Honda Riding Assist-e e-bike to be displayed at Tokyo Motor Show – the bike that stands up on its own

It is a known fact that motorcycles, once taken off the side stand, have difficulty staying upright without assistance from the rider. Honda seeks to address that issue with the Riding Assist-e electric motorcycle that stands straight up at low speeds without any input from the rider.

Some might ask what the point of such a bike might, given that the skill of staying upright at walking speeds is something good riders practice and display on a daily basis. However, for a certain segment of the riding population, older folks, ladies or riders with physical disabilities, the Assist-e allows for control of the bike, without requiring a great degree of rider strength.

This trick is probably done with self-correcting gyroscopes, something seen previously in the Honda Riding Assist equipped motorcycle, shown at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, US, in 2016. From the press photos, the Riding Assist-e e-bike appears to have an electric motor stowed below the seat, with a shaft providing drive to the single-sided swingarm mounted rear wheel.

The beam and tube frame wraps around the motor, and what appears to be a battery pack is stowed where the engine would go on a normal motorcycle. It is not known what tech might be hiding under the white “fuel tank”, but we would hazard a guess at this is where the gyroscopes and electronic wizardry might live.

Inside the cockpit a single LCD monitor shows speed, and temperature – whether this is a reading for lean angle, ambient temperature or the heat emanating from the battery pack is anyone’s guess. A “Mode 4” display might indicate the degree of intervention the Riding Assist feature provides, and the mysterious “W.H.O.” in the top right corner could mean anything, except the World Health Organisation.

What do you think? Is this the future of motorcycling, where basic skills are being removed from the rider’s control, as has been done in the world of cars where driving aids like rear view cameras and lane keeping sensors serve to dumb down driving skill? Leave a comment with your thoughts and opinions, below.