Maybe it’s time to fit side tires to improve your motorcycle experience.
For baby boomers who always dreamed of riding a high-end motorcycle, but weren’t sure they could handle it, Bob Mighell has concocted the perfect solution. His company Tilting Motor Works has designed and fitted tilting front side tires on a whole host of Harley models, including Tourers and Softails.
Mighell’s contraption uses two leaning linkages with coil over shocks fitted to 13-inch disc wheels. The wheels are teamed up with six calipers, fenders and the standard hydraulics. A second iteration of the tilting front wheels even boasts of a ‘Tiltlock’, which levels out the motorcycle at halts, so the rider doesn’t have to put his feet down.
Though the modification adds about 120 pounds to the motorcycle structure, Bob Mighell figures the weight distribution during braking is better. The extra tires up front share the excess load exerted on the front end of a bike during braking. This could especially be crucial under slippery conditions.
What sets the tilting front wheels apart is the allowance for biker counter steering. According to Mighell himself, the tilt angle on a motorcycle fitted with the tilting wheels barely changes. Though the turning radius of the bike is slightly greater than usual, the wheels retain the handling and cornering characteristics of two wheelers.
Bob Mighell tested his accessory on a bike he rode all the way to the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. He also set speed records for three-wheeled bikes, when he raced his Yamaha V-Max all the way to 132.45 mph during the Bonneville Speed Trials in 2012.
Wheeling And Dealing
All that effort is not for cheap though. The standard set of tilting wheels cost about $9995, without the installation charges. If you opt for the version with the hydraulic locking system, the price goes up to $12,995. But the good news for Bob Mighell is, the motorcycle fans he is targeting are probably old and rich enough to afford that.