4 comments on “Cool! I thought these had disappeared! The Christini AWD Motorcycle.

  1. I have logged about an hour of playriding at Glen Helen Raceway on a KTM450XC-W with a Christini kit. It doesn’t sound like much, but I had enough time to do a little of everything on it – flattracking in a dirt parking lot, standing starts on loose hillclimbs, rocky singletrack, half a lap on the groomed motocross track, etc. The front wheel was geared to allow 20% overdrive of the rear wheel before it got power to it; it’s adjustable and I was told it made a big difference in when and where it got used and in different terrain(dry desert vs mud).

    A few things that stood out were:

    1. I noticed the “swing weight” of the extra front end drivetrain, tripleclamps, telescopic shafts, etc. a lot, especially on singletrack where I need to make a lot of quick steering corrections and there isn’t enough speed afforded for the gyroscopic effect of the front wheel to be felt. It’s not a dealbreaker by any means, but it makes the entire bike feel a lot heavier than it actually is in that circumstance.

    2. It isn’t as much of an advantage on hillclimbs as you would think, because the front wheel either isn’t on the ground at all or doesn’t have enough weight on it to have any real traction. Same went for just plain drag races on crumbs-on-hardpack flat terrain, etc.

    3. When it is getting used(rear wheel spinning, overrunning clutch engaged), it pulls the bars in a way no other bike will. It’s again, not bad but there and it surprised me at first…it’s because the contact patch is behind the steering head axis, and when the front wheel is driving instead of castering along, the forces are such that if the steering is off center even a touch, the front end will try to pull that direction and under no similar circumstances would any other motorcycle do this. It’s especially apparent in a straight line, less so in a powerslide/turn.

    4. Flattracking is absolute magic. If you’re in a powerslide, and you start to fall to the inside, you can steer IN to the turn and stab the throttle and feel the front wheel pick the bike back up, and continue the drift. This is where it was plainly better than rear wheel drive only, for me.

    When I gave it back I mentioned that they should put it on a supermotard, and Steve mentioned that there wasn’t a big enough market for it, they would make rules against it, etc….true, but it would make large-bore bikes with any real steering lock even more fun to ride…the maneuverability you have in a turn/slide/drift is absolutely, incredible.

    JMO, though.

  2. Pingback: Christini AWD update. This is some nice engineering pRorn. « Motorcycle Photo Of The Day

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