Revealed: Suzuki's hybrid sports bike

Patent for Suzuki's semi-automatic hybrid sports bike

SUZUKI is developing a hybrid sports bike with an inline-four engine and a second electric motor.

These patent diagrams show a GSX-R1000-style frame and exhaust packed into the squat and sporty dimensions of a conventional supersports 600cc... but there's nothing conventional about the hybird powertrain.

Look closely behind the cylinder heads and an electric motor is nestling above the crank case, revealing Suzuki's fresh new direction for its sports bike range. The electric motor - labelled number 43 in the diagram - is capable of providing full drive or assistance to the conventional engine. 

The battery is located under the seat (number 32) and its size suggests the electric motor would only be used to power the bike short distances around town, with the petrol engine cutting in once the throttle is opened wider in a similar way to hybrid cars like the Toyota Prius.

A switch on the right handlebar also lets the rider manually select between electric, dual and petrol power modes.

The semi-automatic transmission will provide clutchless gear changes. The rider still uses a traditional left-foot lever but the change is electronic rather than mechanical, with the ECU controlling engine speed during upshifts and downshifts.

This isn't be the first electric hybrid motorcycle in development - earlier this year we reported on the SilentHawk military bike and back in 2011 Honda was exploring its own hybrid Goldwing, a patent which has so far failed to fruit.

Fully-electric bikes are gaining traction in the market but perhaps Suzuki's hybrid is a better compromise for bikers who support the idea of green technology but aren't quite ready to ditch the distinctive howl of an inline four sports bike.

Suzuki's nascent hybrid is stil only in its patent stage, so there's a long way to go before it goes into production - if it ever does - but we reckon they might be onto something with this idea. What do you think? Let us know.

  • Sign up for Visordown's weekly newsletter, Bugsplat, to get the best motorcycle news, road tests and features plus exclusive competitions and offers direct to your inbox. Register as a Visordown member here and tick the box for Bugsplat in your newsletter settings here.