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Wednesday, November 1, 2023

Has Honda Made The Safest Underbone Motorcycle?

Honda thinks there’s a long way to go when it comes to motorcycle safety. With a vast majority of motorcycle traffic collision fatalities involving passenger cars, they understand that they’ve got to beef up the safety of their two-wheeled offerings if they were to reach their goal of a 50 percent reduction in traffic accident deaths by 2030.

Currently, Honda is rolling out motorcycle technologies such as the Combined Braking System (CBS) and Emergency Stop Signal (ESS) to help making riding safer. They’re not stopping there.

Among their latest Enhanced Safety Vehicle (or Experimental Safety Vehicle, whichever you prefer) is this underbone which will hopefully make it to production.

As a background, Honda’s ESV program is all about researching new approaches to safety technologies. Some notable ESV technologies that ended up in production vehicles include the four-wheel anti-lock braking system (ABS), four-wheel steering, and yes, even Honda Sensing. Meanwhile, for two-wheeled vehicles, some of the more wacky concepts are a self-balancing system (Honda Riding Assist), a lane keep system, and even an airbag. The airbag made it to production in the legendary Gold Wing.

Honda understands that underbone motorcycles is the most popular form of transport in Southeast Asia. And unlike the Gold Wing, buyers of these underbones are often price sensitive, meaning they’re actually willing to forego added safety if it would mean they could save a couple of thousand pesos in the process.

This is where their latest ESV vehicle comes in. Compared to previous ESVs which use a lot of cutting-edge technologies and sensors, their underbone ESV relies on more practical ways to achieve better motorcyclist safety.

For example, the underbone ESV is equipped with two pairs of auxiliary lights—one set near the bottom of the bike, and another on the side mirrors to help improve nighttime visibility. If proven effective in reducing traffic fatalities, Honda says they’ll work with government agencies to make them legally compliant.

Another nifty solution is the adoption of a radar-reflecting mirror on the motorcycle’s nose area. With no moving parts or additional sensors, there’s no extra complexity when it comes to manufacturing process. But, this helps make riders more “visible” to four-wheeled vehicles equipped with radar-based ADAS.

Learnings gained from its flagship motorcycle, the Gold Wing, will also applied to their small bikes. Honda is studying to add a small, handle bar-mounted airbag that mitigates rider impact in an accident. The technology, which will one day be applied to popular models such as the PCX, Click, and Wave, will reduce head injury by 93 percent.

Finally, undergoing trials in Thailand a danger notification smartphone app. Using existing road cameras and an automated accident analysis system, it can help identify potential high-risk areas on the roads. This will then alert the riders using a smartphone app to stay vigilant. An extension of this would be to use the motorcycle’s windshield to use color-based signals to communicate potential risks like crossing blind intersections.


  1. Why save an idiot's head at all?

    1. Not all riders are idiots, mind you. So, for those who're responsible riders, they could use a safer choice.


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