It’s one of the most common types of motorcycle crash, and it’s nearly impossible to correct it once it starts happening: Your tires lose traction around a curve, causing your wheels to slide out from under you. Hello lowside crash.
But now, there’s an experimental technology that could help keep your bike upright in a skid, and it’s delightfully zany.
This is the “skid mitigation research project” from Bosch. Essentially, when a motorcycle loses traction while going around a bend—due to gravel, oil, wet pavement, or something similar—the tires can’t provide enough lateral force to keep the bike upright.
Bosch’s solution uses a sensor that detects sideways wheel slip, and when it senses a skid, fires a side-facing jet of compressed air that counteracts the skid and keeps the bike upright. Watch it in action:
The air jet is powered by the same type of gas charge that inflates a passenger car airbag, directed through a nozzle that precisely aims the charge to counteract the skid. Unfortunately, that means the air jet can only be deployed once, the same as your car’s airbags. But if your bike can save you from one gnarly lowside, that’s way better than nothing, right?