glut of three-wheelers unveiled at this year’s international motorcycle shows, but what we did see was the world’s first
three-wheeled ‘big’ bike. Based on the MT-09 platform, Yamaha’s all-new production Niken changes the game in terms of mile-munching accessibility and, unlike the Can-Am Spyder, it leans like a motorcycle. As motorcyclists get older and pressure increases to build safer machines, Yamaha’s Niken might be a relatively simple mechanical answer to a question many are trying to answer electronically.