The transforming Kawasaki J Concept was one of the highlights of the 2013 Tokyo Motor Show, thanks to its futuristic styling that was like a cross between a Tron Lightcycle and the Batpod from Christopher Nolan‘s Batman trilogy. The electric three-wheeler is unlikely to enter full production, but it is nice to see some outrageous concept models again.
The J Concept was primarily produced to showcase Kawasaki‘s GIGACELL high-capacity nickel-metal hydride battery technology, but the most dramatic feature is the concept’s ability to transform. For sporty rides, the rider assumes an aerodynamic racer’s crouch, but for more relaxed rides, the two front wheels separate and the rider sits upright, almost like an ATV riding position.
The video below shows the transformation at work, demonstrating how the swingarm angle and footpegs move while the handlebar levers lengthen as the wheels spread open.
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The video also illustrates how the J Concept maneuvers. Somewhat similar to countersteering, the rider pushes down on the handlebar lever opposite the direction of the turn while the other lever rises. The two front wheels are independently suspended, each leaning into a corner.
Instead of a central console in front of the rider, the instrument display is mounted on the levers, forcing the rider to look downward to see the speed or battery level. It’s an interesting idea, but it will probably take some practice to glance at the display without being dazzled by the sight of the ground zooming between the two front wheels.
[Source: Kawasaki (YouTube)]