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Yamaha to Launch 2-Wheel Drive Motorcycles in 2004

  Posted at 08:40:11 AM
  File under  New Products Yamaha
  Author: Mike Werner
  Location: Paris, France

Yamaha WR450F 2-Trac
After several years of product development and testing, and even racing, Yamaha plan to launch their revolutionary 2 Wheel Drive motorcycle during 2004 !!

It's not the first 2-Wheel drive motorcycle (link), but this is the first motorcycle that has been well tested and will be sold by one of the big motorcycle manufacturers.

The 2-Wheel drive system is called the "2-Trac", and will be initially offered on Yamaha's off-road bike, the WR450F.

Yamaha WR450F 2-Trac
But the system has been tested on a Yamaha R1 sportsbike, and in wet track conditions has shown its superior cornering capabilities (it was 5 seconds faster than normal sportsbikes) !

The 2-Trac system has already been used several times in rally's since 1998. The system not only is great in wet and slippery conditions, but off-road, it excels in sandy and muddy tracks.

How does it work ?? Here is a direct quote from Gizmo web site (link):

The patented 2-Trac system uses a hydraulic pump located above the gear box, and driven by a chain (in an oil bath) driven from the gear box.  The system comprises a pump connected by flexible hoses to a hydraulic engine located in the hub of the front wheel.  The 2-trac is a closed loop system equipped with filtration system and is a self-regulated compact unit.  The hydraulic pressure transmitted to the front wheel is proportional to the speed of the rear wheel:  the more the rear wheel loses traction, the more the hydraulic system compensates by increasing the traction power to the front wheel.  The distribution of the power between the front and rear wheels is variable in order to optimize traction.
The front wheel can never turn quicker than the rear wheel, and the power transmitted to the front wheel is never higher than that used for the rear.  This self-regulated system also allows for the conditions, so that the power to the front wheel is slowly reduced so that the rear wheel "recovers" traction.

When the throttle is closed, no power is transmitted to the front wheel, but if the throttle is opened abruptly and that the rear wheel starts to lose grip, the sudden increase in pump revs increases the hydraulic pressure of the system and a higher proportion of engine power is transmitted to the front wheel.  If the rear wheel continues to spin, more power is sent to the front wheel.  The proportion of the engine power provided to the front wheel is hence controlled by both the throttle and the traction of the rear wheel.

This Yamaha system seems to me like one of the latest great new innovations to motorcycles.

Click here to read more about it and see more photos.

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