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Skidbike aims to be a 21st-century tool in motorcycle safety…
You may not have heard of Skidbike, we hadn’t until we saw a picture of one of their demonstration machines a few weeks ago and having read the rather scant information, we were very intrigued…
We were able to have an email conversation with the CEO of Skidbike International in the U.S – Dane Pitarresi – and he gave us a shortened history of the founding company and the evolution of the SkidBike.
Cedergrens Mechanical is a family owned business working out of Klintehamn, Sweden (on the Island of Gotland) and whilst it was founded in 1908, it was in 1985 that the primary driver safety training products (Skidcar and Skidtruck) were designed, engineered and hand-built.
I became involved with Cedergrens in 1988 through a racing school I owned in Portland, Oregon USA. We couldn’t build a wet skid pan and the Cedergrens skid car was the only alternative and in 1990, the “Skidcar System” was born to symbolize and register the IP in North America.
In 2010, a group of us including Bjorn and Curt Cedergren were in the North of Sweden practicing ice and snow driving skills on the frozen lakes and forest roads. It was a brutally cold trip and after an evening of a few sips of whiskey, we were discussing once again the idea of a motorbike that ‘couldn’t fall down’ whilst riders were gaining the same lessons that their 4-wheeled brethren were already able to do…. and so the concept of Skidbike was put on the top of Cedergren’s R & D.
The mechanical control of the real-world physics was a steep learning curve for all involved, not least for Anders Cedergren, who was ultimately the test rider in this previously unthought-of invention. The first prototype made its debut at the American 2013 Skidcar Users Conference; the reviews from experienced instructors of the single carriage Skidbike were positive but mixed as most thought it was scary even if you couldn’t fall off.
We took all these comments and opinions away back to Sweden and it lead us to the second generation design which, as you see above, now features numerous enhancements and additions. The Skidbike now has remote-controlled, incrementally-adjustable, raising and lowering of both wheels, increased lean angles and various safety cutouts… the Skidbike was truly ready for the training business.
We have taken the route of a show-and-tell in our marketing. We believe it’s easy for us to expound the underlying principle of the Skidbike but with a 30-minute test ride, you can truly appreciate the level of engineering sophistication and remarkable safety levels that the rider has as he/she executes what would be, in ‘normal’ circumstances, a loss-of-control scenario.
There has been good success in the U.S.A with arms of the Military being ‘very interested’… one USAF base drives 8 million miles a year on various surfaces and whilst they have been a SkidCar customer for the past 8 years, the ability of training motorcycle personnel to a such a high level of proficiency safely and cheaply (as opposed to paying for bike repairs/renewals) is very attractive.
It’s also become an exciting active tool for exhibition and public outreach, a safe avenue for learners to find their own way of understanding the basics and develop a suite of skills to understand at the very beginning of riding; a pre BRC* tool, a Post BRC* tool and a multipurpose tool to hone experienced rider skills for both braking and power delivery.
I’m also booked out at several conferences to promote and demonstrate.
Meanwhile, Skidbike in the UK made it’s debut at the 2015 AIRSO conference where it was met with critical acclaim.
Skidbike by its very nature of being a precision-built piece of hardware, it currently is available to three motorcycles; the Honda CRF 250, the KTM 1050 Adventure and XXX, but whilst we can custom build to a specific model if requested, we are looking at ways of having a “one-size-fits-all”.
The Biker47 take:
There’s an adage that applies here:
“THE CHALLENGE WITH LEARNING BY EXPERIENCE IS THAT YOU GET THE TEST FIRST, AND THE LESSON AFTER…”
We’re genuinely excited by the Skidbike…
Control, or rather, mis-control, issues are a big part of motorcycle incidents… Skidbike’s ability to simulate a multitude common scenarios via its various arms, wheels and hydraulics, allows the rider to get into ‘trouble’ and then afford him/her time to learn not only how to correct, but also pre-emptively recognise the symptoms without throwing them and the bike to the ground in a heap of skin rash and mangled metal.
If we ever get a chance to have a go – we’ll bite Dane’s arm off at the elbow!
* For our non-American readers! BRC stands for Basic Riding Course; an American version of the UK’s CBT and Advanced training. Kinda…
Fancy throwing several tons of metal around a course feigning aquaplaning or black ice? Here’s what happens in a SkidTruck 🙂