So, the thing is about motorcycles is that even the light ones are real damned heavy and that means that keeping one upright — particularly as a new rider — can not only be tough, it’s also intimidating.
Harley-Davidson — makers of definitely-not-lightweight motorcycles — believes that it has a solution to this and it’s kind of ingenious. According to Cycle World, Harley filed a patent application for a type of gyroscope that would work at very low speeds to keep the bike upright and make the bike a little easier to sling up when dropped.
The best part is that this whole gyroscope deal is designed to fit inside Harley’s already-existing top case, so you don’t need to build it into the motorcycle — something that would drive up cost and complexity — and which also means you can remove it once you feel more comfortable with your motorcycle.
Like all gyroscopes, this one works by using an electric motor to spin a heavy weight around really fast (like between 10,000 and 20,000 rpm), and that motion imparts a stabilizing effect on the motorcycle at low speeds. The gyro would shut off at speeds over three miles per hour because as you begin moving faster, the motorcycle’s wheels start to offer their own gyroscopic stabilizing effect.
Also cool is that this wouldn’t necessarily be limited to one bike. As long as you had a power source and a way for the unit to detect vehicle speed, it would work. Now, precisely what something like this would retail for is hard to say, but if it’s coming from Harley, we expect that it wouldn’t be especially cheap, if it ever comes to market.